Quintet creates a unique sound

United States woodwind ensemble Imani Winds (from left) Valerie Coleman (flute), Toyin Spellman-Diaz (oboe), Monica Ellis (bassoon), Jeff Scott (French horn), and Mark Dover (clarinet). Photo: Pierre Lidar

CHAMBER Music New Zealand’s Kaleidoscopes 2017 season will end on a high note at the Civic Theatre on Sunday.

Grammy-nominated woodwind ensemble Imani Winds, from the United States, will perform in Invercargill during its first New Zealand tour.

Featuring French horn, oboe, bassoon, flute and clarinet, the New York-based quintet had a really unique sound, clarinettist Mark Dover said.

“I would just say if you’re coming to this concert you’re going to hear, likely, music that you’ve never heard before and you’re going to hear instruments that maybe you’ve never heard before, and definitely you’re going to hear sounds you’ve never heard before.”

The programme for the concert includes original and arranged works from the early 20th century through to today. Dover said it was both an exciting and challenging programme for the group.

“It’s one of these programmes where you have to constantly change styles.”

He said the ensemble would open with Afro Blueby Mongo Santamaria, which has been arranged by Valerie Coleman (flute).

“[It’s] like this John Coltrane-inspired arrangement that she’s done where we’re kind of improvising and then immediately we go into the Ravel Tombeau de Couperin, a standard and very famous piano and orchestral piece,” he said.

“It’s kind of like you have to play a certain way and then do a total 180 musically. It’s really kind of a fun challenge.”

Also featuring is a Chamber Music New Zealand commission by Natalie Hunt – Snapshots

“We’ve been working on the piece for a couple of months now… and it was really awesome to come here and meet Natalie and get her perspective.”

Another work written for Imani is Kites, by a friend of the ensemble Paquito D’Rivera, which Dover said was inspired by poetry.

“It’s a whirlwind of a piece. It goes through all kinds of textures and styles.”

Dover said you could hear D’Rivera’s influence as a Latin and Cuban jazz musician and classical composer.

“There’s also some improvisation in the first movement that’s really fun between [bassoon player Monica Ellis] and I. That’s definitely a crowd pleaser.”

Dover joined the group about a year and a half ago after its original clarinettist decided to pursue other projects and moved to Paris.

He had been freelancing in New York for three years and after being approached by members of the ensemble he jumped at the chance to audition.

“I had been a fan of them since I was 14, so for me it was a huge honour.”

Imani Winds, Civic Theatre, Invercargill, Sunday, October 8, 5pm, with a Prelude Series preconcert talk at 4.15pm. Tickets available from TicketDirect.

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