Wind quintet with educational mission to perform Nov. 8

Photos by Matthew Murphy
Photos by Matthew Murphy

Imani Winds, North America’s premier wind quintet, will perform as part of the onStage at Connecticut College series on Friday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Evans Hall of Cummings Arts Center.

The ensemble occupies a unique place in the world of classical music, combining energetic playing styles, culturally meaningful programming and genre-blurring collaborations with educational outreach programs. (While in the area, they’ll perform and host a Q&A at the Dual Language Arts Academy in Waterford and conduct a master class for music students at the College.)

The members of Imani Winds perform on flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn and bassoon. Two members of the group are composers, in keeping with their commitment to creating and commissioning new works while also bridging European, American, African and Latin American traditions. Their onStage program includes works by contemporary classical composers including Gyorgy Ligeti, Manuel de Falla, Gamal Abdel-Rahim, Miguel Del Aguila, Lalo Shifrin, Paquito D’Rivera and Astor Piazzolla, as well as a piece by the group’s founder Valerie Coleman, who formed the group in 1997 to fill a void she had long recognized.

“I can remember when I was a little kid. I used to be in the youth orchestra, and there were so many African- Americans in the orchestra,” Coleman told a radio interviewer in 2006. “But somewhere along the line, when I got to college, I was the only one in the orchestra. So I wondered what in the world happened here?”

That’s when she formed Imani Winds. Since then, the group has toured the world and produced numerous recordings, including their Grammy-nominated “The Classical Underground.” Among their many honors are a 2007 ASCAP Award and the 2002 Chamber Music America (CMA)/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.

“I am very excited to bring Imani Winds to campus,” said Director of Arts Programming Rob Richter ’82. “Not only are they one of the most well-respected ensembles in chamber music, but they are extremely committed to ensuring that young people in the communities they visit are exposed to their high level of musicianship and the contemporary classical repertoire they have mastered. As a college, we value the educational aspect of music as much as we do the entertainment aspect.”

Tickets are $22, $20 for seniors and $11 for students and can be purchased online at and at the Palmer Auditorium box office until the night of the show, when they will be available at Evans Hall.

October 25, 2013