From Wind Repertory Project
Johan de Meij

Johan de Meij

This work bears the designation Opus 5.

General Info

Year: 1991
Duration: c. 8:40
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Amstel Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $142.00   |   Score Only - $39.00


1. Allegretto grazioso (Neon Tetra, Electric Eel and Angelfish) – 2:38
2. Andante/Adagio (Sea Horse and Zebra fish) – 3:35
3. Finale: Allegro giocoso (Guppy & Co.) – 2:35


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
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-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Bells
  • Gong (tuned)
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tambourine (fixed)
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tom-Tom
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The suite Aquarium is Johan de Meij's third composition for symphonic band and features six tropical fishes, each of them represented by a motif, and surfacing as such in several guises. The composition consists of three movements, of which the second and third merge uninterruptedly into each other.

1. Allegretto grazioso (Neon Tetra, Electric Eel and Angelfish)
2. Andante/Adagio (Sea Horse and Zebra fish)
3. Finale: Allegro giocoso (Guppy & Co.)

The neon tetra motif functions as a kind of 'leitmotiv' and describes the beautifully coloured, frisky fish: A number of variants have been derived from this theme and will also appear in the other movements. The electric eel is fact is not represented by a motif, but by a rhythm based on the restless electric pulses made audible in some aquaria. The angel fish is represented by elegant chord clusters.

In the second movement the sea horse emerges out of the water vegetation and starts a dialogue with the zebra fish, which is represented by one melodic phrase in unison getting more and more threatening by adding parallel fifths and octaves. Simultaneously with the sea horse motif the neon tetra theme emerges, this time in 3/4 time and in Eb minor.

The third movement starts with only two instruments (trumpet and xylophone), but as it is often the case with guppies, their number rapidly increases. Piccolo and alto saxophone introduce the guppy theme, followed by several instrumental combinations. Every theme from the first movement 'swims by' once more, after which the principal motif leads us to a brilliant ending.

Aquarium was commissioned by the Dutch Music Foundation "Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst."

- Program Notes from score


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class A
  • Iowa: IV
  • Mississippi: VI-A
  • North Carolina: V
  • Tennessee: V
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Symphonic Band (Chris DeVona, conductor) - 24 October 2023
  • Baylor University (Waco, Texas) Symphonic Band (Craig Adams, conductor) - 9 October 2023
  • University of West Alabama (Livingston) Wind Ensemble (Tyler Strickland, conductor) - 25 April 2023
  • Lincoln High School Wind (Seattle, Wash.) Ensemble (Zachariah MacIntyre, conductor) - 4 March 2023
  • Virginia Tech (Blacksburg) Symphony Band (Derek Shapiro, conductor) - 30 September 2022
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University Wind Symphony (Debra Traficante, conductor) - 12 April 2021
  • University of Louisiana Monroe Wind Ensemble (Derle R. Long, conductor) - 8 March 2021
  • Vermont (Burlington) Wind Ensemble (D. Thomas Toner, conductor)– 10 November 2019
  • Virginia Tech (Blacksburg) Campus Band (Chad Reep, conductor) – 5 May 2019
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Campus Concert Band (Joe Clark, conductor) – 29 April 2018
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City) Concert Band (Joseph Cernuto, conductor) – 9 April 2018
  • University of Oregon (Eugene) Symphonic Band (Nicholas Soenyun, conductor)– 14 March 2018
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, All-College Band (Carrie Pawelski, conductor) – 1 March 2018
  • Lamar University (Beaumont, Tex.) Concert Band (Eric Shannon, conductor) – 5 October 2017
  • University of California, Los Angeles, Symphonic Band (David Blumenthal, conductor) – 8 March 2017
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Orchestra (Christopher J. Woodruff, conductor) - 5 March 2016 (81st Annual ABA National Convention)
  • California Band Directors Association All-State High School Concert Band (Sharon Lavery, conductor) - 14 February 2016 (2016 CASMEC Conference, San Jose)
  • Gruppo Bandistico di Pradalunga (Bergamo, Italy) (Denis Salvini, conductor) – 17 December 2011

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Johan de Meij website
  • Meij, J. (1991). Aquarium, op. 5: for Wind Orchestra [score]. Amstel Music: Amsterdam.