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


From Wind Repertory Project
Jump to navigation Jump to search
John Mackey

John Mackey

General Info

Year: 2008
Duration: c. 5:10
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Osti Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $120.00   |   Score Only - $20.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Eb Contra-Alto Clarinet (optional)
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
Trombone I-II-III
Double Bass (optional)
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V-VI, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbals (china, splash, large suspended)
  • Crotales
  • Maracas (2)
  • Marimba
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-tam
  • Tom-toms (4)
  • Vibes
  • Xylophone


In Score:

  • The instrumentation page in the score indicates that there are two bassoon parts, but there is only one.

Program Notes

Though many of his pieces are extremely virtuosic, Undertow is the first of Mackey's works written specifically for intermediate band. It was commissioned by the Hill Country Middle School Band and premiered by that ensemble with its conductor, Cheryl Floyd, in May 2008. The work is significantly different than much of Mackey's output in terms of technical difficulty, but many characteristic elements of his writing are nonetheless present, including biting semitone dissonance within a tonal context, frequent use of mixed meter, heavy percussion effects and, perhaps most importantly to this work, a pervasive ostinato. The metric pattern for the piece is an alternation of 7/8 and 4/4 time, which provides an agitated "out-of-step" pulsation throughout. The energetic opening melody cycles through several repetitions before washing away into a gentle stream of percussive eighth notes. From here, a countermelody emerges that slowly ratchets the energy back up to its original level, where the initial melody returns to round out the explosive conclusion.

- Program note by Jake Wallace

Undertow was written to portray a spinning current that is capable of pulling a large ship under water.

- Program Note from New Diana High School Band concert program, 12 February 2016


State Ratings

  • Texas: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Chadron (Neb.) State College Wind Symphony (John Wojcik, conductor) - 9 April 2021
  • University of Missouri (Columbia) University Band (Amy M. Knopps, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) High School Honor Band (Emily Threinen, conductor) – 26 January 2020
  • South Oldham High School (Crestwood, Ky.) Wind Ensemble (Ryan McAllister, conductor) – 16 December 2019
  • Shenandoah Conservatory Concert Band (Winchester, Va.) (Keith Taylor, conductor)– 26 October 2019
  • Hopatcong (N.J.) Wind Ensemble (Kurt Zimmerman, conductor) – 16 May 2019
  • Abilene (Tx.) Christian University Wind Ensemble (Brandon Houghtalen, conductor) – 25 April 2019
  • Penn State University (University Park) Concert Band (Robert Hickey, conductor) – 25 April 2019
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta) (Concert Band) (Benjamin J. Diden, conductor) – 14 April 2019
  • Randolph (N.J.) High School Symphonic Winds (Carl Della Peruti, conductor) – 6 March 2019
  • Ithaca (N.Y.) College Concert Band (Brian Diller, conductor) – 4 March 2019
  • California All-State Junior High School Concert Band (Reed Chamberlin, conductor) - 17 February 2019 (2019 CASMEC Conference, Fresno)
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Symphonic Band (Kelvin Jones, conductor) – 20 November 2018
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) University Band (Alexander Gonzalez, conductor) – 13 November 2018
  • Arkansas State University (Jonesboro) Symphonic Winds (Sarah Labovitz, conductor) – 8 November 2018
  • Kings County (New York) Concert Band (Jasmine Britt, conductor) – 3 June 2018
  • University of Texas, Arlington, Symphonic Band (Christopher Evans, conductor) – 26 April 2018
  • Iowa State University (Ames) Symphonic Band (Tyler Bainter, conductor) – 20 April 2018
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Gold Campus Band (Cory Near, conductor) – 30 November 2017
  • Augustana University (Sioux Falls, S.D.) Honor Band (Christopher Unger, conductor) – 11 November 2017

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works