About the Piece

Composed in 2003, the Symphony for Strings is a 30-minute, 3 movement work for string orchestra. The first movement is pensive but passionate, elegiac and mournful. The second movement begins as a furious scherzo, highly chromatic and relentlessly energetic; this gives way to a central trio which features two solo violins against a background of pizzicato strings. A recapitulation of the scherzo leads to an ambiguous, mysterious coda. The coda segues attacca into the finale, which begins with another furious outburst and then gives way to more lyrical phrases. A rising, unsettled, again ambiguous section with dissonant chords sets up a transition to a rising figure in the celli, then a pedal in cello and bass which resolves into the climax. The climax is followed by a gentle, romantic adagio which brings the work to a close.

[Program note by the composer]


String Orchestra

Score excerpts:

About the Composer

Joseph Jones is a dedicated, passionate, and consummate classical musician with a wide range of talents including composition, conducting, and orchestral playing.

Mr. Jones began his professional musical career at the age of 13, when he served as the violinist for the Theater Company of Rhode Island. While in high school, he performed as a violinist with the Rhode Island College Symphony and Chamber orchestras, and performed chamber music with the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. As a tenor-baritone, he has been active singing professionally as a chorister and soloist, and also been a performing member of the Rhode Island Civic Chorale, Bryant Singers, and the Peabody-Hopkins Chorus. Most active as a timpanist-percussionist, Mr. Jones was the first timpanist of the Londowntowne Symphony Orchestra. He was for two seasons a timpanist with the Senior Orchestra of the Greater Boston Youth Symphonies, in which capacity he performed in throughout Boston and in Europe. In addition to professional, substitute engagements, and performances in honors ensembles, Mr. Jones also spent single seasons as timpanist with the MIT Summer Philharmonic, the Longy School of Music Chamber Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Wind Symphony of Natick, performing in the greater Boston area.

Mr. Jones began to work as a serious composer at the age of 15. His current catalog includes works for chamber ensembles, string and full orchestra, and voice with orchestra. His principal teachers include Nicholas Maw and Samuel Adler, and he has also participated in lessons and masterclasses with Roger Cichy, Anthony Brandt, Dominic Muldowney, William Bolcom, George Crumb, David Crumb, Dalit Warshaw, Tristan Murail, and Robert Xavier Rodriguez. His works have been performed at Peabody, the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Mr. Jones developed his interest in conducting at an early age; after beginning to cultivate it with independent score study at the age of 14, he began a course of study with Dr. Harlan Parker at the Peabody Conservatory. Following his sophomore year at Peabody, he studied orchestral conducting at the South Carolina Conductors Institute, and opera conducting at the South Carolina Conductors Institute Opera Workshop at Spoleto, USA. In November 2004, he made his operatic debut with Capitol Opera, Harrisburg, as conductor and music director in four performances of Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz. In the summer of 2005, Mr. Jones was awarded a fellowship to study at the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival—at the time, the youngest conductor ever to receive a fellowship to that program. He studied with David Zinman and Murray Sidlin, conducting the American Academy of Conducting Orchestra in masterclass readings and concerts.

Mr. Jones is the founder, artistic director and conductor of Orchestra Amadeus, a project based in New York City. The project seeks to promote social justice through classical music by way of benefit concerts for charitable causes. Other recent activities include a conducting apprenticeship with the New York Youth symphony; a fellowship with the Allentown (Pa.) Symphony orchestra (2010-2011); and serving as assistant conductor with the National Music Festival (2011) and Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Jones has also appeared with the Moscow Symphony, the Kuban Symphony (Krasnodar, Russia), and the Orquestra Sinfonica de Coyo (Mendoza, Argentina.) He has participated in masterclasses with orchestras such as the Omaha Symphony and Rose City Chamber Orchestra, and conductors David Zinman, Vladimir Ponkin, Michael Morgan, Murray Sidlin, Daniel Lewis, Thomas Wilkins, Mark Gibson and Victoria Bond. Mr. Jones studied composition, conducting, percussion and viola at the Peabody Institute Conservatory of Music. [From the composer’s website]

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Performance Materials


Joseph Jones – Symphony for Strings, Op. 2