and Catalyst Quartet
(im)migration: music of change
Imani Winds and Catalyst Quartet will join talents for a concert featuring the world premiere of Sergeant McCauley, a work by Catalyst violinist and composer Jessie Montgomery. The composition is inspired by the Great Migration of African Americans, during the early to middle twentieth century, from the perspective of Montgomery’s great-grandfather William McCauley. The nonet will bring together spirituals and work songs that reflect her ancestor’s route from Mississippi through the West, north to the Dakotas, and eventually south to Georgia.
Through the special timbral effects of this mix of winds (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn) and strings (two violins, viola, and cello), the Montgomery composition will transform the ancestral stories, and reflections upon them, into music. The work continues the storytelling tradition passed through the composer’s mother—playwright, actor, and teacher Robbie McCauley.
The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State co-commissioned Montgomery’s composition through its membership in the national consortium Music Accord, which commissioned the work in conjunction with the Sphinx Organization.
Imani has created a distinct presence in the classical music world through dynamic playing, culturally diverse programming, virtuosic collaborations, and inspirational outreach programs. The quintet includes flutist Brandon Patrick George, oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz, clarinetist Mark Dover, French hornist Jeff Scott, and bassoonist Monica Ellis.
Catalyst features leading laureates and alumni of the internationally acclaimed Sphinx Competition. In addition to Montgomery, the quartet includes violinist Karla Donehew-Perez, violist Paul Laraia, and cellist Karlos Rodriguez.
The program also includes Imani performing Afro Blue (a jazz standard) by Mongo Santamaria and Cane by Jason Moran (inspired by the composer’s Louisiana bayou ancestry); Catalyst playing Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout (a mixture of Western classical and Andean folk elements) by Gabriela Frank; and both ensembles performing Concierto de Camara by Puerto Rico native Roberto Sierra.
Artistic Viewpoints will not be offered before this performance, but musicians will engage in a discussion with audience members after the concert.
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Gay and James Dunne
support provided by
William E. McTurk Endowment
Sandra Zaremba and Richard Brown provide support for engagement programming related to this performance.
This event is part of a season-long focus, The American Experience: Through an African-American Lens.