Imani Winds and Catalyst Quartet
"(im)migration: music of change"
June 20, 2021
Two leading chamber ensembles join forces for an absorbing program highlighting the experience of migration. (im)migration: music of change features music written or inspired by migrants and immigrants from the African and Latin diaspora. The Catalyst Quartet features alumni from the internationally-acclaimed Sphinx Competition, while Grammy-nominated Imani Winds leads a revolution of the wind quintet. Performing both individually and together, the ensembles transform ancestral stories into music.
The evening will include Imani Winds performing an arrangement of Cuban composer Mongo Santamaria’s popular Jazz standard Afro Blue, while the Catalyst Quartet performs Negro Folksongs in Counterpoint by Florence B. Price, the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, as well as the first to have a composition played by a major orchestra.
Wednesday, October 27, 10 AM
IMANI WINDS AND CATALYST QUARTET: (im)migration: music of change
Street and Davis Performance Hall, Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre
Free; registration required
Open to public, private, and homeschool students in grades 4-8
The ensembles join together for a performance of Concierto de Cámara by American composer Roberto Sierra and Sergeant McCauley, a new work by composer and former Catalyst violinist Jessie Montgomery that tracks the journey of her great-grandfather during the Great Migration.
Montgomery’s Sergeant McCauley is inspired by personal family stories of the African-American Migration during the early 1900s, around the time of World War I, from the lens of her great-grandfather. It strings together spirituals and works songs that reflect Sergeant McCauley’s route from Mississippi to the west, then up north, and eventually back to Georgia. The special timbral effects of this mix of strings and winds transforms the stories and their reflections into music. Montgomery carries on the storytelling tradition passed on by her mother, playwright, actor, and teacher Robbie McCauley.
Brandon Patrick George, flute
Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe
Mark Dover, clarinet
Kevin Newton, French horn
Monica Ellis, bassoon
Through its dynamic playing, adventurous programming, imaginative collaborations, and outreach endeavors, Imani Winds has inspired audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Expanding the wind quintet repertoire by commissioning music from new voices that reflect historical events and the times in which we currently live, the ensemble’s performances have featured socially-conscious music by Andy Akiho that is designed to be performed both on the concert stage and in front of immigrant detention centers throughout the country.
Imani Winds regularly performs in prominent international concert venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Walt Disney Hall, and the Kimmel Center. Its touring schedule has taken it throughout Asia, Brazil, Australia, England, New Zealand, and across Europe.
The ensemble’s travels through the jazz world are highlighted by its association with saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter, woodwind artist and composer Paquito D’Rivera, and pianist and composer Jason Moran. Imani Winds has six albums on Koch International Classics and E1 Music, including its Grammy Award-nominated recording, The Classical Underground. It has also recorded for Naxos and Blue Note and released Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring on Warner Classics.
The group participates in residencies throughout the U.S., giving performances and master classes to thousands of students each year. The ensemble launched its annual Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival in 2010, bringing together young instrumentalists and composers from across North America and abroad for exploration and performance of the standard repertoire and newly composed chamber music.
In 2016 Imani Winds received its greatest accolade in its 20 years of music making—a permanent presence in the classical music section of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
The Catalyst Quartet
Karla Donehew-Perez, violin
Abi Fayette, violin
Paul Laraia, viola
Karlos Rodriguez, cello
The Catalyst Quartet’s new recording, Uncovered, has been earning fantastic reviews and was featured as an editors’ pick in February by the New York Times:
"The Catalyst Quartet's Uncovered project began in 2018, growing from an idea of performing works by underrepresented composers. That blossomed into something more ambitious: a series of focused surveys, beginning with Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. 'They have the feel of a new music project,' said Karlos Rodriguez, the quartet's cellist. 'Except it isn't new, and now it's redefining the canon.'"
The quartet has toured throughout the United States and abroad, including sold-out performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; Chicago’s Harris Theater; Miami’s New World Center; and Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall.
Ensemble members have appeared as concerto soloists with the Bogata Filharmonica, the Sphinx Virtuosi, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Catalyst Quartet has held concert residencies at the University of Michigan, University of Washington, Rice University, Houston’s Society for the Performing Arts, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the Virginia Arts Festival, and Pennsylvania State University. International residencies where the ensemble performs and teaches master classes have included the In Harmony Project in England, the University of South Africa, and the Teatro de Bellas Arts in Cali, Colombia.
The quartet’s recordings span the scope of its interests and artistry. Its debut album, The Bach/Gould Project, features the members’ own arrangement of Bach’s monumental Goldberg Variations paired with Glenn Gould’s seminal String Quartet, op. 1. The quartet can also be heard on Strum, Montgomery’s debut album; Bandaneon y Cuerdas, tango-inspired music for string quartet and Bandaneon by JP Jofre; and Dreams and Daggers, Cecile McLorin Salvant’s Grammy-winning album that features the Catalyst Quartet in a unique musical role.
In November 2020 the Moss Arts Center produced a New York City-based streaming educational matinee performance by Imani Winds and the Catalyst Quartet that was also broadcast by presenters in New York state and Seattle, Washington.