New Copland Transcription to be Premiered by IU Wind Ensemble

richardsonThe Indiana University Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Prof. Stephen W. Pratt, will be premiering a new wind band transcription by Brett A. Richardson of Aaron Copland’s “Music for the Theatre” on April 8, 2014.

Completed with the express permission of the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and publisher Boosey & Hawkes, this transcription will mark the earliest work by Copland to be transcribed for wind band and represents the culmination of Richardson’s doctoral final project.

“Music for the Theatre” is set in five diverse movements for chamber wind ensemble and features various jazz inflections, blues-colored harmonies, and idioms derived from popular song.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Director of Bands in residence at the University of Alabama

As part of the Endowed Chair artist in residency series at The University of Alabama, Stephen Pratt, Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Bands/Wind Conducting, spent several days in November in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. During the residency he was guest conductor with the Alabama Wind Ensemble, gave several lectures and master classes, and worked with a number of graduate conducting students.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Brett Richardson to Participate in Wind Conducting Research Study at the University of Georgia

brett richardsonBrett A. Richardson, Doctoral Wind Conducting student of Prof. Stephen W. Pratt, was recently invited to the University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music to serve as a participant in a research study on gesture in wind conducting. The project was led by Curran Garrett Prendergast, a doctoral student in Wind Conducting at the University of Georgia. As one of only four invited participants from across the country, Richardson was a guest conduct the University of Georgia Wind Symphony and participated in a series of interviews with the research team. The project took place on Monday, December 2, 2013.

Richardson is completing the Doctor of Music degree in Wind Conducting where he serves as an associate instructor for the Department of Bands. He also serves as the Resident Conductor for the Southern Indiana Wind Ensemble based out of Bloomington.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Stephen Pratt Guest Conducting – 2013 Spring

prattStephen Pratt, Professor of Music and Director of Bands/Wind Conducting, was active during the 2013 spring semester at a number of events off-campus.

In February, he was a guest conductor at West Virginia University where he conducted the High School Honor Band and guest conducted the WVU Wind Ensemble. In March he was a guest clinician in the Conducting Workshop at the University of Redlands in California. In May he was the conductor of the North Carolina All-State Honor Band in Greensboro. In addition, in June he was the conductor of the Symphony Orchestra at the IU Summer Music Clinic in Bloomington.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter



Music review: Musicians’ performance impressive

By Peter Jacobi H-T Reviewer |
June 28, 2013

The weather Wednesday night was absolutely awful, enough so to have the first of this year’s Summer Concert Band concerts moved indoors from the lawn of the Musical Arts Center. The storms might have discouraged a few folks from coming, but the true enthusiasts seemed to all be there, and they certainly expressed enthusiasm for what they heard.

But then, why not? The musicians assembled on the MAC stage performed extremely well, and they had a welcomed variety of pieces in their evening repertoire. Conductor Stephen Pratt fit 11 items into just over an hour, from overtures to marches, from show collections to bits of new compositions, the likes of which we hear during more formal wind concerts in the fall-winter-spring season. And throughout, he proved the maestro, offering interpretive sensitivity, calling for flexible and spirited response from his players, and maintaining praiseworthy control.

A Gershwin march, more specifically, the familiar “Strike Up the Band,” from the 1927 Broadway musical of that title, served to get matters underway with pizzazz, and a catchy 1893 march, “Northwind,” by W. Paris Chambers, had one’s feet moving in place at the end.

The in-between highlights were numerous, among them “Colonel Bogey,” written by the British march king, Kenneth Alford, and used prominently in the classic film, “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” A current IU Doctor of Music candidate, Benjamin Taylor, supplied Movement III from his recently completed work for band, “Trailing Clouds of Glory,” music craftily orchestrated, easy to listen to and sagaciously compressed for maximum impact; Pratt and the band performed it with breadth and gusto.

Cheers erupted after the 12-member clarinet section stood in place as a chorus of soloists to play Leroy Anderson’s capricious “Clarinet Candy,” a delightful exercise of tuneful fun requiring absolute precision ultimately in Indy-Car speed. Frank Ticheli’s affecting 1993 Cajun Folk Songs featured regional melodies that ranged from haunting to jaunty.

Also heard were a bombastic overture, “Millenium III,” by Alfred Reed, written in 1998 to foreshadow the arrival of the new millennium; “Chant and Jubilo,” a score, indeed, of chanting, then jubilation, by the late composer laureate of Arkansas, W. Francis McBeth; a rousing Balkan War-inspired 1912 march, “A Slavic Farewell,” by Vasilij Ivanovitj Agapkin; Glenn Osser’s “Beguine for Band,” honoring the old pop standard, “Begin the Beguine,” and a collection of ’60’s and ’70’s songs by Burt Bacharach, arranged by John Edmondson.

The concert covered extensive territory. The readings of its components by Pratt and his summer contingent were marked with authority and rich in sounds designed to please the ears.

