Moving Air Cover

Concert Program

John Williams arr. Paul Lavender

March from Superman

Ryan George


David Maslanka

Mother Earth

Stuart Rynn


Ralph Vaughan-Williams

Sea Songs Guest Conductor – Fiona Lucas
(SCM postgraduate conducting student)

Vincent Persichetti

O Cool is The Valley Guest Conductor – Fiona Lucas
(SCM postgraduate conducting student)

André Nowicki

Rarajipari World Premiere Performance
SUWO Commission


Ron Nelson

Courtly Airs and Dances

John Mackey

Sheltering Sky

Percy Aldridge Grainger

Molly on The Shore

Rossano Galante


Alex Shapiro

Liquid Compass

Program Notes

Following on the success of his mid-1970s scores for Jaws and Star Wars, John Williams produced yet another iconic movie theme with Superman in 1978. At the initial recording session for the film, the theme made such an impact on director Richard Donner that, unable to contain himself, he exclaimed “Genius! Fantastic!”, promptly ruining the first take. The theme also leaves an indelible mark on the memories of many a filmgoer, particularly in the way it accompanies the film’s main titles, which literally fly on and off screen like the Man of Steel himself.

Thus, the Superman theme has become so inextricably linked with its filmic association that it can seem as though it is the only musical representation possible for the character. How does Williams manage to do this? As in so many of his other themes, by carefully coordinating the musical features so that they converge and provide us with a fleshed-out picture of the thing it represents. In this particular case, and as many have pointed out before, the music even seems to speak the name “Superman”.

– Mark Richards

When the Collins Hill High School Band approached me about writing a piece for their head band director, who was set to retire at the end of the year, they wanted something that spoke not only to this man’s love of music but also to his love for the great outdoors. I was reminded then of the times growing up when my family and I would go camping in Sequoia National Park and we would set up our tents among the giant redwood trees that grow in that region of California. These trees command attention with their immense stature, their size the result of years gone by and storms weathered. And yet they exude a peaceful and subtle tranquility. This idea of “Powerful Tranquility” became the cornerstone that this lyrical tone poem was created.

Redwood was commissioned by the Collins Hill High School Band and written in honor of Richard Marshall.

-Ryan George

Mother Earth was composed for the South Dearborn High School Band of Aurora, Indiana, Brian Silvey, conductor. The commission was for a three-minute fanfare piece. Each piece takes on a reason for being all its own, and Mother Earth is no exception. It became an urgent message from Our Mother to treat her more kindly! My reading at the time of writing this music was For a Future to be Possible by the Vietnamese monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. He believes that the only way forward is to be extremely alive and aware in our present moment, to become awake to the needs of our beloved planet, and to respond to it as a living entity. Music making allows us to come immediately awake. It is an instant connection to the powerful wellspring of our creativity, and opens our minds to the solution of any number of problems, including that of our damaged environment. My little piece does not solve the problem! But it is a living call to the wide-awake life, and it continues to be performed by young people around the world.

-David Maslanka

‘Aviary’ is a piece about colour. While there is birdlike imagery present, the focus is on the various harmonic and tonal colours possible within a wind band. The piece moves swiftly through ideas, as one’s attention might move swiftly in an aviary, and each idea explores a range of variations and usage. Instruments have been put in for their own specific effects and unique combinations – for example, a duet between the baritone saxophone and the bass clarinet, or combining the low wind instruments with the temple blocks.

-Stuart Rynn

British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams was encouraged from an early age to study music and learned the piano, violin, and viola while also expressing an early interest in composing. In 1897 he studied composition with Max Bruch in Berlin and in 1908 with Maurice Ravel in Paris. National pride led him to take an interest in the folk songs of England, and along with composers such as Gustav Holst and Percy Grainger, Vaughan Williams began transcribing English folk songs that he later used as the basis for many of his compositions. He was one of the foremost activists in the movement to collect this folk music, focusing on Norfolk, Sussex, and Essex where he collected more than 800 tunes.
Sea Songs was composed in 1924, just one year after his popular English Folk Song Suite, the first work he composed for band and in which he incorporated nine folk songs. In “Sea Songs,” Vaughan Williams created a simpler, one-movement work in a march style. He incorporated three songs into this work: “Princess Royal,” “Admiral Benbow,” and “Portsmouth.” The work was composed for the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall.

