Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Bradley Kerns


For the past 45 years, Norman Bolter has been one of the most prolific and important composers, performers, and educators for the trombone. Born in Minnesota in 1955, Bolter held the position of Second Trombone of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Principal Trombone of the Boston Pops from 1975 until 2009. He has taught at leading conservatories, universities, and festivals around the world and continues to teach as trombone faculty at the New England Conservatory and the Boston Conservatory today. His compositional output is large and wide-ranged, including works for solo trombone, trombone and piano, trombone ensemble, chamber ensemble, band, orchestra, and more. Norman Bolter has composed over 300 works which feature the trombone, the largest number of works for the instrument by any composer in history.

In 2002, Norman Bolter was approached by R. Douglas Wright, principal trombone of the Minnesota Orchestra to compose two works for trombone and piano to be used in the final round of the Zellmer Trombone Competition held biennially in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The resulting work for tenor trombone and piano, Morning Walk, continues to be used in each occurrence of the Zellmer Trombone Competition and has also become a commonly performed work by professional trombonists and advanced students in recital settings. Morning Walk is a musical ‘portrait’ of the composer’s former trombone teacher and the namesake for the trombone competition, Steven Zellmer. The work presents a wide range of technical challenges to the trombone player. Morning Walk rapidly progresses through many musical styles, as the composer attempts to capture the multi-faceted life, interests, and personality of Steven Zellmer. The composer uses many themes and motifs that appear throughout the work, as well as quotations from various other musical materials including etudes and orchestral literature.

With this document, the performer is provided an in-depth analysis of Norman Bolter's musical vignette of Steven Zellmer. Through the work’s Living Story within the Program Notes and by interviewing the composer, the rich programmatic musical material used throughout Morning Walk will be defined. Instances of musical quotation throughout the work will be identified, and suggestions to overcome the significant technical demands of the composition’s trombone part will be provided. An in-depth exploration into Norman Bolter's Morning Walk for trombone and piano will be a valuable resource for participants in the Zellmer Trombone Competition, for solo performances of the work, and to those who are becoming acquainted with the trombone compositions of Norman Bolter.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)