Winds on the Steppes

From Wind Repertory Project
Dana Wilson

Dana Wilson

General Info

Year: 1994
Duration: c. 9:40
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Dana Wilson
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $55.00   |   Score Only (print) - $20.00


Full Score
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F
Percussion, including:

  • Cabasa
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Maraca
  • Marimba
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Sand Shaper
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal (3)
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tom Toms (5)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Winds on the Steppes, composed in 1994, is a challenging work for chamber winds and percussion. Its elements are developed through material inspired by jazz saxophonist John Coltrane’s seminal work, Giant Steps. Dating from 1959, this jazz standard received its title from the bass line’s characteristics. Coltrane explains:

The bass line is kind of a loping one. It goes from minor thirds to fourths, kind of a lop-sided pattern in contrast to moving strictly in fourths or in half-steps.”

The resulting cyclic chord pattern moves through three different keys, presenting an excellent backdrop upon which Coltrane could display his impressive and innovative artistry. Wilson offers a description that further explains the intentions behind his original composition:

The medium of chamber winds and percussion suggested to me possibilities of buoyancy, clarity, energy, and color not afforded by most ensembles. As any player who has been bloodied in trying to improvise over this tune will tell you, its melodic and harmonic progression are challenging to both the performer and audience in their relentless third relations and tonal ambiguity, yet these aspects feed the tune’s allure and excitement. Winds on the Steppes exploits these relationships and attempts to capture the energy and spirit of the various improvisors, while drawing upon ensemble intricacies made possible through notation.

- Program Note from Calvin University Wind Ensemble concert program, 13 April 2022

Commissioned by the American Chamber Winds. First performance at the conference of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) in Manchester, England.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

A complete list of Dana Wilson's compositions may be found here:


  • Dana Wilson website Accessed 13 April 2022
  • Wilson, D. (1994). Winds on the Steppes: Winds on the Steppes : For Chamber Winds, Piano, and Percussion [score]. Ludwig Music: Cleveland, Ohio.