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by Daniel Hautzinger

Imani2It’s just badass,” said Imani Winds bassoonist Monica Ellis about Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which Imani will perform on February 9 in Oberlin’s Finney Chapel as part of the ensemble’s concert on the Artist Recital Series. “It’s this huge iconic piece that’s been pared down to a quintet, which is crazy in and of itself. Behind all that is this crazy cool rhythmic action, melodic action.”

All that “crazy cool rhythmic action” is one thing that connects The Rite of Spring to much of Imani’s repertoire. In addition to Ellis, the quintet consists of oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz, clarinetist Mariam Adam, flutist Valerie Coleman, and French hornist Jeff Scott. They often perform works from outside the traditional classical repertoire, especially focusing on African-American and Latin composers. “We’re attracted to this music because it’s close to us, it has soulful qualities, it’s ‘jazzy.’ It has a story behind it. Things that have a backbeat, a driving rhythm, are fun to play.”

Sunday’s concert program is in some ways an overview of Imani’s repertoire. Read the rest of this entry »

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