Chaos and Chorale (for Concert Band)

I wrote my first band piece!

I say ‘first’ even though I’ve technically written works for band (and even had the unusually lucky opportunity of having them read) because this is the first work for concert band I have finished with a working knowledge of music theory. To think of it, I don’t even know how I managed to write pieces for band without even knowing things like correct voice leading for resolving cadences..

The Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, holds a score reading for new student works every spring, and I am hoping that my piece will be one of those that are chosen to be read this year. It would be an incredible opportunity to have my new work performed by one of the most incredible performing groups in the country.

Some things I learned from finishing this piece:

  • Without deadlines, I would never finish a piece of this size
  • If writing for a quintet is like driving a sedan, writing for a full band is like driving an 18 wheeler. There are so many more decision to make, so much more to wrestle with. It was physically more taxing.
  • It’s so true that you are a culmination of all those who have influenced you, especially considering the fact that I was raised in the band world and its (modern and not) core works are what I’m most familiar with. It really shows in this work.
  • Formatting, typesetting, removing collisions, improving legibility, the list goes on… These are all things that don’t really have anything to do with the actual composition process, but I still have to do all of them to make the score look presentable. It’s so crazy how much time that takes – I wish I had enough money to hire someone.

If SWE ends up recording the piece I’ll be sure to put it up online. I’m very anxiously waiting to hear back from the conductor. Hopefully it’ll happen within the next week!

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