Wind Ensemble/4'/Difficulty - Easy/2011

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Listen to Foundry

performed by the Texas State University Symphonic Winds,
conducted by Caroline Beatty

View the score

John Thomas, associate band director at Utley Middle School in Rockwall, Texas, designed and built this "4 metal piles machine."

Winner of the 2011 CBDNA Young Band Composition Competition

The idea with Foundry was to make a piece that celebrates the fact that percussionists have this ability to make just about anything into an “instrument.” Snare drums and bass drums are great, but why not write a whole piece featuring non-traditional percussion — things like salad bowls and mixing bowls and piles of wood?

In some cases, I was specific about what instrument to play (timpani, xylophone, etc.). With many of the parts, though, I only described what sound I wanted (play a “clang” — a metal instrument, probably struck with a hammer, that creates a rich “CLANG!” sound), and allowed the percussionist to be creative in finding the best “instrument” to make the sound I described.

It won’t be surprising that Foundry, for concert band with “found percussion,” much of it metallic, ends up sounding like a steel factory. The composer thanks the required 10–12 percussionists for allowing his ridiculous requests to continue. Clang.

Read this blog post about “Foundry,” or this other post, with more “found percussion” photos, including a video of a “4 metals machine.” (Scroll about half-way down that post for the part about “Foundry.”)

Commissioned by

A consortium of bands:

Worthington Kilbourne High School (Don Nathan),
McCracken Middle School (Chip De Stefano),
Piedmont High School (Andrew Anderson),
Willow Wood Junior High School (James Shaw),
Memorial High School (Heath Miller),
Langley High School (Andrew Gekoskie),
William Mason High School (Robert Bass),
and Conner Middle School (James Daughters)