Reed Thomas, MTSU Wind Ensemble conductor, holds a copy of the group's first album Nov. 16, 2011, during a CD release announcement and MTSU Arts unveiling. (Photo courtesy of MTSU/Andy Heidt)
The MTSU Wind Ensemble unveiled its newly released album Wednesday – making it the first and only university musical group in the state to record for the world’s largest classical music label.
Angels in the Architecture was produced for the Franklin-based Naxos label’s Wind Band Classics. The album consists of interpretations of works by composer Frank Ticheli and two of his mentors, Pulitzer Prize-winning Leslie Bassett and 2007 Musical America Composer of the Year William Bolcom.
“We were thrilled to be able to collaborate with Reed Thomas and his fine ensemble at MTSU to produce this great album and homage to the very talent composer, Frank Ticheli,” said Randall Foster, founder of Naxos Wind Band Classics. “This album is yet another indicator of just how much musical talent we have residing in Middle Tennessee.”
The 55-member ensemble, made up primarily of undergraduate students who have since graduated, performed Ticheli’s “Symphony No. 2 for Concert Band” and the title track, which was inspired by the Sydney Opera House in Australia, along with Balcom’s “First Symphony for Band” and Bassett’s “Nonet—Two Movements for Winds, Brass and Piano.”
Reed Thomas, director of bands in the School of Music, led the creative project, which followed a rigorous vetting process with a live concert performance by the ensemble and a yearlong international jury review.
“It really puts MTSU on the map to be the only university in Tennessee and one of the few universities ever on the Naxos label,” Thomas said. “It sheds a very strong light on the high quality of our wind ensemble and our faculty work.”
Michael Fleming, an associate professor of recording industry, engineered and edited the production. It took place in three sessions, totaling 14 hours in Hinton Hall and Murfreesboro’s First United Methodist Church.
“MTSU has been recognized by the world’s largest classical label as a center of excellence by recording our ensemble and putting out a commercial recording,” said George Riordan, director of the School of Music.
Naxos recognizes that the university’s ensemble and School of Music can compete in the global marketplace, Riordan added.
“One of the educational assets of this recording is that many students wanting to find employment will have a leg up,” Thomas said. “This will be a valuable part of their education.”
For more information, contact the School of Music at 615-898-2469.