Hindemith Symphony in B-Flat for Concert Band

On this page, we welcome you to enjoy our recent live video performance of Hindemith's Symphony in B-Flat, an educational deep dive into its instrumental audition excerpts, three curricula for general music study, and a historical view of the work's connection to the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own".

Genesis of a Masterpiece

The Symphony in B-Flat for Concert Band was composed at the request of Lt. Col. Hugh Curry, leader of the United States Army Band, and was premiered in Washington, D.C., on April 5, 1951, with the composer conducting. The Symphony rivals any orchestral composition in length, breadth, and content, and served to convince other first-rank composers -- including Vittorio Giannini, Vincent Persichetti, Paul Creston, and Alan Hovhaness -- that the concert wind band is a legitimate medium for serious music.

Take a listen!

Symphony in B-Flat (1951), by Paul Hindemith

1. Moderately Fast, with Vigor – 0:00
2. Andante Grazioso – 6:39
3. Fugue (rather broad) – 11:46

A Closer Look: Audition Excerpt Performances

Many of the instrumental excerpts from the Symphony in B-Flat are often used for military band auditions. Below, hear our principal performers demonstrate these excerpts and discuss the challenges and pitfalls contained within each instrumental line.


Hindemith Symphony in B-flat: Flute Excerpts


Hindemith Symphony in B-Flat: Oboe Excerpts


Hindemith Symphony in B-Flat: Clarinet Excerpts


Hindemith Symphony in B-flat: Saxophone Excerpts


Hindemith Symphony in B-Flat: Trumpet Excerpts


Hindemith Symphony in B-flat: Horn Excerpts


Hindemith Symphony in B-Flat: Trombone Excerpts


Hindemith Symphony in B-Flat: Euphonium Excerpts

General Music Curriculum

General Music Curriculum

Each of these curricula are thoughtfully designed with the intent of providing creative connection and engagement between the Hindemith Symphony in Bb and elementary or intermediate music students.


Lesson Plan #1


Lesson Plan #2


Lesson Plan #3


Historical Artifacts

In addition to being a world-class performing ensemble, the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" stewards a trove of archival artifacts relating to military band history and tradition. Here are a few selections of interest curated from the collection, adding additional historical context, recordings, and research about the origins of the Symphony and its importance in the wind band canon.

Radio Broadcast Performance

Radio Broadcast Performance

Listen to the historic radio broadcast performance of the world premiere performance in 1951, recorded by principal trumpet player at the time, LTC (Ret.) Gil Mitchell. The recording exists on acetate and reel-to-reel in the Pershing's Own archives.


World Premiere Broadcast


Premiere Article

Here we have the original press release article advertising the world premiere of Paul Hindemith's Symphony in B-Flat, with himself conducting the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own"


Press Release: 1951


Premiere Article
How the Symphony in B-Flat was Commissioned

How the Symphony in B-Flat was Commissioned

This is a letter between Keith Wright and David McCormick which anecdotally describes the story of how the Symphony in B-Flat was requested of Mr. Paul Hindemith.


Letter: December 2nd, 1967


Excerpt from Dissertation by Dr. Scott Anthony Weiss

For a more academic deep dive, check out this excerpt from Dr. Scott Anthony Weiss's dissertation, A History of the U.S. Army Band, 1945-2000.


Dr. Weiss Dissertation Excerpt


Excerpt from Dissertation by Dr. Scott Anthony Weiss

The Why

Typically, we like to begin with why at "Pershing's Own"—but we also believe there is a time and place to allow the music and history to speak first for themselves.  Now that we've given those elements a voice, here are the reasons behind the start of this new series of free educational content developed specifically for you by The United States Army Band "Pershing's Own". 

Intent: 

  • Create high-quality, live videos of The U.S. Army Concert Band performing large-scale wind ensemble works. 
  • Extract challenging instrumental excerpts from each selection and create educational video content of principal players demonstrating accurate performance practice while sharing valuable discussion points.
  • Develop coordinated curriculums to engage Elementary and Middle school classrooms with active listening activities and thinking exercises based on the full band video recording. 
  • Offer multiple iterations of this package concept throughout the year, building a library of resources specific to wind band literature and accessible across multiple age groups. 

Purpose: 

  • Establish an audio-visual legacy of the expertise and quality exhibited by the United States Army Concert Band. 
  • Create a clear guide for achieving what ‘right’ sounds like when preparing audition excerpts. 
  • Develop supplemental educational resources applicable across all age groups. 
  • Encourage engagement between general music students and wind ensemble repertoire.
  • Provide equal availability of trusted preparatory materials, regardless of access to music education and private instruction.

We intend to do more "Complete Package" projects like this one, so we hope to hear your feedback on how we did with our inaugural run and what you'd like to see included in the next iteration! 

Get in touch

Questions? Ideas? Anecdotes? Please reach out and let us know!

E-mail MSG Leigh Lafosse