El Salon Mexico

From Wind Repertory Project
Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland (trans. Mark Hindsley)

General Info

Year: 1939 / 1972
Duration: 11:30
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Cost: Score and Parts - $105.00   |   Score Only - $19.95


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra-Alto Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Gourd
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tenor Drum
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

El Salón México was premiered in Mexico City on August 27, 1937. It was the result of an invitation from the Mexican composer/conductor Carlos Chavez for Copland to visit his country and conduct the Orquesta Sinfónica de México in an entire program of American works. Copland accepted the invitation, "fell in love with the country," and returned to visit and compose during several summers in the 1930s.

In 1932 he conceived the idea of writing an orchestral work built around popular Mexican tunes. The music of a dance hall in Mexico City, Salon Mexico, provided him with a tangible subject. "All that I could hope to do," he wrote, "was to reflect the Mexico of the tourists... because in that one 'hot spot' one felt, in a very natural and unaffected way, a close contact with the Mexican people. It wasn't the music I heard but the spirit I felt there, which attracted me. Something of that spirit is what I hope to have put in my music."

The introduction, from El Palo Verde (the green stick) leads to a trumpet cadenza based on La Jesusita (the little camp follower). As the tempo increases, the bass clarinet and bassoon present a modification of the third melody, El Mosco (the fly). The three folk songs, slightly altered by Copland, are presented in an extended intro, a slow middle section, and an uproarious conclusion.

In this work the conductor is challenged by approximately 150 meter changes and an additional 65 changes from or to duple or triple figures which must be conducted without change of tempo or meter. Copland once described El Salón México as "a bright, cheerful and lively piece which should be played only from time to time."

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Arkansas: VI
  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: VI
  • Iowa: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • Massachusetts: VI
  • Michigan: Senior High AA
  • New York: Concert Band VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Oklahoma City (Okla.) University Wind Ensemble (Matthew Mailman, conductor) - 31 October 2023
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Travis Higa, conductor) – 25 April 2019
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Mark Scatterday, conductor) – 30 November 2018
  • Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.) Band (Peter Haberman, conductor) – 11 November 2018
  • Cleveland Winds (Cleveland, Ohio) (Birch Browning, conductor) – 22 April 2018
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Wind Symphony (Todd Fessler, conductor) – 17 April 2018
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Sarah McKoin, conductor) – 5 December 2017
  • Metropolitan Wind Symphony (Lexington, Mass). (Louis J. Buckley, conductor) – 5 November 2017
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Orchestra (Terrence Milligan, conductor) – 3 November 2017
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Symphonic Band (Eric M. Smedley, conductor) – 20 April 2017}
  • Vassar College and Community Wind Ensemble (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) (James Osborn, conductor) – 26 February 2017
  • Lopez High School (Brownsville, Tx.) Symphonic Band (George Trevino, conductor) - 10 February 2017 (2017 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • Cornell University (Ithaca,N.Y.) Wind Symphony (James Spinazzola, conductor) – 2 October 2016
  • University of California, Santa Barbara, Wind Ensemble (Paul Bambach, conductor) - 28 May 2015
  • University of California, Santa Cruz, Wind Ensemble (Nathaniel Berman, conductor) - 7 March 2015

Works for Winds by This Composer