A touching tribute for one late University of New Mexico professor is taking place, not in the Southwest, but in the Southeast.

The University of Georgia (UGA) hosts its Wind Ensemble Concert Thursday, Feb, 16. In addition to local performances, there will be a world premiere of the piece “Triptych,” created for the Department of Music’s Eric Andrew Rombach-Kendall, who passed away in January 2022. 

World-renowned composer Joseph Turrin’s memorial piece was generated as a consortium and includes principal trumpet Chris Martin and trombone Joseph Alessi from the New York Philharmonic–composers Rombach-Kendall loved.

“This consortium was put together by me and includes over a hundred individual members and universities,” best friend and former UNM Associate Director of Bands Glen Adsit said. “We commissioned two works in Eric’s memory from two composers he liked best.”

The connection of these performers is especially key, as Alessi and Rombach-Kendall worked together alongside the UNM Wind Symphony. Their teamwork was featured on the album “Illuminations.” Turrin also created a work titled “Fandago,” which Rombach-Kendall performed with the symphony in 1994. 

“The impact music teachers can have on students can be life-changing, and we are so moved to be a part of honoring Eric’s extensive legacy.” Director of Bands for UGA’s Hodgson School of Music, Nicholas Enrico Williams said.

The concert is part of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) National Conference. The group commissioned the dedication piece, as Rombach-Kendall was president of CBDNA from 2011 to 2013.

The Department of Music at the University of New Mexico is proud that the legacy of esteemed late colleague Professor Eric Rombach Kendall is being honored in this way,” Department Chair Michael Hix said. “ It is so fitting that the College Band Directors National Association has chosen to partner with other organizations in commissioning this music.”

It’s true Rombach-Kendall holds a large list of accolades and important contributions to the world of music. In addition to serving as Director of Bands at UNM for over two decades, he led countless bands to national acclaim. Romnach-Kendall also held prestigious conducting positions and commissioned and premiered his own works for wind ensemble and concert band. 

During this concert, Rombach-Kendall’s family will be presented with the Distinguished Achievement Award for his service from the CBDNA. In addition, $20,000 will also be presented to the Eric Rombach-Kendall Memorial Band Scholarship, established through UNM’s Department of Music.

“It is such a touching and poignant tribute,” Hix said. 

In addition, Adsit will be debuting a second tribute work here in New Mexico. Stone Colors is by Adsit and Stephen Michael Gryc, and will be performed by the Concordia Wind Ensemble in Santa Fe, on March 19.

“It is reflective of the desert colors. Both are personal compositions influenced by Eric’s life and interactions with the composers,” Adsit said.

The UGA Wind Ensemble concert will be Thursday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. in Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall at the UGA Performing Arts Center. This event is free and open to the public, no tickets required.

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