Bayou Breakdown

From Wind Repertory Project
Brant Karrick

Brant Karrick

General Info

Year: 2004
Duration: c. 4:45
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $100.00; (digital) - $100.00   |   Score Only (print) - $11.00; (digital) - $11.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra Alto 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-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Bayou Breakdown began as an attempt to write a fugue in the style of Johann Sebastian Bach. The main melody is introduced in a four-part fugue scored for woodwinds, followed by a second statement of the fugue by the brass. A brief transition introduces a folk song-like lyrical theme based on a pentatonic scale. Another transition takes the piece to its most dissonant section, evoking a poorly played waltz. The main melody attempts to reappear but is swept away by a progression of descending chromatic chords. After a complete stop, the initial fugue returns featuring solos by the clarinet, bassoon, alto saxophone, oboe, trumpet, and tuba. After a few short trio statements of the main tune, the piece ends with a polyphonic flurry from the full band.

In writing Bayou Breakdown, I hoped to create a piece that would provide musical and technical challenges for performers yet could be immediately enjoyed by the listener, musician and non-musician alike. While the piece was written for my terrific students in the University of Toledo Wind Ensemble, it is dedicated to one of my most influential mentors, Frank Wickes, Director of Bands at Louisiana State University.

- Program Note by composer

This fun and whimsical fugue with a Cajun twist provides musical and technical challenges for performers while being a tuneful treat for the audience. Each section gets a good workout plus several solo opportunities.

- Program Note from publisher

Bayou Breakdown was composed for the Wind Ensemble at the University of Toledo. While the melodic material is drawn from a style of jazz heard in and around the Mississippi Delta, the formal structure for the piece originated as an attempt to write in fugal counterpoint similar to that of Johann Sebastian Bach. The composer dedicated this work to Frank B. Wickes, who served as director of bands at Louisiana State University from 1980 to 2010.

- Program Notes by California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Orchestra concert program, 28 February 2015


State Ratings

  • Michigan: Senior High A
  • Minnesota: II
  • South Carolina: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Taylor University (Upland, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Christopher Bade, conductor) - 16 November 2023
  • Fresno (Calf.) State University Symphonic Band (Timothy Childs, conductor) - 24 March 2023 (2023 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.)
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Jaelem Bhate, conductor) - 16 February 2023
  • Millersville (Penn.) University Concert Band (Christy Banks, conductor) - 2 April 2022
  • Shakopee (Minn.) High School Wind Ensemble (Eric Christenson, conductor) - 26 March 2022
  • Chadron (Neb.) State College Wind Symphony (John Wojcik, conductor) - 9 April 2021
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Wind Symphony (Rubén Darío Gómez, conductor) - 2 April 2021
  • Ouachita Baptist University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Craig V. Hamilton, conductor) – 27 October 2020
  • Bethany Lutheran College (Mankato, Minn.) Concert Band (Benjamin Faugstad, conductor) – 19 March 2020
  • Sacramento (Calif.) State University Concert Band (Clay Redfield, conductor) – 11 March 2020
  • Shenandoah Conservatory (Winchester, Va.) Concert Band (Keith Taylor, conductor) – 5 March 2020
  • McClellan College (Waco, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Jon Conrad, conductor) - 20 February 2020
  • Muskingum Valley (New Concord, Ohio) Symphonic Winds (David A. Turrell, conductor) – 16 February 2020
  • Oak Ridge (Tenn.) Community Band (Shaun Salem, conductor) – 16 February 2020
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington) Concert Band (Dana Biggs, conductor) – 17 November 2019
  • Humboldt State University (Arcata, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Paul Cummings, conductor) – 12 October 2019
  • Tallahassee (Fla.) Winds (Patrick Dunnigan, conductor) – 1 October 2019
  • Mississippi Wind Symphony (Jackson) (Craig Young, conductor) – 4 June 2019
  • Prairie Wind Ensemble (East Peoria, Ill.) (Jim Tallman, conductor) – 17 March 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Brant Karrick website
  • Karrick, B. (2004). Bayou Breakdown [score]. Alfred Publishing: Van Nuys, Calif.
  • Karrick, Brant. "Bayou Breakdown." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 6, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 455-460. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2007.
  • Perusal score