ALLIANCE — The Alliance Symphony Orchestra (ASO) performed two concerts on October 9 and 10. As part of the performances, the ASO played a piece created by recent Mount Union graduate Jeff Williams ’18. Williams was commissioned by the ASO in Spring 2021 to create a piece that would celebrate the 175th anniversary of Mount Union.
The idea for the ASO to commission the piece originally came from Professor Elaine Anderson’s “Arts Advocacy in Action” capstone class, which thought it would be a great idea for a recent alumnus to create a piece to be included in the ASO’s fall concert. During the same time, Anderson began investigating commissioning new orchestral work by an African American composer, who are underrepresented in classical music, especially as composers.
“The Alliance Symphony Orchestra was very excited to help support this project to celebrate not only our Mount Union heritage, but also support new projects featuring diverse voices in musical composition,” said Anderson.
Williams earned a bachelor’s in music from Mount Union and a master’s in music composition from Youngstown State University. During his time as a student at Mount Union, Williams, a Cleveland Heights native, attended many ASO concerts but never thought he’d have the opportunity to write music for them to play.
“It’s been an amazing experience writing a work for a full orchestra,” said Williams. “It has come with a lot of challenges and hurdles, but overall, it helped me grow as a musician and I’m thankful for that.”
For more information about the Alliance Symphony Orchestra, visit mountunion.edu/aso.