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The University of Utah's Wind Ensemble releases its first two CDs, featuring David Maslanka, Jeff Nelson and Adam Frey.

By Marina Gomberg, associate director for communications and marketing, College of Fine Arts

On Nov. 13, the University of Utah Wind Ensemble will release its first two CDs ever, “The Music of David Maslanka: Volume 2: Concerto for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble” and “Gemini.” These two projects, although unrelated, serendipitously release the same day, making the Wind Ensemble’s first release a double release.

“The outstanding performances on these two new concerto releases are both a testament to the excellence of the soloists featured on them, as well as the caliber of the University of Utah Wind Ensemble and the leadership of its musical director, professor Scott Hagen,” said School of Music Director Miguel Chuaqui. “The commissioning, premiere performance, and world-wide release of the recording of a new concerto for clarinet by the distinguished American composer David Maslanka on the Naxos label brings a high level of visibility and prestige to our wind and percussion programs, and are truly a mark of distinction for the University of Utah School of Music. The musicality and skill of our Wind Ensemble is featured prominently again in recordings of challenging works for horn and wind ensemble, and for euphonium and wind ensemble by Emmy award-winning composer Anthony DiLorenzo.  I am thrilled to offer my heartfelt congratulations to professor Hagen and his superb ensemble.”

“The Music of David Maslanka: Volume 2: Concerto for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble”
The Ensemble’s second CD release contains the work of one of the world’s most prolific wind ensemble composers, Maslanka. The piece was commissioned by Hagen and his wife Myroslava Hagen to compose “The Concerto for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble.”

“To hear and observe David shape and form the ensemble’s musicianship to a spiritual experience as well as a musical treat was stunning,” said Mark J. Morette, owner of Mark Custom Recording Service, Inc. “You will be thrilled to enjoy the energy, excitement, and the enthusiasm of David’s music shine in the recording.”

The dream of an idea discussed over dinner soon one evening expanded and gathered a supporting consortium of players and conductors from 30 different universities.  “Laboring for the love of music” is how Maslanka stated was the underlying purpose of this world premiere performance and recording. The University of Utah Wind Ensemble alongside clarinet soloist, Myroslava Hagen, delivered “amazing musical sound, the beautiful fulfillment of a shared dream.”  This overall display of excellence and profound emotion has been captured in a recording for all to enjoy. The CD also includes three other notable works including “Morning Star,” “Liberation” and “On this Bright Morning.”

With “Gemini,” the University of Utah Wind Ensemble shares with the world a compilation of outstanding story-telling and magnificent sound. Elite brass soloists Adam Frey and Jeff Nelsen have joined Hagen as he directs the University of Utah Wind Ensemble in this pioneering endeavor. The title track “Gemini” was commissioned by both Frey and Nelsen of Emmy award-winning and trumpet player DiLorenzo. As one of the most inspiring up-and-coming artists of today, DiLorenzo does not disappoint.

“It seemed appropriate to write a piece that would challenge the soloist’s virtuosic abilities as well as being adventurous in story and sound,” DiLorenzo said. “I hope when you sit back and listen, you’ll hear and visualize a story of two heroes telling their tales of epic battle and adventures.”

The “Gemini” project brings together two special instruments into one unique and outstanding recording. With Libby Gardner Concert Hall serving as the recording studio, the sound production is exquisite. Additional recordings include Robert W. Smith’s “The Wilson Suite,” Edward Elgar’s “Chanson de Matin Op. 15, no.2” (arr. Tony Rickard), Lewis Buckley’s “Yellow Rose of Texas Variations,” James Beckel’s “The Glass Bead Game,” Ron Nelson’s “Night Song” and Vittorio Monti’s “Czardas” (arr. Tony Rickard).