The Wind Band Works of the MENC Contemporary Music Project Library
Coffill, Brian Albert
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Since the mid-twentieth century, there has been a continuous effort within the wind band profession to improve the quality of the available repertoire. From 1959 through 1973, the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and the Ford Foundation contributed to this enterprise through the Contemporary Music Project (CMP), placing seventy-three promising young composers in-residence with public school systems across the United States of America. These composers were assigned to collaborate with school music programs to create a new body of literature suitable for performance by school bands, orchestras, and choirs. Hundreds of works were written, and, in the late years of the program, the participating composers were invited to submit representative compositions to the CMP Library, which was to become a publication house and resource for music educators. The works in this vast collected repository have since languished in obscurity; existing scholarship on the CMP Library is similarly meager, with little modern scholarship, none investigating the body of collected wind works. This dissertation reopens the investigation into the CMP from a modern perspective, shining a scholarly light onto this neglected portion of the wind repertoire. This study is in two parts: the first part defines the evolution of the modern wind band, framing the investigation into CMP repertoire in the context of present-day ensemble performance practice, then describes the Contemporary Music Project and the Contemporary Music Project Library in-context. The second examines the Contemporary Music Project Library works written specifically for wind bands, exploring each work with modern performance considerations in mind, and updating the 1969 MENC/CMP publication The CMP Library: Works for Band, Winds, and Percussion with new information on each composer and individual work, creating a set of resources for modern conductors and music educators to utilize for contemporary performances.