Apollo Fanfare

Robert W. Smith
Belwin-Mills Publishing, 2002


Apollo Fanfare (2002) was written and conceived as a concert opener or closer for the beginning band’s first spring concert.  Using the first eight notes of many band methods, Robert W. Smith strove to create a work that would capture the energy and enthusiasm of the beginning band.

The tempo can range from QN=132 to QN=160 beats per minute with effectiveness.  The composer suggests pushing the tempo as the ensemble approaches the performance date. If possible, the director should consider conducting in two as the post-fanfare ostinato and flowing melody begins.

The composition has two main textures: The fanfare melody and the same melody played in a lyrical, flowing style.  The flowing style is supported by a light, joyous, eighth note ostinato figure whenever it appears.

Performance Notes

Apollo, the Greek god of prophecy and music, had the unique ability to foretell the
future of man’s existence on earth.  Apollo Fanfare (2002) celebrates the very best of our future through the performance of student musicians. Those very students, who are performing throughout our worlds with the energy and enthusiasm for the young and young-at-heart, give us all a sense of pride and optimism for the future.  With these thoughts in mind, the composer dedicates Apollo Fanfare to developing band students everywhere, our very own shining lights for the future.

Musical Challenges

Apollo Fanfare (2002) is well written for young bands.  The instrument ranges are easily accessible for even the youngest of ensembles.  The composer gives a very broad range for potential performance tempo to accommodate the technical proficiency of any level of beginning ensemble.

Being a fanfare, with a light, flowing contrasting section, articulations are essential to the best performance of this piece.  Using the accents and staccato markings to create energy and drive will really help this piece create the impact necessary in the audience.  That said, any young ensemble should use caution when performing a written fortissimo.  It would be a good idea to remind the young performers that the dynamics are suggestions, but that they should never play louder than they can control and never softer than they can support.

The timpani plays an important role in the piece.  There are only two pitches, Bb and F, however the interaction with the full ensemble will create an opportunity for developing percussionists to be featured.  The composer suggests assigning this part to one of the more gifted percussionists.  In addition, note the interaction of the auxiliary percussion instruments with the ostinato patterns.  It would be a good idea to isolate those parts to ensure rhythmic security.  This is a fun and exciting piece for young band. The only surprise is its appearance on the Grade 2 list.  This piece should be well within the grasp of a Grade 1 level ensemble.  A young Grade 2 band find this piece to be accessible!

About the Composer

Robert W. Smith (b. 1958) is one of the most popular and prolific composers of concert band and orchestral literature in America today. He has over 600 publications in print with the majority composed and arranged through his long association with Warner Bros. Publications and the Belwin catalog. He is currently published exclusively by the C. L. Barnhouse Company and is the Vice-President of Product Development for C. L. Barnhouse and Walking Frog Records.

Mr. Smith's credits include many compositions and productions in all areas of the music field. His original works for winds and percussion have been programmed by countless military, university, high school, and middle school bands throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, South America and Asia. His Symphony #1 (The Divine Comedy), Symphony #2 (The Odyssey) and Africa: Ceremony, Song and Ritual have received worldwide critical acclaim. His educational compositions such as The Tempest, Encanto, and The Great Locomotive Chase have become standards for developing bands throughout the world. His numerous works for orchestras of all levels are currently some of the most popular repertoire available today. His music has received extensive airplay on major network television as well as inclusion in multiple motion pictures. His “Into The Storm” was featured on the CBS 2009 Emmy Awards telecast as the HBO production of the same name received the Emmy award. From professional ensembles such as the United States Navy Band and the Atlanta Symphony to school ensembles throughout the world, his music speaks to any audience.

As a conductor and clinician, Mr. Smith has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe, South America and Australia. He has recently completed the production of Symphony No. 3 (Don Quixote), the fourth in a series of compact disc recordings of his best-known works for concert band. In addition, he is co-creator of the Expressions Music Curriculum. This comprehensive Pre-K through 12 music program includes Band Expressions, an innovative new approach to teaching music through the band.

Mr. Smith is currently teaching in the Music Industry program at Troy University
in Troy, AL. His teaching responsibilities are focused in music composition, production, publishing and business