March 28, 2018
ucf wind ensemble performing

On April 9 at 7:30 P.M., the UCF Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band will perform together in the Walt Disney Theater as part of UCF Celebrates the Arts 2018. Each band will play their own assortment of compositions, many of which feature or pay tribute to renowned composers and musicians. The Wind Ensemble’s piece in particular, “Zodiac Concerto,” includes the musical stylings of world-renowned solo artists William Caballero and Roger Oyster.

The creation of “Zodiac Concerto” began in 2006 with “Gemini,” which was commissioned as a solo piece. In 2017 Oyster approached colleague Scott Lubaroff, now conductor of the Wind Ensemble, with the suggestion that they expand it to a full concerto that keeps in line with the Greek Mythology theme. Thus, with the additions of “Capricorn” and “Aries,” “Zodiac Concerto” was complete. It premiered in an April 2017 performance by the University of Central Missouri Wind Ensemble, with Lubaroff as the conductor and Oyster and Caballero as solo horn and euphonium, respectively.

Each movement in the concerto embodies the personality traits of its representative Greek God: “Capricorn” is warm and heartfelt, which contrasts sharply with “Gemini,” while “Aries” feels purposeful and otherworldly.

Upon taking the UCF Wind Ensemble conductor position, Lubaroff discovered a relationship between the university and “Zodiac Concerto.”

“The movement connects with the mythology on campus,” said Lubaroff. “Our mascot is the Pegasus, the School of Performing Arts is on Centaurus Boulevard, Gemini Boulevard is nearby – it’s a perfect fit.”

Guest artists Caballero and Oyster will once again join Lubaroff in their solos as horn and euphonium for the UCF Celebrates the Arts performance. Caballero has received rave reviews as the Principal Horn for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony and Hartford Symphony, and is an associate teaching professor of Horn at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music. Oyster carries his own reputation as the principal trombone and euphonium player for the Kansas City Symphony. He has played with 14 orchestras worldwide, including the National Symphony in Washington D.C., and can be heard in two Grammy Award-winning commercially released recordings.

“The opportunity to bring these world-class soloists to UCF and have them interact with and instruct our students is incredible,” said Lubaroff.

“Manhattan Roll” is another piece the Wind Ensemble will perform. Composed by the accomplished Robert Beaser in 1998, the title refers to a menu item at New York’s Empire Szechuan restaurant – a testament to Beaser’s sense of humor. However, the piece itself is no joke. “It’s a really difficult and exciting composition,” said Lubaroff.

The piece has a Latin feel to it, attributed to Beaser driving through Latin-heavy upper Manhattan the night before composing it. The energy and music of the area inspired him.

In addition to cheerful pieces, there will be the more solemn “Of Our New Day,” a composition written by Omar Thomas to honor the nine lives lost in the 2015 Charleston, South Carolina church shooting.

“The most powerful musical expression I could offer incorporated elements from [all the emotions I felt after the tragedy] – embracing my pain and anger while being moved by the displays of grace and forgiveness demonstrated by the victims’ families,” said Thomas.

The Symphonic Band, conducted by associate professor of bands Tremon Kizer, will perform four compositions including “Profanation” and “Blues for a Killed Kat.” “Profanation” is a scherzo that premiered in “Jeremiah,” the first symphony of the esteemed Leonard Bernstein. It is based on the traditional Hebrew Haftarah, a biblical selection from the Books of the Prophets read in Jewish synagogue services. There is a destructive and chaotic sense to it, as the Haftarah details the strife of pagan corruption in ancient Jerusalem. There will be another tribute to Leonard Bernstein at UCF Celebrates the Arts on April 6 and 7 with performances of Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers.

“Blues for a Killed Kat,” written by Jack End, was inspired by a more modern and small-scale happening that may surprise people – a dead cat on a city street. End expressed his sadness for the slain feline through the piece, which was played for years by his band and recorded by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra in 1986 following End’s passing.

Through a rigorous audition process every semester, UCF blind-selects approximately 100 students to join the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band. These students are highly proficient in wind or percussion instrumentation and can be from any major in the university. Bi-weekly rehearsals prepare students for two to three concerts per semester at local, regional, and national venues.

“I hope the audience will leave with an appreciation of the depth of talent we have in our university’s bands” said Lubaroff.

Join the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band for their free concert April 9 at UCF Celebrates the Arts 2018, which runs from April 6-14 at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. All events are ticketed, either free general admission or varying ticket prices from $5-$50 depending on the seat location and event. To reserve free tickets to this concert and view the full program guide, visit