Landers composes for Tuscaloosa Symphony tribute

MONTEVALLO – University of Montevallo associate professor of music Joseph Landers has been commissioned by the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra to compose a new work for a concert marking the one-year anniversary of the tornadoes that caused many deaths and extensive destruction in that city. The world premiere performance of that work will be presented Monday, April 23 at 7 p.m. in the Moody Concert Hall on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa.

The concert, titled Ode to Joy; Tuscaloosa Remembers and Re-builds, will begin with Sinfonia da Requiem and conclude with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The TSO will perform under the direction of its new conductor, Adam Flatt.

Landers’ composition, Sinfonia da Requiem, blends seven movements of music with selections of poetry by Emily Dickinson on the serenity of death. The composer began with the text and then added layers of orchestral and choral music as well as a baritone vocal part. He says that he wants his composition to reflect, not so much sadness and mourning, as dignity and hope and to express the vast space left by the path of destruction, both in material things and in emotions.

Landers, a prolific composer, has written more than 40 compositions in his nine years at the University of Montevallo, commemorating such occasions as the inauguration of two university presidents and the dedication of the university’s renovated Palmer Auditorium.  He reports that Sinfonia da Requiem is his largest work to date. “I was flattered and immeasurably humbled by this opportunity to compose a piece of music to commemorate such a catastrophic event that touched so many lives in Tuscaloosa and around the state.”