La Tomatina was composed in 1996 in Buñol, Spain while I was researching Spanish band music. Buñol is a small town of about 9,000 inhabitants about 19 miles (30 kilometers) from Spain’s 3rd largest city, Valencia. For 364 days of the year, it is a typical small town, but on the last Wednesday of August it becomes an international attraction. On that day the “La Tomatina” festival is held. Several trucks drop as many as 145,000 kilograms of tomatoes unto the main street and for an hour at 12:00 noon there are up to 100,000 people taking part in throwing tomatoes at each other. At 1:00 everybody goes to the special public showers to wash up. A fire truck comes down the street washing down the buildings and the main street and by about 2:00 all is returned to normal and all references to the tomato fight are gone. The tradition has been going on since 1945. I was in the streets taking part in throwing tomatoes for three years. After that when I was in Spain during the festival I watched it on TV. La Tomatina was premiered by the U. S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” on the U. S. Capital steps in June 1996, the composer conducting. La Tomatina is the second movement of Sinfonía de Valencia, a three- movement composition that was premiered in Buñol by the band of Centro Instructivo Musical “El Litro” Buñol, conducted by Francisco Tamarit in August 1997. Sinfonía de Valencia is recorded by the band of Centro Instructivo Musical “El Litro” Buñol, conducted by Fernando Bonete Piqueras on Mark Records (CD3816). La Tomatina is also on Youtube with video of the festival at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbpZU7vK3PQ. La Tomatina was a winning composition in 1996, awarded a grant by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. It also won the IBLA Grand Prize in Sicily, Italy in 1998 and was a Semi Finalist as part of the American Prize Composition Competition – Band Division in 1996. This arrangement of La Tomatina was prepared especially for conductor Natalia Montañés in 2004. In this arrangement there are four percussionists instead of the original five. La Tomatina has been very popular among bands around the world, performed over one hundred times. It is scored for Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, English Horn (optional), 2 Bassoons, Contra Bassoon (optional), Eb Clarinet (optional), Principal Clarinet, 3 Clarinets, Alto Clarinet (optional), Bass Clarinet, Contrabass Clarinet (optional), 2 Alto Saxophones, 2 Tenor Saxophones, Baritone Saxophone, Bass Saxophone (optional), 4 Trumpets in Bb, 4 Horns in F, 3Trombones, 2 Flugelhorns (optional), Euphoniums, Tuba, Cello (optional), Double Bass (optional), Timpani, Percussion (4 players) – Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Suspended Cymbal, Bongos, Vibraslap, Crash Cymbals, Metal Wind Chimes, Wood Blocks, Temple Blocks, Orchestra Bells, Vibraphone, Xylophone).
the American Prize 2016 Band Music Composition Semi Finalist