James Naigus

If you will allow me, please, one selfish post…

I just want to briefly share my experience with composing for brass ensemble, as it is not only the world I live in, but also something that is truly enjoyable, and something that I am constantly learning more about.  As a horn player, most of my compositions up to this point have been for  horn.  This just makes sense – I know it the best, and I have ways to both play and get the music played.  However, I’ll let you in on a little secret.  The first piece I wrote for any brass instrument was a little brass quintet called Could Live.  Here is a rough recording from back in 2005:

Could Live

Something about the versatility and color possibilities of the brass ensemble has always intrigued me.  This post is actually rather timely, since my second brass ensemble piece, one that I just completed this past year, will be premiered in two days (from this post).  That piece is called Starboard, and was written for James Jenkins and the University of Florida Symphonic Brass. The piece features frequent meter changes, rhythmic interplay, and many smaller musical motifs that make up the larger whole. The narrative of the piece is one of sailing into the unknown.  Here is an excerpt from the score:


Perhaps the biggest help and influence for writing this piece has been simply listening to as much brass ensemble music as possible, such as the music on this blog.  If you have any interest in composition, I implore you to do the same.  Learn from the masters!

p.s. To make sure I’m not breaking my own rules for this blog, I should state that I also am a film composer, having written original scores to two short films and two internet commercials.  Those can all be found at JamesNaigus.com

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