The Knoxville Symphony Presents Music By American Composers

Nov 17, 2016

What is American classical music? The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra answers this question by presenting a concert with incredibly diverse works, but all by American composers. Indeed, this program is representative of the melting pot that is America.

The concert begins with twentieth-century New England composer, Charles Ives's "Variations on America", followed by the Blues-influenced Afro-American Symphony by William Grant Still. Still, an extremely influential African American composer composing during the height of the "Tin Pan Alley Era", was extremely popular during his time, but is sadly overlooked today. The second half of the program brings us music inspired by the very region in which we live: Appalachia. Jeff Midkiff, a composer, mandolinist, and clarinetist who lives in Roanoke, VA, will perform his Bluegrass-influenced mandolin concerto "From the Blue Ridge". Maestro Demirjian will then lead the KSO in a performance of one of the most iconic of American pieces, Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring."  

In this interview, conductor Aram Demirjian chats with morning concert host, Melony Dodson, about the music, the composers, and about the diversity that is the "American sound".

This American-themed concert will be given at 7:30pm, as usual, in the magnificent Tennessee Theatre on Thursday, November 17th and Friday, November 18th.  More information is available online at or by phone at 865-291-3310