Articles

David Maslanka: an introduction

What do I find interesting? I am a constant and wide-ranging reader. My undergrad and graduate work was almost all music, with just minimum requirements in other areas. Since that time I have done extensive reading in many topics, including history, psychology, anthropology, religion, mythology and poetry. I read very little about music! History can [...]

By | 2017-12-17T11:59:25+00:00 27 September 2016|Featured, Uncategorized|

Maslanka in China

David Maslanka shakes the hand of Li Fangfang after a powerful performance of Symphony No. 4 by the Beijing Wind Orchestra at the National Centre for the Performing Arts. Li invited David to participate in the 2016 Asia Pacific Band Directors Association Conference.

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:45+00:00 6 August 2016|Featured, Travel|

Honorary Doctorate from St. Olaf College

David Maslanka was honored with an honorary doctorate by St. Olaf College. Here's the entire ceremony: The following is the full text of Dr. Timothy Mahr's and David Maslanka's remarks. Dr. Timothy Mahr's remarks [starts at 11:50] On the nomination of the faculty, and with the approval of the St. Olaf Board of [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:45+00:00 5 August 2016|Angel of Mercy|

January Update

Midwest 2015 Maslanka Press exhibited at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago this past December for the first time. We were excited to welcome so many enthusiastic friends to the back corner of the McCormick Center. We expect this to be the first of many appearances at festivals and conventions across the United States and around [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:45+00:00 19 January 2016|News|

8 Questions for David Maslanka

The following is from an email exchange with Natasha Rotondaro, a grade 12 student from Emily Carr Secondary School in Vaughn, Ontario Natasha Rotondaro: What is your musical background? David Maslanka: I began clarinet studies at age nine. As a high school student I took lessons at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA, and [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:45+00:00 2 January 2016|Composing, Interview, Mass|

Accessible Works, Updated Music, and WASBE 2015 Wrap-up

Works for Younger Wind Ensembles We've just posted a two-part series going over David's more accessible works for wind ensemble. Read part 1, talking about how directors might think about selecting new music and part 2, a listing (in order of difficulty) of works with commentary by David himself. New Works Saint Francis (2015) 18' Grade 5-6 for [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:45+00:00 23 July 2015|News|

Restoring the Trombone Concerto’s original Hard Mode

In the second movement of David Maslanka's Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble, there is an extended and demanding technical section from m. 108 to m. 256, about four minutes of nearly continuous playing. It rests in the upper tessitura of the trombone range, mostly between D3 and C4, and alternates between very loud staccato [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:46+00:00 30 January 2015|Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble|

Getting Maximum Benefit from the Maslanka Chorales: a practical guide for directors

The Maslanka Collected Chorales are an extraordinary tool to help develop blend, balance, intonation, and ensemble cohesion in groups ranging from large symphonic bands and orchestras to small chamber groups or sectionals. With a daily 5-10 minutes per rehearsal you will hear a significant improvement in melodic and harmonic pitch awareness in your players. Dr. [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:46+00:00 1 October 2014|Collected Chorale Settings|

Music for an Atomic Age: David Maslanka’s “Eternal Garden: Four Songs for Clarinet and Piano”

Dr. Kip Franklin's doctoral dissertation on David's Eternal Garden: Four Songs for Clarinet and Piano begins with an overview of David's life, his compositional style, and the commissioning process for this work. Part two presents a thorough analysis of each of the four songs, followed by transcripts of interviews with the composer and a list of David's compositions [...]

David Maslanka and the Natural World: Three Studies of Music for Wind Ensemble

Kate Sutton's Master's thesis is a study on David's Third, Fourth, and Ninth Symphonies with special emphasis on their themes on nature. She explores the influence that moving to Missoula, Montana had on David for Symphony No. 3, his connection to the "powerful voice of the Earth" in Symphony No. 4, and the themes of nature [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:46+00:00 21 March 2014|Reference, Symphony No. 3, Symphony No. 4, Symphony No. 9|

How many players should perform a piece?

The division between "wind ensemble" and "band" is not clearly defined. A wind ensemble can be anywhere from one player on a part up to a total of 60 or even a few more in the ensemble, meaning multiples of flutes, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, and others. For my wind ensemble scores I have consistently indicated [...]

By | 2014-03-09T12:36:10+00:00 5 February 2014|Reference|

About difficulty

Most of my wind music has been written beyond the grade system. For the pieces that I have written for younger bands (now a fair number), I have composed them paying careful attention to the specific band for which I was writing, rather than the generalization of a grade number. The grading system can offer [...]

By | 2014-03-09T12:36:18+00:00 5 February 2014|Reference|

The Use of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Chorales in David Maslanka’s Quintet for Winds No. 3 for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, and Bassoon

Elisa Moles' thesis on David's third Quintet for Winds focuses specifically on his use of Bach chorales. Her thorough analysis of the quintet displays David's use of chorales as an integral part of the composition. Through her research, she explains David's incorporation of thematic, harmonic, and formal chorale elements as a catalyst for his original composition, using the [...]

