The Tournament

Commission opportunity for advanced wind ensemble or concert band

  • Grade level – 5
  • Duration – 5:30
  • Buy-in – $400
  • Instrumentation – large wind ensemble or concert band, no piano or harp, timp + 6 perc, (Bb contrabass clarinet, contrabassoon and double bass optional but preferred)

THE TOURNAMENT (midi sketch)

THE TOURNAMENT is an intense work built around the kind of in-your-face fanfare that wind ensembles and concert bands are SOOOO good at. The piece grows naturally from the energy of the opening fanfare, escalating into an exuberant and exhilerating thrill ride.

There are specific challenges included for all the various sections of the ensemble. The fanfare sections feature some serious brass work, with the trumpets leading the way in their high register. The winds also come in for special attention, featuring several mammoth woodwind unisons, with all the winds forming a single gigantic melodic voice. The idea comes back several times, and like the brass fanfares, it escalates in intensity with each appearance. And lest we forget the percussion, this is most definitely a crash-bang kind of piece. Tam-tams and tom-toms, timpani solos, china cymbals and splash cymbals – this is a noisy one and a loud one.

THE TOURNAMENT score excerpt (in progress)

Progress report

The composition of the piece is mostly complete at this point. I am currently working to finish the orchestration. For those that are willing, I would very much like to do some read-throughs and rehearsal recordings in the early part of 22/23, prior to the delivery of final parts and scores, to help me work out any kinks. Please let me know if you might be interested in helping out with that part of the process.


  • Now-November: First half of fee due
  • December 15, 2022: Delivery of parts and scores (PDF format) – second half of fee due
  • January 1, 2023-December 31, 2023 – exclusivity period – performances by consortium members (the exclusivity period is designed so that if you already have 22/23 programmed, there is still an opportunity for exclusive performance in the first half of 23/24)

Questions?? Let’s talk – send me an email at


I was first introduced to the world of Wind Ensembles and Concert Bands by H. Robert Reynolds, who found my orchestral work CHORALE AND FIDDLE TUNE on my web site. CAFT had won the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Audience of the Future Composition Competition. Maestro Reynolds commissioned a Wind Ensemble version of the piece (which became ACROSS THE DIVIDE, still my most popular work). My most recent commission is THE TIME TRAVELER, an epic four-movement programmatic suite for advanced wind ensemble, currently in its exclusivity period (available for general programming starting July 2023).