The Keystone Wind Ensemble is a popular concert band of about 50 players who perform on wind, brass, and percussion instruments. The KWE is unusual in that it performs primarily as a recording entity, with live performance serving as an important though secondary function. Indeed, the stated mission of the KWE upon its founding was to record both traditional and contemporary concert band works for national distribution. The ensemble is sponsored by the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, on whose campus all of its more than 20 commercial recordings have been made. Most of those efforts are available from the Klavier label. All members of the KWE are either faculty, students, alumni, or administrators of the university. The KWE's repertory is very broad but focuses largely on American music by such composers as Sousa, Leroy Anderson, William Schuman, Norman Dello Joio, David Diamond, Alfred Reed, Herbert Owen Reed, and many others, including the ensemble's founder Jack Stamp. That said, the KWE have also performed music (often in arrangements) by Vaughan Williams, Holst, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Turina, and other European composers.
The Keystone Wind Ensemble was founded in 1992 by composer and conductor Jack Stamp, who both chairs the music department and serves as director of band studies at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Appropriately, the KWE's first recording, issued on Klavier in 1993, was a disc of Stamp works entitled Past the Equinox: The Music of Jack Stamp.
Night Fantasy: The Music of Robert Ward followed in 1994, and two recordings came in 1995, Celebrations and Divertimento: Wind Music of American Composers, all on Klavier. The KWE garnered much critical acclaim for these efforts and went on to perform notable concerts at Penn State University in 1998 and the University of North Texas in 2001.
A Texas appearance led to a 2002 educational recording, Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, on which the KWE appeared with the North Texas Wind Symphony. The KWE's 2003 Klavier CD, The Composer's Voice: Norman Dello Joio, was its first commercial recording since 1999. It led to a string of successful recordings, including the 2008 Leroy Anderson: The Phantom Regiment and Other Tales.
In 2009 the KWE performed at the University of Cincinnati for the conference of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles. The KWE's 2011 Klavier CD Tempo di Bourgeois featured the ensemble in various arrangements and transcriptions under the direction of John Bourgeois.