Duke Ellington

From Wind Repertory Project
Duke Ellington


Duke Ellington (29 April 1899, Washington, D.C. – 24 May 1974, New York City) was an America composer, pianist and conductor.

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington has a scholarship to study art at New York's Pratt Institute after graduating from high school in Washington, D.C., but he decided to play piano where he worked instead. By the time he was 19 he had organized a small jazz band and was playing for dances. In 1927 he started a five-year engagement with a 12-piece band at the Cotton Club in New York, and the world of jazz has never been quite the same since.

In addition to performing with his band, Ellington also became well known for his motion picture appearances, his ability discuss jazz at music clinics, his arrangements, and perhaps most importantly his many compositions, beginning with The Soda Fountain Rag in 1923 and continuing into the 1970s with symphonic jazz, jazz-sacred and ballet scores. In spite of a host of worldwide honors and degrees, Ellington remained a modest man, a tireless composer and performer, until his death in 1974.

Works for Winds


  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 191-192.