Their fall concert, which will be held at the Conrad Recital Hall on Sept. 22, will feature music written by female composers.
The woodwind quintet is composed of five adjunct instructors of music and includes Jaimie Wagner, playing the flute; Liz Spector Callahan, playing the oboe; Andrew Sprung, playing the clarinet; Cynthia Duda, playing the bassoon; and Alan Taplin, playing the horn.
Highlighting the work of a certain group because of the gender of its members isn’t something that often happens at Hillsdale.
Duda explained the quintet’s rationale for the program.
“95% of pieces picked for large orchestras are composed by men,” she said. “We wanted to do our part to get those female names out there.”
Sprung said the performance would expose the audience to some hidden gems of the music world.
The program will feature pieces by Valeria Coleman, Jennifer Higdon, Maria Cambini, Jenni Brandon, and Hedwige Chrétien, all female composers who lived within the past 200 years.
“We’re making a point of acknowledging the accomplishments of women,” Duda said. “Female composers are notoriously underrepresented everywhere, and they just aren’t being played as often as they should be.”
According to Sprung and Duda, finding these composers took quite a bit of research.
“What happens is that you study a piece written for a solo work for your instrument,”Sprung said. “And if you like it, then you dive in and find other things that way.”
Duda agreed, and said that the quintet often discovers its music because one of its members finds a composer when playing solo pieces for his or her own instrument.
Ultimately, Sprung said he hopes the performance will inspire the audience to explore new music and to discover new favorites.
“We all have our comfort zones, and we all have our favorite music that we love to listen to. But if that’s all you listen to, then you’re certainly bound to miss something that you otherwise would have enjoyed. It’s worth exploring to see what else is out there,” he said.