Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2011

Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Welch, Myron D

First Committee Member

Welch, Myron D

Second Committee Member

Jones, William L

Third Committee Member

Cook, Robert C

Fourth Committee Member

Heidel, Richard M

Fifth Committee Member

Kastens, L K


Darius Milhaud's 1923 ballet "La création du monde" ("The Creation of the World") was and is a fascinating work for chamber ensemble. The French composer's inventive blending of jazz harmony and compositional technique, Harlem musical instrumentation, and the discipline of cutting-edge European art music remains a milestone in the cross-Atlantic pollination that America's original art form engendered in the early 20th century. All of this was accomplished before Gershwin's ultimately better known Rhapsody in Blue. Milhaud's progressive percussion writing in the work, as well as his combination of jazz harmonies with his own particular polytonal voice, makes the work even more stunning. However, all of these features also make the work challenging to prepare and perform.

Prior to this thesis, the extant literature on "La création du monde" examined the work either theoretically (specifically in terms of polytonality), or historically (in terms of its relationship to the cross-pollination of jazz and western art music). These publications do not provide the necessary information for a conductor and ensemble to effectively interpret and perform this work. The present study synthesizes the historical and biographical events that led to the composition of the work with the musical considerations of form and theme compounded by a foreign language score with period terminology, notation, and indications with the wind conductor as the intended audience. The purpose of this study was to collect, categorize, interpret, and synthesize the necessary information to enable a conductor to undertake this work, while simultaneously encouraging more modern conductors and performers to do just that. Using historical documentation from primary sources and careful study, translation, and interpretation of available editions, this study provides the wind conductor with all of the tools and information required to prepare and conduct this work. Through this thesis, it is hoped that a new generation of conductors will be encouraged to approach, study, interpret, and program this wonderful piece of music.


Creation, Darius, Jazz, Milhaud, Monde, Percussion


v, 104 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 99-104).


Copyright 2011 Robert Ward Miller

Included in

Music Commons