On July 13, I traveled to Beijing as the guest of the 19th Asia Pacific Band Directors Association (APBDA) Conference. My host was Li Fangfang, founder and conductor of the Beijing Wind Orchestra, the first independent professional wind ensemble in the Peoples’ Republic of China. The conference was a huge event, involving over 50 […]
Feb. 4 2016: traveled from New York City to Pascack Hills High School in Montvale, New Jersey, hosted by Chris Wilhjelm.
The St. Olaf Band had been on tour and had done at least six performances of the piece before I heard the music for the first time at Chris Wilhjelm’s school. We had only […]
These are David’s thoughts on choosing music. You can find the annotated repertoire list here.
I have never been in charge of a school band program, but over the past 40-plus years I have seen hundreds of programs close-up as guest composer. While I do understand the need to teach specific aspects of music, I […]
This is the annotated repertoire list. Read David’s thoughts on selecting music for younger wind ensembles.
Here are more than twenty works for wind ensemble, arranged in approximate ascending order of difficulty, with commentary by David Maslanka
Prelude on a Gregorian Tune (1980) 4’ Grade 2
Prelude is a modest and brief piece for young band. It […]
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 depends, against […]
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 […]
Excerpts from letters to young composers
You ask about the soul nature of music, and are music and soul the same thing. Music is one of the expressions of soul. A person does not have to be consciously aware of soul connection for soul force to be expressed through that person. The conscious mind and […]
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 […]
Remarks given on 18 April 2002 at Indiana University School of Music before a performance of the Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble. Other works on the concert included Montana Music: Chorale Variations and Tears.
I want to give a few thoughts about how music acts in our lives. Music making is in the […]
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 human […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]