University of Massachusetts Wind Ensemble

The Wind Ensemble is an assemblage of the most outstanding wind and percussion players in the Department of Music and Dance at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. The ensemble has earned an international reputation for their exemplary interpretation and performance of the most significant twentieth century wind literature. The ensemble utilizes a player pool concept with repertoire ranging from Mozart to Maslanka. The concept of flexible instrumentation offers the musicians a variety of solo and ensemble experiences.

The Wind Ensemble has received enthusiastic response from audiences at the MENC Eastern Division Conventions in 1983, 1989 and 1993, the CBDNA Eastern Division Convention in 1984 and the MMEA conference in 1990. The ensemble has received recognition from such prominent composers as Leslie Bassett, Martin Mailman, Warren Benson, Dana Wilson, Robert Stern, Karel Husa, Michael Colgrass and David Maslanka. The Wind Ensemble has received broadcast performances on WFCR Amherst, WCRB Boston and National Public Radio in Washington, D.C.

In 1991, the university of Massachusetts Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Malcolm W. Rowell, Jr., released The Wind Music of David Maslanka (Albany Records(on compact disc which has received outstanding reviews throughout the world. In December 1994 Centaur Records released the Symphonic & Wind Music of Charles Bestor featuring the Umass Wind Ensemble. Tears is the first in a series of wind recordings by Umass Wind Ensemble to be produced by Albany Records.

Malcolm W. Rowell, Jr., Conductor

Malcolm W. Rowell, Jr., Director of Bands and Professor of Music at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, is a strong proponent of new music having commissioned and premiered numerous wind compositions. He is the principal conductor of the University Wind Ensemble and Symphony Band. In addition, Professor Rowell is a Visiting Professor at Boston University where he conducts the Wind Ensemble.

His conducting style has been influenced by Walter Beeler, Dr. Frederic Fennell and H. Robert Reynolds. His musical interpretations have won the praise of composers Warren Benson, David Maslandka, Mary Jeanne Van Appledorn, Michael Mailman, Cindy McTee, Gene Young, Karel Husa and John Corigliano.

In recognition of his professional work Professor Rowell has received the National Band Association's “Citation of Excellence” and the Kappa Kappa Psi “A. Frank Martin Award” for his contributions to Collegiate Bands. In 1979 he was recognized for outstanding performance at the “Band Director's Art” conducting symposium at the University of Michigan and has frequently been recognized as a University of Massachusetts Distinguished Teacher. In 1983, he conducted at the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Conference in Skein. Norway and was twice selected as a conducting participant at the CBDNA National Conducting Symposium at the University of Colorado. Professor Rowell is frequently called upon to serve as guest conductor/clinician/lecturer and recently received an invitation to conduct at the 1994 National Concert Band Festival at the Royal Northern Conservatory in Manchester, England.

Professor Rowell's outreach activities include the founding of the University of Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble in 1980 and since 1984 has served as Music Director/Conductor of the South Shore Conservatory Summer Wind Ensemble program in Hingham, Massachusetts. Professor Rowell's summer activities also include the Harwick College Summer Music Festival & Institute and Institute at Harwick College where he serves as guest conductor of the Symphonic Band and Institute Wind Ensemble. In 1985, he initiated the All-Senior Honor Band Festival attracting outstanding high school musicians from throughout the East. He served as Musical Director/Conductor of the Metropolitan Wind Symphony of Boston, Massachusetts from 1986-91, bringing this ensemble into national prominence among adult band organizations.

In the fall of 1991, Professor Rowell was appointed Music Director/Conductor of the Massachusetts Wind Orchestra which has been broadcast on National Public Radio on numerous occasions.

Malcolm W. Rowell, Jr., is Past-President of the New England College Band Directors Association. He holds active membership in CBDNA, NECBA, WASBE, BASWE, MENC, and MMEA. Professionally, he is frequently invited to serve as guest conductor/clinician/lecturer at state and regional festivals throughout the United States and England.

Aram Khachaturian is probably best known outside of Russia for his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra and the Saber Dance from his ballet Gayane. His music is deeply rooted in Armenian folklore and several of his themes have become Armenian national songs.

The two Armenian Dances are among several works for military band by Aram Khachaturian. The dances were originally written in 1943 for the Red Army Cavalry Band and were adapted for modern band instrumentation by the gifted American musician and scholar Ralph Satz.

Dana Wilson's Dance of the New World was commissioned the same month - 500 years later - that Christopher Columbus first landed in the New World. As few journeys have had such an impact on the fate of world culture, Wilson wanted in this piece to pay tribute to the blending of styles and attitudes that has taken place in the “Latin” American region of this hemisphere where Columbus first landed.

