The Symphonic Wind Ensemble is a group of 50 of the university's most talented wind and percussion musicians, directed by Dr. Angela Schroeder. The Symphonic Wind Ensemble performs the most serious and challenging wind band music available. With essentially one player to a part, the repertoire is largely music that was originally conceived for the wind band. Recognized in national festivals and internationally, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble performs four concerts a year and several performances away from the campus and for special events.
The ensemble has performed with notable soloists including Dr. Brian Bowman (euphonium), Jeff Nelson (horn), Jens Lindemann (trumpet), Dr. Matthew Coley (percussion), Jeff Campbell (clarinet), Lidia Khaner (oboe), Dr. Allison Balcetis (saxophone), and the Quatour International de Saxophones (saxophone quartet). The ensemble has hosted two Pulitzer Prize winning composers on campus – Michael Colgrass and John Corigliano - and performed the Canadian premiere performance of Corigliano’s Circus Maximus: Symphony No. 3 for large Wind Ensemble, under the supervision of the composer. In 2010, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble performed at the regional conference of the College Band Directors National Association in Reno, NV. Most recently the ensemble were invited performers at the Percy Grainger Wind Band Festival in Chicago, IL, and had the distinction of performing at Orchestra Hall – home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra – in March 2016. They have participated in numerous composition consortiums, including works by Jonathan Newman and Libby Larsen, and continue to program Canadian premiere performances annually.
The Symphonic Wind Ensemble participates in the annual Department of Music Concerto Competition, offering students the opportunity to perform a solo concerto with the ensemble. In addition, the ensemble hosts the University of Alberta High School Honour Band each spring, inviting students from across the province to come to campus to work and perform with members of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble as well as our applied instrumental faculty. Alumni of SWE have gone on to positions with major orchestras, military bands – even the world-famous Canadian Brass!