Pavia Wind Quintet to premiere new piece by St. Olaf music professor
When members of the Pavia Wind Quintet visit St. Olaf College April 13, they will premiere a piece that Professor of Music Timothy Mahr ’78 wrote just for them.
Mahr composed A Mythological Suite for Woodwind Quintet based on discussions he had with members of the Pavia Wind Quintet following their recital at St. Olaf several years ago. After the idea of creating a work that the ensemble could use in their many performances for young people took shape, Mahr received a grant for the project from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council.
“With this Individual Artist Grant, I have been able to create a new work that is structured to be an effective vehicle for demonstrating the separate instruments within the ensemble to school children,” says Mahr, who also serves as conductor of the St. Olaf Band.
The concept, Mahr says, was to create a multi-movement work wherein each instrument could be featured in a solo capacity. A Mythological Suite for Woodwind Quintet uses the Sasquatch, Rainbow Snake, Thunderbird, Unicorn, and Imp to individually feature the clarinet, bassoon, oboe, horn and flute.
“Throughout the history of human existence, there have been mysteries in the natural world that begged explanation. Often these were understood as being the result of the presence of creatures that lived at the outer edges of reality – what we now call mythological creatures,” Mahr says.
“It didn’t take long to center the project on this collection of creatures — certainly interesting subject matter for young (and not so young) minds, full of drama and easily imagined adventures.”
The Pavia Wind Quintet is a semi-professional ensemble of young musicians — including St. Olaf graduates Erica Bennett ’99 and Justin Windschitl ’02 — interested in exploring a variety of repertoire for wind soloists with an increasing focus on contemporary music.
In addition to premiering Mahr’s new piece, their upcoming recital will feature music by Timothy Takach ’00, Jacob Dominguez-Nelson, and Aaron Levine.