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Percussion program to host safari

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

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Media Contact: Sue Stevens

The percussion program at The University of Texas at Arlington requests your presence on an extensive “safari” beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, in Irons Recital Hall, in the Fine Arts Building, 700 Greek Row Drive. The nationally recognized UTA Arlington Percussion Ensemble will provide music-lovers with a free journey through space and imagination as Dr. Michael Varner and Professor James Yakas present a unique evening of percussion ensemble music titled “Journeys.”

The program will begin in the rainforests of Guatemala with the Burritt “Quartet for Marimba.” This piece features the inaugural performance of the music department’s four new 5-octave Yamaha marimbas. These rare instruments were recently acquired by the percussion program and, according to Varner, likely represent the only stage in the United States where four of these instruments can be seen at the same time.

The next destination is East Africa for a secret ritual called “Masvakiro.” This work, composed by Brett Dietz, demonstrates the complex and ever interweaving drum language.

Next the ensemble time travels to Tenochtitlan, the fabled capitol of the Aztec empire, with another rarely heard performance of “Los Dioses Aztecas,” which means “the Aztec Gods.” This 1960 groundbreaking 20-minute work by noted composer and music scholar Gardner Read, portrays many Aztec deities including the God of Fire, Goddess of the Moon, God of Rain and God of War. More than 50 percussion instruments will be on stage at the same time, as the performers choreograph smooth movement between each instrument.

The program concludes with a journey to the farthest reaches of the mind called “Journey to Beyond.” Commissioned by the nationally recognized Lewisville Marcus percussion program for percussion soloist and ensemble, this piece is a “tour-de-force,” requiring the performer to demonstrate fluency on a set-up of drums, cymbals, idiophones, extensive orchestral tambourine, African Djembe and the contemporary innovative instrument called Quint-Toms. Nicholas Beaudet, a music education major, will be featured performer, conducted by Yakas. Beaudet, a sophomore music scholarship recipient, demonstrates his expertise on this challenging range of instruments.

The hour long program is free and open to the public. For more information, call (817) 272-2526.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.