Gettysburg College Prof. Russell McCutcheon has produced and directed a CD recording that introduces new musical works to the world’s recorded repertoire for chamber wind ensembles.
Cochran Chamber Winds Commissioning Series, Volume 1 is a compilation of four works commissioned by the Cochran Chamber Commissioning Project and performed by the Atlantic Chamber Winds under McCutcheon’s direction. It is distributed on the Mark Masters series label, the premier commercial recording label in the wind band field, and is available through the Naxos Music Library, iTunes, Amazon, and the College Bookstore.
The Atlantic Chamber Winds is an ensemble of professional musicians who came to together expressly for this project. Gettysburg alumnus Andrew Deen ’10 plays oboe on the album. Deen recently completed his master’s of music in performance at the University of Florida.
A chamber wind ensemble, often with one or two instruments voicing each part, provides opportunities for an exploration of styles and repertoire, McCutcheon said.
“Chamber wind performances are especially significant for colleges because the music is designed to be played by highly skilled musicians in situations when programs may not have complete instrumentation, McCutcheon said. He adds that much of the work that exists for these groups is aimed at less experienced musicians or is trans-cribed from work intended for wind symphonies or orchestras.
The Cochran Chamber Commissioning Project inspires and supports the composition of new music for these ensembles. Gettysburg College is a contributing member of the project, which allows institutions to pool resources for new commissions in return for performance rights.
“I think it is important that musicians hear this music and that the work is promoted among other music directors. In this day and age, we learn about new music through recording,” McCutcheon said. “Ours is the first professional recording for three of the pieces and the fourth was out of print, so, other than live performance, this is the only way to hear these pieces.“
McCutcheon received his Ph.D. in music education with a concentration in wind conducting from the University of Florida in Gainesville. He is the director of bands and area head of music education in Gettysburg College’s Sunderman Conservatory. He received support for the project through a research and development grant awarded by the College fo
r enhancing instruction, research, creative endeavors, and professional activities. The grants are supported in part by annual giving through the Gettysburg Fund.
McCutcheon characterizes the season’s second release, “Loud, Proud and in Step” as “a celebration of one of the NCAA Division III’s premier marching bands.” One of the largest and most active student groups on campus, the Bullets Marching Band includes students from the Conservatory and many other majors.
“We wanted to promote our band program and create memories for current students, alumni, parents, and friends of the College,” said McCutcheon. “We also want to promote the band to prospective students and a wider musical audience, including music educators and band directors.”
The CD includes the Alma Mater, Bullets fight songs, a halftime revue, and other favorites. For that authentic feeling of live performance, the music was recorded in one 2-hour session in the College’s Majestic Theater on Nov. 14, 2011. It is published on the Mark Records label and available in the College bookstore.
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Contact: Sue Baldwin-Way, director of development communications, 717-337-6832