Route 66 Suite

A multi-movement orchestral suite by Nolan Stolz

A seven-year project (2020 through 2026) commemorating the 100th anniversary of Route 66 in 2026

Tentative titles of the eight movements, organized in two parts: Part One (“A.D. 1926,” “26 Gas Stations,” “66 Ghost Towns,” and “Vacancy / No Vacancy”) and Part Two (“Neon Dreams,” “Among the Trees,” “Desert 66,” and “The Show Will Go On”)

Total duration: 60 minutes, estimated

Contact the composer at stolz@uscupstate.edu or nolan@nolanstolz.com to schedule a performance of the suite or individual movements from it. Previews of individual movements may take place in the 2024–25 season, in summer 2025, or in the fall of the 2025–26 season. In order to celebrate the highway’s centennial in 2026, premieres of the suite (or individual movements thereof) should take place in the spring of the 2025–26 season, summer 2026, or in the fall of the 2026-27 season.

Conductors: To see an example of Stolz’s orchestral writing, download the PDF of the Lincoln Highway Suite HERE and listen to the Lincoln Highway Suite (recorded by the Brno Philharmonic with Mikel Toms, conducting) on Bandcamp by going to the page for each movement separately:
“From The Hudson”
“Metals Heartland”
“Prairie View”
“Traversing the Mountains”
“Golden State Romp”

Fanfare magazine called the Lincoln Highway Suite a “brilliant piece of Americana. . .a piece of inspiration and skill” saying that the “orchestration is brilliantly managed” and “Stolz clearly has a fine repository of [melodies] in his back pocket.”

In 2020, the Brno Philharmonic’s recording of the Lincoln Highway Suite was awarded second place in the American Prize’s Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music (soloist or composer division). David Katz, the chief judge for the American Prize, said Stolz “evidenced skills in the use of the orchestra, in the ability to create telling emotional states, and in evoking genres and styles virtually instantaneously.” Katz described the third movement of the suite, “Prairie View,” as “emotionally compelling and heartfelt.”

The Route 66 Suite will be similar to the Lincoln Highway Suite, but it will be longer (60 minutes instead of 25; eight movements instead of five), slightly larger in forces, and with greater expression and scope.

Conductors and symphony orchestra executive directors and board members: Visit the Facebook page of the Route 66 Suite HERE for news and posts from the road to see what is inspiring the music. Each movement has its own photo album, and there are additional photos and videos on the timeline. Visit the Route 66 Suite Youtube channel HERE.

Band directors: There will be a symphonic band version of the Route 66 Suite as well. You can download the PDF of the band version of the Lincoln Highway Suite HERE and follow along to the recording of the premiere on YouTube.

Route 66 enthusiasts and those interested in getting a “behind the scenes” look at the composition process: subscribe to the Route 66 Suite Patreon page to access exclusive pictures, videos, and Route 66 research that Stolz is doing for the pre-composition stage and “sneak peeks” at the music as it is being composed.

Nolan Stolz at Sandhills Curio Shop in Erick, OK
Nolan Stolz at Sandhills Curiosity Shop in Erick, OK, home of musician Harley Russell

NEWS and UPDATES about the suite

  • USC Upstate has awarded Stolz a course release to allow time to compose the “Neon Dreams” in Fall 2024 (a $2,500 grant to hire a part-time faculty member teach one of his courses)
  • The University of South Carolina and USC Upstate have awarded Stolz a RISE grant (Research Incentive for Summer Engagement) of $6,000 ($4,500 in summer salary plus $1,500 in benefits) to compose the “Desert 66” movement this summer
  • USC Upstate has awarded Stolz a scholarly course reallocation for the Fall 2023 semester to allow time to compose the “66 Ghost Towns” movement. This $2,500 grant is used to hire a part-time faculty member teach one of his courses.
  • Osage Arts Community (Belle, MO) has awarded Stolz a month-long residency in Summer 2023 to begin composing the work (likely “A.D. 1926”)
  • Stolz traveled Rt. 66 for an additional 52 days in Summer 2023 to get additional inspiration before beginning the work in earnest (i.e., more than mere snippets)
  • National news coverage in 2022: AP news article, TV interview from Oklahoma City that played on more than 90 stations, and three additional articles on Yahoo! News (SFNM, ABQ, PDL)
  • 2nd TV interview: KOB 4 in Albuquerque, NM
  • Several radio interviews including High Plains Public Radio (a network of 19 FM stations in TX, OK, KS, NE, and CO), NPR in Albuquerque/Santa Fe (KUNM), NPR/Ozarks Public Radio in Springfield, MO (KSMU), three interviews on Radio Beat (62 FM stations in the Czech Republic), KKOB (Albuquerque), and more
  • Additional articles on the project have appeared in news outlets in over 20 states and five countries, and more are forthcoming. See the Reviews & Press page for additional links to articles and interviews
  • Osage Arts Community (Belle, MO) has awarded Stolz a 13-month-long residency as a “home base” from July 2021 through July 2022
  • University of South Carolina Upstate has awarded Stolz a sabbatical for the 2021-22 academic year, during which Stolz will travel up and down Route 66 seeking inspiration for the composition
  • USC Upstate has awarded Stolz a scholarly course reallocation for the Spring 2021 semester to research ghost towns along Route 66 in preparation for the pre-composition stage of the “66 Ghost Towns” movement. This $2,500 is used to hire a part-time faculty member to teach one of his courses.