New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble

Bernard Rands: Ceremonial (1992)

The music of Bernard Rands has established him as a major figure among his generation of composers. Through some ninety works written in a wide range of performance genres, the originality and distinctive character of his music has emerged and been described as “plangent lyricism” with a “dramatic intensity” and a “musicality and clarity of idea allied to a sophisticated and elegant technical mastery” - qualities he developed from his early studies with Dallapiccola, Maderna and Berio.

Rands' most recent commissions include orchestral works for the Suntory concert hall in Tokyo; for the New York Philharmonic's 100th anniversary, the centenary of Carnegie Hall; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Internationale Bach Akademie. Last season the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa conductor and Mstislav Rostropovitch soloist, presented the premiere performance of his Concerto for Cello, composed for Rostropovitch's 70th birthday celebration. Rands' work, Canti del Dole for tenor and orchestra was awarded the 1984 Pulitzer Prize and his orchestra suite Le Tambourin won the 1986 Kennedy Center Friedheim Award.

Ceremonial is a monothematic composition in which a single, extended melody is repeated ten times during the course of the work. The melody, first stated by a solo bassoon, is subsequently played by various combinations of instruments, always increasing in density and in complexity of timbre. This latter quality is the central concern of the work which employs unusual and unconventional mixtures of instrumental groups - sometimes in extreme registers - in order that the melody is continuously transformed. Each statement of the melodic theme is separated from the next by a dense harmonic idea which serves to interrupt the forward motion of the melodic and rhythmic flow. At the outset, both harmonic and melodic ideas float free of any discernible meter or pulse. As specific rhythmic ideas are introduced and accrue in the percussion section, the music gradually takes on a regular beat which propels it to its concluding climax. The mood and pace of the music gradually, deliberately and inevitably moves through its rituals.

John Harbison: Olympic Dances

John Harbison is one of America's most prominent composers. Among his principal works are three string quartets, two operas and the cantata, The Flight into Egypt, which earned him a Pulitzer Prize in 1987. Other awards include the Kennedy Center Friedheim First Prize in 1980 (for his Piano Concerto) and a MacArthur Fellowship in 1989. Harbison has been composer-in-residence with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Tanglewood, Aspen, Marlboro, Ojai and Santa Fe Chamber Festivals and the American Academy in Rome. His music has been performed by many of the world's leading ensembles, and 35 of his pieces have been recorded. Harbison was one of twelve international composers invited to compose a section of a Requiem commemorating the victims of World War II, performed on the fiftieth anniversary of V Day, August 1995, by the Stuttgart Bachchor and the Israel Philharmonic, conducted by Helmut Rilling. His opera, The Great Gatsby, will be premiered by the Metropolitan Opera Company during their 1999-2000 season.

As conductor, Harbison has led a number of distinguished orchestras including the Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Handel and Haydn Society.

His music is distinguished by its exceptional resourcefulness and expressive range. He has written for every conceivable type of concert performance, ranging from the grandest to the most intimate, pieces that embrace jazz along with the pre-classical forms of Schutz and Bach, the graceful tonality of Prokofiev, and the rigorous atonal methods of late Stravinsky.

Olympic Dances was commissioned by a College Band Directors National Association consortium of twelve wind ensembles/bands including the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble. Harbison offers the following comments concerning the piece:

When the College Band Directors asked me to do a piece for dancers and winds, it immediately suggested something classical, not our musical eighteenth century, but an imaginative vision of ancient worlds. The clear, un-upholstered timbres of the winds - not colored by the throbbing emotive vibratos of our modern string players — playing in small, unconventional chamber subgroups, constituted my first musical images. Along with these, I thought of an imagined harmony between dance, sport and sound that we can intuit from serene oranges and blacks on Greek vases, the celebration of bodies in motion that we see in the matchless sculpture of ancient times, and perhaps most important to this piece, the celebration of the ideal tableau, the moment frozen in time, that is present still in the friezes that adorn the temples, and in the architecture of the temples themselves.