By | 2016-08-20T20:39:16+00:00 2 May 2013|Quintet for Winds No. 3, Reference|

What young composers need

This is an email message sent 13 April 2013 to Roger Briggs, composition chair, and Chris Bianco, director of bands, at Western Washington University. David had just returned from working with the wind ensemble and student composers. Hi Roger, I am very glad that we had some time together, and thanks again for sharing your [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:46+00:00 13 April 2013|Correspondence|

Expressive Interpretation in David Maslanka’s “Eternal Garden: Four Songs for Clarinet and Piano”

Dr. Kimberly Wester's doctoral dissertation on David's Eternal Garden focuses on the expressive interpretation of the work, providing performance considerations and an overview of research on music and emotion. Biographical information on David is also included with information on his creative process, as well as discussions with the commissioner of the work, Dr. Peggy Dees-Moseley. Expressive Interpretation in David Maslanka’s [...]

A Conductor’s Examination of Three Concertos with Wind Ensemble

Dr. Travis Cross' doctoral dissertation includes a chapter on David's Song Book for Flute and Wind Ensemble and a transcript of an interview with the composer. His research presents an analysis of the Song Book's formal structure, harmonic scheme, and use of Bach chorales. Cross further discusses David's approach to writing the work, the interaction between the soloist [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:46+00:00 1 December 2012|Reference, Song Book for Flute and Wind Ensemble|

David Maslanka’s Desert Roads, Four Songs for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble: An Analysis and Performer’s Guide

Dr. Joshua Mietz' doctoral dissertation on David's first clarinet concerto, Desert Roads, provides a comprehensive analysis and helpful advice to soloists and conductors performing the work. The author also includes thoroughly researched biographical information essential to understanding the evolution of David's composing from his early career to the creation of this concerto. PDF available through the following [...]

David Maslanka’s Symphony No. 7 : An Examination of Analytical, Emotional, and Spiritual Connections Through a “Maslankian” Approach

Lane Weaver's doctoral dissertation on David's Symphony No. 7 provides an analysis of each movement while providing an inside look into the creation of this symphony. The author also provides thorough biographical information and an extensive discussion of the "Maslankian" approach to composition. David Maslanka's Symphony No. 7 : An Examination of Analytical, Emotional, and Spiritual [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:46+00:00 21 May 2011|Reference, Symphony No. 7|

A Study of David Maslanka’s Unending Stream of Life

This is Scott Hippensteel's excellent dissertation from 2011 on Unending Stream of Life. He situates David's music in wind ensemble literature, discusses his style, and expertly analyses the piece itself. His recommendations for conductors preparing the work are especially helpful. A Study of David Maslanka's Unending Stream of Life PDF, 7 MB Abstract: This study [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:46+00:00 9 May 2011|Reference, Unending Stream of Life|

A Conductor’s Insight Into Performance and Interpretive Issues in Give Us This Day by David Maslanka

Dr. Lauren Ann Denney Wright's doctoral dissertation on Give Us This Day focuses on the technical, expressive, and interpretive issues a conductor might face when programming this work. The dissertation also gives a brief biographical sketch, a discussion of David's compositional process, and the history of how this work came to be written. A Conductor's Insight Into [...]

By | 2016-08-20T20:40:11+00:00 8 May 2010|Give Us This Day, Reference|

Remarks before the premiere of A Child’s Garden of Dreams, Book 2

Remarks made 7 December 2008 in Boone, NC before the premiere of A Child's Garden of Dreams, Book 2, by the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra, James Allen Anderson, conductor. I'm not going to say too much about the music here, but I do want to comment on how things go. The original Child's Garden [...]

Remarks before the Trombone Concerto Premiere

Remarks given at the premiere performance of the Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble, October 2007; Miami, Florida In the words of the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, “We are life, we are inextinguishable.” The reasons for living or dying, especially dying, and especially when someone close to us passes, are all too often inscrutable. [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:46+00:00 30 October 2007|Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble|

The Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano (1988) by David Maslanka: An Analytical and Performance Guide

Dr. Camille Olin's doctoral dissertation on David's Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano provides a performer's guide to the sonata, as well as an analysis of the harmonic structure, harmonic language, and unifying features of the work. An interview with David is also included, providing a discussion of the work from the composer's perspective. The Sonata for Alto Saxophone [...]

By | 2016-08-22T21:35:09+00:00 21 May 2007|Reference, Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano|

Maslanka Symphony No. 5: Conducting Via Lucid Analysis Technique

Dr. Christopher Werner's doctoral dissertation uses David's Symphony No. 5 as a means of exploring a new score study and conducting performance method, the Lucid Analysis Technique, which is of his own creation. As explained in the dissertation, Werner's technique takes various musical events and elements in Symphony No. 5 and uses them as symbols for use in [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:46+00:00 30 April 2005|Reference, Symphony No. 5|

David Maslanka’s Symphony No. 3: A Relational Treatise on Commissioning, Composition, and Performance

Dr. Brenton Alston's doctoral dissertation on David's Symphony No. 3 focuses on how the work came to be commissioned and David's compositional approach to writing the work. The research presents a thorough analysis of each of the composition's five movements with concluding performance considerations. Finally, the appendices provide interview transcripts, facsimiles of the original program notes, an article about [...]

