Chautauqua Chamber Wind Ensemble to share compelling compositions

Robinson, Levy, Dinitz, Spitzer and Robbins

Alyssa Bump
contributing writer

The Chautauqua Chamber Wind Ensemble will soon present a light yet powerful program of musical repertoire for the Chautauqua Chamber Music Resident Artist Series.

“For us and the audience, there’s been a lot going on during the past several years — lots of struggles and unusual challenges,” said Jeffrey Robinson, bassoonist for the Chautauqua Chamber Wind Ensemble. “So I thought (we should) have a generally happy, easy-to-digest chamber music hour together.” 

The Chautauqua Chamber Wind Ensemble will perform at 4:15 p.m. Saturday in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall. 

The Chautauqua Chamber Wind Ensemble is composed of members from the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra’s wind section, including Robinson on bassoon, Kathryn Levy on flute, Adam Dinitz on oboe, Daniel Spitzer on clarinet and Mark Robbins on horn.

Robinson has performed with the orchestra for 20 years, while this is Dinitz’s first season with the CSO. 

“The cool thing about this program is it’s anything from people that are in their first year, to people that are in their 30th (year with the CSO),” Robinson said. “So there’s a spread of experience up here.”

Saturday’s program includes Henry Purcell’s Fantasia on One Note, Paul Valjean’s Dance Suite, Damian Montano’s Trio, Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt and J.S. Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue.

Purcell’s Fantasia on One Note is a very brief work — only lasting about two minutes. 

“The whole piece has a drone note as a ground melody,” Robinson said. “It’s beautiful.” 

Dance Suite was composed while Valjean was a student at the Eastman School of Music in 1955 and just 20 years old. 

“He didn’t write very much music, but this wind quintet is based on some of his experiences as a ballet dancer himself,” Robinson said. 

To break up the program of quintets, Montano’s Trio will only include oboe, clarinet and bassoon with Dinitz, Spitzer and Robinson, respectively. Robinson said the trio will add “textural variety” to the program.

“The Trio is written by a former student of mine, and he’s a composer and bassoonist in the Los Angeles area,” Robinson said. “This is a trio that I’ve performed once before, and it’s a really fun piece.” 

The Chautauqua Chamber Wind Ensemble will perform “very pleasant, fun (and) interesting” selections from Peer Gynt “in an arrangement that works really well for quintet,” Robinson said. 

The final work of the program was originally written for the organ, but Robinson “transcribed it a long time ago for wind quintet with English horn.” 

“(Peer Gynt) is a monumental, mammoth piece, but it’s only about eight minutes long,” Robinson said. 

With this program ranging from classical to contemporary works, Robinson believes it’s “historically important to keep as many eras in mind (as possible by) including pieces written between 1730 and 2015.” 


The author Alyssa Bump

Alyssa Bump is a life-long Western New Yorker, but this is her first season on the grounds of Chautauqua. She is eager to recap the Interfaith Lecture Series while broadening her perspective of the human experience. Alyssa is a senior at SUNY Fredonia, majoring in journalism and public relations with a minor in professional writing. As editor-in-chief of her college newspaper, The Leader, Alyssa focuses on becoming a compelling storyteller and an innovative leader.