Wind Ensemble

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Columbia University Wind Ensemble
CUWE Logo.jpg
Founded: 1930
Recognition: ABC
Membership: approx. 50
Executive Board: Conductor/Music Director: Jason Noble

President: Yuxuan Xia
Vice Presidents: Sara Wright and Sara Koutcher
Treasurer: Wallace Teska
Personnel Manager: Hannah Liu
Secretary: Annemarie Chen
Music Librarian: Ross Chapman
Publicity Manager: Esther Moerdler
Webmaster: Eric Ho
Equipment Manager: Jose Mata/Yuxuan Xia
MMC Liaison: Cindy Saenz
Social Media Chair: Nicholas Luber

Category: Performance

The Columbia University Wind Ensemble has, since 1998, grown in membership, audience, musical ability, organization, and has come to be one of the top providers of music performance in the Columbia community. The ensemble strives to play the best of the wind ensemble literature and also performs some marches and orchestral transcriptions for band. They give two themed concerts per semester, culminating in a spring concert which is chosen by and pays tribute to the members of the graduating senior class. The musicians are very involved, suggesting concert repertoire and taking opportunities to compose and guest-conduct.

Comprised mainly of undergraduate students from all schools and academic disciplines, the Columbia University Wind Ensemble strives to provide an outlet for musicians to perform the best of the wind ensemble repertoire and to meet other musicians in a social environment. The CU Wind Ensemble developed a music program at P.S. 125 called Making Music Matter which is mainly funded through the annual Columbia Festival of Winds, an all-day concert celebrating wind music and music education. However, the CUWE is now collaborating with the Musical Mentors Collaborative (MMC) to provide music education to children.



Founded in the 1930s as the Columbia University Concert Band, the Columbia University Wind Ensemble was first directed by Harwood Simmons, then the conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra. After a long hiatus, former president Kenneth Cho revived the Columbia University Wind Ensemble in 1998 under the direction of conductor Theodore "T.J." Perlick Molinari after finding that the former group had dissolved, leaving the university community with no outlet for serious wind music. Soon, the ensemble grew from a core membership of fifteen players to a full wind ensemble of almost forty musicians performing the standard wind ensemble repertoire.

In 2002, Andrew Pease entered as conductor and music director. Because of his dedicated work, Mr. Pease has increased the group's recognition throughout Columbia and New York City, and has allowed the ensemble to perform some of the most challenging wind ensemble repertoire. In addition, the executive board, comprised of all undergraduate students, continues to works hard completing the ensemble's administrative tasks and advancing the musical and social environment of the ensemble.

Recently, the Columbia University Wind Ensemble has grown to a full wind ensemble of almost sixty brass, woodwind, and percussion musicians. In 2006, the ensemble began the Teachers College Conducting Partnership, allowing a qualified TC student to serve as a guest conductor for one concert. The group has played at Merkin Hall, St. Paul's Chapel, Miller Theatre, Philosophy Hall, Roone Arledge Auditorium, and Yale's Woolsey Hall, and performed in joint concerts with other University ensembles such as the Yale Concert Band, MIT Concert Band, the Queens College Wind Ensemble, the Harvard Wind Ensemble, the Dartmouth Wind Symphony, and the Brown Wind Symphony.

In 2009, the Wind Ensemble produced two new programs: the Columbia Festival of Winds, an all-day concert promoting wind band performances, and Making Music Matter, a free music-education program at P.S. 125 funded in part by the Festival.

In 2013, Jason Noble became the new conductor and music director of the Wind Ensemble.

In 2014, the Wind Ensemble began a new partnership with the Musical Mentors Collaborative in order to mutually improve their abilities to provide music education.

Music Director - Jason Noble

Praised for his highly expressive, innovative, and heart-felt musical interpretations, Jason Noble has been cited as “one of the nation’s most promising music educators” by School Band and Orchestra Magazine and as a teacher who makes a positive difference (The Miami Herald). In addition to his duties as Conductor of the Columbia University Wind Ensemble, he currently serves as Director of Bands at Scarsdale High School in Scarsdale, New York, a position he has held since September 2007. Noble has held recent positions at Hofstra University (Director of Bands, Visiting Assistant Professor), New York University (Associate Director of Wind Ensembles), and the critically acclaimed Hanover Wind Symphony (Music Director). He recently served as an adjunct lecturer at Teachers College - Columbia University, Montclair State University, and Kean University. Noble previously served as Director of Bands at Miami Coral Park High School, Miami, Florida. Mr. Noble attended New York University (M.A., Music Education) and University of Miami (B.M., Music Education, magna cum laude) and is currently a doctoral candidate (Ed.D, Music Education) at Teachers College, Columbia University.

