Who We Are
We are the Vanguard Reed Quintet, a chamber music group comprised of five woodwind instruments: oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bass clarinet, and bassoon. We formed at the University of Michigan (U of M) in 2017 and are based in Ann Arbor, MI.
While at U of M, we received 2nd prize at the Dale & Nancy Briggs Chamber Music Competition in March 2017. Later that year, we were featured at the U of M School of Music, Theatre, and Dance (SMTD) Annual Scholarship Showcase and at the A-maize-ing SMTD concert in honor of the university’s bicentennial celebration.
This year, after countless hours of rehearsal and lots of hard work, we competed at the 2018 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and won the Silver Medal! And in August, we had the opportunity to perform in a concert of world premieres at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY.
Our members are currently scattered across the country: Mickayla works in the Community and Learning Department of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Joe is freelancing and teaching out of Ann Arbor; Sean is pursuing an Artist Diploma at the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music; Sagar is pursuing his Master’s at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY; and Nico is a new member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Considering our successes earlier this year and our current geographical displacement, we needed to discuss what the ensemble’s next step should be. Producing our first album is a great way to build on the momentum generated by our performances at the Fischoff Competition and National Sawdust.
Our first album is a proof of investment in the ensemble, showcasing our passion for making music and building the reed quintet repertoire. The album is a valuable promotional and marketing tool for fueling future projects such as tours, educational engagement activities, and composer commissions.
One of our missions as an ensemble is to increase the depth and diversity of the reed quintet repertoire. Over the last two years, we have had the fortune of working with six fantastic composers at U of M who have written us some excellent music. We can think of no better way to celebrate our collaborations with these composers and solidify their work in the reed quintet repertoire than to record these six works on our debut album!
Self-Talk by Gala Flagello
be that empty by Karl Ronneburg
Red Leaf Collection by Karalyn Schubring
Out of Bodies by Daniel Zlatkin
From Lidless Eyes by Douglas Hertz
red by Nina Shekhar
In our first year together as an ensemble, our classmate Doug approached us to write a piece for reed quintet, which became From Lidless Eyes. Doug blends the colors of our five instruments in beautiful and unexpected ways, and he uses subtle rhythmic interplay to create a sense of timelessness. After working with Doug, we knew we had to continue collaborating with our fellow students at U of M, so we asked several of our friends to write pieces for us!
We premiered Karalyn’s Red Leaf Collection in March 2018, which was inspired by the composer’s own collection of autumn leaves gathered on the U of M campus.
Karl’s work be that empty is a poignant reflection on the poem by Rumi titled “The Song of the Reed.” We will be giving the world premiere of Karl’s piece at a concert in Ann Arbor this November.
Gala’s Self-Talk is an exploration of the stories we tell ourselves and how we piece together our lives in the narrative we pursue. While the piece is deeply reflective, it’s an extraordinarily dynamic work.
Daniel’s Out of Bodies is an alien, often athletic adventure in three miniatures. It uses a variety of extended techniques and uncharacteristic outbursts of sound on our instruments.
Nina’s red is a portrait of just how unpredictable the element of fire can be, from a single flame on a candle to a blazing inferno.
Our collaboration with Daniel led to the amazing opportunity to perform some of these works at National Sawdust! We premiered these last three pieces on this concert.
These composers present unique and interesting takes on what the reed quintet can do. We think that their fantastic music deserves to be recorded and solidified in the ensemble’s repertoire!
The Project So Far
Much of the work towards creating our first album has already been done. The repertoire has been written, prepared, and performed, and we will be working with recording engineer extraordinaire Dave Schall and the First Presbyterian Church of Ypsilanti to record the album this December.
The ensemble has secured an award of $1,500 by the U of M SMTD’s EXCEL Lab for this project’s initial stages. We need your support to cross the finish line!
Here’s How You Can Help
By backing our Kickstarter campaign, you will help us pay for the recording engineer, venue rental fees, album artwork design, album distribution, travel, and advertising.
In return for your generous support, we’re offering a number of exciting rewards! Here are a few that you can expect to see:
- A copy of the album, in digital or physical form!
- Choose your favorite piece on the album, and we’ll send you a score autographed by the composer!
- Dinner with us at one of our favorite Ann Arbor restaurants!
- And more!
Want to know about some more ways you can help us out? Here are some of our suggestions:
Risks and challenges
VRQ is only in its second year since its founding. As such, we do not yet have a steady source of income to cover the various expenses presented by a recording project. Your generous support will help us pay for the recording engineer, venue rental fees, album artwork design, album distribution, travel, and advertising.
Fortunately, much of the work has been done. The repertoire has been written, prepared, and performed, and we will be working with recording engineer extraordinaire Dave Schall and the First Presbyterian Church of Ypsilanti to record the album this December.
The ensemble has secured an award of $1,500 by the U of M SMTD’s EXCEL Lab for this project’s initial stages. We need your support to cross the finish line!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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