C Piccolo I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV-V
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:
- Bass Drum, large
- Crotales with Bass Bow
- Peking Opera cymbals, regular and small
- Peking Opera gong, regular and small
- Chinese tom-tom, small
- Tam-Tam, low
- Temple blocks, high and low
- Wind Gong
None discovered thus far.
Shanghai Overture was originally written for orchestra, a commission by my alma mater, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, in celebration of its eightieth anniversary. It was premiered on November 27, 2007, by the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, conducted by Muhai Tang. The version for symphonic band was commissioned by the University of Michigan Symphony Band for their 2011 tour to China.
In Western music, the term neo-Classicism primarily refers to a movement in music composition prevalent in the 1920s and 1930s. While the main aesthetics of the style emphasizes textural clarity, light orchestration and formal balance, some of the compositions were directly linked to specific composers from earlier periods. The most well-known composer of the movement was Igor Stravinsky who wrote a number of works including a neo-Bachian piano concerto, a neo-Pergolesian suite (Pulcinella), and a neo-Mozartian opera (The Rake’s Progress).
I always wondered what the result would be if I would adopt a similar concept and some of the techniques of the neo-Classical style and apply them to traditional Chinese classical or folk music. Although my approach is somewhat different from Stravinsky, I took the opportunity to explore the idea when I was asked to write a short composition for The Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
Shanghai Overture is inspired by two well-known traditional Chinese compositions, General’s Degree (将军令) and Purple Bamboo (紫竹调). Whereas both came from the same region near Shanghai, they differ vastly in character and color; one is grand and powerful while the other is light and elegant.
Shanghai Overture for symphonic band is dedicated to the Symphony Band at University of Michigan, where I have been teaching since 1995.
- Program Note by composer
- Audio CD: University of Michigan Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) - 2012
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Wind Symphony (Stephen Bolstad, conductor) – 3 October 2019
- The United States Coast Guard Band (New London, Conn.) (Richard Wyman, conductor) - 22 December 2017 (2017 Midwest Clinic)
- University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) – 12 March 2017
- United States Marine Band (Alexandria, Va.) (Gerard Schwarz, conductor) – 26 February 2017
- University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) - 8 April 2011 *Premiere Performance*
Works for Winds by this Composer
- Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. "Bright Sheng." Accessed 12 March 2017
- Pasquale, John D. "Shanghai Overture." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 9, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 1000-1006. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2013.
- Perusal score