MUSIC - Description of Selected Works

Lonely People of the Osage 

Lonely People of the Osage This work for SATB a cappella chorus is a setting of Oklahoma poet Winston Weathers’ beautiful poem, “Persimmon Wine,” and was commissioned and premiered in 1991 by the Tulsa Bach Chorale, conducted by David Lingle. It received its New York premiere in 1994 by the Gregg Smith Singers and has been performed multiple times since then.

Every Man’s Land

Every Man’s Land was commissioned by Dr. Kathryn La Fortune to honor WWI Sergeant O. T. McCullough, grandfather of Dr. Kathryn LaFortune, who was enlisted in the 345th Infantry Band, 87th Division, American Expeditionary Forces, World War I, from September 19, 1917, to January 9, 1919. He kept a personal diary in which he recounted his military band performances and other experiences during the war. While stationed in Gièvres, France, on November 16, 1918, just after the Armistice had been declared on November 11, he copied into his diary the poem, “Every Man’s Land,” optimistically proclaiming the end of “no man’s land." Until recently, the source and author of this poem were not known. The poem was finally discovered in a rare volume of The Outlook, Volume 117, September 5–December 26, 1917. Dr. LaFortune commissioned a musical setting of this poem as a benefit to the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus, not only to honor the memory of her grandfather, but that of the many brave soldiers who served in World War I.

Elegy for Babi Yar

Elegy for Babi Yar, for violin, viola, cello, and piano, was commissioned by the Jewish Federation of Tulsa for the 21st Annual Yom HaShoah: An Interfaith Holocaust Commemoration in 2018. The event featured speaker Father Patrick Desbois, author of The Holocaust of Bullets. Elegy is based on an original melody and harmonic scheme for "Eli Male Rachamim," the prayer for the departed.

Notturno for Piano Left Hand

Notturno was commissioned by the Signature Symphony at TCC, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and received its world premiere by concert pianist Thomas Lanners in 2013, who has continued to perform it across the U.S. and in China. It was given its New York premiere by concert pianist Max Lifchitz.

High Stakes: The Life and Times of E.W. Marland, nominated for an Emmy Award

This documentary film, with original musical score by Joseph Rivers, was commissioned by the Marland Foundation, tells the story of oilman and governor of Oklahoma during the Depression era, E.W. Marland, and his beautiful wife Lydie Marland, whose life added an element of mystery and poignancy to Marland's story.

Promotional Trailer for the film's premiere: High Stakes. The Life and Times of E. W. Marland

Will Rogers Self-Portrait

Will Rogers Self-Portrait is a portrait of the famed rodeo and movie star, humorist and commentator in his own words. It was commissioned by the Will Rogers Heritage and the Claremore Community Chorus and was premiered in November 1998 at the Will Rogers Museum in a performance conducted by Larry Mitchell. The choral orchestral version was premiered for the Oklahoma Centennial on November 12, 2007 by Dr. Kim Childs and the University of Tulsa Chorus and Orchestra.

Wahzhazhe: An Osage Ballet

Wahzhazhe: An Osage Ballet was commissioned by the Osage Ballet in 2012 and received its Washington, DC premiere at the Smithsonian National Museum for the American Indian in 2013. It consists of original music by Joseph Rivers with additional adapted music by Osage tribal member Lou Brock.

Concerto for Oboe and English Horn and String Orchestra

Originally composed in 2009, the work was commissioned by oboist Lisa Glaser, made possible with support from Carol Pearson. A duo concerto for these two solo instruments is very rare, and this may be among the very first.

Symphony No. 1, “Echoes of War—Visions of Peace”

The symphony was commissioned by and first performed by the Signature Symphony at TCC in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2005, conducted by Dr. Barry Epperley. The work was recorded by Robert Winstin conducting the Kyiv Philharmonic Orchestra and was released on CD by ERMMedia on Vol. 15 of its “Masterworks of the New Era” series, 2010.