Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wall Street Journal: 'It's a Breeze: Imani Winds'

Wall Street Journal
May 13, 2009
It's a Breeze: Imani Winds
By Barrymore Laurence Scherer
“Say 'chamber music' to most people, and the string quartet is probably the first image to spring to mind. Far less familiar is the string quartet's counterpart, the wind quintet. The former is made up of two violins, a viola and a cello. On the other hand the wind quintet normally consists of four woodwinds -- flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon -- and that most subtle of brass instruments, a French horn, whose timbre lends warmth and weight to the overall texture.” “One ensemble that has risen to the challenges and rewards offered by this situation is the Grammy-winning Imani Winds, a youthful, New York-based quintet gaining a prominent place in the Aeolian pantheon. On Sunday they will be performing (and narrating) Bruce Adolph's new 'Zephyronia' with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

“The name Imani means 'faith' in Swahili, and subtly reflects the African-American and Latin American ancestry of the ensemble's five members: flutist Valerie Coleman, oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz, clarinetist Mariam Adam, French hornist Jeff Scott, and bassoonist Monica Ellis.” “Expanding the quintet repertoire has been Imani's goal from the start, because as Ms. Adam explains, 'a chief misconception about wind quintets is that they play a handful of pieces all the time.' To address this, Imani established its five-year Legacy Commissioning Project in 2007. Through 2011, the group is commissioning new works from established and emerging composers of color, including Alvin Singleton, Roberto Sierra, Jason Moran, Stefon Harris, Mr. Scott, Mr. Shaheen, Tania León, Danilo Perez and Billy Childs.” [Tania León (b. 1943) is profiled at]

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