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Program Notes

American Overture for Band

Joseph Willcox Jenkins, composer

American Overture for Band was written for the U. S. Army Field Band and dedicated to its conductor at the time, Chester E. Whiting. The piece is written in a neo-modal style flavored strongly with both Lydian and Mixolydian modes. The musical material borders on the folk tune idiom although there are no direct quotes from any folk songs. The work calls for near virtuoso playing by some sections, especially the French horns, and is a favorite of advanced high school and university bands. American Overture for Band was Jenkins’ first band piece, yet it remains his most successful work.

—Band Music Notes

The American Overture for Band was originally written for the U.S. Army Field Band and is known for the virtuoso playing it requires of the French Horn players. It is the most popular work of American composer Joseph Wilcox Jenkins, who studied at the Philadelphia Conservatory and Eastman School of Music and went on to chair the theory and composition department at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA where is continues to teach as Professor Emeritus.

This overture was written for the U.S. Army Field Band and dedicated to its conductor at the time, Chester E. Whiting. The piece is written in neo-modal style being strongly flavored with both Lydian and Mixolydian modes. Its architecture is a free adaptation of sonata form. The music material borders on the folk tune idiom, although there are no direct quotes from any folk tunes.

—Band Music Notes, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire

One of the most popular works of American composer Jenkins, the Overture is known for the virtuoso playing required of the French horn players.

JRO

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