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Wind Ensemble hosts guest artists in concert

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
November 20, 2008

James Keene

James Keene

The Texas State University-San Marcos Wind Ensemble welcomes two distinguished artists Nov. 23 for a special afternoon concert in Evans Auditorium on campus.

Admission to the 3 p.m. performance is $5 for adults and $3 for students.

James F. Keene, director of bands emeritus at the University of Illinois, will guest conduct Norman Dello Joio’s Scenes from ‘The Louvre,” an Emmy Award-winning composition originally written for an NBC television special on the famous gallery. Internationally renowned composer John Mackey will also be in attendance for a performance of one of his latest works for winds, Kingfishers Catch Fire.

The concert includes works that are programmatic in nature, a form of art music intended to evoke extra-musical ideas, or images in the mind of the listener by musically representing a scene, image or mood. The concert will begin with Asclepius, a fanfare for brass and percussion by Michael Daugherty. Daugherty is known as a pop-culture enthusiast, a composer who writes nearly all of his compositions around well-known subjects. This work was written for the University of Michigan’s Cardiovascular Center and is titled after Asclepius, a Greek hero who later became the Greek god of medicine and healing. The five-movement, Renaissance inspired Scenes from ‘The Louvre’ from the late Norman Dello Joio follows with Keene on the podium.

Keene, now a resident of San Antonio, is no stranger to Texas. He served on the faculty of East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University-Commerce) for five years, is regularly seen conducting region bands across Texas, and is actively involved in both the Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Bandmasters Association. He served on the faculty of the University of Illinois from 1985 until the spring of 2008 where he was director of bands and the Brownfield Professor of Music.

John Mackey’s Kingfishers Catch Fire, the result of a Japanese commission, is a colorful, invigorating and driving work in two short movements. Mackey’s meteoric rise in the world of wind band composition is unparalleled, and more information about his music can be found on his website: www.ostimusic.com.

The fourth piece is a cornerstone work in the wind band repertoire, Elegy For a Young American by Ronald LoPresti. It was written as a tribute to the late John F. Kennedy in 1964. The program closes with the popular Lincolnshire Posy of Percy A. Grainger, one of the most highly regarded pieces of band literature ever written.