We believe the music of David Maslanka deserves to be heard, and it is our privilege to bring it to a wider audience with this recording. His vital, creative voice speaks to our troubled times in a powerfully direct manner, and invites reflection and response. Our experiences in the rehearsal and performance of his music were rewarding beyond our imagination and propelled our ensemble forward in the process.
Funding from the Miles Johnson Endowment enabled our participation in the consortium commission that led to the creation of Symphony No. 5, as well as Maslanka's two-day residency on our campus in late September 2001. The musical and personal insights he shared while among us were reaffirmed a few weeks later when Maslanka traveled for three days alongside the band as we toured in Montana. In addition to attending rehearsals and three performances, he joined us for church pot-luck dinners and tolerated our after-dinner skits. It was an incredible experience for us to get to know this composer on a much deeper level than is the norm, and it certainly heightened the intensity and passion with which we performed his music.
The 90-member St. Olaf Band celebrated its centennial year with a tour of Great Britain, becoming the first college music organization to perform at the famed Aldeburgh Festival. The St. Olaf Band was also the first American collegiate band to make a European concert tour, traveling to Norway under the baton of F. Melius Christiansen to perform for King Haakon and capacity crowds in 1906. The band has subsequently toured several times in Norway, Great Britain and central Europe, as well as throughout the United States. Memorable performances include invitations to the national conventions of the American Bandmasters Association (1997), College Band Directors National Association (1987) and Music Educators National Conference (2004). The band toured Britain and Ireland in the summer of 2000, participated in a study tour of Mexico in January 2004, and recently participated in a study tour of Japan in January 2010.
A professor of music at St. Olaf College, Timothy Mahr conducts the St. Olaf Band and teaches courses in composition, conducting and music education. He is a past president of the North Central Division of the College Band Directors National Association and has served on the Board of Directors of the National Band Association. Also principal conductor of the Minnesota Symphonic Winds, Mahr was elected to membership in the American Bandmasters Association in 1993.