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Morris Symphonic Winds

  • symphonic winds
  • symphonic winds
  • symphonic winds
  • symphonic winds


  • "Symphonic Winds was a place where I could refocus, socialize and feel accomplished. Due to my experiences in the ensemble I will continue performing music throughout my life, while pursuing my dreams."—Brittney Ferrian '17
  • "Symphonic Winds offered me a close-knit and diverse community to engage with. My passion and talent for music would not have reached their heights without the support I received in the group."Anne Ternes '17

UMN Morris Symphonic Winds is the principal large instrumental ensemble for wind, brass and percussion players at Morris. Under its conductor, Simon Tillier, this auditioned group is made up of 55 music and non-music majors from throughout the campus. Concerts feature a wide variety of works from all musical periods, cultures and styles, emphasizing core and contemporary repertoire, as well as new pieces by emerging composers.

Symphonic Winds frequently collaborates with faculty soloists, guest artists, composers, and community groups. In 2014 the ensemble welcomed UK saxophonist Andy Scott as part of Morris's Adolphe Sax Bi-Centenary Celebrations, and in 2015 hosted New Zealand born composer, Christopher Marshall, as part of Axioma 330, a festival celebrating the 330th Anniversary of J. S. Bach's birth. In 2016 the ensemble joined with the East Central Minnesota Chorale, Unum Vox and local area high school choirs to perform Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, at the Hardy Performing Arts Center in Cambridge, Minnesota. In February 2017 musicians from the ensemble gave the first performance of Marshall's "Burning Blue" for solo electric guitar and chamber ensemble with Michael Nicolella as soloist. Most recently the ensemble commissioned a new work for wind ensemble from composer Jenni Watson called "States of Matter." The three-movement work highlights environment and sustainability issues – themes very much at the heart of this campus.

Symphonic Winds tours regionally, nationally and internationally. In 2015 it traveled to the United Kingdom to give concerts in Manchester, Bristol, and London, as part of a Morris Study Abroad Program. In May 2018 students traveled to the state of Alaska as part of a ten-day performance tour. The ensemble is currently preparing to undertake a regional tour in 2020 and an international tour to Ireland and Scotland in 2021.

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