Date of Award
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
The goal in composing this Symphony was to produce a large scale work which would have the power, impact, and audience appeal of a late Romantic orchestral work but which employed some twentieth-century techniques. The effort was to produce a composition which would not only display accomplished compositional craft but, upon performance, would generate immediate audience enthusiasm. A great deal of idiomatic diversity was used in the piece to produce a broad and varied sound experience. In much the same way that a film score is composed, this piece was crafted using whatever tonal, orchestral, or stylistic treatment would produce the desired mood. This includes impressionism, contemporary jazz techniques, and pure atonality. The piece is unquestionably dramatic but is in no way programmatic. The degree of variety in the work is too great to be organized in a continuous single movement. Therefore the piece was cast in five distinct movements, each with specific character and position in the overall form. The movements progress from rhythmic and tonal simplicity towards much more complexity and back to simplicity, with the central movement being the pinnacle of a large arch form. The composition represents an attempt to create a musical experience that is emotionally stimulating and enjoyable as well as being intellectually satisfying.
Willis, Mickie Denver, "Symphony No. 1. (Original Composition);" (1989). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 4754.