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PLACES WE CAN NO LONGER GO for Voice and Wind Ensemble by JOHN MACKEY (USA, 1973)

[#106] August 2, 2021

2019 | Voice and Wind Ensemble | Grade 6 | 20’- 25’ | Vocal Solo, tone poem

American composer John Mackey

Places we can no longer go, by American composer John Mackey, is our Composition of the Week.

Written in 2019 for wind ensemble with soprano, the work was commissioned by a consortium led by the School of Music in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, for the ASU Wind Orchestra under conductor Gary Hill, which premiered the piece on February 22, 2019, at the CBDNA National Conference in Tempe, Arizona, with guest soprano soloist Lindsay Kesselman.

“Places we can no longer go” was written for Elizabeth, Mackey’s mother, after a text by A.E. Jaques.

The instrumentation calls for a standard wind ensemble setting, with the addition of double bass, piano, harp and 9 percussionists (6 on stage, 3 in the audience). Mackey also uses three out of 7 clarinet parts in the audience.

The lyric soprano part needs a “clean tone” and requires amplification.

The work is available on rental directly from the composer.

In Mackey’s words, "Places we can no longer go starts in the present, or maybe even in the future, and over the course of 22 minutes, goes in reverse, as confusion turns to clarity, and grief turns to comfort”.

John Mackey was born in New Philadelphia, Ohio and grew up in Westerville, Ohio.

He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1995 from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Donald Erb. He then studied with John Corigliano at Juilliard School of Music, receiving a Master of Music degree in 1997.

Mackey's first work for wind ensemble was a commission to reorchestrate his 2003 orchestral work "Redline Tango". Ever since his compositions are performed all over the world.


For a complete list of Mackey’s works, please see:

More on Places we can no longer go, here:

More on John Mackey:


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