Wind Ensemble

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Columbia University Wind Ensemble
CUWE Logo.jpg
Founded: 1930
Recognition: ABC, SGA
Membership: approx. 50
Executive Board:
President: Alex Donnelly

VPs of CFW: Tom Callander & Kevin Scherer
VPs of MMM: Tim Foreman & Sam Alexander
Treasurer/Social Chair: Sherrie Deng
Personnel/Equipment Manager: Scott Aronin
Secretary/Librarian: Sayaka Tsuno
Librarian: Kevin Scherer
Publicity Manager: Allison Scott
Webmaster: Curtis Cooper
Members-at-large: JJ Sechan & Hannah Allaman

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. Recently, the CU Wind Ensemble has 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.



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 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.

Music Director

Andrew Pease has been the music director for the Columbia University Wind Ensemble since 2002. Originally from Durham, CT, he began trumpet studies at age 9 and piano at age 12. He graduated cum laude with high honors in music from Dartmouth College in 2001, where he received the Wind Symphony's Senior Symphonic Award and the Richter Grant for Senior Research. He received his Master of Arts degree in Music Education from Columbia University's Teachers College in 2004. Mr. Pease is currently working towards a second Master's Degree in Wind Conducting at Hofstra University with Prof. Peter Boonshaft. His past conducting teachers include Max Culpepper, Melinda O'Neal, and Dino Anagnost, as well as clinics with Glen Adsit, Allan McMurray, Stephen Pratt, and Richard Blatti.

Mr. Pease has been active in a wide array of musical activities, from symphony orchestras to his own rock band. By day he is a music teacher at Lakewood Elementary School in Congers, NY, where he teaches classroom music, elementary band, and chorus to grades k-5. At Dartmouth he was the founding Music Director of Dartmouth Steel, as well as Student Conductor of the Dartmouth College Marching Band during its 2000 season. He currently directs the Columbia Summer Winds, the CUWE's summer outdoor counterpart, a post which he has held for six seasons. Mr. Pease remains active as a brass player, featured recently on both trombone and trumpet. He has recently appeared as guest conductor with New Jersey's Hanover Wind Symphony.

Mr. Pease also arranges compositions, most recently including Astor Piazzolla's La Muerte del Angel and Edward Green's Overture in Eb for the CUWE. His other arrangements have been written for such diverse media as steel band, orchestra, and recorders, and have included styles ranging from Christmas carols to tango to popular movie and video game themes.

Audition Process

Auditions for the CU Wind Ensemble 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.

Auditions for Fall Semester 2012 will be on:

  • 9/8 from 2:30 - 6:30 PM in Lerner 477
  • 9/9 from 1 - 5 PM in Lerner 477

E-mail CUWE President Alex Donnelly at 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.

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.

Comissioned Pieces

In the past, the CU Wind Ensemble has comissioned 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

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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