Harbison's Quintet, the Naumburg Foundation commission, was a welcome opportunity, because I admired Aulos’s playing, because I had been writing a string of impractical pieces, and because I regarded the writing of a quintet for woodwinds as challenging. It is not a naturally felicitous combination of instruments, such as a string quartet. I was determined to deal in mixtures rather than counterpoints, and to strive for a classical simplicity of surface – to maximize what I felt to be the great strength of the combination, the ability to present things clearly. The piece especially emphasizes mixtures and doublings and maintains a classically simple surface. It is extremely challenging to play, and one of the principal rewards of the piece has been the opportunity to work with a number of resourceful, inquisitive, and fearless wind players in the mutually beneficial expansion of their repertory.