Sylvan Winds Open 2019 Season With HARLEM MOSAIC

The Sylvan Winds announce the opening concert of the 2019 Spring Season celebrating music, art, and history. Performing in important cultural and historic New York City buildings, the ensemble creates imaginative and informative programs that reflect the environs of each space.

Harlem Mosaic

THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 2019 at 7:00 PM
Mt. Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church, 15 Mount Morris Park West

The Sylvan Winds

Svjetlana Kabalin, flute; Kathy Halvorson, oboe; Nuno Antunes, clarinet;
Gina Cuffari, bassoon; Zohar Schondorf, horn


Valerie Coleman (b. 1970) Umoja (2001)
William Grant Still (1895-1978) Summerland and Miniatures ( A. Resnick)
George Walker (1922-2018) Windset (1999)
Gunther Schuller (1925-2015) Suite for Woodwind Quintet (1958)
John Lewis (1920-2001) Portraits
Scott Joplin (1868-1917) Rags ( A. Iannaccone & A. Lesnick)
Thelonius Monk (1917-1982) Round Midnight ( K. Halvorson)
W.C. Handy (1873-1958) St. Louis Blues ( B. Holcombe)

Program subject to change.

This concert is made possible, in part, with support from the New York State Council on the Arts & the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Tickets: $25 / $15 for students & seniors

For reservations email

Valerie Coleman (??, 1970 / Louisville KY) Hailed as one of the top women composers in classical music, Ms. Coleman is among the world's most performed composers living today. She began her music studies at the age of 11; by the age of 14, she had written three symphonies and won several local and state performance competitions. She is also the founder and former flutist of the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds.

William Grant Still (May 11, 1895/Woodville, MS Dec 3, 1978/Los Angeles, CA) Considered the Dean of Afro-American composers, Still was born in Mississippi and grew up in Arkansas. He played and arranged for W.C. Handy and attended the Oberlin Conservatory. He broke many barriers during his career, including being the first African-American composer to write orchestral works performed by major symphony orchestras, as well as being the first conductor of color to lead a major American orchestra. Still was also very curious about folk genres and explored early music of the African-American community.

George Walker (Jun 27, 1922 / Washington DC Aug 23, 2018 / New York City) was an American composer, pianist, and organist who attended the Oberlin Conservatory and then the Curtis Institute of Music. Upon graduating in 1945, he embarked on a career as a concert pianist being the first black pianist to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra. But America was not yet ready, so he embarked on a European tour. When he returned he entered the doctoral program in composition at the Eastman School of Music and in 1956 became the school's first doctoral graduate. He flourished as a composer and was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He taught at Smith College and Rutgers University and had a long-standing relationship with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

Gunther Schuller (Nov 22, 1925 / Queens NY Jun 21, 2015 / Boston MA) was the son of a violinist in the New York Philharmonic, attended the St. Thomas Choir School, and became a highly accomplished French horn player who played professionally by the time he was 15. A high school drop-out, he went on to perform as principal horn of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, then with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and also began his career in jazz by recording with Miles Davis. In 1955 he founded the Modern Jazz Society with pianist John Lewis, and in 1957, he coined the term Third Stream to describe music that combined classical and jazz techniques. In 1959 he gave up performing to compose, teach, write, conduct and record with Dizzy Gillespie, John Lewis, and other jazz legends. In the 1960s and 70s he became president of the New England Conservatory, where he founded The New England Ragtime Ensemble. He became co-director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, edited Charles Mingus' Epitaph as well as creating a new arrangement of the Treemonisha Suite, from Scott Joplin's opera.

John Lewis (May 3, 1920 / La Grange, IL Mar 21, 2001 / New York NY) was raised by his grandmother and great-grandmother after the premature death of his mother when he was four. He began studying classical piano at the age of seven, but was also exposed to jazz when his aunt would play. After attending the University of New Mexico, he joined the army where he met and played with drummer Kenny Clarke who suggested that he move to New York. He graduated with a Master's from the Manhattan School of Music, and was introduced to Dizzy Gillespie, for whom he would compose, arrange, and play piano until 1948. He accompanied Charlie Parker, collaborated with Lester Young and Ella Fitzgerald, and also participated in Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool sessions. Desiring more freedom and wanting to create more complex textures, he formed the Modern Jazz Quartet with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, Kenny Clarke, and bassist Ray Brown.

