West Point Woodwind Quintet

The West Point Woodwind Quintet of the West Point Band is made up of members of the Concert Band. The group performs at many different events, such as military social functions, school presentations, and formal recitals. The West Point Woodwind Quintet has supported the United States Recruiting Command with tours of high schools and colleges to promote Army bands and audition prospective candidates. These tours have taken the quintet to Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New Jersey and Florida.

In support of military requirements, the quintet has entertained the United States Corps of Cadets and performed for many visiting dignitaries and heads of state. These performances have included annual receptions hosted by the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, presidential receptions in New York City, and the 40th Anniversary of the United Nations.

Outside the realm of the military, residents of local communities have regularly enjoyed the quintet on recitals as part of the West Point Band's chamber music series. The West Point Woodwind Quintet has been a staple ensemble for many years, and continues to be an important musical emissary of the West Point Band and the United States Army.

MASTER SERGEANT GLENN WEST - BASSOON, is from Spokane, WA and joined the West Point Band in September of 2004. Glenn's previous military service includes duty with the 323rd Army Band in San Antonio, TX, the USARUER Band and Chorus in Heidelberg, Germany and the Air National Guard Band of the Northwest in Spokane, WA. A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Master of Music, Glenn studied bassoon with Dr. Wendal Jones (Spokane Symphony), Charles Ullery (St. Paul Chamber Orchestra) and Sharon Kuster (San Antonio Symphony). He has performed with the San Antonio Symphony, La Orquesta Sinfónica De La Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico, the Spokane Symphony and the Winter's Chamber Orchestra as well as chamber music with the Mozart Octet of Spokane, WA and the Faculty Woodwind Quintets at the University of Texas, San Antonio and Washington State University.

SERGEANT FIRST CLASS SAM KAESTNER - CLARINET, attended the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he received instruction from Baltimore Symphony bass clarinetist Edward Palanker and Anthony Gigliotti, former Philadelphia Orchestra principal clarinetist. After his 2000 Peabody graduation with honors, Kaestner went to Northwestern University for graduate work. His Northwestern experience included study with Chicago Symphony bass clarinetist, J. Lawrie Bloom, where he also was a finalist in the graduate concerto competition. In 2002, Kaestner received a masters degree with honors. In addition to his strength as a classical clarinetist, Sgt. 1st Class Kaestner also plays jazz. While at Peabody, Kaestner studied jazz with former Miles Davis saxophonist Gary Thomas. Sgt. 1st Class Kaestner is a founding member of the Academy Clarinet Quartet and a member of the West Point Woodwind Quintet. He is currently studying with Metropolitan Opera Orchestra bass clarinetist James Ognibene and with John Manasse.

STAFF SERGEANT NICOLE CALOURI - HORN, a native of Coral Springs, Florida, began her undergraduate studies at Florida State University and completed her Bachelor of Music in horn performance from Southern Methodist University as a student of Gregory Hustis.

Staff Sgt. Caluori has earned several musical and professional accolades. She has spent summers at elite music festivals such as the National Repertory Orchestra, the Tanglewood Music Center and the Sarasota Music Festival. As an orchestral player, Nicole has performed with the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida, Richardson Symphony Orchestra in Dallas, Texas, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and currently subs with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic as well as other regional orchestras in the Tri-State area. Recognized for her solo playing, Nicole was a semi-finalist at the 2005 International Horn Competition of America and won the Eastern Music Festival Concerto Competition the same year. Her principal teachers have also included William Capps, Dwayne Dixon, and Kevin Reid.

STAFF SERGEANT ANNA PENNINGTON - OBOE, joined the West Point Band in 2011. Since 2007, she was the Assistant Professor of Oboe at the University of Southern Mississippi School of Music, and she performed as a member of the Mobile, Pensacola, and Gulf Coast Symphonies. She also toured extensively with Category 5, the faculty wind quintet in residence at the university. In addition to being a former member of the Planets, a classical fusion ensemble, Anna has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Jacksonville Symphony (FL), the Florida Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony (SC), and the Florida West Coast Symphony (now Sarasota Orchestra). Festival appearances include the New Texas Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Victoria Bach Festival, and the Salzburger Festspiele.

Anna has given recitals and master classes at universities throughout the United States, Venezuela, and Brazil, and also has made appearances on National Public Radio, at Carnegie Hall, and at Avery Fisher Hall, among other international venues. She appeared as a soloist with the Florida State University Symphony in 2005. She also has been involved in numerous recording projects.

