KU Wind Ensemble nets New York Times review, plans local encore show

French horn players Stephen Meiller and Muriel Hague, along with members of the Kansas University Wind Ensemble, rehearse In

Composer Mohammed Fairouz of New York works with the Kansas University Wind Ensemble during a rehearsal of Fairouz's work, In

For New York City music aficionados leery of student performances, the Kansas University Wind Ensemble rose above expectations last week, eliciting a standing ovation and a flattering review in The New York Times.

The ensemble performed the world premiere of New York composer Mohammed Fairouz’s 9/11-inspired “In the Shadow of No Towers” on March 26 at Carnegie Hall. A free encore performance is planned Tuesday in Lawrence.

The Times review, published Friday, calls the ensemble “one of America’s most esteemed concert bands” and praises Fairouz’s composition as “technically impressive, consistently imaginative and in its finest stretches deeply moving.” The students performed with “polish, assurance and copious spirit,” the reviewer adds, with “equally exacting and enthusiastic” playing in the concert’s opening work.

The New York music website Feast of Music also came away impressed.

“Whenever a student or other amateur ensemble rents out Carnegie Hall, most seasoned New Yorkers groan and look the other way,” reads the website’s review. “…Every now and again, however, a jewel can be found among this wasteland of student recitals and overdressed soloists. Case in point: last night’s concert by the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble.”

KU director of bands Paul Popiel will conduct the KU Wind Ensemble in its performance of “In the Shadow of No Towers” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Ave.

Reach Out Kansas Inc. is sponsoring the performance. Tickets are free, but reservations are required and there is a $5 handling fee. For information, go online to lied.ku.edu or call 864-2787.