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‘The Cleveland Winds’ starts season with CSU Wind Ensemble

November 10, 2011

By Brittany Lett

The Cleveland Winds, under the direction of Birch Browning, kicked off their third season by collaborating with the Cleveland State University Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Professor Howard Meeker, with special guest clarinet soloist, Bobby Davis on Monday (Nov.7) in the Waetjen Auditorium located in the music building on campus.

The CSU Wind Ensemble started the night with one of the 20th century’s most prolific composers, Alfred Reed’s, “Othello: A Symphonic Portrait for Concert Band in Five Scenes (after Shakespeare).”

Each movement in the piece symbolized the dramatic and theatrical mood of each scene from play.

Joyful and upbeat, composer Percy Grainger’s, Children’s March: “Over the Hills and Far Away,” took the audience on a colorful journey with the assistance of piano.

Lastly, the CSU Wind Ensemble closed their performance with, “Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn” by composer and organist Norman Dello Join.

“I enjoyed it very much and these are great tunes,” said Meeker. “I think everyone had a good time and it was also great to share it with a professional group. It was a great evening of music.”

The second half of the concert belonged to Browning’s ensemble, The Cleveland Winds.
The Cleveland Winds is a 503(c) (3) non-profit organization made up of many of the best musicians in the Cleveland area. Its members include music educators, professional performers and outstanding amateur musicians.

“The Cleveland Winds is an amateur group, so they’re all volunteers,” said Browning.

“The players all perform at a professional level. They donate their time to do the rehearsals and performances just because they love the music literature.”

This concert featured 25 orchestra wind players.

The concert started with an orchestral piece entitled, “Celebration” composed by Edward Gregson in 1991. Gregson’s work has been broadcasted and commercially recorded worldwide.

Gregson’s “Celebration” includes instruments of wind, brass, percussion, harp and piano.

The concert also included works from composers whose pieces have connections to Cleveland.

Composer and pianist, Victor Babin’s, “Hillandale Waltzes,” edited and arranged by Dennis Nygren, a professor of clarinet at Kent State University, was the second piece performed for the clarinet and wind ensemble. Babin was also director of the Cleveland Institute of Music from 1961-1972.

“Hilliandale Waltzes” is a piece composed of the piano and clarinet, which was highlighted by special guest and clarinet soloist, Bobby Davis.

Davis received his master’s of music in voice at Cleveland State University and received his BM from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He is currently the director of bands at The Cleveland School of the Arts.

“I played in the bands here, so that’s how I knew Dr. Browning and Prof. Meeker,” said Davis. “I’ve been playing in The Cleveland Winds since it first year, but I thought tonight’s performance went very, very well.”

Walter Hartley’s, “Concerto for Twenty-three Winds,” concluded the night’s performance.

Audience member and area musician, Josh Krug thought the night’s concert was a “very outstanding performance.”

Browning hopes that in the future, he can commission new works from Cleveland composers for The Cleveland Winds. He also hopes to produce a cd of works by Cleveland composers.

The Cleveland Wind’s next concert will be on Monday, March 5, 2012 at 7 p.m. and will feature guest artists Eric Ewazen, Shachar Israel and The University Circle Wind Ensemble conductor, Gary Ciepluch.

For more information on The Cleveland Winds, visit www.clevelandwinds.org .