PSYWE: Bach Frames cover

PSYWE: Bach Frames


Wrapping up their 2018-19 season, Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble will present a program of depth and excitement, exploring the enduring musical influence of one of western music’s most towering figures and featuring performances by guest conductor Dr. Jamal Duncan and organist Kristen Lawrence.
Admission is free, but tickets are required. Seating is general admission.
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Pacific Symphony
Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble
Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble (PSYWE) is a unique performing ensemble, regarded as one of the premier youth wind symphonies in the country. Under the baton of renowned music educator and conductor Dr. Gregory X. Whitmore, PSYWE opens musicians and audiences to the rich, diverse and ground-breaking canon of wind ensemble repertoire.
PSYWE provides pre-professional musical training to woodwind, brass and percussion instrumentalists in grades eight through 12, and the opportunity to explore challenging repertoire in a collaborative, creative environment. As a culmination of the 2016- 17 season in which PSYWE celebrated its milestone 10th anniversary, the ensemble took a once-in-a-lifetime nine-day international tour to Salzburg and Vienna, Austria to participate in the renowned Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival, taking home a first place win in the Symphony Band competition.

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PSYWE: Bach Frames


“Catching Shadows

PSYWE Percussion Section


Fantasia In G Major

Kristen Lawrence


This Cruel Moon

Dr. Jamal Duncan


“Tight Squeeze”


“Paper Cut”



Toccata & Fugue In D Minor

Transcribed by Donald Hunsberger



Who Puts His Trust In God Most Just

Arranged by James Croft


Symphony No. 2, 3rd Movement

Apollo Unleashed

Ivan Trevino:

“Catching Shadows”

Ivan Trevino (b. 1983) is a Mexican- American composer and percussionist who has become a recognizable voice in the percussion community. His honest blend of contemporary, percussive and indie-rock compositions have become standard repertoire in the field of percussion and are regularly performed around the world.

He is a multi-award-winning recipient of the Percussive Arts Society’s International Composition Contest and has over 70 compositions and songs to his name, many of which were commissioned by leading performers and institutions in the field.

Trevino’s work spans various media including storytelling, poetry and film scoring. He recently authored a children’s story accompanied by music, with an illustrated book released in 2018. His collection of online writings are regularly circulated throughout the arts community, including “My Pretend Music School,” a blog post that sparked debate about music school curriculum and has become required reading for collegiate courses around the U.S.

Trevino’s “Catching Shadows” is a percussion sextet commissioned by Michael Burritt, professor of percussion at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. Inspired by a playlist of Burritt’s that he and Trevino listened to once on a road trip, the work is scored for six players: 4.3 marimba, 5.0 marimba, two vibes, glock, two cajons, stacked cymbals, hi-hats and crotales.

---Video 6:43

The SCM Wind Symphony conducted by John P. Lynch perform J. S. Bach's Fantasia in G Major, BWV572 as arranged by R. F. Goldman and R. L. Leist.


John Mackey:

“This Cruel Moon”

An Ohio native, the young composer John Mackey (b. 1973) has written a great deal of music for large ensemble. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, he received his master’s degree in composition at the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied with John Corigliano. Mackey is currently a resident of Cambridge, Mass.

He has written much orchestra music but has focused particularly on music for wind band. “This Cruel Moon” was written in 2017 as a reworking of the second movement of Wine-Dark Sea: Symphony for Band. Originally composed in 2014, the piece is a musical adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey, the epic story of Odysseus’s journey of return from the Trojan War.

The movement depicts Calypso, a lonely, beautiful and immortal nymph who falls in love with Odysseus. After staying with her for seven years, he decides to return home; although broken hearted, she weaves her tapestry into a sail for him. The music masterfully depicts love, sacrifice and heartbreak.

---Video 6:37

Mackey: This Cruel Moon - CBDA All-State HS Symphonic Band


Alex Shapiro:

“Tight Squeeze”

Active in public speaking, education, and outreach, Alex Shapiro (b. 1962) has composed both acoustic and electronic music. Her compositions have received much critical acclaim and have been widely performed. Composed in 2013, “Tight Squeeze” was commissioned by Composers and Schools in Concert, a national association for music education and contemporary music, along with a consortium of educational institutions.

