Annual youth concert series held at West High School
Composer blends qualities of American Indian and Western classical music
By Tanner Kent, Email
"Nearly 2000 elementary students heard music Friday they may never have the opportunity to experience again. As part of the annual youth concert series, the Mankato Symphony Orchestra hosted performances for every fourth- and fifth-grade students in Mankato (as well as many from around the region) at Mankato West High School. The performances featured guest composer Brent Michael Davids, an American Indian who has achieved a measure of national acclaim for his musical compositions that blend native traditional music with Western classical. Ken Freed, MSO's music director and conductor, said Davids' work represents a significant departure from the orchestra's usual pieces. 'It's beautiful musc,' he said, 'but very challenging. It's a different aesthetic' ... The second piece came from Davids 'Black Hills Olowan,' a sweeping, dramatic piece that features the Maza Kute drumming group (also the drumming group at the annual Mankato Wacipi) ... the youth concerts also served as the first public performance of the works that will be featured on the Dakota Music Tour. The tour is sponsored by a Legacy grant and kicks off with a performance on May 22 in Mankato, followed by stops in Morton, Granite Falls and Winona."