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Biola symphonic winds ensemble performs fall concert

November 20, 2023

By Hannah Larson

On Friday, Nov. 17 the Symphonic Winds Ensemble held its fall concert in Biola’s Crowell Music Building. During the concert, the ensemble played a variety of pieces, including a hymn, jazz suite and elegy. Karl Meyers, the symphonic winds director, conducted the ensemble.

The concert opened at 7:30 p.m. with the majestic Fanfare from the “La Peri” ballet by composer Paul Dukas. After a slow, stately beginning the piece sped up in a rhythmic pattern until a sudden, thunderous set of notes sounded. The piece returned to a slower, softer melody and swelled to a final note. Then, student conductor Ariel Wilson led the ensemble in Frank Ticheli’s arrangement of “Amazing Grace,” a slow, peaceful melody with a soft finish.

The ensemble transitioned to playing the first and fourth movements from “Jazz Suite No. 2” by Dimitri Shostakovich, a Russian composer and pianist who wrote the piece in 1938. The first movement, “March,” was a fast paced piece that built to a loud, triumphant finish while the fourth movement, “Waltz No. 2,” had a flowing melody with a repeated drumbeat pattern and sudden changes in dynamics.

Before the ensemble performed “An American Elegy,” Meyers said that Ticheli composed this piece after the Columbine shooting in remembrance of the victims and survivors of that massacre. “An American Elegy” was a slow piece whose haunting, low tones were interspersed with a mournful melody.

After that somber selection, the ensemble played its final piece of the evening, a suite titled “Scenes from The Louvre” by composer Norman Dello Joio. Dello Joio composed the soundtrack for “A Golden Prison: The Louvre,” a 1964 television documentary by NBC News about the Louvre art museum in France. In 1965, Dello Joio compiled parts of that score into a five-movement suite. The ensemble performed four of those movements, including “Kings of France,” where airy notes soared over lower tones and the “Finale,” a dramatic and powerful conclusion with a loud, rolling drumbeat which was the last piece of the concert.

Meyers joined Biola’s School of Fine Arts and Communication in fall 2023 as the symphonic winds conductor. He also works as the director of instrumental studies and music education and teaches classes in the Conservatory of Music.

The Conservatory of Music has several upcoming performances scheduled. Jazz Combos will play a “Music At Noon” segment in the Lansing Recital Hall on Wed., Nov. 29 at 12:30 p.m. and the Percussion Ensemble will perform a week later in the same location on Wed., Dec. 6 at 12:30 p.m. The Symphonic Winds Ensemble will also put on a multimedia Christmas concert, “A Glorious Morn,” at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts on Sat., Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. Concert tickets and more information can be found at biola.edu/events.

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