Suitable for Classical concerts.   Duration approximately 20 minutes.  See orchestration.   See printable documents. See publication.  See performances.   See comments.  See audio recording.

About Concerto for Trombone

The Trombone Concerto was written in the summer of 2013 for a joint commission of ten bands.  The performance at DePauw University on October 15, 2013 was the premiere of this work in piano reduction, performed by James Beckel on trombone and Greg Martin on piano.  The orchestral premiere occurred on April 5th of 2014 with the Gulf Coast Symphony conducted by John Strickler.  The trombone soloist was Joe Alessi.

This work is less programmatic than most of the composer's body of work.  Although the concerto is based on personal reflections and introspections throughout this work, the composer, at a more mature age, is looking for answers to life's questions that most people have regarding their existence and the meaning of life.  With age comes only the realization that he has more questions than answers to these great religious and philosophical mysteries.  The composer decides in his own mind that mankind does have free will, but firmly believes that the consequences of man's free will can also lead to destinies that are unavoidable.

More program notes can be found below in the documents section, including co-commissioner participants.


1 Piccolo

3 Trumpets in C

2 Flutes

2 Tenor Trombones

2 Oboes

1 Bass Trombone

English Horn

1 Tuba

2 Bassoons 1 Timpani

2 Bb Clarinets

3 Percussion

Bass Clarinet


4 Horns in F


Violin I
Violin II


Band Instrumentation

1 Piccolo 2 BbTrumpets
2 Flutes 4 Horns in F
1 Oboe 2 Trombones
English Horn Euphonium
1 Bassoon * 2 Tubas
3 Bb Clarinets Timpani
Bass Clarinet * 3 Percussion
2 Alto Sax Optional String Bass
Tenor Sax Optional Harp
Bari Sax Solo Trombone

* Please note that this work has been orchestrated to allow the concerto to be performed with one Tuba.  As well, one less percussion can be used when necessary.  When using only 2 percussionists they should play from the Percussion 1 & 2 parts and play all percussion cues.  Orchestrationally, the composer recommends that the brass parts not be doubled.  It is preferable to have the 2nd trombone part played on bass trombone.


About the Work

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"Concerto for Trombone" has been published by Hal Leonard in the trombone solo and piano version.  The inventory number is HL00138277.

The orchestra and band versions may be rented from the composer.  See the contact info page on this website.



Piano Version - DePauw University Faculty Recital - October 15, 2013 - James Beckel, soloist

Orchestra Version - Gulf Coast Symphony, John Strickler - April 5, 2014 - Joe Alessi, soloist

John Strickler, Joe Alessi, James Beckel

Band Version - Detroit Symphony Civic Winds, Dr. Kenneth Thompson - April 29, 2014 - Bill Mathis, soloist

Additional Performances

Ensemble Date Conductor Soloist
Denver Civic Winds 7/17/14 Joseph Martin Carl Lenthe
Bowling Green State 
University Wind Ensemble
10/3/14 Kenneth Thompson Bill Mathis
DePauw University
11/24/14 Orcenith Smith Jim Beckel
IU Jacobs School of Music
Wind Ensemble
11/11/14 Stephen Pratt Carl Lenthe
Missouri U. of Science and
Technology Band
2/22/15 Robert Cesario 3 Army Band
Butler Wind Ensemble
1st Mvt Only
2/22/15 Mike Colburn Jared Rodin
Metropolitan Wind
3/1/15 Lewis Buckley Mark Weaver
Indiana Wind Symphony 3/23/15 Charles Conrad Jim Beckel



Joe Alessi (Principal Trombonist with the New York Philharmonic)

"I had the greatest time performing James Beckel's Concerto for Trombone.  Being that it was composed by an accomplished trombonist, all the passages are written with the instrument in mind, allowing the trombonist to play with ease.  Not only is this piece fun to play, it exploits the beautiful legato singing style that all trombonists crave.  The piece is a crowd pleaser and the melodies are memorable.  I highly recommend this wonderful concerto to all trombonists."

Carl Lenthe
(Professor of Trombone at IU Jacobs School of Music)

"James Beckel's new trombone concerto is a major work of symphonic dimensions and depth, and showcases the solo trombone very effectively.  I am thrilled and honored to play it."

Bill Mathis
(Professor of Trombone at Bowling Green State University)

"It was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to give the first performance of James Beckel's Trombone Concerto with Wind Band Accompaniment on April 29, 2014 with the Detroit Symphony Civic Youth Wind Ensemble under the direction of Kenneth Thompson.  Beckel's Concerto is a beautiful, expansive, and dramatic work.  The music lies so well on the horn, it is obvious that this is a piece written for trombonists by a trombonist.  It is a challenging work, to be sure, but quite accessible for advanced college students and professional trombonists."


Audio Recording

Movement 1 -

Movement 2 -

Movement 3 -

Please be patient.  The sound doesn't always start immediately.