Unanswered Question, The

From Wind Repertory Project
Charles Ives

Charles Ives

General Info

Year: 1908 / 1935 / 1989
Duration: c. 6:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Peer International
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Full Score
Solo Trumpet (optional English horn, clarinet or oboe)
Flute I-II-III-IV (III optional oboe; IV optional clarinet)

Violin I-II


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Unanswered Question is a musical work by American composer Charles Ives. Originally paired with Central Park in the Dark as Two Contemplations in 1908, The Unanswered Question was revived by Ives in 1930–1935. As with many of Ives' works, it was largely unknown until much later in his life, and was not performed until 1946.

Against a background of slow, quiet strings representing "The Silence of the Druids", a solo trumpet poses "The Perennial Question of Existence", to which a woodwind quartet of "Fighting Answerers" tries vainly to provide an answer, growing more frustrated and dissonant until they give up. The three groups of instruments perform in independent tempos and are placed separately on the stage—the strings offstage.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


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

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Missouri St. Louis Wind Ensemble (David Wacyk, conductor) - 1 October 2023
  • Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Tx.) Meadows Wind Ensemble (Jared Beu, conductor; Jenna Zelasko, trumpet) - 28 April 2023
  • The Randolph-Macon College Ensemble (Ashland, Va.) (Brian A. Coffill, conductor) – 9 November 2019
  • Arizona State University (Tempe) Wind Ensemble (Gary Hill, conductor) – 22 February 2019 (CBDNA 2019 National Conference, Tempe, Ariz.)
  • Pittsburg (Kan.) State University Wind Ensemble (Andrew D. Chybowski, conductor)- 14 February 2019
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Wind Ensemble (J. Nick Smith, conductor) – 8 November 2018
  • University of Michigan players (David Biedenbender, conductor) – 10 March 2012

Works for Winds by This Composer