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Rock Bottom

Duration: 6'00"


1 Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons, 1 Contrabassoon, 1 Eb Clarinet, 3 Bb Clarinets, 1 Bass Clarinet, 2 Alto Saxes., 1 Tenor Sax., 1 Baritone Sax., 4 Bb Trumpets, 4 Horns, 2 Trombones, 1 Bass Trombone, 1 Euphonium, 1 Tuba, 1 String Bass, 4 Percussion

Program Notes:

​"How wonderful it is that nobody need

wait a single moment before starting

to improve the world."

​- Anne Frank

The phrase "rock bottom" tends to evoke a very negative connotation denoting that we have reached our lowest possible point. One example of reaching rock bottom was the Stock Market Crash of 1929-1930, the event around which this piece is built. However, there is a positive side to hitting rock bottom, and that is in the fact that if we are already at the very bottom, we can only move upwards going forward. Reaching rock bottom then becomes an optimistic view as one looks to the future. While the stock market was crashing, Arkansas State University embarked on a new endeavor: the creation of a band program. This fledgling band began with sixteen members and a large amount of hope. In the ninety years since, the A-State Bands have grown beyond the scope of that initial ensemble to become a mainstay on the Arkansas State University campus and now includes several concert and athletic bands. In a sense that first band provided the bedrock upon which future bands could flourish as they were at a "rock bottom" moment looking forward towards a bright and prosperous future.

Rock Bottom was commissioned by Timothy Oliver and the Arkansas State University Wind Ensemble in honor of the 90th anniversary of the A-State Bands.

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Perusal Score

Selected Performance, 2024 College Music Society's Mid-Atlantic Chapter Conference

Selected Performance, 2024 College Music Society's Northeast Chapter Conference

Semi-Finalist, 2022 Petrichor International Music Competition (Category 7: Composers over 21)

First Place, 2022 3rd Annual WASBE Composition Competition (Category 2: Grade 3-4)

Finalist, 2021 1st Annual Grand Mesa Publications Band Composition and Arrangement Contest

Finalist, The American Prize 2021 Composition - Band/Wind Ensemble (Professional Division) Category

Selected Performance, 2020 CBDNA Southwestern Division Conference


College of William & Mary Wind Ensemble (Richard Marcus, conductor) - 6 April 2024; Williamsburg, VA

Kutztown University Wind Ensemble (Daniel Neuenschwander, conductor) - 23 March 2024; Kutztown, PA

Western University Symphonic Band (Shawn Chabot, conductor) - 10 February 2024; London, ON, Canada

Derbyshire City & County Youth Wind Band (Mark Heron, conductor) - 5 March 2023; Matlock, England

Czech National Concert Band (Col. Václav Blahunek, conductor) - 21 July 2022; Prague, Czech Republic

Arkansas State University Wind Ensemble (Steven Riley, conductor) - 20 February 2020; Norman, OK

Arkansas State University Wind Ensemble (Steven Riley, conductor) - 19 February 2020; Norman, OK

Arkansas State University Wind Ensemble (Steven Riley, conductor) - 18 February 2020; Van Buren, AR

Arkansas State University Wind Ensemble (Steven Riley, conductor) - 17 February 2020; Jonesboro, AR

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