This work bears the designation Opus 13.
Year: 1955, 1956 / 2003
Duration: c. 4:30
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Theodore Presser
Cost: Score & Parts - $125.00 | Full Score Only - $20.00; Large Score Only - $55.00; Condensed Score Only - $9.00
B-flat Clarinet I-II-III-IV
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone I-II
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III-IV
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Percussion I-II-III-IV (4-5 players), including:
- Bass Drum
- Crash Cymbals
- Snare Drum
- Wood Block
- M.2, middle system: Piano dynamic should read mf
- M.2, lower system: Add piano dynamic + hairpin crescendo ending at beat 4 of m.3
- Cornet, I, m.40, beat 4&: C sharp should read C natural
- Trombone I, m.31, beat 3: Eighth note + 2 sixteenth notes should read 2 sixteenth notes + eighth note
See also Fonder article in Resources for additional errata in 1956 edition.
- Horn in F 4, m.60, beat 3: F sharp should read F natural
- Trombone IV, final measure, beat 2&: Delete sixteenth note rest
This work was composed for the United States Army Field Band while the composer was on the arranging staff for the group. The instrumentation of this work is based on the players in the Field Band. In 2003, at the request of the American Bandmaster's Association, a full score was developed by the composer in order to correct the previous versions of the work. An orchestral version of the work, done by Derry Wilson Ochoa, has been performed by the Indianapolis Symphony and Nashville Symphony.
The work was dedicated to the Army Field Band's conductor, Chester E. Whiting. It was written in a neomodal style, being flavored strongly with both Lydian and Mixolydian modes. Its musical architecture is a very free adaptation of sonata form. The musical material borders on the folk tune idiom although there are no direct quotes from any folk tunes. The work calls for near-virtuoso playing by several sections, especially the French horns, and is a favorite of advanced high school and university bands. Although American Overture was Jenkins's first band piece, it remains his most successful work and, in his words, he is "hard-pressed to duplicate its success."
- Program Note from Program Notes for Band
- Audio CD: Harrison High School Wind Ensemble (David W. Vandewalker, conductor) - 2007
- Audio CD: Keystone Wind Ensemble (Jack Stamp, conductor)
- Audio CD: United States Army Band
- Florida: VI
- New York: VI
- North Carolina: VI
- Texas: V
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Nebraska Wind Symphony (Omaha) (Josh Kearney, conductor) - 19 February 2023
- United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Darren Lin, conductor) - 18 August 2022
- United States Army Field Band I (Fort Meade, Md.) (Hal Gibson, conductor) - 15 December 2021 (2021 Midwest Clinic)
- East Tennessee State University (Johnson City) Wind Ensemble (Christian Zembower, conductor) - 6 May 2021
- San Antonio (Tx.) Community Wind Ensemble (Albert Aguilar, conductor) - 7 February 2021
- Lakewood Ranch (Fla.) Wind Ensemble (Joseph Miller, Conductor) – 15 March 2020
- Hartwick College (Oneonta, N.Y.) Wind Ensemble (Andrew Pease, conductor) – 5 March 2020
- Butler University (Indianapolis, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Michael Colburn, conductor) – 1 March 2020
- Bishop Carroll High School (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) Wind Ensemble (Chris Herard, conductor) – 22 February 2020
- Western University (London, Ont., Can.) Wind Ensemble (Colleen Richardson, conductor) – 11 February 2020
- Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble (Oakfield, N.Y.) (Philip Briatico, conductor) – 24 November 2019
- University of Wisconsin Whitewater Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Glenn Hayes, conductor) – 10 November 2019
- Baldwin-Wallace College (Berea, Ohio) Symphonic Band (Brendan Caldwell, conductor) – 11 October 2019>
- State University of New York Potsdam Symphonic Band (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 10 October 2019
- University of South Alabama (Mobile) Wind Ensemble (William Petersen, conductor) - 26 September 2019
- Gainesville (Fla.) Pops (Gary Langford, conductor) – 18 May 2019
- Woodcreek High School (Roseville, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Brad North, conductor) – 8 May 201
- West Chester (Penn.) University Wind Ensemble (Andrew Yozviak, conductor) – 28 April 20199
- Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta) (Symphonic Band) (Benjamin J. Diden, conductor) – 14 April 2019
- The Ohio State University (Columbus) Wind Symphony (Russell C. Mikkelson, conductor) – 4 April 2019
Works for Winds by This Composer
- American Overture for Band (1956)
- Arioso for Band (1963)
- Cannonade (1991)
- Charles County Overture (1959)
- Cuernavaca (1969)
- Cumberland Gap (1961)
- In Traskwood Country (1977)
- Pieces of Eight (arr. Neff; ed. Fennell) (1954)
- Purcell Portraits (1963)
- Symphonic Jubilee (1975)
- Symphony No. 5 (1979)
- Tartan Suite (1979)
- Three Images for Band (1962)
- Toccata for Winds (1978)
- Viva Vivaldi (1963)
- Berz, William, and Daniel Zugale. “Joseph Willcox Jenkins.” In A Composer’s Insight, Volume 4, Timothy Salzman, ed. Meredith Music Publications, 2009, pp. 185–203.
- Camphouse, Mark, ed. Composers on Composing for Band. Volume 3. GIA Publications, 2007, pp. 115–139.
- Fonder, Mark. "Joseph Wilcox Jenkins's American Overture for Band: A Performance Guide." The Instrumentalist vol. 60, no. 5, December 2005, pp. 30–32, 34, 36, 87.
- Jenkins, Joseph Wilcox. American Overture for Band (full score) Theodore Presser Company, 2003.
- Jenkins, Joseph Wilcox. A Short Overture for Band. PDF of the manuscript full score. Accessed 22 September 2022.
- Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 4. GIA Publications, 2002, pp. 438-443.
- Pease, Andy. "American Overture for Band by Joseph Willcox Jenkins." Wind Band Literature. Accessed 22 September 2022.
- Smith, Norman E. Program Notes for Band. GIA Publications, 2002, p. 327.