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

Chaos Theory

From Wind Repertory Project
Jump to navigation Jump to search
James Bonney

James Bonney

Subtitle: Concerto for Electric Guitar and Wind Orchestra

General Info

Year: 2000 / 2002
Duration: c. 12:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Avsictism Music, Inc., distributed by Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts - $200.00   |   Score Only - $50.00


1. Movement 1
2. Movement 2
3. Movement 3


Full Score
Solo Electric Guitar
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
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
Bass Trombone
Euphonium I-II
Violoncello (optional)
String Bass (optional)
Electric Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Congas
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Djembe
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong (Tam-tam)
  • Hi-Hat
  • Marimba
  • Roto-toms (4)
  • Sizzle Cymbal
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Tom-toms (2)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Chaos Theory is a three-movement concerto for electric guitar and wind ensemble. The work was commissioned by Thomas Leslie and the University Nevada Las Vegas Wind Orchestra.

- Program Note from Printed Score

One day, seemingly out-of-the-blue, my good friend Eric Whitacre asked me if I was interested in writing a piece for the University of Nevada in Las Vegas Wind Orchestra. Well, he didn't have to ask me twice! I was soon put in touch with the director, Tom Leslie, and when he asked what I had in mind, I decided to go on a limb. I told him I wanted to match the power and intensity of the wind orchestra with an electric guitar. He responded without hesitation, expressing his excitement and enthusiasm for the idea.

In this piece, I wanted to fuse progressive/hard rock intensity with classical sophistication. I wanted to blur the line between something precise and mathematical and something primal and visceral. And I wanted pay homage to a some of my musical influences: Rush, Beethoven, Metallica, J.S. Bach, Led Zeppelin, Shostakovich, Iron Maiden, Igor Stravinsky, King Crimson, George Lynch, Augustin Barrios-Mangore, John Petrucci (Dream Theatre), Frank Zappa, Anton Webern, and Steve Vai.

There are numerous improvisational sections, which afford the soloist a great deal of freedom for interpretation (herein lies the "chaos"). In performance, the ensemble's rhythm, intonation and articulation should be tight; but far more importantly, the interpretation must be aggressive and ferocious. Chaos Theory can be performed in its entirety, or the third movement can be programmed by itself.

Because of its variety of tonal color and wide dynamic range, I believe the electric guitar has a role in contemporary concert music. That role has only begun to be explored. While this piece presents the guitar primarily as a lead/solo instrument, it has infinite possibilities for incorporation into a large ensemble, and I hope to explore that more fully in the future.

Chaos Theory 3.0 was commissioned by the UNLV Wind Orchestra, and premiered May 30th, 2000, Thomas G. Leslie conducting.

- Program Note by composer

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • California State University Northridge Wind Ensemble (Lawrence Stoffel, conductor) – 10 March 2020
  • Bowling Green (Ohio) State University University Band (Bruce Moss, conductor) – 3 May 2019
  • Whitewater High School (Fayetteville, Ga.) Wind Ensemble (Madison Argo, conductor; Spencer Kalafut, guitar) – 2 May 2019
  • University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) Symphonic Band (Jamal Duncan, conductor; Jake Hertzog, guitar)– 22 April 2018
  • Keene (N.H.) State College Concert Band (James Chesebrough, conductor; Mark McCarthy, guitar) - 3 November 2016
  • Arkansas Winds (Farmington) Community Concert Band (Michael Ferguson, conductor) – 27 February 2016
  • California Band Directors Association All-State High School Symphonic Band (Gary Hill, conductor) - 14 February 2016 (2016 CASMEC Conference, San Jose)
  • San Francisco State University Wind Ensemble (Troy Davis, conductor; Lawrence Ferrera, electric guitar) - 14 May 2015
  • Moravian College (Bethelehem, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (Chris Aguayo, electric guitar) - 3 April 2014

Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Bonney, J. (2002). Chaos Theory: Concerto for Electric Guitar and Wind Orchestra [score]. AVSICTISM Music: [s.l.].
  • James Bonney website Accessed 20 April 2018