NEC Symphonic Winds: Zhang, Firsova, Spittal, Hindemith, & Plater

NEC: Jordan Hall | Directions

290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA
United States

William Drury leads the NEC Symphonic Winds in a diverse program of works by Robert Spittal, Elena Firsova, Paul Hindemith, Wen Zhang and DJ Plater.  Guests include soprano Allyson Bennett '22 MM in the Firsova, trombonist Ross Holcombe '14, '18 MM in the Spittal, and Robert Spittal as conductor of his own piece.  Graduate conductor Iverson Eliopoulos '23 MM conducts the Zhang.

This performance is open to in-person audiences, and is also viewable via livestream.

Watch livestream from Jordan Hall:

  • NEC Symphonic Winds
  1. Wen Zhang '21 MM | Fanfare for the Symphonic Winds (2021)

    • Iverson Eliopoulos '23 MM, conductor
  2. Elena Firsova | The Birth of a Smile

    I. (Andantino)
    II. (Con moto)
    III. (Andante)



    Детский рот жует свою мякину,
    улыбается жуя,

    словна щёгль, голову закину
    и щегла увижу я.

    Хвостик лодкой, перья черно-желты,
    Ниже клюва красным шит,
    Черно-желтый, до чего щегол ты,
    До чего ты щегловит!

    Подивлюсь на свет еще немного,
    На детей и на снега,--
    Но улыбка неподдельна, как дорога,
    Непослушна, не слуга.

    Нынче день какой-то желторотый –

    И глядят приморские ворота
    В якорях, в туманах на меня...

    Тихий, тихий по воде линялой
    Ход военных кораблей,
    И каналов узкие пеналы
    Подольдомещё черней

    Когда заулыбается дитя

    С развилинкой и горечи и сласти,
    Концы его улыбки, не шутя,
    Уходят в океанское безвластье.

    Ему непобедимо хорошо,
    Углами губ оно играет в славе –
    И радужный уже строчится шов,
    Для бесконечного познанья яви.

    На лапы из воды поднялся материк –
    Улитки рта наплыв и приближенье, –
    И бьёт в глаза один атлантов миг

    Под лёгкий наигрыш хвалы и удивленья.

    Osip Mandelstam

    A child’s mouth chewing its chaff,
    smiling, chewing,

    like a dandy, I’ll throw my head back
    and I’ll see goldfinches.

    Boat-tailed, with black and yellow feathers,
    A red breastplate below the beak,
    Black and yellow, what you are flaunting,
    What a vain bird you are!

    I will wonder at the light a little longer,
    On the children and on the snow,--
    But smiles are incorruptible, like roads,

    Disobedient, no one’s servant

    Today is somehow a yellow mouthed day –
    I can’t make sense of it –
    Dock gates stare
    from anchors, from mist at me…

    Quietly by faded water
    battleships move along,
    And the narrow pencil-case canals
    are even darker beneath the ice.

    When children start to smile
    partially in sweetness and partially in bitterness,
    The ends of his smile, all jokes aside,
    Travel into the ocean’s anarchy.

    The baby feels invincibly good,
    with the corner of its lips it plays in glory –
    And a rainbow seam is already being stitched
    For the endless knowledge of reality.

    On its paws rising out of the water –
    The snail of the mouth begins its migration, --
    And one Atlantean moment strikes the eyes
    To the light music of surprise and admiration.


    Allyson Bennett

    Allyson Bennett is an American soprano studying under Jane Eaglen at the New England Conservatory pursuing a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance. Originally from small town Pennsylvania, she is a Boston-based classical vocalist with a passion for operatic and song repertoire.
            Upcoming performances feature Allyson in the role of Eva in Jack Perla’s An American Dream with NEC’s opera department, and as the soprano soloist in Stravinsky’s Les Noces as part of NEC’s First Monday concert series.
            In 2021 Allyson was named a Boston District Winner for the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition.Additional awards include the 1st place prize for Rising Talents of Americas with the Greater Composers Competition International and 1st place Classical Vocal Performance in the Pottstown Rotary Performing Arts Scholarship Competition.
            An avid lover of the many genres of classical vocal music, her repertoire expands from the Baroque to present day compositions. She is always excited to explore new works and collaborate with composers. For more information, please see

    • Allyson Bennett '22 MM, soprano
  3. Robert Spittal | Blue allusions: a divertimento for trombone and winds



    Robert Spittal is an award-winning composer, conductor, flutist and saxophonist whose music has been described as "inventive", "clever" and "full of musicality" by critics and musicians alike. He is Professor of Music at Gonzaga University where he served as Director of Bands and led the Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds from 1992-2018. He now leads the Creative Music Lab Ensemble and teaches conducting and music theory, and mentors students in the undergraduate conducting minor. Spittal received a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Eugene Corporon. Prior to CCM, he studied with Michael Haithcock (Baylor University) and Craig Kirchhoff (Ohio State University, 1985). He has also studied conducting with Frank Battisti and H. Robert Reynolds. Robert is the conductor of the professional brass ensemble Clarion, and he has led performances by the Spokane Symphony, Spokane British Brass Band, Mosaic Chamber Ensemble, and numerous collegiate and high school bands and orchestras in the US and Canada.
            His compositions have been commissioned and performed by some of the finest professional and academic musicians in North America, Europe, South America and Asia, including The Bay Brass, Borealis Wind Quintet, Atlanta Chamber Winds, Monmouth Winds, New England Conservatory, National Chamber Winds and North Texas Wind Symphony. His works have been performed in concert halls in New York, Bangkok, Vienna, Cologne, Milan, as well as Interlochen, the "Music for All" Honor Band of America, the WASBE international conference, the American Bandmasters Association conference, the National Flute Association conference, the Midwest Clinic, ASBDA, numerous All-State bands, and the CBDNA Western/Northwestern Conference. Three of his works are included in GIA's "Teaching Music" series, two of which were recorded by the North Texas Wind Symphony for the series. In 2020, Robert’s Diversions for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble received 1st Prize at the World Associations of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles Competition.

