Imani Winds Opens the 2009-10 Lawrence University Artist Series

APPLETON, WIS. — The Grammy-nominated quintet Imani Winds brings its eclectic repertoire to the Lawrence Memorial Chapel Friday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. in the opening concert of the 2009-10 Lawrence University Artist Series.

Tickets, at $22-20 for adults, $19-17 for seniors and $15-17 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office in the Music-Drama Center, 420 E. College Ave., Appleton or by calling 920-832-6749.

Imani-Winds_web.jpgFounded in New York in 1997, Imani Winds has carved out a distinct presence in the classical music world with its dynamic playing, culturally poignant programming and genre-blurring collaborations. The Washington Post praised the ensemble as representing “nothing less than the future of the once-quaint notion of the wind quintet.”

With two member composers and a commitment to commissioning new work, the group is enriching the traditional wind quintet repertoire while bridging American, African, European and Latin American traditions. The name Imani means “faith” in Swahili.

Oboist Howard Niblock, professor of music at Lawrence, said the Imani Winds concert should provide “an unusual and exciting chamber music experience.”

“Their repertoire is varied, fascinating and perhaps as likely to include influences from ethnic, jazz or popular styles as from the classical tradition,” said Niblock. “They perform it all with extraordinary skill and musicianship and they have the knack of creating a special rapport with their audiences.”

Their concert program at Lawrence will include works by Eugene Bozza, Julio Medaglia and Paquito D’Rivera, among others.

Currently in the midst of its five-year Legacy Commissioning Project, the ensemble is commissioning, premiering and touring 10 new works for woodwind quintet. Playing music by composers of various musical backgrounds, the quintet prides itself on bringing new music and new voices into the classical idiom. They collaborate frequently with a variety of other artists, including Rene Marie, Yo-Yo Ma and Wayne Shorter to expand the wind repertoire and diversify sources of new music.

Their discography includes their debut and self-released CD “Umoja,” which received the Chamber Music America/WQXR Award, “The Classical Underground,” a 2006 Grammy Award nominee in the Best Classical Crossover Album category, 2007’s “Josephine Baker: A Life of Le Jazz Hot!” and last year’s “This Christmas CD,” a 14-track disc of holiday classics.

They have been recipients of the 2007 ASCAP Award and the 2002 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. At the 2001 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, they were selected as the first Educational Residency Ensemble in recognition of their musical abilities and innovative programming.