William Kraft: Concerto for Four Solo Percussion and Wind Ensemble

William Kraft, the composer, has written the following concerning the Concerto for Four

Solo Percussion and Wind Ensemble:

The Concerto is transcribed from the original version for orchestra. Wind instruments, including brass, played a strong part in the orchestra version, so much so that when Erich Leinsdorf performed the work with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he rearranged the orchestra seating so that the winds were brought forward and the strings pushed back. Therefore it was quite natural to do a transcription for Wind Ensemble. The Concerto for Four Percussionists and Orchestra was written in 1964 and premiered March 10, 1966 by Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The structure is the conventional three-movement concerto form, differing in that the first movement is slow and the second fast. The first movement features expressive solos by glockenspiel, vibraphone, graduated drums and timpani against a light accompaniment in the ensemble. This is a way of saying “percussion can be beautiful.”

The second movement rides on a jazz-like ostinato stemming from the way Count Basie's drummer Jo Jones would reverse the hi-hat rhythm. The middle section for percussion alone was written first to guarantee an idiomatic character. Then pitches were set to the rhythms thus creating the first section.

The third movement, cadenza and variations, opens with a brief dialogue between timpani and tuba, after which the timpani plays the cadenza which sets off the 12 variations that follow. The variations are set in pairs wherein each states the variation and then in the succeeding variation the percussion responds.

William Kraft (b.1923) has had a long and active career as composer, conductor, percussionist and teacher. Currently he is chairperson of the composition department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. From 1981-85, Mr. Kraft was the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Composer-in-Residence. Previously he had been a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 26 years; eight years as percussionist, and the last 18 as principal timpanist. For three seasons, he was also the assistant conductor of the orchestra.

Mr. Kraft has received numerous awards and commissions, including two Kennedy Center Friedheim awards (first prize in 1990 for Veils and Variations for Horn and Orchestra and second prize in 1984 for Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra); two Guggenheim Fellowships; two Ford Foundation commissions; a fellowship from the Huntington Hartford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Music Award. His works have been performed by many major American orchestras as well as in Europe, Japan, Korea, China, Australia, Israel, and the USSR.

Karel Husa: Les Couleurs Fauves

Les Couleurs Fauves was commissioned by alumni and friends of the Northwestern University School of Music for John P. Paynter, in honor of the the 40th anniversary of his appointment to the faculty. Unfortunately this wonderful musician and teacher died before the work's premiere. It was played for the first time at a memorial concert for John Paynter at Northwestern by the University Symphonic Wind Ensemble conducted by the composer, on November 16, 1996.

The composer writes the following about Les Couleurs Fauves:

I have always been fascinated by colors, not only in music but also in nature and art. The paintings of the Impressionists and Fauvists have been particularly attractive to me, and their French origin accounts for the French title of my piece. The two movements (“Persisting Bells” and “Ritual Dance Masks”) gave me the chance to play with colors - sometimes gentle, sometimes raw - of the wind ensemble, something John Paynter also liked to do in his conducting.

I was reminded of those French painters, whom I admired as a young student in Paris. They called themselves fauvists (vivid, wild), for they used both, often powerful strokes of brushes with unmixed colors. Their paintings, though, breathe with sensitivity, serenity, and gentleness. John's transcriptions as well as his conducting had these characteristics and hopefully Les Couleurs Fauves will remind you of them.

Karel Husa (b.1921, Prague) is an internationally known composer and conductor. He studied at the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Music and subsequently he went to Paris, where he studied with Arthur Honegger and Nadia Boulanger.

He has received numerous honorary degrees, fellowships and awards including honorary Doctor of Music degrees from Coe College, the Cleveland Institute and Ithaca College. Other honors have included a Guggenheim Fellowship and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Academy of Arts & Letters and the Koussevitsky Commission Foundation. In 1969 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his String Quartet No. 3 and in 1993 the Grawemeyer Award for his Concerto for Cello and Orchestra.

Karel Husa has conducted many of the world's most prominent major orchestras and wind ensembles. Every year, Husa visits campuses of some 20 universities to guest-conduct and lecture on his music.

