Please DONATE to help with maintenance and upkeep of the Wind Repertory Project!

Ping, Pang, Pong

From Wind Repertory Project
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Joel Puckett

Joel Puckett

General Info

Year: 2004
Duration: c. 10:20
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Bill Holab Music
Cost: Score and Parts Rental   |   Score Only (print) - $75.00


Full Score
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III, all divisi a&b
B-flat Bass 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
Bass Trombone
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbal (large suspended, 2)
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Tom-Toms (3)
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Puccini, celebrated perhaps only less than Verdi in the grand history of Italian opera, composed dramas that have held particular sentimental significance to listeners throughout the past century due to gripping (often tragic) Romantic tales underscored by lush, extravagant harmonies and orchestrations. These operas, from La Boheme to Tosca, have inspired countless musicians as well since their first performances, including young composer Joel Puckett, who first experienced them in a quite unique way:

“I’ve always loved opera overtures. My first experience with these actually came via my father’s LPs from the 1950s of the University of Michigan Symphony Band under the baton of Revelli. Revelli was fond of performing these overtures in arrangements for his large wind symphony. I remember many a time when my father would comment on how much better the overtures were 'without all those darn strings!'"

In celebrating Puccini and Revelli, Puckett essentially recreates his childhood listening experience through composing an entirely new piece. Scored entirely for winds and percussion (with double bass and piano), Ping, Pang, Pong reflects that tradition of the Michigan Symphony Band while acting as a pseudo-replacement overture for Puccini’s last opera, Turandot. As most opera overtures are composed by collecting the themes from the entire opera into one continuous work, Puckett likewise creates a tone poem that "summarizes" the operatic plot into a cohesive piece. The story of Turandot, set in China, is that any suitor who wishes the hand of the Princess Turandot must answer her three riddles or be put to death. Turandot’s cold nature toward the idea of love has left her listless and vicious to any men -- that is, until a young prince manages to answer the riddles. The prince offers a riddle of his own to Turandot: if she can guess his name by sunrise, he will forfeit his right to marriage and be executed.

Turandot orders that no person in the kingdom shall sleep until the name of the prince is found, at which point the prince sings undoubtedly the most famous aria from the opera, Nessun Dorma. The twist apparent in Puckett’s work is the perspective -- the work takes the point of view of the three minor (but well-meaning) heroes: Ping, Pang and Pong, ministers to the Princess Turandot who attempt desperately to keep the young prince from being executed at her icy command. In Ping, Pang, Pong, each of the ministers is introduced with their own section at the work’s opening, followed by scenes of their involvement within the plot. A lament follows, snidely subtitled Mrs. Turandot, followed by an aria and Puckett’s own Nessun dorma’’, translated into English as No One Sleeps’’. The final section of Ping, Pang, Pong reflects the opera’s finale and, so as not to spoil the ending of Puccini, ends brashly, leaving the audience wondering whether the prince’s story ends happily or in tragedy.

- Program note by Jake Wallace


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Texas State University (San Marcos) Wind Symphony (Caroline Beatty, conductor) - 6 May 2021
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Wind Ensemble (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 20 November 2017
  • University of Oregon (Eugene) Wind Ensemble (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 22 November 2016
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Concert Band (Courtney Snyder, conductor) – 5 October 2016
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) - 1 November 2004 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer