Chaos Theory

Concert Band

Chaos Theory

Concerto for Electric Guitar and Band

Solo for Electric Guitar, Solo
Grade Level:
Performance time:
Hal Leonard
Full Score + Parts
Order Number:



One day, seemingly out-of-the-blue, my good friend Eric Whitacre asked me if I was interested in writing a piece for the University of Nevada in Las Vegas Wind Orchestra. Well, he didn't have to ask me twice! I was soon put in touch with the director, Tom Leslie, and when he asked what I had in mind, I decided to go on a limb. I told him I wanted to match the power and intensity of the wind orchestra with an electric guitar. He responded without hesitation, expressing his excitement and enthusiasm for the idea.

In this piece, I wanted to fuse progressive/hard rock intensity with classical sophistication. I wanted to blur the line between something precise and mathematical and something primal and visceral. And I wanted pay homage to a some of my musical influences: Rush, Beethoven, Metallica, J.S. Bach, Led Zeppelin, Shostakovich, Iron Maiden, Igor Stravinsky, King Crimson, George Lynch, Augustin Barrios-Mangore, John Petrucci (Dream Theatre), Frank Zappa, Anton Webern, and Steve Vai.

There are numerous improvisational sections, which afford the soloist a great deal of freedom for interpretation (herein lies the "Chaos"). In performance, the ensemble's rhythm, intonation and articulation should be tight; but far more importantly, the interpretation must be aggressive and ferocious. Chaos Theory can be performed in its entirety, or the third movement can be programmed by itself.

Because of its variety of tonal color and wide dynamic range, I believe the electric guitar has a role in contemporary concert music. That role has only begun to be explored. While this piece presents the guitar primarily as a lead/solo instrument, it has infinite possibilities for incorporation into a large ensemble, and I hope to explore that more fully in the future.

Chaos Theory 3.0 was commissioned by the UNLV Wind Orchestra, and premiered May 30th, 2000, Thomas G. Leslie conducting.

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University of Nevada Wind Symphony / Thomas G. Leslie CD (Compact Disc)

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