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Solitary Dancer, The

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Warren Benson

Warren Benson

General Info

Year: 1969
Duration: 6:20
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Cost: Score and Parts - $90.00   |   Score Only - $20.00


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

  • Marimba
  • Vibraphone
  • Snare Drum
  • Bass Drum
  • Small Suspended Cymbal
  • Bongos
  • Gourd
  • Brushes
  • Bells
  • Triangle

Players clapping


  • Flugelhorn I, m. 134: Rhythm in part is incorrect (correct in the score).

Program Notes

To quote the introductory preface to this work, "The Solitary Dancer deals with quiet, poised energy that one may observe in a dancer in repose, alone with her inner music." Since its publication in 1970, this work has earned a respected place in the repertoire for advanced concert bands.

- Program Note from publisher

Benson sought quiet excitement in A Solitary Dancer, and this goal is fulfilled with translucent orchestration and the constant manipulation of color, minimal melodic materials, and subtle dynamic nuances. Challenges in this piece are not necessarily technical; rather, performers are required to demonstrate control and restraint while maintaining sonorities for extended periods of time. Individual exposure is frequent, and mature players are best suited to this unconventional work.

- Program Note from Great Music for Wind Band

Benson described The Solitary Dancer as “the quiet, poised energy that one may observe in a dancer in repose, alone with her inner music.” He also encouraged young composers to

“take a look at the repertoire and see what’s not there that is present in life. That thought is one of the reasons why I wrote The Solitary Dancer. There just wasn’t any work that was fast and exciting and quiet. Like when a group of people get together and whisper, there is a lot of intensity and excitement, but it never gets loud. It never goes anywhere in that sense. It may bubble and cook but it never really blows the lid off. There are a lot of situations in life like that — just quiet moments.”

- Program Note from University of Texas Wind Symphony concert program, 4 December 2019

For the Clarence Sr. H.S. Band, Norbert J. Buskey, Dir., Clarence, NY & the 20th Midwest Band Clinic, Chicago.

- Program Note from composer's website

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Iowa: V
  • Michigan: AA
  • Mississippi: IV-A, V-A, VI-A
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • Texas: V. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Baylor University (Waco, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Hannah Morrison, conductor) - 23 November 2020
  • Bixby (Okla.) High School Wind Ensemble (Jeremy W. Parker, conductor) - 23 February 2020
  • Purdue University (West Lafayette, Ind.) Symphonic Band (Matt Conaway, conductor) - 22 February 2020
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Thomas Gamboa, conductor) – 19 February 2020
  • University of Texas (Austin) Wind Symphony (Cheldon Williams, conductor) – 4 December 2019
  • Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Corey Seapy, conductor) – 20 November 2019
  • Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.) Wind Ensemble (Pablo Martinez Pegalajar, conductor) – 19 October 2019
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Wind Ensemble (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 23 October 2019
  • California State University, Stanislaus, Wind Ensemble (Stuart Sims, conductor) – 17 October 2019
  • West Virginia University (Morgantown) Wind Symphony (Scott C. Tobias, conductor) – 29 September 2019
  • University of South Florida (Tampa) Symphonic Band (R. Logan Sorry, conductor) – 18 April 2019
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Symphony Band (David Thornton, conductor) – 23 April 2019
  • Shenandoah Conservatory (Winchester, Va.) Wind Ensemble (Timothy Robblee, conductor) - 13 April 2019
  • Bemidji (Minn.) State University Wind Ensemble (Scott Guidry, conductor) – 8 February 2019
  • Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble (Boston) (Michael Mucci, conductor)– 18 December 2018
  • University of Arizona (Tucson) Wind Ensemble (Chad R. Nicholson, conductor) – 29 November 2018
  • Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) Wind Symphony (James Batcheller, conductor) – 29 November 2018
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Barry Houser, conductor) – 4 November 2018
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Symphony Band (Brian Britt, conductor) – 23 April 2018
  • University of Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown, PEI) Wind Symphony (Karem J. Simon, Conductor) - 24 March 2018
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Band (Sarah McKoin, conductor) – 12 February 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer