Yarbrough bound for Carnegie Hall

Yarbrough bound for Carnegie Hall Stephen Yarbrough, associate professor of music at The University of South Dakota, will soon be packing his bags and traveling to New York City to attend a prestigious composers' workshop at Carnegie Hall. by David Lias Carnegie Hall.

No doubt, it's a mecca for musicians.

That may explain the recent cheerful nature of Stephen Yarbrough, associate professor of music at The University of South Dakota.

Yarbrough, who has only visited New York City once, has been accepted as an auditor of the Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Young Composers Workshop that will be held April 10-12 in the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me," Yarbrough said. "This is going to be a fun trip."

Zwilich, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and Carnegie Hall composer's chair person, will lead the three-day workshop at Carnegie Hall.

She will be joined by a workshop faculty including distinguished American composers Milton Babbitt, Christopher Rouse and Olly Wilson.

The workshop will also include a full day of seminars and panels, moderated by Zwilich, given by the faculty composers and invited speakers.

The seminars will give Yarbrough a chance to learn more about music publishing, how to work with a music editor. Other workshops will explore resources for a composer, life as a composer, and measuring success as a composer.

That means Yarbrough will be rubbing shoulders with not only some of the leading musicians and composers of the day, but also representatives of highly respected music publishing companies and such non-profit organizations as the American Composers Forum, the American Music Center, and Meet the Composer.

"They are going to address just about every issue that a composer might want to ask about," he said. "I'm just ecstatic."

Yarbrough, who presently is on a sabbatical from USD and is about to finish a commissioned work for the Augustana College Women's Chorus, already has some impressive credentials.

Along with an application, he had to send his resume, a list of his works, and a letter of recommendation to Carnegie Hall.

"I expect to make some good contacts, to do some networking, and hopefully make my music more known on a national rather than a regional basis," Yarbrough said.

He has received several commissions in the state of South Dakota and in the region. Two of the most recent were from the South Dakota Symphony last year, and from the South Dakota Music Teachers Association for their annual convention in 1997.

Susanne Skyrm, associate professor of music at USD, wrote to Carnegie Hall in February, recommending that Yarbrough be selected for the workshop.

"Dr. Yarbrough's music is a unique combination of rhythmic vitality, lush harmony and solid structure," she wrote. "He has written many pieces that capture the essence of the landscape in which we live, the midwestern prairie.

"There is a depth, warmth and shimmer in this music, and a spiritual sense that is hard to find in many contemporary compositions," Skyrm added. "It is accessible to general audiences and yet never predictable or cliche-ridden."

Yarbrough will leave Vermillion April 9 for New York, and return April 13 after the intensive, three-day experience.

"It's really hard to fathom sometimes," he said. "I'm going to be staying in a hotel right across the street from Carnegie Hall."

There's an extra benefit to attending a workshop in one of the most esteemed concert halls in the world.

"During the last night of the workshop, we will be seeing a performance of contemporary music in Carnegie Hall by four New York City musicians," Yarbrough said.

He is responsible for paying for his travel to and from New York City, and is grateful to his church, which is planning a fund-raiser later this month to help him with expenses.

"This is going to be a great experience," he said.

Yarbrough will be in good company during the workshop. Zwilich is the recipient of numerous honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, four Grammy nominations, an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a 1983 Pulitzer Prize.

Babbitt's honors include a special citation by the Pulitzer Prizes, a MacArthur Fellowship and a William Shuman Lifetime Achievement Award.

The music of Rouse, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, has become a vital presence in concert halls around the world. The significance of his works is reflected by a long list of awards, commissions and recorded scores.

Wilson is the recipient of numerous awards for his creative work as a composer including honors from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and awards from several foundations.

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