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Imani Winds in concert at Conn College

Published November 07. 2013 4:00AM

Flute player Valerie Coleman told an interviewer a few years back, "I can remember when I was a little kid, I used to be in the youth orchestra, and there were so many African-Americans in the orchestra. But somewhere along the line, when I got to college, I was the only one in the orchestra. So I wondered what in the world happened here?"

She didn't just wonder; she addressed the issue by forming a music group whose members are people of color. Imani Winds went on to become highly praised and Grammy-nominated.

The wind quintet, which will perform Friday at Connecticut College, has won a 2007 ASCAP Award and the 2002 Chamber Music America (CMA)/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. They have performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. They have opened for Wynton Marsalis and Cassandra Wilson.

Beyond that, Imani Winds are enthusiastic about educational outreach programs. While here, members will perform and participate in a question-and-answer session at the Dual Language Arts Academy in Waterford and will conduct a master class for Conn College music students.

In their repertoire, the group aims to bridge European, American, African and Latin American traditions, as their Conn College program shows. They'll play works by a range of contemporary classical composers, from Gyorgy Ligeti to Manuel de Falla to Gamal Abdel-Rahim.

In addition to Coleman, Imani Winds features Mariam Adam, clarinet; Monica Ellis, bassoon; Jeff Scott, French horn; and Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe.


Imani Winds, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Evans Hall, Connecticut College, Route 32, New London; $22 ($20 seniors, $11 students); (860) 444-7373, onstage.conncoll.edu.

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