Topic: College of Fine Arts

February 8, 2013

American Breeze
"American Breeze", released by Albany Records in fall 2012

The release of its major label CD, “American Breeze,” is bringing a new wave of national attention to Ball State University's Musical Arts Quintet (MAQ), one of the country's oldest and most distinguished chamber ensembles.

Released in the fall by Albany Records, “American Breeze” is garnering rave reviews from industry peers. The album includes a selection of works by American composers, including the world premiere recording of David Maslanka's “Quintet No. 4.”

"I know the CD is making a large impression in our field, as we've had many people comment to our members about its quality, and we're incredibly pleased with the reviews that have started to be published in trade magazines," said Keith Sweger, professor of bassoon. Along with Sweger, current members of MAQ include Mihoko Watanabe, flute; Aryn Sweeney, oboe; Elizabeth Crawford, clarinet, and Gene Berger, horn.

The success of the CD builds on MAQ's already distinguished national reputation. In 2010, the quintet received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts—the first and only NEA grant to be awarded to a Ball State-affiliated group. Funds from the grant supported performances, touring and recording of “American Breeze.”

Recording, editing and final mastering of the CD was completed under the direction of Keith Kothman, coordinator of undergraduate programs in music. The project was an interdisciplinary effort that included the involvement of graphic design students crafting the album's cover design. The class created visual representations of the CD's works, from which attendees at a 2011 MAQ recital voted for the album's cover shot. The winning image, a visual representation of Maslanka's “Quintet No. 4,” was created by graphic design student Jaclynn Dunlap.

Sweger said industry buzz surrounding the release of “American Breeze” is sure to help in recruiting faculty to the university's School of Music. "Possibly more important, it will help get the word out to prospective students across the country and worldwide that Ball State has an excellent School of Music and wind program," he added.