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Imani Winds Concert to Close Artists Series Season April 27

RELEASED: April 13, 2009

Imani Winds
Imani Winds

EAU CLAIRE — A concert by Imani Winds will close this season's Artists Series at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire April 27. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Gantner Concert Hall of Haas Fine Arts Center.

Since 1997, the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds has carved out a distinct presence in the classical music world with its dynamic playing, culturally poignant programming, genre-blurring collaborations and inspirational outreach programs. With two member composers and a commitment to commissioning new work, the group is enriching the traditional wind quintet repertoire while bridging European, American, African and Latin American traditions. Taking its name from the Swahili word for faith, the group exhibits a high level of energy and presents concerts that are just plain fun.

The quintet is composed of Valerie Coleman, flute; Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe; Mariam Adam, clarinet; Jeff Scott, French horn; and Monica Ellis, bassoon.

"Yes, the Imani Winds are great to listen to, with their infectious energy and their willingness to take artistic risks," wrote the Washington Post. "And yes, each of the five woodwind musicians can charm an audience with introductions to the music that are not only witty and cogent but that also speak from the heart, to the heart. But perhaps the most compelling aspect of their performance [is] their choice of music."

Stepping outside the standard classical repertoire, the Artists Series program will include compositions by Lalo Schifrin, known for his film and TV scores; Gyorgy Ligeti, whose classical work is familiar through its use in films by Stanley Kubrick; and Imani founder Valerie Coleman, who incorporates her Afro-Caribbean, American spiritual and classical musical knowledge into her own music in a sincere and accessible way.

The group's ambitious Legacy Commissioning Project commemorates Imani Winds' 10th anniversary through the commissioning of 10 compositions by established and emerging composers of color. The composers originate from different points of the globe, bringing experience not only in classical music, but jazz, Middle Eastern, Latin and hard to define sounds.

Last season, Imani Winds performed with jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Musical collaborations with the Shorter Quartet began in 2008 and continue this year, including dates at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Is Sanat Art and Culture Centre in Istanbul, and Carnegie Hall.

Imani Winds' first release on Koch International Classics, "The Classical Underground" (2005), blended classical, world and jazz music and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album. Other recordings include "Josephine Baker: A Life of Le Jazz Hot!" (2007) and "This Christmas" (2008).

The group has been recognized with the 2007 ASCAP Award, the 2002 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, and the CMA/WQXR Award for its debut and self-released CD, "Umoja." At the 2001 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Imani Winds was selected as the first Educational Residency Ensemble. Twice featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," the group was interviewed as part of Carnegie Hall's "Sound Insights" podcast series and receives frequent coverage in major music magazines and newspapers.

The Artists Series concert will be followed by an end-of-season reception hosted by Wisconsin Public Radio personalities.

Tickets are $17 for the public, $15 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, and $7 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Tickets for students are half-price, $3.50, up until the day of the event. On the day of the event, students will be required to pay the full student-ticket price.

Patrons may charge tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call 715-836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free 800-949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

The Artists Series is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin. Wisconsin Public Radio and Community Television have contributed promotional support. Best Western Trail Lodge Hotel & Suites (715-838-9989) at 3340 Mondovi Road is the exclusive accommodations partner for the Artists Series.

Funded by the students of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the Artists Series is administered by the Activities and Programs office.

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JS/NW

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