The National Chamber Winds was born out of friendships old and new. The ensemble was created in early 2017 by conductor Robert Ambrose, bassoonist Daniel Bowlds and oboist Sarah Schram-Borg. Robert and Sarah attended Northwestern University’s School of Music together nearly two decades earlier and were reunited when Dr. Ambrose was invited to serve as a guest conductor of The U.S. Army Field Band. He is the only civilian to ever conduct a Field Band tour, and during the fall 2016 tour, Robert became close friends with Dan.
After greatly missing the camaraderie and musicianship of the Field Band, Robert contacted Dan and Sarah and proposed creating a chamber wind ensemble. Within six months they had recruited many of the finest wind players in the greater Washington D.C. area and on May 6, 2017 the National Chamber Winds performed their inaugural concert for an enthusiastic audience. Following the performance, the musicians voted unanimously to continue making music together.
The National Chamber Winds basic instrumentation is a double woodwind quintet, traditionally called a dectet, consisting of 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 horns and 2 bassoons. The ensemble often adds a string bass to many pieces, sounding an octave below the 2nd bassoon part, adding a bit of bass to help ground the ensemble. They most often play as a full ensemble, with a conductor, but also perform smaller chamber concerts of varying instrumentation.