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Wind Ensemble to premiere new music with Athens hip hop artist Linqua Franqa, New York Philharmonic, as part of national conference

Submitted by sb70412 on
Linqua Franqa

The University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music is hosting the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) National Conference on campus in Athens, Georgia February 15-18, 2023. This bi-annual event brings together band leaders from universities across the United States (and several countries worldwide) for seminars, continuing education opportunities, and to present their bands in concert.

Nicholas Enrico Williams, the new Director of Bands for the Hodgson School of Music, will conduct the UGA Wind Ensemble, along with guest conductors Jaclyn Hartenberger and Shiree X. Williams, in a particularly unique and innovative concert on Thursday, February 16 at 8 p.m. as part of this conference. “An innovative, national event premiering new compositions from our faculty and a highly renowned local artist, this concert demonstrates just how universal and powerful our music can be,” Williams said.

The Wind Ensemble concert will feature six incredible pieces, two of which are world premieres. “Ascendant Cycles” is a three-movement concerto for rapper and wind ensemble. The piece draws from both hip-hop and contemporary classical styles, and the verse/text is an abstract exploration Athens hip-hop artist Linqua Franqa’s work as an activist. Franqa collaborated with UGA Associate Professor of Composition and Director of the Dancz Center for New Music Peter Van Zandt Lane, to create this work. “As in most concerto's it's also a technical tour de force,” said Lane, “with a lot of virtuosic material for both the vocal soloist as well as the instrumentalists, much of it drawn from the complex lyrical patterns in hip-hop.”

Linqua Franqa makes rap music about collective liberation. Their work has been featured in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, SPIN Magazine and NPR's All Things Considered for its synthesis of radical honesty and revolutionary vigor. Their sophomore album, Bellringer, is also their PhD dissertation in Language and Literacy Education from the University of Georgia.

The other world premiere is a piece entitled Triptych, created by the world-renowned composer Joseph Turrin, and will include Chris Martin, principal trumpet for the New York Philharmonic (NYP), and Joseph Alessi, principal trombone for the NYP. This new piece was composed as a consortium as a memorial to Eric Andrew Rombach-Kendall, University of New Mexico Professor of Music and Director of Bands since 1993 who passed away last year. Rombach-Kendall was also president of CBDNA from 2011-2013.

“The impact music teachers can have on students can be life changing,” said Williams, “and we are so moved to be a part of honoring Eric’s exstensive legacy.” During this concert, Rombach-Kendall’s family will be presented with a special award for his service, and a scholarship through CBDNA will be established in Rombach-Kendall’s name.

In addition to the Wind Ensemble concert, Master’s Conducting Associate Anthony Morris and UGA HHSOM alum Emily Eng (DMA ‘22) will be presenting during the conference. Morris was named a Conducting Fellow for the H. Robert Reynolds Conducting Institute at the 76th Annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Illinois this past fall.

Along with Lane, fellow UGA HHSOM Faculty Connie Frigo, Jaclyn Hartenberger, and James Weidman will participate in a panel discussion on Saturday, February 18 at 4:15 p.m. in ramsey Hall at the UGA Performing Arts Center called “Athens Hip Hop Harmonic: Building a Bridge Between UGA and Local Music.” This panel will also include local musicians Montu Miller, Celest Divine Ngeve, Mariah Parker, and Ayako Pederson-Takeda.

The UGA Wind Ensemble concert will be Thursday, February 16 at 8 p.m. in Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall at the UGA Performing Arts Center. This event is free and open to the public. Free tickets can be reserved online at or by calling 706-542-4400.


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