Monday, May 21 , 2018, 9:56 pm | Fair 59º

 
 
 
 

UCSB Wind Ensemble Blows In for Spring Concert

The program includes works by Leroy Anderson, Alfred Reed, Vittorio Giannini and others.

UCSB’s remarkable Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Paul Bambach (and graduate assistant Stephanie Miller) offers its 2008 Spring Concert at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall on campus.

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On the subject of free concerts, composer Alfred Reed used to tell his students: ‘You can’t give away what you are trying to sell and expect to stay in business.’

The Wind Ensemble’s program includes works by Leroy Anderson (The Irish Suite), Vittorio Giannini (Fantasia for Wind), Ron Nelson (Rocky Point Holiday), Alfred Reed (Ode for Trumpet – featuring graduating senior trumpeter Jessica Harwell), Gustav Holst (Second Suite in F Major) and Frank Ticheli (Sundance).

It is a frustrating but inescapable fact about contemporary music that, in order to avoid offending or boring their audiences, most performers blithely toss out baby and bath indiscriminately. That is to say that, knowing the wariness of modern concert-goers concerning works composed since, say, 1905, they simply don’t play anything written after that date – save for something like the Suite from The Sound of Music, which has the comfort and security of a name brand.

As the present program beautifully demonstrates, Paul Bambach has always been an exception to that rule. To be sure, the name Leroy Anderson still makes regular appearances on the “pops” concert circuit, and thanks to The Planets, the star of Gustav Holst has not completely flickered out of U.S. concert halls. But Nelson? Giannini? Reed? Ticheli? Who are they?

Well, Dr. Ron Nelson was born in Joliet, Ill., in 1929, and was educated at Eastman-Rochester School of Music, where he studied with Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers. He joined the music faculty of Brown University in 1956, was chairman from 1963-73 and retired in 1993. Although he had written for winds before coming to Eastman, he credits Eastman with changing his style. “I got to Eastman and heard this very tight, sinewy sound in the form for the Eastman Wind Ensemble under Frederick Fennell. This sound was seeping into my musical consciousness, and it was not until I got away from it that I realized how important this experience was.” It was the direct source of Rocky Point Holiday, which established him in the top tier of U.S. wind composers.

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Vittorio Giannini devoted his life to carrying on the traditions of European music.

Vittorio Giannini (1903-66) was a neo-romantic U.S. composer of operas, songs, symphonies and band works. He was born in Italy and came to America to study at the Juilliard School. He taught at Juilliard, then the Manhattan School of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music. Among his students were John Corigliano and Alfred Reed. Alfred Reed (1921-2005) used to say, half-facetiously, that “I am the second most published composer next to J.S. Bach.” As a professor, he was an innovator in that he tried to give his student musicians the rudiments of a business sense. “You can’t,” he said, “give away what you are trying to sell and expect to stay in business.” His Ode for Trumpet is best described as exultant lyricism.

Frank Ticheli (born in 1958 in Monroe, La.) is a U.S. composer of orchestral, choral, chamber and concert band works. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is a professor of composition at the USC. Several of his works have become standards in concert band repertoire.

Tickets to Thursday’s concert are $15 for general admission and $7 for students. Tickets will be sold at the door.

For more information about music at UCSB, call 805.893.7001 or visit the Music Department’s Web site at music.ucsb.edu.

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