Since 1997 Imani Winds, the Grammy-nominated wind quintet, has taken a unique path carving out a distinct presence in the classical music world with its dynamic playing, culturally poignant programming, adventurous collaborations, and inspirational outreach programs. With two member composers and a deep commitment to commissioning new work, the group is enriching the traditional wind quintet repertoire while meaningfully bridging American, European, African and Latin American traditions. From Mendelssohn to Astor Piazzolla to Wayne Shorter and Stravinsky, Imani Winds seeks to engage new music and new voices into the modern classical idiom.
Starting in the fall of 2016 through 2018, Imani Winds has been appointed as the University of Chicago's Don Michael Randel Ensemble-in-Residence. This multi-faceted residency includes in depth collaborations with wind students, the chamber music department, composition majors and the Hyde Park community and will also feature world premieres on the "UC Presents" Series, the presenting arm of the University.
Imani Winds’ touring schedule has taken them across the globe. At home, the group has performed in the nation’s major concert venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Disney Hall, to name a few. In recent seasons, the group has traveled extensively internationally, with tours in China, Singapore, Brazil, Australia and throughout Europe. Fall 2017 will include a tour of New Zealand.
The group continues its Legacy Commissioning Project, in which the ensemble commissions and premieres new works for wind quintet written by a variety of composers of diverse musical backgrounds. Recent commissions include works by Vijay Iyer, Simon Shaheen, Jason Moran, Mohammed Fairouz and Frederic Rzewski. Recently, a concert-length new work by Imani Winds' member, Jeff Scott, was written for the group, jazz trio and string quartet entitled The Passion, which musically explores the idea of a fictitious meeting between JS Bach and John Coltrane. 2017 – 2018 will include premieres by Valerie Coleman, Reena Esmail, Nkeiru Okoye, Courtney Bryan and Pulitzer Prize winner Henry Threadgill.
In the summer of 2010 the ensemble launched its annual Chamber Music Festival. The program, set on the campus of Mannes School of Music, brings together young instrumentalists and composers from across North America and beyond, for an intense exploration and performance of traditional and new chamber music compositions. Now in it's 7th year, the participants have gone on to successes around the world, ranging from winning positions in orchestras, expanding entrepreneurial endeavors, founding their own music educational programs and forming their own chamber music ensembles.
Imani Winds has five releases on E1 Music, including their 2006 Grammy Award nominated recording entitled The Classical Underground. They have also recorded for Naxos and Blue Note and released "The Rite of Spring" on Warner Classics which was on iTunes Best of 2013 list.
Their 8th commercial recording was released in the fall of 2016.