Throughout its history, the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble has produced premiere recordings of seminal works for concert winds. Our recording project not only provides valuable experience to our student musicians, but also creates invaluable reference recordings for music educators around the globe.

Most tracks can be streamed for free with Amazon Prime Music. Sales of CDs and MP3s support our ongoing mission of providing the highest caliber music education.


Featuring students from 21 states and four countries, this 2017 album includes a sublime selection of music for wind ensemble, conducted by Director of Bands Dr. Mallory Thompson.

  • Festmusik der Stadt Wien (Richard Strauss)
    Due of the forces required, this work receives relatively few live performances. Conceptually it is modeled after the antiphonal works of Giovanni Gabrieli, showcasing two instrumental choirs passing musical material back and forth. The result is an impressive mixture of technical brilliance and timbral beauty. Born in Munich in 1864, composer Richard Strauss is is recognized as one of the last great romantic composers.
  • that secret from the river (Joel Puckett)
    Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time? That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere… This is Joel Puckett's inspiration for “that secret from the river.” The work as a whole is cast in two large sections: first, an exploration of pure harmonies that are distorted and made hazy through glissandi into sound masses; and second, a series of variants on a familiar harmonic motive.
  • My Brother’s Brain: A Symphony for Winds (Carter Pann)
    I. The Inventions
    II. Demonsphere
    III. The Hymn of Forgiving
    This triptych of sound paintings is composed by Carter Pann, who has received numerous honors, including a Grammy nomination for his piano concerto, first prizes in the Zoltán Kodály and François d’Albert International Composition Competitions, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the Academy of Arts and Letters, and five ASCAP composer awards. In 2016 Pann was named a Pulitzer Prize for Music finalist for his saxophone quartet, The Mechanics: Six from the Shop Floor.

On Amazon: CD Album Stream / MP3


The Symphonic Wind Ensemble's 2015 album, conducted by Director of Bands Dr. Mallory Thompson, features a scintillating program of literature including both original works and transcriptions.

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This beautiful, songful recording has a style and sonority that stretches the concept of a symphonic wind ensemble to provide an inspiring resource for music educators. Conducted by Director of Bands Dr. Mallory Thompson, the album contrasts different eras of Aaron Copland's unmistakable music and delves into unique and colorful timbral modulations created by Joseph Schwantner. Modern favorite Eric Whitacre emotive swells give way to an intense symphonic journey from David Maslanka.

On Amazon: CD Album Stream / MP3

See what goes into making a Symphonic Wind Ensemble recording with the above featurette on the creation of rising.

Heroes, Dreams, & Icons

Issued in 2001, this album pays tribute to Northwestern's long-tenured Director of Bands, John P. Payner. Under the baton of Dr. Mallory Thompson, the Symphonic Ensemble performs a reflective and moving album in his honor. The third work, A Child's Garden of Dreams, was comissioned by John and Marietta Paynter for the Northwestern University Wymphonic Wind Ensemble in 1981.

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Winds of Nagual

Distinguished Professor of Music Ursula Oppens joins Director of Bands Dr. Mallory Thompson and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble for this album featuring a broad selection of works composed and arranged for concert winds.

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Winds of Change

Director of Bands John P. Paynter conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble in performing an album of works representing American music for wind ensmble from the 1950s through the 1970s, featuring renowned saxophonist Dr. Fredrick L. Hempke on the Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra of Wind Instruments.

On Amazon: CD Album Stream / MP3

Through Countless Halls of Air

Recorded in 1994 at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on Northwestern University's campus in Evanston, Illinois, Through Countless Halls of Air is the foruth volume in the Music from Northwestern series. Conducted by Director of Bands John P. Paynter.

  • Through Countless Halls of Air (W. Francis McBeth)
  • Suite from Edvard Munch (Robert Jager)
  • Flight of the Bumblebee (Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov; arr. Glenn Cliffe Bainum)
  • Spiel für Blaserorchester (Ernst Toc)
  • Symphony No. 3 (Vittorio Giannini)

On Amazon: CD Album

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