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World Premiere: “Fallen Angels – A Choral Symphony”

FSU’s College of Music to perform world premiere of symphony inspired by tragic events

By: Anna Prentiss | Published: April 8, 2024 |  12:07 PM |  See original story at

Florida State University’s College of Music presents the world premiere of Fallen Angels – A Choral Symphony, inspired by the tragic events at South Florida’s Parkland High School in 2018.

Originally titled Parkland Choral Symphony, the work was renamed Fallen Angels to honor all victims of gun violence, acknowledging that the issue extends far beyond individual incidents. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, in FSU’s Ruby Diamond Concert Hall and will be uploaded to YouTube.

The composition, written by Steve Lebetkin, takes listeners through the three stages of grief experienced by those who have lost loved ones to gun violence. It will be performed by the Florida State University Philharmonia, led by Director of Orchestral Activities Alexander Jiménez, in collaboration with the Florida State University Singers, prepared and directed by Professor of Choral Conducting and Ensembles Kevin Fenton.

“The primary purpose of Fallen Angels – A Choral Symphony is to evoke feelings of empathy, not sympathy, from listeners,” Lebetkin said. “Music has the power to do this in ways that mere words cannot achieve; the elusive common ground resides in the empathic feelings for those who have lost loved ones due to senseless gun violence and other acts of terrorism.”

Lebetkin is an American composer and one of the few composers who carry on a unique and significant tradition of Central European composition.

“Using various texts from the traditional Requiem Mass for the dead, Steve really writes for all who have lost family and friends due to senseless violence,” Jiménez said. “The work does not seek to make commentary, but rather to provide a sonic safe place to reflect. It is an honor to have Steve on campus for this performance.”

The concert will also include performances of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2.

“I find myself feeling helpless each time I learn of tragic events that take place, particularly in schools,” Fenton said. “I have found that rehearsing and studying Fallen Angels has anchored me through its beautiful themes and harmonies. It has provided comfort and hope.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

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