University of Alberta Concert Band: From the Renaissance to the Contemporary

Student & Senior | $10
Adult | $20

Advance tickets are available for purchase two weeks prior to the concert date through the Timms Box Office | Timms Centre for the Performing Arts, 112 Street & 87 Avenue.  

  • in person | Tuesday & Thursday, 11:00am – 2:00pm
  • by phone | 780.492.2495
  • online

At the Door (cash or card).

This concert is being livestreamed (see link in tab below).

University of Alberta Concert Band: From the Renaissance to the Contemporary

November 27, 2022
3:00 PM | Convocation Hall

Come join the University of Alberta Concert Band  on November 27th at 3:00pm in Convocation Hall. We will be featuring music by Alex Shapiro, Percy Grainger and Ron Nelson, and graduate conductors Sarah Rossi and Meijun Chen!


This concert is a part of the Department of Music's 2022-2023 "Department of Music Presents" Series.

The Last Giant  |  Otto M. Schwarz (b.1967)

Colonial Song  |  Percy Grainger (1882-1961)

Courtly Airs and Dances  |  Ron Nelson (b. 1929)
Guest Conductor Sarah Rossi

  1. Intrada
  2. Basse danse (France)
  3. Pavane (England)
  4. Saltarello (Italy)
  5. Sarabande (Spain)
  6. Allemande (Germany)


Paper Cut  |  Alex Shapiro (b. 1962)
Guest Conductor Meijun Chen

Psalm for Band  |  Vincent Persichetti (1915 - 1987)

Otto Schwarz

Born in Lower Austria, Otto M. Schwarz received his first music education at the Wimpassing School of Music and later at the Music Academy in Vienna. At the age of 15, alongside his studies, his talent for composition began to emerge. His first successes came in the field of pop music. Three of Otto M. Schwarz’ early compositions were released as singles and placed on the Austro charts of the Ö3 pop music station. Der Weg zur Freiheit (The Road to Freedom) won the prize for best composition in the preliminary round of the 1989 Eurovision Song Contest. This prize was not a public vote but was determined by the Austrian Composers’ Association from over 600 submissions. Inspired by this success, barely three years later he had set up his own recording studio, in which he has produced thousands of titles.

As a composer, Otto M. Schwarz is these days more active in advertising, film scores, and jingles for major television networks. Since 1995, Otto M. Schwarz’s compositions in the symphonic sphere have been published by the Dutch music publisher De Haske, by the Swiss publisher Mitropa-Verlag and in America by their parent company Hal Leonard. Works such as Nostrodamus, Around the World In 80 Days, Dragon Fight, Man in the Ice, Bonaparte, and many others are performed successfully the world over.

The Last Giant

On the Wildon Mountain, deep inside Austria, there once lived generations of giants, terrorizing the inhabitants of the valley. However, the people of the valley were determined to put an end to the barbaric invaders. This programmatic piece tells the story of the events step by step, or rather bar by bar. A spectacular and variegated piece for concert winds with lots of action in the different registers, as well as beautiful thematic materials throughout the piece. Schwarz utilizes his cinematic writing to evoke a story unfolding within the performance and allows the audience to explore the tale of the last giant within their own seats.

Percy Grainger

Percy Grainger is an Australian-born American composer and concert pianist. His writing was heavily influenced by his collection of English folk music and arranged a large collection of them for piano and chamber ensembles. An accomplished pianist, his career was established in London and then further in America. He experimented with music machines and became interested in jazz during his educational position at New York University. In the 1930s, Grainger funded the building and opening of the Grainger Museum in his birthplace, Melbourne. He is known as a quirky individual who wrote influential music for piano and played an important role in reviving British folk music within the 20th century.

Colonial Song

Originally composed for 2 voices (soprano and tenor), harp, and full orchestra. In this piece, the composer has wished to express feelings aroused by thoughts of the scenery and people of his native land, Australia. It is dedicated to the composer’s mother, Rose Grainger.

“No traditional tunes of any kind are made use of in this piece, in which I have wished to express feelings aroused by thoughts of the scenery and people of my native land, (Australia), and also to voice a certain kind of emotion that seems to me not untypical of native-born Colonials in general.

I have also noticed curious, almost Italian-like, musical tendencies in brass band performances and ways of singing in Australia (such as a preference for richness and intensity of tone and soulful breadth of phrasing over more subtly and sensitively varied delicacies of expression), which are also reflected here.” (Program note from the Composer)

Ron Nelson

A native of Joliet, Illinois, Ron Nelson* was born December 14, 1929. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1952, a master’s degree in 1953, and a doctor of musical arts degree in 1957, all from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. He studied in France at the Ecole Normale de Musique and at the Paris Conservatory under a Fulbright Grant in 1955. Dr. Nelson joined the Brown University faculty the following year and taught there until his retirement in 1993. His works have received numerous prizes and have been awarded multiple wind band composition prizes including the Sudler International Prize and the American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Prize and the National Association Prize. In 2006, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Oklahoma City University.

