Work, Julian Cassander

Period: Early 20th Century

Born: Sunday, September 25, 1910 in Nashville, Tennessee (USA)

Died: Thursday, June 15, 1995 in Tolland, Massachusetts (USA)

Nation of Origin: United States

Major Works:
The list below gives catalog number, composition, and the date that publication of the composition was discontinued. This list was generously contributed by Dr. Paxton Girtmon.

HB 161, Appalachia (Piano Solo), *POP 89
K 61, Autumn Walk (Full Band), POP 70
K 62, Autumn Walk (Concert Band), POP 76
K 43, Processional Hymn (Symphonic Band), POP 89
K 94, Driftwood Patterns (Band), POP 77
K 95, Driftwood Patterns (Symphonic Band), POP 79
K 125, Stand The Storm (Band), POP 77
K 129, Stand The Storm (Symphonic Band), POP 81

Portraits of the Bible
K 21, Moses (Symphonic Band), POP 84
K 20, Moses (Full Band), POP 77
K 22, Ruth (Symphonic Band), POP 82
K 25, Ruth (Concert Band), POP 77
K 27, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, POP 74
(Symphonic Band)
K 26, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, POP 74
(Concert Band)

*Permanently out of Print

Other Information:
The following essay was generously contributed by Dr. Paxton Girtmon, Assistant Professor of Music at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas.

by Dr. Paxton Girtmon

Julian Cassander Work (b. September 25, 1910 Nashville, Tennessee d. June 15, 1995, Tolland, Massachusetts) was a member of the famous Work family of Nashville, Tennessee but lived in Tolland, Massachusetts until his death.

During his precollege years in Nashville, Work began his music studies with Mary E. Chamberlain and as a teenager participated in neighborhood musical groups and performed as a jazz pianist. He became a sociology major at Fisk University where his older brother John Wesley Work, III, was Professor of Music. But the love for music was too strong to ignore. It was at this time that Julian pursued composition studies with his brother.

In his professional career Work served as a composer and arranger for vaudeville, television, radio, and recording companies in New York City. He was staff arranger for the Columbia Broadcasting System and was the sole arranger for the Firestone radio program with conductors Alfred Wallenstein and Howard Barlow. He scored works for Gladys Swarthout and Paul Whiteman and composed original background music for several radio programs with Alfred Wallenstein and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Most of Work's compositions are for concert band. His first major composition for band is Portrait of the Bible(1956), a work in three parts: 1) Moses, 2) Ruth, and 3) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Although the musical setting of the biblical characters are not considered program music in the literal meaning of that designation, Mr. Work has indicated that he was influenced by the outstanding traits of Moses, Ruth, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Work, like many Impressionist composers used suggestive titles, colorful and changing timbres, and motivic melodies. Work deliberately tried to avoid falling into predictable patterns. Work describes himself as a composer influenced by the music of Debussy and Ravel. Julian's ultimate goal was to develop his own style of orchestration. Work insisted on the freedom to use whatever compositional devices that might best serve the needs of his current subject.

Julian C. Work, although bound by tradition, sought to create new compositional forms that suited his musical taste. He wished to leave his listeners not with a profound answer, but with an impression.

Essay contributed by:
Paxton Girtmon

Composer Bibliography:
Anderson, Ruth E. Contemporary American Composers, a biographical dictionary. Boston: G.K.Hall, 1982.

Everett, Thomas. "Concert Band Music By Black American Composers," The Black Perspective in Music 6, no.2, (Fall 1978): 143-146.

Southern, Eileen. Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1982.


Autumn Walk, Mercury Records: Mercury's Living Presence (Eastman Wind Ensemble; Frederick Fennell, conductor). MG50220.

General Bibliography:
Slonimsky, Nicolas, Music Since 1900, Schirmer Books, July 1994, ISBN: 0028724186

Salzman, Eric, Twentieth Century Music: An Introduction, Pearson, October 2001, ISBN: 0130959413

Slonimsky, Nicolas and Kuhn, Laura; Editors, Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Gale Group, December 2000, ISBN: 0028655257

Sadie, Stanley and Tyrrell, John; Editors, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Groves Dictionaries, Inc., January 2004, ISBN: 0195170679

Rutherford-Johnson, Tim, Kennedy, Michael, and Kennedy, Joyce The Oxford Dictionary of Music, Oxford University Press, 6th Edition, 2012, ISBN: 0199578109

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