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Symphony No 5 1-2

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Don Gillis

Don Gillis (arr. Ford)

Subtitle: A Symphony for Fun

The title is properly written Symphony No. 5 1/2.

General Info

Year: 1947 / 1954 /1967
Duration: c. 15:45
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


1. Perpetual Emotion – 4:05
2. Spiritual? – 3:40
3. Scherzofrenia – 3:35
4. Conclusion – 4:00


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute III
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
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Percussion (5 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Claves
  • Cowbell
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Gong
  • Maracas
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tom-tom
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Many of Gillis's titles are in a whimsical vein, for example the fraction of this symphony's title (composed between his fifth and sixth symphonies), and its subtitle A Symphony for Fun. The four movements are named Perpetual Emotion, Spiritual?, Scherzofrenia, and ''Conclusion. Spiritual? features tone color and expressive performance, whereas rhythmic variety and tempo are important in the other three movements. The orchestral version was made famous by Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Orchestra. The slow movement was first transcribed for band by Glenn Cliffe Bainum. The present version was transcribed from the orchestra score by Maurice Ford. The work contains square dances, blues, swing, and even ragtime, but all treated in typical Don Gillis fashion.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Heart of Texas (San Antonio) Concert Band (R. Mark Rogers, conductor) - 7 March 2021
  • Chesapeake Bay Wind Ensemble (Hampton, Va.) (William Garlette, conductor) – 8 March 2019
  • Lee University (Cleveland, Tenn.) Wind Ensemble (David Holsinger, conductor) – 27 November 2018
  • Racine (Wisc.) Concert Band (Mark Eichner, conductor) - 1 July 2018
  • Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, Penn.) Symphony Band (Robert Cameron, conductor) – 31 October 2017
  • Cameron (Mo.) Municipal Band (Ann Goodwin Clark, conductor) – 19 June 2016 (Missouri Bandmasters Association Convention)
  • American Canyon (Calif.) High School Wind Ensemble (Matthew J. Smith, conductor) - 11 March 2016 (2016 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.)

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Gillis, D.; Ford, M. [1967]. Symphony No. 5 1/2 [score]. Boosey & Hawkes: [New York]
  • Girsberger, Russ. Percussion Assignments for Band & Wind Ensemble. Volume I: A-K. Galesburg, MD: Meredith Music Publications, 2004, page 107-108. Print.
  • Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. "Don Gillis." Accessed 16 March 2016
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 229