Support Saint Paul Sunday with your purchases
  • News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment
Saint Paul Sunday home page


Imani Winds


The five accomplished musicians of Imani Winds joined forces in 1997 to expand the boundaries of the traditional wind quintet and explore the links between European, African and American music traditions. The name Imani, "faith" in Swahili, embodies this mission. In their time together, this young ensemble of African/Latin American heritage has already established a distinct presence in the classical music world for their dynamic playing, innovative programming and inspirational outreach programs, which they have brought to many communities throughout the country.

Highlights of the 2004-2005 season include the ensemble's Canadian debut, at Ottawa's Christ Church Cathedral in October, and a full recital in New York's Alice Tully Hall with clarinetist/saxophonist/composer Paquito D'Rivera in March 2005 as one of their Chamber Music Society events. Other significant appearances include sextets with pianist Gilbert Kalish at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (October), a La Jolla Music Society appearance (January '05), an appearance at Seattle's Meany Hall (May 2005) as well as their return to the Virginia Arts Festival, also in May.

Imani Winds saw significant national exposure in the 2003-2004 season, with Autumn appearances on MPR's Saint Paul Sunday and NPR's Performance Today. In their first season participating in Chamber Music Society Two, a professional residency program of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, their activities included two concerts in the CMSLC's family-oriented Meet the Music! series as well as a Double Exposure concert featuring the ensemble playing music by three contemporary composers, including Imani member Valerie Coleman. The ensemble was also invited for the first time to the Virginia Arts Festival, where their residency week of performances and demonstrations was extremely popular. They were immediately invited to return in 2005. The ensemble's nationwide touring and residency took them to nearly 20 states, including such major cities as New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Baltimore; Atlanta, and a four-city tour of Alaska, including concerts in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kodiak and Juneau.

Imani Winds recently won the CMA/ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming, as well as the CMA/WQXR Award for its CD "Umoja." Also, Imani Winds was chosen to participate in the 2003 Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Young Performers Career Advancement Seminar and was showcased at the Weill Concert Hall as a part of the conference.

At the 2001 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Imani Winds was selected as first-ever Educational Residency Ensemble, in recognition of their significant educational mission, tremendous musical abilities and innovative programming. This creative group offers a wide array of residency programs for various settings, age groups and community outreach projects. Residencies often explore the culture and heritage of the African Diaspora, and introduce Western classical traditions to diverse classrooms. Additionally, the repertoire offered by Imani Winds highlights its members' commitment to a multiplicity of music. Featuring numerous works by African, Latin and American composers, the ensemble often adds percussion and folk influences to the traditional wind quintet textures, taking its audience on a captivating journey through divergent ethnic and musical identities.

Imani Winds' performance highlights include their New York debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall as winners of the Artists International Annual Prize, concerts at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Chicago Symphony Musicians Residency Program, Ravinia Festival, Princeton University, Columbia University, Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts, Chautauqua Institution, St. Louis Premiere Performances, Savannah on Stage International Music Festival, Chamber Music America's Rural Residency Program and the Fischoff Chamber Music Association. Also, the ensemble has toured internationally with eminent saxophonist Steve Coleman and can be heard on his recording The Ascension to Light.