By | 2016-08-22T21:33:03+00:00 1 May 2004|Reference, Symphony No. 3|

David Maslanka’s Symphony No. 4: A Conductor’s Analysis with Performance Considerations

Dr. Stephen Bolstad's dissertation on David's Symphony No. 4 gives a thorough analysis and helpful advice to conductors. The author also includes a brief biographical sketch and provides insight into David's unique compositional approach to this work. David Maslanka's Symphony No. 4: A Conductor's Analysis with Performance Considerations PDF, 4 MB Abstract: In the last [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:46+00:00 19 August 2002|Reference, Symphony No. 4|

David Maslanka’s Use of a Chorale Tune in “In Memoriam”

Dr. Roy Breiling's doctoral dissertation covers the use of the chorale tune "Wer nur den lieben Gott lasst walten" ("If you but trust in God to guide you") in David’s composition, In Memoriam. The author also includes biographical information as well as an overview of David's compositional approach and how it relates to his musical style. David Maslanka's Use of a [...]

By | 2016-08-20T20:45:53+00:00 20 March 2000|Dissertation, In Memoriam, Reference|

Further notes on Music Performance

Two quotes from the scientist and philosopher Rene Dubos in his 1962 book The Torch of Life: “A fully developed human being cannot be thought of as an isolated creature. His or her potential attributes become fully realized only when he or she functions within a social matrix, on which he or she [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:46+00:00 10 April 1999|Chamber Music, Philosophy|

Music and Healing

Remarks given before a performance of Montana Music: Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano. Music is specifically healing. I know that I am alive today, and essentially well, because of it. Healing through music is not always miraculous in the instantaneous sense, although a powerful musical experience can change a life in an instant. I [...]

An Examination of David Maslanka’s Marimba Concerti: Arcadia II for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble and Concerto for Marimba and Band: A Lecture Recital

Dr. Michael Varner's lecture recital on David's marimba concerti gives an analysis of the musical structure and marimba techniques in Arcadia II and the Concerto for Marimba and Band. The lecture provides insight into influences that have contributed to David's unique approach to writing for marimba and gives an overview of the wealth of repertoire he has written for this instrument. An Examination [...]

Some things that are true: Reflections on being an artist at the end of the 20th century

Society of Composers Incorporated Region VIII Conference, University of Montana at Missoula. Keynote address by David Maslanka – November 20, 1998 As soon as one speaks about “truth” there will be objections. Since we live in time and with change, it can be argued that all values and conditions are relative, and that “true” is [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:46+00:00 20 November 1998|A Child's Garden of Dreams, Chamber Music, Philosophy|

Interview with Russell Peterson

Russell Peterson, professor of saxophone at Lawrence University in Appleton WI, interviewed David Maslanka on 30 November 1998 after premieres of Mountain Roads for saxophone quartet, commissioned and performed by the Transcontinental Saxophone Quartet and Song Book for alto saxophone and marimba, commissioned and performed by Steve Jordheim and Dane Richeson there. This interview touches [...]

An Analytical Study of David Maslanka’s A Child’s Garden of Dreams

The five movements of A Child's Garden of Dreams are inspired by five dreams selected from Carl Jung's Man and His Symbols. Dr. David Booth's doctoral dissertation on A Child's Garden of Dreams provides an analysis of each of the work's five movements as a narrative. Booth's explanations of musical gestures and structure in the composition reference the five dreams while providing the context of the [...]

By | 2016-08-22T21:33:54+00:00 31 May 1994|A Child's Garden of Dreams, Reference|

Dangerous Times

Remarks given on 29 March 1994 at Michigan State University before a performance of Symphony No. 4 It goes without saying that we live in dangerous times, and that the human family is threatened by forces within itself that it does not understand. Community is shattered, individuals are alienated, hunger, slaughter, and oppression continue and [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:47+00:00 29 March 1994|Philosophy, Symphony No. 4|

Composing and its relationship to the community

I want to talk a bit about the composing process and its relationship to community. I have recently been reading Gerard Manley Hopkins, the great nineteenth-century English poet. Hopkins speaks of the “particularity” of each object and experience. That is, each thing and each experience is unique. Even that one rose, that blade of grass, [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:47+00:00 16 March 1993|Composing|

The roots and purpose of music

Remarks given at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Nov.15.1992, before a performance of Symphony No.3. I want to give a few thoughts on the roots of music and its purpose in human life. Music comes supposedly from the human heart and mind. These are but two of the vibratory receiving centers of the human organism. The [...]

By | 2016-12-09T23:08:47+00:00 15 November 1992|Chamber Music, Philosophy, Symphony No. 3|