During his tenure at Miami Coral Park High School, Noble’s ensembles received both national and international acclaim. In 2004, Noble commissioned a new significant work for wind band, “Yosemite Autumn,” by composer Mark Camphouse. Noble and the Miami Coral Park High School band released a professionally recorded CD, “Living a Musical Dream,” with Mark Custom Records in 2003. Noble and the Hanover Wind Symphony released a professional CD in 2006, “Icons,” also on the Mark Custom label. Honor bands and ensembles under Mr. Noble’s direction have performed by exclusive competitive invitation at Carnegie Hall (2003, 2010, 2012), Salzburg and Vienna, Austria (2009), Prague, Czech Republic (2009), Gran Canaria, Spain (2010), Barcelona, Spain (2010), London, England (2013), The Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland (2013), and were invited to perform exclusively at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia (2004). Noble is an executive board member and adjudicator for the Central States Judges Association (CSJA), one of the nation’s premier musical adjudication organizations. Noble's research interests include Band Education, Instrumental Music Education, and Philosophies of Music Education. Noble is in frequent demand as a conductor, lecturer, and music performance adjudicator across the United States and abroad and has guest conducted or adjudicated numerous band performances in nineteen states and eight countries abroad.

Audition Process

Auditions for the CU Wind Ensemble usually occur during the first weekend after classes start. Musicians must prepare a two-minute selection that best represents their performance level and sight-read music from the upcoming concert. Auditions typically last about ten minutes and musicians are asked to arrive five minutes early to warm up.

E-mail for an audition slot or more information!

Columbia Festival of Winds and Making Music Matter

The Columbia Festival of Winds is a daylong series of concerts to benefit public school music education. Featured New York City area music ensembles including the Columbia University Wind Ensemble, the Princeton University Wind Ensemble, the Manhattan Wind Ensemble, the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corp, Frank Sinatra High School Band, and Jambalaya Brass have participated in this all-day event to raise money for Making Music Matter. Wycliffe Gordon, an internationally recognized jazz trombonist, and New York Philharmonic Director of Education Theodore Wiprud, have also participated in the festival to promote public school music programming.

Proceeds from the festival provide funding for Making Music Matter, a free after-school music education program founded by members of the Columbia University Wind Ensemble in 2009. With the support of the Morningside Area Alliance, volunteers from the CU Wind Ensemble work with a group of fourth grade musicians at P.S. 125. Money raised during 2008's inaugural festival has provided funds for renting flutes, clarinets, trumpets and trombones, buying music books, and supplying instrument accessories such as reeds and valve oil. The P.S. 125 Band performed for the first time during the 2009 Columbia Festival of Winds (receiving great applause for Hot Cross Buns). The program is continuing to expand, with a large donation from Ali Hard through the Van Am Award, given to her in 2010.

In 2014, the Wind Ensemble began a new partnership with the Musical Mentors Collaborative (MMC) in order to mutually improve their abilities to provide music education. The Columbia Festival of Winds proceeds now go to the MMC to help them with their programs.

Notable Alumni and Guest Conductors

Notable alumni include Maxine Woods, former principal bassoonist with the Toronto Symphony, and Armando Ghitalla, former principal trumpeter with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Notable guest conductors have included Edwin Franko Goldman and Karel Husa. The ensemble performed joint concerts with other University musical ensembles such as the MIT Concert Band, Queens College Wind Ensemble, Yale Concert Band and the Harvard Wind Ensemble, which was a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall in 1965.

Commissioned Pieces

In the past, the CU Wind Ensemble has commissioned many pieces including Michael DiGiacinto’s Soundscape (2006), Erik Jorgen Jorgensen's Chaconne (2007), and Oliver Caplan’s Reason for Hope in a Complex World (2008).

The ensemble also had the honor of the NYC premiere of Frank Ticheli’s Nitro in March 2007 and the world premiere of Dr. Edward Green's Overture in E-flat, arranged by Andrew Pease, in April 2010.

