The Paper Man WE Score Cover.png


By Harrison J. Collins


For Orchestra

Grade 5





The Paper Man is a short overture that was originally written as an entry for the National Young Composers Challenge.The idea of the piece loosely follows a short story of the same title that I wrote during my freshman year of high school, which in turn was a rewriting of an improvised "bedtime story" that I told my best friend at three in the morning on a road trip. The story follows a kind, unassuming young man with an unclear background who is simply known in his small secluded town as "The Man". His life is simple until a new waitress appears at the local café and their story is set in motion. At a whopping six pages long, the story is jam-packed with romance, dinosaurs, and a few thousand paper cranes. The Paper Man grew to be quite popular among my peers, and I found that it would be a great source of inspiration for a piece of music. The story is a simultaneously silly, sweet, and fun one, and it is these qualities that I aimed to depict within the work.

One unique aspect of this wind ensemble work is the use of paper to emulate the sound of flapping bird wings. Inspired by Eric Whitacre's use of this effect in his choral work Little Birds, I use it to represent living paper cranes, a motif seen throughout the story of The Paper Man. These paper cranes, represented also by a staccato motive first heard in flutes and moving throughout the ensemble, are as ever-present in the piece as they are in the story.

Enjoy the music!