RIWE evolved from the Barrington College Wind Ensemble that was founded by Frank Marinaccio in 1969. In the late 1970’s, the group was renamed Barrington College Community Wind Ensemble. When Barrington College closed in 1985 the wind ensemble was offered rehearsal space at St. Andrew’s School and the name of the group was changed to The Rhode Island Wind Ensemble to reflect the expanded geographical area from which we drew our membership and the wider community we served through our concerts. RIWE was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1988 and is a member of the Association of Concert Bands.
In 1997 the group was invited to Providence College as an ensemble in residence and in addition to its regular concert schedule, RIWE offered several concerts a year for its students, faculty, parents and the surrounding Providence community.
In January of 2002, Frank Marinaccio retired and Nick Marinaccio, Principal Clarinetist and Concertmaster conducted our group for the Spring Concert Season while RIWE engaged in a conductor search. Nedo Pandolfi followed Nick and directed the group beginning with the Fall 2002 concert season, during which time he brought to RIWE the wealth of his orchestral and wind ensemble experience, both as a musician and conductor.
Mr. Pandolfi stepped down as RIWE Music Director during the summer of 2008. Assistant Conductor Kristin Voccio served as the Ensemble's Interim Director during the Fall 2008 season while the Ensemble searched for a new Music Director. Following an exhaustive search, interview, and audition process for a new conductor and artistic director, RIWE selected Dr. Robert Franzblau to lead the group beginning in 2009. RIWE moved its rehearsal site to Rhode Island College at the beginning of its 2009-10 concert season.