Composer Spotlight: David R. Gillingham

April 26, 2011 10:00 am in Concert by Web Team

On the 20th anniversary of Stained Glass, one of the most seminal and widely performed works in the modern percussion ensemble repertoire, Vic Firth turns it’s spotlight on composer David R. Gillingham. In recognition of his efforts for promoting percussion within his library of over 60 works for concert band and percussion ensemble, Vic Firth sat down with David to gain some insights from his compositional experience in the field of percussion.

Vic Firth Interview with composer David Gillingham

  • Part One (0:00): Early influences in percussion composition, including Paschal Dances
  • Part Two (7:07): On the compositional elements within Stained Glass
  • Part Three (16:06): Percussion within wind band literature, including Concertino for 4 Percussion and Wind Ensemble
  • Part Four (20:30): Latest works & current projects


David R. Gillingham (b. 1947)

David Gillingham earned Bachelor and Master Degrees in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and the PhD in Music Theory/Composition from Michigan State University. Dr. Gillingham has an international reputation for the works he has written for band and percussion. Many of these works are now considered standards in the repertoire.

His commissioning schedule dates well into the first decade of the 21st century. His numerous awards include the 1981 DeMoulin Award for Concerto for Bass Trombone and Wind Ensemble and the 1990 International Barlow Competition (Brigham Young University) for Heroes, Lost and Fallen. Dr. Gillingham’s works have been recorded by Klavier, Sony and Summit and Centaur. His works are regularly performed by nationally recognized ensembles including the Prague Radio Orchestra, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble, The University of Georgia Bands, North Texas University Wind Ensemble, Michigan State University Wind Ensemble, Oklahoma State Wind Ensemble, University of Oklahoma Wind Ensemble, Florida State Wind Ensemble, University of Florida (Miami) Wind Ensemble, University of Illinois Symphonic Band, Illinois State Wind Symphony, University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble, Indiana University Wind Ensemble and the University of Wisconsin Wind Ensemble. Also, nationally known artists, Fred Mills (Canadian Brass), Randall Hawes (Detroit Symphony) and Charles Vernon (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) have performed works by Dr. Gillingham.

Over sixty of his works for band, choir, percussion, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments are published by C. Alan, Hal Leonard, Southern Music, Music for Percussion, Carl Fischer, MMB, T.U.B.A, I.T.A., and Dorn. Dr. Gillingham is a Professor of Music at Central Michigan University and the recipient of and Excellence in Teaching Award (1990), a Summer Fellowship (1991 a Research Professorship (1995), and the recently, the President’s Research Investment Fund grant for his co-authorship of a proposal to establish an International Center for New Music at Central Michigan University. He is a member of ASCAP and has been receiving the ASCAP Standard Awared for Composers of Concert Music since 1996.

Watch a performance of “Paschal Dances”

Performed by the University of North Carolina Greensboro, under the direction of Cort McClaren
Recorded June, 2008

Watch for our upcoming feature on Stained Glass,
including a full performance by The University of Oklahoma
Percussion Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Lance Drege!



Many of David Gillingham’s most popular works for percussion ensemble and wind band are available from our friends at