Geoff Grey CSM
A direct descendant of the famous London violinist/conductor Wilhelm Cramer and eminent pianist, composer and publisher Johann Baptist Cramer, he won his first piano competition aged six and has since toured nationally and internationally with numerous wind ensembles, orchestras, bands and choirs on cornet, trumpet, clarinet, voice, percussion, blues harmonica, trombone and, of course, baton. For services to music he was awarded the Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM) in the Australian Honours List.
With Geoff as foundation Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, the international standard Canberra Wind Symphony was launched in June 2015
The Canberra Wind Symphony presents music written for its medium by the finest composers, including highlighting Australian works in showcasing the stunningly thrilling sounds this instrumental combination produces.
Is it an orchestra? You can think of the Canberra Wind Symphony as an orchestra without the strings. All instruments in the ensemble are powered by the same medium – air – the optimal tool for creating a stunningly natural and unified sound with infinite possibilities of expression.
The players – up to 45 – are passionate, technically stunning and highly motivated musicians who have joined together to play in an exemplary group of similarly experienced national and international performers – choosing to engage and excite audiences with breathtaking music.
Performances are presented in concert venues and boutique art spaces, and include a powerful selection of seminal works from a wide array of impressive 20th and 21st Century composers. The use of a large brass section means that a Wind Symphony has just as much power and diversity as a string orchestra, and the rich timbres of the woodwinds deliver a highly toneful synergy to both the harmonic and melodic scorings
The introduction of the Canberra Wind Symphony is the most significant impact on the large ensemble landscape in the Capital Region since Ernest Llewellyn took over the reins of the CSO 50 years ago. This level of clarity and musicianship is rare – you’ll just have to experience it!
Join the CWS Fan Club
Join the Canberra Wind Symphony Fan Club and support Canberra’s own professional wind ensemble to fly to greater heights. Your membership will assist us in covering everything from pencils to sheet music purchase and venue hire. Most CWS performances include music purchased directly from a living composer. That means that we’re keeping music live and new, and are proponents of the art form. With your help, you can be too!
$50 – Pinwheel
$250 – Plume
- Acknowledgement in each CWS Program.
- A Souvenir CWS Feather Brooch
$500 – Propeller
- Acknowledgement in each CWS Program
- A Souvenir CWS Feather Brooch
- 4 complimentary tickets per season
- A VIP invitation for you and a guest to the CWS Fanfare Reception (more details to follow).
Partnering with the Canberra Wind Symphony aligns with the principles of supporting local, exceptional, world-class talent. CWS is synonymous with authenticity, art, love, and the value of beauty, and we believe that ‘beauty will save the earth’. To sum it up: Captivating. Engaging. Brilliant.
If this aligns with your corporate mission, please talk to us and we would love to explore the possibility of partnering with you.
Canberra Wind Symphony
Sunday 18 March 2018
High Court of Australia
Samuel Robert Hazo (1966– )
Composed in 2003
An Australian Rhapsody
Ralph Hultgren (1953– )
Composed in 1991
Ralph Hultgren began his professional music career as a trumpeter and performed with the Central Band of the Royal Australian Air Force, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Brass Choir, as well as working in theatre, opera, cabaret and recording studios.
For the 12 years to 1990, he was the composer and arranger-in-residence for the Queensland Department of Education’s Instrumental Music Program where he produced 185 works.
His TV soundtracks have been nominated for the prestigious Sammy and Penguin Awards for Australian television and his symphonic band works have won him the Yamaha Composer of the Year Award twice. In 1998 he received the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors Association’s highest honor, its Citation of Excellence.
He has been a national and international consultant on conducting, composition and music education and is currently Head of Pre-Tertiary Studies at the Queensland Conservatorium at Griffith University in Brisbane, where he directs the Wind Symphony program.
It is perhaps not that surprising then that the two dominant themes in An Australian Rhapsody should include his masterful arrangements of the folksongs ‘Moreton Bay’ and ‘The Queensland Drover’.
Graduating as Doctor of the Musical Arts from the University of Michigan in 1993, Charles R Young became a teacher at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and shortly after became Professor of Composition and Music Theory at the University of Wisconsin. Currently, he is the Associate Dean of the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music.
As a composer he has won several awards including first prize in the US National Band Association Merrill Jones Composition Competition. He was a prizewinner at the Vienna Modern Masters Competition. His works have been performed at well-known conferences and festivals around the world.
This celebratory piece uses many percussive colours and ‘metallic sonorities’ as punctuation over the wind base and was one of the composer’s first works for a large ensemble, having written numerous chamber works in the years before this.
He has since written many works for wind symphony.
from Symphonic Dances for Wind Ensemble
Yosuke Fukuda (1975– )
Composed in 2006
Born in Tokyo, Fukuda taught himself composing and arranging while attending junior high school where he was also director of his school’s drama club. When he finished school, he began writing music for theatre, dance, cinema and television. He currently writes for wind symphony.
If you’ve been to Canberra Wind Symphony concerts before, you will already have heard some other dances from this suite, including the Hoedown and Tango.
