Shieldmaiden (Full Score) (download)


A fierce and feminine work for concert band, complete with battle-cry and march to fight.

SKU: JH-B007 Category:



For symphonic band


duration: 9:00


Commissioned by Carthage College for the “150 Years of Carthage Women” Celebration, 2019-2020; in recognition of their intrepid initiative and collective contributions. Performed by The Carthage College Wind Orchestra, January 2020.


Program Note

In September of 2017 I read a very interesting article online at National Geographic: “Famous Viking Warrior Was a Woman, DNA Reveals.”  I knew upon reading the opening statements of the article that I needed to write a celebratory work in honor of this incredible shieldmaiden.


“More than a millennium ago in what is now southeastern Sweden, a wealthy Viking warrior was laid to rest in a resplendent grave filled with swords, arrowheads, and two sacrificed horses. The site reflected the ideal of Viking male warrior life, or so many archaeologists had thought. New DNA analyses of the bones confirmed a revelatory find: the grave belonged to a woman.”


Not only was this shieldmaiden a warrior, but she was also a leader. Gaming pieces were placed on her lap, signifying that she was also the one planning the tactics behind battle. It was empowering channeling her strength and energy into this composition. At one point in the music you will even hear a battle cry and a march to fight.


It is unfortunate that the first studies proclaiming this fact were disputed. Archaeologists pushed back at the idea that this celebrated warrior could be female. Perhaps the bones had been mislabeled? Maybe the grave was for more than one person? But after further study it was confirmed, without a doubt, that only one person was in that distinguished grave, and she was not there by accident. It should not be a revelatory idea that women can be fierce, strong, and powerful. We are born to lead, born to fight, and born to be heard.


About the artwork on the cover:

This metal shield was commissioned by Jocelyn Hagen for the cover of this musical work by artist Tia Keo. It is roughly 6” in diameter.


TIA KEObounpheng is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in North Minneapolis. Her fine art work explores themes of women’s work, women’s armor, blood memory, permission, resilience, and transformation. Merging metal-working with the physical motions and conceptual notions of weaving, Tia follows an intuitive process to create work that feels ancient while expressing the modern female experience. She is currently working on a temporary interactive public art sculpture to be installed Summer 2020 in the city of Duluth. You can see more of her work on her website: or social media:





Flute 1, 2

Oboe 1, 2

English Horn

Bassoon 1, 2

Bb Clarinets 1, 2, 3 (please put in actual flat)

Bass Clarinet

Soprano Saxophone

Alto Saxophone

Tenor Saxophone

Baritone Saxophone




Bb Trumpet 1, 2, 3

F Horns 1, 2, 3, 4

Trombones 1, 2

Bass Trombone





Percussion 1, 2, 3, 4

large gong, medium gong, bass drum, marimba, 2 mid toms, 2 low toms, brake drum,

suspended cymbal, triangle, pangi “nut shell” shaker, snare drum

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