Concert Artists Guild has a long history of supporting innovative artists.

Concert Artists Guild has a long history of supporting innovative artists. This year, CAG is excited to continue this tradition with the new Richard S. Weinert Award for Innovation in Classical Music. Open to CAG roster artists and alumni, this $5,000 award is given annually to an artist or ensemble with an outstanding proposal for a distinctive project.

The inaugural award will go to Imani Winds, a 2001 CAG Competition laureate, who is creating a powerful work for wind quintet and steel pans with composer Andy Akiho, designed for performance not only on the concert stage but also outside detention centers.

Imani Winds oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz said, “When we decided to work with Andy Akiho we knew we had a special kind of alchemy that had the potential to create something larger than the sum of its parts. Andy’s music is powerful in part because of its universality, and if there ever were a place where something positive needed to be heard by everyone it would be in these centers. We will do our best to have this music-making provide strength, compassion, and love to all who hear it.”

CAG is indebted to President Emeritus Richard S. Weinert for his service to CAG since 2000 and is proud to offer this award in honor of him.

Grammy-nominated quintet Imani Winds has been a distinct presence in the classical music world for more than 20 years. Through a wide range of programming designed to expand the wind quintet repertoire, the ensemble actively seeks to engage new voices into the modern classical idiom. In the US, Imani Winds has performed at major concert venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Disney Hall and the Kimmel Center. Coming to prominence at the 2001 CAG Competition, Imani Winds was selected as the first-ever Educational Residency Ensemble, in recognition of not only their musical abilities but their connection with audiences of all ages. In 2016 Imani Winds received their greatest accolade to date: they are on permanent display in the classical music section of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The members of Imani Winds are Brandon Patrick George (flute), Toyin Spellman-Diaz (oboe), Jeff Scott (French horn), Mark Dover (clarinet), and Monica Ellis (bassoon).

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