Beethoven Machine, The

From Wind Repertory Project
Michael Colgrass

Michael Colgrass

General Info

Year: 2003
Duration: c. 6:00
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Cost: Score and Parts - $80.00   |   Score Only - $15.00


Full Score
Flute I-II-III
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion (5 players), including:

  • Coffee Cans (2)
  • Cowbell (2)
  • Glockenspiel
  • Ratchet
  • Timpani
  • Triangle (small and large)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Based on a sonatina written by Beethoven as a child, The Beethoven Machine is divided into three separate “choirs” or “voices:” The Children’s Orchestra (represented by woodwind instruments, primarily set in B-flat), the Adult Orchestra (represented mainly by brass in differing keys), and a funny, quirky machine that “somehow has the ability to crank out music in the style of Beethoven” (represented by percussion and assorted winds).

“The Machine” opens up the piece, out of which comes the Children’s Orchestra playing their playful version of Beethoven’s melody. This music is answered by the Adult Orchestra in a more mature Beethoven style, almost like parents saying, “This is how it should be.” “The Machine” brings the children back in again, playing blissfully in their own light manner, and the adults respond in a minor key, ominously asserting their authority. As the music develops, the two orchestras gradually find a common ground and finally play together in one style and finish in harmony – though the astute listener will notice that the Adult Orchestra somehow got maneuvered into playing in the children’s key (B-flat).


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Bowling Green (Ohio) State University Symphonic Band (Ken Thompson, conductor) - 23 February 2023
  • East Texas Baptist University (Marshall) Symphonic Band (Nathan G. Phillips, conductor) - 3 March 2022
  • West Virginia University (Morgantown) Symphonic Band (Cheldon Williams, conductor) - 17 November 2020
  • Bowling Green (Ohio) State University University Band (Jacob Carpenter, conductor) – 8 March 2020
  • Phoenix Winds (Elon, N.C.) Wind Ensemble (Nathan G. Phillips, conductor)– 14 November 2019
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Campus Band (Rebekah Daniel, conductor) – 8 October 2019
  • Truman State University (Kirksville, Mo.) Wind Symphony II (Michael Rucker, Jr., conductor) – 22 September 2019
  • University of South Alabama (Mobile) Symphony Band (Jason Rinehart, conductor) - 26 September 2019
  • Ithaca College (NY) Summer Music Academy Intermediate Wind Ensemble (Aaron Burgess, conductor) - 3 August 2019
  • Bullard High School (Fresno, Calif.) Concert Band (Brad Feyma, conductor) - 21 April 2017 (2017 San Joaquin Valley (Calif.) Concert Band Invitational)
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) All-Campus Band (Andrew D. Chybowski, conductor) – 6 December 2016
  • Appalachian Symphony Band (Boone, NC) (Matthew Brusseau, conductor) – 5 October 2015
  • University of Georgia Concert Winds (Nikk Pilato, conductor) - 13 April 2010
  • Cypress Falls High School (Houston, Tx.) Symphonic Band (Frank Troyka, conductor) – 16 December 2004 (2004 Midwest Clinic)

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Colgrass, M. (2003). The Beethoven Machine: For Young Band [score]. Colgrass Music: [Toronto].
  • Michael Colgrass website
  • Nicholson, Chad. "The Beethoven Machine." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 6, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 248-255. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2007.