UCSC Wind Ensemble to perform in Australia at Sydney Opera House

The UCSC Wind Ensemble has been invited to represent the United States at the 2003 International Music Festival to be held next June at the renowned Opera House in Sydney, Australia.

An offshoot of the 1986 World Expo held in Brisbane, the festival brings a variety of concert bands, choirs, orchestras, jazz, and string ensembles to perform in a week of festivities--beginning in Canberra, the capital of Australia, and culminating with a performance at the 2600-seat Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.

"The festival draws from countries across the Pacific Rim, including the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore," noted Phillip Hobson, operations manager for World Projects International, the festival producer. "We've had groups from Japan, Taiwan, and China participate as well. It changes every year."

Under the direction of Robert Klevan, a music lecturer at UCSC, the Wind Ensemble performed in 2001 at Carnegie Hall.

"We received a standing ovation from an audience of strangers at Carnegie Hall," Klevan said. "It was thrilling. Our ensemble never played as well as they did that day."

That appearance led to several inquiries from other venues and festivals, including World Projects International.

"They sent a representative out to hear us, based on our audition tape," Klevan noted. "Right after our rehearsal, he said: you're the one.'"

The 67-member Wind Ensemble will perform an hour-long set at the Opera House featuring Suite Francais by Darius Milhaud and David Stanhope's Folk Songs for Band. Founded in the fall of 1998 with only 18 members, the group performed the national anthem at a San Francisco Giants game that year, and then set its sights higher.

"They've come so far in such a short time.I'm very excited about that and the way they represent the university and the state," Klevan said. "I'm really proud of them and how far they've come."

Klevan was recently elected president of the California Music Educators Association. The organization represents more than 3,000 music teachers throughout the state and serves as an advocacy group for music educators. He was named a Music Educator of the Year in 1993.