Online Thesis/Dissertation Repository

“A New Perspective on Joseph Schwantner’s Concerto for Percussion”
Chris Wengert
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, May 2008



In 1929 Darius Milhaud wrote the Concerto pour Batterie et Petite Orchestre. This was the first orchestral work to establish the percussionist in the role as a soloist. Many percussion concerti have followed including Paul Creston’s Concertino for Marimba and Orchestra (1940), David Ott’s Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra (1984), and Carl Vine’s Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra (1987)[1]. While these pieces continue to influence percussion repertoire, few percussion concerti achieve the level of acclaim as Joseph Schwantner’s Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra (1994). Regarded by many as a masterwork for the genre, this concerto helped to bring the role of the solo percussionist to the forefront of the modern orchestra. Articles and reviews have been written about this work, however full analyses were limited and thus more research proved justified. The purpose of this document was to provide a full analysis of Joseph Schwantner’s Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra. Formal and harmonic analyses of this work were presented, as well as a discussion of performance problems and rehearsal suggestions.


[1] Concerti, Percussion.  Compositions Research.  Percussive Arts Society.  [Web accessed on February 25th, 2008.]   

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