Copyright: 2013

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Jeff Gershman to guest conduct the Dallas Wind Symphony

Gershman_JeffAssociate Professor of Music and Associate Director of Bands, Jeffrey D. Gershman will lead the Dallas Wind Symphony this year in their annual Fourth of July concerts.  Gershman will conduct three performances in and around Dallas during the holiday, culminating in a subscription concert on the afternoon of July 4 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.

The Dallas Wind Symphony is the leading professional civilian wind band in the United States today. Comprised of 50 woodwind, brass and percussion players, the band performs an eclectic blend of musical styles ranging from Bach to Bernstein and Sousa to Strauss. The ensemble has recorded twelve highly acclaimed CDs on the Reference Recordings label under conductors Howard Dunn, Frederick Fennell, and Jerry Junkin and is regularly heard on National Public Radio on the syndicated shows Performance Today and Audiophile Audition.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Richardson to present at 2013 Midwest Clinic: An International Band & Orchestra Conference

BRichardson-250Brett A. Richardson, an Associate Instructor and third-year Doctoral Wind Conducting student of Professor Stephen W. Pratt, has recently been invited to present at the 2013 Midwest Clinic: An International Band & Orchestra Conference at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Held annually since 1946, the Midwest Clinic host over 17,000 attendees from over 36 countries for a week filled of workshops and clinics centered on music education, conducting, repertoire, and instrumental pedagogy. Richardson’s presentation is entitled “Taking The Next Step: Ten Ways to Maximize Your Student Teaching Experience” and is designed to provide music education students with strategies to make their student teaching experience both positive and effective. Richardson last presented at the Midwest Clinic in 2007.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Concerto competition winner Curtis Prichard and Otis Murphy are featured on upcoming Wind Ensemble concert, April 2

compositeJacobs School student co-winner of the recent Brass Concerto Competition Curtis Prichard, euphonium, will perform with the IU Wind Ensemble on Tuesday night, April 2nd in Auer Hall at 8pm.

Prichard, a doctoral student studying with Dan Perantoni and M. Dee Stewart, will perform Martin Ellerby’s “Euphonium Concerto.” Prichard has performed throughout the United States and China as a featured soloist and a member of the internationally acclaimed Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble, Mr. Jack Daniel’s Original Silver Cornet Band, and the University of Michigan Symphony Band. His euphonium playing can be heard on albums of the Tech Tuba Ensemble, the Tubas Unlimited, the Tech Faculty Brass Arts Quintet, the University of Michigan Symphony Band and the IU Wind Ensemble. Prichard completed his master’s degree at the University of Michigan. Now a doctoral student at Jacobs, he is pursuing professional auditions while maintaining an active performance schedule.

Professor Otis Murphy will perform on the concert in the world premiere performance of David DeBoor Canfield’s saxophone concerto, “Elevator Music.” Otis Murphy holds the position of associate professor of music in the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He is in great demand as an international soloist and clinician, having gained wide recognition on four continents: North America (United States and Canada), Europe (Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland and Wales), Asia (Japan, Singapore and Taiwan), and Australia. Murphy has performed in some of the great concert halls of the world including Isaac Stern Concert Hall in Miyazaki, Japan; Merkin Concert Hall in New York City; Palau de la Musica in Valencia, Spain; the Strathmore in Washington, D. C.; Opera City Concert Hall in Tokyo, Japan; Palacio Euskalduna in Bilbao, Spain; Phoenix Hall in Osaka, Japan; and Casals Hall in Tokyo.

Pulitzer Prize winning composer Kevin Puts will be represented with a performance of his “Millennium Canons,” premiered at Symphony Hall in Boston with the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Keith Lockhart.

Also on the program are classic works of Percy Grainger (Irish Tune), Walter Piston (Tunbridge Fair) and Percy Fletcher (Vanity Fair).

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

REVIEW: (HT – Peter Jacobi, Concert and Symphonic Bands) New version of ‘The Upward Stream’ for wind ensemble tops contemporary program


MUSIC REVIEW: New version of ‘The Upward Stream’ for wind ensemble tops contemporary program

By Peter Jacobi H-T Reviewer |
February 7, 2013

Indiana University’s Concert and Symphonic Bands took to the Musical Arts Center stage Tuesday evening to perform a program of works that, save for one by Bach, originated in contemporary times. And prove they did once again that the 20th century and beyond have brought forth musical blooms of all sorts and fashions.

The highlight among highlights came at evening’s end: a premiere of sorts, a new version for wind ensemble of “The Upward Stream,” written in 1985 by the American composer Russell Peck, as he put it, to express “the idea of rising against the downward current to explore moments of inspiration and significance at least for a time in the enjoyable triumph of life.”

Written originally for tenor saxophone soloist and orchestra, it had its rebirth Tuesday in a wind ensemble transcription by Scott Jones. On hand to solo was the Jacobs School of Music’s splendid saxophone artist Thomas Walsh. He joined the Symphonic Band, led by Jeffrey Gershman. Together, they gave music that stirred and whirled a topnotch workout. One heard moments of introspection and those of majesty. Walsh had the opportunity to make his tenor sax sing and dance; in splendid form, he took full advantage of that opportunity.

Gershman and his Symphonic Band began their portion of the evening with Steven Bryant’s 2012 “Ecstatic Fanfare,” a thickly orchestrated, lush and exhilarating exercise played with zest and crackerjack precision. Between the Bryant and the Peck, master’s candidate Christopher Dortwegt stepped upon the podium to conduct the band in a sumptuous transcription by Alfred Reed of a Bach air, “My Jesus! Oh, What Anguish.” To hear it so well played and sympathetically conducted was edifying.

Eric Smedley’s Concert Band opened the concert, providing four works of differing persuasions. Carol Bremer’s “Early Light” (1999) sought to recall and reflect childhood moments in a ball park, most particularly presentations of “The Star -Spangled Banner,” here obliquely quoted in a lively amalgam of sounds. Malcolm Arnold’s 1979 Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo features melodies and rhythms suggestive of British life and land. Maestro Smedly had his musicians playing not only persuasively but as a true ensemble.

Master’s candidate Paul De Cinque took charge for an admirable reading of Percy Grainger’s 1912 “Handel in the Strand,” a charming and frolicking item (originally written for violin, piano, and cello but later orchestrated by Richard Franko Goldman) meant to honor the range of British music, from the revered Handel to fondly remembered musical comedy.

Smedley and company ended their half of the program with Anthony Iannaccone’s 1979 “After a Gentle Rain,” a two-movement celebration of rainfall and its aftermath. In “The Dark Green Glistens with Old Reflections,” one reveled in music gentle to the ears. What followed, “Sparkling Air Bursts with Dancing Sunlight,” indeed sounded like energy refreshed and released.

Copyright: 2013


  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Professor Emeritus Ray Cramer elected to National Band Association Hall of Fame

Ray E. Cramer, professor emeritus and past chair of the Jacobs School of Music Department of Bands, has been elected to the National Band Association’s Hall of Fame of Distinguished Band Conductors.

As one of the highest honors given to an American Bandmaster, the induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, February 2 at Troy University in Troy, Alabama. In attendance at the ceremony will be chair of the Jacobs School Band Department, Professor Stephen Pratt.

While at IU, Cramer conducted the Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds and taught graduate conducting, band history, and wind literature classes. He is past president of the Midwest Clinic, past president of the College Band Directors National Association and the Indiana Bandmasters Association. Mr. Cramer is in demand internationally as guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. He is a regular guest conductor of the Musashino Academy of Music Wind Ensemble in Tokyo.

History of the National Band Association Hall of Fame of Distinguished Conductors

The National Band Association Hall of Fame of Distinguished Conductors is located on the campus of Troy University in the Hawkins-Adams-Long Hall of Honor.  Troy University was selected in 1978 after a search was made by Dr. William Revelli, then president, and members of the National Band Association.  Dr. Revelli asked Dr. Al Wright of Purdue University to secure the very best place available.  Dr. Wright then contacted Dr. John M. Long, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Director of Bands, and a member of the Alabama Historical Commission, to consider possibility at Troy University.  Dr. Long contacted Dr. Ralph Adams, President of Troy State University, who said “We would be pleased and highly honored to house the Hall of Fame.”

The National Band Association, which is the largest band organization in the world accepted Dr. Adam’s offer and it was placed on the Troy campus.  The Hall of Fame opened in 1980 in Smith Hall and at this time, it was the only national hall of fame in Alabama.

Membership in the Hall of Fame is open to any American bandmaster in the United States. To qualify for nomination, a director has to be at least sixty-five years old, retired, and to have made a national reputation as a band conductor.  He or she must also have made national impact on the American band movement.  Anyone may nominate a director by submitting an application to the Chairman of the Board of Electors of the National Band Association.  The Board of Electors, which represents five national band organizations, then votes on the recommendation.

In 1995 Dr. Ralph Adams generously donated more than one million dollars to Troy University for a permanent home for the Hall of Fame where it is now housed.  Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor of the Troy University System, has continued the great support to make the Hall of Fame a valuable asset to the university.

There are currently only fifty members that have been elected to the Hall of Fame of Distinguished Conductors.

Members of historical significance include Patrick Conway, Patrick Gilmore, Edwin Franko Goldman, Arthur Pryor, Ernest S. Williams, Herbert L. Clarke, Frederick Fellen, Alber Austin Harding, William D. Revelli and John Philip Sousa. Members with ties to the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music include Mark H. Hindsley, Director of the Marching Hundred from 1926-29, Frederick C. Ebbs, former Director of Bands 1967-1982 and Ray E. Cramer, former Director of Bands 1982-2005.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter