(DAT) Basic Orchestral Repertoire for Percussion

These lists are based on my database of percussion repertoire from many auditions over the last 10-15 years.

A few suggestions first:

1. Use only the original parts when preparing this repertoire. Avoid any edited versions. You can get copies of the original parts from reprint publishers such as Kalmus and Luck's. Most professionals have large collections of photocopied parts they have acquired over the years. Access to a symphony orchestra's library is also very helpful. I would be happy to assist with reasonable requests for material from my own library, e mail me (datimp@cox.net) for details.

2. There are a few method books that re-publish some of the excerpt repertoire for percussion, such as Morris Goldenberg's Modern School for Snare Drum, 20th Century Orchestra Studies for Percussion edited by Alan Abel, or the two books by Al Payson: The Snare Drum in the Concert Hall, and Techniques for Playing Bass Drum, Cymbals, and Accessories. While for the most part they are fairly accurate, understand that these are NOT exact reproductions of the original part. So, if you use these editions (usually because no others are available); try if at all possible to check the parts against the full score to ensure their accuracy.

3. Detailed study of the full scores of these works is highly recommended.

4. Even though only a particular section of a work may be requested on an audition list, if at all possible the entire part must be prepared.

5. If a particular work is only available via rental from the publisher, these are your options:
This brings up questions of copyright, as long as as the part is only for your personal use and you don't distribute it that's OK.

That said, here is the list:


Bass Drum

Berlioz, H. Symphonie Fantastique
Mahler, G. Symphony #3
Stravinsky, I. Le Sacre du Printemps


Debussy, C. La Mer
Dukas, P. L'Apprenti Sorcier
Mozart, W.A. Magic Flute
Respighi, O. Pini di Roma
Rimsky-Korsakov, N. Russian Easter Overture


Rachmaninov, S. Piano Concerto #2
Tchaikovsky, P. Romeo and Juliet
Tchaikovsky, P. Symphony #4

Snare Drum

Bartók, B. Concerto for Orchestra
Prokofiev, S. Lieutenant Kije
Prokofiev, S. Peter and the Wolf
Prokofiev, S. Symphony #5
Ravel, M. Bolero
Rimsky-Korsakov, N. Capriccio Espagnol
Rimsky-Korsakov, N. Scheherazade
Rossini, G. La Gazza Ladra Overture
Schuman, W. Symphony #3


Dvorak, A. Carnival Overture
Berlioz, H. Roman Carnival Overture
Bizet, G. Carmen
Rimsky-Korsakov, N. Scheherazade
Tchaikovsky, P. Nutcracker


Berlioz, H. Roman Carnival Overture
Brahms, J. Symphony #4
Liszt, F. Piano Concerto #1
Rimsky-Korsakov, N. Scheherazade


Copland, A. Appalachian Spring
Gershwin, G. An American in Paris
Gershwin, G. Porgy and Bess
Kabalevsky, D. Colas Breugnon: Overture
Schuman, W. Symphony #3
Shostakovich, D. Age of Gold: Polka
Stravinsky, I. Petrushka (both 1911 & 1947 versions)


--- To top of page ---
-- More percussion repertoire to augment this basic collection --


Direct your comments or suggestions for more questions to either:

email to Dwight Thomas at:


-- Back to the Dwight Thomas Home Page --
-- Back to the Timpani FAQ Home Page --