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Illinois State University Wind Symphony to present Invisible Cities, February 16

Illinois State University Wind Symphony, conducted by Anthony C. Marinello, III

Illinois State University Wind Symphony, conducted by Anthony C. Marinello III

The Illinois State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music invite all to the fourth Wind Symphony Concert of the 2018–2019 season at 8 p.m. Saturday, February 16, in the Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $6 for students (with student ID) and seniors.

The evening will open with graduate student Marykatheryne Kuhne conducting the Wind Symphony in Play! composed by Carl Holmquist. Originally conceived as the final movement of a four-movement symphony, Play! is inspired by New Orleans street musicians and has a light swing feel. The whole work, Symphony No. 1: A New Orleans Symphony, is based on the city of New Orleans’ experience with Hurricane Katrina.

Holmquist provided the following description of the complete composition: “The first movement, Jackson Square, depicts the vibrant city before the storm. The hymn tune Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is the primary melodic material for that in Play! The second movement is Storm. It is an aggressive and violent movement that ends with a depiction of the levee breaking and the water flooding the city. The third movement, Lament, is somber and mournful. In both of the inner movements, the hymn tune is transformed to reflect these difficult emotions. The Lament fades away, like a dying heartbeat, and then Play! emerges with the clarinet. Now this gives the context for the triumphant return of Come Thou Fount. Play! is the culmination of the resurrection of the city.”

Commissioned by the National Wind Ensemble Consortium Group, Dragon Rhyme for Symphonic Band by Chen Yi is in two movements: I. Mysteriously-Harmoniously and II. Energetically. The first movement is lyrical, and the second powerful. Featuring the basic intervals found in Beijing Opera music, the thematic material in both movements is matched, and used economically for development throughout the work. The instrumental texture is rich in colors, from transparent and delicate to angular and strong. Taking the image of the dragon, which is auspicious, fresh, and vivid, the music is layered and multidimensional. It symbolizes Eastern culture. When it meets the world, it becomes a part of the global family.

As a Distinguished Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, a prolific composer, and recipient of the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2001–2004), Yi blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries. Through doing so, she serves as an ambassador to the arts, creating music that reaches a wide range of audiences, inspiring people with different cultural backgrounds throughout the world. Chen Yi is one of the featured guest composers of this year’s Red Note New Music Festival.

Following intermission, the concert will close with Dinuk Wijeratne’s Invisible Cities a Concerto for Percussion Quartet and Wind Ensemble featuring the Illinois State University Percussion Quartet led by Professor of Percussion David Collier and Assistant Director of Bands and Percussion Ben Stiers. They are joined by graduate student Matthew James and undergraduate student Miles Bohlman. Commissioned by the TorQ Percussion Quartet, Invisible Cities was premiered by that ensemble accompanied by the University of Saskatchewan Wind Orchestra under Darrin Oehlerking, at Elim Church, Saskatoon, Canada.

Wijeratne provided the following about the piece: “Like all artists who are not authors and who have come upon Italo Calvino’s breathtaking book Invisible Cities, I was indelibly moved, questioning the possibility of making my own creations inspired by his other-worldly imaginings. The stories themselves call for a grand palette of colour, and when the opportunity to write for percussion soloists and large wind ensemble came along, I saw a good fit. The music of this project has evolved into a five-movement Concerto for Percussion Quartet and Wind Ensemble, entitled Invisible Cities. Each movement is a musical response to a different ‘Calvino City,’ from the musical symmetries of Valdrada and the Gamelan-inspired Armilla, through the Senegalese rhythms of Chloe and South-Indian rhythms of Ersilia, to the fractal-inspired Olinda.”

Conducted by Anthony C. Marinello III, the Wind Symphony is the University’s premier wind band and features the finest wind and percussion musicians on campus. The Wind Symphony has a national and international reputation for exceptional artistic achievement.

For a schedule of upcoming band concerts and events, visit the College of Fine Arts events calendar and follow the Illinois State University Bands on Facebook.

For tickets or additional information, contact the College of Fine Arts Box Office, located in the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts, open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, at (309) 438-2535, or purchase tickets online at Ticketmaster.com. Performance parking is available for free in the School Street Parking Deck in spots 250 and above, 400 West Beaufort Street, Normal.

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