On the Air

From Wind Repertory Project
Michael Daugherty

Michael Daugherty

General Info

Year: 2012
Duration: c. 6:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Michael Daugherty
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - Rental   |   Score Only (print) - $35.00


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Castanets
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong
  • Maracas
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Vibra-slap
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

On the Air for Symphonic Band (by Grammy®-winning composer Michael Daugherty) is a music fantasy on Arturo Toscanini, who conducted the NBC Symphony Orchestra in live radio broadcasts at Rockefeller Center in New York City from 1937 to 1954.

Born in Parma, Italy, Toscanini (1867-1954) was internationally recognized as the most gifted conductor of his time, famous for his definitive interpretation of operatic and symphonic repertoire. In 1936, Toscanini was forced into exile at the height of his career for his refusal to become part of Mussolini's Fascist regime. The 70-year-old sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to the island of Manhattan, where he cast his magic spell upon all who heard him conduct. Under his baton the NBC Symphony was heard by millions of listeners, and through his live radio broadcasts and recordings, “Maestro Toscanini” became a household name in America. Life magazine reported, “The world knows Toscanini as a great conductor with a fearful temper, an unfailing memory, and the power to lash orchestras into frenzies of fine playing.”

In On the Air, Michael Daugherty has composed exciting music that captures Toscanini's tempestuous temperament, his musical intensity, and the frenzied tempos of his legendary performances.

- Program Note from publisher

On the Air depicts an iconic figure, a common thread in Daugherty's compositions. Similar works by Daugherty using this concept include Metropolis Symphony (198801993), Desi (1991), Bells for Stokowski (2001) and The Gospel According to Sister Aimee (2012). Daugherty states the following regarding his use of American icons for inspiration:

For me icons serve as a way to have an emotional reason to compose a new work. I get ideas for my compositions by browsing through second-hand bookstores, antique shops, and small town that I find driving on the back roads of America. The icon can be an old postcard, magazine, photograph, knick-knack, matchbook, piece of furniture or roadmap. Like Ives and Mahler, I use icons in my music to provide the listener and performer with a layer of reference. However, one does not need the reference of the icon to appreciate my music. It is merely one level among many in the musical, contrapunctal fabric of my compositions.

- Program Note from Teaching Music through Performance in Band


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Daugherty, M. (2012). On the Air : For Symphonic Band (2012) : Symphonic Fantasy on Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra [score]. Michael Daugherty Music: [United States]
  • Kitelinger, Shannon. "On the Air." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 10, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 659-666. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2015.
  • Michael Daugherty website