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Can any wind ensemble experts get me up to speed on modern wind ensemble stuff?


InTheCity
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Hey JWFANS.

 

WIND ENSEMBLE!!

 

I've written a half dozen pieces for the genre but I don't know anything about the extensive network of Wind Ensemble/Concert Band music.  I know its a genre that people take very seriously, and is a key part of musical education- I'd like to know more about it.  Who are the hip ensembles? Great Writers? Magazines? Websites?  What can i listen to and read?  I want to know it all.  I bet a few of you are directors and could direct me to some resources! Thanks!

 

 

 

PS: Here is one of my pieces:

 

 

 

CRAP can a Mod move this to the other forum - apologies I meant to post it there

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You should definitely check out the following young but very promising composers:

 

- Steven Bryant (he really writes awesome stuff!)

- Bart Picqueur

- Michael Markowski

- Jonathan Newman

 

And, of course, if I only had the chance to listen to one of the great concert band masters, it would definitely be David Maslanka. Check out e.g. his Symphony No. 5.

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I've had several of my works performed by wind ensembles.  Some things to consider...programs are created a year or two in advance so if you send an email to a conductor, you are talking about the 2018/19 or 2019/20 season.  Hopefully you already have good recordings of the work (or at least a very good mock up) but having some performance history definitely helps you get it programmed.  So if you haven't had that, you might see if you can get them to read it if they don't program it.  That means they might not even think about your work until they start programming the next season at which time they'll review quite a few.  I think the first thing to do is go to a concert and introduce yourself to the music director.  Use people you already have a connection with such as classmates.  I reached out to someone who was a trumpet performer in my university and played some of my works.  Reached out to him and found out he was music director of a wind ensemble and he programmed two or three of my works.  Remember this is ultimately a relationship industry so start meeting band directors.  All this advice really applies to EVERY performance opportunity whether it is for a pianist, vocalist, orchestra, duet, symphonic winds, etc. 

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You have to check out "Wine-Dark Sea" by John Mackey

 

 

 

And Mackey's Frozen Cathedral is wonderful as well.  He's one of the best modern composers for wind band.

 

 

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Mike - wow, great writing, love these pieces!! Will second what Karelm said, and add that yes the wind ensemble world is definitely it's own "thing", and it's kind of a big small world, if that makes sense ;)

 

Having grown up in Texas bands I am a bit biased, but honestly our state has always been a hotbed of wind ensemble activity - here a few ideas that come to mind which may be helpful -

 

University Wind Ensembles - you may want to send tapes/scores out to many universities for consideration, to become a regular composer on that circuit is certainly a win (if they like your music who knows they may even commission a piece someday)

Most noted in TX: UNT (Univ of North Texas), UT Austin, U of H (Univ of Houston), Baylor, and many more - most of the college top ensembles are pretty stellar, even at mid-size schools. Definitely seek out CDs of all the above! Many recordings out there including the best of both old and new wind music, certainly of the composers listed above in thread.

 

UIL PML (Prescribed Music List) - Do you want to have your music played by high schools? For contest? If that interests you, either for concert band (or for adaptation to the marching field) then you want to try to get on this list: https://www.uiltexas.org/pml-submissions/overview  The best high school bands are mindblowingly good these days and can absolutely play higher-level music, so don't worry too much about difficulty...I think your pieces could work well!

(I believe other states also have similar governing music bodies for contest music, but it varies state by state)

 

Professional groups - There aren't a ton of professional wind ensembles, but the Dallas Wind Symphony is a big one to know about, any of their CDs are awesome, and definitely any/all of the military branches' bands, they also record all the best new/classic wind ensemble music (Air Force Band, Marine Band "President's Own", Navy Band, West Point Band etc)

 

Conferences! - This is a big one if you want to forge relationships and get to hear these groups/meet directors in person, most every state has a state Music Educator conference yearly, here it's TMEA and it's always in February in San Antonio. GO. It's amazing. 

Go to Midwest - https://www.midwestclinic.org/ 

Go to CBDNA - http://www.cbdna.org/

 

Composers - Soooo many good ones! Many mentioned already. Definitely John Mackey! Boomba reminds me a little of Michael Daugherty, he has a ton of great wind ensemble pieces as well as his orchestra stuff. Frank Ticheli. Eric Whitacre. John Corigliano. Karel Husa....and so many other masters.

 

And speaking of this topic, I was just surfing and happened upon this gorgeous vid of Chris Martin and the UT Wind Ensemble -

 

 

Good luck Mike! Your pieces are excellent - I know I would love to play them!

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I think Saxbabe's advice is spot on and one of the most practical and useful posts I've seen on this site in a long while.  Plus I am an alum of that uni :) so have fond memories of hearing the Shosti No. 11 and Saint-Saens No. 3 in that very same hall from decades ago.  Brings a smile to my face. 

 

Don't forget high school concert bands if they are at the competitive level, they are quite good.  University bands have a budget that exceeds most orchestras so you really have a ton of very helpful information in this thread.  Use it and in time you will see results.  I really believe the key is relationship building. 

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9 hours ago, Saxbabe said:

Composers - Soooo many good ones! Many mentioned already. Definitely John Mackey! Boomba reminds me a little of Michael Daugherty, he has a ton of great wind ensemble pieces as well as his orchestra stuff. Frank Ticheli. Eric Whitacre. John Corigliano. Karel Husa....and so many other masters.

 

Hey Greta, it's wonderful to "see" you again! ;):D Daugherty is of course also excellent (I actually even met him once), as are Whitacre (Godzilla Eats Las Vegas! is an eternal classic and I've just heard it performed a week ago at MID Europe in Schladming, Austria with Bryant, Mackey, Whitacre, Markowski and Newman all in attendance) and Husa (played his Al Fresco in 2011 with the World Youth Wind Orchestra and it's an amazing piece).

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