Founded by Jerry Gardner in 1971, the Metropolitan Wind Symphony is currently celebrating its 42nd anniversary. The MWS comprises over 70 talented woodwind, brass, and percussion instrumentalists who audition for membership and seating. It makes a significant contribution to the cultural life of the Greater Boston community by providing its audiences with high quality concerts and its members with opportunities for musical growth.
The MWS presents formal performances of traditional and contemporary wind band literature, as well as more informal pops concerts throughout the metropolitan Boston area. Members rehearse Wednesdays from September through June, traveling from more than 30 communities in Massachusetts and neighboring states. All volunteers, they also pursue careers as varied as education, engineering, computer science, medicine, law, music, and public health.
The MWS Commissioning Fund, begun through an anonymous endowment, allows the MWS to actively contribute to the wind band literature by annually commissioning new works. Our commissioning program has included four categories of composers. These include internationally-known composers James Curnow, Johan de Meij, Elliot Del Borgo, Peter Schickele, Guy Woolfenden, and Chen Yi, and Lewis J. Buckley. Massachusetts composers include Allen Feinstein, Peter Hazzard, Marjorie Merryman, and Greg Tucker. Emerging composers include David Dzubay, John Heins, and Greg Sanders. Recently, the MWS commissioned its first student composers, Hayato Hirose, Noah Taylor, and Jesse Brault, whose pieces premiered in 2005 and 2007. Many of these works have been published and have been performed in the United States and abroad by other wind ensembles.
The Boston Festival of Bands, founded by the MWS in 1989, includes bands from New England, the Atlantic states, and Canada. The Festival is celebrated annually at historic Faneuil Hall in Boston during the month of June. The Continuum series, also founded by the MWS, involves middle and high school bands, and New England university bands in educational interaction and outreach. Continuum 2010 was hosted by Gordon College, Wenham, MA, where the MWS joined the Gordon College Wind Ensemble and the North Shore Youth Wind Ensemble. In April 2005, the MWS, at the invitation of the New England College Band Association, performed at their Gordon College conference. The MWS has been heard on WGBH, WBUR and WCRB.