Whilst trying to find a couple of pieces for my band to play last night, I stumbled upon a testpiece called Pantheon. Attracted to the lovely picture on the front of the score and the fact it seemed to be written by a man called Amos, I brought it out.
After about 10 minutes of moaning and groaning about how terrible this piece of music was, (I think they've played it before) I got them to play it through, and I have to say.......I quite liked it. Of course there were only 13 players there, so I couldn't really get a proper listen to it, and as I know diddly-squat about it, I thought I'd ask you lot.

SO....does anybody know anything about this piece? if so, what do you make of it? I'm interested to know if I should torture my band with it later in the year.


Roger Thorne

Active Member
It was used in 1990 for the 4th Section National Finals. It was composed by Keith Amos.

A list of his compositions can be found by clicking the link below:

Pantheon retails at £75.00.

Biography - Keith Amos

Born March 30, 1939, London. Graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with B.Mus 1960. Pianist, trombonist, arranger and more importantly, composer and conductor.

First Period 1960-1975
Engaged in the whirling world of commercial music-making.
Great admirer of the Big Bands of Shorty Rogers, Gil Evans, Count Basie and, in particular, Stan Kenton; arrangers Shorty Rogers, Gil Evans, Bill Holman, Neil Hefti and Quincy Jones.
Arranged music for many TV light entertainment shows, records, West End Shows and live concerts.
Composed incidental music for TV sitcoms and films.

Second Period 1975-present day
Composition, his first love, now in the ascendant.
Follows his own path, not Fashion.
His earlier practical experience reveals itself in brilliant orchestration and complete confidence in all mediums.
Stylistically accessible, moving and profound.

KEITH AMOS 60 this year!
Keith Amos, 60 this year, considers 1939 a Year of Destiny. In a word, the Second World War influenced the environment in which he grew up, which in turn contributed to the natural gift of Music the gods had decided to bequeath him. High-flown perhaps, but it goes some way to explaining his musical dichotomy: a natural-born composer of fine art music plus, at the same time, a natural-born performer and writer of jazz and swing music. The real thing that is, from America between 1945-65.

Pianist, composer, arranger and conductor

Keith progressed through the orthodox post-war academic education then prevailing, completing with a B.Mus. degree in 1960, obtained at the Royal Academy of Music. Not, however, professionally inclined as a performing pianist or trombonist, and not wishing to teach, he entered, through many Fate-induced triggers, the booming world of commercial music-making. His success as a pianist, composer, arranger and conductor for the next 15 years was wholly satisfying. Learning from ground-level upwards from the best players in the world - London session musicians. Every style imaginable he wrote and played for during these heady years - straight, jazz, popular, light music, wind and brass bands, West End show music. No finer grounding for the `Compleat Composer'. He was aware of the `serious' side, but chose to watch rather than follow the fashion. The Stockhausen-Boulez concept of `music' was not for him.

. . . a natural for writing memorable tunes

During the late 1970's, he did infact return to full time composition but on his own terms. Like Malcolm Arnold, he has never forsaken melody, and feels, quite strongly, that if one is a natural for writing memorable tunes, why deny the gift? It is infact easier not to write a good tune, and create novelty, complex sounds. Which is where we are today.

. . . his music is accessible and always appreciated

Keith's music is therefore accessible, always appreciated by the performers for it's complete understanding of all the instruments and their capabilities, and enjoyed, as a result, by the audience. He has won a number of competitions over the years, his Steadfast Tin Soldier for Narrator & Symphony Orchestra is hailed as a natural successor to Peter & the Wolf, and stoutly maintains a position of letting the music speak for itself. No wordy explanations for Keith. If his music fails to ignite a response in the listener, then he feels he has failed as a composer.

flute choirs

He wrote his first Flute Choir in 1984. A request from a good amateur flautist playing in his windband at the time for something "tuneful and not too difficult". A new medium, he listened to 6 flutes playing as a choir, and was immediately struck by the possibilities of sonority, texture, dexterity and invention. His first 3 Flute choirs were Nursery Rhyme Suite, Animal Friends and Miss Livvy. These have since become popular favourites world-wide. His one large concert suite - Sudeley Castle - was written in 1994. A commission from a semi-professional Flute Choir based in Gloucestershire, this is the only one, thus far, that employs Piccolo, Alto and Bass Flute.

Miss Livvy and others

Fifteen years on, the feedback from flautists is very positive. Flautists, infact, are the most positive and go-ahead of all instrumentalists, Keith feels. Now attending Conventions in the USA, Northern Europe and Brisbane, Keith is always struck by their enthusiasm to embrace new music that has something to say and is well-written for the instrument.
All his Flute Choirs are for mixed ability players (grade 5-8 UK), and players 5 & 6 are not forgotten. The original Miss Livvy has grown into 5 Suites, charting her progress from roughly 1908-1938. This embraces many popular dances from the periods which are not only fun to play, but educational as well.

His natural leaning towards jazz resulted in the Animal Crackers suite. Returning to his student roots, he has arranged 6 delightful pieces by Grieg. Keith used to play these pieces, originally written for piano, and found them highly suitable for the medium.

'serious' flute music

If we must use terms, his more `serious' flute music is catered for with his Flute Sonata, Flute Sonatina and Concerto for Flute and Oboe. TheFlute and Oboe Concerto, originally a commission with String Orchestra accompaniment, has now been transcribed with Piano accompaniment. Many players have taken it up in this form.

. . . a gifted composer with a wealth of experience

Many flautists find it difficult to believe Keith is not a woodwind player. He is first and foremost a gifted composer with a wealth of practical experience. As he has said so many times:
"I'm a professional composer. By definition, that means I can write for any instrument, at any level, instantly. If a composer needs to employ a trial-and-error procedure, then he hasn't put in the hard, practical groundwork".

appearances at flute conventions/workshops

Keith will be appearing at a number of Flute Conventions/Workshops within the next few months.
A number of Keith's works will be played at some of the venues.

How's that for service!


Interesting indeed
Ok, now I know the background of Mr Amos, does anybody have any opinions on the test piece itself? If anybody has played it or has heard it, let me know, I really do want to know if I'm the only person on god's green earth that likes it..........apart from my mate Dave.



Active Member
I've a horrible feeling that it was composed for Godalming Band and that I was playing at it's premiere (on Soprano). I don't remember much about it but that it was a pretty enjoyable experience and that the composer was very happy with the recording we sent him.

I'd persist with the work and see how it sounds when everyone is there. Its great to see and hear bands exploring work by living composers, particularly those from outside the band movement.



As Roger said, it was used in 1990 for the National Final Section 4. I conducted a band and we came 2nd I think! There should be plenty of people out there that took part in the same contest because if memory serves me right there were 34 bands!!!

Again from memory, the early rehearsals were very tedious and the band hated the piece, as happens with lots of new, modern kind of music. However by the end, it became very enjoyable and certainly sorted the bands out.

I enjoyed it anyway, but it was a good result for us so I may be biased.

Give it a run!



Thanks for the reply Ankanala.

I take that I can safely say this piece is a conductors dream and a players nightmare?

I'm certainly going to persevere with it, there are a lot of parts in it that can be used for band development, plenty of full bloodied playing and chordal work.


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