Students to premiere 9/11 work at Carnegie Hall

Tue, 01/08/2013


Kelly Bietka
School of Music

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Wind Ensemble will make the trip of a lifetime when the group performs for the first time at the renowned Carnegie Hall on March 26. The KU Wind Ensemble, conducted by Paul Popiel, director of bands, will present the world premiere of a work commissioned for the ensemble, titled “In the Shadow of No Towers,” by New York-based composer Mohammed Fairouz.

This event provides the KU Wind Ensemble the opportunity to premiere a work by a dynamic, young composer for a New York audience in the Stern Auditorium/ Perelman Stage of Carnegie Hall.

Composer Fairouz was first contacted by KU alumnus and School of Music supporter James Zakoura (of Reach Out Kansas Inc. and Smithyman & Zakoura, Chartered) to create a piece specifically for the KU Wind Ensemble. Fairouz composed his work as an examination of living in the post-9/11 world. “In the Shadow of No Towers,” Fairouz’s first piece written for wind ensemble, is a symphony about the events of 9/11, the days and years that have followed, and how the aftermath has shaped people in today’s political climate. The composition is loosely based on panels created for a graphic novel titled “In the Shadow of No Towers” by New York-based graphic novelist Art Spiegelman.

“I’m so pleased our students get this kind of opportunity and recognition to make music that’s truly deep and meaningful,” said Popiel. “And to give the students the opportunity to take this music to one of the world’s great stages in the city that most suffered from the 9/11 tragedy is very important. The whole experience is humbling and exciting.”

The Wind Ensemble performance at Carnegie Hall will take place at 8 p.m. EDT March 26. They will bring the performance home for an encore concert at 7:30 p.m. CDT April 2 at the Lied Center of Kansas. Additionally, the group will record the symphony in March, releasing it on the Naxos music label in December 2013.

Tickets for the Carnegie performance will go on sale at 11 a.m. EDT Jan. 25. Tickets can be purchased at:, by calling CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800 or by visiting the box office at 57th Street & Seventh Avenue, New York City. Tickets will cost $25. There will be a discount code available for KU alumni and friends (tickets for these groups will be $12.50 per ticket). Student/rush tickets will be $5.

The encore performance at the Lied Center of Kansas on April 2 will be free, but ticket reservations are required. Contact the Lied Center Box Office at 785-864-2787 for more information.

“Commissioning and performing this piece is really important for the KU School of Music,” said Popiel. “This event will showcase the great work happening at our University and highlight our musical values. It’s a tremendous privilege to perform Mohammed’s piece at Carnegie Hall, and I hope it honors the great tradition of the KU Band program.”

Popiel said “Mr. Zakoura has been a terrific supporter, making projects like this possible that couldn’t have otherwise happened. We are so grateful for this experience.”

For more information, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-3436.

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