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Gerald Carpenter: John Frantzen to Cue Music for UCSB Wind Ensemble

UC Santa Barbara’s sparkling University Wind Ensemble, conducted by founder and director Paul Bambach, plays its fall concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.

Composer John Frantzen will introduce his piece 'Skronk' at Thursday’s University Wind Ensemble concert at UCSB.
Composer John Frantzen will introduce his piece “Skronk” at Thursday’s University Wind Ensemble concert at UCSB.

The works to be performed are all “modern” (circa 1880-2015), although some are established masterworks, some are freshly contemporary, and one is brand new.

The program begins with John Frantzen’s jaunty, careening Skronk, with the composer on hand to introduce the piece; followed by John Corigliano’s exquisite Lullaby for Natalie (written for the daughter of great violinist, Anne Akiko Meyers, and arranged for winds by Peter Stanley Martin); Vincent Persichetti’s Bernstein-ish Symphony for Band (Symphony No. 6); Carter Pann’s spacious Serenade for Winds (conducted by graduate assistant Steven Cohen); Eric Whitacre’s sweetly autumnal October; the world premiere of student composer Tristan Perez’s The Lost Valley; and the evergreen Second Suite in F-Major by Gustav Holst.

The whimsical Frantzen piece notwithstanding, if there are any of you out there still clinging to the notion that music for wind ensembles is, by its very nature, not completely serious and worthy; if you think such instruments forever blighted by their association with the football field and parade ground, this concert ought to disabuse you of such prejudices — forever.

Music for wind ensembles is one of the few growth industries left in classical music, and a lot of what’s new ranks among the best, not to say most accessible, of contemporary compositions.

Tickets to this concert are $10 general admission, $5 for non-UCSB students with ID, free for UCSB students with ID and children under 12. They can be purchased at the door.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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