Composer Biography



Born in 1956 in Beirut, Lebanon, Gregory Youtz received his B.M. in composition from the University of Washington in 1980 and his D.M.A. in composition from the University of Michigan in 1987. His principal teachers have included Leslie Bassett, William Bergsma, William Bolcom and William Albright.

He was awarded a Charles Ives Award in 1984 from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and has received annual awards from ASCAP since 1990.  His Scherzo for a Bitter Moon for band won the 1984 National Bandmasters Association contest and in 1990 his Fire Works for wind ensemble won the American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Award.  A choral work  If We Sell You Our Land based on the famous speech by Chief Seattle was the subject of a story on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition show in 1987 and his subsequent opera Songs from the Cedar House based on the history and legends of Indian and White cultural interaction in the Pacific Northwest premiered in February of 1991 at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. His other compositions include works for orchestra, band, choir, voice and chamber ensembles, and a one-act opera. His wind ensemble music in particular is performed regularly throughout North America, Europe and Japan. In 2003, Youtz was honored with the “Composer of the Year” award from the Washington State Music Teacher’s Association.

Beyond his lifelong interest in local Native American cultures, Youtz has done research in China and Trinidad and Tobago and enjoys drawing conceptual and musical ideas from those rich traditions as well.  A native Northwesterner, he presently teaches composition, theory, history and courses in world music. He frequently teaches study abroad courses and is the Director of PLU’s China Gateway Study Abroad Program at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China.


Current List of Compositions


2012    Calypso Variations         for goat skin drums (3-6 players)

2012    Two Japanese Folksongs  for brass quintet and percussion

2011    Havoc on High               part 2 of a trilogy for band

2011    Fashion a Hymn             for mixed choir and piano solo

2010    You Who Might Be The Moon for tenor voice, flute and piano

2010    Mountain Songs              three songs for soprano and piano

2009    Duo Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra four movement concerto

2009    String Quartet No. 1      four movements

2008    Calypso                         solo for alto sax

2008    The Monkey King           part 1 of a trilogy for band

2008    Harmonices Mundi         tone poem for orchestra

2008    Fragments                      three songs for soprano, oboe and piano

2008    A Roethke Cycle             three settings for mixed choir a cappella

2007    Rejoice!                          carol settings for choir and orchestra

2007    Concerto for Percussion and Winds     percussionist and wind ensemble

2007    Bone                             performance art piece for four players

2007    Studies: 30 Etudes for Bass Clarinet         solo studies

2006    Drum Taps                    for orchestra, choir and SATB soloists

2006    Drum Strings                 short piece for middle school string orchestra

2004    Ring Out Ye Crystal Spheres anthem for choir and chamber orchestra

2004    Lone Wolf                     suite for solo bass clarinet

2004    Haboo                           symphonic poem for wind ensemble

2004    Song of Joy                     wind ensemble

2003    To Bethlehem                 cycle of original carols for treble choir

2003    Elegy and Celebration     for string orchestra (and version for band)

2002    Sound Tracks                 suite for wind quintet

2001    America the Beautiful      arrangement for young string orchestra

2001    Bringing In The Tides      seven songs for soprano voice  and piano

2000    The Singer of Wind and Rain       five songs for SATB choir

2000    Trains of Thought                       fantasy for orchestra

2000    Prelude and Entr’acte      two preludes for orchestra

1999    Oh, Trinidad                 cantata for treble choir, piano and percussion

1999    Bugs and Birds               three songs for treble choir

1998    River Moon                    tone poem for orchestra

1998    Three Dragons                symphonic suite for wind ensemble

1997    Cedar House Songs         three pieces for treble choir (SSA)

1997    Beautiful World             three pieces for treble choir (SSA)

1997    Elephants!                     short orchestral fantasy for children

1996    A Far Tower                 for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and percussion

1995    In The Vernacular                      suite for band

1995    The Construction of the House      overture for orchestra and tape

1994    The Courtesan: five songs for soprano and percussion

1994    Sonata for Horn and Piano

1993    Big Dancer                     for 7 wood drums (2 players) and soprano

1993    Three Sacred Songs          for mixed choir a cappella

1992    Pas de Deux                  for percussion duo

1992    Brushworks                    four pieces for orchestra

1991    Village Dances               suite for band

1990    Songs from the Cedar House         opera in four acts

1988    Lips- a short history of the brass   for brass quintet

                        1988    Fireworks                      for wind ensemble

1988    The Godmaking of the Skies and the Earth   for mixed choir

1987    Three Songs on poems by David Seal   mezzo soprano and piano

1987    Amazing Grace              three pieces for organ

1986    If We Sell You Our Land            for mixed choir, flute and percussion

1986    The Window Between      symphony for mezzo-soprano and orchestra

1985    Officium Pastorum          cantata for mixed choir and brass quintet

1984    A Christmas Hymn        for mixed choir and chamber orchestra

1984    Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Bassoon and Harpsichord

1983    Seven Strange Little Pieces           for alto sax and piano

1982    Minor Heresies               for orchestra

1981    Scherzo for a Bitter Moon            for wind ensemble

1980    Blackbirds for bassoon and piano

1979    Fantasy for Bassoon and Piano