Wind band conductors have long considered the identification, selection, and creation of quality repertoire as fundamental issues in teaching music in the context of an instrumental ensemble. The Contemporary Music Project (CMP), through the placement of 90 composers in public schools from 1959 to 1973, created a substantial body of repertoire for high school wind band. While researchers have articulated the historical importance of the CMP in encouraging composers to write for the wind band, the direct impact of the compositions has not been explored sufficiently. The purpose of the present study was to study the impact of CMP compositions by examining the music composed by three Oregon-based CMP composers (OBCC) and the impact of these compositions upon repertoire practices in the state of Oregon. Such a study was needed to identify factors that hindered the impact of CMP band repertoire and to inform similar repertoire commissioning efforts in the future.
Following a detailed examination of CMP history and an exhaustive literature review, diverse types of data were collected to answer a set of research questions. Evidence of the lasting impact of compositions by the OBCC was sought through examination of published repertoire resources, state repertoire lists, state and regional conference programs, and a survey of Oregon high school band directors. Analysis of these data revealed that CMP compositions from Oregon had only minimal impact upon the repertoire practices of state high school band directors. To more fully understand the factors that influenced this lack of impact, a representative work by each of the three composers (Karl Kroeger, James Kurtz, and Lawrence Widdoes) was selected for expert evaluation. Additionally, data were collected through open-ended evaluator survey responses and composer interviews. Data analysis revealed two primary factors that limited the impact of works composed by the OBCC. First, though considered of good quality by evaluators, compositions of the OBCC did not distinguish themselves from previously composed works and were viewed as somewhat traditional in style. Second, CMP infrastructure in regards to publishing and promotion of works was found to be ineffective in reaching the target audience of high school band directors. The present document concludes with a detailed discussion of these results and recommendations for future research.
University Of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. October 2009. Major: Music. Advisor: Scott D. Lipscomb. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 153 pages, appendices A-E.
Robblee, Timothy John.
Examination of the impact of the Contemporary Music Project on wind band repertoire and performance in Oregon..
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