The symphony orchestra of the University of Missouri-St. Louis will perform the world premiere of Barbara Harbach’s A State Divided—Missouri Symphony for Orchestra on October 23 at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park (Mo.), with a repeat performance at the university’s Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on November 1.  Robert Howard will conduct the work, written to mark the 150th anniversary of the state’s entrance into the Civil War in 1862. The work’s three movements—“Missouri Compromise (1820),” “Skirmish at Island Mound—African-American Regiment (1862),” and “The Battle of Westport (1864)”—are each preceded by a spoken introduction by UMSL history professor Louis Gerteis placing the movement in the context of the Civil War. Composer Barbara Harbach, a professor of music at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, says she aimed through the piece to “refocus the historical lens on the pivotal role Missouri played in the Civil War, making Missourians aware of its history through state-wide performances.” A related article in the recently published fall issue of Symphony magazine, “History Lessons,” covers a variety of historically themed works being performed by American orchestras.

Posted October 23, 2012