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Faculty of Music

Lost art of traditional chamber music found at Windfest 2006

Festival features world premiere of a composition by American composer Rick Sowash

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

May 26/06| For Immediate Release

Contact:

Nina Brickman
Windfest Co-ordinator
(519) 648-3089 or email nbrickman@look.ca

WATERLOO – Local music lovers have the opportunity to hear a unique mix of seldom-heard chamber music, familiar favourites and a never-before-heard composition at Windfest 2006. The annual series of performance workshops and concerts presented by Wilfrid Laurier University gives musicians the opportunity to study and perform a rare form of music.

Windfest promotes a style of chamber music or ‘harmoniemusic’ that was most popular in the Viennese courts of the early 1800s, where wind instruments were first played in pairs and octets. The festival emphasis is on music for wind ensemble by classical composers such as Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, along with 19th- and 20th-century music with flutes.

The students form two octets and smaller ensembles in the tradition of the late 18th century. Each week they concentrate on a different repertoire through individual lessons, coached rehearsals and seminars. They also perform in the Windfest concert series.

“This festival is a wonderful opportunity to introduce students to masterpieces of wind music that they have never had the chance to play before,” says Nina Brickman, Windfest co-ordinator. “Not only do the participants go away with renewed motivation and love for the music, but those who come to the concerts are struck by the beauty of the style.”

This year’s Windfest concert series features works by Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak and Strauss, and a world premiere by American composer Rick Sowash. He has written a composition entitled Audubon-Octet for Winds that explores the myth of J.J. Audubon, an American naturalist and artist.  The piece is the basis of a Sowash-composed soundtrack for a film about Audubon. For more information on Sowash, visit www.sowash.com.

Windfest will also feature Bassoon Day on June 10. Those interested in the bassoon, especially high-school students, are invited to various events, including a masterclass, a demonstration on instrument maintenance and an open dress rehearsal that will offer a preview of the Sowash composition before the concert debut on June 11.

The Windfest concerts will take place:

• Sunday, May 28 at 2 p.m. – The chapel at Luther Village on the Park, Waterloo
• Sunday, May 28 at 8 p.m. – The Music Room, Waterloo
• Saturday, June 3 at 2 p.m. – The Church Theatre, St. Jacobs
• Sunday, June 4 at 8 p.m. – The Music Room
• Saturday, June 10 at 2 p.m. – bassoon recital featuring Nadina Mackie Jackson in the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall, Laurier campus
• Sunday , June 11 at 2 p.m. – The chapel at Luther Village on the Park
• Sunday, June 11 at 8 p.m. – The Music Room, featuring the concert debut of the Sowash composition

There is no charge for admission to the matinee performances. Tickets for the Sunday evening concerts held at The Music Room are $8 for students, $10 for seniors and $15 for adults. Call (519) 886-1673 for ticket information.

Other events open to the public are:

• Thursday, June 2 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. – masterclass featuring James Campbell, in the John Aird Centre, room 221, Laurier campus
• Monday, June 5 at 2 p.m. – workshop entitled New Approaches to Developing Musicianship, presented by Bill Douglas in the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall.

Windfest has been an annual event at Laurier since 1995, attracting students from across North America. The three-week performance workshop is designed for a select group of advanced flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn players. This year, students will come from Waterloo, Toronto, Calgary, New York and Tennessee. For more information on Windfest, visit www.windfest.ca.

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