Scott Joplin (Nov 24, 1868 / Texarcana, TX Apr 1, 1917 / New York, NY) grew up in a musical family of railway laborers; his father played the violin, and his mother sang and played banjo. His family gave him some basic music training, but it was under local music teachers that he flourished, in particular, Julius Weiss, a German-born American Jew, often teaching him for free. He introduced Joplin to folk and classical music, as well as opera. Serious and resourceful, Joplin gave up working on the railroad to travel as a musician through the south, performing in Chicago during the World's Fair, and finally settling in Sedalia, MO where his first rags were published in 1899. The Maple Leaf Rag was one of his first, most popular, and most influential rags. Moving to St. Louis, he wrote many more and created an opera company for his first opera, A Guest of Honor. In 1907, he moved to New York City where he hoped to find a producer for a new opera, Treemonisha.. Unable to find a publisher, he published it himself, but with the decline in popularity of rags, and increased financial obligations, as well as declining health, he died of dementia at the age of 48.

Thelonius MONK (Oct 10, 1917/Rocky Mount NC Feb 17, 1982/Weehawken NJ) was the middle child of three, and at the age of five moved with his family to the Phipps Houses on West 63rd Street in New York City. He began playing piano at six, was largely self-taught, and attended Stuyvesant High School. He began to find work playing jazz in his late teens, and became the house pianist for Minton's Playhouse in the late 1940s, developing his style, including bebop and hard-swinging. He made his first recordings in 1944 and met Alfred Lion, founder of Blue Note Records in 1947. Due to lack of record sales and the confiscation of his NYC Cabaret Card in 1951, Monk could only compose, record and play out-of-town jobs. He performed in France in 1954 and met Baroness de Koenigswarter, a jazz patroness. Returning to New York, his cabaret card was finally restored, and his recording of Brilliant Corners in 1956 relaunched his New York career. A true original, he was known for angular wry melodies, unusual harmonic progressions, and surprising rhythmic patterns, Monk was appreciated by peers and critics but not yet widely popular. In the 1960s he led a quartet that included John Coltrane. Signing with Columbia Records in 1962, he recorded studio sessions and live performances, and was more widely promoted, making the cover of Time magazine in 1964. Because of illness in the 1970s, his public appearances became infrequent. His last six years were spent as a guest in the home of his friend Baroness de Koenigswarter.

William Christopher HaNDY (Nov 16, 1873/Florence AL Mar 28, 1958/New York NY) is known as The father of the Blues. While he wasn't the first to create it, he was the first to publish music of the form and expanded its appeal to a larger audience. The son of a pastor who believed that musical instruments were 'tools of the devil', Handy would secretly buy a guitar and later a trumpet, playing in a local band and practicing whenever he could. He toured extensively throughout the south and even played at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. He met his wife Elizabeth Price in 1896 and settled into a teaching job in 1900 to be closer to home and a growing family. Handy also spent time listening to various styles of popular black music in Mississippi, and would scrupulously document the sources of his works. Moving to Memphis in 1909, he established a publishing business with Harry Pace in 1912. He moved his publishing business to New York in 1917, and lived on Striver's Row in Harlem.

Additional performances by the SYLVAN WINDS this season will take place on Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 3:00 PM in the courtyard of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library, on Broadway between 155th and 156th Streets, for a program entitled Dia de la Madre with works by Alvarez, Lecuona, Zuniga, and Astol and on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 7:00 PM at The Church of the Holy Trinity,in a Slavic Soul: Myths and Legends program featuring the world premi re of a work by Aleksandra Vrebalov, the American premi re of the former Croatian President Ivo Josipovi ' Wind Quintet, along with other works by Ma ek, Bogdanovi , Markovi , and Re anovi .

Hailed by The New York Times for venturesome programming and stylishness of performance, the Sylvan Winds has performed throughout the United States and abroad. The ensemble has established a reputation as one of the city's most versatile chamber music ensembles and has received many honors, including an invitation to perform at the New York Governor's Arts Awards. Dedicated to exploring the entire body of literature for wind instruments, the ensemble has consistently earned audience and critical acclaim.

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