“(Their) remarkable ability to blend creates magic…gorgeous tone qualities…”
–American Record Guide
“These personable and attractive young musicians played with amazing technical facility and ensemble while achieving exemplary tones on their individual instruments.”
“The Prairie Winds played brilliantly. Their audience responded with an enthusiastic standing ovation.”
–Joseph Fabbioli, Ravinia Festival
Since their debut in 1996, The Prairie Winds have captivated audiences throughout North America with performances that present the finest wind quintet literature in concert programs that entertain as well as enlighten. These musicians blend powerful musical technique with humor and intriguing background information to create what one critic called “a unique approach to the shaping of the concert experience (that) is sure to keep them in demand” (Tryon Daily Bulletin). The Prairie Winds have performed at a number of celebrated music festivals, including Ravinia, Juneau Jazz and Classics, Chamber Music America’s Education and Residency Institute, and the Britt Festival in Oregon, where the group served as quintet-in-residence for four years. In 2003, the Prairie Winds began an annual residency at the Madeline Island Chamber Music in Wisconsin, which offers a chamber music program for collegiate wind players. In addition to their busy touring schedule, the quintet also has an active radio presence—recent broadcasts include full-length concerts for Chicago’s WFMT “Live from Studio One” program and for listeners of Minnesota Public Radio.
In collaboration with composer Cliff Colnot, hornist David Griffin transcribed long-lost music by Darius Milhaud from the 1939 film Cavalcade d’amour. The rediscovered music was arranged for wind quintet and utilized in a performing version combining film and live chamber music. In July 2005, the Prairie Winds premiered this crowd-pleasing spectacle at the Madeline Island Chamber Music. The quirky 70-year-old film presented with subtitled translations has quickly become one of the Prairie Winds most often requested programs.
In 2000, the Prairie Winds teamed with Albany Records to release Gale Force, a critically acclaimed recording of 20th-century wind quintet music by North American composers. Recently, the group released Turbulent Winds, a disc of eastern European works that has received widespread critical acclaim. The group also has collaborated several times with pianist Ralph Votapek, a Van Cliburn International Piano Competition gold medalist, with whom they performed works for winds and piano by Mozart, Beethoven, and Poulenc.
The members of the quintet pursue active musical careers outside the group, as teachers, touring artists, or members of world-renowned performing ensembles. Each musician is dedicated to musical education, and Prairie Winds encourages a love of music in tomorrow’s audiences with workshops that enhance the traditional concert experience through theater improvisation, movement, and composition.