Symphony No. 4



LISTEN   (Musashino Academia Musicae – Ray Cramer, conducting)

WATCH   (UNT Wind Ensemble – Andrew Trachsel, conducting)

Grade 5

For Symphonic Concert Band

SKU: Symphony No. 4 Category:


for symphonic concert band

Commissioned by the Interlochen College of Creative Arts – Band Camp; Tom Riccobono, Director, and premiered on August 13, 2023 

duration: 22 min.
(instrumentation below)

Program Notes (by the composer):

In late 2022, I was approached by Tom Riccobono to compose a new work for the adults who performed as part of the Interlochen College of Creative Arts, and to be premiered the following August. We discussed many ideas, mostly surrounding an exciting 5-8 minute work. At some point during the conversation, I mentioned that I really preferred digging into larger scale works. Tom also seemed excited by that concept, and before we knew it, the idea became a reality, and my Symphony No. 4 was to be born. There was just one caveat: I told Tom to be patient with me, as I wouldn’t even be able to begin working on such a piece until the summer of 2023, and would have to deliver it just a month before the premiere. Never one to back down, Tom agreed, and the project was in my hands to deliver.

Anything created for Interlochen takes on special meaning for me.

I was a camper there first at the age of 10, and then attended three years of high school, and then even two summers teaching scattered in as well. I’ve written several works for various occasions there as well. So, to put it mildly, Interlochen has been a huge part of my life.
In writing this piece, I reflected back upon my earliest memories of attending camp. I recall showing up for one of my first orchestra rehearsals, and Gliere’s “Russian Sailors Dance” being put on our stands, and then us little bunch of 10 year-olds eagerly clawing our way through this unknown music. I remember loving my trumpet part, and thinking to myself: “This piece rocks!”. I was hooked, and have never looked back.
Away from the music part, I also clearly remember showing up in my cabin, the very first day – not at all knowing anyone – and fellow camper Hank Hauke asking me if I wanted to play tennis. I quickly abandoned my parents to do the unpacking, and I ran to the courts. Again, I was hooked. Therefore, in starting this piece, I wanted to capture that excitement: that eagerness (featuring trumpets, of course), and the mystery and youthful anticipation of a new world being discovered. The first movement’s opening melody is childlike and mischievous (like I was), with an unending drive from beginning to end.
The 2nd movement shows more of the reverence that grew within me for the place I continued to return to. It uses a recurring theme, growing and growing, with sustained anticipation of something wonderful happening. It is also distinctly American sounding.
The 3rd movement scherzo is simply nothing but fun.
The 4th movement is where we return to the Gliere inspiration of my 10 year-old self. I decided to copy his idea of a Theme and Variations though mine uses an original, almost funereal theme (no metaphor intended), where each variation gets just a bit more and more exciting, until we finally “rock out”, with themes and variations all occurring simultaneously in large fashion. One thing to be noted: upon doing research AFTER I finished my work, I discovered that Gliere and I both used the same amount – 12 – of variations on our themes. It’s almost as if Interlochen is still working its magic…

Thank you so much to Tom Riccobono for joining me in this adventure. Thank you to Interlochen for assisting in its coming to fruition. And thank you ever so much to the donor – also a trumpet player! – who supporting the creation of this work, of which I am very proud.

~ Jim Stephenson; July 9, 2023

piccolo – 3 flutes – 2 oboes – English horn – 2 bassoons – contrabassoon
E clarinet-3B clarinets-bassclarinet
2 alto saxophones – tenor saxophone – baritone saxophone
2 Bb cornets – 3 Bb trumpets – 4 french horns
2 tenor trombones – Bass trombone – 2 euphoniums – 3 tubas (minimum)

Timpani + 5 percussion (instrumentation below). [Note: all large mallet instruments intended to be shared] Double bass

Percussion 1 (mallets + perc.): sus. cym., xylophone, marimba, crotales, glockenspiel, chimes, crash cym.
Percussion 2 (perc. + mallets): snare drum, triangle, crash cym., vibes, sus. cym., glockenspiel
Percussion 3 (perc. + mallets): tambourine, triangle, bongos, crotales, sus. cym., glockenspiel, snare drum, hi wood block, marimba, wind chimes, ratchet
Percussion 4 (perc. + mallets): bass drum, sus. cym., tamtam, hi-hat, triangle, bongos, glockenspiel


Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 17 × 11 × 4 in
Band Category



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Type of Work