Hodgson Wind Ensemble’s season finale celebrates jazz, adventurous music making

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Hodgson Wind Ensemble

The Hodgson Wind Ensemble’s (HWE) final concert of the year features improvisation, works and performances by Hugh Hodgson School of Music faculty, and a significant musical contribution from the audience itself on Tuesday, April 4, at 8 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall.

The HWE program, titled “All That Jazz,” highlights the adventurous spirit of that form when it is not highlighting the form itself. Experimentation, exploration, improvisation—the Hodgson School’s premier wind band will embrace the driving principles of jazz in a variety of ways.

Perhaps the most adventurous, ambitious piece on the program, “Honeycomb,” by D.M.A. Composition student Cody Brookshire, upholds the jazz traditions of bold innovation and collaboration. In this piece, the audience’s mobile devices become musical instruments.

“With this work, Brookshire wanted to make each musician's part, as well as the music coming out of each audience member's phone, just one unit of something bigger and greater when all the separate components come together,” said Jonathan Poquette, D.M.A. Conducting student and HWE teaching assistant.

“Honeycomb” will be conducted by Jaclyn Hartenberger, director of the UGA Wind Symphony, and it is just one of several portions of the concert powered by Hodgson School faculty.

Assistant professor of composition Peter Van Zandt Lane’s “Beacons,” a piece composed for HWE’s March performance at the College Band Directors National Association national conference, opens the second half of the program.

“It is incredible,” said Cynthia Johnston Turner, HWE director. “There is no composer out there today, in my view, that explores color in more innovative ways than our own Peter Lane.”

The concert makes room for traditional jazz with “And It Happened…” by Mike Titlebaum.

“The Titlebaum is a fun, jazzy concerto that celebrates a variety of famous jazz trumpet players,” said Johnston Turner.

Brandon Craswell, associate professor of trumpet, features in the performance and will take on the roles of Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and more.

Two more pieces, Augusta Read Thomas’s “Magneticfireflies” and Michael Torke’s “Bliss,” explore improvisation and will be conducted by graduate students/HWE teaching assistants Matthew Sadowski and Bradley Esau, respectively.

The final piece on the program is Ron Nelson’s “Passacaglia (Homage on B-A-C-H),” a work Johnston Turner describes as “one of the most exciting pieces for wind band out there.”

Tickets to the concert are $12 each or $6 with a UGA student ID and can be purchased at pac.uga.edu or the PAC box office. Those unable to attend can watch the concert live on the Hodgson School’s website: music.uga.edu/streaming.

The UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music sponsors more than 350 performances each year. To view the performance calendar, subscribe to the weekly email concert listing, and to learn more about the School of Music, go to music.uga.edu.