Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. John Cody Birdwell


John Mackey’s Wine-Dark Sea: Symphony for Band(2014) is a work of epic proportions and was the winner of the William D. Revelli Composition Contest of the National Band Association in 2015. Wine-Dark Sea: Symphony for Bandhas received much acclaim and many performances including a recording by the University of Texas Wind Ensemble in 2016.

The purposes of this dissertation are 1) to provide historical information on the genesis of the work through interviews with its composer, John Mackey, and commissioning director, Jerry Junkin; 2) to provide an analysis of how the programmatic elements of Homer’s Odysseyinteract with the musical aspects of the work.

The first chapter discusses biographical information essential to the understanding of John Mackey’s music. Chapter two includes information specific to the creation of Wine-Dark Sea: Symphony for Band. Chapters three through five provide analytical information alongside programmatic information to provide a clear understanding of how the music and programmatic elements combine to create the work. Chapter six concludes the document with some performance suggestions for the conductor.

An appendix of information including graphs of how dynamic range corresponds to programmatic elements and interviews with the composer, John Mackey, and the commissioner, Jerry Junkin, are also provided.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)