-US Marine Band

Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987) was an important American composer and educator, remembered for his approachable modernist style as well as his famous students, who included both Philip Glass and Peter Schickele (aka P.D.Q. Bach). Persichetti was himself something of a prodigy: his first concert of original pieces came in his teens, and by his twenties he was already teaching music theory and composition classes while still a student at Philadelphia Conservatory.

O Cool is the Valley (Op. 118) exemplifies the warm blend of traditional tonal harmony and expanded compositional techniques for which the Persichetti was known. Inspired by James Joyce’s poem of the same name, this piece is calm and meditative and provides an excellent introduction to 20th century modernism to students and audiences alike. 2015 will mark the 100th anniversary of Persichetti’s birth, and no doubt many groups will be programming this wonderful American composer into their concerts during the upcoming academic year.

-Griffin Woodworth

O Cool is the Valley, by James Joyce
O cool is the valley now
And there, love, will we go
For many a choir is singing now
Where Love did sometimes go.
And hear you not the thrushes calling,
Calling us away?
O cool and pleasant is the valley
And there, love, will we stay.

-From the book Chamber Music, originally published in Dublin, Ireland by Elkin Mathews, 1907

Deep in the Sierra Madre mountains of north-western Mexico live the Tarahumara people. Famed for their running, they cover enourmous distances, even up to hundreds of kilometres, connecting with remote villages over rough and steep terrain, while often wearing makeshift shoes made from old tires.

‘Rarájipari’ is a game displaying the tribe’s love of running. Runners of all ages take turns at throwing or kicking a small ball ahead, racing down valleys, through creeks, up mountains and at times recovering the ball from tricky spots. It is a game of co-operation, challenges and rivalry as some shoot ahead for the ball before returning to the group. After several hours outdoors, everyone loops back to the village and celebrates with dancing and copious corn beers!

-André Nowicki

Courtly Airs and Dances is a suite of Renaissance dances which were characteristic to five European countries during the 1500s. Three of the dances (Basse Dance, Pavane, and Allemande) are meant to emulate the music of Claude Gervaise by drawing on the style of his music as well as the characteristics of other compositions from that period. The festival opens with a fanfare-like Intrada followed by the Basse Danse (France), Pavane (England), Saltarello (Italy), Sarabande (Spain), and Allemande (Germany).
The work was commissioned by the Hill Country Middle School Band from Austin, Texas, Cheryl Floyd, director.

