Knoxville native Mark Harrell's newest composition, "The Stainless Banner," made its world premiere in front of an estimated 8,000 people on the Fourth of July.
The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra performed his piece as part of the 20th Annual Pilot Free Independence Day Pops Concert.
"The KSO began rehearsal for his piece Friday evening," said Stephanie Stevens, marketing associate for the KSO. "They had two rehearsals before the performance."
The concert began at 8 p.m. Sunday as a prelude to the fireworks display at the World's Fair Park. By performing patriotic favorites, along with Harrell's newest piece, the KSO demonstrated the talent and motivation that has kept the group active in the community since 1935.
The concert was conducted by Cornelia Kodkana Laemmli.
Harrell, a graduate of The University of Tennessee with a degree in Music Performance, is entering his 19th year as a contracted musician for KSO. He said he spends most of his free time composing music for various groups who fund his endeavors.
"The language of music is spoken most fluently by those composers who immerse themselves within it," Harrell said, "the accent being developed by the composer as his alone."
Harrell has a lot of experience in the area of composition. He worked with the Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra who performed his piece, "The Waltz."
Harrell's most recent work was not the only piece played in the park leading up to the fireworks. Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" also made it in the mix.
"The piece (Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture") is written to have fireworks shoot closer to the end. Bass drums are being pounded to represent cannons firing as the fireworks explode," Stevens said.
The performance has become a Knoxville tradition to commemorate the Fourth of July, giving audience members familiarity with the group who puts on more than 250 shows a year.
The KSO is one of the most renowned musical organizations in the region and performs many free concerts yearly, aiming to expose KSO to more than a million people in the next year, according to the KSO Web site.