The Sylvan Winds, an integral part of New York City's cultural offerings for over three decades, has earned both critical and audience acclaim for its spirited performances and innovative programming devoted to the literature of chamber music for wind instruments. Founded in 1976, it is the only New York City based group of its kind to present an annual subscription series, inaugurated in 1978-79 at the historic church of St. Luke in-the-Fields in Greenwich Village. Following a Carnegie Hall sponsored concert in 1982, the group has performed regularly at Weill Recital Hall. The summer of that year also marked a decade-long affiliation with the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, presenting outdoor wind serenades on the plaza, pre-concert programs in Avery Fisher Hall, and joining the Festival's winds for performances of the Mozart Gran Partita and Handel's original orchestration of the Royal Fireworks music. The ensemble has also appeared at Town Hall, Merkin Concert Hall and Symphony Space, and has been heard on radio stations WQXR, WNYC and WGBH, as well as National Public Radio.
The Sylvan Winds has established a reputation as one of New York's most versatile chamber music groups. Hailed by the New York Times for "… its venturesomeness of programming and stylishness of performance," it was chosen to perform at the 1994 Governor's Arts Awards. Noted for the breadth of its repertory, consisting of an intriguing mix of standard and contemporary works, the ensemble has presented a number of New York, United States and world premières of works by Gustav Holst, Gunther Schuller, David Chaitkin, Arthur Weisberg, Max Lifchitz, and Robert Dick. The group has been invited to perform new American compositions as part of the Cutting Edge series featuring works by Judith Shatin Allen, John Deak, Frank Oteri, and Davide Zannoni, and the New York Composers Circle with works by Elliott Carter, Donald Hagar, Margaret Fairlie-Kennedy, Fedor Kabalin, Joseph Pehrson, Eugene Marlow, and Cesar Vuksic. It's CD The Sylvan Winds Plays American Composers with works by Bruce Adolphe, George Tsontakis, and David Chaitkin, features Guarneri String Quartet founder Michael Tree in the solo part of Etler's Concerto for Violin and Wind Quintet, and was released on CRI (now New World).
Among guests who have collaborated with the Sylvan Winds are conductors Gerard Schwarz, Arthur Weisberg, and Ransom Wilson, pianists Claude Frank, Kenneth Cooper, and Edmund Battersby, narrator Robert Sherman, vocalists Wendy White and D'Anna Fortunato, as well as the Guarneri String Quartet and the American Brass Quintet. Over the past twenty-five years, the group has also created Arts-in-Education residency programs bringing them to schools throughout the New York City metropolitan area as well as on national tours. The ensemble has toured throughout the U. S. and in Korea. Its self-titled debut recording, a program of French and Belgian chamber music works for winds, was released on Koch International Classics.
The Sylvan Winds has also received grants from the American Composers Forum, the BETA Fund, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, and Meet the Composer, among others, as well as numerous grants from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
For more information, please visit Sylvan Winds