Live Stream

Symphonic Wind Ensemble

October 13, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. CDT

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Program

Mallory Thompson, conductor
Sheldon Frazier, doctoral assistant conductor
Dustin Nguyen, trombone (2023 Concerto Competition winner) 

Kevin Day, Dancing Fire

Eric Whitacre, Lux Aurumque

Launy Grøndahl (arr. Poul Ivan Møller), Concerto for Trombone
     Moderato assai ma molto maestoso
     Quasi una Leggenda: Andante grave
     Finale: Maestoso—Rondo
Dustin Nguyen, trombone (2023 Concerto Competition winner)
Sheldon Frazier, doctoral assistant conductor

Ottorino Respighi (trans. Yoshihiro Kimura), Pines of Rome
     I Pini di Villa Borghese
     I Pini presso una Catacomba
     I Pini del Gianicolo
     I Pini della Via Appia

Personnel

Mallory Thompson, conductor
Sheldon Frazier, doctoral assistant conductor

Flute
Wiktoria Godawa
Abby Katje
Emma Krause
Minseo Kim
Miguel Rodriguez
Haylie Wu

Oboe
Ying Jiang
Audrey Marx
Claire Shen
Timothy Zhang

Bassoon
Brian Fadel
Arthur Hu
Colin Kurtz

Clarinet
Alvin Chen
Jason Chen
Timothy Fu
Andrew Guo 
Kathryn Jarvey 
Henry Lazzaro
Connor Myers
Ashrey Shah

Saxophone
Sam Alvarez
Ila Gupta
Philip Kleugtens
Natalia Warthen

Trumpet
Troy Archer
Stefan Filip
Sarah Jessen
William Lewis
Parisa Tofigh
Sam VanLoo

Horn
Aidan Alcocer
Julia Ferguson
Lily Kerns
Alessandra Liebman
Eden Stargardt
Ryan Williamson
Landon Young

Trombone
Kurt Eide
Chris Lee
Griffin Rupp
Angel Salinas
Lola Stevenson
Adam Uliassi
Holden Welch
Neal Williamson

Euphonium
Chris Carrigg
Oliver Stark

Tuba
Evan DeRicco

Percussion
Daniel Gostein
Gabriel Hsieh
Claire McLean
Ryan Payne
Blake Parker
Jeffrey Ryan
Stephen Symank

String Bass
Sophie Denhard
Atulya Palacharla

Keyboards
Imran Amarshi
Dominic Doutney
Ke Wang

Harp
Marin Trendel

Additional Personnel
Charlie Jones
Nathan Kock
Braxton Leek
Benjamin Poirot
Fiona Shonik

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Kevin Day, Dancing Fire

Kevin Day has quickly become one of the leading young voices in the world of wind music composition today. His music brings together many different genres and encompasses a wide range of emotion. He has earned much recognition for his work, including winning a BMI Student Composer Award and being named as a finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. Day currently serves as Assistant Professor of Composition at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He is pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition from the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where he studies with Charles Norman Mason, Dorothy Hindman, and Lansing McCloskey. He also holds a Master of Music degree in Composition from the University of Georgia, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance from Texas Christian University.

The composer writes about the piece:

"When I was writing Dancing Fire, the picture I had in my head was a group of people surrounding a large bonfire during the night. These people began dancing around the fire, having fun, singing songs, and ultimately, celebrating life.

Once I had that picture in my head, along with the constant repeating motif that eventually became the melody for the entire piece, the rest of the work fit together nicely, and in two weeks it was done. The composition brings this mental picture I had to life in a fun and energetic way with dance-like percussion and a constant groove, as well as its contagious melody, a mysterious soprano sax solo, and a climactic ending."

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Eric Whitacre, Lux Aurumque

One of the most performed composers of his generation, Eric Whitacre earned degrees from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and the Juilliard School, where he studied with John Corigliano. After initial success as a choral composer, Whitacre and his music have also been embraced by the band world; Ghost Train, his first work for wind symphony, was a finalist for the ABA/Ostwald Award, leading to 10 additional works for winds. His “virtual choir" video of Lux Aurumque became a cultural sensation, receiving more than one million views on YouTube within two months of its March 2010 release; a virtual choir recording of Sleep followed in April 2011.

For his choral setting of Lux Aurumque (Light and Gold), Whitacre had the original poem by Edward Esch (b. 1970) translated into Latin. Whitacre was attracted to “the genuine, elegant simplicity” of the short poem. The soft lullaby moves from consonance to gentle dissonance, like the rocking of a cradle. About the work, Whitacre states, “if the tight harmonies are carefully tuned and balanced, they will shimmer and glow.” Simple triads melt from one chord to the next, creating a slowly evolving wash of sonic color. Esch’s original poem reads:

Light,
warm and heavy as pure gold
and the angels sing softly
to the new-born baby.

