The Renaissance City Winds are a chamber music ensemble (one on a part, with no conductor), with a wind quintet core group (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn) that frequently collaborates with guest artists. Chamber music is the most intimate form of classical / contemporary music, and is ideal for small performance spaces such as classrooms, small concert halls, chapels, and even private homes.
With a small number of performers, it is the most cost-effective way for touring to suburban and rural communities throughout Pennsylvania. The Winds perform a wide range of music written over the past 500 years, with a particular emphasis on American and contemporary music. The Winds have now recorded three CDs.
The Renaissance City Winds are ideally suited to work with school music programs, since their instrumentation includes most of the basic band instruments. They have been giving school programs since 1975 in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, West Virginia and Kentucky, and have been a Pennsylvania AIE roster artist since the 1980s. They were awarded a Meet The Composer residency grant, one of only four in the country, for a five-year project involving Shaler Area School District and a consortium of parochial schools, with shorter programs in Punxsutawney and Beaver. Student compositions from this project were performed at the National Performing Arts Conference in Pittsburgh in 2004, and continue to be broadcast on WQED-FM.
Chamber music develops leadership and independent thinking in students, since there is no conductor to dictate interpretations or mechanically lead the group. Students are coached on how to start, stop, and stay together, and how to work together as a team to form a collective interpretation of the piece being worked on. Special activites offered by the Winds include: composition workshops, primarily for 6th-9th graders, to start them creating music and organizing their ideas into coherent pieces. Vocal pieces often use poetry or texts drawn from collaborating with English or creative writing classes. Arts integration programs include lecture-demonstrations on American music (to U.S. History classes); the physics of music to junior-high school general science classes or senior-high school physics classes (with an appropriate amount of math for each grade level); and arts management or graphic design and marketing to high school business classes.
“Expert wind players... attractive program... enjoyable.” [NEW YORK TIMES]
“Playing with excitement, musicality, and daring” [WQED-FM]
“Interesting programs with well-defined interpretations. Their variety of articulation and attention to dynamics are admirable”
[THE PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE]