Brandon Patrick George, flute
Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe
Mark Dover, clarinet
Kevin Newton, French horn
Monica Ellis, bassoon
Celebrating over 20 years of music making, the twice Grammy nominated Imani Winds has led both a revolution and the evolution of the wind quintet through their dynamic playing, adventurous programming, imaginative collaborations and outreach endeavors that have inspired audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
The ensemble’s playlist embraces traditional chamber music repertoire, and as a 21st century group, Imani Winds is devoutly committed to expanding the wind quintet repertoire by commissioning music from new voices that reflect historical events and the times in which we currently live.
Present and future season performances include a Jessie Montgomery composition inspired by her great-grandfather’s migration from the American south to the north; and, socially conscious music by Andy Akiho designed to be performed both on the concert stage and in front of immigrant detention centers throughout the country.
Imani Winds regularly performs in prominent international concert venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Walt Disney Hall and the Kimmel Center. Their touring schedule has taken them throughout the Asian continent, Brazil, Australia, England, New Zealand and across Europe.
Their national and international presence includes performances at chamber music series in Boston, New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Philadelphia and Houston. Festival performances include Chamber Music Northwest, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Chautauqua, Banff Centre and Music from Angel Fire.
Imani Winds’ travels through the jazz world are highlighted by their association with saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter, woodwind artist and composer Paquito D’Rivera and pianist and composer Jason Moran. Their ambitious project, “Josephine Baker: A Life of Le Jazz Hot!” featured chanteuse René Marie in performances that brought the house down in New York, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Los Angeles and St. Louis.
Imani Winds’ commitment to education runs deep. The group participates in residencies throughout the U.S., giving performances and master classes to thousands of students each year. Academic and institutional residencies include the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Duke University, University of Chicago, Curtis Institute of Music, University of Michigan, Da Camera of Houston and numerous others across the country.
The ensemble launched its annual Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival in 2010, bringing together young instrumentalists and composers from across North America and abroad for exploration and performance of the standard repertoire and newly composed chamber music. Festival participants also take part in workshops devoted to entrepreneurial and outreach opportunities, with the goal of creating the complete musician and global citizen.
In 2021, Imani Winds released their latest album, Bruits, on Bright Shiny Things Records. The ensemble received their second Grammy nomination for Bruits. Grammophone states, “the ensemble’s hot rapport churns with conviction throughout…”
Imani Winds has six albums on Koch International Classics and E1 Music, including their Grammy Award nominated recording, The Classical Underground. They have also recorded for Naxos and Blue Note and released Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring on Warner Classics. Their most recent recording, Bruits, has been receiving critical acclaim since its release on the Bright Shiny Things label in February 2021.
Imani Winds is regularly featured on all media platforms including NPR, American Public Media, the BBC, SiriusXM, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
In 2016, Imani Winds received their greatest accolade in their two decades of music making: a permanent presence in the classical music section of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.
"Imani's performance was brilliant --intense, dynamic and wildly colorful."
— James McQuillen, Oregon Live
"[The] ensemble is strikingly virtuosic, immaculately tight, stylistically agile, and they know how to engage the audience with sincere, succinct and thoughtful comments about the music they perform."
— Peter Van Zandt Lane, The Boston Musical Intelligencer
"beautiful at times, stark, aggressive, ethereal, playful, thoughtful"
— Houston Culture Map
"Imani Winds unleashed a hurricane of creativity in New Orleans on Monday, bringing the 2012-2013 season of the Friends of Music to a glorious climax with snapping fingers, an audience sing-along and an astounding blend of jazz expressivity and classical chops. The concert, at Tulane University’s Dixon Hall, made it clear why this quintet has been tapped to work with superstars like Wayne Shorter and Yo-Yo Ma."
— Chris Waddington, New Orleans Times Picayune
"The setting might be small, but in this clever arrangement by Jonathan Russell, we learn that a wind quintet, when called upon, can make a mighty and sonorous wail.”
— Tom Huizenga, NPR Music
"Tsigane showed how the ensemble as a whole shared a flexibility of rhythm and time while also showcasing the individual talent of each player with the perfect balance and blend of all parts which chamber ensembles strive for over years. Apparently, sixteen years of the same players’ hard work together can yield fantastic results!"
— Andrea McKerlie, Classical Voice of North Carolina
"As an ensemble, the Imani Winds cultivate the big, rich sound one associates with classical players -- and they also display the daring, respond in-the moment qualities one associates with a swinging jazz combo."
— Chris Waddington, New Orleans Times Picayune