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Commissioning Program

Commissioning Program History

During the administration of Grand President Hugh E. McMillen (Alpha Iota) 1951-1953, the Fraternity adopted one of its most innovative and noteworthy continuing activities. Brother McMillen saw in the National Intercollegiate Band and its sponsoring fraternity and sorority the perfect vehicle for a lasting contribution to the field of concert band literature. He proposed a program to commission a special work for concert band by a noteworthy composer in Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma’s name.

World premiere renditions have been a highlight of National Intercollegiate Band concerts since 1953. Leading musicians have been commissioned by the fraternity and sorority to compose numbers for this purpose. Such noted works include Francis McBeth’s the Seventh Seal, Claude T. Smith’s Symphony #1 for Band, and Fisher Tull’s Prelude & Double Fugue. Several of these composers have also served as guest conductors.

The commissioned work demands the highest in technical proficiency and musicality, as well as be of sufficient merit to rank with the best in the concert band music genre. The commission is offered by Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma to someone demonstrating proven abilities in composing for band, but also to someone who might have never investigated this unique medium and should be encouraged to write for concert band.

The commissioning program of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma has made a significant impact on band music in America. Both organizations have presented the college and university bands of the nation with more solid evidence that they are Building Better Bands. Since its creation, the program has been responsible for more than 23 new pieces of band literature and has come to be considered of prime importance in our national program of Service to Music.

Commissioned Works For Band

The following is a list of professional composers and their pieces premiered at National Intercollegiate Band Concerts. These individuals have added substantially to the repertoire of the modern concert band through the efforts of our two organizations.


Ballet for Band - Don Gillis


Symphonic Songs for Band - Robert Russell Bennett  


Prelude and Dance - Paul Creston  


Symphonic Essays - Clifton Williams


Symphonic Requiem - Vaclav Nehlybel  


Study in Textures - Gunther Schuller 


Songs of Abelard - Norman Dello Joio


The Seventh Seal - W. Francis McBeth 


Concerto for Trumpet and Wind Orchestra - Karel Husa  


Let Us Now Praise Famous Men - Martin Mailman 


Symphony #1 for Band - Claude T. Smith


Prelude & Double Fugue - Fisher A. Tull  


LUX: Legend of Sankta Lucia - Mary Jeanne van Appledorn  


Stars and Stripes Variations - Robert Jager


Chorale Prelude: Mein junges Leben hat ein End, Op. 61 - James Barnes  


Overture Alfresco - Jerry Bilik


Symphonic Canticle - David R. Holsinger 
Athenian Festival - Anne McGinty 


Hymn Variants (based on Lasst Uns Erfreuen (1623))  - Alfred Reed


Daystar Symphonic Variations for Wind and Percussion  - James Curnow 


A Tuning Piece: Songs of Fall and Winter - David Maslanka  


Rondo Jubiloso - John Zdechlik 


Unusual Behavior in Ceremonies Involving Drums - David Bukvich 
From This Wilderness. . . - Roland Barrett 


Mourning Dances - Timothy Mahr


Bandancing - Jack Stamp


The Seasons - Philip Sparke


Celestial Dancers - Eric Ewazen


Two American Canvases - Mark Camphouse


Repercussions - Adam Gorb




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Tau Beta Sigma National Headquarters
P.O. Box 849
Stillwater, OK 74076-0849

Office: 405.372.2333
Fax: 405.372.2363