Angels Rising

Music of Remembrance and Light

George Gershwin composer
Natalie Draper composer
Frank Ticheli composer

Syracuse University Wind Ensemble
Timothy W. Diem conductor
Bradley P. Ethington conductor

Milton Rubén Laufer piano

Release Date: August 16, 2024
Catalog #: NV6657
Format: Digital

Following their 2023 United Kingdom Remembrance tour, The Syracuse University Wind Ensemble returns to the airwaves with two world premiere recordings on ANGELS RISING: MUSIC OF REMEMBRANCE AND LIGHT. The ensemble has commissioned dozens of new works for their genre, the two most recent being Frank Ticheli’s Angels Rising and Energy and Light by Syracuse’s own Natalie Draper, both of which commemorate the 35 Syracuse University students lost in the 1988 Lockerbie bombings.

Draper and Ticheli’s tributes to the 270 total lives lost in the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 are bookended by performances of George Gershwin’s An American in Paris and Rhapsody in Blue in this Navona Records release, and are all available to experience in both stereo and Dolby Atmos immersive audio formats.


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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 An American in Paris George Gershwin, arr. Jerry Brubaker Syracuse University Wind Ensemble | Timothy W. Diem, conductor 8:38
02 Energy and Light Natalie Draper Syracuse University Wind Ensemble | Bradley P. Ethington, conductor 5:22
03 Angels Rising Frank Ticheli Syracuse University Wind Ensemble | Bradley P. Ethington, conductor 9:25
04 Rhapsody in Blue George Gershwin, arr. Donald Hunsberger Syracuse University Wind Ensemble | Bradley P. Ethington, conductor; Milton Rubén Laufer, piano 18:24

Recorded October 28, 2023 and February 24, 2024 at Goldstein Auditorium in Syracuse NY
Session Producer Brad Michel
Session Engineer James P. Elenteny
Assistant Engineers Colin Baumberger, Eleanor Bushway, Lily Carpinone, Luke Johnson, Jason O’Neal, Ada Setlik, Jason Suris, Alex Talarico, Aaliyah Thom, Eric Timlin

Editing, Mixing & Mastering Brad Michel
Dolby Atmos® Mixing & Mastering Brad Michel

Piano Technicians Robert Lee, Brynn Ulisnik

Executive Producers Bob Lord, Milton Rubén Laufer

VP of A&R Brandon MacNeil
A&R Chris Robinson

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Production Manager Martina Watzková
Production Assistant Adam Lysák

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Chelsea Kornago
Digital Marketing Manager Brett Iannucci

Artist Information

Milton Rubén Laufer


Milton Rubén Laufer has graced some of the world's most iconic venues including Lincoln Center, New World Center, and Tchaikovsky Hall and has shared the stage with legendary artists like Natalie Cole, Chucho Valdés, and Guerassim Voronkov. His appearances on Spanish-speaking television and radio have transcended borders, captivating audiences throughout Europe, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. A versatile artist, Laufer's portfolio includes performing, arranging, production, and sound reconstruction credits across renowned labels including Naxos, Bis Records, Beauport Classical, and Zenph Sound Innovations.

Natalie Draper


Praised for her “individual and strong voice” (Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine), composer Natalie Draper explores character and evocative sound-worlds in her music. She has written works for a variety of ensembles and performers, including Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire, Beth Willer and Peabody Institute’s NEXT Ensemble, and GRAMMY®-nominated pianist Kara Huber. Draper’s music has been included on recordings by pianist Mirna Lekić, Akropolis Reed Quintet, soprano Danielle Buonaiuto, and Symphony Number One. She is currently working on an upcoming portrait album of her solo and chamber music for organ with organist Anne Laver. She has been featured in articles in Vox Humana, I Care If You Listen, and Van Magazine. Draper has held residencies and fellowships at the Ucross Foundation, the Tanglewood Music Center, the I-Park Foundation, Yaddo, and St. David’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore MD. She is an assistant professor in the music theory and composition department at the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University in Syracuse NY.

Frank Ticheli


Frank Ticheli’s music has been described as being “optimistic and thoughtful” (Los Angeles Times), “lean and muscular” (New York Times), “brilliantly effective,” (Miami Herald) and “powerful, deeply felt crafted with impressive flair and an ear for striking instrumental colors” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel). Ticheli (b. 1958) joined the faculty of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music in 1991, where he is Professor of Composition. From 1991 to 1998, Ticheli was Composer in Residence of the Pacific Symphony.

Ticheli’s orchestral works have received considerable recognition in the United States and Europe. Orchestral performances have come from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Dallas Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, the radio orchestras of Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Saarbruecken, and Austria, and the orchestras of Austin, Bridgeport, Charlotte, Colorado, Haddonfield, Harrisburg, Hong Kong, Jacksonville, Lansing, Long Island, Louisville, Lubbock, Memphis, Nashville, Omaha, Phoenix, Portland, Richmond, San Antonio, San Jose, Wichita Falls, and others. His clarinet concerto was recently recorded by the Nashville Symphony on the Naxos label with soloist James Zimmermann.