He also wished to suggest the hopeful awakening of the Renaissance that Columbus' voyage symbolized. Dance of the New World begins with faint percussion patterns gradually layered one on top of the other, and burgeons, suggested along the way the continued “journey” of the west over the past 500 years, in all of its intricacy, difficulty, and drama.

Percy Grainger began this setting of Early One Morning in 1901, but did not complete it until 1939-40, when he made three different scorings. IN 1950, he made yet another version, which differs in several respects from the earlier ones. This transcription used the 1950 version as its basis.

English Waltz from Youthful Suite reflects, to some extent, popular English waltz types of the 1890's. Some of its phrases are cast in the 5-tone (pentatonic) scale so characteristic of English-speaking melody, instead of the 7-tone (diatonic) scale more usual in Viennese, German, French, Belgian, Spanish and Russian waltzes. No folk tunes or popular tune-stuffs are used in any part of the English Waltz. Grainger composed Youthful Suite in 1949 or orchestra.

Grainger's love for the out-of-doors and his passion for physical activity - hiking, running, and mountain climbing - are reflected in his music. Much like his piano playing, his music radiates a boundless energy bordering the violent as well as an open-hearted, loving quality. Molly On The Shore whirls vigorously on two Irish Reels from the Petrie Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland (1855).

In 1960 Life magazine commissioned composer Aaron Copland to write a composition for young pianists. The result was Down a Country Lane and in 1991, this charming piece was transcribed for concert band by Merlin Patterson providing young instrumentalists with the opportunity to experience the music of one of America's leading composers.

“Licolnshire Posy was conceived and scored by me direct for wind band early in 1937. Five out of the six, movements of which it is made up, existed in no other finished form, though most of these movements were indebted, more or less, to unfinished sketches for a variety of mediums covering many years from 1905 to 1937. This bunch of “musical wildflowers” (hence the title Lincolnshire Posy is based on folksongs collected in Lincolnshire, England in 1905-06, and the work is dedicated to the old folksingers who sang so sweetly to me. Indeed, each number is intended to be a kind of musical portrait of the singer who sang its underlying melody a musical portrait of the singer's personality no less than of his habits of song his regular or irregular wonts of rhythm, his preference for gaunt or ornately arabesqued deliver, his contracts of legato and staccato, his tendency towards breadth or delicacy of tone” (Percy Aldridge Grainger).

Frank Ticheli's Postcard was commissioned by H. Robert Reynolds, University of Michigan, in memory of his mother, Ethel Virginia Curry. The composition, cast in an ABA form, is a short energetic piece that is a musical reflection of her character, vibrant, whimsical, and succinct. The composition was premiered by the University of Michigan Symphony Band on April 17, 1992 and has received numerous performance by college bands throughout the United States. Mr. Ticheli, a University of Michigan graduate, is Assistant Professor of Music at the university of Southern California and composer-in-residence with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra.

David Maslanka

The title “tears” comes form my reading of the novel “Monnew” by the African writer Ahmodou Kourouma. His story tells of the dissolution of a traditional African culture as Europeans overran it. The native people were made to endure the “monnew” - the insults, outrages, trials, contempts, and humiliations - of colonialism. A chapter heading in Kourouma's book reads “our tears will not be abundant enough to make a river, nor our cries of pain sharp enough to extinguish fires.” This is the external motivation for the piece, but I don't know anyone in Africa directly. I have come to understand that fascination with something in the external world means that a thing deep inside has been touched. So the piece is about something in me. Over the years my music has acted as predictor for me. It gives me advance nonverbal messages about things I don't understand yet - movements of my unconscious that are working their way toward the light.

Tears finally is about inner transformation, and about groping toward the voice of praise. As St. Francis and St. Ignatius have it, the proper function of the human race is to sing praise. Tears is about inner breaking, and coming to terms with the pain that hinders the voice of praise; Tears is about the movement toward the heart of love.

Country Band March was composed by Charles Ives in 1903 and arranged for band in 1973 by James Sinclair of Yale University. The piece demonstrates some of Ives' most distinguishing characteristics, particularly the use of quotations of tunes that were popular during his childhood. Ives deliberately captures the inaccuracies of rhythm and intonation which he recalled in amateur performances. The result can be humorous, raucous, and nostalgic, often at the same time. Country Band March later became a part of larger works by Ives: Symphony No. 4 and the “Putnam's Camp” movement of Three Places in New England.

© 1996 Albany Records