Directed by Paul W. Popiel
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.