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Southern Exposure New Music Series Presents "The Westerlies"

“There’s a lot of love in this band. They will make your heart melt.”

Jessie Lewis

That is what Grammy-winning producer Jessie Lewis thinks of the virtuosic New York-based brass quartet, The Westerlies, who perform in the second-floor recital hall of the School of Music on Thursday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Southern Exposure New Music Series. Demonstrating their trademark stylistic range, with influences ranging from folk and roots music to jazz and chamber music, this two trumpet and two trombone ensemble will perform the program, “Wherein Lies the Good.”

The Westerlies are comprised of four childhood friends from Seattle, trumpeters Riley Mulherkar and Chloe Rowlands, and trombonists Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch. Formed in 2011, this self-described “accidental brass quartet” takes its name from the prevailing winds that travel from west to east.

The Westerlies explore jazz, roots and chamber music influences to create a rare hybrid: music that is both “folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous” (NPR Music). They appear on numerous critically acclaimed recordings, including three albums of quartet music and collaborations with the band Fleet Foxes, GRAMMY-nominated vocalist Theo Bleckmann and jazz trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas.

“Skilled interpreters who are also adept improvisers.”

(NPR’s Fresh Air)

The Westerlies’ Southern Exposure program, “Wherein Lies the Good,” presents a bold and ferociously unique vision of brass, as works originally written for string quartet, solo piano and the human voice are reinvented through the kaleidoscopic lens of The Westerlies. Pieces from their latest critically acclaimed quartet album Wherein Lies the Good are presented alongside a reimagining of Caroline Shaw's landmark string quartet Entr'acte. Imbued with the spirit of improvisation and a folk-like approachability, “Wherein Lies the Good” presents The Westerlies at their best, cutting new trails across the vast expanse of the American musical landscape.

The palpable heartfelt connection and rock band mentality of The Westerlies stems from their childhood friendships dating back to their middle school band room days in Seattle public schools. Their deep commitment to education and community engagement work has led to them reaching out to thousands of students across the country each year.

The Westerlies produce Westerlies Fest, an annual music festival in Seattle, which reaches over 1,000 students in Seattle and surrounding underserved areas every year. Additionally, they have engaged students of all ages and abilities around the country with their innovative assemblies and masterclasses, promoting the values of cooperation and inclusion through music.

The Southern Exposure New Music Series concerts are also paired with local artists to create connections between visual art and music. This concert’s featured creator is award-winning multimedia artist Lucas Sams. Sams is no stranger to the Southern Exposure concert series, as he presented works back in 2018. Sams is an alumnus of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, was a Dean’s Scholar at Temple University’s Japan Campus and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina.

The Westerlies will perform in the second-floor recital hall of the School of Music on Thursday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m. The Westerlies concert is free and being offered via livestream and to a limited in-person, masked and socially distanced audience. Season patrons will be emailed a password for advance registration. Registration opens to the General Public on Monday, February 14.

Support Southern Exposure New Music Series 

Founded in 2001 by UofSC associate professor of composition and composer John Fitz Rogers, the nonprofit series has grown steadily and attracts standing-room-only crowds from throughout South Carolina and neighboring states. Your support makes a difference. A gift of any amount helps us keep the Southern Exposure New Music Series FREE, affording anyone in our community the opportunity to attend. Give

Topics: Southern Exposure New Music Series, The Westerlies, Westerlies Fest, Lucas Sams

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