The 150th anniversary of Missouri’s involvement in the Civil War is the inspiration for a new composition by Barbara Harbach, professor of music at UMSL.
Missouri was the site of more than 1,000 battles during the Civil War, trailing only Virginia and Tennessee.
That staggering fact often surprises many people not familiar with the state’s pivotal role in the conflict. The 150th anniversary of Missouri’s involvement in the Civil War was the inspiration for a new composition by Barbara Harbach, professor of music at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.
The premiere performance of “A State Divided – Missouri Symphony for Orchestra” will happen at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Lee Auditorium at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. The premiere will be performed by the University Orchestra, under the direction of Robert Howard, conductor at UMSL. The performance is free and open to the public.
The University Orchestra will also perform the symphony during its 2012 Fall Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Nov.1 in the E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL. That show is also free and open to the public.
“I enjoyed reading about the history of the Civil War in Missouri and transferring my thoughts and feelings into a music score,” Harbach said. “In a small way, this project is refocusing the historical lens on the pivotal role Missouri played in the Civil War, making Missourians aware of its history.”
The symphony will play out in three movements, each representing a major chapter in the history of Missouri’s involvement in the Civil War. Each movement will be prefaced by a narration by Louis Gerteis, professor of history at UMSL, placing the movement in the context of the Civil War.
Gerteis specializes in the history of the Civil War era. He’s authored four books. The most recent “The Civil War in Missouri: A Military History,” was published this year.
Harbach’s new composition expands her musical work based on St. Louis and Missouri landmarks including “Freedom Suite for String Orchestra,” inspired by the Dred and Harriet Scott legal struggle for their freedom, and “Harriet’s Story for Soprano, Violin, and Piano,” inspired by Harriet Scott and Harriet Tubman.
Harbach has a large catalog of works, including: symphonies, operas, string orchestras, musicals, works for chamber ensembles, film scores, modern ballets, pieces for organ, harpsichord and piano; choral anthems; and many arrangements for brass and organ of various Baroque works.