Robert Wendel

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This article is about the composer and conductor. For Robert Wendel, see Robert Wendel (disambiguation).
Robert Wendel

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1951, Robert Wendel showed an early talent for music as a piano student, however, small hands and a broken left wrist redirected his musical interests towards conducting and composing/arranging when he attended the University of Connecticut[1] double majoring in chemistry and music. While at the university, Robert studied with Hale Smith and privately with Leroy Anderson. He also served as assistant conductor of both the University Of Connecticut Symphony and the New Britain Symphony. After receiving his Master of Arts degree, Robert immersed himself in musical theater for several years before he moved to New York City and became an orchestra member and stand-by conductor at Radio City Music Hall under Don Pippin, and conductor/arranger for Carol Channing[2] and touring with "The Pirates Of Penzance" and "Evita".

In 1990 while still touring with stars and shows, ending up with an international tour and VH-1 telecast as conductor for Harry Connick, Jr., Robert started his own publishing/musical rental business, "Robert Wendel Music." His first major arrangement was "A Classical Christmas Suite" and a steady stream of arrangements and new pops works, as well as lighter and more accessible classical works followed and continues to this day. He has been performed in 14 countries, has had multiple broadcasts, and his work appears on several albums for Telarc, Naxos,[3] ABC Classics, and others. Live performances and broadcasts have included the Cincinnati Pops, New York Pops, Atlanta, Houston, Baltimore, Cleveland, St. Louis, Dallas, Seattle, Flint, National, BBC, Royal Scottish National, Tasmanian, Bochum, Toronto, Edmonton, and many other orchestras, under conductors Erich Kunzel, Steven Reineke, Michael Krajewski, David Charles Abell, John Morris Russell, Enrique Diemecke, Sean O'Boyle, Carl Topilow, and many others.

His work has been featured every December since 2001 on the annual "Flint Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops"[4] telecast on WJRT-TV 12, at a memorial concert for the Challenger astronauts at The Kennedy Space Center, at a concert to honor the Tuskegee Airmen,[5] on the 2006 National Memorial Day Concert to honor the opening of the National World War II Memorial telecast live nation-wide on PBS,[6] and in 2009 as part of the Abraham Lincoln tribute, and again in 2011 for Gen. Colin Powell's welcome home to our troops on the National Mall.

As publisher "Robert Wendel Music" represents works by Michael Gilbertson,[7] Tracey Rush, Nancy Bloomer Deussen,[8] Leroy Anderson,[9] Jerry Herman, Christopher Tyler Nickel, and others.

Work[edit]

Wendel's music is firmly rooted in tonality, melody, and the more classic pops sound of Leroy Anderson, Robert Russell Bennett, Richard Hayman, and Jack Mason, with influences from Vaughan Williams and Alan Hovhaness. His output is focused on holidays, Americana/patriotic, comedy, and works for children and educational concerts. He has also written for "Cirque de la Symphonie"[10] and for television.[11]

Among his most notable and frequently performed works are his "Classical Christmas Suite" which revisits 5 Christmas Carols as if they were written by 4 classical composers, "Coventry Carol" as if it were written by Vaughan Williams, "Christmas a la Valse", and his originals: "Fanfare For Freedom, " "Commemoration, " and "Ride Of The Headless Horseman." "Fanfare For Freedom" has had the distinction of being the opening selection at the Atlanta Symphony's July 4 concerts for 7 years in a row, and "Commemoration" was featured on a 7 city tour by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops following the 9-11 tragedy.

Works List[edit]

Orchestral[edit]

  • "Fanfare For Freedom" (1994)
  • "The Tall Ships" (1999)
  • "Commemoration" (2000)
  • "Parade Of The Percussionists" (2000)
    • Premiered by the Hilo Philharmonic
  • "Ride Of The Headless Horseman" (2001) - from "A Halloween Trilogy"
  • "Take Flight" (2003)
  • "The Pit And The Pendulum" (2004) - from "A Halloween Trilogy"
    • Premiered by the Chicago Civic Symphony
  • "Towers Of Light" (2006)
    • Premiered by The Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra
    • Named a finalist in the first "American Prize" in Orchestral Composition[12]
  • "Trick Or Treat" (2006) - from "A Halloween Trilogy"[13]
    • Premiered by the Hilton Head Orchestra
  • "Meditation" (2008)
    • Premiered by the University Of Wyoming Symphony
  • "Fanfare: Welcome Home" (2010)
    • Premiered by the Gulf Coast Symphony
  • "Caribbean Sleigh Ride" (2010)
  • "The Wolf Was Framed!" (2011)
    • Premiered by the Cherokee Symphony, Lee Thorson conductor.
  • "The Poltergeist Polka" (2011)
  • "The Nativity Bells" (After Byrd) (2013)

