Review: University of Michigan Concert Band

The Michigan Concert Band closed its Fall 2012 season with a music trip to Greece. Featuring pieces by famous composers like Shostakovich, and not so famous composers like Roger Zare– alumnus of the University– the band successfully delivered a geographical and emotional journey.

The concert opened with a rousing rendition of Makris’s Aegean Festival. Opening with virtuosic woodwind runs, the group quickly captured the attention of the audience. Prominently featured throughout this piece was the woodwind family. Beautiful solos went from the clarinets, to the piccolos, to the flutes. The middle of the piece slowed down. A new theme was intoduced with far more melodic lines. A cadenza played by the first clarinet opened up this slower section. The cadenza, beautifully played, demonstrated the range and beauty of the clarinet, and the technical and musical ability of students in the School of Music, Theater, and Dance.

The second piece to follow was a wind band adaptation of Roger Zare’s Mare Tranquilitatis. Zare, an alumnus of the School of Music’s composition department, originally composed this lyrical and mysterious beauty for orchestra. The wind band version proved beautiful and the band expressed just as much sensitivity as a group of stringed instruments. The concert then featured Derek Shapiro, graduate conductor, on Tull’s Sketches on a Tsudor Psalm.