John J. Cali Music Concert Review

John J. Cali School of Music students performed a tributary concert taking audience members through a history of influential wind composers.

The talent encompassing this performance, directed by John J. Cali’s School of Music, Professor Thomas McCauley left the audience thoroughly impressed!

Partnered with Peak Performances, the John J. Cali School of Music brought members of the Montclair community a beautiful evening of musical pieces locally, at the Alexander Kasser Theater. This tributary concert was conducted by Thomas McCauley and comprised of music written by some of the most well know and revolutionary wind composers of all time. The pieces were a collaboration of talent shared between two of Montclair State University’s bands: the MSU Wind Symphony and the MSU Symphonic Band.

john j. cali
Photo courtesy of Mike Peters.

McCauley has been the Director of Bands in the John J. Cali School of Music for nine years. Aside from his experience at Montclair, he has previously conducted bands from universities all over the country. Without Professor McCauley’s dedication to his students as well as his talent, concerts like this one would be but a figment of imagination. His passion for music is evident though his students’ successes both on stage and academically.

“While I am happy about the way this concert has taken shape, I am even more pleased with how well the rehearsal and preparation process has gone. For me, conducting in an academic setting is mostly about the process, not necessarily the final product. Both my students and I have learned a great deal and have grown as musicians through spending time working on the music of these great composers. I am very proud to be associated with these students,” said Director McCauley.

Just as McCauley shares his pride in his students, the audience was filled with nothing but positive reactions as well. Watching each and every one of the audience members fixated on the stage proved just how ear catching the sounds produced by the students were. Each song flowed perfectly from one to the next, which can be a hard task to accomplish when creating a program of pieces composed by various different artists. Paul Hindemith, Charles Ives, Karel Husa, and Percy Grainger are just a few of the famous composers’ whose works were performed during the concert.

Besides the ensemble numbers, the concert also consisted of a solo piano performance by pianist, Ronald Levy. His musical talents were featured in Igor Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments, which followed the concert’s theme of historical composers as it was written in the early 1920’s. The MSU Wind Symphony and the MSU Concert Band performed this complicated piece beautifully. At times it featured specific sections of instruments playing individually, while other moments included the entire company. The tempo varied from rather slow in order to showcase each note, to very fast pace and frantic sounding. The piano solo was absolutely phenomenal, completing the piece and leaving the audience jaw dropped.

Overall, the concert was fabulous. Do not miss out on future performances brought to the Alexander Kasser Theater by visiting or the Box Office located along side the theater itself.

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