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American Overture for Band

From Wind Repertory Project
Joseph Willcox Jenkins

Joseph Willcox Jenkins

General Info

Year: 1955, 1956 / 2003
Duration: c. 4:30
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Theodore Presser
Cost: Score & Parts - $95.00   |   Score Only - $10.00


Full Score
Condensed Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Eb Clarinet
Bb Clarinet I-II-III-IV
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone I-II
Baritone Saxophone
Bass Saxophone
Cornet (in Bb) I-II-III-IV
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III-IV
Euphonium I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Snare Drum
  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Gong
  • Wood Block
  • Glockenspiel


See Fonder article below for errata from 1956 edition.

Program Notes

This work was composed for the United States Army Field Band while the composer was on the arranging staff for the group. The instrumentation of this work is based on the players in the Field Band. In 2003, at the request of the American Bandmaster's Association, a full score was developed by the composer in order to correct the previous versions of the work. An orchestral version of the work, done by Derry Wilson Ochoa, has been performed by the Indianapolis Symphony and Nashville Symphony.

The work was dedicated to the Army Field Band's conductor, Chester E. Whiting. It was written in a neomodal style, being flavored strongly with both Lydian and Mixolydian modes. Its musical architecture is a very free adaptation of sonata form. The musical material borders on the folk tune idiom although there are no direct quotes from any folk tunes. The work calls for near-virtuoso playing by several sections, especially the French horns, and is a favorite of advanced high school and university bands. Although American Overture was Jenkins's first band piece, it remains his most successful work and, in his words, he is "hard-pressed to duplicate its success."

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

Commercial Recordings

State Ratings

  • Florida:: VI
  • New York: VI
  • Texas: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Gainesville (Fla.) Pops (Gary Langford, conductor) – 18 May 2019
  • Woodcreek High School (Roseville, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Brad North, conductor) – 8 May 2019
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta) (Symphonic Band) (Benjamin J. Diden, conductor) – 14 April 2019
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Wind Symphony (Russell C. Mikkelson, conductor) – 4 April 2019
  • College of Lake County (Grayslake, Ill.) Wind Ensemble (Michael Flack, conductor) - 10 March 2019
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Wind Symphony (Russell C. Mikkelson, conductor) – 5 March 2019
  • Ouachita Baptist University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Craig V. Hamilton, conductor) – 4 March 2019
  • Frostburg (Md.) State University Wind Ensemble (Shannon Shaker, conductor) – 1 March 2019
  • Truman State University (Kirksville, Mo.) Wind Symphony II (Curran Prendergast, conductor) – 9 February 2019
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Ensemble (Christopher J. Woodruff, conductor) – 30 November 2018
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Dennis Glocke, conductor) – 13 November 2018
  • McAllen (Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Roger Olivarez, conductor) – 13 November 2018
  • Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, O.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Larry Griffin, conductor) – 4 November 2018
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Symphonic Band (John M. Watkins, Jr., conductor) – 27 September 2018
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Wind Symphony (Jaclyn Hartenberger, conductor) – 19 September 2018
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Bryan P. Sherlock, conductor) - 16 August 2018
  • Golden Gate Park Band (San Francisco, Calif.) (Robert Calonico, conductor) - 1 July 2018
  • Winchendon (Mass.) Winds (James Chesebrough, conductor) - 1 July 2018

Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Berz, William, and Daniel Zugale. (2009) “Joseph Willcox Jenkins.” In A Composer’s Insight, Volume 4, Timothy Salzman, ed. Galesville, Md.: Meredith Music Publications, pp. 185–203.
  • Camphouse, Mark, ed. (2007) Composers on Composing for Band. Volume 3. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 115–139.
  • Fonder, Mark. “Joseph Wilcox Jenkins’s American Overture for Band: A Performance Guide.” The Instrumentalist 60, no. 5 (December 2005): pp. 30–32, 34,36, 87. [Includes errata list for 1956 edition.]
  • Jenkins, J. W. (2003). American Overture for Band (full score) King of Prussia, PA, Theodore Presser Company.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2002). Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 4. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 438-443.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 327