            Robert's work combines sophisticated art music forms and techniques with an appealing musical vernacular that reaches across boundaries of genre and style. This concern for aesthetic sophistication and artistic integrity in combination with a satisfying and often intentionally enjoyable appeal to the listener's ear, has been developing since his adolescent years, when he was both a serious flute student in the Cleveland Institute of Music's Prep program and a free-lance saxophonist in horn sections of jazz, r&b and other dance bands.

    Ross Holcombe is the Assistant Principal Trombonist of The Florida Orchestra, a position he has held since 2018. Previously, Ross was the Principal Trombonist of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra for seven seasons, and Associate Principal Trombonist of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra for nine seasons. During the summer Ross performs with the Bellingham Festival Orchestra.
            Additional orchestral engagements include performances as guest Principal Trombonist with the Seattle Symphony, Sarasota, and Boston Philharmonic Orchestras. Ross has also performed with the Utah, Vancouver, Oregon, and Albany Symphonies, as well as the Naples Philharmonic, Rhode Island Philharmonic, United States Coast Guard Band, and Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
            Ross has appeared as a soloist with The Florida Orchestra, Spokane Symphony, and Gonzaga Wind Symphony, as well as at the Eastern Trombone Workshop with the Frequency Band. An avid chamber musician, Ross is a founding member of the Spokane Brass Quintet and performs regularly on recital series across Tampa Bay. As a composer and arranger for brass, Ross’s music has been commissioned and performed by brass quintets, brass ensembles, and trombone choirs throughout the United States. His music is published by Cherry Classics.
            Ross is currently on the faculty of Hillsborough Community College. Previously, he served on the faculties of Whitworth, Gonzaga, and Eastern Washington Universities. Ross also maintains a private studio in the Tampa Bay area; his students are regularly accepted to top university and conservatory music programs. In addition, Ross has been invited to give guest masterclasses and recitals at schools across the country, including Duquesne University, the University of Southern Mississippi, Boise State University, University of South Florida, Central Washington University, University of Montana, Washington State University, University of Tennessee at Martin, and others.
            As a recording artist, Ross can be heard on commercially available releases from the Seattle Symphony, Vermont Symphony, Jordan Winds, and the Frequency Band. Additionally, he can be heard on the soundtracks to numerous video games, motion pictures, and theme park attractions from producers such as Sony Pictures, Blizzard Entertainment, Warner Brothers, Electronic Arts, and the Walt Disney Company.  Ross received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the New England Conservatory, where his primary teacher was Norman Bolter. His other teachers include John Drew, Grady McGrannahan, Joseph Frye, and Dale Moore. Ross has also received fellowships to attend the Pacific Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, National Repertory Orchestra, and the Tanglewood Music Center.
            Outside of his musical career, Ross is an avid cyclist, disc golfer, and backpacker. He lives in Tampa with his wife, Emily, and their two dogs, Sydney and Billie.

    • Ross Holcombe '14, '18 MM, trombone
    • Robert Spittal, guest conductor
  4. Paul Hindemith (arr. Keith Wilson) | March from Symphonic Metamorphosis

  5. D. J. Plater | Light Infantry March



    Anne Chao
    Subee Kim
    Elizabeth Kleiber
    Yechan Min
    Subin Oh
    Joon Park
    Anna Ridenour

    Dianne Seo

    Yuhsi Chang
    Corinne Foley
    Coleton Morgan

    Tristan Broadfoot
    Sarah Cho
    Xianyi Ji
    Tao Ke
    Kevin Lin

    Zoe Beck
    Adam Chen
    Garrett Comrie
    Seth Goldman
    Evan Judson
    Kangwei Lu
    Carson Meritt
    Julien Rollins
    Jialu Wang

    Yingjie Hong
    Jordan Roach
    Lila Searls
    Ethan Xinyuan Shen
    Daihua Song

    Juchen Wang

    French horn
    Mattias Bengtsson
    Huimin Mandy Liu
    Graham Lovely

    Mauricio Martinez
    Tess Reagan
    Jenna Stokes
    Xiaoran Xu

    Michael Harms
    Sarah Heimberg
    Matthew Mihalko

    Justin Park
    Alexandra Richmond
    Jon-Michael Taylor

    Elias Canales
    Lukas Helsel
    Jaehan Kim
    Noah Korenfeld
    Quinn McGillis
    Noah Nichilo
    Alexander Russell
    Kevin Smith

    Bass Trombone
    Roger Dahlin
    Ki Yoon Park
    Jason Sato

    Jack Earnhart


    Jordan Jenifor
    Hayden Silvester

    Isabella Butler
    Nga ieng Lai
    Mark Larrivee

    Eli Reisz
    Rohan Zakharia

    Shaylen Joos

    Sunmin Kim

    Wind Ensemble Graduate Assistants

    Nicolás Ayala-Cerón
    Minchao Cai
    Iverson Eliopoulos