Following in the rich tradition of Patrick Conway and Walter Beeler, the ensemble presents some eight concerts annually both on and off campus, including such venues as Lincoln Center. The Ensemble presented a highly successful tour of England and Ireland in 1998, and returned to Ireland in the spring of 2007. Through a demanding schedule of concerts, tours, and recordings, the ensemble has developed a broad reputation for performing excellence, innovative programming, and commitment to new music. Concert programs include a wide variety of music including wind band classics, chamber works from a variety of historic periods, new commissions, and those newer works that serve to expand the evolving repertoire for the wind ensemble. Within the past four years, the wind ensemble has been invited to perform at the national conventions of the country’s two most distinguished band organizations; The American Bandmaster’s Association and the College Band Directors National Association.
Guest conductors and composers from around the globe who have worked with the ensemble include Samuel Adler, David Amran, Frank Battisti, Warren Benson, Michael Colburn, Michael Colgrass, John Corigliano, Viet Cuong, Richard Danielpour, Michael Daugherty, David Dzubay, Lukas Foss, Arnald Gabriel, John Harbison, Karel Husa, Libby Larsen, Timothy Mahr, John Mackey, David Maslanka, Ron Nelson, Larry Rachleff, Timothy Reynish, H. Robert Reynolds, Gunther Schuller, Joseph Schwanter, Roberto Sierra, Carl St. Clair, Richard Strange, Steven Stucky, Frank Ticheli, John Whitwell, and Dana Wilson.
Membership in the 48-member ensemble is determined by audition in the fall of each academic year. The wind and percussion players in the Wind Ensemble are among the most talented in the School of Music.