Symphonic Dances for Wind Ensemble was commissioned by the Central Band of the Japan Air Self Defense Force. The suite’s five movements present dances of the world.
The Renaissance Dances are an homage to European style from the time of Praetorius (who wrote a collection of instrumental dances called Terpsichore in 1612). After the introduction, the steps of a courante, pavane, galliard and branle appear. They are to be performed with vigour and contrast.
The Belly Dance is typically Arabic, its music takes us on an energetic pulsing journey. It is to be played with passion and flamboyance and a sense of bacchanalia and abandon, with a Darbuka (traditional Turkish goblet drum) if possible. Its ‘big-bang’ ending is not only allowed, but encouraged!
Richard L Saucedo
Composed in 2011
Richard is a freelance American composer who currently works for the major music publishing house, Hal Leonard Corporation. He has written numerous works for choirs, marching bands, concert bands and symphony orchestras. He receives commissions from across the USA and Japan.
He studied at the Indiana University and completed his Master’s degree at Butler University in Indianapolis.
He retired in 2013 after 31 years at the William H Duke Center for the Performing Arts at Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana. He was named Indiana’s Outstanding Music Educator in 2010.
He remains active as a Chief Judge for Bands for America and as the Coordinator of jazz programming and educational consultant for Music for All.
He is also an aviation enthusiast and a certified private pilot – and many of his titles, including this one it seems, are inspired by his love of flight and the skies.
Aaron Copland (1900–1990) arr Mark Rogers
Composed in 1942
At the turn of the 20th century, Aaron Kaplan was born of Russian emigre parents in Brooklyn, New York, and, after studying with famous composition instructor Nadia Boulanger in Paris from 1921 to 1924 as her first full-time American student, he became the distinctive American composer, pianist and conductor known as ‘Aaron Copland’.
His music was known for its harmonic dissonance (discordance, crunchiness…) and, after the first performance of his Symphony for Organ and Orchestra in 1925, famed conductor Walter Damrosch commented, ‘If he can write like that at 23, in 5 years he’ll be ready to commit murder.’
However, the work led to commissions not of murder, but of other orchestral works where Copland decided to introduce jazz elements to purge his music of its ‘too European’ influence. However, he soon discarded jazz and moved on to a more austere musical form.
‘Hoe Down’ is one of the most famous sequences from his 1942 ballet, Rodeo, which incidentally was choreographed by Agnes DeMille who also danced the lead in the premiere, and who famously choreographed the Broadway musical Oklahoma.
Rodeo followed hot on the heels (like what I did there?) of his first ballet score for Billy the Kid that had premiered in 1938 and revolutionised American ballet with tunes of the prairie and folksong themes – and featured characters and storylines from the Wild West. The two ballets are very similar in musical feel and would have been considered his most popular works, had he not written his phenomenally successful Fanfare for the Common Man, which is now used as an Olympic sports anthem.
At the time this was written in 1942, he was the new head of composition at the Berkshire Music Centre where he stayed for 25 years. He was later awarded the 1977 Congressional Medal of Honour.
The jerkiness of this familiar work is a part of its liveliness and certainly part of its complexity for musicians. The discordant harmonies and the spunky rhythms were no doubt quite challenging at the time of its premiere but both the ballet and its music were rapidly embraced by not only American audiences, but worldwide, as capturing the vastness of the prairie and the optimism of the American pioneers.
There is a ferocious freedom and energy in this work.
Eric Whitacre (1970– )
Composed in 2000
Born in Reno, Nevada in the USA, Eric Whitacre is perhaps best known internationally for his choral music – but from his first piece for wind orchestra, Ghost Train (which, incidentally, Canberra Wind Symphony will play again at its May concert in 2018), he has established a huge reputation for writing for this combination. He has also written extensively for orchestra, including working with Hans Zimmer on the Mermaid Theme for the movie soundtrack of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
(He is also widely known for his ‘virtual choir’ projects, bringing thousands of individual voices and video clips from around the globe together in an online choir – particularly since his TED talk on the project!)
Gary Green of the University of Miami Wind Ensemble commissioned a piece of music for a convention in 1997. But its composition turned out to be quite a long process – and missed the convention by a few years…
Eric was cleaning out some old computer files when a fellow composer heard one particular set of musical sketches and told him not ‘by any means’ to throw the music away, but to use it or have the musical idea stolen from him! Eric eventually developed it into a 10-minute virtuoso composition for symphonic band, the music you will hear this afternoon, Equus – which was ultimately premiered by Gary and the University of Miami Wind Ensemble in March 2000.
The composer calls the repetition of his notes and rhythms ‘dynamic minimalism’ which he describes as ‘joy’, as long as it doesn’t get boring. Someone once described his music as the ‘sort of music Vaughn Williams might have composed in the Cambridge branch of Dunkin’ Donuts’… but that’s not necessarily very kind, given how much you are likely to enjoy his work!
‘Equus’ is Latin for ‘horse’ and you will hear a horse galloping throughout this piece. The piece shifts speeds as the horse changes pace – right up to a final sprint to the end!
CWS 2018 Concert Series
Canberra Wind Symphony
Sarah Nielsen (concertmaster)