The Waltz Project

Choreography by: Peter Martins

Music by: Various

Set to a selection of waltzes, each by a different composer, The Waltz Project features four couples who are alternately playful, daring, and aloof.

In 1976, composer Robert Moran put together a collection of piano waltzes from a range of American composers, including works by Babbitt, Glass, Gould, Moran and Sessions, among others. The entire collection premiered at Chicago’s Art Institute in May 1978 and was recorded as “Waltz Project” in 1981. For his ballet, The Waltz Project, Peter Martins chose pieces from the collection. The work debuted in 1988 as part of New York City Ballet’s first American Music Festival.

Music and Composers

Minute Waltz by Milton Babbitt; born Philadelphia, PA (1916-2011). Composer, writer, and lecturer, an aptitude for music and mathematics led to studies in musical theory developing concepts about time points and relating pitch to duration. His work has contributed to the understanding and extension of twelve-tone theory and composition. 

Dejavalse by Tom Constanten; born Long Branch, NJ (1944). Interested in the mathematical elements of music, he described this piece as a "gracefully gliding dance of threes." 

Titles Waltz:  After Max Steiner by Joseph Fennimore; born New York, NY (1940). Accomplished pianist, he devotes himself to composing and teaching piano. 

Modern Love Waltz by Philip Glass; born Baltimore, MD (1937). Working with Ravi Shankar and traveling in India, North Africa and Central Asia led to his unique composing method using rhythm as structure. 

Rag Waltz by Morton Gould; born NY (1913-1996). From 1935 to 1942 he was composer, arranger and conductor for a WOR weekly broadcast. He used American culture and history and combined elements of jazz and folk music with classical forms.

Waltz-in-Memoriam-Maurice-Ravel by Robert Moran; born Denver, CO (1937).  Studied piano and twelve-tone composition. Moran has composed chamber pieces, operas, pieces for six and eight orchestras, and events for entire cities using autos, airplanes, and radio and TV stations. 

Waltz by Roger Sessions; born Brooklyn, NY (1896-1985). From 1935 to the 1980's, Sessions was a leading teacher of composition.  Career Pulitzer Prize (1974); published collected essays (1979).

Valse Perpetuelle (The 45 R.P.M.) by Ivan Tcherepnin; born in Paris, France (1943-1998). Composer and teacher, he composed for piano, clarinet and flute. 

Red Garnet Waltz by Joan Tower; born New Rochelle, NY (1936). Composer, pianist, and lecturer. Her waltz reflects her fascination with the molecular structure of gems in the hardness of attack and the shimmer of notes rapidly succeeding each other.


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Red Garnet Waltz by Joan Tower
Modern Love Waltz by Philip Glass
Valse Perpetuelle (The 45 R.P.M.) by Ivan Tcherepnin
Titles Waltz: After Max Steiner by Joseph Fennimore
Minute Waltz by Milton Babbit
Waltz-in-Memoriam-Maurice-Ravel by Robert Moran
Dejavalse by Tom Constanten
Waltz by Roger Sessions
Rag Waltz by Morton Gould
May 5, 1988, New York City Ballet, American Music Festival, New York State Theater
Original Cast
Heléne Alexopoulos, Melinda Roy, Lauren Hauser, Diana White, Lindsay Fischer, Peter Frame, Jeppe Mydtskov, David Otto

25 Min.
Costumes by
Alain Vaes
Set by
Alain Vaes
Lighting by
Mark Stanley