David Maslanka

From Wind Repertory Project
David Maslanka


David Maslanka (30 August 1943, New Bedford, Mass. – 6 August 2017, Missoula, Mont.) was an American composer.

Dr. Maslanka attended the Oberlin College Conservatory where he studied composition with Joseph Wood, and spent a year at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. He also did graduate work in composition at Michigan State University with H Owen Reed.

David Maslanka served on the faculties of the State University of New York at Geneseo, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and Kingsborough College of the City University of New York. He was a member of ASCAP.

Over the past four decades, David Maslanka has become one of America’s most original and celebrated musical voices. He has published dozens of works for wind ensemble, orchestra, choir, percussion ensembles, chamber ensembles, solo instrument, and solo voice. However, he is especially well-known for his wind ensemble works. Of his nine symphonies, seven are written for wind ensemble, and an additional forty-one works include among them the profound “short symphony” Give Us This Day, and the amusing Rollo Takes a Walk. Year after year, Maslanka’s music is programmed by professional, collegiate, and secondary school wind ensembles around the world.

When Maslanka wrote A Child’s Garden of Dreams, he was living in New York City and teaching music composition at Sarah Lawrence College and New York University. He was rapidly becoming interested in psychology, psychotherapy, and meditation, and was particularly captivated by the writings of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. Maslanka began to incorporate self-hypnosis and lucid dreaming into his meditative exercises, which heavily influenced his musical thought. He began to notice specific symbols in his “mental landscape” that he translated into music. Today, Maslanka’s unique compositional technique is known for its emphasis on meditation, psychoanalysis, self-discovery, and the accession of one’s own subconscious energies. His search for spiritual and metaphysical discovery ultimately spurred him to leave New York City in 1990, and move to Missoula, Montana, where he lived and worked until his death.

Maslanka's works for winds and percussion have become especially well known. They include among others, A Child's Garden of Dreams for Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Concerto for Piano, Winds, and Percussion, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th symphonies, Mass for soloists, chorus, boys chorus, wind orchestra and organ, and the two wind quintets. Percussion works include Variations of 'Lost Love' and My Lady White for solo marimba, and three ensemble works: Arcadia II: Concerto for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble, Crown of Thorns, and Montana Music: Chorale Variations. In addition, he has written a wide variety of chamber, orchestral, and choral pieces.

Works for Winds