The wind setting of Lux Aurumque was commissioned by the Texas Music Educators Association for their 2005 All-State Band and their conductor, Gary Green.

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Launy Grøndahl, Concerto for Trombone and Band

Grøndahl’s Concerto for Trombone is one of the most popular of his relatively limited repertoire. Grøndahl is fondly remembered in his native Denmark as a major conductor and composer. He was an important interpreter of the music of Carl Nielsen and served as the music director of the Danish National Symphony for many years. Early in his career he studied in both Paris and Vienna, but composed the trombone concerto in 1924 during a stay in Italy. His compositional style balances dynamic forcefulness with lush lyricism.

Written in three movements, the concerto begins with a declamatory statement of the main theme by the soloist. Recitative-like sections follow, with subsequent lyrical moments supported by piano. The middle movement, characterized by the composer as “quasi una leggenda” (like a legend), suggests a fictitious folkloric figure through two expressive and contrasting themes. Gently rippling arpeggios bring the movement to a quiet conclusion. At the beginning of the final movement the main four-note theme of the first movement is stated by the ensemble. The following dance-like main theme of the movement is peppered with staccato runs and vocal lyricism in the trombone solo. Though the theme is contrasted with quieter sections, the main idea returns at the conclusion of the work in an emphatic statement by the trombone soloist.

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Ottorino Respighi, Pines of Rome

Ottorino Respighi is considered Italy’s most important post-Romantic composer. His love of medieval and Renaissance music inspired original scores, as did the countryside of Italy. After studying violin in Bologna with Federico Sarti, and composition with Luigi Torchi and Giuseppe Martucci, he moved to Russia, where he studied privately with Rimsky-Korsakov. He played viola in the St. Petersburg Opera Orchestra for a number of years, and then turned his energies to composition; between 1914 and 1928, he composed his famous “Roman triptych,” consisting of Fountains of Rome, Pines of Rome, and Roman Festivals.

Pines of Rome displays Respighi’s skill at orchestration and his affinity for wide ranging tone colors, and Kimura’s arrangement uses the timbral flexibility of the wind ensemble to maintain the integrity of Respighi’s vision. The piece’s inclusion in tonight’s program is in part to commemorate its centennial anniversary, which it celebrates in 2024. The four-movement work exhibits such a picturesque nature that Respighi wrote the following to clarify his inspiration:

"Children are at play in the pine groves of Villa Borghese; they dance round in circles. They play at soldiers, marching and fighting, they are wrought up by their own cries like swallows at evening, they come and go in swarms.

Suddenly the scene changes—we see the shades of the pine trees fringing the entrance to a catacomb. From the depth rises the sound of a mournful chant, floating through the air like a solemn hymn, and gradually and mysteriously dispersing."

Muted horns introduce melodic fragments inspired by Gregorian chant, which echo throughout the orchestra until a trumpet solo appears. Marked “sweetly and expressively, as distant as possible,” the trumpet’s melody leads to a chanting figure in the clarinets and horns. The chant gradually crescendos to a powerful return of the trumpet melody in the trombones, after which the music fades away.

"There is a thrill in the air: the pine trees of the Janiculum stand distinctly outlined in the clear light of the full moon. A nightingale is singing.

Misty dawn on the Appian Way: solitary pine trees guarding the magic landscape; the muffled, ceaseless rhythm of unending footsteps. The poet has a fantastic vision of bygone glories: trumpets sound and, in the brilliance of the newly-risen sun, a consular army bursts forth towards the Sacred Way, mounting in triumph to the Capitol."

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Artists

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Mallory Thompson

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DMA, EASTMAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC

Mallory Thompson '79, '80 MMus is director of bands, professor of music, coordinator of the conducting program, and holds the John W. Beattie Chair of Music at Northwestern University. In 2003 she was named a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence. As the third person in the university's history to hold the director of bands position, Dr. Thompson conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting, and administers all aspects of the band program. She has recorded five albums with the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble on the Summit Records label.

Thompson received the Bachelor of Music Education degree and Master of Music degree in conducting from Northwestern University, where she studied conducting with John P. Paynter and trumpet with Vincent Cichowicz. She received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Donald Hunsberger.

