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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: wind ensemble

Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

I was lucky enough to play in the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble under both John Paynter and Mallory Thompson.  Those performances rank as some of my most cherished in my career.  The level of musicianship that was demanded of me by both conductors as well as the colleagues I was surrounded by was intense and exhilarating.

Filling the shoes of John Paynter, an absolute legend in the band world, was no easy task.  Mallory Thompson stepped in from day one as if that job had been waiting for her all along.  She remains one of the most rewarding conductors I have ever played for.  Nothing gets past her ears.  Nothing.

This is a fantastic recording of Johann Sebastian Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" arranged by Donald Hunsberger.  As with all great university wind ensembles of this caliber, it is hard to believe these are college kids.  And Mallory Thompson's interpretation is, as always, spot on.

Enjoy!


"The President's Own" Marine Band - The Liberty Bell: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Listening to any of our nation's top military bands perform a Sousa march is a master class on many different things.  The first thing that jumps out at me from this clip is the amazing dynamic contrast across the entire ensemble.  This reminded me of a quote from Charles Lazarus: "Technique is the ability to control your sound on any given note. At any given dynamic, 100% of the time." This performance of The Liberty Bell exemplifies that quote. The other aspect that jumped out at me is the uniformity of articulation throughout the band.  As we all know, some instruments in the band have a very easy time putting a clear front on a note and others (like mine!) have a very difficult time doing so.  The untrained ear would have no idea that was the case after listening to this performance.  That comes from having amazing players with a great ability to listen across the ensemble.  It also comes from having a conductor with a very clear idea of what sound they are trying to get out of the band at any given moment.  Michael Colburn is one of the best at this.

"The President's Own" Marine Band performing one of  The March King's most famous marches is as good as it gets.  Enjoy The Liberty Bell!