Winds on Wednesdays: Gabrieli, Pillin, Pawassar, & Coleman

Welcome to Winds on Wednesdays, a musical tapas of winds, brass, and percussion. This series features short digital mini-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 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



NEC Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Winds have established reputations as premier presenters of woodwind and brass repertoire from the Renaissance through the present day, performing works for small and full ensemble. The ensembles highlight classics and new works, including those that are sometimes neglected because of unusual instrumentation, and have commissioned and premiered new works by Pulitzer Prize composers Michael Colgrass, John Harbison, and Gunther Schuller, plus other distinguished composers such as Sir Michael Tippett, Daniel Pinkham, and William Thomas McKinley.

Joining the wind ensemble on this concert is NEC's Percussion Group, led by Will Hudgins.

  • NEC Wind Ensemble
  • NEC Percussion Group
  1. Giovanni Gabrieli | Canzona VI

    The year 2012 marked the 400th anniversary of the death of Giovanni Gabrieli, the noted director of music at St. Mark’s cathedral in Venice, in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.   His death may have been little noticed by some, but it should not have passed without celebrating Gabrieli’s indispensable contribution to instrumental music.  It was he who pioneered instrumental music which could stand alone, separate from the vocal music which instruments had usually doubled and supported in slavish unison.
            Canzona, a word explicitly meaning “song”, seems an oddly vocal title ascribed to a large number of the instrumental works in Gabrieli’s collection Canzone e Sonate of 1612, published in 1615.   In fact, these works (and the Sonatas as well) were based on the popular French chanson style of composition of the time: bursts of notes sung in short canonic sequences.  This rapid conversation between instruments was the perfect device for Gabrieli to create clear textures as his antiphonal choirs spoke to one another across the spaces at St. Mark’s cathedral in Venice, where he was director of music.
            These arrangements have been created by NEC DMA alumna composer Kathryn Salfelder and Charles Peltz. The ensemble wished to thank John Tyson of the NEC early music faculty for his inspiring and insightful contributions to the preparation of this music.                                            
    – Charles Peltz


    Charles Jones
    Cameron Abtahi
    Kimberly Sabio

    Katherine Franke
    Matthew Vezey

    Bass Trombone
    Luke Sieve

    Colin Benton

    • Paul Perfetti, coach
  2. Boris Pillin | from Three PIeces for Double Reed Septet


    In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the courts of France (Louis the 13th and 14th)  set the standard for art and culture in Europe.  Their places, their gardens, their fine dress and stylized deportment were envied and then copied across the continent.  Amongst Versailles opulent musical offerings overseen by the 18th century giant Jean Baptiste Lully, were both a noted string ensemble – les vingt-quarte violons du Roi – and to supply ceremonial and dance music – les douze oboi du roi.  This band of twelve double reed players – a broken consort of oboes and bassoons – is considered today to have been the first formal, artistic wind band.  And because they performed so often out of doors and made choreographed entrances – they may have been the first formal marching band as well.
            So then, the sound of an oboe band as with the Three Pieces for Double Reed Septet, has roots deep in music.   Boris Pillin, son of a famed poet father and artist potter mother, studied composition at UCLA and then USC.  As a scholar he researched the music of Schoenberg, one fruit of that research being his monograph: “Some Aspects of Counterpoint in Selected Works of Arnold Schoenberg”.  His Three pieces for Double Reed Septet shows that Pillin gleaned much from this work and employed it in his own voice.  Movements 1 and 2 heard on this program show a natural fluency in serial composition and its near cousin.  The first movement opens as does the Varese Octandre – solo, soaring oboe, unmeasured and free. This serves to introduce “in the clear” the tone row upon which the rest of movement will be based.

            The instruments gather in counterpoint through a second section, followed by a march-like middle section undergirded by a bassoon ostinato.  A progressively complex conversation arises over this ostinato, all seven instruments in hyperactivity, which ends abruptly to leave that same solo oboe to end the movement as it began.
            The second movement, in six total parts, is an insistent allegro in rondeau form.  The stricter serialism of the first movement is now gone, replaced with a convincing melodic voice still nimble amongst the twelve tones, but able now to repeat pitches. The opening oboe duet states the rondeau in rhythmic unison, contrasting the instrumental independence of the first movement.  Each section contrasts with the others: a quirky section of offbeats, a splash of dance-like mixed meter, a gracious but contemplative allegretto, and a return to counterpoint in a flourishing finale.


    Ryoei Kawai
    Izumi Amemiya

    English horn
    Spencer Grasl
    Gillian Bobnak

    HanYi Huang
    Kylie Hansen

    Jazmyn Barajas-Trujillo

    Licensing Information

    Three Pieces for Double Reed Septet by Boris Pillin. ASCAP: Avant Music.

  3. Rüdiger Pawassar | Sculpture 2

    The work is in written in an A-B-C-A form. The piece is almost a classical sounding work, but resembles many harmonic structures found in 70s and 80s jazz. The composer comments that when writing this work it resembled to him the making of a wood sculpture where in his drafts, many parts were cut off, added again, shifted, and intertwined with one another. Not to mention that the semicircular formation of the marimba quartet is a sculpture of wood in and of itself.

    • Ariel Pei Ying Lu, Felix Ko, and Taylor Lents, percussion
  4. Valerie Coleman | Pontchartrain

    Valerie Coleman, flautist, composer and educator is an important voice in today’s music.  Born in Louisville near where Muhammed Ali grew up, she is renowned as the flautist in the famed Imani Wind Quintet.  As a composer her works in various genres show a wide range of influences and voices – both “classical” and of the vernacular.  Coleman was named Performance Today’s 2020 Classical Woman of the Year and was listed as “one of the Top 35 Women Composers” in the Washington Post. Her 2019 work, Umoja, Anthem for Unity, was commissioned and performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, making her the first African American woman composer commissioned by that ensemble. 

    Ms. Coleman offers this about her Pontchartrain:

    Pontchartrain for flute choir (optional drums and any bass instrument in C) is a narrative that depicts the rebuilding of New Orleans.  This melodic work begins with a slow section describing the devastation of hurricane Katrina, followed by a traditional New Orleans ‘Second Line’ romp where the choir is transformed into a street brass band.”


    Elena Rubin

    Nnamdi Odita-Honnah
    Hui Lam Mak
    Elizabeth Kleiber

    Alto Flute
    Zoe Cagan
    Clara Lee

    Bass Flute
    Hyo Jin Park

    Contra-alto Flute
    Jeong Won Choe

    Double Bass
    Diego Martinez

    Gavin Connolly