The repertoire within the world of wind bands is ever-growing. With this new literature, comes new composers and new conducting opportunities.
We all know the standards. Holst Suite in E-flat, Vaughan Williams English Folksong Suite. Vincent Persichetti’s wonderful library of works. Or that of Frank Ticheli. The depth of works within the wind band repertoire is vast.
Thankfully, there are resources and text that help guide band directors to find and select works that may be of interest to them or their ensemble. The series Teaching Music Through Performance is one of the best resources out there. With the amount of works and composers the series presents, conductors have access to a wealth of knowledge on current repertoire.
Still, there are several composers out there you may have never heard of. Likely, you have some idea of their work. Their music has been performed at the Midwest Clinic and honor band festivals across the nation. But, in case you have not, here some composer whose work I enjoy.
Five Composers you should know:
- Michael Markowski: I met Michael at Midwest many years ago, through a friend who introduced me. His works were foreign to me at the time, but after buying a score and listening for a bit, I found a unique voice full of emotional sophistication and energy.
- Alex Shapiro: The works of Alex Shapiro are relatively new to me. Her compositions incorporate audio tracks and other items like paper or rocks to generate sounds.
- Steve Danyew: Some of my favorite music is that of Steve Danyew. His work Goodnight, Goodnight is rich with beauty and captivating colors. Additionally, This World Alive is an amazing collaboration of music and film.
- Joni Greene: Another composer introduced to me through a friend while attending Midwest in 2011, Joni Greene’s works stood out to me for their depth of voice. It is part of the reason why I participated in a consortium for one of her works.
- James M. David: If you are looking for something a bit different, than James M. David is worth a look. Currently an Associate Professor of Composition at Colorado State University, James has several works for winds. Big Four on the River is one I enjoy, as it is filled with jazz influence, including Dixieland.
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Of course, there are so many more, but these five are great composers to start with.