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


From Wind Repertory Project
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Michael Daugherty

Michael Daugherty

This article is a stub. If you can help add information to it,
please join the WRP and visit the FAQ (left sidebar) for information.

Subtitle: For Solo Percussion and Band

General Info

Year: 1999 / 2000
Duration: c. 40:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Peer Music Classical
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - Rental   |   Score Only (print) - $49.95


1. Traveling Music – 3:27
2. Unidentified – 4:12
3. Flying – 15:28
4. ??? – 6:17
5. Objects – 12:40


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


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

In five movements with a total duration of about 40 minutes,UFO is inspired by the unidentified flying objects that have become an obsession in American popular culture. The soloist is introduced as an alien, arriving unexpectedly and playing mysterious percussion instruments in unfamiliar ways. The three major sections of the composition are entitled Unidentified, Flying, and Objects. There are also two brief interludes entitled Traveling Music and ??? during which the percussion soloist moves through the audience and around the stage while performing sleight-of-hand improvisations that may leave the listener wondering: is this another UFO sighting?

The five movements are as follows:

I. Traveling Music. Soloist performs on a waterphone and mechanical siren.

II. Unidentified. Soloist performs on xylophone, ice cymbal, crasher, slasher, brake drum, spring, (or other "trash" instruments), earth plate, cymbal disc, and Chinese gong.

In July 1947 near Roswell, New Mexico, a rancher heard a loud explosion and discovered strange metal scraps in the desert. Responding to national newspaper reports of this "UFO crash," government agencies quickly converged on the wreckage site and confiscated the evidence. The "incident at Roswell" resonates in the popular imagination because to this day the government file remains top secret. What happened to those scattered metal scraps? They resonate on the concert stage, as the percussionist plays on xylophone and eight pieces of unidentified metal.

III. Flying. Soloist performs on vibraphone, three cymbals, and marktree.

An airplane pilot flying near Mount Rainier, Washington, spotted a formation of bright objects which he described as "flying saucers," traveling at incredible speed through the sky. This 1947 sighting made international headlines and launched the modern UFO craze, with the proliferation of UFO magazines, clubs, conferences, photographs and films. In this movement we hear an alternation between slow and fast sections. A mysterious melody, introduced by the vibraphone, is echoed kaleidoscopically like a halo of sound throughout the orchestra. Periodically this slow-motion music accelerates into fugues flying at supersonic tempos. The solo percussionist gives a virtuoso performance on vibraphone, marktree, and cymbals that hover and shimmer in the air like flying saucers.

IV. ???. Soloist performs on non-pitched "alien" instruments, with contrabassoon and optional percussion performers placed in the performance space, in order to create a surround-sound effect.

V. Objects. Soloist performs on five tom-toms, eight octobans, bongos, kit bass drum, alien cymbal, three small cymbals, various metal objects, three temple blocks, three Latin cowbells, mechanical siren, and waterphone.

One of the most persistent arguments against the existence of UFOs has been the lack of physical evidence of alien spacecraft after crashing. The secret military base called Area 51 is located somewhere in the Nevada Nuclear Test Site and is reputed to be the repository for alien objects. UFO buffs from around the world make their pilgrimages here, hoping to catch a glimpse of a captured flying saucer. Pulsating with rhythms in 5/4 time, this section features percussion instruments that suggest the outer trappings and inner machinery of a fine-tuned alien aircraft.

UFO (2000) for Solo Percussion and Symphonic Band, was commissioned by Arizona State University, Michigan University, Michigan State University, Baylor University, and the University of North Texas Symphonic Bands, and written for Evelyn Glennie. It was first performed by Evelyn Glennie, solo percussion, and the North Texas Wind Symphony, conducted by Eugene Migliaro Corporon, on April 19, 2001, in Denton, Texas.

- Program Note by composer

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

*Kansas State University (Manhattan) Wind Ensemble (Alegra Fisher, conductor; Jacob Wrobel, percussion) – 1 May 2019
  • Valdosta (Ga.) State University Wind Ensemble (Ryan Smith, conductor)– 19 February 2019

Works for Winds by this Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Daugherty, M. (2003). UFO: For Solo Percussion and Symphonic Band [score]. Peermusic: New York.
  • Michael Daugherty website Accessed 1 May 2019