Concerto for Piccolo Trumpet



For Piccolo Trumpet and Wind Ensemble

(Christopher Wilson, soloist; Arkansas State Wind Ensemble/Timothy Oliver)

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For Piccolo Trumpet and Piano Reduction




Program Notes

Concerto (2016)
— for piccolo trumpet and wind ensemble by James M. Stephenson
Commissioned by Joshua Ganger – with additional support from the following consortium members:

Michael Arndt – Middle Tennessee State University
Rod Chesnutt – Florida Gulf Coast University
Vince DiMartino
Dr. Louie Eckhardt – Freelance Trumpeter
Mark Flegg – Dr. Flegg’s Structured Practice Method
Rob Frear – California State University Long Beach
Dr. Kevin Gebo
Craig Hancock – Wartburg College
Justin Emerich – Michigan State University
William Perrine – Concordia University Ann Arbor
TJ Perry
Richard Rulli – University of Arkansas
Mary Thornton and Brian Shelton – Texas A&M Corpus Christi
Joel Treybig – Belmont University, Yamaha Performing Artist
Sgt. Ginger Turner – The United States Army Field Band
Christi Wans – University of Oklahoma
Chris Wilhjelm
Chris Wilson – Arkansas State University

In early 2015, I was approached by Joshua Ganger – then a doctoral trumpet candidate at Michigan State University – to compose a concerto for piccolo trumpet and wind ensemble. The commission would serve as his dissertation for his doctoral degree.

The commission is unique in several ways: first, that it is the brainchild of a college student; second, that it is a modern concerto for the piccolo trumpet (an instrument most known for its florid use in the Baroque era); and third, that it would be accompanied by a wind ensemble (as opposed to a chamber orchestra, it’s usual setting). Lastly – he specified that the piece be suitable for players like him; in other words, college students (or above).

Therefore, to differentiate this concerto from its Baroque predecessors, I set out to write music that is distinctly American, and current. This can be heard in the use of several bold intervals – 4ths and 5ths – which are common to the bravura of a trumpet, and also with the use of jazz harmonies and sensibilities. My main focus was to write fun music to play, while allowing for beautiful expression in the slow movement. In this way, , the concerto also pays homage to those concertos of centuries ago, many of which I learned myself as a young trumpeter (prior to my switch to full-time composing).

The concerto is in three movements, fast-slow-fast, and is roughly 15 minutes long.
My most sincere thank you to Josh, for hatching this most enjoyable plan, and to those who helped support his vision to have this piece composed.

Jim Stephenson; June, 2016

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