Commissioned by The Michigan State University Wind Symphony, Kevin Sedatole, Music Director

Duration: 5 ½ minutes

Level: Grade 6

Scoring: Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 4 Clarinets (B♭), Bass Clarinet, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 2 Alto Saxophones (E♭), Tenor Saxophone (B♭), Baritone Saxophone (E♭), 4 Trumpets (B♭), 4 French Horns (F), 3 Trombones (III=Bass Trombone), Euphonium, Tuba, Double Bass, Piano and Celesta (1 player), Harp, Timpani, 4 Percussion

Premiere: 16 March 2017, CBDNA National Convention. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Missouri

Michigan State University Wind Symphony, Kevin Sedatole, Conductor

Score Sample



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Program Note

Petals of Fire is a fierce and colorful rhapsody inspired by American artist Cy Twombly’s 1989 painting of the same title. Part of the work was adapted from a movement from my Concerto for Orchestra. I’ve always been interested in learning how artists mix different styles and techniques together to create a unique, new look. Inspired by Twombly’s attempt to combine text and color to express himself visually (literally, words are part of his painting, much like what Chinese painters did during the Song dynasty), I, as a composer, wanted to create a fusion of musical styles, harmony, and timbre, using a large wind ensemble. In a way, everyone in the ensemble is a “petal;” together, the fire glows, disappears, and dances.

Petals of Fire was commissioned by Michigan State University Wind Symphony on the occasion of the ensemble’s appearance at the 2017 CBDNA National Convention. My deep gratitude goes to Music Director Kevin Sedatole, without whose support and encouragement the work would not have been possible.

Zhou Tian


With Music Director Kevin Sedatole at the premiere of Petals of Fire. 2017 CBDNA (College Band Directors National Association) National Conference, the Kauffman Center, Kansas City, Missouri.


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