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Stephen Melillo: Can Wind Band Music be Art Music?

Symphony orchestras get most of the attention – and funding – in the classical music world. Wind bands – even those made up of orchestra musicians, don’t seem to be considered as highly. Why is that? Is the sound of violins and cellos, and the sweeping gestures their bows make, an intrinsic feature of great “classical” music? The exorbitant price tags on violins, violas and cellos and mythical tales of genius told about Stradivarius, et co., seem to make public sentiment clear enough. Afterall, you’d be considered crazy to tell your girlfriend a romantic tale about Johann Christoph Denner and his clarinet, although he was Stradivarius’ contemporary. Nevertheless, hiding in plain sight, the wind band has a large repertoire of great music waiting to be discovered. In this special edition of Vienna Live, composer Stephen Melillo, with conductor Laszlo Marosi, shares his compositional process and will show us that, given a chance, the wind band embodies classical music at its very best.


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