Detroit to LA
for Wind Band (Grade 4)
live performance by the University of Texas Symphony Band
conducted by Scott Hanna
"From Detroit to LA” is based on a flight I took in November 2009. This was the first time
I had flown on a clear day at a low altitude, and I was struck by the patterns that emerged from the air:
not only the man-made patterns of towns and plowed farmland, but also the natural patterns
from mountains, rivers, and canyons. Though we were actually moving at several hundred miles per hour,
everything below seemed expansive, and shifted from view at a slow pace, which is the reason
for the quasi-minimalist style often found in this piece.
All of the melodies for the piece were composed on the actual flight, and the order
in which they appear in the composition is the order in which they appeared during the flight.
The purpose of the trip was to visit the University of Southern California, so a few of the
motifs and melodic fragments (as well as other aspects of the composition) are imitative
of and/or inspired by the music of Frank Ticheli. This piece was edited in September of 2011 for a
reading session by the UT Wind Ensemble and subsequent premiere by the UT Symphony Band.
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