What do the numbers mean? That is the first question most people ask when they first look at the 2010 Concert Band Repertoire Survey pamphlet
. We will get to that, but first let's explain about the survey project. The USAF Band of the West, preparing to record a Concert Band CD, wanted ideas on who people felt were new and upcoming composers, what trend-setting compositions were and what pieces are felt to be under recorded. After all, the Air Force is on the forefront of technology and innovation, therefore the band should be as well. To obtain that information, we decided to conduct a survey.
To conduct this survey, the Band of the West contacted over 75 of the nation's most respected wind conductors from colleges and universities across the United States. Each were asked three questions and asked to give the first three responses that came to mind. The first: who would you recommend as a contemporary, up and coming composer for Concert Band/Wind Ensemble/Wind Symphony/etc? The second: what pieces would you recommend as recent, yet significant contributions to the medium? The third: what pieces not previously recorded, would you recommend should be?
Once we had the findings we decided that it might be beneficial to share it with others. Musicians of all types may find this information useful. College band directors could use this to get ideas for programming new works, whether to perform in concert or on a CD. Some of these composers have written compositions for all levels of band, which may be useful to high school band directors. Music performers could use the pamphlet to select new works for solo instrument and band. Not to mention that all musicians may be simply interested in listening to new and interesting compositions.
So, back to those numbers. The USAF Band of the West created a pamphlet with the findings. One of the interesting, yet predictable, things we came across was that many of the professors we surveyed gave us the same response for the same question. The numbers listed indicate the amount of times we received the same response. For example, when a professor was asked to give the first three names that came to mind when asked question one (who would you recommend as a contemporary, up and coming composer for Concert Band/Wind Ensemble/Wind Symphony/etc?), thirty-two times the person being polled answered: "John Mackey".
Admittedly, the information is condensed. However, it is easy to view both new/original ideas and trends in wind literature that exist in 2010. For our purposes, we are equally interested in composers and compositions that were suggested once as we are those suggested multiple times. Simply, the frequency of similar responses may indicate popularity but does not necessarily reflect artistic merit. We continue to program selections that we feel will be of interest to or entertain those who attend our performances.
In addition, we must state that DoD/Air Force does not endorse any of the composers or repertoire listed in this survey. This is an opinion survey generated as a result of answers given to the notated questions. Survey findings are distributed for informational purposes only and cannot be redistributed and/or paraphrased without specific written consent of the USAF Band of the West.
The findings of the survey generated some discussion about wind repertoire amongst those who were involved with the project. We wondered if the same may occur with those reading/studying/utilizing the survey. The result was the launch of "Continue the Discussion
", an online discussion forum for musicians on all levels to discuss wind repertoire and composers. Our goal is to provide musicians with a centralized location to discuss topics and share ideas with each other. The forum is located on the Band of the West Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bandofthewest
The USAF Band of the West would also like to announce the 2011 release of the CD related to this survey. Entitled "Turbine", a recording of works featured on our 2010 Texas Bandmasters Association concert will be available at our booth at the 2011 Texas Music Educators Association Convention. The CD features works by John Mackey, Steven Bryant, Frank Ticheli, Clint Needham, Richard Saucedo, and Kazimierz Machala. To obtain an early release copy, visit the Band of the West Facebook page for a chance to win our trivia contest. We will post a question (twice a month minimum, but every week once the CD arrives) and the first person to post the correct answer will win a free CD - to be delivered to their home address.