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When Penguins Fly!

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David Morgan

David Morgan

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General Info

Year: 2018
Duration: c. 16:45
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Unknown
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

When Penguins Fly (2018) is a rhapsody for horn and wind ensemble and was composed for Stacie Mickens and the Youngstown State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble. The penguin, being the YSU mascot, symbolizes a sense of community, tenacity, dignity, perseverance, and adaptability. This piece is dedicated to all young musicians in pursuit of excellence, who continue to demonstrate that penguins can indeed fly, as they turn their dreams into reality through hard work and deep passion.

The penguin is a fascinating creature. Around for millions of years, these birds now spend half their lives swimming in oceans and can thrive in some of the world’s harshest climates. They are highly sociable, living in colonies that can number in the hundreds of thousands. While generally associated with Antarctica, most penguins live in more temperate climates in the Southern Hemisphere.

When Penguins Fly begins with the solo voice emerging from the collective. The austere main theme is then introduced, evoking the stark beauty of Antarctica. Dramatic tension builds as our protagonist feels the need to spread her wings and explore other worlds. Once she takes flight, the remainder of the piece portrays various episodes of our hero’s journey.

It is only fitting that the horn is the musical representation of our miraculous penguin. Perhaps the most majestic of all orchestral instruments, the horn is incredibly versatile, capable of both blending with the ensemble and soaring as a lyrical soloist. It is capable of astonishing technical feats yet can captivate us with a single held note.

The imagery in my mind’s eye throughout the compositional process was provided by the brilliant and surprising 2008 BBC documentary, Flying Penguins.

- Program Note by composer

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Orchestra (Andrew Trachsel, conductor; Stacie Mickens, horn) – 31 October 2019
  • Youngstown (Ohio) State University Wind Ensemble (Stephen L. Gage, conductor; Stacie Mickens, horn) – 23 February 2018 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by this Composer