Maintaining an active schedule as guest conductor, conducting teacher, and guest lecturer throughout the United States and Canada, Thompson has had the privilege of teaching conducting to thousands of undergraduates, graduate students, and professional educators. She has served as a conductor or clinician at the College Band Directors National Association regional and national conventions, the Midwest Clinic, the Interlochen Arts Academy, numerous state music conventions, and the Aspen Music Festival. In addition to conducting all-state ensembles throughout the United States, she has had professional engagements as guest conductor with the United States Air Force Band, the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” the United States Army Field Band, the United States Coast Guard Band, the United States Navy Band, the West Point Band, the Dallas Wind Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Monarch Brass Ensemble, and Banda Sinfônica in Sao Pãulo, Brazil. Her professional affiliations include Pi Kappa Lambda, the College Band Directors National Association, and the American Bandmasters Association.

Dr. Thompson is especially proud of her 53 graduate conducting students and the hundreds of outstanding Symphonic Wind Ensemble members with whom she has had the joy of making music at Northwestern. She treasures her relationship with the Wildcat Marching Band and is honored to preserve and grow Northwestern’s legacy. 

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Dustin Nguyen

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A native of Houston, Texas, Dustin Nguyen begin his journey on the trombone studying with Brian Logan. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of North Texas, studying under professors Steven Menard, Dr. Natalie Mannix, and Tony Baker. At UNT, Nguyen was a member of the internationally acclaimed North Texas Wind Symphony conducted by Dr. Eugene Magliaro Corporon, as well as the ITF Emory Remington-winning UNT Trombone Consortium. As an individual, his artistry has also been recognized on a national level. Selected out of a pool of international submissions, he was given the opportunity to perform at the Pershing Military Base in Washington, DC as a finalist for the American Trombone Workshop Solo Finalist competition in 2020. Additionally, Nguyen has had the privilege of participating in master classes and seminars led by esteemed members of prestigious orchestras such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic. When he’s not playing the trombone, he likes to play video games and spend time with his fiancée Kat and their two cats, Missy and Oreo.

Mallory Thompson

Close

DMA, EASTMAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC

Mallory Thompson '79, '80 MMus is director of bands, professor of music, coordinator of the conducting program, and holds the John W. Beattie Chair of Music at Northwestern University. In 2003 she was named a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence. As the third person in the university's history to hold the director of bands position, Dr. Thompson conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting, and administers all aspects of the band program. She has recorded five albums with the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble on the Summit Records label.

Thompson received the Bachelor of Music Education degree and Master of Music degree in conducting from Northwestern University, where she studied conducting with John P. Paynter and trumpet with Vincent Cichowicz. She received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Donald Hunsberger.

Maintaining an active schedule as guest conductor, conducting teacher, and guest lecturer throughout the United States and Canada, Thompson has had the privilege of teaching conducting to thousands of undergraduates, graduate students, and professional educators. She has served as a conductor or clinician at the College Band Directors National Association regional and national conventions, the Midwest Clinic, the Interlochen Arts Academy, numerous state music conventions, and the Aspen Music Festival. In addition to conducting all-state ensembles throughout the United States, she has had professional engagements as guest conductor with the United States Air Force Band, the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” the United States Army Field Band, the United States Coast Guard Band, the United States Navy Band, the West Point Band, the Dallas Wind Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Monarch Brass Ensemble, and Banda Sinfônica in Sao Pãulo, Brazil. Her professional affiliations include Pi Kappa Lambda, the College Band Directors National Association, and the American Bandmasters Association.

Dr. Thompson is especially proud of her 53 graduate conducting students and the hundreds of outstanding Symphonic Wind Ensemble members with whom she has had the joy of making music at Northwestern. She treasures her relationship with the Wildcat Marching Band and is honored to preserve and grow Northwestern’s legacy. 

Dustin Nguyen

Close

A native of Houston, Texas, Dustin Nguyen begin his journey on the trombone studying with Brian Logan. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of North Texas, studying under professors Steven Menard, Dr. Natalie Mannix, and Tony Baker. At UNT, Nguyen was a member of the internationally acclaimed North Texas Wind Symphony conducted by Dr. Eugene Magliaro Corporon, as well as the ITF Emory Remington-winning UNT Trombone Consortium. As an individual, his artistry has also been recognized on a national level. Selected out of a pool of international submissions, he was given the opportunity to perform at the Pershing Military Base in Washington, DC as a finalist for the American Trombone Workshop Solo Finalist competition in 2020. Additionally, Nguyen has had the privilege of participating in master classes and seminars led by esteemed members of prestigious orchestras such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic. When he’s not playing the trombone, he likes to play video games and spend time with his fiancée Kat and their two cats, Missy and Oreo.