The Cave You Fear

“…let’s take a chance, let’s venture into the dark unknown, let’s fight whatever monsters we find in there…”

Listen to The Cave You Fear

Performed by the Brooklyn Wind Symphony
Conductor Jeff W. Ball

View Sample Score

The Cave You Fear

Program Note

By Michael Markowski

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the opportunities we’re given day-to-day to try something new or to go somewhere we’ve never been before—the opportunity to take a spontaneous road trip, to go see a concert by a band we’ve never heard of at a venue we’ve never been to, to try that new restaurant down the street where the menu is in a language we don’t quite understand. Some people have an innate sense of adventure, who go-with-the-flow, who live life for the unexplored, and I couldn’t be more inspired by them.

For a long time, I was the opposite. I used to prefer to stay at home, working on my computer because it was the safe and responsible thing to be doing, listening to the same albums on my iPod, ordering the same meal at the same, familiar restaurants. And while there’s nothing necessarily wrong with having a routine or knowing what you like, I eventually realized that my life was starting to have a certain predictability to it. It was a few years ago, while I was still living in the same state that I was born and raised in, that I had the most terrifying epiphany that I think I’ve ever had. I was becoming increasingly bored and incredibly boring.

In film schools around the world, Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero With A Thousand Faces is required reading for filmmakers, screenwriters, and storytellers because Campbell has single-handedly identified what we refer to as “The Hero’s Journey” — the series of events and conflicts that arise along a character’s path as he or she fights their way to some ultimate goal. After studying Campbell, it’s easy to question where we are on our own paths. What is our own story? What are we fighting for? What does it mean to be a ‘hero’ and how can we be more ‘heroic’ ourselves? When we hear our own call-to-adventure, will we jump up, prepared, or will we ignore it, sit idly and take the easy way out because we would rather life be quiet and comfortable? According to Campbell, each of our adventures are already out there, waiting for us. That’s not the problem. For him, “the big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty ‘yes’ to your adventure.”

So for the next four minutes, let’s take a chance, let’s venture into the dark unknown, let’s fight whatever monsters we find in there. And although we might not always prevail, at least we’ll have a story to tell by the end.

Helpful Videos

Michael Markowski Introduces ‘The Cave You Fear’

Superball Mallets on Timpani

Saxophone Multiphonic

Superball Mallets on Tam-Tam

Amplified Lion’s Roar Demonstration

How To Make A “Better” Lion’s Roar

Commissioned By

Gravelly Hill Middle School Band
Arris Golden


The Cave You Fear premiered in Hillsborough, North Carolina on May 15, 2014, and was performed by the Gravelly Hill Concert Band conducted by Arris Golden.

View program here.


Markowski Creative (ASCAP)


Flute 1 & 2
B-flat Clarinet 1-2
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1 & 2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone

B-flat Trumpet 1-2
Trombone 1-3

Percussion 1: Timpani, Brake Drum
Percussion 2: Glockenspiel, Wood Block
Percussion 3: Marimba, Tam-Tam, Amplified Lion’s Roar
Percussion 4: Suspended Cymbal, Mark Tree, Hi-Hat
Percussion 5: Snare Drum
Percussion 6: Bass Drum, Triangle


No known errata.

Year Completed


Weight N/A
Dimensions N/A


Wind Ensemble