Commissioning Project

The Commissioning Project of the Big Ten Band Directors Association has spanned over four decades, and the seven resulting works can be categorized into three sections—early, contest, and post-contest. David Maslanka’s Symphony No. 2 (1986), the first commission by the association, is the only one that falls into the “early” category, as the next commission did not transpire for another twelve years.


The next four works of the Commissioning Project were derived from a Composition Contest sponsored by the BTBDA from the mid-1990s through the mid- 2000s. The cycle of this contest ran every two years in all but the final piece, which took three years for completion. The four contest works are Island (1998) by Donald Crocket, Shindig (2000, rev. 2001) by Daniel Godfrey, Love, Play On (2002) by Gregory Mertl, and Forms of Light (2005) by James Primosch.


After the dissolution of the Composition Contest, the association commissioned two Pulitzer Prize-winning composers, William Bolcom and Aaron J. Kernis. The latter was commissioned jointly with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Bolcom’s commission resulted in his First Symphony for Band (2008), and Kernis composed Voice, a Messenger (2010-2012, rev. 2013), a concerto for solo trumpet and wind ensemble or concert band. 


Symphony No. 2 (1986) - David Maslanka

Island (1998) - Donald Crockett

Shindig (2000) - Daniel Godfrey

Love, Play On (2002) - Gregory Mertl

Forms of Light (2005) - James Primosch

First Symphony for Band (2008) - William Bolcom

A Voice, a Messenger (2010) - Aaron Jay Kernis