Juneau Community Bands, in collaboration with the University of Alaska Southeast and Thunder Mountain High School, will host the Maslanka and Alaskan Composer Festival June 18-21 in Juneau. The centerpiece of the festival is a Saturday night performance by the Taku Winds (formerly the Juneau Wind Ensemble) featuring original music by visiting composer David Maslanka and Alaskan composers Emerson Eads, Artemio Sandoval, Tyree Pini and William Todd Hunt.
Festival events also include an afternoon of chamber music concerts on Sunday, chamber music coaching sessions on Thursday, and a discussion about music led by visiting musicians at UAS on Friday.
“We know that Juneau’s music-loving community will be wowed by this festival,” said Sarah McNair-Grove, president of Juneau Community Bands, in an email. “It has something for everyone -- new Alaska music, great percussion solos, woodwinds, brass, strings, harp! We are excited to be able to share this music with our community.”
Saturday’s concert will feature the Alaskan premiere of Maslanka’s Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble, with local trombonist Katy Giorgio on solo trombone. Giorgio, like many Taku Winds members, also plays with the Juneau Symphony.
“When I discovered that David Maslanka had written a trombone concerto, I got excited immediately,” Giorgio said in an email. “I’ve known his music for 20 years, and I’m a really big fan. I tracked down a recording of the piece, and 30 seconds in, I knew that I absolutely had to play it. It’s stunning. I performed the first movement at Symphony Showcase in April, and several people approached me afterwards commenting that they had no idea trombone could sound pretty!”
Maslanka is a highly regarded contemporary composer best known for his music for winds. He has written more than 130 works, including nine symphonies, 15 concertos, a Mass and many concert pieces, in addition to a variety of orchestral and choral works.
When Giorgio contacted the composer to request the music for the concerto in November 2013, he indicated an interest in visiting Alaska, prompting Giorgio to begin planning the Composer’s Festival in collaboration with Taku Winds’ director, William Todd Hunt, and the Juneau Community Bands.
In addition to directing, Hunt will have three original pieces featured in the composer’s festival: “Upon Enchanted Ground” on Saturday, and two smaller works -- a flute, clarinet and harp trio and a flute quartet -- on Sunday.
Saturday’s program also features “A New Bicycle” by Juneau Student Symphony conductor Tyree Pini, “Ultraviolet” by Artemio Sandoval, also of Juneau, and Fairbanks composer Emerson Eads’ “HooDoo Suite.”
Saturday’s concert begins at 8 p.m. at the TMHS auditorium and will be preceded by a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m. by the featured composers.
A separate concert will be presented at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, also at the Thunder Mountain High School auditorium, with a pre-concert talk scheduled for 2 p.m. In addition to Hunt’s pieces, the program includes a marimba solo, brass quintet, woodwind quintet, and marimba and saxophone duet composed by Maslanka, and a percussion solo written and played by Dwayne Corbin, guest conductor for this past weekend’s Juneau Symphony concert. Corbin heard about the festival while rehearsing for the symphony concerts and decided to extend his stay here to participate. He will be playing percussion in both concerts along with his wife, Caryn, in addition to performing his own piece Sunday, called “Cage for One.”
Tickets are $20 to either concert, or $35 for both, and are available online at www.juneaucommunityband.org/ and at the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council and Hearthside Books.
Sunday’s concert will be followed by a potluck barbeque at Savikko Park Shelter #2 (the log cabin) from 6-9 p.m. Guests should bring food or drink to share.
Prior to the weekend concerts, on Thursday, June 18, Maslanka will lead a masterclass for chamber groups, scheduled for 4-6 p.m. in the Thunder Mountain High School band room. And on Friday, June 19, visiting musicians will present a lecture from 4-6 p.m. in the Egan Lecture Hall at UAS titled, “Music from Carnegie Hall to the Grand Canyon to the Shores of Lynn Canal... a conversation with musicians who have done it all!”. Participating speakers include Karl Paulnack (piano, Ithaca College of Music), Rhonda Rider (cello, The Boston Conservatory) and Brian Calhoon (percussion, The Boston Conservatory). Rider will be also visiting with local music students while she’s in town through the Juneau Alaska Music Matters program.
Thursday’s masterclass and Friday’s lecture are free and open to the public.
The Maslanka and Alaskan Composer Festival is the largest concert series yet hosted by Taku Winds, an ensemble group led by Hunt that operates under the umbrella of Juneau Community Bands. Hunt is also director of the Orpheus Project (former Opera to Go).
The festival is supported in part by Alaskan Brewing Co., Bartlett Regional Hospital, Travel by Airline Doctors, and the Alaska State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as other businesses and individuals.
Find out more at http://www.juneaucommunityband.org/