Arts & Humanities Campus News

Wind Ensemble premieres new music with Linqua Franqa, New York Philharmonic

The Hugh Hodgson School of Music is hosting the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) National Conference on campus Feb. 15-18. This biannual event brings together band leaders from universities across the United States (and several countries worldwide) for seminars, continuing education opportunities and to present their bands in concert.

Nicholas Enrico Williams, the new director of bands for the Hodgson School of Music, will be conducting the UGA Wind Ensemble, along with guest conductors Jaclyn Hartenberger and Shiree X. Williams, in a particularly unique and innovative concert on Feb 16 at 8 p.m. in Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall at the UGA Performing Arts Center as part of this conference.

“We are truly honored to be hosting this national event,” said Williams, “and our concert is demonstrating just how universal and powerful our music can be.”

The concert is free and open to the public. Free tickets can be reserved online at or by calling 706-542-4400.

Linqua Franqa (Submitted photo)

The Wind Ensemble performance will feature six pieces, two of which are world premieres. “Ascendant Cycles” is a three-movement concerto for rapper and wind ensemble. The piece draws from both hip-hop and contemporary classical styles, and the verse/text is an abstract exploration Athens hip-hop artist Linqua Franqa’s work as an activist. Franqa collaborated with Peter Van Zandt Lane, associate professor of composition and director of the Dancz Center for New Music, to create this work.

“As in most concertos, it’s also a technical tour de force,” said Lane, “with a lot of virtuosic material for both the vocal soloist as well as the instrumentalists, much of it drawn from the complex lyrical patterns in hip-hop.”

Franqa makes rap music about collective liberation. Their work has been featured in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, SPIN Magazine and NPR’s “All Things Considered” for its synthesis of radical honesty and revolutionary vigor. Their sophomore album, “Bellringer,” is also their Ph.D. dissertation in language and literacy education from the University of Georgia.

Chris Martin (Submitted photo)

The other world premiere is a piece titled “Triptych,” created by the world-renowned composer Joseph Turrin, and will include Chris Martin, principal trumpet for the New York Philharmonic, and Joseph Alessi, principal trombone for the NYP. This new piece was composed as a consortium as a memorial to Eric Andrew Rombach-Kendall, University of New Mexico professor of music and director of bands since 1993 who passed away last year. Rombach-Kendall was also president of CBDNA from 2011-2013.

Joe Alessi (Submitted photo)

“The impact music teachers can have on students can be life changing,” said Williams, “and we are so moved to be a part of honoring Eric’s extensive legacy.” During this concert, Rombach-Kendall’s family will be presented with a special award for his service, and a scholarship through CBDNA will be established in Rombach-Kendall’s name.

In addition to the Wind Ensemble concert, Master’s Conducting Associate Anthony Morris and UGA HHSOM alumna Emily Eng (DMA ‘22) will be presenting during the conference. Morris was named a Conducting Fellow for the H. Robert Reynolds Conducting Institute at the 76th Annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Illinois, this past fall.

Along with Lane, fellow UGA HHSOM faculty Connie Frigo, Jaclyn Hartenberger and James Weidman will participate in a panel discussion Feb. 18 at 4:15 p.m. in Ramsey Hall at the UGA Performing Arts Center called “Athens Hip Hop Harmonic: Building a Bridge Between UGA and Local Music.” This panel will also include local musicians Montu Miller, Celest Divine Ngeve, Mariah Parker and Ayako Pederson-Takeda.