American Elegy, An

From Wind Repertory Project
Frank Ticheli

Frank Ticheli

General Info

Year: 1999
Duration: c. 11:05
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Manhattan Beach Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $95.00   |   Score Only - $15.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone


  • B-flat Bass Clarinet, m.57, beat 1: Should be G, not A.
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone, m.58: Should be A, not B.
  • B-flat Trumpet I, m.135: Half notes should be D to E, not C to D.
  • Horn I, m.104: Should have a "cresc." indication.

Program Notes

An American Elegy is, above all, an expression of hope. It was composed in memory of those who lost their lives at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, and to honor the survivors. It is offered as a tribute to their great strength and courage in the face of a terrible tragedy. I hope the work can also serve as one reminder of how fragile and precious life is and how intimately connected we all are as human beings.

I was moved and honored by this commission invitation, and deeply inspired by the circumstances surrounding it. Rarely has a work revealed itself to me with such powerful speed and clarity. The first eight bars of the main melody came to me fully formed in a dream. Virtually every element of the work was discovered within the span of about two weeks. The remainder of my time was spent refining, developing, and orchestrating.

The work begins at the bottom of the ensemble's register, and ascends gradually to a heartfelt cry of hope. The main theme that follows, stated by the horns, reveals a more lyrical, serene side of the piece. A second theme, based on a simple repeated harmonic pattern, suggests yet another, more poignant mood. These three moods -- hope, serenity, and sadness -- become intertwined throughout the work, defining its complex expressive character. A four-part canon builds to a climactic quotation of the Columbine Alma Mater. The music recedes, and an offstage trumpeter is heard, suggesting a celestial voice -- a heavenly message. The full ensemble returns with a final, exalted statement of the main theme.

An American Elegy was commissioned by the Columbine Commissioning Fund, a special project sponsored by the Alpha Iota Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi at the University of Colorado on behalf of the Columbine High School Band. Contributors to the Fund included members, chapters, alumni, and friends of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Fraternity and Sorority.

The work received its premiere performance by the Columbine High School Band, William Biskup, Director, Frank Ticheli, guest conductor, on April 23, 2000. Its premiere served as the centerpiece of a special commemorative concert given by the Columbine High School Band in conjunction with the University of Colorado Wind Symphony, held at Mackey Hall in Boulder, Colorado.

- Program Note by Frank Ticheli


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class BB
  • Florida: IV
  • Georgia: V
  • Kansas: IV
  • Louisiana: IV
  • Maryland: IV
  • Michigan: Senior High AA
  • Minnesota: II
  • South Carolina: IV
  • Texas: IV. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • California State University Fullerton Alumni Band (Jennifer Martin, conductor) - 15 January 2023
  • New Jersey Wind Symphony (Ridgewood) (Johan de Meij, conductor) - 6 November 2022
  • Cuesta Wind Ensemble (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) (Jennifer Martin, conductor) – 11 May 2022
  • National Concert Band of America (Alexandria, VA) (Adrian Holton, conductor) - 11 May 2022
  • East Texas Baptist University (Marshall) Symphonic Band (Nathan G. Phillips, conductor) - 3 March 2022
  • Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, Tx.) Symphonic Band (Chris Kaatz, conductor) - 8 February 2022
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Lion Brown, conductor) - 15 November 2021
  • University of Mississippi (Oxford) Symphonic Band (Randy Dale, conductor) - 22 April 2021
  • Bemidji (Minn.) State University Wind Ensemble (Scott Guidry, conductor) - 18 April 2021
  • Calvin University (Grand Rapids, Mich.) Symphonic Band (Tiffany Engle, conductor) - 12 March 2021
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University University Band (Joseph Scheivert, conductor) - 1 March 2021
  • University of Louisiana Monroe Wind Ensemble (Derle R. Long, conductor) - 8 March 2021
  • University Heights (Ohio) Symphonic Band (Matthew Salvaggio, conductor) – 8 March 2020
  • Mankato (Minn.) West High School Wind Ensemble (Brady Krusemark, conductor) – 7 March 2020
  • Hilliard (Ohio) Davidson Wind Symphony (Shawn Malone, conductor) - 13 February 2020
  • University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Symphonic Band (Matt Smoot, conductor) – 10 December 2019
  • University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) Concert Band (Kevin Welborn, conductor) – 2 December 2019
  • Edmonton (Alb.) Schoolboys’ Alumni Band (Graeme Peppink, conductor) – 1 December 2019
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Concert Band (Kerri MacPhee, conductor) – 24 November 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Frank Ticheli website Accessed 6 July 2020
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. 2002. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 4. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 444-449.
  • Ticheli, F. (2000). An American Elegy: For Concert Band [score]. Manhattan Beach Music: Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Frank Ticheli errata