Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra (or Band)

From Wind Repertory Project
Paul Creston

Paul Creston (arr. by composer)

This work bears the designation Opus 26.

General Info

Year: 1941 / 1963 / 1966
Duration: c. 19:15
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: G. Schirmer
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental


1. Energetic – 6:40
2. Meditative – 7:15
3. Rhythmic – 5:35


Full Score
Solo Alto Saxophone
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
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
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Tuba I-II
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Gong
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tenor Drum
  • Tom-tom
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The three-movement Concerto for Alto Saxophone is considered one of Creston’s major works, as it demands polished technique and exacting control of both the soloist and ensemble. Originally written for orchestra, the Concerto was first performed by the New York Philharmonic in 1944, featuring Vincent Abato as soloist. In 1963, Creston rescored the work for symphonic band. The first movement, Energetic, is in sonata form and opens with an ensemble tutti section of the first theme, followed by solo saxophone flourishes. The soloist first presents the lyrical second theme alone, followed by the oboes and clarinets. The richly lyrical second movement, Meditative, begins with the principal theme presented by the flute, then the bassoon. The melody is plaintively beautiful and is composed within a 5/4 meter, although the melody’s rhythmic and phrasal structure does not follow the traditional bar line. Near the middle of the movement, the soloist performs a lengthy cadenza based upon the juxtaposition of melodic fragments and accompanimental material presented earlier in the movement. The movement concludes much as it began, this time with the theme first presented by the oboe, continued by the solo saxophone, and ultimately yielding to a serene F-sharp-major chord.

The third movement, Rhythmic, is in rondo form, including an energetic and vigorous A theme, a flowing, melodic B theme, and an impassioned and martial C theme. The piece concludes with a frenetic solo cadenza, followed by an exuberant and punctuated finale.

- Program Note from Baylor University Wind Ensemble concert program, 2 March 2020

During the late 1930s Paul Creston served as accompanist for the saxophone virtuoso Cecil Leeson, and developed a fondness for the instrument’s unique characteristics. For Leeson he wrote a sonata and a suite which they included in their programmes, and in 1941 he dedicated his 'Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra to him, arranging it for saxophone and band a few years later.

In three movements, it makes a strong case for the saxophone as a solo instrument, featuring virtuosic passages in the first movement (Energetic) and third movement (Rhythmic), which ends with a pyrotechnical cadenza marked "as fast as possible." Meanwhile, the saxophone’s cantabile qualities are exploited to the full in the second movement, Meditative, where the 5/4 time and Impressionist-inspired harmonies combine in creating a dreamlike atmosphere.

- Program Note from liner notes of BIS CD La Création du Monde


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Golden Gate Park Band (San Francisco, Calif.) (German Gonzalez, conductor; Bill Aron, alto saxophone) - 8 August 2023
  • Baylor University (Waco, Texas) Wind Ensemble (Eric Wilson, conductor; Chandler Davis, alto saxophone) – 2 March 2020
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Dennis Glocke, conductor; Jacob Barnat, alto saxophone) – 18 April 2019
  • University of West Georgia (Carrollton) Wind Ensemble (Josh Byrd, conductor; Alex Payne, alto saxophone) - 22 November 2018
  • University of Miami (Coral Gables) Frost Wind Ensemble (Robert Carnochan, conductor; Samuel Valancy, alto saxophone) – 28 October 2018
  • University of South Florida (Tampa) Wind Ensemble (John C. Carmichael, conductor) - 24 April 2018
  • Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington) Wind Ensemble (Lev Ivanov, conductor; Shireen Hassan, alto saxophone) – 6 April 2018
  • University of Central Arkansas (Conway) Wind Ensemble (Ricky Brooks, conductor; Landon Cole, alto saxophone) – 28 November 2017
  • United States Navy Band (Washington, D.C.) (Kenneth Collins, conductor; Dana B. Booher, saxophone) – 6 January 2017 (George Mason University)
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (Kevin Geraldi, conductor; Emily Loboda, saxophone) – 4 December 2016
  • Wind Band of the Mikhail Glinka Academy of Music of Dnipro (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) (Igor Gruzin, conductor; Florent Monfort, saxophone) - 2016
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Laurence L. Marks, conductor; Will Campbell, alto saxophone) – 25 February 2006 (CBDNA 2006 Southern Division Conference, Nashville, Tenn.)

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Creston, P. (1966). Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra (or Band), Op. 26 [score]. G. Schirmer: New York.
  • Perusal score