The Eastman Wind Ensemble is America’s leading wind ensemble. Frederick Fennell first formulated the general concept of the wind ensemble at Eastman nearly 65 years ago. Under his leadership the group became known as the pioneering force in the wind ensemble movement in the United States and abroad. A. Clyde Roller served as conductor between 1962 and 1964, continuing the tradition established by Fennell. Donald Hunsberger became conductor in 1965 and led the ensemble for 37 years to international prominence. The ensemble’s current director, Mark Davis Scatterday, was introduced as the fourth conductor of this prestigious group during the EWE’s 50th anniversary celebration on February 8, 2002.
Since its founding, the EWE has been the leader in elevating the wind repertory through recordings. Fennell’s Mercury Recordings albums of the 1950s and early ’60s are notable for their pioneering use of binaural, stereo, and 35mm recording techniques. These “Living Presence” recordings focused on standard band literature by the most respected classical composers — heard for the first time in the newly balanced one-per-part instrumentation. They also centered on major repertory not found on traditional band programs, such as Mozart’s Serenade in B-flat (the “Gran Partita”), Messiaen’s Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, and Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments. Under Hunsberger, the EWE continued its progressive stance in recording techniques with participation in quadraphonic and digital recording. Since its founding, the ensemble has premiered more than 200 new works. The EWE and Mark Scatterday have continued this rich recording tradition with several CDs starting in 2005 with Danzante (featuring trumpet virtuosi James Thompson) on Summit Records.