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2023 - 2024

Chamber Music Series

 FRIDAY October 20 7pm
SUNDAY October 22 2pm

Members of the Chinook Winds each pick a personal favorite wind quintet work for this delicious and delightful concert, including Samuel Barber’s Summer Music, La Nouvelle Orleans by Lalo Schiffrin, and Mo Suo’s Burial Ceremony by Xinyan Li.


The Newberry

420 Central Avenue


First Congregational Church 

2900 9th Ave S

DSC_8056 Chinook Winds web.jpg

Chinook Winds


Samuel Barber
1910 –1981

Summer Music


Samuel Barber is one of the most known and celebrated American composers of the 20th century. His Adagio for Strings, in frequent rotation on orchestra programs, is likely his most famous work, but he was an extremely successful vocal, choral, and chamber music composer as well.


Summer Music is one of the staples of the woodwind quintet repertoire. It has no movements, but the work is divided into several contrasting sections.


The opening, marked “slow and indolent,” recalls a lazy summer day, broken up by virtuosic flourishes in the flute, clarinet, and bassoon. The oboe then enters with a plaintive melodic line that is supported and answered by the other instruments.


The piece briefly jumps into a more energized, rhythmic interlude before returning to the oboe melody and “indolent” material from the opening. The middle section of the piece features metrically complex melodies over kaleidoscopic sixteenth notes, culminating with a climactic statement of the melody in the horn and oboe over virtuosic flute, clarinet, and bassoon lines.


The piece ends with a brief recapitulation of both the lazy opening material and the middle rhythmic motive, and finally evaporates into nothing. 

Notes by Julia Klein




" I like Apollo because it’s super different from the dense, complex music we often play in wind quintets, and it has great rhythmic energy that makes you want to dance! 
JULIA KLEIN ~ Clarinet

Marc Mellits
b. 1966


I. Theia

III. The Buzz

IV. Luna Nova

V. Debbie Waltzing on the Moon

VII. Moonwalk 

Marc Mellits is a prolific American composer of orchestral, wind band, chamber, solo, and film music. He is a self-described “miniaturist”: his works are often made up of short, contrasting sections and movements.  

Apollo was written for the Windsync wind quintet and commemorates the Apollo 11 moon landing of 1969.


The first movement, “Theia,” takes its name from a hypothesized early planet in our solar system that may have collided with Earth, ejecting some of the debris that formed the moon. This movement alternates between sparse textures of two or three instruments and unified passages that highlight the blend between all five members of the quintet.


The third movement, “Buzz,” is a tribute to Buzz Aldrin, one of the members of the Apollo 11 mission. It features repetitive rhythms and melodic elements passed around the ensemble.


The fourth movement, “Luna Nova,” or new moon, is a slow chorale.


The fifth movement, “Debbie Waltzing on the Moon,” features Mellits’ unique sound packaged in a traditional waltz form, with soaring melodies in the flute and clarinet. The final movement, “Moonwalk,” is an energetic, syncopated dance. 

Notes by Julia Klein

Xinyan Li
b. 1978

Mo Suo's Burial Ceremony



Dr. Xinyan Li’s music has been performed throughout America, Europe, and Asia by the American Composers Orchestra, members of Eighth Blackbird, PRISM Quartet, Bergen Woodwind Quintet, Music From China, Quintet of The Americas, Jeffrey Lyman, Quintette K, and principal musicians of Philadelphia, Detroit, St. Louis, Montreal, and Bergen Orchestras, as well as the Orchestre National de France and others. 

Hailed by the New York Times as a “bubbly quintet,” Mo Suo’s Burial Ceremony for Woodwind Quintet was composed in 2006. Inspired by the unique funeral customs in Mo Suo, a Chinese southwest minority, this work depicts Lamas reciting scriptures to release souls from purgatory, Daba monks dancing to expel ghosts, as well as Lamas cremating corpses which are tied up like a fetus into a wooden cage for reincarnation.


Based on three pitches, B, C, and F, which imply Burial, Ceremony and Funeral, the winds are considered human beings’ voices that contain sadness, pain, invocation, and joy in this work. The first note and the last note are both C, which symbolize a life cycle.


Mo Suo’s Burial Ceremony has been awarded the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition in 2011 and ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award in 2007. 


Notes by Xinyan Li 


"Quintet No. 2 by Alec Wilder is my favorite quintet because it comes from a composer who was so steeped within the American pop music of the time, being great friends with the likes of Tony Bennett or Frank Sinatra. It's easy to listen to and hear a lot of the pop influences he was surrounded by within the quintet, while sort of merging it with the dense and crunchy harmonies that are so recognizable from that era of classical music."

Alec Wilder
1907 – 1980
Woodwind Quintet No. 2


I. Allegro

II. Andante e rubato

III. Allegro e poco vivace

Alec Wilder was an American composer of opera, musicals, film scores, popular music, and chamber music during the mid-20th century. He wrote a total of 13 woodwind quintets. 

His second quintet highlights many of the trends in mid-century American music with its irregular meters and complex, often jazz-inspired harmonies.


The first movement features frequent meter changes, virtuosic solo playing, and a couple of bluesy interludes for the bassoon and horn.


The second movement opens with a bassoon solo that showcases the instrument’s high range. The rest of the movement comprises solo melodies passed among different instruments, supported by rich harmonies in the rest of the ensemble.


The third movement offers the most obvious nod to jazz, with its syncopated accompaniment and improvised-sounding melodic lines. 


Notes by Julia Klein



Lalo Schifrin
b. 1932
La Nouvelle Orleans



Like many musicians of his generation, Lalo Schifrin maintained interest in both jazz improvisation and the classical compositional tradition. After studying in Paris in the early 1950’s and returning to his native Buenos Aires, he caught the attention of the eminent jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie, for whom he worked many years as pianist and composer-arranger.


Since his move to the United States in 1958 he has maintained an active musical career via film and television scores, including music honored by four Grammy Awards and six Oscar nominations. Recently he has become Musical Director of both the newly formed Paris Philharmonic Orchestra and the Glendale (California) Symphony Orchestra.

Commissioned by the Dorian Wind Quintet, Lalo Schifrin’s La Nouvelle Orleans is among several of his compositions in which European derived compositional techniques are employed to juxtapose a sort of elaborated primitivism with what he called "universal thoughts."


The work explores the principle of renewal, as verbally expressed in an old New Orleans saying (Eleven macks a-riding to the graveyard but only ten a-coming back). The title of the work itself symbolizes the advent of the new emerging from the old.


La Nouvelle Orleans is an episodic work which combines many disparate elements in a clever, witty manner. An underlying tango rhythm unifies the first part of the piece, which gives way to a slow "blues'' section, followed by an up-tempo Dixieland finale.​

Notes by Norman MenzalesNor

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