American Guernica

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Adolphus Hailstork

Adolphus Hailstork

General Info

Year: 1982 / 2008
Duration: c. 7:05
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: MMB Music Inc., through Keiser Southern Music
Cost: Score and Parts – Rental


Full Score
C Piccolo (2 players)
Flute I-II-III
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-VI, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Claves
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Siren
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tams (2: medium and large)
  • Tenor Drum
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

American Guernica was written in remembrance of the September 15, 1963, fire-bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, a racially motivated bombing that killed four young girls attending Sunday school (Carol Robertson, 14, Addie Mae Collins, 14, Cynthia Wesley, 14, and Denise McNair, 11), and injured twenty-two others. The elegy for this tragedy was delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King.

The work’s title refers to the famous mural by painter Pablo Picasso, which depicts the bombing of the Basque village Guernica by Nazi German and Fascist Italian warplanes on April 26, 1937, a tragic slaughter of mainly women and children. Hailstork’s score employs spatial notation and extended techniques to recount the bombing, outrage, and aftermath of the American tragedy.

- Program Note from University of Maryland Wind Orchestra concert program, March 10, 2017


  • Virginia College Band Directors National Contest, 1983, First Prize


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Missouri St. Louis Wind Ensemble (David Wacyk, conductor) - 1 October 2023
  • Boston University Young Artists Wind Ensemble (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor) - 30 July 2023 (Tanglewood)
  • Morningside University (Sioux City, Ia.) Wind Ensemble (Martin I. Gaines, conductor) - 2 April 2023
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City) Symphony Band (John Carmichael, conductor) - 1 March 2023 (88th Annual ABA National Convention)
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Wind Symphony (David Waybright, conductor) - 9 February 2023
  • University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Gerard Morris, conductor) - 13 October 2022
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Wind Symphony (Anthony C. Marinello, conductor) – 8 April 2022 (CBDNA 2022 North Central Conference, Madison, Wisc.)
  • Pennsylvania State University (State College) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Tonya Mitchell-Spradlin, conductor) - 24 February 2022
  • Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro) Wind Ensemble (Denny Hawkins, conductor) - 10 February 2022
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 22 October 2021
  • University of Miami (Fla.) Frost Bands (Robert Carnachan, conductor) - 2 May 2021
  • Luther College (Decorah, Ia.) Concert Band (Cory Near, conductor) - 21 March 2021
  • Wayne State College (Wayne, Neb.) Wind Ensemble (David Bohnert, conductor) - 23 February 2021
  • Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College Wind Symphony (Chris Miertschin, conductor) - 8 October 2020
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Symphonic Winds (Kelvin Jones, conductor) – 3 March 2020
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Wind Ensemble (Scott Teeple, conductor) – 16 February 2020
  • University of South Florida (Tampa) Symphonic Band (Marc S. Sosnowchek, conductor) – 26 November 2019
  • State University of New York Potsdam Symphonic Band (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 10 October 2019
  • Santa Clara (Calif.) University Wind Ensemble (Anthony Rivera, conductor) – 23 May 2019
  • Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor) – 16 February 2019
  • Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.) Wind Ensemble (Joseph Higgins, conductor) – 28 April 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Adolphus Hailstork website Accessed 13 February 2020
  • Hailstork, A. (1982). American Guernica: Band (1982) [score]. MMB Music: St. Louis, Mo.
  • The Horizon Leans Forward..., compiled and edited by Erik Kar Jun Leung, GIA Publications, 2021, p. 344.
  • Perusal Score
  • Williams, Cheldon R. "American Guernica." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 12, Compiled and edited by Andrew Trachsel, 513-520. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2021.