Ticheli received his doctoral and master’s degrees in composition from The University of Michigan. His works are published by Manhattan Beach, Southern, Hinshaw, and Encore Music, and are recorded on the labels of Albany, Chandos, Clarion, Equilibrium, Klavier, Koch International, Mark, Naxos, and Reference.

Bradley P. Ethington


Dr. Bradley Ethington is Director of Bands and Professor of Music at Syracuse University, where he conducts the University Wind Ensemble, coordinates the graduate program in wind conducting, and oversees all aspects of the University Bands. A native of Birmingham MI, he holds bachelor’s degrees in music education and biochemistry from the Honors College at Michigan State University, the Master of Music from Baylor University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied with Jerry Junkin. While at the University of Texas, he served as associate conductor of the University Wind Ensemble and conductor of the University Chamber Orchestra.

An advocate for composers and new music for wind ensembles, he has been actively involved in commissioning projects and world premiere performances with the Syracuse University Wind Ensemble. Ethington has appeared as guest conductor at conferences of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, the American Bandmasters Association, and the College Band Directors National Association, and was the first American to conduct the Orchestre de Harmonie of the Conservatoire de Strasbourg, France. Ethington has served as guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Timothy W. Diem


Dr. Timothy Diem is an associate professor of music at Syracuse University, where he serves as both Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands. He conducts the Wind Ensemble and Concert Band and directs the Syracuse University Marching Band and “Sour Sitrus Society” Pep Band. In addition to his work on the podium, Diem teaches courses in music education and often appears as a pianist with university ensembles.

Prior to joining Syracuse, Diem spent 16 years at the University of Minnesota, serving 11 as Director of the Pride of Minnesota Marching Band. A versatile musician, Diem has contributed to numerous stage productions as a director, conductor, and pianist for organizations including the Little Theatre of the Rockies, the University of Northern Colorado Musical Theatre Department, and the University of Minnesota Theatre.

A native of Delano MN, Diem received the Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota-Morris in instrumental music education and piano performance, the Master of Music degree in wind conducting and collaborative piano performance from the University of Northern Colorado, and the Doctor of Arts in wind conducting with a secondary concentration in music education, also from UNC. He has served as a conductor and clinician throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and Southeast Asia.

Syracuse University Wind Ensemble Members

Kate O’Leary

Laura Grant
Carrie Kilgour
Kate O’Leary
Allison Pasco
Nell Porter
Mia Sateriale
Gianna Vozza

Sydney Kincaid
Cara Miller

Lily Carpinone
Elizabeth Novak
Aaliyah Thom

Aidan Blaylock
Jill Coggiola (SU Faculty Member)
Morris Gelbart
John Giordano
Emma Holman
Mark Olesh
Nicholas Pauldine (Guest Musician)
Ada Setlik

Mason Romero
Abbie Wood

William Boyd (Guest Musician)

Eleanor Bushway
Aisling Casey
Mason Romero

Aisling Casey
Edward Lu
Mason Romero

Eleanor Bushway

Jason O’Neal

Will Bradley
Ainsley Brouse
Taylor Fryer
Brendan Malcarne
Alex Markowski
Ethan McAnally
Maddie McDonald
Joe Morgan
Xaden Nishimitsu
Zach Sova
Jose Suarez
Jack Tschopp

Alicia Caputo
William Davern (SU Faculty Member)
Paul Diem
Ryan Hill
Ilan Mahmoudov

Sean Alvaro
Mazda Delgado
Evan Oliveras
Ben Vermilyea

Ashlyn DiNatale
Jim Manard
Claire Weinstein

Ryan McQuay Meredith
Jordan Ruddell

Peyton Barlow
August Bish (Guest Musician)

Kenneth Meyer (SU Faculty Member)

Timothy Diem (SU Faculty Member)

Jessica Hallock

Michael Bull (SU Faculty Member)
Jiana Curcio
Jesse Doan
Addie Flower
Jessica Hallock
Harry Mullin
Alex Talarico
Anna Zimmer


