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Jay Kennedy

Jay Kennedy

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General Info

Year: 2022
Duration: c. 5:30
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Unknown
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Catapult was commissioned by the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble and its conductor, Dr. Mallory Thompson. Dr. Thompson asked for an energetic, forward-driving, and flashy opener-type that would celebrate the return of large ensembles after the Covid interruption. The title, Catapult, signals the energy in the piece, as well as hinting at the nickname for Northwestern University, which is Wildcats.

Being a graduate of Northwestern sparked the idea to use its alma mater as the impetus for the piece. Northwestern’s alma mater is based on the St. Antoni Chorale a piece historically attributed to Joseph Haydn and popularized in Variations on a Theme by Haydn by Johannes Brahms. In the Brahms opus, and typical of the theme and variations form, the theme is stated at the beginning and followed by variations. The structure for Catapult is the opposite -- variations of alma mater phrases are presented first using an array of melodic approaches, including being compressed, expanded, truncated, and inverted. The alma mater is not clearly evident and heard in its full form until near the end.

Catapult propels forward from its opening fanfare that uses compressed snippets of the alma mater phrases. It settles into a lower intensity transition that sets up the primary theme. That theme takes precedence in the first portion of the piece, as the alma mater appears in a supportive role with hints of its motives acting as responses to the primary theme. It progresses through a series of variations, one of which is driven by the snare drum quoting Northwestern’s marching band field entry cadence. Weaving through a series of variations, the direction in the score is to “Push On.” Catapult’s primary theme gradually gives way and the complete NU alma mater is presented in its entirety as the piece flourishes its way to the finish.

- Program Note by composer


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State Ratings

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Works for Winds by This Composer


None discovered thus far.