'Stairway to Heaven' as Schubert would have written it, not to mention Beethoven, Mahler, Miller etc, yes it's

The Stairway Suite

(Orchestral variations upon an air by Plant & Page)

The Led Zepplin song "Stairway to Heaven" is a rock classic for some critics. Whether or not you agree, its notoriety is assured by the thousands of would-be guitarists who can play the first dozen bars badly: it is to the guitar what "Chopsticks" is to the piano. But what if Jimmy Page & Robert Plant hadn't written it? What if it had been written for orchestra in the 19th or 20th centuries? For a publicity stunt, "The Stairway Suite" was commisioned by the University of New South Wales Orchestra and written by Joe Wolfe (download the score). The sound clips below are from the original performance by UNSWO, with Colin Piper conducting. Orchestration: 2fl, 2ob, 2cl, 2bsn, 2/4hn, 2tpt, 2trm, tba, timp, strings. Swing band (saxes & kit drums) ad lib, SATB chorus ad lib.

Your orchestra wants to perform Stairway? There is a .pdf file of the score here. If you seriously decide that yes, you want to do it, I can supply a conductor's score and parts. Usually I don't charge a fee, but instead ask the users to make a donation to a worthy cause. Send a message.

About the composer. Joe Wolfe started writing music in the seventies and has since written sporadically for jazz and fusion groups, including incidental music for plays and films. He has written five other orchestral works: a Trumpet concerto is the most recently performed.


"Circle of Fourths" is an overture using the circle as a melodic nucleus and as a chord. "Sydney Sketches" is a set of tone poems, each of which is based in different Sydney location at a different time of day.; "Conjunction" which is an 'interactive introduction to the orchestra', written for orchestra and primary school choir; and an overture to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the UNSW Orchestra. He has a quartet for flute, saxophone, bassoon and cello for which the sheet music is available as shareware.

The Stairway Suite Joe Wolfe / J.Wolfe@unsw.edu.au /61-2-9385 4954 (UT+10,+11 Oct-Mar)