In May 2023, the Syracuse University Wind Ensemble embarked on a concert tour of the United Kingdom, consisting of performances in London, Edinburgh, and Lockerbie, Scotland. The tour was devoted to commemorating the memory of the 270 lives lost in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on the 35th anniversary of the tragedy. 35 Syracuse University students returning from a study abroad program in London, England, were aboard that flight. This recording features music of American composers, including two works commissioned for the 2023 United Kingdom remembrance tour, and given their world premieres by the Syracuse University Wind Ensemble. It is dedicated to the 270 individuals lost on December 21, 1988.
By the time he composed An American in Paris in 1928, George Gershwin was already well known for his ability to blend jazz and classical styles in his compositions. Preceded by Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and the Concerto in F (1925), Gershwin began work on a composition inspired by sights and sounds he experienced during a trip to Paris in 1926. He said of the work, “This new piece, really a rhapsodic ballet, is the most modern music I have ever attempted. I have not endeavored to present any definite scenes in this music. The rhapsody is programmatic in a general impressionistic sort of way, so that the individual listener can read into the music such episodes as his imagination pictures for him. The opening section is followed by a rich ‘blues’ with a strong rhythmic undercurrent. Our American friend, perhaps after strolling into a cafe, has suddenly succumbed to a spasm of homesickness. The blues rises to a climax followed by a coda in which the spirit of the music returns to the vivacity and bubbling exuberance of the opening part with its impressions of Paris.”

In this arrangement, Jerry Brubaker, the former chief arranger for the United States Navy Band, preserves the essence and unique qualities of the orchestral version for wind ensemble.

– Milton Rubén Laufer

I wrote Energy and Light in 2023 for Bradley Ethington, Timothy Diem, and the Syracuse University Wind Ensemble for their remembrance tour of the United Kingdom. The tour marked the 35th anniversary of a profound tragedy for Syracuse University: When Pan Am flight 103 was bombed over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, 35 Syracuse students lost their lives. The scale of that disaster is incredibly humbling and haunting for our community. In addition to mourning those who were lost, I think it is important to remember that each of the students had a vibrant life that should also be celebrated. With that in mind, I decided to write a piece that was about energy and light — two direct components of what it means to be alive. The piece begins rambunctiously with energetic bursts, skittering chaos, and the sparkle of light. While composing, I often imagined the trajectory of a shooting star. Eventually everything comes to rest over a gradually-unfolding amen as a way of offering a more emotional reflection of all that was lost. Ultimately, we are no different from that shooting star; we are all energy and light, burning brightly and burning briefly.

– Natalie Draper

Angels Rising was commissioned in 2023 by Syracuse University’s Setnor School of Music to honor the memory of the lives lost in the Pan Am flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

It is composed in four major sections: lament, chorale, ascent, and prayer. The work begins with a dramatic descent to a dark, ominous G minor chord. Somber, solemn music appears as a plaintive tribute to the victims, while the tonality slowly sinks downward by half-steps. A mystical incantation is sounded by solo flute and piccolo, and answered by a mournful horn solo to close the section.

A tender chorale suddenly appears in the woodwinds — a comforting balm — followed by a long, deliberate ascent (thrice around the entire circle of 5ths). At the top of the ascent, the chorale is restated exultingly by the brasses and accompanied by rapturous dance-like rhythms in the percussion and woodwinds.

The energy recedes, paving the way for the solo flute’s return, now intoning a plaintive, wistful prayer. Quiet wisps of sound come and go in dreamlike fashion as the flute slowly descends to the bottom of its register. The eternal question of existence, asked so often through the ages, is asked yet again as the piece fades to complete silence.

– Frank Ticheli

Donald Hunsberger’s arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue for wind ensemble maintains the distinctive tones and attributes of the 1926 orchestral version arranged by Ferde Grofé. Utilizing Gershwin’s own annotated copy of Grofé’s orchestral score as the main reference, Hunsberger’s arrangement also incorporates the string replacements identified in Grofé’s original wind band version, as well as alternative instrumentation from manuscripts of his theater orchestra and Whiteman Band arrangements. This recording, celebrating the centennial of its composition, depicts what was likely heard by the audience packing New York City’s Aeolian Hall on February 12, 1924 when Rhapsody in Blue had its premiere with Paul Whiteman’s Palais Royal Orchestra and Gershwin himself at the piano.

– Milton Rubén Laufer

Thank you to the Syracuse University and College of Visual and Performing Arts leadership: Chancellor Kent Syverud, Provost Gretchen Ritter, Dean Michael Tick, and Chris Eiffe. ANGELS RISING: MUSIC OF REMEMBRANCE AND LIGHT was recorded in Goldstein Auditorium thanks to the assistance of Scott Casanova, Anthony Pagano, and the amazing individuals who work in Syracuse University Physical Plant. Special thanks to James Tapia for his contributions to this recording and to Michelle Taylor, Megan Carlsen, and Francesca Moore for making all the moving pieces come together.

Rhapsody in Blue was recorded on a Yamaha CFX piano provided by Falcetti Pianos through Yamaha Artist Services New York, Bonnie Barret director. Thanks to Northeast Piano Movers and Carney and Blumer for transporting the instrument from Massachusetts to the venue and to concert technicians Brynn Ulisnik and Robert Lee.