A Texas native, Anna holds a Doctor of Music from the Florida State University, a Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Texas. Her teachers have included Eric Ohlsson, Joseph Robinson, John Snow, and Beth Sanders.

STAFF SERGEANT MEGAN SZYMANSKI - FLUTE, joined the West Point Band in March of 2011. Prior her arrival, she lived in New York City as a Kenan Fellow at the Lincoln Center Institute. While in New York, she won second prize in the Alexander and Buono International Flute Competition. Staff Sgt. Szymanski earned her Bachelor of Music, magna cum laude, from The University of Central Florida in 2008, and won the Presser Scholar Award there. She graduated in 2010 with a Master of Music from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she won the concerto competition in 2009, as well as an award for excellence as a studio teaching assistant in Tadeu Coelho’s flute studio. She was the 2008 winner of the Florida Flute Association Young Artist Competition and has performed with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Brevard Symphony Orchestra, and Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra.

Concert Dates

  • April 14, 2013 - Jewish Chapel at the West Point Military Academy,

  • April 29, 2012 - Jan Hus Chruch, New York City

15 one-minute selections on the
Sesquicentennial of the Civil War
for West Point Woodwind Quintet

  • From Manassas to Appomattox

    Malcolm Dedman

    Born in London in 1948, Malcolm Dedman was initially self-taught, having started to compose when he was 12. He had formal composition lessons with Patric Standford at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1974-75, and he gained a Masters Degree in Composing Concert Music in 2005.

    "From Manassas to Appomattox" is a commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, the first battle being that of Manassas and the last being Appomattox. The five instruments initially play independent themes, suggesting the conflict, alternating with slow music, suggesting surrender of the various battles, and eventual resolution.

  • General Grant's Whiskey Dance

    Andy Francis

    Andy Francis (b. 1986) is currently a working on his DMA in composition at Michigan State University. He has done many interesting thing, some of which might be deemed impressive. For more information, please visit www.andyfrancismusic.com.

    "Tell me what brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals." - Abraham Lincoln

  • Battle Cry of Freedom

    Stanley M. Hoffman

    Stanley M. Hoffman (b. 1959, Cleveland, Ohio) holds degrees in Music Composition from Brandeis University (Ph.D.), New England Conservatory of Music (M.M.) and Boston Conservatory (B.M.). His music is published by ECS Publishing, Oxford University Press, Wehr's Music House and Fatrock Ink. He is currently Chief Editor at ECS Publishing.

    I chose the tune "Battle Cry of Freedom" by George Root as the basis for this composition because, not only is it of the Civil War era, but it is also included in the song "They Are There" by Charles Ives, to whom I pay homage with an alternative ending.

  • On a Wednesday in May

    Francis Kayali

    Francis Kayali is a Franco-American composer currently living in the San Francisco Bay area. Recently performed works include the pocket quartet "That's a New Dog" (Choreodography No. 1) and Astronomies of the Mind, for symphony orchestra.

    "On a Wednesday in May" is based on two irreconcilable songs from the end of the American Civil War: a Union song mocking Jefferson Davis and a Confederate song bitterly cursing the Yankees and what they stood for.

  • When Freedom Cried

    Daniel J. Knaggs

    Daniel J. Knaggs's music is heard in concert halls, churches, and radio broadcasts throughout Europe and the Americas. He is currently a full-time Spanish teacher at Fr. Gabriel Richard High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    "When Freedom Cried" portrays a snapshot of battle and the death of General James S. Wadsworth at the Battle of the Wilderness (1864) for whom the song Sleep Sweetly was written (by M.B. Ladd)... a fragment of this song is used to close this brief episode.

  • The Dred Scott Decision

    Tim Labor

    Tim Labor is an award winning LA-based composer and sound designer whose classical music credits include “Blomidon: tone poem with sound design” for the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra and "Olivia" for the Mira Costa Symphony. Tim is a faculty member in the Music Department at the University of California, Riverside.

    The Dred Scott Decision was a Supreme Court ruling in which a black slave sued for freedom on a variety of grounds and was denied because of legal paradox. This reification of the institutionalization of slavery ignited the Panic of 1857 and proved the futility of peaceful legal racial debate.

  • Elegy for the Dead at Gettysburg

    David Miller

    I was born in Princeton, West Virginia and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I graduated from Long Island University with a Communications degree. My compositions have been performed by music students and professionals. My career as a professional writer includes working as a New York Post reporter and a speech writer.

    "Elegy for the Dead at Gettysburg" was inspired by Timothy O'Sullivan's photograph "The Harvest of Death" which depicts dead soldiers on the battlefield at Gettysburg. The quintet's theme is played immediately by the flute, but the quintet incorporates the songs "Dixie" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" representing both sides for this tribute.

