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Mixed Company®

Mixed Company is written by Saint Paul Sunday staff, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the show and the classical music they love. We welcome your online comments.

« Various virtuosos | Main | Mixing it up »

June 30, 2005


There's something especially evocative in the harmonies and timbres of woodwind music. In the case of Imani Winds, for me the most immediate flavor of that expressiveness is joy. The Imanis' mix of instruments in combination with their finely honed artistry and repertoire elevates any room, as it did our studio when they played this program—a wonderful quilt of arrangements and works ranging from African-American hymn music to bittersweet echoes of turn-of-the-century Prague.

It's astonishing, too, how well Imani flutist and composer Valerie Coleman captures the essence of the wind quintet. The soaring spirit of Umoja and "Lift Ev'ry Voice" is palpable, but always grounded in an intimate understanding of the instruments' distinct voices and their collective ability to heighten our experience of the moment.

This accomplished fivesome isn't only joyful, of course; they conjure darker states as well. (Their performance this week of Förster's Opus 95 Quintet gleams with an Old World poetry.) But there is an infectious delight suffusing all they play. Even in their most serene passages they make you smile.

Posted by Vaughn Ormseth at June 30, 2005 3:00 PM



Imani Winds was a nice addition to the show! Maybe somerime they will return

By John Flynn at July 3, 2005 6:35 PM


The Imani Winds will return again soon, John. We'll likely record a new program with them sometime next fall. Thanks for your note!

By Vaughn Ormseth at July 5, 2005 3:13 PM


What a great Sunday wakeup!

I enjoyed bth groups, as well the interview with Ms. Coleman.

If the groups ever apear in Chicago, I woud like the dates.

Roger Coleman (no relation)

By Roger at July 7, 2005 11:23 PM


Roger, I'm glad you enjoyed the program. I just looked at the Imani Winds schedule this year, but didn't see any Chicago dates (they only have their schedule through July posted). But I would keep checking. Their website is www.imaniwinds.com.

Good luck!

By Suzanne Schaffer at July 11, 2005 9:59 AM