Works Solo Instrument(s) & Orchestra Prelude, Fugue and Riffs (1949)


Originally written for Woody Hermann, this triptych for solo clarinet and jazz ensemble was dedicated to Benny Goodman and first performed by Al Gallodoro in 1955. The score reflects Bernstein's unique ability to embrace a style and make it his own. The three movements all share the exuberance and tradition of the big band.

Throughout the Leonard Bernstein Centennial, Prelude, Fugue, & Riffs received nearly 100 performances by 46 ensembles in 11 countries across Asia, Europe, and North America, and in 18 states. Set to the irresistibly jazzy score, the New York City Ballet premiered Justin Peck’s Easy to celebrate the centennial.

*Music by Leonard Bernstein. ©1950, renewed
Richard Stoltzman, clarinet, London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lawrence Leighton-Smith.
℗1992 BMG Music. 09026-61360. "The Essential Clarinet".


(1949) 9 min
World Premiere:
October 16, 1955. Omnibus: The World of Jazz, New York, NY, United States | Al Gallodoro, clarinet / ABC-TV Studio Band / Leonard Bernstein, conductor
Solo clarinet and jazz ensemble:2asax(I=cl).2tsax.barsax-5tpt.4trbn-pft-perc(2)-solo db
(arr. 1997) 9 min
World Premiere:
November 4, 1997. Jerusalem, Israel | Richard Stoltzman, clarinet / Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra / Lukas Foss, conductor
solo clarinet. (optional: tuba may double trbn 4)
Version Notes
Arranged by Lukas Foss

Purchasing Licensing Information

To perform Prelude, Fugue and Riffs, please contact Boosey & Hawkes. For general inquiries, click here.

To purchase sheet music for Prelude, Fugue and Riffs, please visit our store.


Leonard Bernstein, Benny Goodman, and Max Hollander, Carnegie Hall, New York, between 1946 and 1948
Photographer: William P. Gottlieb (via Wikimedia Commons) Photographer: William P. Gottlieb (via Wikimedia Commons)

Prelude, Fugue & Riffs: II. Fugue
℗ 1964 Sony Music Entertainment ℗ 1964 Sony Music Entertainment


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