From the Delta

From Wind Repertory Project
William Grant Still

William Grant Still

General Info

Year: 1945
Duration: c. 9:05
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: William Grant Still Music
Cost: Score and Parts – $330.00 | Score only - $26.50

For additional availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


1. Work Song - 2:35
2. Spiritual - 4:35
3. Dance - 1:20


Full Score
C Piccolo
D-flat Piccolo
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-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 Bass Saxophone
B-flat Cornet Solo-II-III-IV
E-flat Horn or Alto I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Metal Plate
  • Sand Blocks
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Wire Brush


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Still's first work for band was an arrangement of Old California, which was performed by the Goldman Band many times in the early 1940s. In response to Goldman's request for original music for band and a commission from the Leeds Music Corporation, Still composed From the Delta in 1945. It was premiered by the Goldman Band in 1947, and quickly received many performances around the country.

In his important dissertation on concert band music by African-American composers, Myron Moss states that with From the Delta,

Still has done what his compositional philosophy would suggest, [presenting] music whose melody is its main attraction and whose expressive folk style is its main source of interest. As a nationalistic composer, Still [put] folk music in an appropriate art-music frame, and [this] piece fills a niche in a band repertoire which already [included] nationalistic pieces evoking Great Britain, France, and "White" America.

With melodies that could pass as actual folk songs, a variety of color, texture and sound, and music that evokes in a direct way the titles of the movements, From the Delta is an important work in the history of the concert band. This new full score, prepared by Dr. Dane Teter for William Grant Still Music, is a wonderful contribution to this original work for band composed by one of the luminaries of American music.

- Program Note from score by Steven Ward

Often considered the dean of African-American composers, William Grant Still was responsible for achieving many firsts as a black classical musician during his distinguished career. Not only was he the first African-American to have a symphony played by a major orchestra (his renowned Afro-American Symphony), in 1936, but he was the first African-American to conduct a major orchestra, have an opera premiered by a major opera company (Troubled Island, 1937), and conduct an orchestra in the deep South.

From the Delta was composed in 1945 for the Goldman Band of New York City. Its three movements (Work Song; Spiritual; Dance) were meant to capture the essence of what life was like on the Mississippi Delta. Work Song illustrates a chain gang singing their way through days of hard labor. Spiritual is a more somber movement, meant to convey the pain felt by African Americans living in slavery. The final movement, Dance is the liveliest of the three movements and paints a portrait of friends coming together to celebrate one another in spite of their daily hardships.

- Program Note compiled by Garison Baker


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

State Ratings

  • Texas: IV. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Kevin Michael Holzman, conductor) - 17 October 2023
  • Washtenaw Community Concert Band (Ann Arbor, Mich.) (William Perrine, conductor) - 4 May 2023
  • University of Nebraska Omaha BOCH Festival Wind Ensemble (Josh Kearney, conductor) - 28 January 2023
  • London (U.K.) Gay Symphonic Winds (Daniel Allen, conductor) - 7 May 2022
  • Brandeis University (Waltham, Mass.) Wind Ensemble (Thomas A. Souza, conductor) - May 2022
  • Sacramento (Calif.) State University Concert Band (Matthew Morse, conductor) - 1 December 2021
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Wind Symphony (Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor) - 21 April 2021
  • University of North Florida (Jacksonville) Concert Band (Jeremy McKinnies, conductor) - 6 April 2021
  • Brandeis University (Waltham, Mass.) Wind Ensemble (Thomas A. Souza, conductor) - December 2020 (Virtual)
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) University Band (Will Sugg, conductor) – 8 December 2019
  • Southern Adventist University (Collegedale, Tenn.) Wind Symphony (Ken Parsons, conductor) – 7 April 2019
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Symphonic Winds (Marykate Kuhne, conductor) – 22 March 2019
  • Henderson State University (Arkansas) Symphony Band (Shaun R. Popp, conductor) - 10 March 2019
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Concert Band (Ray Stewart, conductor) – 26 February 2019
  • Syracuse (N.Y.) University Concert Band (Samantha Ryan, graduate conductor) – 19 February 2019
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Concert Band (Eric Allen, conductor) – 23 September 2018
  • University of Arizona (Tucson) Concert Band (Evan Gibson, conductor) – 28 April 2018
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson University Band (Jean Gomez, conductor) – 26 February 2018
  • Little Rock (Ark.) Wind Symphony (Israel Getzov, conductor)– 24 February 2018
  • Tennessee Governor's School Wind Ensemble (Brandon Houghtalen, conductor) - 2017
  • The Goldman Band (Edwin Frank Goldman, conductor) - 1947 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer