Imani Winds
March 16, 2024 at 3 p.m.
Minsky Recital Hall
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Imani Winds

Saturday, March 16, 2024 at 3 p.m.
Minsky Recital Hall

Brandon Patrick George, flute
Mekhi Gladden, oboe
Mark Dover, clarinet
Kevin Newton, French horn
Monica Ellis, bassoon

Imani Winds is the 2024 GRAMMY® winner in the Classical Compendium category for Jeff Scott’s “Passion for Bach and Coltrane” released on their recently formed record label, Imani Winds Media.

Celebrating over a quarter century of music making, the three-time GRAMMY nominated Imani Winds has led both a revolution and evolution of the wind quintet through their dynamic playing, adventurous programming, imaginative collaborations and outreach endeavors that have inspired audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

The ensemble’s playlist embraces traditional chamber music repertoire, and newly commissioned works from voices that reflect historical events and the times in which we currently live.

Read the full bio here

Tickets $40, including all fees, K-12 student tickets are free with accompanying adult.



A celebration of composers of color

I Said What I Said* Damien Geter Giants† Carlos Simon

  1. Bessie Smith
  2. Cornel West
  3. Herbie Hancock

Selections from Aires Tropicales Paquito D’Rivera


Rubispheres No. 1 Valerie Coleman (For flute, clarinet & bassoon)

ii. Serenade
iii. Revival

BeLoud, BeLoved, BeLonging ‡ Andy Akiho (b. 1979)

I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free Billy Taylor (1921-2010)

arr. Mark Dover

*Written for Imani Winds. Commissioned by Anima Mundi Productions, Chamber Music Northwest and the Oregon Bach Festival. Premiered April 28, 2022 in Portland, OR.

†Commissioned by Imani Winds and Shriver Concert Hall Series. Premiered May 14, 2023.

‡ Commissioned by Imani Winds with support from the Concert Artists Guild Richard Weinert Award, the Imani Winds Foundation and the Kaufman Music Center. Premiered October 26, 2022 in New York City


Damien Geter

I Said What I Said

I Said What I Said is a phrase that was coined by TV personality NeNe Leakes but also is a colloquialism in the Black community to emphasize a point – usually one that was mentioned (often repeatedly) a time before. I Said What I Said for wind quintet uses musical phrases in repetition to symbolize the continuous conversations Black people have about their (our) experiences living in the world, and how we must constantly defend ourselves against those whose equity lens is tainted.

 Carlos Simon


This piece is inspired by Black Americans who have influenced me and my identity as a composer— Bessie Smith, Maya Angelou, Ronald E. McNair, Cornel West and Herbie Hancock. Each movement is meant to embody the work and personality (as best as I can gather) through music. I want to not only pay homage to these giants, but offer a character study through music of their work. This work was commissioned by the Imani Winds and the Shriver Concert Series.

 Paquito D’Rivera

Aires Tropicales (notes by Toyin Spellman-Diaz)

Born June 4th, 1948 in Havana, Cuba

This masterpiece by internationally acclaimed artist, Paquito D’Rivera, is quickly becoming one of the staples in the wind quintet literature.  Written in 1994 and commissioned by the Aspen Wind Quintet, it is a collection of pieces that reinvent the classical medium by incorporating Latin rhythms and melodies.  Many of these characteristics are indigenous to D’Rivera’s native Cuba.  The movements of Aires Tropicales range from the traditional rhythms and song forms such as the “son” and “habanera”, to a Venezuelan waltz, to the classical Spanish style of the “contradanza”, to a movement dedicated to the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, who D’Rivera worked with, to the heavily African influenced sounds of the movement entitled “Afro”.

