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KU Wind Ensemble releases its fourth CD, Landscapes

Monday, March 4, 2013

The KU Wind Ensemble, conducted by Paul W. Popiel, director of bands, recently released Landscapes, the ensemble’s fourth CD on the Naxos label.

Landscapes is a journey through the rich tapestry of American wind band music, featuring the works of Michael Torke, Frank Ticheli and Aaron Copland.

Torke’s “Javelin” is one of the most frequently performed orchestral pieces and was transcribed by Merlin Patterson for wind ensemble. “Mojave” was arranged specifically for the KU Wind Ensemble, featuring Ji Hye Jung, assistant professor of percussion, on the marimba. Ticheli explores vibrant colors in sound in “An American Elegy,” a work originally commissioned by the Columbine Commissioning Fund as an expression of hope, in the memory of those who lost their loves at Columbine High School in 1999 and an honor to the survivors. Copland’s arrangements of “Quiet City” and “Variations on a Shaker Melody” encapsulate the depth and variety of his imagination.

The CD features the following KU School of Music faculty members: Ji Hye Jung, assistant professor of percussion, marimba; Steve Leisring, associate professor of trumpet; and Margaret Marco, associate professor of oboe, English horn.

"I am really thrilled to present this great repertoire to a wider audience through the Naxos Wind Band Classics series,” Popiel said. “I am truly humbled to continue the tradition of excellent bands at the University of Kansas and to share the Wind Ensemble's work around the world through this recording. It is a very exciting time for the KU School of Music."

The KU Wind Ensemble will record its fifth CD, In the Shadow of No Towers, later this month prior to the world premiere of this work at Carnegie Hall on March 26, 2013. The CD will be released in November 2013 on the Naxos label.

Landscapes is currently available from various outlets and also on iTunes. For more information, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-3436.

The University of Kansas Wind Ensemble enjoys a long history of excellence and musical leadership in the state of Kansas, across the nation, and around the world. The ensemble has performed at every major wind band and music education convention in the country, as well as with musicians such as Aaron Copland, Vincent Persichetti, Percy Grainger, Karel Husa, Michael Colgrass and Frank Ticheli. The KU Wind Ensemble is at the forefront of the Naxos Wind Band Classics series, having recorded four CDs on the Naxos label: Redline Tango, Wild Nights!, Derivations and Landscapes. The ensemble is committed to contemporary music and regularly commissions, premieres and records new works. The group is also dedicated to the preservation of major works from the standard repertoire. Paul W. Popiel was appointed Director of Bands and conductor of the Wind Ensemble in 2010.

Paul W. Popiel is the Director of Bands at the University of Kansas and is only the seventh person to hold this position in the band's storied 125-year history. He conducts the KU Wind Ensemble, directs the graduate program in wind conducting and guides all aspects of the university band program. His previous appointments include the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and Oklahoma State University. He also enjoyed six years teaching in the public schools of Texas and Michigan.

Popiel has lectured and performed throughout North America, Europe, Singapore and Japan. He has produced several CDs for the Wind Band Classics series on the Naxos label, leading the KU Wind Ensemble on the latest Naxos project, Landscapes, featuring the music of Michael Torke, Aaron Copland and Frank Ticheli, which was recently released.

A proponent of distinctive new music, Popiel has commissioned and premiered numerous new works for wind ensemble and chamber winds, including works by composers Michael Torke, Mohammed Fairouz, Steven Bryant, David Dzubay, Kevin Walczyk, Kevin Wilt, Tamar Diesendruck and Joni Greene.

Popiel holds degrees from Truman State University, the University of Notre Dame and Michigan State University. A recipient of a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship, he also earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Twentieth-Century Music at the University of Bristol, England. Popiel was the 2003 Frank L. Battisti Conducting Fellow, serving as the Resident Conductor of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.

For more information, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-3436. music.ku.edu.

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KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
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