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Lightning Field

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John Mackey

John Mackey

General Info

Year: 2015
Duration: c. 5:20
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Osti Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $125.00   |   Score Only - $20.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F
Trombone I-II
Prepared Piano
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • China Cymbal
  • Marimba
  • Splash Cymbal
  • Suspended Crash Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Thunder Tubes (3)
  • Tom-Tom (4)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

John Mackey's Lightning Field takes its title from a work of art by Walter De Maria. That work is a massive expanse, 385 acres, of New Mexico desert, claimed and transformed by the artist via an installation of 400 steel rods: planted in the earth and reaching toward the sky, they call down its power -- literally creating man-made lightning storms. Like them, Mackey's piece speaks to the ancient impulse to summon nature's power, and the magic such acts unleash.

A sense of energy runs throughout the work, with the driving onstage percussion enhanced by the sound of thunder (provided by inexpensive hand-held percussion instruments called "thunder tubes") surrounding the audience.

- Program Note from publisher


State Ratings

  • Texas: III. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Buchanan High School (Clovis, Calif.) Wind Symphony (John Lack, conductor) - 24 March 2023 (2023 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.)
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) University Band (Alex Mandragon, conductor) - 23 February 2023
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Campus Band (Andrew Bohn, conductor) - 16 November 2022
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) North Star Campus Band (Lauren Visel, conductor) -- 20 October 2022
  • Texas A&M University (College Station) Concert Band (Lance Sample, conductor) - 2 October 2022
  • California All-State Junior High School Concert Band (Jeanne Christensen, conductor) – 20 February 2022 (2022 CASMEC Conference, Fresno)
  • Bridgewater (Va.) College Symphonic Band (Christine Carrillo, conductor) - 7 November 2021
  • Rutgers University (New Brunswick, N.J.) Symphony Band (Julia Baumanis, conductor) - 14 October 2021
  • Madison (S.D.) High School Band (Nicole Decker, conductor) - 16 May 2021
  • Columbus (Ohio) State Community College Concert Band (Thomas Lloyd, conductor) - 20 April 2020 (planned but not performed)
  • University of Tulsa (Okla.) Wind Ensemble (Richard Wagner, conductor) – 10 March 2020
  • University of Tulsa (Okla.) Symphonic Winds (Aaron Wacker, conductor) – 2 March 2020
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Maroon Campus Band (Lance Sample, conductor) – 2 December 2019
  • University of Southern Main (Gorham) Concert Band (Jackie Townsend, conductor) – 13 November 2019
  • Austin (Tx.) Symphonic Band (Richard Floyd, conductor) – 12 November 2019
  • Antelope Valley College (Palmdale, Calif.) Symphonic Band (Gary Heaton-Smith, conductor) – 5 May 2019
  • Metropolitan Wind Symphony (Lexington, Mass). (Louis J. Buckley, conductor) – 5 May 2019
  • Henderson State University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Symphony Band (Shaun R. Popp, conductor) - 1 May 2019
  • Cincinnati (Ohio) Junior Youth Wind Ensemble – 29 April 2019
  • Humboldt State University (Arcata, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Aaron Lopez, conductor) – 9 March 2019
  • Patrick Marsh Middle School Band (Sun Prairie, Wisc.) (Chris Gleason, conductor) – 13 May 2015 – *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Batcheller, James. "Lightning Field." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 11, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 368-375. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2018.
  • Perusal score