The Original Wind Band Commissions of "The President's Own" United States Marine Band



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Historically, the act of commissioning has been a primary method of bringing new works into the wind band repertoire. It is essential to the growth and development of the genre and the ensemble itself. Throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first century, conductors and composers have collaborated together to establish a robust canon of music for concert bands of all skill levels. These collaborations have been initiated by groups like the Goldman Band, the American Wind Symphony, the American Bandmasters Association, the College Band Directors National Association, and numerous college, high school, and professional bands across the country. America’s oldest, continuously active professional musical organization, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, has been actively commissioning new works for wind band since 1980. Although the reputation of the band is world-renowned, the music that it has commissioned deserves more attention. Since 1798, “The President’s Own” has been the standard-bearer for wind band music. In addition to its historical and ceremonial functions, the Marine Band is a leader in concert programming and musical execution. The commissioning of new literature is a relatively new objective in Marine Band history, but it has made a significant contribution to the canon of wind band repertoire. The United States Marine Band has commissioned twenty-five original works for wind band. The composers they have engaged represent a wide array of backgrounds, compositional style, and experience. The commissions from “The President’s Own” made significant impacts on the composer’s careers and reputations. In addition, the composers experience working with the Marine Band directors and musicians allowed them to write challenging and substantial new works. These pieces have elevated the quality and depth of band repertoire. Also, the composers have been inspired to write more music for band and encourage others to do the same.