NEC Wind Ensemble + Robert Spittal: Gabrieli, Spittal, Harbison

NEC: Jordan Hall | Directions

290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA
United States

NEC Wind Ensemble presents a concert under the direction of guest conductor and composer Robert Spittal, whose Concerto for Wind Ensemble will be premiered tonight. 

This is an in-person event with a private stream available to the NEC community here:

  1. Giovanni Gabrieli

    Canzon septimi toni No. 2

    Sonata pian' e forte

  2. Robert Spittal | Concerto for Wind Ensemble (2023)

    World Premiere

    Overture and Pas de Bleu
    Pan Alley Harmonie
    Scherzo Americana

    Program note

    The Concerto for Wind Ensemble was composed in the summer of 2023 for William Drury and the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble.

    The composer writes:

    A conventional concerto is composed for solo instrument with ensemble accompaniment. I decided on the seemingly contradictory title of Concerto for Wind Ensemble because my goal is to feature each section of wind and percussion instruments prominently at various times throughout the piece, and to treat these instrumental “consorts” in a soloistic way. The Concerto is celebratory and full of good humor throughout. My main intent was to create a piece that could be enjoyed and appreciated by both the audience and the performers. The first movement opens with a brilliant, effervescent fanfare-overture, followed by an elegant dance for two that evolves into a sultry blues before the movement closes with a return to the fanfare music. The title of the second movement “Pan Alley Harmonie” refers to idea of applying the chamber wind music tradition of harmonie to the music of the Tin Pan Alley composers of the early 20th century. In Mozart’s time, harmonie ensembles performed pastiche arrangements of his opera music on the streets of Vienna. Here, I imagine a “grand harmonie” setting of an imaginary tin pan alley composer’s popular waltzing tune, performed on a park gazebo circa 1900. The third movement begins with an expressive choir of woodwinds leading into a vibrant and challenging romp of a theme and variations. I refer to these as “Americana” variations, as they contain references, sometimes irreverent, to older American sounds such as blues, pianola music, ragtime, and Sousa marches.

    Robert Spittal is an award-winning composer, conductor, flutist and saxophonist whose music has been described as "inventive", "clever" and "full of musicality" by critics and musicians alike. He is Professor of Music at Gonzaga University (USA) where he teaches conducting, music theory and composition. Dr. Spittal led the Gonzaga Wind Ensemble for 27 years, and received a doctorate in wind conducting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. His compositions have been commissioned and performed by some of the finest professional and academic musicians in North America, Europe, South America and Asia, including The Bay Brass, Borealis Wind Quintet, Atlanta Chamber Winds, Monmouth Winds, New England Conservatory, National Chamber Winds and North Texas Wind Symphony. His works have been performed in concert halls in New York, Bangkok, Vienna, Cologne, Milan, as well as Interlochen, the "Music for All" Honor Band of America, the WASBE international conference, the American Bandmasters Association conference, the National Flute Association conference, the Midwest Clinic, ASBDA, numerous All-State bands, and the CBDNA Western/Northwestern Conference. Three of his works are included in GIA's "Teaching Music" series, two of which were recorded by the North Texas Wind Symphony for the series. In 2020, Robert’s Diversions for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble received first Prize at the World Associations of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Competition.
                Robert's work combines sophisticated art music forms and techniques with an appealing musical vernacular that reaches across boundaries of genre and style. This concern for aesthetic sophistication and artistic integrity, in combination with a satisfying and often intentionally enjoyable appeal to the listener's ear, has been developing since his adolescent years, when he was both a serious flute student in the Cleveland Institute of Music's Prep program and a free-lance saxophonist in horn sections of jazz, r&b and other dance bands.


  4. John Harbison | Three City Blocks

    Fervent, Resolute
    Tough, Driving
    With relentless energy

    Program note

    Over the radio, in the early fifties, came sounds played by bands in hotels and ballrooms, now distant memories that seemed to a seventh-grade, small-town, late-night listener like the true pulse of giant imagined cities.
         Years later, these sounds -- layered with real experience of some of their places of origin: magnified, distorted, idealized and destabilized -- came into contact with other sounds, some of recent origin, and resulted in these celebratory, menacing, Three City Blocks, completed in the fall of 1991 at Nervi, near Genoa, on the Mediterranean coast of Italy.
         Three City Blocks was commissioned by the wind ensembles of the New England Conservatory, the University of Cincinnati, Florida State University, Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Southern California, and The United States Air Force Band.

    - John Harbison

  5. NEC Wind Ensemble

    Chia-Fen Chang
    Jeong Won Choe
    Shengyu Cui
    Amelia Libbey
    Elizabeth McCormack
    Subin Oh

    Dane Bennett
    Donovan Bown
    Gwendolyn Goble
    Kelley Osterberg


    Phoebe Kuan
    Hugo Hyeokwoo Kweon
    Chasity Thompson
    Cole Turkel


    Zoe Beck
    Matthew Heldt
    Evan Judson
    Julien Rollins
    Andrew Salaru

    Daniel Chen Wang
    Vladyslav Dovhan
    Guanlong Shen
    Zeyi Tian
    Juchen Wang

    French horn

    Grace Clarke
    Jihao Li
    Graham Lovely
    Willow Otten
    Noah Silverman
    Qianbin Zhu

    Daniel Barak
    Ko Te Chen
    Matthew Dao
    Reynolds Martin
    Nelson Martinez
    Justin Park
    Alex Prokop


    Elias Canales
    Noah Korenfeld
    Ethan Lehman
    Quinn McGillis
    Noah Nichilo
    Kevin Smith

    Bass Trombone
    Roger Dahlin
    Ki Yoon Park

    Scott Odou
    David Paligora

    James Curto
    Masaru Lin

    Gustavo Barreda
    Jordan Fajardo-Bird
    Eli Geruschat
    Ross Jarrell
    Felix Ko
    Danial Kukuk
    Liam McManus
    Michael Rogers
    Jakob Schoenfeld
    Halle Hayoung Song
    Lucas Vogelman
    Zesen Wei
    Connor Willits

    Shaylen Joos

    Hyunjin Roh

    Isabel Atkinson

    Wind Ensemble Graduate Assistants

    Weizhe Bai
    Rachel Brake