Frank Battisti

Frank Battisti is the Senior Conductor of the Wind Ensemble at New England Conservatory and throughout his career has developed a reputation as one of the most respected champions of music for winds in America. He is the past president of the College Band Directors National Association, and his articles on the wind ensemble, music education, and wind literature have been published by numerous national and international journals. Battisti is author of The 20th-Century American Wind Band/Ensemble and co-author of the book Score Study. He has conducted professional, university and school wind bands/ensembles in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Israel, Australia and Asia. Founder and Conductor Emeritus of the Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble, Battisti also founded the World Association of Symphony Bands and Ensembles. He has also commissioned and conducted the premiere performances of numerous new works for wind ensemble, including those by Colgrass, Chavez, Persichetti, Bassett, Pinkham, Wilder, Benson, Tippett, Harbison and Holloway.

The New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble

The New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble, conducted by Frank L. Battisti, offers students an opportunity to study and perform the significant literature for brass, woodwind and percussion instruments composed from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Each year a number of faculty members and outstanding students appear as soloists on Wind Ensemble concert programs. Besides playing five concerts a year in Jordan Hall, the Wind Ensemble performs concerts at the Gardner Museum and at various schools in the Greater Boston area. The ensemble has performed at numerous national music conferences including the MENC National Conference in Anaheim, California in 1974. Many of its performances are broadcast over the National Public Radio Network (NPR). Through these performances and their recordings, the NEC Wind Ensemble has established a reputation as being one of the premiere wind ensembles in the United States.

The New England Conservatory of Music is the oldest independent school of its kind in the United States. Founded by Eben Tourjee in 1867, the Conservatory has for over a century provided a training environment for talented young people, producing musicians of distinction for careers in a variety of professional fields. Graduates of the Conservatory are found in the principal symphony orchestras of the United States, in theater and ballet orchestras, jazz and chamber ensembles, opera companies and choral groups. Alumni serve on the faculties of conservatories, colleges and universities, as well as in private and public schools, and are prominent in the field of religious music.

The Conservatory's faculty and student ensembles and soloists present over six hundred concerts annually at the Conservatory and a large number of programs throughout the Boston area. The Conservatory regularly joins with such prestigious institutions as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in presenting programs of special interest to the community.

The quality of instruction and performance, the diversity of programs and musical experience and the exciting cultural environment of Greater Boston, all contribute toward making the New England Conservatory of Music an exceptionally rewarding educational institution for the student intending to pursue a career in music.

New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble

(listed alphabetically by section)


O. Cela R*

R. Clossick H

C. Kim K*

E. Lee K, U

J. McEntire, H

S. Mortimore K, U*

S-M. Park R

D. Shinn H*

S. Wagner K


R. Clossick R, H

E. Lee K*

S. Mortimore K

J. Ta U

S. Wagner U*

Alto Flute

S. Wagner K

French Horns

A. Howarth R, H

S. Lawrence R

E. Lintz K, U

J. Nickel K, U

G. Radford R*, H

D. Shaud K*, U*

A. Suarez R, H


T. Bowditch R, U

T. Cupples H

G. Fonseca U

G. Gettel H*, K*, U*

J. Knabe U

J. Leyser U

Z. Lyman R*

J. Snyder H, J, U

J. Tighe R, K, U

E. Vismantas K, U

Special thanks to William Drury for his assistance with this project.

Bernard Rands' Ceremonial for Symphonic Wind Band and William Kraft's Concerto for Four Solo Percussion and Wind Ensemble were recorded February 20, 1998, Jordan Hall, Boston. John Harbison's Olympic Dances was recorded February 17, 1998, Jordan Hall, Boston. Karel Husa's Les Couleurs Fauves was recorded in concert, April 17, 1997, Jordan Hall, Boston.

Ceremonial for Symphonic Wind Band is published by European American Music. Olympic Dances is published by G. Schirmer, Inc. Concerto for Four Solo Percussion and Wind Ensemble is published by New Music West. Les Couleurs Fauves is published by Music Associates of America.

Engineering: Joel Gordon, Nyssim Lefford (Les Couleurs Fauves) and Lisa Nigris.

Editing: Joel Gordon and Lisa Nigris • Digital Mastering: Joel Gordon

Cover Design: Bates Miyamoto Design