GO Arts: Greg Youtz percussion concerto at PLU inspired by Chinese elements

Tacoma News TribuneMay 7, 2014 

The elements that make up our earth have inspired artists, filmmakers and composers for a long time, and now Greg Youtz is having his say. The composer and musicology professor at Pacific Lutheran University has been studying classical Chinese music and culture for years now, taking students on study trips and incorporating Chinese instruments and sounds into his own compositions. This Sunday Tacomans will get the chance to hear his first percussion concerto, inspired by the five elements (or Five Changes) of the earth according to the Chinese philosophy of Daoism.

While Youtz’ second percussion concerto got a lot more exposure (a piece for two soloists, it was premiered by the Tacoma Symphony a few years ago) this concerto is more programmatic, with each movement describing a different element with various percussion instruments.

Says Youtz in the press release: “In the form of this 20-minute piece, water forms the first, self-contained section. In the next section wood emerges and leads in an enormous crescendo to fire.  The third section is a slow movement of drums representing earth which leads into the fourth section highlighting metal. This forms the climax and the coming together of all previous themes and motives, before receding into a short recapitulation of the water section.”

Colored lighting will also highlight the five changes.

PLU percussion faculty member Dr. Miho Takekawa will be the soloist, accompanied by the PLU wind ensemble under Edwin Powell.

3 p.m. May 11. $8 general/$3 alumni/free for PLU community and under-18. Lagerquist Hall, Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Ave. S, Tacoma. 253-535-7787, plu.edu

Rosemary Ponnekanti: 253-597-8568 rosemary.ponnekanti@thenewstribune.com

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