Recent Concert Programs

Spring Concert Series - Van Am Quad and Riverside Park - April 25, 2015 and May 3, 2015

  • Short Ride in a Fast Machine – John Adams, arr. Richard L. Saucedo
  • Suite of Old American Dances - Robert Russell Bennett
  • The Promise of Living from "The Tender Land" - Aaron Copland, arr. Kenneth Singelton
  • Occident and Orient - Camille Saint-Saëns, arr. Loras John Schissel
  • Berceuse and Finale from "The Firebird" - Igor Stravinsky, arr. Richard Franko Goldman

Columbia Festival of Winds - March 1, 2015

  • Hymn to the Sun with the Beat of Mother Earth – Satoshi Yagisawa
  • Give Us This Day - David Maslanka

Holiday Concert - December 1, 2014

  • Festive Overture - Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Watchman, Tell Us of the Night – Mark Camphouse
  • Irish Tune from County Derry - Percy Grainger
  • Woodwind and Brass Chamber Groups

Memory - October 27, 2014

  • Festive Overture - Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Colonial Song – Percy Grainger
  • Esprit de Corps – Robert Jager
  • Watchman, Tell Us of the Night – Mark Camphouse

Riverside Park Concerts - May 3 and 4, 2014

  • Florentiner March - Julius Fucik
  • Sheltering Sky – John Mackey
  • Linconshire Posy – Percy Grangier
  • Pines of the Appian Way – Ottorino Respighi (arr. Erik Leidzen)
  • America the Beautiful – arr. Carmen Dragon

Columbia Festival of Winds - March 2, 2014

  • Caccia and Chorale - Clifton Williams, conducted by Sarah Quiroz
  • Requiem – David Maslanka
  • Fantasia (for Alto Saxophone) – Eric Ewazen, feat. soloist Dr. Paul Cohen
  • Moth – Viet Cuong

Tales and Visions - December 8, 2013

  • Russian Christmas Music - Alfred Reed
  • Strange Humors – John Mackey
  • Of Sailors and Whales – W. Francis McBeth
  • Entry March of the Boyars – Johan Halvorsen
  • Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral – Richard Wagner

"Transformations" at Miller Theatre - November 14, 2013

  • Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral - Richard Wagner
  • Of Sailors and Whales – W. Francis McBeth
  • Three Revelations from the Lotus Sutra, I. Awakening Overture – Alfred Reed
  • October – Eric Whitacre

Epic - April 22, 2013

  • Raise of the Son - Rossano Gallante
  • Selections from the "Star Wars" Trilogy – John Williams, arr. Donald Hunsberger
  • "Italian in Algiers" Overture – Gioachino Rossini
  • Selections from "Carmina Burana" – Carl Orff, arr. Krance
  • Hands Across the Sea – John Philip Sousa
  • Jupiter from “The Planets” – Gustav Holst, arr. Merlin Patterson
  • Bacchanale from "Samson and Delilah" – Camille Saint-Saëns

Columbia Festival of Winds - March 3, 2013

  • Festive Overture – Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Acrostic Song from “Final Alice” - David del Tredici, arr. Mark Spede
  • The Last Polka – Beck Hansen, arr. Andrew Pease
  • First Suite in E-flat – Gustav Holst (conducted by Sarah Quiroz)
  • Reason for Hope in a Complex World – Oliver Caplan

Symphony - December 9, 2012

  • Pageant - Vincent Persichetti
  • Symphony for Band - Edward Green
  • Shepherd’s Hey – Percy Grainger

Scenes - October 21, 2012

  • Lauds - Ron Nelson
  • Hymn to a Blue Hour - John Mackey
  • Scenes from the Louvre - Norman Dello Joio
  • La Muerte del Angel - Astor Piazzolla, arr. Andrew Pease (feat. Sarah Frisof)
  • Blue Shades - Frank Ticheli

Perspectives - April 14, 2012

  • Huapango - Jose Pablo Moncayo
  • William Byrd Suite - Gordon Jacob
  • "Gnomus" from Pictures at an Exhibition - Modest Mussorgsky, arr. Mark Hindsley
  • Second Suite in F - Gustav Holst

Columbia Festival of Winds - March 4, 2012

  • American Overture for Band - Joseph Wilcox Jenkins
  • Cuban Overture - George Gershwin, arr. Mark Rogers
  • Slava! - Leonard Bernstein, arr. Clare Grundman
  • Kingfishers Catch Fire - John Mackey

Traveling East - December 11, 2011

  • Orient et Occident - Camille Saint-Saëns
  • Variations on a Korean Folk Song - John Barnes Chance
  • Come, Drink One More Cup - Chen Qian
  • Selections from Princess Mononoke - Joe Hisaishi, arr. Kazuhiro Morita
  • Festal Scenes - Yashuhide Ito

Light - October 23, 2011

  • "Overture" from Dancer in the Dark - Björk Guðmundsdóttir, arr. Vince Mendoza, trans. Andrew Pease
  • Shadow Rituals - Michael Markowski
  • Angels in the Architecture - Frank Ticheli
  • Divertimento - Vincent Persichetti
  • Lux Aurumque - Eric Whitacre
  • Beacon Fires - Rob Smith
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