Southern Miss wind ensemble to present Masterworks Concert tonight

Southern Miss wind ensemble to present Masterworks Concert tonight

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi Wind Ensemble will give a free concert tonight, Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus. It will feature classic works for wind band including the Symphony in B Flat by Paul Hindemith, Adagio Para Orquesta de Instrumentos de Viento by Joaquin Rodrigo and The Fairest of the Fair March by John Philip Sousa. 

Each of these pieces was selected in part because of their inclusion in Acton Ostling's study of wind band works of "serious artistic merit," and each selection is considered to be among the finest ever crafted for the wind band medium.

John Philip Sousa's Fairest of the Fair is one of only two marches to make the Acton Ostling list of masterworks for wind band – the other being Stars and Stripes Forever. It was composed in 1908 and was one of only a handful of works composed by John Philip Sousa while on an extended rest period from 1908 to 1910. The march was composed for the Boston Food Fair, at which Sousa had previously encountered a strikingly-beautiful young woman who served as the muse for the composition.

The level of intricate craftsmanship of melody and the interplay of parts has made Hindemith's Symphony in B-flat one of the definitive and enduring works of the wind band genre. It was premiered in 1951 by the Pershing's Own under the baton of Hindemith himself. Its skillful construction is a shining example of neo-classicism, and though the work may seem to the listener to wander away from tonality at times, Hindemith manipulates each harmonic sequence brilliantly, exploring the limits of tonal centering in music.

"I am excited about performing the Hindemith Symphony in B Flat. The second movement is my favorite part of the concert; Hindemith's writing sets us [the saxophones] up to show off both our technical ability and our versatility" said Wind Ensemble saxophonist Daniel Backe.

Written in 1966, several decades after diphtheria left his eyesight severely damaged and a subsequent failed operation to restore his sight left him completely blind, Joaquin Rodrigo's Adagio Para Orquesta de Instrumentos de Viento is considered one of the most representative works of the Spanish nationalistic musical style. Featuring virtuosic solo writing and significant stylistic contrasts, Adagio juxtaposes flowing, cadenza-like melodic figures with jagged, percussive declamations. The two sections alternate before coming to a peaceful conclusion.

“As a listener, it takes you to a place of peacefulness,” said Dr. Catherine Rand, director of the Wind Ensemble. “The program as a whole brings the best variety of wind band music to our audience, Hindemith to Sousa.”

For more information about this event, contact Dr. Mike Lopinto at