American Suite
by Bruce Stark

(flute and piano)

  1. Grampa’s Grin

  2. The Bird and the Canyon
    (dawn at the Grand Canyon)

  3. Muse
    (desert near Phoenix, Arizona; glacial lake, Sierra Nevada Mountains; ocean at night, La Jolla, California)

  4. Blue
    (New York City, late at night)

  5. Street Beats
    (New York City, a.m.)

American Suite was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2004 National Flute Association’s New Published Music for Flute competition.

Colorful, delicate, witty, fanciful—a charming and strong work
— Phillip Moll (accompanist for James Galway, Jessie Norman and others)

American Suite

by Bruce Stark
flute and piano
21 minutes
piano score 38 pages, flute part 21 pages

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Kaori and Yuko Fujii perform American Suite, from the CD Muse (Centaur Records)

American Suite: 1. Grampa’s Grin
Kaori Fujii (flute) Yuko Fuji, (piano)

American Suite: 2. The Bird and the Canyon
Kaori Fujii (flute) Yuko Fujii (piano)

American Suite: 3. Muse
Kaori Fujii (flute) Yuko Fujii (piano)

American Suite: 4. Blue
Kaori Fujii (flute) Yuko Fujii (piano)

American Suite: 5. Street Beats
Kaori Fujii (flute), Yuko Fujii (piano)


The respective movements of American Suite were inspired by places I lived in or visited during my youth and young adulthood that left lasting impressions. I composed the piece while residing in Tokyo, after living there for many years. It is a work which, had I remained in America, I probably would not have composed. The most inspiring or impressive memories of one's homeland grow more precious with time and great distance.

Both of my grandfathers were amatuer country fiddle players, and the memory of their joy in music making, the happiness I saw on their faces when I was a young boy, stays with me to this day. The Celtic influence in my Scottish and Irish roots can be felt in Grampa's Grin, and at one point in the movement a brief quote from Little Brown Jug, one of their favorite tunes, appears.

The Bird and the Canyon was inspired by dawn at the Grand Canyon. The striking contrast between a small creature stirring in the crisp, cool air of early morning and the vast, inexorable presence of the canyon seemed perfectly suited to a flute and piano duet.

During my college days I visited several places in which music seemed to fill me as though the very air was suffused with an inspiring presence. In Muse, three such places are depicted: the desert near Phoenix, Arizona; a glacial lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California; the beach at night at La Jolla Shores, California.

I lived in Manhattan from 1982-1989, and at the time of its writing Blue was intended as a depiction of the city late at night. Shortly after its composition the tragic events of September 11, 2001 took place, and at the suggestion of flutist Paula Robison I dedicated a separate publication of Blue to the victims of 9/11 and their loved ones. Within American Suite, Blue remains a portrait of the late night in New York City, as its inspiration was born of my experience there.

Street Beats depicts the bustling, aggressive streets of morning in New York City.

— Bruce Stark

American Suite was composed in 2001 for flutist Kaori Fujii and pianist Yuko Fujii, who premiered the work in Tokyo the same year. Their recording is included in Muse from Centaur Records.