RIC Wind Ensemble to open season with ‘Moby Dick’ adaptation, Oct. 5

The Rhode Island College Wind Ensemble opens the 2012-13 season with a concert titled “Music from the Heart,” featuring guest conductor William Johnson leading the group in a piece inspired by Herman Melville’s classic American novel, “Moby Dick.”

The concert is set for Friday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m. in the Auditorium at Roberts Hall. It is the first of the 55-member wind ensemble’s four concerts during the academic year.

Robert Franzblau
For the concert, Johnson will lead the wind ensemble in a performance of American composer Francis McBeth’s “Of Sailors and Whales,” a 1990 work consisting of five movements based on characters from “Moby Dick.”

Robert Franzblau, wind ensemble conductor, said the McBeth work was “a piece I know but had never programmed with any of my bands. … It seemed the right time to explore McBeth’s music a little more by programming one of his better-known pieces.”

Other pieces to be performed Oct. 5 include John Philip Sousa’s well-known “Stars and Stripes Forever” and Gustav Holst’s “First Suite for Military Band.” The latter work, written in 1911, was one of the first pieces by a major composer written specifically for a wind band, according to Robert Franzblau, wind ensemble conductor and professor of music at RIC.

Johnson, a California resident, comes to RIC with an impressive resume. For 44 years, he served as director of bands and coordinator of instrumental music at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. He is now musical director of the San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra. Over the years, he has conducted wind bands and orchestras in concerts around the world, from Salzburg to Sydney, and in many countries such as Japan, the Netherlands, Israel, Czech Republic and China, to cite just a few.

Johnson has been honored with awards from the California Band Directors Association and Kappa Kappa Psi, the national band fraternity.

Tickets for the concert are $10, with discounts for seniors and non-RIC students; free for RIC faculty, alumni, students and staff. For your convenience, tickets can be purchased as follows: in advance via Visa, MasterCard or Discover by calling (401) 456-8144 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays; or in person at the Nazarian Center Box Office in Roberts Hall. The Box Office is also open for sales two hours prior to performance start time in the appropriate show venue.