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Rivers of Air

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Jake Runestad

Jake Runestad

General Info

Year: 2018
Duration: c. 6:25
Difficulty: V+ (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Jake Runestad
Cost: Score and Parts (digital) - $195.00   |   Score Only (digital) - $25.00


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Handbells
  • Marimba
  • Mark Tree
  • Suspended Cymbals (2: small and medium)
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tom-Tom
  • Triangle (small)
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

How infinitely superior to our physical senses are those of the mind! The spiritual eye sees not only rivers of water but of air... imagination gives us the sweet music of tiniest insect wings, enables us to hear, all round the world, the vibration of every needle, the waving of every bole and branch, the sound of stars in circulation like particles in the blood. Indeed, the power of imagination makes us infinite.

—John Muir

As a composer, I often imagine the soundtrack to my surroundings -- especially while hiking in the beauty of mountains, forests, lakes and rivers. The crisp whisper of wind through pine needles, the babbling of a glacial river and the stoic quietness of old growth trees exude vivid aural colors, always available to the curious listener. But it is the mind’s ear that can take these sounds and scenes and imagine them into stories and symphonies.

In Rivers of Air, I endeavored to capture the scenery and experience of hiking in Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington while creating my own imagined story. Visions of expansive mountain ranges from thousands of feet in the air, the rushing Nisqually River and the profound sacredness of old growth trees guided me as I wrote. In an age when humans seem to be continuously separating ourselves from the earth and from each other, Muir’s words remind us to listen deeply to all that is around us; and in that listening, we too can see (and hear) our own rivers of air.

But this piece is much more than just a soundscape -- it is a call for us to listen and preserve. In an age when humans are continuously separating ourselves from the Earth and from each other, Muir’s words (and actions) remind us to listen deeply to all that is around us. We are of the Earth, not separate from it -- we must treat it with care, conserve it, protect it. We must remember that the earth was not created for humans to consume -- it is our home and a beautiful balance of life in which all things are valid and important. Destroying our natural resources is detrimental to the health of the earth and will affect life for generations to come. Too many people have a greedy, destructive mindset with immediate gratification in mind. We must be more forward-thinking, we must be more protective of what is around us.

- Program Note by composer

For Jeff Gershman, with gratitude.

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Maryland Baltimore County Wind Ensemble (Brian Kaufman, conductor) - 5 December 2022
  • Contra Costa Wind Symphony (Walnut Creek, Calif.) (Brad Hogarth, conductor) - 22 May 2022
  • San Jose (Calif.) State University Wind Ensemble (David Vickerman, conductor) - 22 February 2020 (2020 CASMEC Conference, Fresno)
  • University of Texas (Austin) Wind Ensemble (Cheldon Williams, conductor) – 1 February 2020
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Orchestra (Andrew Trachsel, conductor) – 21 November 2019
  • University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Michael S. Butler, conductor) - 22 October 2019
  • Bowling Green (Ohio) State University Wind Symphony (Bruce Moss, conductor) – 28 February 2019
  • University of Colorado Boulder Symphonic Band (Michael Roeder, conductor) – 7 February 2019
  • University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Gerard Morris, conductor) – 30 November 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Butler, Michael. "Rivers of Air." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 12, Compiled and edited by Andrew Trachsel, 622-637. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2021.
  • Jake Runestad website Accessed 31 January 2019
  • Perusal score