Winds on Wednesdays

Welcome to Winds on Wednesdays, a musical tapas of winds, brass, and percussion. This series features short digital concerts, each just 20-30 minutes in length, in celebration of the bold music-making of NEC's Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Winds during the Spring semester and early summer of 2021.

In each mini-concert, hear a selection of contemporary and classic works, recorded live in Jordan Hall and presented unedited.

"COVID inspired us to think anew about how we bring music to you. In spite of the limits in musical preparation posed by the pandemic, we are bringing you live and unedited performances; not full concerts, but in smaller portions – musical tapas.

Just as with that Spanish delight, the tastes and flavors are varied and more delightful for being served in smaller bites. So, pour a glass of cava and enjoy our musical Tapas. Buen Provecho."

–Charles Peltz

Access Concert Streams:

Listen to the full audio version of this concert on NEC's SoundCloud

Additional Concert Notes

“One of these things is not like the other” for tonight might be modified to be: “none of these things is like the other.” That eclectic thinking is a hallmark of NEC. We take some pride in the ability to put together all kinds of music on a program and somehow – it works. Tonight we start in the 18th century with Telemann, in a performance coached by Baroque oboe virtuoso Deborah Nagy and BSO principle John Ferrillo. Then there is a gem of a piece from the mid-20th century by arguably the nation’s greatest orchestrator of Broadway musicals, Robert Russell Bennet. Movements from his original work “Suite of Old American Dances” is here arranged for the formidable NEC Saxophone Ensemble.
The rest of the program is a variety of new music approaches. From NEC student composers come the electronic influenced take on Dante by Bouque, the atmospheric and poetic Carroll and the convention bending and sonically challenging Abner. We complete the program with student virtuosi playing the music of former NEC faculty member Lee Hyla and the dramatic voice of the bass trombone in Schnyder’s Sonata.  –Charles Peltz


In addition to the full, audio Winds on Wednesday concert above, we hope you also enjoy this companion "mini-program" in which three of the works from the full SoundCloud concert — by Telemann, Bennett, and Bouque — are presented via video stream. Watch the premiere below:

  1. Telemann: Trio Sonata in C Minor, TWV 42 C

    I. Lentement
    II. Viste
    III. Lentement Avec Douceur
    IV. Gai


    Known in his day with more fame and notoriety than his contemporary J.S. Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) was a German composer whose climb to importance was underscored by his popularization of chamber music.

    Telemann was born in Magdeburg and upon leaving an initial legal career, made his first serious foray into composition writing for J.S. Bach at the St. Thomas and Nicholas churches in Leipzig. He progressed, eventually becoming the Kapellmeister of the Barfuesserkirche and Katharinenkirche of Frankfurt. He established himself finally at the Johanneum Lateinschule and the five principal churches in Hamburg. It was here that Telemann compiled his chamber music into a collection known as Tafelmusik  or the literal, “table music.” He was called to do this by approximately 200 international subscribers who initially made up Telemann’s aristocratic patrons, who each registered in advance for a copy. The three sets of Tafelmusik include trio sonatas for all manner of instruments and keys, designed to accompany court banquets, balls, feasts, and the like. Though the collection of Tafelmusik has survived, many of the pieces which might have been included before its 1733 publication have been lost.

    Thankfully, pieces like the 28th Trio Sonata in c minor, TWV 42 c:4, have been discovered and performed. This trio sonata, like many by the composer, was written originally for 2 violins and basso continuo, but according to historical performance conventions, can be played by 2 flutes or oboes, among other treble voices. Within this specific piece, Telemann uses the two voices imitatively with dovetailing lines in the slow movements (I. Lentement, III. Lentement), while using the 18th century musical topic of la chasse or “the chase” to create life and vibrancy during the faster movements (II. Vite, IV. Gai). Additionally, like most Telemann pieces of this time, the work is filled with French rhythmic gesture, being performed with inegal inflections and extravagant yet punctuative ornaments.

    –Notes by Elias Medina

    • NEC Wind Ensemble
    • Kip Zimmerman, oboe
    • Elias Medina, oboe
    • Delano Bell, bassoon
    • Sally Yu, harpsichord
  2. Bennett: Suite of Old American Dances

    Cake Walk, Schottische, Western One-Step, Wallflower Waltz, and Rag

    • NEC Saxophone Ensemble
  3. Dring: Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano

    I. Allegro Con Brio
    II. Andante Semplice
    III. Allegro Giocoso

    • NEC Symphonic Winds
    • Isabelle Evernham, flute
    • Helen Skilbred, oboe
    • Yixuan Han, piano
  4. Caleb Abner: Wind Octet No. 1

    Composer's Notes

    Whenever you listen to a piece of music, one of the first things you probably do is to figure out what genre it belongs to. Is it classical? Is it jazz? Is it rock? Is it hip hop? Is it Tuvan throat-singing?

    You’re able do this because you have a certain set of expectations for what each genre ‘should’ sound like. Usually, the instruments you hear will give away the genre pretty quickly, but the other elements of sound, such as melody, harmony, and rhythm play a role in this as well.

    Our expectations of a genre aren’t limited to just sound; they also include things like who performs a piece, where the piece is usually performed, and even how the audience is supposed to react to the music, i.e. if the music is meant for people to dance, sit quietly, study, or even fall asleep to.

    When a piece does what you expect it to, based on your expectations of its genre, that means that it is following one of the genre’s conventions. When it doesn’t do what you expect it to, that means it is instead subverting the genre’s conventions.

    The point of my piece, Wind Octet No.1, is to play with conventions. There are a lot of things I do that are conventional for a piece of music in the Western Classical Tradition (WCT): the music is fully written out, using staff notation, for classically-trained instrumentalists, playing instruments that were invented to play music in the WCT. I use the same structures/forms that old masters like Haydn and Bach were using a few centuries ago. The harmonies, too, work in similar ways to how they worked in their days.

    There are just as many things that I do that subvert the conventions of the WCT. The melodies I use owe just as much to non-classical genres, like blues, punk, or hip hop, as to anything I’ve heard in classical music. Same goes for the rhythms.

    The notes, too, are outside of what is usually in a classical piece. Rather than sticking to just the ones you’ll find on a piano, I’ve asked that the players use those and some of the ones in between the piano keys. Even the way that the instruments tune to each other is supposed to be different than what is considered normal, my idea being that if we’re not sticking to the notes on the piano, why should the music be tuned like one?

    Again, I wrote Wind Octet No.1 to see what would happen if the conventional things I liked about music in the WCT were combined with some things I liked about music from outside that tradition.

    So, in summary, the things that you will hear are the things that I like, and though these things aren’t usually heard together, here they will be.

    Before I close this program note, I would like to an extend a big ‘thank you’ to my studio instructor, John Mallia, who has been an invaluable resource and mentor throughout my time at NEC.

    –Caleb Abner

    • NEC Wind Ensemble
    • Charles Peltz, conductor
    • Zoe Cagan, flute
    • Izumi Amemiya, oboe
    • Rayna Deyoung, alto saxophone
    • Morgan Pope, bassoon
    • Helen Wargelin, horn
    • Charles Jones, trumpet
    • Katherine Franke, trombone
    • Colin Benton, tuba
  5. Daniel Schnyder: Sonata for Bass Trombone and Piano

    I. Blues
    II. An American Ballad
    III. Below Surface

    • NEC Symphonic Winds
    • Luke Sieve, bass trombone
    • Ellie Pruneau, piano
  6. Tyler Bouque: Canto III

    Composer's Notes

    “The Gates of Death stand open Night and Day” – an invocation at the beginning of an opera. This is not an overture, but a ritual of sound meant to summon the spirits that populate the opera’s world.

    At the entrance of hell, Dante writes out the text scrawled upon the ancient gates – the nine lines twice translated through his eyes and memory, here presented as twice-projected electronic voices. His lines echo those of his guide’s original journey to Hades. Swirling around in the background is Virgil’s warning at the edge of Dis in the Aeneid. The opera is equally about trans-literary reference as it is about narrative subject and Virgil, no matter how distant, is encased in Dante’s words. The final layer is the far more sinister hell-text that arose when Dante’s poetic cruelty became a reality: the words inscribed on the gates of Auschwitz. Those words are not spoken, as they don’t deserve a voice. Rather, they shudder and roar below the surface, a reminder that Dante’s hell is, first and foremost, monstrous people.
    Thus the opera begins, the summoned poets bursting through their electronic boxes to occupy our world once more – “Abandon all hope, ye who enter in.”

    –Tyler Bouque

    “Through me the way is to the city dolent;
    Through me the way is to eternal dole; 
    Through me the way among the people lost. 
    Justice incited my sublime Creator; 
    Created me divine Omnipotence,
    The highest Wisdom and the primal Love. 
    Before me there were no created things, 
    Only eterne, and I eternal last.
    All hope abandon, ye who enter in!”
    (Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto III v. 1-9, trans. Longfellow) 
    “The way downward is easy from Avernus. 
    Black Dis’s door stands open night and day.
    But to retrace your steps to heaven’s air, 
    There is the trouble, there is the toil.”
    (Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 6 v.126-129, trans. Fitzgerald) 
    Arbeit Macht Frei
    (Inscription on the gates of Auschwitz, attr. Diefenbach)


    About the Composer

    Tyler Bouque (b. 2000) is a vocalist, composer, musicologist, and educator specializing in new and experimental opera. His recent work is focused on the experience of time in modern operatic adaptations of Shakespeare.

    • NEC Wind Ensemble
    • Charles Peltz, conductor
    • HuiLam Mak, bass flute
    • Jazmyn Barajas, contrabassoon
    • Rayna Deyoung, alto saxophone
    • Helen Wargelin, horn
    • Colin Benton, tuba
    • Diego Martinez, standing bass
    • Felix Ko, percussion
  7. Lee Hyla: We Speak Etruscan

    • NEC Symphonic Winds
    • Theo Robinson, bass clarinet
    • Juchen Wang, baritone saxophone
  8. Marie Carroll: Bone Moon

    Composer's Notes

    ᏅᏓ ᎪᎳ (Nv-da Ko-la), or “Bone Moon,” is the second Cherokee moon ceremony of the year, translating to “so little food the people eat bone marrow soup.” The traditional Cherokee calendar is a lunar calendar consisting of 13 moon cycles, each with its own ceremony.

    Due to European colonialism, the traditional calendar was changed to the Julian 12 month calendar. February is named ᎧᎦᎵ (Ka-ga-li),  meaning “month when the stars and moon are fixed in the heavens.” (English interpretation: “Bony Moon”). This month marks a period of fasting, ritual observance, and ceremony. 

    I wrote this piece during the month of February and was inspired by the harsh, cold weather and by the beliefs of my ancestors. This work seeks to evoke the complex and pristine imagery of winter, both grimly desolate and profoundly sublime. Moonlight pours through bare branches, pooling on the barren earth. Biting gusts of wind howl through the trees. Isolated bird calls in the dark wilderness culminate in a mass of sound.

    –Marie Carroll


    About the Composer

    Marie Carroll (b. 1997) is a composer-improviser from North Carolina. Her work is influenced by natural phenomena and explores themes of liminality and transience.

    In 2020, Marie graduated from Harvard, where she studied under Chaya Czernowin and Hans Tutschku. She is currently a graduate student at NEC, studying under John Mallia.

    • NEC Wind Ensemble
    • Charles Peltz, conductor
    • Nnamdi Odita, flute
    • Clara Lee, flute
    • Ryoei Kawai, oboe
    • Rajan Panchal, english horn
    • HanYi Huang, bassoon
    • Helen Wargelin, horn
    • Cameron Abtahi, trumpet
    • Matthew Vezey, trombone