Instinctive Travels

From Wind Repertory Project
Michael Markowski

Michael Markowski

General Info

Year: 2009
Duration: c. 7:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Manhattan Beach Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $165.00   |   Score Only - $50.00


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

  • Bass Drum
  • China Cymbals
  • FX Cymbal (special effects cymbal at player's discretion)
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Splash Cymbal
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tom-Tom
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Michael Markowski burst onto the concert band scene in 2006 with his breakthrough composition , Shadow Rituals -- the unanimous winner of the First Frank Ticheli Composition Contest (sponsored by Manhattan Beach Music). Three years later Markowski returns full force with his most recent band work, Instinctive Travels -- a seven-minute musical excursion. This brisk and bustling escapade will propel an audience through defibrillating rhythms, indulgent mood swings, and a kaleidoscope of instrumental colors.

You just might hear a hint of John Adams, Frank Ticheli, or John Mackey in Markowski’s music. But don’t discount the likely influences of A Tribe Called Quest, Judy Garland, or perhaps even Max Weinberg as well. While along for the ride, Instinctive Travels might just intersect with any and all of these perennial performers. But Markowski is his own composer in every right. Instinctive Travels evokes joyful euphoria, excitable anticipation, laughter and giddiness, and heroic exhilaration. Instinctive Travels journeys into the exciting and inventive mind of Michael Markowski --a protocomposer for the next generation of excursionist band music.

- Program Note by Lawrence Stoffel for California State University, Northridge

The title, Instinctive Travels, was somewhat influenced by the 90s hip-hop album People's Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm by the group Tribe Called Quest. One of the things I love about the hip-hop genre is an attraction to complex rhythms and metric design. While there are no traditional hip-hop beats in ths symphonic work, the piece is incredibly infected by rhythm, particularly a primary ostinato and other small fragments.

For me, there is something primal about rhythm that inspired a more animalistic and chaotic musical landscape. For the listener (and especially the musicians!) there is little breathing room among the tension. As the musical action reaches its peak, the brass choir recites a quotation of the hymnal All Things Bright and Beautiful. This comes as a brief release, but remains plagued by the primary rhythmic motif, stated sharply in the upper woodwinds. The evolution of the piece continues to modulate and expand, never officially reaching a traditional climax. Instead, the ending is abrupt and open (in fifths) until the search for resolution and climactic payoff can start again, perhaps in another piece.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

  • Georgia: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Texas: V. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Atlanta (Ga.) Wind Symphony (David Kehler, conductor) - 15 October 2023
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University Wind Ensemble (David Kehler, conductor) - 29 September 2021
  • Texas A&M University Commerce Wind Ensemble (Phillip Clements, conductor) - 23 November 2019
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Concert Band (Ray Stewart, conductor) – 21 November 2019
  • NorthWinds Symphonic Band (Kansas City, Mo.) (John Bell, conductor) - 13 October 2019
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University Wind Symphony (Debra Traficante, conductor) – 22 April 2019
  • Southern Utah University (Cedar City) Wind Symphony (Adam Lambert, conductor) – 12 April 2019
  • Benicia (Ca.) High School Wind Ensemble (Patrick Martin, conductor) – 6 November 2018
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Wind Ensemble (Scott Teeple, conductor) – 24 October 2018
  • California State University, Northridge, Wind Ensemble (Lawrence Stoffel, conductor) – 11 October 2018
  • Westminster College (New Wilmington, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (R. Tad Greig, conductor) – 8 March 2018
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University Wind Symphony (Debra Traficante, conductor) – 17 April 2017
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Symphonic Band (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 13 April 2017
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence) Symphonic Band (Matthew O. Smith, conductor) – 20 February 2017
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Symphonic Band (Dennis W. Fisher, conductor) – 17 November 2016
  • Cleveland Winds (Cleveland, Ohio) (Birch Browning, conductor) – 13 November 2016
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Hindsley Symphonic Band (Barry L. Houser, conductor) – 19 April 2016
  • Northwest Missouri State University (Maryville) Wind Symphony (John Bell, conductor) – 17 April 2014
  • Florida State University (Tallahassee) Symphonic Band (Jason Cumberledge, conductor) - 19 February 2013
  • Dekaney High School (Houston, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Trent Cooper, conductor) – 16 December 2010 (2010 Midwest Clinic)

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Markowski, M. (2009). Instinctive Travels: For Concert Band [score]. Manhattan Beach Music: Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Meunier, Robert. "Instinctive Travels." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 10, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 752-761. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2015.