Middlebury Performing Arts Series Opens with Imani Winds and Catalyst Quartet September 24

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Free Event Offered In-Person at Mahaney Arts Center and by Stream

Middlebury, VT—The Middlebury Performing Arts Series opens the fall 2021 season with a long-awaited concert by two dynamic chamber ensembles. Imani Winds and the Catalyst Quartet will join forces for a special program entitled (im)migration: music of change, including a newly-commissioned work by leading American composer Jessie Montgomery.

This concert is the first live, in-person event from the Middlebury Performing Arts Series since March of 2020, when the pandemic first struck. Audiences from both on- and off-campus are welcome, and the concert is free, thanks to generous support from the Sunderman Family Concert Endowment Fund, in memory of Dr. F. William Sunderman Jr. and Dr. Carolyn Reynolds Sunderman. Vaccinations (or valid medical or religious exemptions) and masks are required. The event will also be streamed for free.

About the Concert Program

The highlight of the evening is the Vermont premiere of Jessie Montgomery’s new work for nine musicians, Sergeant McCauley, which brings together spirituals and work songs that reflect her great-grandfather’s route on the Great Migration, from Mississippi through the West, north to the Dakotas, and eventually back to Georgia. The work was co-commissioned by the Middlebury Performing Arts Series in partnership with the national consortium Music Accord and the Sphinx Organization, which champions the work of artists of color.

The program also includes the Imani Winds playing an arrangement of Mongo Santamaría’s Afro Blue; the Catalyst Quartet playing Florence B. Price’s Negro Folksongs in Counterpoint; and both ensembles together in Roberto Sierra’s Concierto de Cámara.

About the Performers

Celebrating over two decades of music making, the Grammy nominated Imani Winds (Brandon Patrick George, flute; Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe; Kevin Newton, French horn; Mark Dover, oboe; and Monica Ellis, bassoon) have led both a revolution and evolution of the wind quintet through their dynamic playing, adventurous programming, imaginative collaborations, and outreach endeavors that have inspired audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Their playlist embraces traditional chamber music repertoire, but they also expand the wind quintet repertoire by commissioning new music. The ensemble has performed around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Walt Disney Hall, and in Asia, Europe, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. Their commitment to education runs deep, with residencies and master classes with thousands of students each year. In 2016, Imani Winds received their greatest accolade yet: a permanent presence in the classical music section of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

“The [Imani Winds’] hot rapport churns with conviction throughout…”—Gramophone

Hailed by The New York Times at its Carnegie Hall debut as “invariably energetic and finely burnished… playing with earthy vigor,” the Grammy Award-winning Catalyst Quartet was founded by the internationally acclaimed Sphinx Organization in 2010. The ensemble (Karla Donehew Perez, violin; Abi Fayette, violin; Paul Laraia, viola; and Karlos Rodriguez, cello) believes in the unity that can be achieved through music and imagines their programs and projects with this in mind, redefining and reimagining the classical music experience. They combine a serious commitment to diversity and education with a passion for contemporary works. They have toured widely throughout the United States and abroad; recent seasons have brought international engagements in Russia, South Korea, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Puerto Rico, and expanded tours throughout the United States.

“Like all great chamber groups, the Catalyst Quartet is beautiful to watch, like a family in lively conversation at the dinner table: anticipating, interrupting, changing subjects.”—New York Times

Performance Details

Imani Winds and the Catalyst Quartet will perform on Friday, September 24, 2021 at 7:30 PM ET at the Mahaney Arts Center (MAC)’s Robison Hall. Admission is free; no tickets are required for the in-person concert. The event will also be streamed, both live and for 48 hours after the show; registration required. The MAC is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, on the campus of Middlebury College. Free parking is available. Please note the MAC’s health and safety protocols, including required vaccinations (or valid medical or religious exemptions) and masks. For more information: (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or http://www.middlebury.edu/arts.

Photo caption: Imani Winds and the Catalyst Quartet will play a free concert September 24 to launch the Middlebury Performing Arts Series’ fall 2021 season. Photos: (Imani Winds) Shervin Lainez and (Catalyst Quartet) Ricardo Quinones


Friday, September 24, 2021 - 7:30pm