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Spokane native Frank Erickson (1923-1996) was a composer, conductor, arranger, and educator known primarily for his band works.  Among these are three symphonies, a Symphonette, and the famous Air for Band, as well as many others.

Erickson wrote Air in 1956 and subsequently revised it in 1966. It is simple in conception, with A and B sections that lead to a climactic coda.  It was one of the first original (as in non-transcription) slow and pretty pieces that was playable by young bands.  As such, it showed the way for future composers to explore phrasing and delicate playing with younger players.  Here it is, ably handled by the University of North Texas Wind Symphony:

Much has been written about Air for Band.  The highlights from the internet include this conductor’s outline, this study guide from a website dedicated to small bands, and this Prezi by a teacher for her band.  Erickson himself has bios on Wikipedia and the Wind Repertory Project.

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