I had a great time visiting the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival this past Monday, where I did a presentation on my own music for the composer fellows of the Festival, as well as observing a few rehearsals. The Festival takes place at Mannes, which is now part of The New School (I knew it as an independent institution during my NYC days.) The Imani Winds themselves read some of the student composer pieces that the student players had been working on, and it was a pleasure to hear the varied approaches of the talented young composers. It was a pleasure as well to witness the amazing sight-reading abilities of the Imani players. I enjoyed seeing Tania León, composer-in-residence at the Festival, as she offered wise advice to the students as their pieces were read.
I also heard a portion of a rehearsal of a piece for voice and winds by Jeff Scott, the hornist of the Imani Winds, and played by the Festival students. Jeff is a gifted composer and even though this was a first session on the new piece, his command of the tricky combination of winds and voice was evident, with sultry and brilliant colors from the ensemble by turns. I’m afraid I failed to note the name of the soprano who is featured in Jeff’s piece – she was very fine.