Steps Ahead is a BandQuest work by Michael Gandolfi that takes young players on a journey! Along the way, there are musical techniques that are intended to educate the performers about basic compositional tools. “Steps Ahead is a delightful piece with something interesting for every instrument in the ensemble. Each of its three sections addresses a kind of compositional technique – transposition, tutti (a 2-part homophonic section) and developing tutti (parts of the band enter to build to a 2-part homophonic tutti).  Less experienced players might enjoy the challenges of easy syncopation and musical lines constructed with larger intervals.” –Tom Duffy, Series Editor


1- Conductor

4- Flute 1,2

4- Flute 3,4

4- Flute 5,6

2- Oboe

4- Bb Clarinet 1

4- Bb Clarinet 2

4- Bb Clarinet 3

2- Bb Bass Clarinet

2- Bassoon

4- Eb Alto Saxophone

2- Bb Tenor Saxophone

2- Eb Baritone Saxophone

3- Bb Trumpet 1,2

3- Bb Trumpet 3,4

4- French Horn

3- Trombone 1

3- Trombone 2

3- Tuba

2- Percussion 1 – Glockenspiel/Triangle

2- Percussion 2 – Mark Tree/Triangle

2- Percussion 3 – Triangle/Cymbal

1- Vibraphone

1- Snare Drum

1- Bass Drum

Meet The Composer

Michael Gandolfi has a broad range of musical interests encompassing not only contemporary concert music but also jazz, blues and rock, by which route he first became a musician. The span of his musical investigation is paralleled by his cultural curiosity, resulting in many points of contact between the world of music and other disciplines, including science, film, and theater.

Mr. Gandolfi’s music has been performed by many of the world’s leading orchestras and ensembles, including the Boston, Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Memphis, London BBC, BBC Scottish and Grant Park Festival symphony orchestras; the Boston Modern Orchestra Project; the Orpheus, Los Angeles, St. Paul, and Pro Arte chamber orchestras; Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam,  the London Sinfonietta, The Chicago Sinfonietta, The President’s Own United States Marine Band, Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Atlanta Chamber Players, Speculum Musica, Boston Musica Viva, and Collage New Music, among others.

The 2014/15 season featured several new works by Mr. Gandolfi.  His ‘Ascending Light’ for organ and orchestra was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in March at Symphony Hall, under the direction of Andris Nelsons, with Olivier Latry, soloist; ‘Imaginary Numbers,’ a concerto for four soloists and orchestra, was premiered in April by the Atlanta Symphony orchestra under the direction of Robert Spano, with the ASO’s orchestra principals as soloists; ‘Winding Up/Winding Down,’ a serenade for clarinet and wind ensemble was premiered by several co-commissioner ensembles throughout the year, and a work for Dawn Upshaw and chamber ensemble will be premiered in July at the Tanglewood Music Center.  ‘Cantares de Galicia,’ a concert-band work based on Galician melodies, completed earlier this year, will be premiered by the Ithaca College Wind Ensemble next season.

Mr. Gandolfi has an extensive discography, including The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, recorded on the Telarc label by Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and inspired by Charles Jencks’ spectacular private garden in Dumfries, Scotland.  It earned a 2009 Grammy nomination for ’Best Classical Contemporary Composition.’  His BMOP Sound recording ‘Y2k Compliant’ was cited by the New York Times as a ‘Best CD of 2008,’ and his BMOP Sound recording ‘From the Institutes of Groove’ was cited by the Boston Globe as a ‘Best Album of 2013.’  Other music of Mr. Gandolfi’s has been recorded on the Deutsche Grammophon, Telarc, ASO Media, BSO Classics, Reference Recordings, Foghorn Classics, CRI, Innova, Klavier and BMOP Sound labels.  He currently chairs the composition department at the New England Conservatory of Music, serves on the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center, and has been a faculty member at Harvard University and Indiana University.  He is listed in the New Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

About The Premiere

Steps Ahead was written in residence with the Roland Hayes School of Music Band in Roxbury Crossing, MA under the direction of Laura Bouix in 2017.