  • Brief

    Peter Nickol

    Peter Nickol was born in 1946. He studied originally at York University, later at Exeter and Manchester, with a PhD in Composition awarded in 2008. He is based in Exeter, Devon (UK). Recent successes include Ultramarine, chosen by Texas-based Madera Wind Quintet as one of their featured pieces for 2012.

    English people don't generally know that much about the American Civil War, beyond a general concept of North against South. But we know some of the songs - great tunes! - and my one-minute piece maps one of these through a texture that gradually builds in density.

  • If My Grandfather Fought in the Civil War...

    Michael Pepper

    Michael Pepper resides in New Orleans, LA as a Music Composition and Mathematics major at Tulane University. He has been composing over two years and has received MTNA distinction as best in Louisiana two years in a row as well as a national finalist. He also composes independent film scores.

    My grandfather, Col. Fred Riggle, fought in the Vietnam War as a pilot in the Air Force. In this piece, I explore the scenario of him fighting in a different war, the bloodiest in American history, and the almost inevitable fate he and my family would have experienced.

  • Field Notes

    James Soe Nyun

    James SOE NYUN did graduate composition studies at the University of California, San Diego. For two decades after leaving school he moved towards working in the visual arts. Recent explorations in video have seen him moving towards time-based work, and a re-exploration of his musical roots.

    This little suite opens with the 1861 Overture, and next visits Gettysburg. It ends with the Sherman’s March, which quotes from Stephen Foster, a Northern-sympathizer who nonetheless has been criticized for writing songs that romanticized slave life, suggesting that while the Civil War ended slavery, it left much unresolved.

  • Born Equal

    Juan Maria Solare

    Juan Maria Solare, born 1966 in Argentina, works currently in Germany as composer, pianist (contemporary & tango) and teaching at the University of Bremen and at the Hochschule fuer Kuenste Bremen. His music has been performed in five continents. Nine CDs of different performers include at least one piece of him.

    I associate the Civil War mainly with elimination of slavery. Even if we are really born equal, other people and the world make us unequal. Only through commitment (and law) we can regain a certain equality. Much can still be done to improve the social weakness of "second class citizens".

  • Themes of Conflict

    Pasquale Tassone

    Pasquale Tassone was a resident at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, where he worked with the composer, Olly Wilson. In June 2004, some of Tassone's choral music was performed at the Artama Choral Festival in the Czech Republic Currently Tassone is working on his first opera.

    "Themes of Conflict" is made up of themes from songs popular during the Civil War The melodies utilized are: The Vacant Chair (Flute), Just Before the Battle Mother (Oboe), Brother Tell Me of the Battle (Clarinet), When this Cruel War is Over ( F Horn), The Bonnie Blue Flag (Bassoon).

  • Fragments of Johnny

    Audun G. Vassdal

    My name is Audun G. Vassdal. I am 26 years old. I am born and raised in Oslo, Norway. I started playing the piano at the age of 8, being very fascinated by music. My fascination grew, and I studied music through "High School" and at the University of Oslo, where I achieved a Bachelors degree in musicology. I started composing at the age of 16, and decided already then that composer was what I wanted to be. Ever since I have pursued my goal through education and work, and currently I work for the Norwegian Music Publisher ("Norsk Musikkforlag AS") and Oslo Concert House, while composing on the side.

    This work is based on my favorite song from the civil war; When Johnny Comes Marching Home. The idea behind the composition is to only use motives from the song, trying to keep the same rhythmical energy of the song, perhaps even exaggerate it a bit. I try to separate the different parts of the melody, only using small fragments here and there, sometimes two different at the same time. Hence the title "Fragments of Johnny". Sadly, this Johnny didn't come marching home...

  • Shimmer

    Douglas Wagoner

    Douglas Wagoner is a composer and conductor based in Newton, Massachusetts. His formal education was at Berklee College of Music, Boston University and New England Conservatory in composition, film-scoring and conducting. More of his work and contact information can be found at http://www.douglaswagoner.com

    "Shimmer" is invokes the hazy buzz of a lazy summer afternoon in a wheat field at Gettysburg as if two armies were not about to hurl themselves upon each other with devastating consequences.

  • Hurrah

    David Wolfson

    David Wolfson is an eclectic, versatile composer of songs, concert music and music for theatre. Please visit his website, www.davidwolfsonmusic.net.

    "Hurrah" takes the Civil War-era tune "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" for a starting point. I imagined what coming home from the Civil War might actually have felt like.