Vocal[edit]

  • "Christmas Through Children's Eyes" (2001)
    • Lyrics by Vince Trani
  • "Santa Dear" (2002)
    • Lyrics by Vince Trani and Robert Wendel
  • "The Bells Of Christmas" (2003)
    • Lyrics by Vince Trani
  • "Virginia, 1861" (2011) - For the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.
    • for S.A.T.B. choir, boys choir and orchestra from texts by Melville, and Joyce.
  • "It Wouldn't Be Christmas Without you" (2011)
    • Lyrics by Vince Trani
    • Premiered by the Arkansas Symphony
  • "This Is Chanukah" (2013)
    • Co-Premiered by The Philly Pops and The University Of Wyoming Symphony and chorus.[16]
    • Named a finalist for the 2014 "American Prize for Choral Composition." [17]

Arrangements[edit]

  • "The Armed Forces March" (1998)
  • "April Fool Concerto" (1994/2002)
  • "Back To The Fifties" (1999)
  • "Bali il Tarantella" (2009)
  • "Baroque Festival Overture" (2007)
  • "The Best Christmas Of All" (1997)
  • "Carol Of The Bells" (1998)
  • "Chanukah Overture" (1995)
  • "Christmas a la Valse!" (1995)
  • "Coventry Carol" (1995)
  • "An Evergreen Christmas" (2000)
  • "Fiesta Mexicana" (1991)
  • "The Flintstones Meets The Jetsons" (1994)
  • "From Sea To Shining Sea" (1993/1995)
  • "A George M. Cohan Overture." (1994)
  • "In The Manger" (1998)
  • "An Irish Trilogy" (1998)
  • "Jingle Fourth" (1990) - From "A Classical Christmas Suite"
  • "Jonny Quest March" (2005)
  • "Little Bolero Boy" (1990) - From "A Classical Christmas Suite" Also known as The Little Drummer Boy (Bolero)
  • "A Merry Christmas Sing-Along" (2012)
  • "Meditation" (2006)
  • "An Old Fashioned Summer" (1998)
  • "The Orange Blossom Special" (1996)
  • "Orfeo's Rockatta" (2001)
  • "The Original Ragtime Band" (1995)
  • "Overture To A Merry Christmas" (1990) - From "A Classical Christmas Suite"
  • "Protest And Hope" (1997)
  • "Raymond Scott Music" (1993–1997)[18]
    • Includes "Powerhouse, Dinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry Cannibals, Huckleberry Duck, The Penguin, The Toy Trumpet, Twilight In Turkey." Available through G. Schirmer
  • "Rock Around The Clock" (1995)
  • "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (2000)
  • "Saint Bailey's Rag" (1991)
  • "The Saint Louis Blues" (1994)
  • "The Smurf's March" (2005)
  • "A Stephen Foster Overture" (1992)
  • "Still, Still, Still" (2010)
  • "Surf's Up!" (1993)
  • "Swing Ludwig, Swing!" (1999)
  • "That's It, That's All... The End!" (2004)
  • "Under The Big Top" (2006)
  • "Viva Puccini" (1997)
  • "We Need A Little Christmas" (1996)
  • "We Three Kings..." (1990) - From "A Classical Christmas Suite"
  • "When TV Was Young" (1999)

Edited Symphonic Performing Editions[edit]

  • "Overture from Goldilocks" by Leroy Anderson
  • "Overture from Hello Dolly" by Jerry Herman
  • "Overture from La Cage Aux Folles" by Jerry Herman
  • "Overture from Mack And Mabel" by Jerry Herman
  • "Overture from Mame" by Jerry Herman
  • "Overture from Milk And Honey" by Jerry Herman
  • "Overture from Gypsy" by Jule Stein
  • "Overture from Take Me Along" by Bob Merrill
  • "This Lovely World" from "Gone With The Wind" by Leroy Anderson and Ogden Nash

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Listening[edit]