Rhythms of the Spirit


For wind ensemble

[waveplayer ids=”10607″]



Rhythms of the Spirit (2013)

for wind ensemble

duration:  9’

Commissioned by and dedicated to the Grand Symphonc Winds; Matthew George, Music Director. Premiered May 2, 2013.

Notes about the Music:

In the spring of 2012, I was in Minnesota attending some performances, and had the fortunate opportunity of catching up with Matthew George, conductor of the Grand Symphonic Winds. Matt had given the world premiere performance of my Concerto for Brass Quintet (Dodecafecta), and has always had a major presence in the formation of new works for winds, so I was very delighted when he brought up the idea of a new work for his group.

The Grand Symphonic Winds, in honor of their 25th anniversary, were looking to celebrate the influx of many international cultures which had become a significant part of the landscape in Minnesota. This immediately called out to me in musical terms, namely in the forms of rhythms and spirituality (hence the title!)

The piece opens and closes with heroic and beautiful music, signifying (to me) what most cultures seem to all be saying, but in different languages: we all just want peace, harmony and love. The entire middle section is very rhythmic, using many percussion instruments found in different cultures, also represented in Minnesota: Latin America (claves, bongos), Africa (Djembe) and if possible, Southeast Asia (Dholak). And just for fun, I even spelled out Minnesota in Morse code, but this was merely for my own enjoyment!

I wish to thank Matt George, for all he has done for the field of music in Wind Ensembles, and specifically to him and the Grand Symphonic Winds for entrusting to me the responsibility of composing this new work, which I truly hope finds its home in the literature.

Jim Stephenson March, 2013


  • Wind Ensemble – one per part, except:
  • 2 tubas recommended, French Horns doubled

Recommended: Rhythm percussion sit in the middle of the ensemble, or immediately in front of the conductor, where visible to audience.

Percussion instruments needed:

  • Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Cymb. a2 Claves, Djembe, Marimba, Triangle, Vibes, Bongos (or Dholak) Xylophone, Glock., Tambourine, Sus. Cymb.

(if desired, the Dholak could replace the Bongos, using high/low sounds)

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