KU Wind Ensemble—Virtual Performance

Directed by Paul W. Popiel

Described by The New York Times as “one of America’s most esteemed concert bands,” the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble is the premier wind band at the University of Kansas and is conducted by Paul W. Popiel, director of bands. Their Carnegie Hall debut in 2013 was described by Feast of Music as “showing amazing chops in their transitions and an impressive range of dynamics” and by The New York Times as “performing with polish, assurance and copious spirit, eliciting a rousing ovation.” The KU Wind Ensemble (KUWE) performed for President Obama for his address to the University of Kansas in January 2015, the national biennial convention of the College Band Directors National Association in 2017, and premiered Kevin Walczyk’s Symphony No. 5: Freedom from Fear at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2018.

The Wind Ensemble enjoys a long history of excellence and musical leadership in Kansas, the nation and around the world. Former leading conductors include Russell Wiley, Kenneth Bloomquist, Robert E. Foster, John Lynch and Scott Weiss. The ensemble is at the forefront of commercial wind-band recordings and can be heard on the Klavier, Naxos Wind Band Classics, Ecstatic and Mark Custom labels. Their 2013 release, In the Shadow of No Towers, was described in Gramophone Magazine as “…eloquent, disciplined performances that come across with stunning dynamic range and almost dimensional transparency.” Their most recent album, Of Shadow and Light, was released on the Klavier label in 2017.

KUWE has hosted numerous composers in recent years, including John Corigliano, Frank Ticheli, Steven Bryant, Kevin Walczyk, Joni Greene, Aaron Perrine, Michael Torke, Joel Puckett, John Mackey, Mohammed Fairouz and Eric Ewazen; as well as guest conductors Dai Zhonghui, Michelle Rakers, John Whitwell, H. Robert Reynolds and Mallory Thompson. Guest soloists recently performing with the Wind Ensemble include Jim Walker, Gail Williams, Jeff Nelsen, Jon Lewis, Joey Tartell, the Boston Brass and Chris Vadala.

The ensemble performs a diverse repertoire of the highest caliber, from chamber works to large ensemble pieces, and it has a strong commitment to new music as well as the finest standard band repertoire. Its membership is selected by audition from among the finest wind and percussion players at the university.

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