Wesley Reist Wind Quintet forms through GKSOM class, blends, stays together

Wesley Reist Wind Quintet (from left) Alyssa Pracht, De Davis, Jordan Redd, Shiana Montanari and Brock Nutter
Wesley Reist Wind Quintet (from left) Alyssa Pracht, De Davis, Jordan Redd, Shiana Montanari and Brock Nutter

Wesley Reist Wind Quintet forms through GKSOM class, blends, stays together

calendar icon25 Jan 2019    

Performing music together in a quintet can be a powerful experience for its members and that can also translate to sending a powerful message to the listener.

The Wesley Reist Wind Quintet was formed a couple of years ago when several members of the quintet needed to enroll in the chamber music class at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music. The quintet now includes De Davis, flute; Alyssa Pracht, oboe; Shiana Montanari, clarinet; Jordan Redd, horn and Brock Nutter, bassoon.

“We enjoyed playing together so much that we wanted to continue working together after the class ended,” Montanari said. “Since then, we've been performing at local venues and giving solo recitals at UNL each semester, and making performance plans even years into the future.” 

The Wesley Reist Wind Quintet has a mission of delivering professional quality chamber music performances to diverse audiences and displaying the virtuosity that can be achieved through this genre.

“Our favorite performances are for audiences who rarely get to experience live performances by chamber ensembles or those who have never heard a wind quintet before,” Montanari said. “We enjoy introducing the listener to the standards of quintet repertoire, but we also have an interest in expanding the genre through new music. Though our career paths may separate us in the future, we certainly plan to continue performing together for many years!”

A graduate of the UNL School of Music, Wesley Reist, whom the quintet is named after, began his career there as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the 1950's and continued until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in the 1990's.  Throughout his teaching career, he continued his studies with Himie Voxman at the University of Iowa, Mitchell Lurie at the Music Academy of the West, and Bernard Walton, principal clarinetist of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. For many years, he served as principal clarinet in both the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra and the Nebraska Chamber Orchestra. He was featured as soloist with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra and performed in a summer music festival in North Carolina under the direction of Thor Johnson. He was a major player in the formation of the Moran Woodwind Quintet, which became a premier UNL School of Music ensemble, and was clarinetist in that ensemble for many years.

“Wesley's teaching always included efforts to encourage students to experience and have the opportunity to perform chamber music,” Joan Reist said. “He would be greatly pleased to see that the formation of the Wesley Reist Wind Quintet offers such an opportunity and will ably represent the excellent wind program at the Glenn Korff School of Music."

Davis, who received his Master of Music degree in woodwind specialties from the Glenn Korff School of Music said, "The reason I went to graduate school is so I could be a part of an ensemble just like this. While I enjoy teaching, chamber music is what I am most passionate about. I was new to Lincoln and was not sure how to start an ensemble like this myself. So, I am thankful to UNL for giving me the opportunity to start this new chapter of my performance career!"

Current undergraduate senior Pracht is pursuing her major in oboe performance and was named the Glenn Korff Distinguished Undergraduate Artist/Scholar for the 2018-19 school year.

"It's been such a great opportunity to play with the Wesley Reist Wind Quintet!” she said. “It can be difficult to find a group of musicians that work well together, but our personalities all blend well, and that plus the musical capabilities of the ensemble and fun music make our rehearsals the highlight of my week!"

Montanari, who is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in clarinet performance said, “I've played in many chamber ensembles, but I have never experienced one that works and plays together as well as this one. It's so great to be a part of such a varied yet cohesive ensemble and to have the opportunity to make music with such wonderful friends."

"This quintet is my favorite ensemble that I've played in,” according to Jordan Redd, who is pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in horn performance. “Everyone in the group are excellent players and a joy to work with. Being able to play in such a good quintet at UNL has help set me up to be successful in the future with other professional chamber groups. I see this quintet lasting for a long time, even after our time ends here."

Undergraduate junior Brock Nutter, who is working toward his Bachelor of Arts in Music, said, "When I was first asked as a freshman if I wanted to be in the quintet, I was both apprehensive and intimidated to play alongside graduate students. This experience, however, has turned into my most enjoyed musical endeavor. Our quintet isn’t about age or education level but rather improving as a group and delivering a high quality, professional performance."

For more information about the quintet, including upcoming events, visit: https://www.wesleyreistquintet.com/