Homage to Bharat

From Wind Repertory Project
Brian Balmages

Brian Balmages

Subtitle: Reflections of India

General Info

Year: 2018
Duration: c. 7:10
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: FJH Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $90.00; (digital) - $90.00   |   Score Only (print) - $10.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra Alto Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass 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
Tambura (optional)
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Bells
  • Bongos
  • Chimta
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Crotales
  • Dohl
  • Marimba
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tabla (optional)
  • Talking Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Explore the colorful and exotic sounds of India with elements of modern Indian pop, similar to the Bollywood sound. Using a wealth of authentic instruments, including suggestions for alternatives, the music has a unique and colorful sound that seemingly jumps off the page. From ethereal to energetic, powerful to infectious, this piece will shatter audience expectations of the sounds a concert band is capable of producing.

- Program Note from publisher

Inspired by Bollywood music, 'Homage to Bharat is derived from a fusion of Indian classical music and pop music with western influences. The name Bharat is the Sanskrit name for the Asian subcontinent that is now known as India. Note that the "B" and "h" of Bharat both sound at the beginning, and the ending "t" is pronounced like "th". The strong connection to India reflects the large Indian population of the commissioning school in Plano, Texas. In addition to the use of traditional instruments, the piece calls for a wide variety of Indian instruments.

In researching and listening to Bollywood music, one of the composers who struck me was A.R. Rahman. His ability to integrate traditional Indian music with electronics and orchestra is incredibly unique, resulting in several Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, and more. My goal was to try and realize something similar within a concert band framework. The opening of the work makes use of a tambura, and Indian drone instrument. It looks like a sitar, but does not change pitch while being played.

The entire middle section is based on creating, developing, and layering various grooves, very similar to some of the Bollywood-style music that I studied. Early on in this section, the brass take on the characteristic drone quality of the tambura. As this section moves through various rhythmic grooves and layered musical lines, it eventually gives way to a light-hearted presentation of the primary theme. The music then begins a final groove with multiple lines layered on before all the existing themes are juxtaposed while maneuvering through atypical meter changes.

The final section/coda of the work represents a return to the opening, with the use of similar instruments (tambura, flute, and various percussion). However, in this final section, new instruments quietly present short phrases derived from throughout the work. A haunting chorale continues to build, yet never fully resolves until reaching the most powerful moment of the piece. At this point, the music moves in and out of phase (harmonically, it resolves and then moves immediately back over and over).

Homage to Bharat' was commissioned by the Rice Middle School Wind Ensemble in Plano, Texas. The directors are Jason Tucker, Amber Moore, and Josh Reyna. In the process of commissioinng me, they let me know of the large Indian population at their school. Of course, this included several kids who play tabla, and they also were able to have several students play mridangam to double the dhol part (it is a similar style of instrument). In addition, they had a former student who was able to come back and play tambura. I thank them for the incredible challenge that this piece presented, and for giving me an incredible chance to go outside the box. I am thrilled with the result!

- Program Note by composer

N.B. Information on Indian percussion instruments and performance notes are found in the Discussion tab, above.


State Ratings

  • Louisiana: IV
  • Maryland: V
  • Texas: IV. Complete
  • Wisconsin: A


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Mineola (Tx.) High School Band (Jim Best, conductor) – 9 February 2024 (2024 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • University of Denver (Colo.) Lamont Wind Ensemble (Joseph Martin, conductor) - 17 November 2022
  • University of Texas, Arlington, Symphonic Band and Winds (Christopher Evans, conductor) - 28 April 2022
  • Matthew Flinders Anglican College Wind Symphony (Sunshine Coast, Australia) (John Thomas, Conductor) – 25 July 2021
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, All College Band (Carrie Pawelski, conductor) – 4 March 2020
  • Killian Middle School (Lewisville, Tx.) Honors Band (Rob Chilton, conductor) - 19 December 2019 (2019 Midwest Clinic)
  • River Valley Wind Ensemble (Kankakee County, Ill.) (David Conrad, conductor) – 5 May 2019
  • Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (David Diggs, conductor) – 5 May 2019
  • Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa) Symphonic Band (Scott Muntefering, conductor) – 6 April 2019
  • Morningside College (Sioux City, Iowa) Wind Ensemble (Shane Macklin, conductor) – 3 March 2019
  • Red River High School (Grand Forks, N.D.) Symphonic Band (David Christianson, conductor)– 26 November 2018

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