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Outdoor Overture, An

From Wind Repertory Project
Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland (transcribed by the composer)

General Info

Year: 1938 / 1948
Duration: c. 9:20
Original Medium: Orchestra
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts - $120.00   |   Score Only - $19.95


Full Score
C Piccolo
Concert Flute I-II
Bassoon I-II
Eb Clarinet
Bb Solo Clarinet
Bb Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Contrabass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Bass Saxophone
Trumpet (in Bb)
Solo Cornet
Cornet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Baritone(Bass Clef & Treble Clef)
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Crash Cymbal
  • Drums
  • Glockenspiel
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

While An Outdoor Overture may be considered more audience-friendly than Copland's Emblems, the former exhibits several of the same characteristics of the latter: open harmonic structures, a contrast of broad statements with intricate rhythmic motives, and disjunct melodic lines. A strong cornet soloist is recommended, as the introductory solo calls for flexibility and nuance.

- Notes from Great Music for Wind Band

Aaron Copland composed An Outdoor Overture for an entirely indoor occasion: a concert by the orchestra of the High School of Music and Art in New York City on December 16, 1938. The school's conductor, Alexander Richter, was in the process of launching a campaign to foster the writing of "American music for American youth," and the composer found the invitation to write such a work "irresistible" (all the more, perhaps, because his music was undergoing a stylistic change). An Outdoor Overture was a milestone in confirming this change, since it was written for young people to play, and the vague criterion of accessibility therefore mattered more to Copland than it had before. This change proved crucial, of course, as the works of this period, including Appalachian Spring and Rodeo, and culminating in the Third Symphony of 1946, have remained his best-loved, most-performed scores.

This band arrangement was made by Copland himself -- at his publisher's suggestion -- several years after its composition. The "outdoor" in the title stems from the style of spacious chordal writing, implying that very high and very low sonorities are present throughout.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

Outdoor Overture starts in a large and grandiose manner with a theme that is immediately developed as a long solo for the trumpet with a pizzicato accompaniment. A short bridge passage in the woodwinds leads imperceptibly to the first theme of the allegro section, characterized by repeated notes. Shortly afterwards, these repeated notes, played broadly, give us a second march-like theme, developed in a canon form. There is an abrupt pause, a sudden decrescendo, and the third, lyric theme appears, first in the flute and then the clarinet. Repeated notes on the bassoon seem to lead the piece in the direction of the opening allegro. Instead, a fourth and final theme evolves another march theme, but this time less articulate, and with more serious implications. There is a build-up to the opening grandiose introduction again, continuing with the trumpet solo melody. A short bridge section based on steady rhythm brings a condensed recapitulation of the allegro section. At the climax of the piece, all the themes are combined. A brief coda ends the work similarly to the beginning

- Program Note from University of Missouri Wind Ensemble concert program, 3 December 2015

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Arkansas: V
  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: VI
  • Kansas: V
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • Massachusetts: V
  • Minnesota: I
  • Mississippi: VI-A
  • New York: VI
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: VI
  • Wisconsin: Event 3000 Concert Band Class A Standard Repertoire


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Georgia State University (Atlanta) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Robert Ambrose, conductor) – 26 September 2019
  • Arkansas State University (Jonesboro) Wind Ensemble(Pershauna Johnson, conductor) – 20 September 2019
  • Grand Street (New York) Community Band (Brian Worsdale, conductor) – 18 May 2019
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 18 May 2019
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Simon Holoweiko, conductor) – 25 April 2019
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Symphonic Band (John M. Watkins, Jr., conductor) – 23 April 2019
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (William Talley, conductor) – 17 April 2019
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Symphonic Band (Eric M. Smedley, conductor) – 2 April 2019
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Concert Band (Courtney Snyder, conductor) – 20 March 2019
  • Cottonwood Community Band (Sedona, Ariz.) (Sy Brandon, conductor) – 17 March 2019
  • College of Lake County (Grayslake, Ill.) Wind Ensemble (Michael Flack, conductor) - 10 March 2019
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Stephen G. Peterson, conductor) – 7 December 2018
  • Truman State University (Kirksville, Mo.) Wind Symphony II (Jennifer Rubin, conductor) – 28 November 2018
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Thomas Gamboa, conductor) – 25 September 2018
  • University of Colorado Boulder Wind Symphony (Donald J. McKinney, conductor) – 20 September 2018
  • Marion (Mass.) Concert Band (Tobias Monte, conductor) - 24 August 2018
  • Fredericksburg (Va.) Community Concert Band (Chris Fens, conductor)- 6 July 2018
  • City of Fairfax (Va.) Band (Robert Pouliot, conductor) – 20 May 2018
  • Goldman Band (New York City) (Leonard Bernstein, conductor) - 20 June 1943

Works for Winds by this Composer