A Brass Menagerie, for brass quintet

I. Molto Allegro

II. Lento

III. Scherzando ben ritmico

IV. Alla Marcia

V. Brillante




John Cheetham (b. 1939)

Composer Information

John E. Cheetham, Professor Emeritus of Music Theory and Composition at the University of Missouri-Columbia, was born in Taos, New Mexico in 1939. During his tenure at Missouri from 1969 to 2000, he wrote compositions for virtually all media. He has composed more than sixty works for solo instruments, small ensembles, concert bands, orchestras and choruses that have been widely performed in the United States and abroad. He taught at University of Missouri until he retired in 2000 and still lives in Columbia with his wife, Marilyn, as he continues to compose, conduct, and occasionally perform in ensembles. 



Musicians Publications





Ranking Position



A Brass Menagerie: The Music of John Cheetham by The Enchantment Brass: The Enchantment Brass, 2017.

New Mexico Brass Quintet by New Mexico Brass Quintet: Crystal Records, 1987.

Four American Stories by Baylor Brass: Tresona Multimedia, 2015.

Youtube: John Cheetham, "A Brass Menagerie," Sewanee Summer Music Festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwJkgk5yxmU

Types of Instruments/Mutes

Except from the tuba, all instruments need a mute.

Final Considerations

More than twenty years after composing his famous Scherzo, Cheetham presents a more elaborate work, A Brass Menagerie. From a modest twentieth-century writing perspective, this piece requires numerous colors and textures of the brass quintet and demands firm command of soft dynamics from performers. Another point of consideration is the sustained, and eight-note chords present, in virtually every section of this piece. It is a blow for the first trumpet and horn parts, because of that it could be considered an a level 3 piece. Packed with impressive rhythmic gestures, and memorable melodies, this piece is a terrific contribution to the brass quintet repertoire, as original music of this quality, at this grade level, is often difficult to find.