VERMILLION, S.D. -- Stephen Yarbrough, D.M.A., associate professor of music at The University of South Dakota, will make his Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts debut on Sept. 23 when the National Symphony Chamber Ensemble performs his instrumental octet, “Dakota Diary” inside Terrace Hall in Washington, D.C.
When the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) conducted a residency in South Dakota in 2002, Yarbrough was one of several composers that submitted scores to the NSO in a statewide competition. A year after the NSO completed its residency in South Dakota; Yarbrough was notified that he had won. "Dakota Diary" is one of four NSO American Residency Commissions that will be played by the National Symphony Chamber Ensemble. "Dakota Diary" features eight instruments, including flute, horn, oboe, string quartet and piano. Other states to be featured at 6 p.m. on Sept. 23 include Tennessee, Kansas and Nevada.
Prior to his big night in the nation's capitol, Yarbrough will debut two pieces with the South Dakota Chamber Orchestra at the Belbas Theatre in Sioux Falls at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 13. As part of the Orchestra’s “Sounds of South Dakota” program, Yarbrough will debut “Kenyon Songs,” a 22-minute piece based on seven of Jane Kenyon's poems. Not only is it one of Yarbrough's most distinctive compositions, but he wanted to do something different: open up to musical colors he hadn't quite explored before. Yarbrough says he received valuable help from Sioux Falls orchestrator/composer/arranger Dan Goller with writing “Kenyon Songs.”
"I felt the need for more orchestral color in my scores," Yarbrough explained. "So I went to Dan, who has worked in Nashville and knows orchestration better than anyone I’ve ever met."
A second Yarbrough arrangement, "In Memoriam," will also debut Sept. 13. "In Memoriam" was written as a tribute to Yarbrough’s oldest son, Jonathon, who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident this summer. Both songs will be sung by mezzo-soprano Emily Lodine, a Midwest opera standout who has performed at Carnegie Hall and with various national symphonies, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the symphonies of Omaha, Milwaukee, Detroit, Jacksonville and Phoenix.
A photo of Yarbrough is available for download at www.usd.edu/urelations/images/Stephen_Yarbrough.jpg.