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Four Dances from "West Side Story"

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Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein (trans. Ian Polster)

General Info

Year: 1957 / 1980
Duration: c. 9:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts - $130.00   |   Score Only - $25.00


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

  • Claves
  • Cowbell
  • Drum Set
  • Glockenspiel
  • Maracas
  • Marimba
  • Tambourine
  • Temple Blocks
  • Timbales
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone

Players shouting and snapping fingers


In Parts:

  • Flute I, m.1, "and" of beat 1: The C6 eighth note and the dotted half note tied to it should be an E6 (tie to preceding E).

Program Notes

West Side Story was Bernstein's greatest popular success. Characterized as an America Romeo and Juliet, the work is noted for its "extraordinary dance sequences, melodic characterization, musical continuity, cohesive plot construction, and excellent orchestration." With a romantic setting against a background of social and racial and ethnic strife, Bernstein's music reflects the countless emotions which permeate Stephen Sondheim's lyrics. From a basic mood of studied nonchalance and defiance by the juvenile set, the music at times becomes devout and tender or, in contrasting sections, dynamic in intensity.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

The dances in this medley are Scherzo, Mambo, Cha-cha, and Cool (Fugue).

- Program Note from publisher


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

  • Maryland: VI
  • Minnesota: I
  • Mississippi: I-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) Symphonic Band (Kirt Saville, conductor) - 24 February 2021
  • Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Corey Seapy, conductor) – 20 November 2019
  • Washington and Lee University (Lexington, Va.) Wind Ensemble (Christopher Dobbins, conductor) – 4 November 2019
  • Lakeshore Symphonic Band (Cedarburg, Wisc.) (Michael Zens, conductor) – 18 March 2019
  • Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro) Symphonic Band (Denny Hawkins, conductor) - 4 December 2018
  • Virginia Tech (Blacksburg) Wind Ensemble (Juan José Navarro, conductor) – 3 December 2018
  • Ouachita Baptist University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Craig V. Hamilton, conductor) – 12 November 2018
  • Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisc.) Symphonic Band (Matthew Arau, conductor) – 9 November 2018
  • Houghton College (Caneadea, N.Y.) Wind Ensemble (Tim McGarvey, conductor) – 2 November 2018
  • Virginia Tech (Blacksburg) Wind Ensemble (Jonathan Caldwell, conductor) – 26 October 2018
  • Prairie Wind Ensemble (East Peoria, Ill.) (Jim Tallman, conductor) – 21 October 2018
  • University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Symphonic Band (Anthony Falcone, conductor) – 9 October 2018
  • Henderson State University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Steven M. Knight, conductor) – 7 October 2018
  • Cleveland State University (Ohio) Wind Ensemble (Birch Browning, conductor) – 4 October 2018
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, All College Band (Carrie Pawelski, conductor) – 3 October 2018
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University Wind Ensemble (David Kehler, conductor) – 13 September 2018
  • Racine (Wisc.) Concert Band (March Eichner, conductor) - 22 May 2018
  • Quad City Wind Ensemble (Davenport, Iowa) (Brian Hughes, conductor) - 12 May 2018
  • William & Mary (Williamsburg, Va.) Wind Ensemble (Richard Marcus, conductor) - 28 April 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Cool (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Murtha) (1957/2018)
  • West Side Story (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Sweeney) (1957/2015)

All Wind Works


  • Bernstein, L.; Polster, I. (1980). Four Dances from West Side Story [score]. Leonard Bernstein Music: [United States]
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). ‘’Program Notes for Band.’’ Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 63.