String Orchestra Music
Jazz Ensemble Music
Solo and Ensemble Music
Christmas: Duets & Solos
Trumpet Books
Under Construction
Suggested Links

     Note: Clicking on an underlined title will open a separate window and take you to a web page
     at J.W. Pepper at which you can place an order for that publication.

Visions for Orchestra No. 1 (Shawnee Press) (Grade 1 – 1.5)
     A Winter’s Night in the Forbidden City – Add a taste of the orient to your winter concert
     with this simple, yet effective, composition for beginning orchestra.
     Land of the Roaring Lion live performance - Reflecting the sounds of the jungles and plains
     of Africa, the simple melody is supported by a rhythmic, though easy, keyboard
     accompaniment that can be even more effective when using “log drum” sounds on a
     synthesizer. Effective and fun!
     The Christmas Train - The audience can sense the train start to roll as your beginners travel
     through this original Christmas composition. Enjoyable for the parents and excellent eighth
     note “training” for first year string players.
      Debut for Strings - Strong themes. Interesting parts for all players. A great end-of-the-year
     feature for beginning strings or combined beginning and intermediate groups.

Visions for Orchestra No. 2 (Shawnee Press) (Grade 2 - 2.5)
          (The compositions in Visions for Orchestra No. 2 are now also published individually by Hal Leonard...although the collection is much more economically priced)

     The Great Wall live performancestudio recording – The ancient wonder of China is portrayed
     with the sounds of the Orient. An excellent concert selection for second year orchestras. 
     Fiesta – Alternating 6/8 with 3/4 meters in the style of a traditional Mexican folk song.
     Eye-opening and fun for young players as they learn to break away from performing only in
     common time.
     Celtic Roots – Two traditional Irish fiddle tunes, “Father O’Flynn’s” and “the Gobby O,” make
     this arrangement perfect for St. Patrick’s Day (and fun for any time of year!).
     Heroic Adventure – This one has everything! Opening with an exciting, rhythmic theme
     played by unison violins and violas, this exciting short overture gives everyone a chance to
     shine! Cellos are featured on the legato “B” section and the basses follow with their own soli
     while the rest of the orchestra accompanies them pizzicato. Because the 2nd violin or viola
     parts may be omitted without sacrificing excitement, this works well with string orchestras no
     matter how large or small. An excellent concert opener.
          (click here for a live performance of Fiesta, Celtic Roots, and Heroic Adventure)

Visions for Orchestra No. 3 (Shawnee Press) (Grade 2.5 - 3.5)
     Walkin’ – Let your orchestra play some jazz! Opening with a simple blues bass line played by
     the entire orchestra, your orchestra entertains with some truly American music. The orchestra
     tutti parts are closer to a grade 2, but the solo/soli parts are closer to a grade 3.  Three
     optional solo/soli parts are included for any combination of violins, violas, and/or celli.
     Additionally, the written bass part also includes a solo/soli.
     Toccata in D minor (Bach/arr. Baird) – One of Bach’s most famous compositions with just a
     hint of the 21st century mixed in.
     Intensity I live performance – A contemporary overture emphasizing some rather challenging
     Moon Over the Desolate Castle (Taki/arr. Baird) studio recording -
     Fantasy on a traditional Japanese melody. Opening and closing with a brief violin cadenza, this
     work starts quietly, erupts with intensity, returns to the slow, opening theme (this time played
     by the low strings), and finally closes with another brief violin cadenza. A wonderful selection
     for young orchestra.

                The compositions in Visions for Orchestra No. 2 are now also available individually
                (although the collection is MUCH more economical). Here are links for purchasing them

                    Now published individually by Hal Leonard!
                         Great Wall (Hal Leonard)
                         Heroic Adventure (Hal Leonard)
                         Fiesta (Hal Leonard)
                         Celtic Root

Mr. Turtle's Got the Walk (Grade 1 - 1.5)
Put some rock-style fun in your next young string orchestra concert with this light-hearted composition. In the key of D major and staying exclusively in first position, this joyful arrangement follows the classic blues chord progression and might be the most fun music your orchestra has performed all year. Easily playable by second year string orchestras, most first year orchestras would also be able to perform this composition at an end-of-the-year concert.  As a bonus, an optional cello part is included to cover the bass part for those young orchestras who don’t have basses in their group.  Another bonus is that this composition may also be performed in swing style, instead of rock. Easy.

Sabor de México (Grade 1 - 1.5)
Feature your young orchestra at a Cinco de Mayo celebration or any time of year with this south-of-the-border style festive tune that your audience will go out singing or whistling. With original melodies very reminiscent of Mexican folk songs, Sabor de México can be performed at a lilting moderato by 1st year players or at a real fiesta allegro by your 2nd year or older players. Although playable without piano, the piano accompaniment is required in order to get the full festive flavor of Sabor de México. Technically this work is at the level of 2/3 through a first year string class method book when played at a moderate tempo and more of a 2nd year level when played allegro.
Click here for audio of sequenced rendition.

"...for God so loved the world..." The Epic of Easter
Most school orchestras give concerts in March or April. How many schools orchestras play Christmas music on their December concerts? Why not a composition for young string orchestra that celebrates Easter? Although playable by first year players late in the school year, this is a serious retelling, through music, of the death and resurrection of Christ. The five short movements of this work musically reflect their titles: Fanfare for the King (Entry into Jerusalem);Betrayal and Last Supper; Anguish in the Garden; Trial and Crucifixion and Resurrection and Triumph! Although not requiring a large orchestra, consider combining all of your middle school string players and presenting this memorable composition.

For Advanced High School and Beyond
Invention (Shawnee Press) (grade 5) live performance
An exciting work for high school or college string orchestra, this features an accented, multi-metered main theme, contrapuntal writing, a fugue, a reflective melodic interlude, and an optional extended very challenging violin cadenza. Rather than being a tradition "invention" such as found in many of the works of J.S. Bach, this dramatic programmatic original portrays in music the process of invention and will be the highlight of your concert or contest.

Cathedral Square (Shawnee Press) (grade 4)
Following a stately introduction that reflects the grandeur of Gothic cathedrals, the orchestra takes off on an energetic original theme that culminates with the inspiring classic hymn, "Praise to the Lord." The substantial use of multiple meters keeps everyone alert, including the conductor. Technically conservative enough for advanced 3rd year groups, yet musically and rhythmically interesting enough to hold the attention of advanced players. It also includes a brief cello solo. Flexible! This will work for concert, contest, and sacred settings.