Athletic Festival March

From Wind Repertory Project
Sergei Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev (arr. Richard Franko Goldman)

The work bears the designation Op. 69, no. 1.

General Info

Year: 1936 / 1980
Duration: c. 4:30
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts - $70.00   |   Score Only - $7.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Clarinet
B-flat 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 Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Tuba (or String Bass)
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


In Parts:

  • Oboe I, 16 measures after Rehearsal 4: Delete Rehearsal 5 and add it one measure later.

Program Notes

A new edition of this classic work for band that hasn't been available for years. Richard Franko Goldman's transcription is excellent!

- Program Note from publisher

Prokofiev's return to the Soviet Union was actually gradual, occurring in the period 1934-1936, with the latter year the time he took up official residence in Moscow with his wife and sons. By 1935, however, the politically naïve composer had decided on resettling in his homeland from France, bringing on change that would impact his career and subsequent compositions. Beginning that year, to placate the always-demanding cultural ministers in the U.S.S.R., he began writing "mass songs," relatively simple works for the common people, on patriotic and propagandistic texts. He also wrote festive nationalistic works, like these four marches, which are largely free of political context.

The first here, March for the Spartakiad (Sports Games March) is probably the most popular. It is light and colorful, featuring a catchy main theme whose energy and playful character perfectly capture the competitive nature of sports. A contrasting theme suggests nonchalance in its mellowness. The all-wind scoring throughout is brilliant in its vivid colors and energy.

- Program Note by Robert Cummings

Athletic Festival March for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin is the first of Prokofiev's Four Marches -- Opus 69, which were composed 1935-1937 for military band. Others in the set have been variously titled Two Marches; Marching Song; March in F Major; and March in B-Flat Major, Lyric March, and Cavalry March. Several passages are reminiscent of the music from Lieutenient Kije or Romeo and Juliet. This work was originally titled March for the Spartakiad and was written for a Russian athletic festival, the Sartakiad, which was inspired by the highly disciplined warriors of ancient Sparta. Prokofiev himself had a lifelong interest in sports.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

During one of Sergei Prokofiev’s visits to the United States, my father and I had occasion to chat with him about band music and to inquire whether he himself had written anything for band. His reply was that he had not, but that he was very much interested in the idea. Neither my father nor myself heard further on the subject until one day, a year or so afterwards, my father received a small package from Russia containing an inscribed pocket score of this march, Prokofiev’s first work for band, dated 1937.

The title, March for the Spartakiade, meant very little to me until I was informed that the Spartakiade was (or is) a sort of inclusive athletic competition or festival. We therefore decided to program the piece as Athletic Festival March, feeling that this title would be more understandable and appropriate. The first performance in America took place at a Goldman Band concert during the summer season of 1938. It scored a great and immediate hit, and has remained in the Goldman Band repertory ever since.

Prokofiev’s original scoring was of course for the typical military band of Russia, using no saxophones, alto or bass clarinets, 3rd cornet, etc. Oboe, bassoon and third and fourth horns were marked as optional; cues were liberally provided. It would indeed have been presumptuous on my part had I attempted to rescore this brilliant sounding little work; my editing therefore did not exceed the bounds of adding parts for those instruments which American bandmasters consider essential. The Athletic Festival March differs in form and spirit from the military march or quickstep of American or European pattern. It is actually in an expanded A-B-A form, each section being in turn composed of a smaller a-b-a form. The original tempo indication is given as skoro, meaning fast. It is clear that the gaiety and humor of the march are best revealed when a briskly vivacious tempo is maintained throughout, and when the dynamic contrasts are sharply and carefully emphasized.

Program Note by Richard Franko Goldman


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • California State University Northridge Wind Symphony (Lawrence Stoffel, conductor) - 4 March 2022
  • University of Connecticut (Storrs) Wind Ensemble (Ricardo Brown, conductor) - 3 March 2022
  • Texas A&M University (Lubbock) Symphonic Winds (Russell Tipton, conductor) – 1 March 2020
  • All-Henrico County (Henrico, Va.) High School Band (Brian A. Coffill, conductor) – 23 January 2020
  • Fort Hays State University (Big Creek, Kans.) Symphonic Winds (Peter Lillpopp, conductor) – 6 December 2019
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Band (Shawn Vondran, conductor) – 6 December 2019
  • Lee University (Cleveland, Tenn.) Wind Ensemble (David Holsinger, conductor) – 8 October 2019
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Tuesday/Thursday Concert Band (Michael Patrick Halcovage, Jr., conductor) – 24 April 2019
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson University Band (Brian Chaplow, conductor) – 4 March 2019
  • University of Colorado Boulder Symphonic Band (Michael Roeder, conductor) – 22 February 2019
  • Syracuse University (NY) Wind Ensemble (Bradley P. Ethington, conductor) - 19 April 2018
  • Sam Ramon (Calif.) Community Band (Larry Colon, conductor) – 3 March 2017
  • Gettysburg College (Penn.) Symphony Band (Christopher Heffner, conductor) – 10 April 2016
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Band (Shawn Vondran, conductor) – 6 December 2015
  • Lee University Wind Ensemble (Winona Gray Holsinger, conductor) – 8 October 2015
  • San Francisco Wind Ensemble (Martin H. Seggelke, conductor) - 11 April 2015
  • Golden Gate Park (San Francisco Calif.) Band (Michael L. Wirgler, conductor) - 20 July 2014
  • Taiwan Wind Ensemble (Toshio Akiyama, conductor) - 21 November 2010

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Allmusic.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 487.