Encore Winter 2015

Wind Symphony

A Lasting Impression

The clarinet section of Wind Symphony is led by principal clarinetist Csaba Jevtic-Somlai.

Back by popular demand, the BYU Wind Symphony will once again tour in Asia—and this time Mongolia is on the ticket as well. The group’s last trip to Asia, in 2009, included stops in South Korea and Japan. “Asia has a lot to offer, and we have a lot to offer back,” says Don Peterson, director of Wind Symphony since 2008.Peterson hopes to repeat many of the great experiences from that tour. “They have wonderful audiences

Wind Symphony director Don Peterson is not unfamiliar with performing abroad; he has worked as a musician in 21 states and 12 countries.

and gracious people in Asia,” he says. “They have highly competitive bands—some of the best in the world. They don’t perform unless they do [the works] unbelievably well, and we were able to have great joint concerts with some of [the ensembles].”At the beginning of May the symphony will tour for 23 days, visiting a total of nine cities and performing for hundreds of thousands of people in Mongolia, South Korea, and Japan.

The Wind Symphony comprises a variety of instruments, including the contrabass clarinet, played here by Josh Tsai.

Having been a part of Wind Symphony during their 2012 tour to Europe, percussionist Nate Haines is thrilled to be back on the road with the band again. “Being able to take your talents across the world is an exciting opportunity,” he says. “Going to other places, sharing, and seeing other cultures is absolutely amazing. . . . Knowing that we’ll be representing BYU to many people in the world really makes us hone and perfect our technique as a symphony. We’ll be playing our best music yet.”In anticipation for the tour, Peterson and the symphony are preparing a diverse repertoire that will include traditional American jazz, dance, and march pieces—such as the ever-famous “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” The band is also preparing to perform Mongolian and other Asian folk music in an effort to relate to audiences. Peterson knows the benefit of having the band perform a wide array of music. “It’s a wonderful way to combine the two cultures,” he says. “It will be well received because our performance will have roots in their folk music.”

Jordan Christensen leads a group of talented trombone players.

French horn player William Loveless is looking forward to learning more about Asian wind music. “It’s a different musical style and helps me understand different musical tastes,” he says. “They’re very into wind bands over there, and [the concerts] are well attended. It gives us a lot of energy and makes the tour exciting. It will be fun to play some of their own music for them.”One goal Peterson is emphasizing for this tour is student learning. “The musicality in Asia is at a high level of training and musicianship,” he says. “I’m excited for the students to experience and take away something.” Haines also understands the opportunity to better himself as a musician on the tour. “Branching out and expanding your experiences are important to an instrumentalist,” he says. “I plan on going to school for conducting and eventually want to teach too. Being a part of this tour gives me essential knowledge and practice as a musician.”

"“The musicality in Asia is at a high level of training and musicianship. I’m excited for the students to experience and take away something.” —Don Peterson"

Wind Symphony members know this tour is special because music provides a way to cross cultural boundaries and connect with people on a different level. “They may not be able to understand us in speaking, but they understand the music being played,” says Loveless. “Even though I can’t talk to them, I can still be expressive with my beliefs and emotions as I play. That feeling through music connects with people naturally.”After this tour it will be another few years before Wind Symphony hits the international stage again, so Peterson and the band hope to make the most of it. “This is our chance to go out and represent in areas that probably won’t get to see BYU for a long time afterward,” Peterson says. “Now is our time to make a lasting impression.”