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On Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 I had the honor of seeing the University Symphonic Winds live. Their incredible performance took place in our very own Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall. Made up by wonderful musicians from UTEP, and conducted by the brilliant Professor, Dr. Ron Hufstader, they sure made the experience worth my while. Dr. Ron Hufstader has been apart of UTEP since 1976 establishing the El Paso Wind Symphony in 1995. He has been actively involved in many professional activities such as coordinating the half time shows in major bowl games and playing in the El Paso City Symphony Orchestra. The program included many fine pieces such as Bernstein/Grundman's Slava, Yasuhide Ito's Gloriosa, Eric Whitacre's The Seal Lullaby, Martin Ellerby's Paris Sketches, and Alfred Reed's Three Revelations from the Lotus Sutra.
The Symphonic Winds began with Slava, by twentieth-century North American composer, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), transcribed for Symphonic Band by Clare Grundman.
According to the program, Bernstein was asked by Mstislav Rostropovich to help him launch his opening concert as the Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra. This resulted in a world premiere that took place at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. on October 11, 1977. (Program notes).
Performed by a full ensemble, this overture, dedicated to Slava Rostropovich, consisted of two themes. The first theme began with a mezzo forte dynamic and had a happy tuneful melody packed with "side-slapping" tones and trombones (Program Notes). The second theme focused on the electric guitar and a piano volume melody development follows. The two themes are then repeated in reverse order caring on the Allegro Tempo. Towards the end the Russian word, "Slava!" which means glory, is sung by the ensemble musicians (Program notes). In...