Adventures of Jesse Owens, The

From Wind Repertory Project
Michael Daugherty

Michael Daugherty

General Info

Year: 2023
Duration: c. 11:55
Difficulty: IV+ (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Bill Holab Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - Rental   |   Score Only (print) - $50.00


  1. Cotton - 2:45
  2. Berlin (1936 Olympics) - 4:05
  3. Gold - 4:45


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II (2 per part preferred)
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon (or E-flat Contra-Alto Clarinet or B-flat Contrabass Clarinet )
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV (3-4 per part desired)
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone (optional but preferred)
C or B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Euphonium I-II
Contra-Bass (optional but preferred; 2 players preferred)
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Anvil
  • Bass Drum (concert)
  • Bongos
  • Chimes
  • Claves
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong (large)
  • Snare Drum (piccolo)
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Whip (very large)
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Adventures of Jesse Owens for Symphonic Band was commissioned by Kappa Kappa Psi, National Band Fraternity, and Tau Beta Sigma, National Band Sorority for the National Intercollegiate Band. The world premiere was given by the National Intercollegiate Band, conducted by Rodney Dorsey, in Orlando, Florida, on July 11, 2023.

1. Cotton. Jesse Owens (1913-1980) was the youngest of ten children, the son of a sharecropper, and the grandson of enslaved people. The family lived in a small shack in rural Oakville, Alabama ,and everyone picked cotton for a living, including Jesse beginning at age seven. The first movement is a “work song” composed of pulsating, multi-layered ostinatos accompanied by a rhythmically relentless anvil.

2. Berlin (1936 Olympics). As a student athlete on the track and field team at Ohio State University, Jesse Owens set five world records in 1935. He was subsequently invited to join the United States Olympic team for the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. The German Nazi Party hoped that hosting the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin would provide an international showcase for the Third Reich and give legitimacy to its racist policies of Aryan supremacy. The participation of American Jewish and Black athletes subsequently caused great controversy. In the second movement, I allude to three different musical works associated with the opening ceremonies of the 1936 Berlin Olympics: Richard Strauss: Olympische Hymne (1936); My Country, 'Tis of Thee (also known as America, 1831); Deutschlandlied (German National Anthem, 1922). As these melodies are interrupted by rolling drums, the ominous mood of the music anticipates World War II, started by Germany in 1939.

3. Gold. By winning four gold medals and setting world records in the 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter relay and long jump, Jesse Owens became the most successful athlete of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. His victories made international headlines as “the fastest man in the world,” challenging the German Nazi doctrine of Aryan supremacy. Inspired by the superhuman feats of Jesse Owens at the Olympics, the brightly orchestrated final movement, marked “Presto”, moves at breakneck speed to a triumphant finish line.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band (Jason K. Fettig, conductor) – 17 November 2023
  • National Intercollegiate Band (Orlando, Fla.) (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 11 July 2023 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works