Courtly Airs and Dances

A six-movement suite inspired by European cultural Renaissance dances during the sixteenth century. The piece opens with the Intrada; an entrance procession in a fanfare character highlighting the brass. Following is the elegant French Basse-Dance. The word basse describes the low and slow nature of the movement of the dance. Partners move quietly and gracefully in a gliding or walking motion without leaving the floor. The third movement is the stately English Pavane which is similar in style but utilizes a duple meter. Until around 1650, the Pavane opened ceremonial balls and was used as a display of elegant dress and was the successor of the basse danse. The fourth movement is the lively Italian Saltarello. The name is from the Italian word saltare, meaning “to jump”, and the dance is characterized by its hopping/jumping style. The Spanish Sarabande is written in triple meter but commonly had the third beat tied to create a step-drag feel to the dance. The final movement is the German Allemande. This movement has similar processional elements to the Intrada and is characterized by the lack of syncopation.

Alex Shapiro

Alex Shapiro (b. New York City, 1962) aligns note after note with the hope that at least a few of them will sound good next to each other. Her persistence at this activity, as well as non-fiction music writing, public speaking, arts advocacy volunteerism, wildlife photography, and the shameless instigation of insufferable puns on Facebook, has led to a happy life. Drawing from a broad musical palette that giddily ignores genre, Alex's acoustic and electroacoustic works are published by Activist Music LLC, performed and broadcast daily, and can be found on over thirty commercial releases from record labels around the world. Alex lives on Washington State's remote San Juan Island, and when she's not composing she can be found communing with nature, as seen on her music and photo-filled blog, and her website,

Paper Cut

“What do teenagers like? Video games, TV, and movies. What do all these media have in common? Music!

I was thrilled to have a chance to add to the educational band music repertoire, thanks to the American Composers Forum's terrific BandQuest series. I thought it would be fun to make the kids themselves part of the action, so "Paper Cut" has the band doing choreographed maneuvers that look as compelling as they sound. In fact, the band members don't even play their instruments until halfway into the piece.

Music isn't just melody; it's rhythm and texture as well. The unusual element of the paper and the myriad sounds that can emerge from something so simple, offer a fresh view of what music-making can be and opens everyone's ears to the sonic possibilities found among everyday objects.

With a nod to environmentalism, "Paper Cut" might even remind people to avoid waste and recycle. Players can collect paper that would have otherwise ended up in the trash, and bring it to rehearsals. The piece might even be therapeutic, as students can take out their aggression by ripping up bad grades and test scores!

Although "Paper Cut" was composed with middle schoolers in mind, it's also suited to more advanced musicians, since the paper techniques and the skill of playing against a prerecorded track are interesting for all ages. (Program note from the Composer)

Vincent Persichetti

Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987) is an American composer and educator and is known for his polyphonic writing and wide catalog of pieces in every medium. He is referred to as a cornerstone composer of American 20th-century wind band music and created a collection of 14 pieces for high school and college ensembles. His writing utilizes sharp rhythmic characters and polytonality which pushed the musical boundaries of wind band music of his time. He was a supporter of collaboration between the arts and believed that any artist had the ability to create.

Psalm for Band

Psalm for Band is a piece constructed from a single germinating harmonic idea and provides a challenging introduction to the composers writing style. There are three distinct sections -- a sustained chordal mood, a forward-moving chorale, followed by a paean culmination of the materials. Extensive use is made of separate choirs of instruments supported by thematic rhythms in the tenor and bass drums that is passed around the ensemble and requires a consistent style of articulation.
Psalm was selected for performance at the CBDNA Convention in December 1952 as one of the eight most outstanding compositions for band written in the previous several years. (Program note from the Composer)

University of Alberta Concert Band 2022-2023

* denotes section leader


Emma Cowie
Laurence Espallardo
Makenna Graham
Margo Hornett
*Kian Merkosky (Piccolo)
Annika Pries
Jenny Sun
Rebecca Jiahui Yiu

Flute 2

Hannah Bayne
Ashley Braun
Kyla De Groot
Kaylee Patuelli McLellan
Natalia Pilip
Rebekah Sand
Emily Wright

Oboe 1

Nando Sanchez-Wegmann

Oboe 2

Isabella Komlenic


Johanna Currie

Clarinet 1

Sam Calihoo
*Gwen Delos Santos
Felix Ye

Clarinet 2

Leila Thomas
Gabrielle Varewick-Dube

Clarinet 3

Heather Powell
Katelynn Tran
Noella Tangon

Bass Clarinet

Haley Lacza

Alto Saxophone 1

Ayden Heal
*Ada Ho
Jacob Tran
Emma Shraepel

Alto Saxophone 2

Martina Draslova
Jazil Gutierrez
JJ Mrazek
Jordan Smith

Tenor Saxophone

Hanh (Amanda) Dang
Jann Santiago
Mina Phillips-Castillo

Baritone Saxophone

Shannon Gray
Krista Lefebvre

Trumpet 1

*Angelo Panahon
Ethan Rahn
Ntibem Mencha Fonji
Neha Sandhu
Michelle Naef
Zhen Liu
Tayler Johnstone Friend

Horn 1

*Teagan McLeod

Horn 2

Genevieve Lyder
Anwyn Neraasen

Horn 3

Jane Joh

Horn 4

Emma Massick

Trombone 1

Connor Ritchie
*Marcus Wong

Trombone 2

Ethan Callaghan
Jonah Collins

Trombone 3

Sydney Davidson-Yee
Karis Paracuelles


Nick Bothelo
Amna Kamal


Jarod Chiasson
Gibson Finlay


Mikhail Abdulla
Reece Lane Antler
*Ethan De Souza
Jason Gillanders
James Whyte


Jacobb Iwaskow

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