Date of Completion


Embargo Period



John Adams Harmonielehre Wind Ensemble transcription

Major Advisor

Jeffrey Renshaw

Co-Major Advisor

Alain Frogley

Associate Advisor

Peter Kaminsky

Associate Advisor

See above

Field of Study



Doctor of Musical Arts

Open Access

Open Access


John Adams, perhaps the most prominent American composer of the last twenty-five years (and reported to be the most frequently performed living composer), has created important repertoire for almost every major musical medium except the Wind Ensemble or Band. Published transcriptions exist of two shorter orchestral works, Lollapalooza (1995, six minutes long), transcribed by John Spinazzola, and Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986, four minutes long), transcribed by Lawrence Odom, and both of these have become important works in the repertoire. By presenting a transcription of the seventeen-minute long first movement of Adams’s large-scale symphonic work Harmonielehre (1984-1985), this project presents the possibility for wind ensemble performers and their audiences to experience John Adams’s music on a larger scale. Also included is contextual commentary of value to conductors, performers, and scholars of John Adams; this discusses the historical background and the analysis of music relating to Minimalism, post-minimalism, John Adams, and Harmonielehre. Additional exploration of the transcription’s creation includes commentary on issues of instrumentation and orchestration, with examples of representative musical challenges and their possible solutions.