The piece was premiered in 2013 at Brevard College in Brevard, N.C. The composition combines 12-tone serialism with techno-rock, Latin and jazz rhythmic elements. The title is a double meaning referring to “a young gull who landed on a rock in front of my desk window as I was finishing this music, with a sizable flounder uh, floundering in his clamped beak” as well as to the tightness of the work, which squeezes all twelve tones and a wide variety of styles into a short duration.

Shapiro feels strongly about using music, equipped with the latest technology, in order to build and develop human connections.

---Video 3:43

Ohio University Symphonic Band


“Paper Cut”

What do teenagers like? Video games, TV and movies. What do all these media have in common? Music!

I was thrilled to have a chance to add to the educational band music repertoire, thanks to the American Composers Forum’s terrific BandQuest series. In my desire to compose something relevant to younger players, I decided to create a piece that sounds somewhat like a movie soundtrack, to which the musicians can imagine their own dramatic scene.

I also thought it would be fun to make the kids themselves part of the action, and so “Paper Cut” has the band doing choreographed maneuvers that look as compelling as they sound. In fact, the band members don’t even play their instruments until halfway into the piece.

Music isn’t just melody; it’s rhythm and texture as well. The unusual element of paper and the myriad sounds that can emerge from something so simple,offer a fresh view of what music-making can be and opens everyone’s ears to the sonic possibilities found among everyday objects.

With a nod to environmentalism, “Paper Cut” might even remind people to avoid waste and recycle. Players can collect paper that would have otherwise ended up in the trash, and bring it to rehearsals. The piece might even be therapeutic, as students can take out their aggressions by ripping up bad grades and test scores!

---Video 5:50. West Aurora Symphonic Band performance of Alex Shapiro's Paper Cut. October 20, 2015 in Aurora, Illinois. John Sierakowski, conductor.

Although “Paper Cut” was composed with middle schoolers in mind, it’s also suited to more advanced musicians, since the paper techniques and the skill of playing against a prerecorded track are interesting for all ages. I’m delighted to introduce a new approach to concert wind band repertoire, and I hope that conductors and band members have as much fun with this piece as I had creating it.


Frank Ticheli:

Symphony No. 2, 3rd Movement: Apollo Unleashed

A professor of composition at the USC Thornton School of Music since 1991, Frank Ticheli (b.1958) has composed music in a wide variety of forms and genres. Much of his music for wind band has become part of the standard repertoire.

Having spent the earliest part of his childhood in Louisiana, Ticheli now lists Cajun, Creole, New Orleans jazz and Southern Folk music as some of his most important influences. A native of Monroe, La., his initial exposure to music was New Orleans jazz. After relocating to suburban Dallas at the age of 13, he became exposed to band music at his high school’s award- winning music program. These two early influences can be heard in many of his award-winning compositions.

Ticheli’s Second Symphony was composed in the year 2003 for James E. Croft, director of bands at Florida State University. The piece was commissioned by Croft’s students and friends as a tribute to the educator on his retirement.

---Video 5:57. Performed by the North Texas Wind Symphony.

An evocation of the heavens, its movements are intended as depictions of shooting stars, the moon and the sun. As the composer himself explains, in the first movement “fleeting events of many kinds are cut and pasted at unexpected moments, keeping the ear on its toes. The movement burns quickly, and ends explosively, scarcely leaving a trail.” The musical depiction of the moon, entitled “Dreams under a New Moon,” represents “a kind of journey of the soul as represented by a series of dreams.” The finale, “Apollo Unleashed,” is a brilliant climax of the work.

Joshua Grayson, Ph.D., is an historical musicologist and graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music, and the program note annotator for Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles.


