Academic journal article Journal of Band Research

Programming Practices of Big Twelve University Wind Ensembles

Academic journal article Journal of Band Research

Programming Practices of Big Twelve University Wind Ensembles

Article excerpt

Abstract

In this investigation-which is a replication and extension of previous surveys by Powell (2009) and Paul (in press) - I examined the recent programming trends of the premiere wind groups at Big Twelve universities. I contacted the directors of all Big Twelve band programs and asked mem to provide their top wind ensemble's concert programs from fall 2002 through spring 2009. I then entered 1,702 total performances of individual pieces into a database. With 14 performances, Lincolnshire Posy by Percy Aldridge Grainger was the most frequently played composition. With 83 performances of 26 different works, Percy Aldridge Grainger was the most frequently programmed composer. During the seven-year period researched here, these directors and ensembles premiered 30 new wind band pieces. Hopefully, these data concerning recent programming practices can provide beneficial information pertaining to meritorious wind works and possibly inform choices for study, programming, and commissioning.

Programming Practices of Big Twelve University Wind Ensembles

Scholars have suggested that college and university band programs provide leadership in the development and maintenance of wind band repertoire and have posited that the direction of that leadership is best determined through evidence provided by the examination of programming trends in college and university bands. They have further asserted that studies concerning programmed literature are important to music educators and conductors because the data gleaned might be used to inform prospective teachers, directors, and performers about the breadth, depth, and significance of wind band repertoire (e.g., Fiese, 1987; Fitzgerald, 1977; Robblee, 2009).

Although it seems logical to conclude that most wind band conductors and teachers would agree that investigations concerning college and university programming trends could provide the profession with important information, an extensive search of the literature revealed only a few such examinations. In a 1955 dissertation, Odegard tabulated the performance frequency of individual works as indicated on college concert programs he had collected over the previous decade. Peercy (1958) used band programs from over 100 colleges and universities in 36 states to publish a list of the 75 wind band pieces played most frequently between 1950-1957. In the mid-1960s, a request from CBDNA President Manley Whitcomb prompted Holvik (1970) to conduct a survey in which he attempted to determine if a core band repertoire was emerging. After examining the concert programs of 78 CBDNA members from the years 1961-1966, he proposed those 234 compositions performed ten or more times were the most significant. In a similar attempt to ascertain a core repertoire, Hornyak (1982/85) analyzed 23,400 concert programs from 235 college and university bands for the period 1975-1982. He concluded that university and college wind bands did not share a common repertoire. Fiese (1987) cataloged music programmed by university and college bands between 1980-1985. After examining 23,635 performances, Fiese corroborated Hornyak's (1982/85) findings that no repertoire common to all of the surveyed colleges and universities emerged from the results. Hop wood (1998) tabulated wind band literature played at 118 CBDNA national and regional conventions from 1951-1995. Results showed 128 pieces received four or more performances.

In 2005, Kish used program listings from the 1998 to 2002 CBDNA Report to replicate Holvik's (1970) research. As in the original investigation, the data collected represented varying types and sizes of institutions as well as diverse styles of music (i.e., formal programs, tour, and festival concerts). Kish found 170 works that had been programmed 15 or more times and comparison to Holvik's compilation revealed 53 compositions that were common to both studies. Consequently, Kish suggested those pieces should be considered among those of the highest artistic merit for the wind band medium. …

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