Wind Ensemble Stephen W. Pratt, conductor; Lan Wang, viola soloistWind Ensemble
Stephen W. Pratt, conductor
Sean C. Phelan, conductor
Lan Wang*, viola soloist
*Viola Concerto Competition Winner
Pann: Slalom (1997/2002)*
Hindemith: Kammermusik No. 5, Op. 36 No. 4
Vaughan Williams/Noble: Selections from “England’s
Pleasant Land” (1938)
Jenkins: American Overture for band (1953)
Hass: All the Bells and Whistles for wind ensemble
and digital sound (1996)*
Schmitt/Hauswirth: Dionysiaques, Op. 62 (1913)
*See below for program notes
About the Conductor
Stephen W. Pratt is professor of bands and director of bands and wind conducting at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he conducts the Wind Ensemble and teaches graduate conducting as well as other courses in the Wind Conducting graduate program. Under his direction, the renowned IU Wind Ensemble has performed at several national conventions and in other distinguished venues.
He has been a member of the Jacobs School of Music faculty since 1984. In 1993, he was a national recipient of the Distinguished Service to Music Medal awarded by Kappa Kappa Psi, the national collegiate band honorary organization. In 1998, he was honored with the Outstanding Bandmaster Award by the Gamma chapter of Phi Beta Mu. In 2001, he was honored with the Outstanding University Music Educator Award, given by the Indiana Music Educators Association. In 2014, he was awarded the James B. Calvert Outstanding Music Educator Award.
Pratt is in demand as a guest conductor and clinician of bands and orchestras across the nation. He is a member of the American Bandmasters Association, College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, National Association for Music Education, Phi Beta Mu, and Indiana Bandmasters Association. In addition, he is past president and current board member of the Big Ten Band Directors Association.
His graduate conducting students (M.M., D.M., Ph.D.) hold prominent positions at some of the leading colleges and universities in the United States and internationally, as well as at outstanding high schools and academies.
Lan Wang (viola soloist)
Violist Lan Wang grew up in Shenyang, in Liaoning Province, China. Wang began studies on the violin at the age of four and switched to viola at age 17. Her transition to the viola came with her strong attraction to the personality of the instrument, which she finds intimate and personal. Wang earned her undergraduate degree in viola at the China Central Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Wing Ho and Fei Cao. Now a master’s student in viola performance at the IU Jacobs School of Music, Wang was recently featured in Krzysztof Penderecki’s honorary degree presentation, performing his 1984 work Cadenza for viola solo during the ceremony. Wang has performed actively as a chamber musician since she began her undergraduate program. As with her love of her instrument, Lan enjoys the intimacy, camaraderie, and magic that small ensembles can create. Wang has played in trio and quartet performances throughout her time at Jacobs, and currently plays in the Philharmonic Orchestra. Wang studies with Atar Arad.
by Carter Pann
Slalom is a taste of the thrill of downhill skiing. The work is performed at a severe tempo throughout showcasing the orchestra?s volatility and endurance. The idea for a piece like this came directly out of a wonderful discovery I made several years ago at Steamboat Springs, Colorado when I embarked on the mountain-base gondola with a cassette player and headphones. At the time I was treating myself to large doses of Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. The exhilaration of barreling down the Rockies with such music pumping into my ears was overwhelming. After a few years of skiing with some of the greatest repertoire it occurred to me that I could customize the experience.
The work is presented as a collection of scenes and events one might come by on the slopes. The score is peppered with phrase-headings for the different sections such as “First Run,” “Open Meadow, Champagne Powder,” “Straight Down, TUCK” and “On One Ski, Gyrating,” among others. In this way Slalom shares its programmatic feature with that of Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony. The similarities end there, however, for Slalom lasts ten minutes, precisely the amount of time I need to get from Storm Peak (the peak of Mt. Werner, Steamboat Springs) to the mountain base.
All the Bells and Whistles for wind ensemble and digital sound (1996)
by Jeffrey Hass (faculty composer)
All the Bells and Whistles was written with a commission from the Monroe-Woodbury Wind Ensemble in the early part of 1996. The ensemble director, John Lynch, had heard a previous work of mine for symphonic band with electronic tape, Lost in the Funhouse, and had approached me with the idea of composing a similar work for high school wind ensemble and tape. I was excited about interweaving electronics with the smaller forces of a chmber-sized group and about combining electronics in a composition for students whose lives were surrounded with such sounds. The title, All the Bells and Whistles, came from an old expression that described something made with all the latest technology.
In deciding on the structure for the piece, I wanted to make use the rich palette of contemporary musical language but also to employ a procedure which was discernible and rewarding to follow. I selected the idea of a series of variations on a short melodic fragment. Because the melody is short, the variations are also brief and tend to flow into one another, rather than producing separate sections. I had also planned to use the electronic portion as a timbrel extension of the band -- no more or less important than any of the other sections. Finally, in selecting the material for the electronics, I wanted to draw from the diverse resources of our musical culture, selecting very modern sounds, such as digitally altered pianos sounds, percussive metallic sounds, Latin percussion and even rap to be used in an integrated texture within the ensemble. Because of the complexity of the rhythmic structure, the conductor is supplied with a click-track to better coordinate the ensemble with the electronics.
The work opens with an introductory chorale statement of the melody in the trumpets over a pedal tone, immediately echoed in offbeats and in another key by the winds. When the tape enters and a fast tempo begins, each variation provides a new compositional procedure for altering the chorale melody. The first is to restate it in parallel harmonies of a driving rhythmic background. The basic melody is then altered by a flurry of woodwind ornamentations. A variety of different double-tongued articulations in both brass and winds follow. The fast section culminates in a dense stretto (or overlapped repetition) of the melody in the full ensemble.
The slow section which follows features a flute and oboe solo over a triadic accompaniment by the low brass. The top voice of the brass accompaniment is actually an augmented version of the melody. Meanwhile, the flute and oboe solos are made up of reordered and/or extended fragments of the melody.
The final fast section begins with a reentering of the tape and the melody in canon (imitative statements in various instruments), followed by a triple-tongued version in the brass and full ensemble.
This commission and the subsequent process of composing All the Bells and Whistles was particularly enjoyable to me. I received correspondences from the director, Mr. Lynch, and from the students and band officers (even a video) during the project, keeping in touch and making suggestions. Through electronic means, a sample of the work at various stages was sent to the ensemble and returned with their reactions. My composing career began with my high school band. I have great memories of both the important musical moments, and also of the fun and comraderie. In that regard I wanted to produce a piece for them which, while making a serious musical statement, was also fun to prepare, perform, and ultimately to be heard. I hope I have done justice to the Monroe-Woodbury Wind Ensemble for their enthusiasm and hard work that went into making the project a reality.