The talent that comes from Temple’s Boyer College of Music and Dance may be considered a little known fact.
The presence and prestige of the college was recently acknowledged during a recital featuring the Conwell Woodwind Quintet, which is comprised of talented faculty members.
With a humble-sized audience scattered throughout Rock Hall’s auditorium, the performance began with professors presenting themselves with their instruments. After sitting with their music and performing a quick tuning session, the quintet began to perform without the assistance of a conductor.
Using their trained ear-and-eye contact with one another, the members began to play “Ancient Airs and Dances,” a 20th century work, which quintet clarinetist Lawrence Wagner said “was masterly transcribed from the orchestral version by Philadelphian Adam Lesnick.”
The woodwind ensemble includes Loren Lind, Peter Smith, Angela Anderson, Shelley Showers and Lawrence Wagner, all of whom are faculty members of Boyer. They use their knowledge on particular instruments to teach students about the art and passion of music.
“Most musicians love to pass on to students the skills and knowledge they have acquired,” Wagner said. “That is certainly the case with the musicians in the Conwell Woodwind Quintet.”
If the audience didn’t immediately notice the quintet’s talent after it performed its first musical selection, a passage in the recital’s program booklets noted that faculty members “were prestigious musicians, all current or past members of the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as other phenomenal music groups.”
Lind, Smith, Anderson and Showers are current members of the city’s orchestra, and each carries years of fine musicianship with other groups.
Lind was a member of the Honolulu Symphony and Philadelphia’s Lyric Opera Orchestra before joining the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1974. Smith, Anderson and Showers have performed with greater city symphonies, orchestras and Grammy Award-winning musical groups before joining the Philadelphia Orchestra in the 1990s.
Wagner was also a member of many orchestral groups and the city orchestra before becoming a professor and artistic adviser at Boyer. His musical talents have taken him to Korea and Australia, where he served as a clinician and conductor.
Professors in the quintet take time out of their schedules as musicians to teach students about music.
The faculty quintet has to balance rehearsal times for its concerts with teaching students. Scheduling conflicts often arise, as four of the five members are active members of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
“A Conwell concert each semester has now given way to one a year as the orchestra schedule has become more demanding,” Wagner said.
But even with a busy schedule, the quintet finds time to rehearse.
In last week’s recital, the group performed a work by Franz Danzi, followed by a jazzy, blues-like piece by American composer Gunther Schuller. The Conwell Woodwind Quintet ended its program with a light-hearted piece by Italian composer Giulio Briccialdi. The selection celebrated the coming of spring.
Faculty members enjoy selecting pieces for their concerts.
“[It’s] a labor of love,” Wagner said. “We enjoy finding new pieces and revisiting the greats of the [woodwind] repertoire.”
Nicole Welk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.