Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Event Slides Per Node 1415

Imani Winds
and Catalyst Quartet
(im)migration: music of change

7:30 pm Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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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Adult $44
University Park Student $15
18 and Younger $34

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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.

Artist Websites: 

Secondary Events on Each Event

Classical Coffeehouse
featuring Imani Winds
and Catalyst Quartet

8:00 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Hintz Family Alumni Center’s Robb Hall

Classical Coffeehouse is free for University Park students.
A $10 donation is suggested for each community member. Donations help to sustain the coffeehouse series.

The coffeehouse includes a mini-performance, discussions among artists and audience members, and social time with the musicians and others in attendance.


Enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages. Seating is limited. Standing room is available when seating is full. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Presented by the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State and Penn State Alumni Association in partnership with the Blue & White Society, the PSU Music Service Club, and the Penn State Coffee Club.

support provided by
Pieter and Lida Ouwehand Endowment