Russell Peterson's





All pieces below are available from Russ Peterson, please contact him for information on obtaining any piece listed.

Title Genre Description

3 Jazz Movements for Saxophone Quartet Sax Quartet
I. Swing, II. Straight, III. Smokin'  7:30, grade 3.

Hear it here
Allegro and Funky Fugue
Brass Quintet and solo trumpet Commissioned bythe Rekkenze Brass Quintet and trumpet soloist James Thompson for the Frankenwald Brass Week and Festival, Germany, August 8, 2009

Single movement, 6 min. piece.  

Allegro for Strings and Harp
String Orchestra and Harp Commissioned by Barrington High School Orchestra, Ill, Clark Sheldon, director.  This piece is about 5 min long and features the harp (but it's not a true concerto).  Strings parts are very rhythmic and within a good high school string sections ability.

Amazing Grace Wind Quintet and Tenor sax I like to do this with our faculty wind quintet.  Half way through, I walk off stage and grab my tenor and finish it out.  

Amazing Grace

Live 2007 performance with the Concordia College Faculty Wind Quintet
Between Two Cultures
Orchestra Commissioned by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony in 2005 for their season opener. Three movement work running about 22 min. This piece is based on 3 drawings by Fargo based artist Star Wollowing Bull. See photos here. The piece has an optional native American drum group cadenza at the end of the second mvt. The piece also features a wooden, native American flute through out the work (optional flute or alto flute).


Between Two Cultures I - Unknown Territories
Between Two Cultures II - Windego Vs. the Cannibal Man
Between Two Cultures III - Once Upon A Time

This is a live performance with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, Bernard Rubenstein conductor, on 9-25-05.

Program note:

I was commissioned by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony to compose a work for the 2005/06 season-opening concert. When the Plains Art Museum and the FM Symphony decided to make a collaborative evening of art and music, I was introduced to Star. As I have worked with him, it has been a real thrill to study his work and get a glimpse into the variety of cultures that have shaped his life.

Initially, Star had reservations about how the orchestra and music might reconcile with his art, but as we worked together, the realm of possibilities opened up, and we both gained enthusiasm for the project.

I first met Star at his apartment. He showed me several pieces that would be in the exhibition. After a few minutes of talking with Star and seeing his work I knew what I was going to do with the Symphony's piece. I decided to name my symphonic work after Star's exhibition Between Two Cultures. I would score it for full orchestra: with two flutes, both doubling on piccolo; two oboes, with the second doubling on English horn; two B flat clarinets; one bass clarinet; one alto saxophone; three bassoons, with the third doubling on contra; four French horns; two trumpets; three trombones; one tuba; timpani; and four percussionists—all playing a variety of instruments, harp, and strings.

The piece is based on three of Star's drawings. The first movement is based on the work Unknown territory. It begins with our principal flutist playing a traditional, wooden, Native American flute. The movement explores the dark and distant look on the man's face in the drawing, as well as his contemplation and rage. To me, the loss of his arms signifies the loss of something deeper: his culture? his land? his family?

The second movement is based on Windigo vs. the cannible man. This drawing depicts a fight between two evil spirits. The music is driving and dark. This movement evokes my understanding of the sounds at a powwow, where the alto saxophone is the leader and the rest of the orchestra answers the chant. As the piece builds to a climax with the fight, the Thunder Boys, the Native American drum group from the Sisseton-Wahpeton tribe, enters the stage and performs a short work, ending this movement.

The last movement is based on Once upon a time. This drawing seems very significant to Star, as it represents a new beginning in his life. From out of a very troubled past he's reaching for a star success, a new life (thanks to a grant from the Smithsonian Institution). The movement begins with the full string section playing rather somber, intense music. The pensive mood turns heroic with the brass section entering and the piece ends uplifting and positive.

I am thankful to the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony and the Plains Art Museum for making this collaboration possible. I am also grateful to Star for sharing his culture and his personal stories.

Bossy Nova
Soprano Sax
(or Oboe)
and String Quartet
For soprano saxophone (or oboe) and string quartet.

Written by Russell Peterson, this piece is for soprano sax (or oboe) and string quartet. Based on the chord changes to Blue Bossa (with a bridge). Nice Bossa Nova groove, optional open section for soloists! Also, optional shaker or light bongos would be nice in this.

Bossy Nova

This is a midi file recording of Bossy Nova.
Concertino for Alto Saxophone and Band

Solo Alto Saxophone and Band

Same piece as the Concertino for Alto Sax and young string orchestra, transcribed for solo alto sax and band.

Listen: (6.2megs)

Live performance with Russ Peterson with the Concordia College Cobber Concert Band, Leigh Wakefield conductor 4-17-00

Concertino for Alto Saxophone and Young String Orchestra
Solo Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra This piece was commissioned and written for the Robert Asp 6th Grade Orchestra and premiered in March of 1999, by the composer and Conductor, Brian Cole. Obviously, easy enough for a younger group to play, but it also works well with string quintet and more "experienced" groups. This piece begins with a slow intro by the orchestra and sax, followed by a slow duet for sax and cello. The fast section is based on a simple ryhthm that most younger groups could learn eaisly, but still enjoyable for the audience. The saxohpone part is rather challenging, with lots of running 16ths and a few altissimo notes, not to mention a few funny pops and multiphonics to give the audience a few laughs. Runs about 6 minutes. This piece has also been transcribed for Bassoon and Orchestra and now for Saxophone and Band!

Listen: (6.9 MEGS)

This is a live recording with the Fargo-Moorhead Youth Symphony (6th-8th grade) with Russell Peterson, alto saxphone and Brian Cole conducting.

Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra 


Solo Alto Saxophone and Orchestra (1999) Scored for full orchestra, this large, 3 movement work is filled with beautiful harmonies and melodies, giving the saxophone a real oppourtunity to shine as a soloist. The composer has utilized the alitssimo register rather extensively and freely, making this piece quite demanding for the soloist. The First Movement, "Quasi Andante" is a tip of the hat to the old, romantic style concertos, beautiful melodies, thematic development, and great expression. The Second movement entitled "A Cool Wind is Blowing" is based on an Armenian folk melody and the saxophone imitates the "Duduk," or the "Armenian Oboe"

The last movement is extremely fast and exciting - a real show stopper! Highlights some of the amazing technical possibilities of the Saxophone. Premiered in Feb. 26 and 27, 2000 by the composer and the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, Joel Revzon Conducting. (Ca. 25 min)

This is a live performance with Russell Peterson on saxophone and the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, Joel Revzon conducting.

Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Percussion Orchestra
Solo Alto Saxophone and Percussion ensemble Commissioned by David Eyler and the Concordia College Percussion Enesemble (Moorhead, Minnesota).  3 movement piece, scored for 12 percussionists (2 vibes, 5 marimbas, 4 percussion, timp.)and piano. The piece runs about 16 minutes. Very demanding on the solo saxophonist, yet accessible by a good high school percussion ensemble. High energy, fast and audience friendly. GRAMOPHONE Magazine, (Feb., 2003) noted: 'Peterson's own 16-minute Concerto, featuring Spanish rhythms and a lovely second-movement duet with vibraphone, is an effective vehicle for his striking command of color and dynamics. The highly-charged sound is riveting...'

Listen to some excerpts:

1. Slowly/Allegro [7:40]
2. Tempo Rubato [4:40]
3. Allegro [3:56]

The entire piece can be heard on Russell's CD American Breath.

Concertino for violin and young string orchestra Violin solo and string orchestra Written for Sonja Harasim and the Fargo-Moorhead Area Youth Symphony, Brian Cole, director.  Written for professional violinist and young strings players.  Grade 5 soloist, grade 1 orchestra

Hear it here:

Concerto For Timpani and Orchestra
Solo Timpani and Orchestra (2002) Commissioned by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra and David Eyler. This piece was premiered in April of 2002 with the F-M Symphony and David Eyler on Timpani. This piece and a recording now available.


Movement I. Allegro
Movement II. Adagio
Movement III. Maestoso; Allegro

The entire piece is available on Music by Russell Peterson

Fire Jazz Band Written by Terri Lyne Carrington, this arr. was written to feature her at the 2006 Concordia College Day of Percussion.  Great drum feature.  Also features tenor sax and guitar.


Five more (not so easy) Dances for Wind Quintet Wind Quintet 5 Movements: Funky, Bossa Nova, Samba, Jig, Flamenco.  optional solo improvisation in last movement.  Grade 3. 2018

Listen here
For Those in Peril on the sea For orchestra and vocalist The famous Navy Hymn arranged for singer and string orchestra.  Premiered by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony and Peter Halverson in 2019. 

Fantasia Solo Sop sax and Wind Ensemble

By Heitor Villa-Lobos, 3 movement piece arranged for Wind Ensemble and solo soprano saxophone.  Grade 4
Game of Thrones Suite for Orchestra Full Orchestra 4 themes from the HBO series "Game of Thrones", I. Main Title, II. Goodbye Brother, III. Battle of the Bastards, IV. Ending Credits.

Hear it here:

Georgia on my Mind

Solo Saxophone and Orchestra (or band, sax quartet, or jazz band)

For solo Saxophone and Band, Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Piano, or Sax Quartet. Please see the Georgia page for full explanation of this piece.


Georgia on my Mind for sax and 'concert band' (7.5megs)

Georgia on my Mind for sax and 'big band' (6.5megs)

This is a live recording of Russell Peterson and the Concordia College Band in 1995, Russ Pesola conducting, and the 'International music camp faculty big band' (2004).

Global Warming
Concert Band Written in 2008 for the Mounds Park Academy 7th/8th grade Concert band in St. Paul Minnesota, Laura Goucher, director.  This piece is about 7 min. long and goes through seveal different sections describing musically, Global Warming.  Included at the end is a list of things we can all do to prevent Global warming:

What we can all do to fight the Global Warming:

Buy energy efficient appliances and light bulbs
Change your thermostat (and use clock thermostats) to reduce energy for heating and cooling
Weatherize your house, increase insulation, get an energy audit
Buy a hybrid car
When you can, walk or ride a bicycle
Where you can, use light rail and mass transit
Tell your parents not to ruin the world that you will live in
If you’re a parent, join with your children to save the world they will live in
Switch to renewable sources of energy
Call your power company to see if they offer green energy,If they don’t, ask them why not
Vote for leaders who pledge to solve the climate crisis
Write to congress, If they don’t listen, run for congress
Plant trees, lots of trees
Speak up in your community
Call radio shows and write to newspapers
Insist that America freeze Carbon Dioxide emissions
Join international efforts to stop global warming
Reduce our dependence on foreign oil
Help farmers grow alcohol fuels
Raise fuel economy standards
Require lower emissions from automobiles
Pray that people will find the strength to change

(From Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth)


Global Warming (9.3 megs)

Live recording of the Mounds Park Academy 7-8th grade band
May 2008
Is the butterfly still dead? Soprano Sax
(or Oboe)
String Quartet
For soprano saxophone (or oboe) and string quartet.

Almost a pop ballad.  Fun, melodic, minor-ish tune.  
We found a dead butterfly on the ground that my 4 year old daughter loved. The next morning she asked "Is the butterfly still dead?"


Is the butterfly still dead?
(a midi recording)
Jeannine 6 saxophones By Duke Pearson, Arranged for 6 Saxes (sop, 2 alto, 2 tenors, baritone) optional bassoon.  Grade 3

Hear it here
Libertango Soprano Sax
(or Oboe)
String Quartet
For soprano saxophone (or oboe) and string quartet.

Written by Astor Piazzolla. This arrangement is for soprano sax (or oboe) and string quartet. Great music, lots of fun to perform. Great as an encore.



(recorded live with Jennifer Peterson on oboe)
The Life of King David: Concerto for Marimba and Band
Solo Marimba and concert band The Life of King David: Concerto for Marimba and Band, was commissioned by Marc Wooldridge and Northwestern College (IA) Symphonic Band directed by Timothy McGarvey. It was composed in the summer of 2004 and is in 3 movements that depict various stages in King David's life.

Program note:

The first movement, Shepherd Boy, describes his humble beginnings. The movement starts with a prerecorded tape sounds, featuring a vocalist that sings a Middle Eastern folk-like melody. This serves as a kind of call to worship, or a shepherd singing to his flock in the open field. The band enters with the percussion section on hand drums and the solo marimbist playing a steady 16th note figure. The band rarely reaches a forte level in the movement, but accompanies the marimba in subtle, melodic way. The tape sound returns at the end of the movement and the marimba and English horn trade melodies with the singer.

The second movement, Giant Slayer, depicts David's battle with the giant Goliath. The movement begins with anxiety and fear as David approaches his battle. The band drops out leaving the solo marimba to play a dramatic, 4 octave melody that represents David's finale prayer before facing Goliath. As the giant approaches David we hear his footsteps and David's sling whirling around. The rock is released and the giant falls.

The third movement, King of Judah, begins with mumblings in the crowd, as disbelief that this simple boy has slain the fearsome giant. The brass flourish symbolizes David's triumph and later appointment as King of Judah. The solo marimba begins the celebration with an up tempo Middle Eastern dance. The tempo and excitement continue to build through this movement, displaying the virtuosity of the solo marimbist.

This is a performance of the piece with Marc Wooldridge, marimba, and the Concordia College band, Scott Hagen conductor:

I. Shepherd Boy (8.4megs)
II. Giant Slayer (3.5megs)
III. King of Judah (4.7megs)

Mary's Little Boy Chile Saxophone and
Written for the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Holiday Pops concerts Dec. 17-20, 2009.  Features tenor sax and full orchestra on this fun Caribbean tune.  

Listen to it here

Watch it on youtube here:

Michael's composition #2 or #3 Orchestra For full orchestra. This was written for the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony's Children/Family concert on March 30, 2006. The theme (heard at the beginning by the violins) was written by 6th grader Michael Dahl. He won the FM Symphony young composer's competition with this theme and I did the orchestration. Michael couldn't remember if this was his 2nd or 3rd composition.


Michael's Composition #2 or #3

This is a live recording of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony on 3-30-06.

Midwest Caprice #1 Solo Saxophone For Unaccompanied saxophone

This is a fun piece based on some Copland ideas I've been studying. Runs about 3.5 min.

Take a look at the first 2 pages

Milonga Del Angel Soprano Sax
(or Oboe)
and String Quartet
For soprano saxophone (or oboe) and string quartet.

Written by Astor Piazzolla. This arrangement is for soprano sax (or oboe) and string quartet. Great music, lots of fun to perform - slow and sexy, gotta love Piazzolla.


"Moorhead Fantasia"

(Curse of the Rosin eating Plungers!)
Solo Clarinet, French Horn, and String Orchestra For Clarinet, French Horn and orchestra

Written for Prof. Leigh Wakefield, clarinet; Prof. Karin Wakefield, horn and thier daughter Tessa, cello, and the Robert Asp 6th grade orchestra, Brian Cole Conductor. Written to feature pro. level clarinet and horn player while being accompanied by a grade school - college level orchestra! Great feature piece!

Listen to this piece! (9 megs)

Monday Night at Dempsey's For Jazz Ensemble Based roughly on the chord changes of "Doxy" - with a bridge.  Features Tenor sax and Alto Sax on solos.  readable by a good high school jazz ensemble.  Grade 3.   See here:

Native Dance For Wind Quintet Short piece featuring a wooden flute (and hand drum)Premiered by the Concordia Wind Quintet.  Grade 3
Oblivion Soprano Sax
(or Oboe)
and String Quartet
For soprano saxophone (or oboe) and string quartet.

Written by Astor Piazzolla. This arrangement is for soprano sax (or oboe) and string quartet. Great music, lots of fun to perform.



(recorded live with Jennifer Peterson on oboe)

Pearl Harbor
Concert Band
Commissioned by the Moorhead High School Band, Doug Engstrom, conductor.  10 min. piece for band and narrator.  Written for the 2009 tour of Moorhead High School band to Pearl Harbor.  They performed the piece on the dock of Pearl Harbor on March 18, 2009.

Prelude, Cadence et Finale Solo Alto Saxophone and Orchestra

by Alfred Desenclos, Arranged for Alto Sax & Orchestra by Russell Peterson 
Quintet for Alto Saxophone and Strings
Alto Saxophone and String Quartet 2 movement piece (slow, fast) premiered by Russell Peterson on 10-5-03 with the Dakota Rose String quartet.


I. Moderato

II. Allegro molto

Sonata for Alto Saxophone and 4 Marimbas
Solo Alto Saxophone and 4 Marimbas (or Marimba choir) A transcription of the Sonata for sax and piano (above) - 2 movement piece (slow, fast) premiered by Russell Peterson with the IMPULSE percussion ensemble from Minneapolis.


This is a live recording with Russ Peterson and the Concordia Marimba choir done on 4-1-06.

I. Adagio
II. Allegro

Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano
Alto Saxophone and Piano 2 movement piece (slow, fast) premiered by Russell Peterson on 10-5-03 with Jay Hershberger, piano.


I. Adagio
II. Allegro

Sonata for Piano
Piano solo 3 Movement piece piece Commissioned for the 2007 North Dakota
Music Teachers Association Annual conference.  

Dedicated to Jay Hershberger


I. Flowing
II. Meditative Prayer
III. Driving

Southwest Wind Dance
Wind Quintet
Features wooden flute (or alto flute), optional hand drum, 3 minutes, grade 2

Hear it here
Stairway to Heaven
Solo saxophone, guitar and orchestra Commissioned by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra for their 2006 summer pops concert outside at Trollwood park in Fargo, ND. Scored straight from the famous Led Zepplin recording, this arrangement features saxophone doing the vocals and guitar playing the famous Jimmy Page licks. You need a full rhythm section (preferably 2 guitars, bass, drums and keyboards) along with your orchestra! This is live recording featuring guitarist Michael Coates. Excuse the funky recording, it was outside on a windy day!


Stairway to heaven for saxophone/guitar and orchestra

13 Saxophones

(3 sop, 3 alto, 3 ten, 3 bari, & soloist)
For saxophone choir (12 saxes) and solo alto saxophone, premiered Summer, 2002 with John Sampen, saxohphone, Marco Albonetti, conductor, at the 2002 Faenza International Saxophone Festival (Italy)



This is a version with Chris Hitt Singing and playin piano, Russ Peterson playing all 13 sax parts!

The Tornado of 1919 Concert Band 10 min. band piece commisioned by the Fergus Falls Concert Band, Jim Iverson director. Depicts the 1919 tornado that killed 65 people from Fergus Falls.


Tornado of 1919

Live performance with the Fergus Falls high school band.

Trio for Alto Saxophone, Violin and Piano
Alto sax, Violin, piano Commissioned by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony for their 2007 Chamber music series.  Dedicated to violinist Eric Grossman and pianist Jay Hersheberger, it was premiered on April 14, 2007 at the "NASA Region 3 convention" at North Dakota State University in Fargo.


I. Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Allegro Molto Perpetuo

A live performance of the premiere in April of 2007.

Tribute Trio For Violin, Sax and Piano (2014)  4 movement work ca. 20 min.  Written for and premiered by violinist Sonja Harasim.  Each movement dedicated to a different composer and written in the style of.  First mvt after Ravel, second after Maslanka, third after Beethoven, forth after Shostakovich.  Grade 5

Also arranged for Flute, Sax and piano.
Trio for Flute, Alto Saxophone and Piano Alto sax, Flute, Piano Written for Deb Harris, flute; Jay Hershberger, piano.  Premiered at Concordia College Oct. 2, 2009.  3 movement piece runs about 13 min.  


Mvt. #3

Purchase score and parts here
Trio Italiano Alto sax, Bari sax and piano 2 movement piece, written for Marco Albonetti and his students at the TRENTO Conservatory in Italy.

Listen here:
Solo Tuba, Narrator and concert band Commissioned by Mounds Park Academey 7-8th grade band, Laura Goucher director. Premiered at the 2007  MMEA (Minnesota Music Educator's Association) Convention in Minneapolis, MN.  Tuba soloist: Deanna Swoboda.  Get it?


Tuba-oda for solo tuba and concert band

What a Wonderful World
Saxophone and orchestra Commissioned by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra for their 2006 summer pops concert outside at Trollwood park in Fargo, ND. This arrangement features saxophone doing the famous Louis Armstrong vocals. You need a full rhythm section (preferably classical/acoustic guitar, bass, drums and keyboards) along with your orchestra! 


What a Wonderful World for saxophone and orchestra

This is live recording featuring guitarist Michael Coates. Excuse the funky recording, it was outside on a windy day!

...Who Needs Enemies? Sax Quartet and Concert Band For Saxophone Quartet and full concert band. Please see ...Who Needs Enemies? for more on this piece, plus a Wave format example of it!


...Who Needs Enemies? (8.3megs)

This is a live performance of the Hard-Bop Sax Quartet and the Concordia College Concert Band, Russ Pesola Conductor.

Jazz Saxophone Quartets

See Sax Quartet Page for full explaination of each piece, plus some Wave and MP3 format examples.

Please contact

Russell Peterson

for more information on his compositions.