Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts



Committee Chair

John Mueller

Committee Member

Albert T Nguyen

Committee Member

John T Cooper

Committee Member

Kenneth R Kreitner


Twenty-first century trombonists are called upon to be versatile performers. Long gone are the days of stylistic specialization. And today, most professional trombonists can perform in settings ranging from symphony orchestras to jazz ensembles to other contemporary commercial music ensembles. But aside from brass quintets and homogenous ensembles, most chamber music ensembles, especially those with woodwinds, don’t include trombones. This arrangement of Alec Wilder’s Sonata for Bass Trombone not only expands the repertoire for solo bass trombone and chamber wind ensemble but does so in a way that draws connection to some of the composer’s most beloved works, the Octets of the 1930s and 40s. The compositions of Alec Wilder hold a special place in American music of the twentieth century. While he was best known as a composer and lyricist of popular songs in the style of Broadway and the American songbook, much of his work exists in the liminal space between the commercial and the symphonic styles of the day. Wilder’s instrumental work is not easily categorized due to its combination of classical chamber ensemble sensibilities and lighter jazz-tinged rhythmic approaches. While it was never considered “serious” enough for the classical world or “jazzy” enough for the jazz world, it is hard to deny the impact that his work has had on American music of the twentieth century. Performed regularly during his life, Wilder’s work has become even more popular by instrumentalists in the forty-two years since his death and is a staple of student and professional recitals every year. In addition to his solo works for every wind instrument in the orchestra, Wilder was also a prolific composer of music for chamber winds. He wrote over twenty pieces for both the New York Brass Quintet and the New York Woodwind Quintet. He also composed for odd pairings of instruments like the duets for horn and bassoon; suites for tuba, vibraphone, piano, and drums; and his famous Octets. The reader will find biographical information about the life of the composer and his work, background on the Octets and the Sonata for Bass Trombone, a survey of previous recordings of the Sonata, and an analysis of the arrangement with comments about the orchestration.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open access