Drum Taps: Nine Poems on Themes of War at PLU

12 May

The Final Event in PLU’s School of Arts and Communication

Focus Series: Compassion

Tuesday, May 15, is the much-anticipated premiere of Tacoma composer Gregory Youtz‘s Drum Taps: Nine Poems on Themes of War, a monumental composition performed by the Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) choirs, orchestra and vocal soloists.

Drum Taps is a complex meditation on the universal suffering that war produces in every age and across geographical lines. The 55-minute work is structured around four poems by the great American poet, Walt Whitman, from his series Drum Taps, written during the Civil War. For Youtz, a professor of music at PLU, this muscular writing traces a shifting perception of war from excited anticipation of a quick and heroic experience, to a somber reflection on the human cost of conflict. Interspersed amongst Whitman’s poetry are five poems by writers from other countries during distant centuries. Not coincidentally, he says, these laments are from places where the US has been involved in conflict: Vietnam, the Middle East, China and Europe.

Composer Gregory Youtz’s “Percussion Concerto” was premiered by the Tacoma Symphony in 2011.

Artists from all cultures and times have provided commentary on the costs of war. In this spirit, the conversation opened by Drum Taps about war and its effects on society seems remarkably fresh, vivid and familiar across the nine poems. One hour before the program begins, a public panel discussion will take place led by Youtz and PLU Veteran Corps representative, Michael Farnem, to explore the work’s themes. Also featured on the evening’s program is Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C Minor, No. 24 performed by Oksana Ezhokina.

Drum Taps features vocal soloists Janeanne Houston, Melissa Plagemann, Stephen Rumph and Barry Johnson, and the Pacific Lutheran University choirs and orchestra.

Drum Taps: Nine Poems on Themes of War, May 15 at 8 pm at PLU, Lagerquist Concert Hall (corner of Wheeler St. and Eight Ave. Court S.). Panel discussion at 7 pm in Music Building Room 334. Tickets may be ordered at 253-535-7601 or at the door. Tickets are $8 general, $3 PLU Alumni, under 18 free.

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