The Wind Band Symphony Archive collects information about original symphonies for wind band, presenting all of its findings in searchable and sortable form. Its purpose is threefold:
- to promote the symphony genre as a serious vehicle for wind band music and expression;
- to give band conductors and enthusiasts free access to information about wind band symphonies, thereby making it more likely that wind band symphonies will make it onto concert programs;
- to shed light on forgotten and neglected works so that they might re-enter the repertoire.
This website has its roots in founder and content editor Andrew Pease’s doctoral thesis, “An Annotated Bibliography of Symphonies for Wind Band.” It will continue to collect any new information that becomes available about symphonies new and old. It is important to note the following foundational definitions:
What is a Symphony?
A symphony is considered to be any work that the composer has titled “symphony,” “sinfonia,” or “sinfonietta,” or their equivalents, irrespective of form, length, or instrumental forces. Works titled “symphonic” are not included.
What is a Wind Band?
This website takes Wind Band to mean a mixed-instrumentation group of eight or more mostly wind instruments. Works that use fewer than eight players are not included. Works that use more than half non-wind instruments (i.e., percussion, keyboards, and strings) are also not included. Works that use only one type of wind instrument (e.g. clarinet choir or tuba ensemble) also do not appear here, although works for mixed brass or mixed woodwinds do. Wind band works may include strings, but not a string quartet, and not sections of violas or violins (cellos and basses are OK, as they are common in many Spanish wind bands.) These works may include soloists and guest ensembles (e.g. woodwind quartet or even a full sized choir.) Any amount of percussion is OK, as long as the number of percussion players does not exceed the number of wind players.
What does Original mean?
All works on this site must be original, meaning that the composer wrote them for wind band. In some cases, composers have taken their existing works and transcribed them for wind band. These works are present here, since the composer him- or herself created the wind band version (e.g., Johan de Meij’s wind band version of his Sinfonietta no. 1, originally for brass band). Works that have been transcribed or arranged by others (e.g., Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony arranged by Michael Sweeney) are not original wind band works, and thus do not appear here. In rare cases (e.g. Serge Lancen’s Manhattan Symphony, orchestrated by Desiree Dondeyne), an orchestrator completed a piece that exists only in a wind band version. Because these only exist in one version, they are counted here.
As of November 2016, there are 1345 known works that fit these three definitions. Moving forward, we hope to identify more and clarify what we know about the existing works. To that end, we invite contributions of more information from all corners. Stay tuned for more information about how to add to this archive.