Ear Supply: Behind the Mask

“I want more people to be engaged with new, living music,” says composer Aaron Grad. And what composer doesn’t? But Grad’s strategy is to get ’em young with The Lost Voice, his new children’s-theater piece in the vein of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. The 25-minute work for baritone and chamber ensemble, premiering this weekend, tells of a young boy, a singer, who has a crisis of confidence, travels into the forest, and meets animals who help him regain it. The music is tuneful, and the instrumental colors are rich, sophisticated, and beguiling—especially a duet for celesta and xylophone representing a bee and an ant. Grad, who also writes program notes for the Seattle Symphony and other orchestras nationwide, says The Lost Voice is somewhat in the tradition of the early baroque masque, a form that combined music, poetry, dance, and spectacle—in this case with etymological literalness, since the musicians assume their animal personae by donning masks (beautifully crafted by Mary Levinsky). Jonathan Silvia is the baritone; Julia Tai conducts. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave. S. Pay what you can. 2 p.m. Sun., April 6.

 
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