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Oxford Winds blow into Fitton

Hamilton, Ohio – A woodwind quintet from Miami University makes its off-campus debut next week at the Fitton Center.

The Oxford Winds breeze into the art gallery space at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 9, to perform a program they’re calling Color in Motion.

Professor Aaron Pergram said the quintet - Ezra Simmons (flute), Josh Rudnick (oboe), Julianna Baldwin (clarinet), Maxwell Liber (horn) and Serena Kaplan (bassoon) - includes some of the top musicians at Miami.

“This young group of people are some of the best and smartest players we have in the undergraduate space,” he said. “They came to me and said ‘We want to make a group. We want to go out on the competition circuit. We want to play for the public. We really want to go out and see what we can become.’”

Since forming in August 2022, the Oxford Winds played several events at Miami, including appearances in the Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum, the Farmer School of Business and the Sidney W. Souers Recital Hall.

“Hamilton isn’t very far geographically, but it’s a long way from campus and playing somewhere familiar. That’s an important first step for any musicians who want to pursue a career in the field.

“They’re really excited about the opportunity. I think this kind of opportunity is important for them. They’ll get to see themselves outside of Oxford and see what it takes to perform out of their comfort zone.”

Their show features music by Jacques Ibert, Paquito D’Rivera and Paul Taffanel. The Ibert and Taffenel works are frequent staples in the woodwind canon, while the D’Rivera piece pushes the boundaries of the familiar, merging traditional music with Havana street sounds.

“Woodwind quintet has a vast literature and repertoire,” Pergram said. “The students picked this program and it’s challenging stuff. They have exceeded my expectations on this material. They are really motivated and they’ve put in the work to make this music sound great.”

Kaplan is the lone senior among the group. While she graduates with a degree in music, Kaplan will continue playing with Oxford Winds when she matriculates to Kent State University to complete her second degree in mathematics. The other four return to Oxford next school year.

But first, their performance at the Fitton Center.

“They’re finding something they love in the music,” Pergram said. “They’re bringing that into the performance and it’s really exciting to see. These are our students and we love seeing them grow like this.”

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.

Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture

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