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December 11, 2008

Grammy-nominated Imani Winds to perform at ULM Jan. 22

The University of Louisiana at Monroe School of Visual and Performing Arts, in partnership with Ecoutez Press, will welcome Imani Winds, a renowned quintet of flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and French horn. As part of VAPA’s Guest Artist on Campus series, the group will perform Thursday, Jan. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall.

The quintet has three releases on Koch International Classics, including their 2006 Grammy Award nominated recording entitled “The Classical Underground.” A fourth release, “This Christmas,” is due out in 2008.

Their excellence and influences have been recognized with numerous awards including the 2007 ASCAP Award, 2002 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, and the CMA/WQXR Award for their debut and self-released CD “Umoja.” At the 2001 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Imani Winds was selected as the first-ever Educational Residency Ensemble, in recognition of their tremendous musical abilities and innovative programming.

Imani Winds enjoy frequent national exposure in all forms of media, including two features on NPR's “All Things Considered,” appearances on APM's “Saint Paul Sunday,” NPR's “Performance Today” and “News and Notes with Ed Gordon,” the “Bob Edwards Show” on XM Satellite Radio, “BBC The World,” and frequent coverage in major music magazines and newspapers.

General public admission is $15, while ULM students, faculty and staff are admitted free. Call 318-342-1414 for tickets.

More about Imani Winds
Imani Winds has established itself as more than a wind quintet. Since 1997, the Grammy-nominated ensemble has taken a unique path, carving out a distinct presence in the classical music world with its dynamic playing, unique programming, crossover musical collaborations, and inspirational outreach programs. With two member composers and a deep commitment to commissioning new work, the group is enriching the traditional wind quintet repertoire while meaningfully bridging European, American, African, and Latin American traditions.

The wide range of programs offered by Imani Winds demonstrates their mission to expand the wind quintet repertoire and diversify sources of new music. From Mendelssohn, Jean Françaix, György Ligeti, and Luciano Berio, to Astor Piazzolla, Elliott Carter and John Harbison; to the unexpected ranks of Paquito D'Rivera and Wayne Shorter, Imani Winds actively seek to engage new music and new voices into the modern classical idiom. Imani members Valerie Coleman, flute, and Jeff Scott, French horn, both regularly contribute compositions and arrangements to the ensemble's expanding repertoire, bringing new sounds and textures to the traditional instrumentation. The quintet’s other members are Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe; Mariam Adam, clarinet; and Monica Ellis, bassoon.

Through commissions and performance the quintet regularly collaborates with other artists. “Josephine Baker: A Life of Le Jazz Hot!,” a collaboration with chanteuse René Marie and choreographer Christopher Huggins, has been performed in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, among other cities, to great acclaim. Imani Winds performed the world premiere of “Terra Incognita,” the first-ever commission for classical artists by jazz composer, performer and legend Wayne Shorter, and have shared the stage with Yo-Yo Ma for a rousing performance of Jeff Scott's arrangement of Piazzolla's “Libertango.”

In 2007 the ensemble collaborated with bassist/trombonist Chris Brubeck of the famed Brubeck family for a performance and recording of music written especially for wind quintet and jazz quartet (released by Koch in 2008). The group's Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center residency culminated in a recital in New York's Alice Tully Hall with renowned clarinetist/saxophonist and composer Paquito D'Rivera. The ensemble has also worked with luminaries such as bandoneonist Daniel Binelli, saxophonist Steve Coleman, clarinetist David Shifrin, and pianists Gilbert Kalish and Shai Wosner. Future collaborations include Stefon Harris and David Krakauer.

Imani Winds' extensive touring schedule has brought them to the Herbst Theater for San Francisco Performances, Seattle's Meany Hall, University of Illinois' Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Ensemble Music Society of Indianapolis, La Jolla Music Society, and the Virginia Arts Festival. Additionally, they have performed at Atlanta's National Black Arts Festival, Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, Chicago Symphony Musicians Residency Program, the Ravinia Festival, the Kennedy Center, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.

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