Dr. Gregory X. Whitmore

PSYWE music director

Dr. Gregory Xavier Whitmore is Director of Bands at Mt. San Antonio College. Whitmore is also music director of Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble. These appointments follow a career as Conductor of the College of the Desert Symphony Band, and Director of Bands at Cathedral City High School. Whitmore, a native of Ypsilanti, Mich., received his bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education from The University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance in Ann Arbor, Mich. Whitmore received his master’s degree in Music with an emphasis in Wind Conducting from California State University Fullerton studying under Dr. Mitchell Fennell. Whitmore holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in Music and Music Education from Columbia University in New York City.

Whitmore has conducted ensembles in such notable concert venues as The Musikverein, The Wiener Konzerthaus, The MuTh, Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Symphony Hall, The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Meng Hall, Holy Trinity Church, St. John’s Smith Square, Chateau Vaux le Vicomte, and Heidelberg Castle. Under Whitmore’s direction, the Cathedral City High School Symphony Band was selected to perform as the showcase ensemble during the 2008 California Band Directors Association Annual Convention.

Whitmore belongs to several professional organizations that include College Band Directors National Association, Phoenix Honorary Leadership Society, Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Society, The National Association for Music Education, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association and California Music Educators Association. A recognized member of four editions of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, Whitmore has been included in the 2005-06 Edition of the National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teachers. Whitmore was selected to represent the State of California by School Band and Orchestra Magazine in the 2008 edition of “50 Band Directors Who Make A Difference.”

Kristen Lawrence


After studying piano for five years, Kristen Lawrence began her organ studies at age 12 from Pulitzer Prize- nominated composer/ organist Dr. Robert Cummings. She accepted an organ music scholarship to Brigham Young University, studying under Dr. Parley Belnap and Dr. Douglas Bush. She graduated with a Bachelors of Music in Organ Performance and Pedagogy, and has taught students in both Orange County and Salt Lake City. Lawrence has been guest organist for some of Pacific Symphony’s “Halloween Spooktaculars” and other family programs, writing an accompanying Jurassic Park organ part for their Dinosaurs! show to highlight the 4,322-pipe “monster” concert organ. She also enjoys performing with Pacific Symphony’s Youth Ensembles.

Commissioned to compose organ music to accompany the Lon Chaney silent film classic, “Phantom of the Opera,” Lawrence played her counterpointed themes live on the oldest pipe organ in Orange County. Her musical setting of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” for voice, strings, and organ reflects her serious analysis of Poe’s famous poem and has been called “exquisite” by Poe scholars. It has been featured for the National Endowment of the Arts’ “The Big Read: Short Stories and Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe.”

Halloween is her great passion, leading her to study its history and culture, and compose an ongoing collection called the “Halloween Carols.” Lawrence released “Arachnitect,” her first five-track Halloween EP in 2008, and released full CDs: “A Broom With a View” and “Vampire Empire–Radio Edits” for Halloween 2009, and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” in 2012.

Dr. Jamal Duncan

guest conductor

Dr. Jamal Duncan joined the faculty at the University of Arkansas in the fall of 2013. A native of Flint, Mich., Duncan received the Doctor of Musical Arts in wind conducting and a Master of Music in wind conducting from Michigan State University, where he studied under the direction of Kevin L. Sedatole.

At the University of Arkansas, Duncan serves as director or the Hogwild Pep Band, assistant director of the Razorback Marching Band, conductor of the symphonic band and co-conductor of the wind symphony and concert band. He also teaches the first semester of Instrumental Conducting in the music education curriculum.

An advocate of new music, Duncan also conducts the University of Arkansas New Music Ensemble. Duncan is actively involved in the commissioning of new works and performing works of the cutting edge of contemporary concert music.

Duncan taught in the public schools of Lansing Michigan for seven years where he taught middle school band, music appreciation and elementary general music. Duncan served as the music director and conductor of the Flint Youth Wind Ensemble, one of several youth ensembles in the Flint School of Performing Arts.

Duncan received a bachelor of music in clarinet performance with teacher certification from the University of Michigan. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity and College Band Directors National Association. He holds honorary memberships in Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma.