When Mozart sat down in 1778 to write a symphony for the Paris orchestra, he had a lot of things working against him: The fame of Gluck, whose opera “Orfeo ed Euridice” was still wildly popular. The particular musical requests of his Paris patrons. And the sudden death of his mother, who’d brought the 22-year-old composer to Paris to jump start his career.
When Tacoma composer Greg Youtz sat down to write a piece for the Northwest Sinfonietta’s concerts this weekend, things were a lot easier. Youtz’s “Wolfgang at the Gates” — premiering alongside the work of Mozart, Gluck and Sam Jones’ cello concerto (with soloist Julian Schwarz) — riffs not only on Mozart’s “Paris” symphony, but on the whole concept of composing one thing while your life is doing quite another.
The News Tribune spoke to Youtz, who juggles composing with an academic career at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, and Sinfonietta director Christophe Chagnard, who has had three works premiered with the ensemble and is about to step down to pursue composition, to find out more about the Mozart-Gluck-Youtz triangle.