March of the Little Goblins (1997)

Instrumentation: 3*33*3-4331-tmp+3-str 

2 Flutes  
3 Oboes  
E-flat Clarinet (optional)  
2 B-flat Clarinets  
Bass Clarinet in B-flat  
2 Bassoons  
4 Horns in F  
3 Trumpets in B-flat  
3 Trombones  
Timpani (also covers Vibraslap)  
Percussion (3 players): Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Tenor Drum, Crash Cymbals, Suspended Cymbal, Police Whistle, Slide Whistle, Cowbell, Woodblock, Flexatone, Duck Call (or Bike Horn)  


Adam Glaser’s “March of the Little Goblins” received its premiere by the University of Michigan Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestras under the composer’s direction in Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor on October 26, 1997, opening the University of Michigan’s annual Halloween concert.  Since then, it has tallied 110+ performances by 40+ orchestras, including:

Orchestra (Conductor) 

  1. Abilene Christian Univ. Orchestra (Steven Ward) 
  2. American University Symphony Orchestra (Yaniv Dinur) 
  3. Anderson (IN) Symphony Orchestra  (Rick Sowers) 
  4. Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Stephen Mulligan) 
  5. Austin Symphony Orchestra (Wesley Schulz) 
  6. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Nick Hersch) 
  7. Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bruce Knowles) 
  8. Boston Landmarks Orchestra (Charles Ansbacher) 
  9. Central Washington University Symphony Orchestra (Nikolas Caoile) 
  10. Chapel Hill Philharmonia (Evan Feldman) 
  11. Cornell University/Ithaca College Orchestras (Chris Kim) 
  12. Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (Neal Gittleman) 
  13. Illinois Symphony Orchestra (Adam Glaser, Kenneth Kiesler) 
  14. Long Beach Symphony Orchestra (Benjamin Rous) 
  15. Long Island Philharmonic (David Lockington) 
  16. Meridian Symphony Orchestra (Jim Ogle) 
  17. Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (Yaniv Dinur) 
  18. Naples Philharmonic (Radu Paponiu, Yaniv Segal, Ya-Hui Wang) 
  19. National Symphony Orchestra (Ankush Bahl, Stuart Chafetz) 
  20. New Hampshire Symph Orch (Kenneth Kiesler) 
  21. New Mexico Philharmonic (Byron Herrington) 
  22. New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (David Lockington) 
  23. NYU Symphony Orchestra (Adam Glaser) 
  24. Philadelphia Orchestra (Andre Smith, Lio Kuokman, Michael Butterman) 
  25. Phoenix Symphony Orchestra (Benjamin Rous) 
  26. Regina Symphony Orchestra (Tania Miller) 
  27. Rhode Island Philharmonic (Francisco Noya) 
  28. Richmond Symphony Orchestra (Sarah Hatsuko Hicks) 
  29. Sangamon Valley Civic Orchestra (IL) (scheduled 2019) (Niccolo Muti) 
  30. South Bend Symphony Orchestra (Tsung Yeh) 
  31. St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (Stephen Mulligan) 
  32. Stanford Symphony Orchestra (Akiko Fujimoto) 
  33. Toledo Symphony Orchestra (Jeffrey Pollock, Steven Jarvi) 
  34. Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Tania Miller) 
  35. University of Michigan Symphony + Philharmonia Orchestras (Adam Glaser, Kenneth Kiesler) 
  36. Utah Symphony Orchestra  (Bundit Ungrangsee) 
  37. Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (Tania Miller) 
  38. Victoria Symphony Orchestra (Tania Miller) 
  39. Virginia Symphony Orchestra (Benjamin Rous) 
  40. Walled Lake (MI) Western High School Orchestra (Valerie Palmieri) 
  41. Wenatchee Valley Symphony Orchestra (WA) (scheduled 2019) (Nikolas Caoile) 
  42. William and Mary Orchestra (Akiko Fujimoto)

Performance note 

March of the Little Goblins" can be performed in either of two scenarios:  

a 4-minute “Concert Version," as written, or  
a 5- to 10-minute “Entrance Version," bringing the orchestra on stage section-by-section (e.g. to kick off a Halloween concert) during a repeated vamp which leads directly into the piece itself.  

Performance note is printed in score and each part, as follows:  

“Concert version": Perform as written.  
“Entrance Version": Begin at letter “A" and repeat the two-measure vamp (mm. 29-30) while walking on-stage, continuing as necessary until the entire ensemble is seated. The percussion arrives last, as the tenor/snare drums’ entrance signals the final repeat. (The entrance order should begin with the basses – perhaps already on stage – and end with the percussion. Beyond this, any order which best suits the ensemble/hall is fine.) – A.G.  

Introduction for School Guides, Youth/Family Performances, etc. 

“March of the Little Goblins" depicts a little-known secret about Halloween. Every year at the stroke of midnight, after all the little trick-or-treaters have gone to sleep, a gigantic gaggle of grizzly ghosts and ghoulish goblins emerge for a little Halloween parade of their own. One by one they gather together very quietly…until finally the drum major orders a cadence, and the whole motley crew quickly falls in line. Thus begins a rather fiendish march through the empty moonlit streets. At first, they’re hushed, because these goblins don’t want to cause a raucous and wake up the town…or do they?!…  

Copyright 1997 Adam Glaser 

Updated: 10/22/19




Download a fact sheet about March of the Little Goblins here.

Note: The "abbreviated entrance version" begins at figure A (m. 29) and then repeats the 2-bar vamp just once before moving on.

Spooky percussion and brass jumping out from the dark corners in Adam Glaser's March of the Little Goblins needed no translation.”

— Peter Dobrin, Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia Orchestra performance, 2015)