Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. John Cody Birdwell


Despite being active as a composer for a little less than a decade, Steve Danyew has established himself as a successful composer of wind music. Danyew has produced a surprisingly large amount of significant works for various music ensembles in a relatively short span of time. Danyew’s compositions for winds are some of his most frequently performed for any medium.

Three of Danyew’s compositions for winds stand out as artistically significant, namely Lauda, Alcott Songs, and Magnolia Star. One of his first compositions for wind band, Lauda, is an award-winning work that has been performed by noteworthy ensembles throughout the country. Lauda displays Danyew’s ability to manipulate and expand on simple musical ideas, as the entire piece is developed from a few basic themes. Alcott Songs adds some diversity to Danyew’s body of work as a song cycle for chamber winds and solo soprano. The text for these songs comes from poems written by Louisa May Alcott. Danyew shows a remarkable ability to connect text and music through descriptive wind parts and frequent text painting. Magnolia Star has become Danyew’s most performed composition for winds and is inspired by both the C blues scale and the American railroad. Because of the railroad’s important role in disseminating jazz from the American south to the north, Danyew uses train sounds as a major theme in Magnolia Star, which employs, almost exclusively, notes from the C blues scale.

This study provides background information and explores the inspirations and influences behind each of these three pieces. Following the introductory material, a melodic, harmonic, and formal analysis of each composition is presented, discussing the artistry and skill displayed by Danyew in each work. The author wishes to exhibit the musical value of Danyew’s compositions, demonstrating the significance of Danyew’s music in the recent history of music for winds.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)