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Friday conference features three free concerts

March 27, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's School of Music presents the 38th annual Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music in Miller Auditorium and the Dalton Center Friday, March 31. The conference is a day-long event designed to promote the performance, understanding and composition of quality wind and percussion music.

There are three performances during the March 31 conference, all of which are open to the public and free of charge.

At 1 p.m., Ann Arbor Pioneer High School Symphony Band, conducted by David A. Leach, will perform in Miller Auditorium. The program includes "Niagra Falls" by guest artist and featured composer Michael Daugherty.

At 2:45 p.m., Grand Ledge High School Wind Symphony, conducted by Michael Kaufman, will perform in Miller. The program includes Daugherty's "Brooklyn Bridge."

At 7:30 p.m., the closing concert in Miller Auditorium will include performances by the University Symphonic Band and the Western Winds, both conducted by WMU Director of Bands Robert L. Spradling, and the 120-member Michael Daugherty All-Star Band. Students from 67 Michigan high schools are expected to be nominated by their band directors for the honor of performing in the All-Star Band. Typically, more than 90 percent of the ensemble's membership is awarded to musicians who hold first-chair positions in their respective high school bands. The program includes Daugherty's "Motown Metal," "Red Cape Tango" and "Desi."

Each year the festival focuses on a guest composer and conductor whose works are featured during the conference. This year's guest artist and featured composer, Daugherty, studied music composition at the University of North Texas and the Manhattan School of Music, as well as computer music at Pierre Boulez's IRCAM in Paris. He received his doctorate in composition from Yale University and pursued further studies with Gyorgy Ligeti in Germany. In 1991, after five years at the Oberlin Conservatory, he joined the music faculty at the University of Michigan, where he is a professor of composition. He has also been composer-in-residence with both the Detroit Symphony and the Colorado Symphony.

Media contact: Kevin West, (269) 387-4678, kevin.west@wmich.edu

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