Joseph Willcox Jenkins, composer
American Overture for Band was written for the U. S. Army Field Band
and dedicated to its conductor at the time, Chester E. Whiting.
The piece is written in a neo-modal style flavored strongly with both Lydian
and Mixolydian modes.
The musical material borders on the folk tune idiom although there are no
direct quotes from any folk songs.
The work calls for near virtuoso playing by some sections, especially the
French horns, and is a favorite of advanced high school and university bands.
American Overture for Band was Jenkins’ first band piece, yet it
remains his most successful work.
Band Music Notes
The American Overture for Band was originally written for the U.S.
Army Field Band and is known for the virtuoso playing it requires of the
French Horn players.
It is the most popular work of American composer Joseph Wilcox Jenkins, who
studied at the Philadelphia Conservatory and Eastman School of Music and went
on to chair the theory and composition department at Duquesne University in
Pittsburgh, PA where is continues to teach as Professor Emeritus.
This overture was written for the U.S. Army Field Band and dedicated to its
conductor at the time, Chester E. Whiting.
The piece is written in neo-modal style being strongly flavored with both
Lydian and Mixolydian modes.
Its architecture is a free adaptation of sonata form.
The music material borders on the folk tune idiom, although there are no
direct quotes from any folk tunes.
Band Music Notes, Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire
One of the most popular works of American composer Jenkins, the Overture is
known for the virtuoso playing required of the French horn players.