Premiered at the 50th Anniversary of MENC (now NAfME) in San Antonio by the United States Air Force Band who commissioned it, the composition met with immediate and overwhelming acceptance. "Festival Variations, with its brilliant technical passages coupled with its glorious romanticism, will certainly rank as one of the monumental compositions of the 20th century." - Col. Arnald Gabriel, Commander/Conductor, The United States Air Force Band (now retired). Although extremely difficult, many fine bands throughout the world have added this great work to their repertoire and perform it regularly.
This edition features newly edited and engraved score and parts. Not surprising for a piece of this difficulty and magnitude, questions arose about enharmonic spellings which created some discrepancies between the score and parts. In some cases, the parts did not match the score, which we believe was done either by Smith himself or by the copyist for the Air Force Band in 1983. With this revised edition, the score was established as the final authority, and any of the changes made in the parts were for reasons of clarity for the performer. We believe this final product is the most thorough in terms of harmonic spellings in the score and performance practicality in the parts.