Feeling Black Into the Sky: A commissioned work for wind quintet and wind ensemble by Danial Bernard Roumain

Primary author: Troy Bennefield

Primary college/unit: Arts and Sciences
Campus: Pullman


To produce an influential piece to the neglected repertoire of works for band and wind quintet, and to encourage the commissioning of more composers of color, this WSU Arts and Humanities Fellowship Project funded the composition of an 18-minute concerto for wind quintet and wind ensemble and accompanying residency by nationally-recognized composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, or DBR. After working together discuss the structure and scope of the work, DBR composed this piece with inspiration from the artwork of James Turrell. This inspiration in turn led him to compose the piece in five sections, each representing the struggle of being a Black Man in America in the 21st-century. The final piece was premiered April 18, 2019 by the WSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble featuring the faculty wind quintet, Solstice. Dr. Troy Bennefield was the conductor, and DBR spoke to the audience about the piece prior to its performance. DBR worked with the ensemble in rehearsals leading up to the concert, and he also presented clinics with music students on composition, entrepreneurship, and diversity issues in the arts. This poster presentation will include a narrative of the project steps, visuals from the musical score, images from works by James Turrell, and if resources are available, running video of the performance.