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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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U choir to perform unique ‘Water Passion’

By Katie Valentine, Staff Writer

The U Singers and A Capella Choir will perform a unique show this weekend that contains a familiar story with different musical elements.

The piece, “Water Passion After St. Matthew,” was written in 2000 by Tan Dun, who was commissioned by Helmuth Rilling, head of the Bach Academy in Stuttgart, Germany. Rilling commissioned five composers to create new passions for the anniversary of Bach’s life on Johann Sebastian Bach’s 250th birthday.

The piece tells of the story of different aspects of Jesus Christ’s life. It has several different instrumental and vocal solos, and also includes different types of percussion instruments and water basins. The basins are used as a symbol of birth and rebirth, and also provide movement to the piece, said Brady Allred, director of both groups in the music department.

Dun’s childhood experiences in China also play into the musicality of the piece.

“(Dun) is using elements he heard growing up, like chanting of Tibetan monks,” Allred said. Allred said he has wanted to conduct a group performing “Water Passion” since he heard it in 2000. As soon as he could, he got the music and has been waiting for the right time and year to perform it. Rehearsals began in February.

All of the musicians rehearsed the whole performance for the first time last night. All of them don’t work together until two nights before the performance, Allred said.

Once it is all put together, it is going to be an amazing experience to perform and hear, said Laurel Enke, a sophomore in music.

Dun requires two musicians to play in the piece whenever it is performed. Michael Lipsey, who heads the percussion section, and Yuanlin Chen, who plays the electronic sampler, have played in every performance of “Water Passion.”

At Wednesday night’s rehearsal, Lipsey instructed everyone playing percussion on how to accurately perform their parts so the piece sounds consistent with all other performances. Chen and Dun developed sample sounds that will be playing throughout the performance.

Alisa Thomason, from Las Vegas, and Gary Sorenson, from Syracuse, Utah, will be the vocal soloists. Leslie Henry, a doctorate student in violin, will play the violin solo and Amy Leung, a cello teacher in the music department, will play the cello solo.

Both of the choral groups are composed of music and nonmusic majors, and students audition for the choirs. Auditions for the groups are held two days before school starts in the Fall Semester.

The performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Libby Gardner Concert Hall. The cost is $7 for adults and $3 for students.

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