Valerie Coleman

Born September 3rd, 1970 in Louisville, KY

Rubispheres No. 1 (written by the composer)

Rubispheres is a series of suites written for various combinations and voices that depict urban life and landscapes of the world. The first suite of the series features wind trio (flute, clarinet and bassoon) featuring outer movements that were written for selected virtuoso members of Imani Winds, each composed over the course of five years. The first movement, entitled DROM, was written first and was named after a bar on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where a local new music organization invited me to perform on their annual “Composers Play Composers” marathon. The movement starts with a traditional form of communication called “call and response” between bassoon solo and the entire ensemble. This call and response notion carries throughout the movement in a playful fanfare between flute and clarinet, ending strong with all instruments sounding off together in their extreme registers.

The second movement, Serenade, was written last and was intended to break up the intense groove energy of the outer movements. The piece however, developed in quite an unusual way. As a new mother, I found that composing while caring for my newborn presented quite a challenge. It was in that moment while stressing out over writer’s block and deadlines, when infant Lisa began to wail out of need for attention. While comforting her in one arm, the tenderness I felt for her in that moment suddenly created a head space of unexpected serenity that allowed me to finish the movement – in one sitting with my free hand. Serenade is a lullaby dedicated to Lisa Naomi Page.

The final movement, Revival, draws a parallel between the discovery of creative energy with the fervor of old southern Baptisms held down by the river. There is a spiritual renewal that occurs within a revival, full of shouts and dancing; the vigorous riffs and ‘punk-tuations’ drench the old school memory with a modern youthful sound. As doublings leap and shift within the orchestration of a simple composite melody, I felt motivated to reshape and mold the often negative narrative of woodwind chamber music into one that is relevant to today; a sound that is non-traditional, substantial, virtuosic and ALIVE!

Andy Akiho

BeLoud, BeLooved, BeLonging

“BeLoud, BeLoved, BeLonging” by composer and steel pan musician Andy Akiho, is a shared musical experience created to make the listener and performer join together to commune with each other over an important idea – the idea of HOW we all belong where we are. 

The piece was conceived and inspired from the sound of 2019 protests by immigrant detainees at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, NY. It supplies an unflinching, even relentless exploration of incarceration and the humanity of all involved in the system. Workshopped and performed over the pandemic with a group of incarcerated young men at Rikers Island, the piece follows the theme of Imani Winds’ Grammy-nominated album, “Bruits”, which speaks to the blockage of justice across the United States and the world, offering commentary on the intersection of race and the prison system. 

 Billy Taylor (arr. Mark Dover)

I Wish I Knew How It

Jazz pianist, composer and broadcaster Dr. Billy Taylor originally penned “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free,” as a gospel-influenced instrumental tune, dedicated to his daughter Kim, and first released it on his 1963 album Right Here, Right Now. Dr. Taylor would eventually write the lyrics, with the latter verses assisted by lyricist Dick Lamb.

It was in the mid 1960s that the song was adapted by Nina Simone, during which time she both released her own adaptation on her 1967 album Silk and Soul, and toured the song over the following decade, when it quickly became an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. The powerful juxtaposition of the simple yet poignant hymn-like melody and the steadfast call for equality and justice, resonated in the collective consciousness of the Movement, and along with other anthems like “A Change Gonna Come,” and Simone’s own “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black,” contributed greatly not just to the fight for Civil Rights, but to the sonic fabric of the 1960s and 70s.

Through theme and variation, the Dover arrangement pays homage to both Dr. Taylor’s trio recordings of the song and is indelibly inspired by Simone’s studio recording as well as her legendary live performance at the 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival. The arrangement opens in a five part chorale, and quickly moves into a soul and gospel-based groove, featuring the bassoon in both the role of an upright bass and soloist. An improvised clarinet solo follows, interrupted by a sudden modulation into a quintet-wide solo and then immediately into a full fledged gospel shout chorus, during which the quintet melds into the sound and spirit of a Hammond organ and rhythm section, and finally concluding with the theme one last time, this time with the voices of Mr. Newton singing the first verse: I wish I knew how It would feel to be free I wish I could break All the chains holding me I wish I could say All the things that I should say Say ’em loud say ’em clear For the whole round world to hear.


Thank you to our Chamber Music Series sponsor:

Maine Public classical

and our reception sponsor:

Dirigo Pines A Grace Mangement Community

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