Imani Winds Chamber Festival: Concert

Saturday @ 7:30 pm

New York, NY

Gig Details

Venue Details

Mannes School of Music at The New School Arnold Hall 55 West 13th Street
New York, NY 10011
Marc Mellits (1966)

  1. Scarlet Oak
  2. Sugar Maple
  3. Linden
  4. Cherry
  5. River Birch
  6. Red Pine

Stacy Garrop (1969)
Rites for the Afterlife (2018)

  1. Inscriptions from the Book of the Dead
  2. Passage through the Neverworld
  3. The Hall of Judgement
  4. The Field of Reeds
Jenni Brandon (1977)
Cane (2019)
World Premiere
Bassoon soloist, Monica Ellis 
I. Split
II. Gouge
III. Shape
IV. Profile
V. Form
VI. Scrape
VII. Playing the reed

David Biedenbender (1984)
Refraction (2015)

  1. Death Metal Chicken
  2. Kyrie for Machaut and Pӓrt
  3. Goat Rodeo

Composer Marc Mellits’ music contains driving rhythms, soaring lyricism, and colorful orchestrations, which might seem difficult to capture all at once. In the case of his first work for reed quintet–formed in short miniatures like most of Mellits’ music–the listener experiences repetitious motives which, through subtle changes, create elongated phrases and broader musical structures. The listener gets a broader sense of the greater architecture in the work as motives drive, repeat, and subtlety evolve. Mellits’ musical upbringing was varied, including rock and electronic music influences, which became a part of his musical instincts early on and make a thrilling contribution to his classical compositions today.

Rites for the Afterlife

After Akropolis and two other reed quintets chose Stacy Garrop as winner of the 2018 Barlow Prize for music composition, she was granted the Barlow Endowment’s prestigious prize to compose her first reed quintet. It was the first time the Endowment chose the reed quintet to award this prize for a new composition.

Stacy chose for her subject matter the Egyptian’s beliefs about the afterlife. The piece follows the soul into and through the afterlife, including the spells and enchantments contained in The Book of the Dead, the funery barque which tows the soul through the Netherworld, its arrival in the Hall of Judgement to be weighed against a feather from Maat—the goddess of truth—and its final resting place at the field of reeds where it is united with family members, harvesting plentiful crops along the Nile under a brilliant blue sky forever.

“The first concerto of its kind, Cane tells a dramatic story of one bassoon reed’s journey from its origins as raw, organic cane, to the final joy of playing on the finished reed. The colors of the reed quintet and the virtuosic solo bassoon intermingle in this through-composed piece to take the listener through this vivid experience. Rhythm, lyrical lines, extended techniques, Afro-Cuban style music, jazz, and fugue join together to remind us that this is an organic process. From making reeds to making music, we come together to create performance. Ever changing and ever evolving, every reed and every performance is unique, and Cane promises to tell this story in a powerful and exciting new way.” ~Jenni Brandon


Refraction” refers to the absorption and then splitting of music influences, as well as to the type of assembly the composer uses in this piece. Sounds are almost taped and glued together, and at times they seem to pour out from the central texture of the piece. The composition melds several genres, including death metal and Gregorian chant, but never fully boxes them in. “Death Metal Chicken” is inspired by a popular YouTube video of a howling rooster with death metal music being played in the background. The “Kyrie” shimmers with ancient qualities. The final movement, “Goat Rodeo,” refers directly to a chaotic situation that might come to a resolution, but not willingly so. Biedenbender not only re-purposes various genres and topical ideas and combines them with brilliant colorations; he creates a fully-formed, new object which could never be as brilliant without the tatters and shreds which seem to be falling from it.

Concert is free and open to the public.