American in Paris, An

From Wind Repertory Project
George Gershwin

George Gershwin (trans. John Krance)

General Info

Year: 1929 / 1959
Duration: c. 5:45
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: New World Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $75.00 - Out of Print


Full Score
Condensed Score
C Piccolo
D-flat Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
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 I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
E-flat Horn or Alto I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Taxi Horns
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet I, 3 meas. after reh. 1, beat 1: C should read D
  • B-flat Cornet II, reh. 4, beat 1: Add "Str. mute"
  • B-flat Cornet II, 3 m. before reh. 10, beat 3-4: Add triplet bracket (to match beat 10-2)

Program Notes

Gershwin was best known as a writer of music for the entertainment market, but he did make several excursions into the realm of art music. One of these was the result of a brief visit to Paris in 1926 (from which he returned with a French taxicab horn and the sketch of a melody) and a longer stay in 1928. He made use of both the horn and the melody while writing this piece during his second visit. He called the work a "rhapsodic ballet." His description follows:

" I have not endeavored to present any definite scenes in this music. The rhapsody is programmatic in a general impressionistic sort of way, so that the individual listener can read into the music such episodes as his imagination pictures for him. The opening section is followed by a rich 'blues' with a strong rhythmic undercurrent. Our American friend, perhaps after strolling into a cafe, has suddenly succumbed to a spasm of homesickness. The blues rises to a climax followed by a coda in which the spirit of the music returns to the vivacity and bubbling exuberance of the opening part with its impressions of Paris."

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

Four years after the success of his Rhapsody in Blue in 1924, George Gershwin began work on his tone poem An American in Paris while touring that city and meeting musical luminaries such as Milhaud, Ravel and Poulenc. Upon his return to New York, he made his conducting debut before an audience of 15,000 at Lewisohn Stadium on a program that included both of these works.

An American in Paris inspired the 1951 film that featured extended, elaborate dance sequences set to the music of George and Ira Gershwin. The film starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, and won the 1952 Academy Award for Best Picture.

- Program Notes by California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Orchestra concert program, 17 May 2003


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Gershwin, G.; Krance, J. (1959). An American in Paris [score]. New World Music: New York.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 226.