This day in 1924, Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano & Wind Instruments Premiered

On May 22, 1924, Igor Stravinsky premiered his Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments. Stravinsky himself played the piano at the premiere, with the ensemble under the direction of Serge Koussevitzky at the Opera of Paris on May 22, 1924. Koussevitzky had requested such a work of Stravinsky. Stravinsky kept the performance rights for the work to himself for a number of years, as he wished to keep “incompetent or Romantic hands” from interpreting the piece for audiences.

The wind orchestra is scored for two flutes, piccolo, two oboes, cor anglais, two clarinets, two bassoons (second bassoon doubling contrabassoon), four horns, four trumpets, three trombones and tuba and accompanied by timpani, cymbals. A piano concerto with a wind orchestra was a very unusual form at this time.

The piano part is devilishly hard, with leaping ragtime rhythms executed at an unrelenting pace throughout the work’s three movements. The central movement is one of the most beautiful passages in the wind literature.  Whether you know the work or you are newly discovering it, take time to hear this wonderful performance by soloist Alexander Toradze and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Valery Gergiev conducting.

So Many Arrangements & a New Publication!

If I’ve been absent from the site for a long time it’s because I’ve been busily cranking out arrangements for college and high school marching bands all over the country!  This year, I’m proud to write for college and university marching bands in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, and for fine high school bands in Alabama, California, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Texas, and Oregon.  Thanks to everyone for all the business!

In addition to my yearly custom work, I encourage marching band directors at all levels to check out my new Marching Band Warm-ups: 10 Minutes to a Better Band daily routine, available from DevMusic.  Rehearsal time is important, and this is designed to be brief but effective. In just ten minutes a day these warm-ups will develop your winds’ sound and range, increase woodwind technique, and improve overall intonation and volume.