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Imani Winds performs with Jasper String Quartet

imani_vThe Grammy-nominated Imani Winds will join guest ensemble the Jasper String Quartet for a concert on Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 8 pm in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven). The renowned wind quintet will perform a colorful variety of music – Bozza’s Scherzo for Wind Quintet, Ligeti's Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet, and Villa-Lobos's Woodwind Quintet. The Jasper Quartet, the graduate quartet-in-residence at the Yale School of Music, will play Haydn's String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 76 No. 1. The concert will culminate in a piece featuring all the performers: Sierra’s Concierto de Camara, a nonet for winds and strings. Along with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Imani Winds commissioned the Concierto de Camara from the Puerto Rican-born composer Roberto Sierra in 2008. At the work’s premiere, critic David Stabler of The Oregonian wrote: “Sierra’s exuberant nonet fairly danced off the stage… preserving the integrity of each ensemble while demanding intricate interplay among individual players. The cross-court volleys amid the rushing scales were exhilarating to behold.”

The name Imani, which means "faith" in Swahili, reflects the African-American and Latin American ancestry of the ensemble's five members: Valerie Coleman, flute; Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe; Mariam Adam, clarinet; Jeff Scott, horn; and Monica Ellis, bassoon. The members of the Jasper Quartet, named for Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, are J Freivogel and Sae Niwa, violin; Sam Quintal, viola; and Rachel Henderson, cello.

The November 17 performance is part of the Chamber Music Society at Yale concert series, presented by the Yale School of Music and directed by David Shifrin.

Tickets to the performance are $20 to $28, $10 for students. For more information, visit the Yale School of Music website or call 203 432-4158.

About the artists

Imani Winds has established itself as more than a wind quintet. Since 1997, the Grammy-nominated ensemble has taken a unique path, carving out a distinct presence in the classical music world with its dynamic playing, culturally poignant programming, genre-blurring collaborations, and inspirational outreach programs. With two member composers and a deep commitment to commissioning new work, the group is enriching the traditional wind quintet repertoire while meaningfully bridging European, American, African and Latin American traditions.The ensemble tours regularly and has performed in halls from Seattle to Istanbul. Through commissions and performance the quintet regularly collaborates with other artists, including chanteuse René Marie, choreographer Christopher Huggins, jazz legend Wayne Shorter, Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Brubeck, Paquito D’Rivera, saxophonist Steve Coleman, clarinetist David Shifrin, and pianist Gilbert Kalish. Their numerous awards include the 2007 ASCAP Award, 2002 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, as well as the CMA/WQXR Award for their debut CD Umoja. At the 2001 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Imani Winds was selected as the first-ever Educational Residency Ensemble, in recognition of their tremendous musical abilities and innovative programming. Imani Winds have four releases on Koch International Classics, including their 2006 Grammy Award-nominated The Classical Underground.

Formed at Oberlin Conservatory in 2003, the Jasper String Quartet completed graduate work at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and then enrolled at the Yale School of Music, where they serve as the graduate quartet-in-residence. In 2008, the Jasper String Quartet won the Grand Prize and the Audience Award at the Plowman Chamber Music Competition, Grand Prize at the Coleman Competition, First Place at the Yellow Springs Competition, and the Silver Medal at the Fischoff Competition. The ensemble has participated in elite summer festivals including the Aspen Music Festival’s Advanced String Quartet Program, the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the Emerson International String Quartet Workshop. They have appeared at the Kennedy Center, Harris Hall (Aspen, Colo.), the Vigeland Museum (Oslo, Norway), Lake Louise (Canada), and on the Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music and Santa Fe Pro Musica Series. The members of the Jasper String Quartet hold degrees from Oberlin Conservatory, Oberlin College, Rice University, and the New England Conservatory.