Imani Winds has established itself as more than a wind quintet. Since 1997, the Grammy-nominated ensemble has carved a distinct presence in the classical music world with its dynamic playing, culturally poignant programming, genre-blurring collaborations, and inspirational outreach programs. With two member composers and a deep commitment to commissioning new work, the group enriches the traditional wind quintet repertoire while meaningfully bridging European, American, African, and Latin American traditions.
The group is in the midst of its Legacy Commissioning Project, an ambitious five-year endeavor launching Imani Winds into its second decade of music making. The ensemble is commissioning, premiering, and touring 10 new works for woodwind quintet written by established and emerging composers of various musical backgrounds. The select composers originate from different points of the globe, with a diverse musical expertise including classical, jazz, Middle Eastern, and Latin sounds. The Legacy Project kicked off in 2008 with world premieres by Alvin Singleton and Roberto Sierra. In the 2008–2009 season, Jason Moran’s Cane premieres at the Kimmel Center for the Arts in Philadelphia, followed by a performance at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall.
In 2007–2008, Imani Winds performed extensively with jazz icon Wayne Shorter; in 2008–2009, the group plays several engagements with the Shorter Quartet, including dates at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and İş Sanat Art and Culture Center in Istanbul.
The group’s extensive touring schedule has brought them to the Herbst Theater for San Francisco Performances, Seattle’s Meany Hall, University of Illinois’ Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Ensemble Music Society of Indianapolis, La Jolla Music Society, and the Virginia Arts Festival. The group has been recognized with numerous awards, including the 2007 ASCAP Award, 2002 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, as well as the CMA/WQXR Award for their debut and self-released CD Umoja.
Imani Winds has three releases on Koch International Classics, including the 2006 Grammy-nominated recording The Classical Underground. A fourth release, This Christmas, was released in 2008.
Imani Winds on the importance of being an African American classical group