Gwyneth Walker

Match Point

for Orchestra (1985)

Return to Gwyneth Walker Music Catalog
Read King's New Racket by Robert Kimball, the New York Post.
Read Four Movements for Orchestra and Tennis Balls by Gregory Jaynes, The New York Times.
Read No Strings Attached to Wallingford Orchestra's Gift Concert by Marge Dougan, The New Haven Register.
View photos of from the 1988 performance with Billie Jean King.

View/download a perusal PDF file of the full score of this orchestral work.

View a video presentation of a television spot on a 1998 performance of this work with tennis star Bille Jean King.


Commissioned by the Randolph High School Band and subsequently arranged for orchestra.

Match Point is a four movement ("Tuning Up"; "Anticipation"; "The Point"; "Marche Triomphante") musical dramatization of a tennis point. It is suggested that the conductor wear tennis clothes, or at least a tennis hat. Orchestral players may also wear tennis clothing such as wristlets, headbands, tennis hats, and/or sneakers. The conductor must be prepared to conduct the last two movements with a tennis racquet.

Hints of tennis strokes are marked in the score to be used at the discretion of the conductor. For example, the opening notes of the celli and basses should be played with long bowing motions that extend into the follow-through of a tennis stroke. The string pizzicati (three measures before C.) end in similar follow-through gestures.

If the conductor happens to be a tennis player, he/she may add additional tennis flourishes as desired. However, it is not necessary that the conductor play tennis. A short consultation with a tennis player (of any level of ability!) should provide sufficient preparation for performance.

Required equipment includes:

A bag of yellow tennis balls -- for dropping on drums and muting brass
Several ice cubes and a glass -- for the ending
Tennis racquet(s) -- for the conductor

Notes by the composer