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Arctic Dreams

From Wind Repertory Project
Michael Colgrass

Michael Colgrass

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Subtitle: For Large Wind Ensemble

General Info

Year: 1991
Duration: c. 25:50
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Publisher: The Sheet Music Store
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental from Fischer or purchase from Sheet Music Store, $129.64   


1. Inuit Landscape - 4:02
2. Throat Singing with Laughter - 2:13
3. The Whispering Voices of the Spirits Who Ride With the Lights In the Sky - 4:22
4. Polar Night - 4:26
5. Spring Light: Ice Floating In the Sun - 2:31
6. The Hunt - 3:16
7. Drum Dancer - 5:01


Full Score
Flute (6)
Oboe (3)
Bassoon (3)
Eb Clarinet
Bb Clarinet (6)
Bb Bass Clarinet
Contra Bass Clarinet
Soprano Saxophone
Alto Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet (in Bb) (6)
Horn in F (6)
Trombone (4)
Bass Trombone (2)
Baritone Horn (2)
Tuba (2)
Contra Bass (2)
Harp Timpani
Percussion (4)

(percussion detail needed)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

In Arctic Dreams, Colgrass combines his own experiences living above the Arctic Circle with an Inuit family with images from a book by Barry Lopez to produce a tone poem of great sweep and expressive power. After a trombone solo suggesting the vastness of the Arctic landscape, we hear a series of tone images depicting a variety of experiences, including laughter-inducing throat singing and the majesty of the aurora borealis.

Colgrass is an inventive composer and his orchestration is always surprising and convincing.

- Stephan Hicken writes in American Record Guide of the Centaur Records CD with New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble under Frank Battisti.

Commercial Discography

Audio Links

Audio sample; ensemble and conductor unknown

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Ithaca (N.Y.) College Wind Ensemble (Christopher Hughes, conductor) – 22 February 2017
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Stephen G. Peterson, conductor) – 17 February 2017
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Band (Shawn Vondran, conductor) – 10 February 2017
  • Temple University (Philadelphia, Penn.) Wind Symphony (Wesley Broadnax, conductor) – 30 November 2016
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Robert Taylor, conductor; Jeremy Berkman, trombone) - 12 February 2016
  • Winnepeg Symphony Orchestra -- 9 February 2010

Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Colgrass, M. (1991). Arctic Dreams: For Symphonic Wind Ensemble, 1991 [score]. Colgrass Music: [Toronto?].
  • Hanna, Frederick (1997). An Interpretive Analysis of Arctic Dreams by Michael Colgrass. Thesis/Dissertation. Manuscript. Boston: New England Conservatory of Music.
  • Michael Colgrass website.
  • Miles, Richard B. 2000. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 3. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 621-631.