American Guernica (ed. Levine)

From Wind Repertory Project
Adolphus Hailstork

Adolphus Hailstork (arr. Brent Levine)

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General Info

Year: 1982 / 2021
Duration: c. 7:15
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Keiser Southern Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $200.00


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

American Guernica began as a technical challenge to Adolphus Hailstork to combine gospel-flavored material with contemporary compositional techniques. That led to the idea of an interrupted church service, which called to mind the bombing (in which four girls were killed and another child was blinded) in Birmingham, Alabama, September 15, 1963. What would that moment (and music reflecting that moment) contain? Sunday School music, explosion sounds, chaos, anguish, screaming. Eventually, there would be a funeral.

This work is in two major contrasting sections. (Allegro and Solemn) with an extensive coda. Each section is interrupted by a piano solo. This new second edition has been newly engraved with revisions made by editor Brent Levine in collaboration with Adolphus Hailstork.

- Program Note from publisher


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Marion Catholic High School (Chicago Heights, Ill.) Honor Band (Greg Bimm, conductor) - 6 May 2023
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Wind Ensemble (Emily Threinen, conductor) -- 21 October 2022
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Symphonic Band (Scott A. Jones, conductor) - 24 April 2022
  • Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff) Wind Symphony (Brent Levine, conductor) – 18 March 2022 (CBDNA 2022 Western/Northwestern Conference, Tacoma, Wash.)

Works for Winds by This Composer