Since its formation in 1976 as ensemble in residence at the University of Akron, Solaris has established a reputation as one of the foremost woodwind quintets in the United States. In addition to their regular concert series at the University of Akron, Solaris has toured Italy, Brazil, Sweden and the United States. Their concerts in the Northeast Ohio area have included Music from Stan Hywet, the Wayne Center for the Arts, the Cleveland Art Museum, the Cleveland Composers Guild, the Rocky River Chamber Series, Malone College, the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Severance Hall, and appearances on public television station WNEO/WEAO and NPR affiliate WCPN in Cleveland.
Innovative programming and sparkling personality are the hallmarks of a Solaris concert. Solaris' repertoire ranges from ars nova to avante garde and includes a variety of national styles, particularly music of the Americas. Recent concerts highlight their special relationship with the music of Alec Wilder. Many Solaris programs also feature music by Brazilian composers.
Their commitment to contemporary American music can be witnessed on two CDs for Capstone Records: American Quintets, released in 2000, and American Quintets II, released in 2003. Solaris has recently recorded sixteen Scott Joplin ragtimes arranged by Lee Brooks to be released soon. Their love of Alec Wilder's music can be heard in the newly released 2014 CD Alec Wilder Woodwind Quintets, by Crystal Records, which contains five of the previously unrecorded quintets of Wilder.
Solaris' performances and recordings have received unanimous critical acclaim. Audiences and critics raved about their recent tours to Florida and Virginia: "The ensemble playing was as impressive as the individual players' mastery of their instruments. Everyone played superbly." (Joe McClellan, music critic emeritus of The Washington Post.)
Audiences are amazed at the beauty and variety of the repertoire Solaris presents, and have greeted the ensembles’ brilliance, virtuosity and tonal beauty with enthusiasm. Every member of Solaris is committed to the concept of chamber music as an intimate sharing of musical ideas and is dedicated to the total communication of these ideas from the musicians to the audience.
Solaris at the Ohio Music Educators' Association Convention
in Columbus, Ohio, on February 7, 2013.
(retired members Hoyt and Pope with Cioffari, Harel, and Jones)