-Ron Nelson

The wind band medium has, in the twenty-first century, a host of disparate styles that dominate its texture. At the core of its contemporary development exist a group of composers who dazzle with scintillating and frightening virtuosity. As such, at first listening one might experience John Mackey’s Sheltering Sky as a striking departure. Its serene and simple presentation is a throwback of sorts – a nostalgic portrait of time suspended.
The work itself has a folksong-like quality – intended by the composer – and through this an immediate sense of familiarity emerges. Certainly the repertoire has a long and proud tradition of weaving folk songs into its identity, from the days of Holst and Vaughan Williams to modern treatments by such figures as Donald Grantham and Frank Ticheli. Whereas these composers incorporated extant melodies into their works, however, Mackey takes a play from Percy Grainger. Grainger’s Colonial Song seemingly sets a beautiful folksong melody in an enchanting way (so enchanting, in fact, that he reworked the tune into two other pieces: Australian Up-Country Tune and The Gum-Suckers March). In reality, however, Grainger’s melody was entirely original – his own concoction to express how he felt about his native Australia. Likewise, although the melodies of Sheltering Sky have a recognizable quality (hints of the contours and colors of Danny Boy and Shenandoah are perceptible), the tunes themselves are original to the work, imparting a sense of hazy distance as though they were from a half-remembered dream.
The work unfolds in a sweeping arch structure, with cascading phrases that elide effortlessly. The introduction presents softly articulated harmonies stacking through a surrounding placidity. From there emerge statements of each of the two folksong-like melodies – the call as a sighing descent in solo oboe, and its answer as a hopeful rising line in trumpet. Though the composer’s trademark virtuosity is absent, his harmonic language remains. Mackey avoids traditional triadic sonorities almost exclusively, instead choosing more indistinct chords with diatonic extensions (particularly seventh and ninth chords) that facilitate the hazy sonic world that the piece inhabits. Near cadences, chromatic dissonances fill the narrow spaces in these harmonies, creating an even greater pull toward wistful nostalgia. Each new phrase begins over the resolution of the previous one, creating a sense of motion that never completely stops. The melodies themselves unfold and eventually dissipate until at last the serene introductory material returns – the opening chords finally coming to rest.

-Jake Wallace

Molly on the Shore is an arrangement of two contrasting Irish reels, “Temple Hill” and “Molly on the Shore,” that presents the melodies in a variety of textures and orchestrations. Each section of the band has long stretches of thematic and counter-melodic material but it especially features the clarinets and saxophones.
Grainger composed this piece for strings in 1907 as a birthday gift for his mother Rose who had home-schooled him and with whom he was extraordinarily close. He later arranged it for wind band and for orchestra. When Fritz Kreisler set it for violin and piano, Grainger was not impressed: “[It] was a thousand times worse than I had fore-weened (expected), and I had not fore-weened anything good.”
Grainger wrote, “Melody seems to me to provide music with initiative, [but] rhythm appears to me to exert an enslaving influence. For that reason I have tried to avoid regular rhythmic domination in my music … I prize discordant harmony, because of the emotional and compassionate sway it exerts.”
Percy Aldridge Grainger (1882 – 1961) was an Australian-born composer, arranger, pianist and musical innovator. He enlisted as an army bandsman, became a U.S. citizen and made many worldwide concert tours. He was a complicated, controversial figure in every facet of his life. He rebelled against the disciplines of the central European tradition, largely rejecting conventional forms such as symphony, sonata, concerto and opera. He believed that “free music” required non-human performance and worked years developing machines for it. Convinced of Nordic superiority, he eschewed Italian, the customary language of music, in favour of “blue-eyed” English.

-Palatine Concert Band

Creating a musical representation of Earth’s grand vistas and landscapes, this opens with a quiet delicate theme that is pastoral and reflective. Building to a bold heroic theme, the music then subsides quietly, concluding this beautifully descriptive work for winds.

-JW Pepper

Liquid Compass is a tone poem that takes the musicians and the audience on a watery journey spanning the mystical and the triumphant. Commemorating the 140th anniversary of Carthage College’s wind band, the piece migrates to different places, but never loses its bearings in pursuit of a musical true north. The spiritual power of the sea is ever-present, in layers of unique sounds heard in the audio track, and duplicated by the musicians. The effect is a physical surround-sound of texture, as metal bowls capture slow, resonant drips of water, and flutists breathe other-worldly intonations. The piece, like the school that commissioned it, continues to push forward while observing that which has come before. Because one can’t celebrate history, without reflecting on the waters over which time and experience have passed.

-Alex Shapiro

Sydney University Wind Orchestra

The Sydney University Wind Orchestra is an award winning symphonic wind orchestra that performs a wide repertoire, specialising in modern wind band music from the late 20th and 21st centuries. The band is very active, giving regular concerts, performing on tour collaborating with other musical ensembles and holding a training camp each year.
Aside from a major concert performance in a concert hall or theatre every semester, SUWO regularly features its members in smaller ensembles and solo performances. We are also very proud of our “Concerts for Kids” program which sees the band tour schools in the greater Sydney region, and even Canberra in 2012, to bring them an educational and musical experience they might not otherwise have the chance to experience.

SUWO prides itself on its musical excellence, but also on its friendly, social environment. Winner of “Best Small Club” for 5 continuous years from 2006-2010, shortlisted for the Dave Burnett Award for Best Club with 100+ members in 2013 and 2014 and winner of “Best Website” in 2012 and 2013. Our musicians enjoy many fun filled social events, from dinner gatherings, to bowling, Bunnings BBQs fundraising days and musical outings.

Executive Committee

President – Chathurika Ravindra
Vice President – Joshua Winestock
Treasurer – Jack Andrew-Kabilafkas
Secretary – Elena Sheard
Publicity Officer – Lauren Vickery
Social Coordinator – Hannah Taylor
Librarian – Jasmine Mills
IT Officer – Hugh Guest
Equipment Manager – Rebekah Bradshaw
General Executive – Emma Koch
General Executive – Tamara Craig

Conductor and Music Director

11297277_10153016094726359_935945584_oDr Steven Capaldo is highly respected as a leading music educator, conductor and conductor educator. He is currently the Senior Lecturer in Music Education at the University of Wollongong, a member of the Conducting Faculty at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music as Conductor and Music Director of the Sydney University Wind Orchestra, and the Conductor and Music Director of the UNSW Wind Symphony. Previously an Assistant Professor in Music Education and Instructor of Conducting at the University of Victoria in BC Canada, Dr Capaldo was the founding conductor of the University of Victoria Symphonic Winds and taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Conducting and Music Education.

Dr Capaldo completed a Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance (Conducting) at the University of Nevada (UNLV), a Master of Performance (Orchestral and Choral Conducting) at the University of Sydney (Conservatorium of Music), a Bachelor of Education (Music) at the University of Melbourne, and an AMusA on Saxophone with Distinction. He has diverse experience as a conductor and music educator working with symphony orchestras, wind orchestras and chamber ensembles as well as establishing a long-standing history supporting, mentoring and engaging in community music and music education settings.

Performing in Australia, the US and Canada in concerts and on recordings, Dr Capaldo is also an active composer, arranger and transcriber. His works have been performed and recorded by groups in Australia, Canada, & the United States. He has also been a finalist in international composition competitions and in 2010 became a full voting member for the US Grammy Awards. In 2017, Dr Capaldo was the Chair of the Australian Jury Panel for the Eurovision Song Contest.

An Assistant Producer for nine CD releases for Naxos Music and Klavier Records in Australia and the US, Dr Capaldo has adjudicated at a local, regional, state/provincial and national level in Australia and Canada, including MusicFest – Canada’s National Music Festival and the Australian International Music Festival. Dr Capaldo has received many awards recognizing his contribution to music education, community music and for his academic work. He is active in providing professional learning opportunities for music educators in ensemble conducting, professional learning opportunities for music educators through conducting and pedagogy clinics and workshops, teacher development clinics and at a national and state level as a conducting clinician through ABODA and other organisations. Dr Capaldo has also worked with many school and university groups in clinics and workshops at a local, state, national and international level.

Rara André Nowicki – Composer of Rarajipari

After studying clarinet under Phil Greene at the New Zealand School of Music, André Nowicki completed a masters in composition under Ross Edwards at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2017. André co-founded and directed the Wellington-based new music collective SMP Ensemble in from 2008. His works have been performed in Australia and New Zealand and broadcast on radio. Recent highlights are ‘Sacred Glaciers’ a work for Mongolian throat singer and wind ensemble, premiered by Professor John Lynch and the Sydney Conservatorium Wind Ensemble and a NZ tour of a new marimba work for percussionist Yoshiko Tsuruta.