Fire Works was written in 1987-88 on commission from the Wisconsin College Band Directors Association. The colleges and universities and their directors who participated are: Carroll College, Larry Harper; Marquette University, Nick Contorno; Silver Lake College, Perry Suszek; and the Universities of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, Donald George; at Green Bay, Mark Fonder; at Madison, Michael Leckrone and James Smith; at Milwaukee, Thomas Dvorak; at Platteville, Daniel Fairchild; at Stevens Point, Dennis Glocke; at Superior, David Hagedorn; at Waukesha, Patricia Wellman; and at Whitewater, Glenn Hayes.
The composer writes the following about the work: "I have always been fascinated with the wild flamboyance of a jazz or rock drum solo and in this piece I treat the entire wind ensemble as a giant drum set. The driving force is rhythm, passed back and forth in imitation between the winds and percussion. Moments of quiet melody and color interject but are always overwhelmed by the recurrance of the rhythmic motive. The main musical device is the triad, bounced around in parallel motion creating an unpredictable yet bright and familiar harmonic palette. Climax succeeds climax until the final, good natured, very noisy ending."
Youtz, with his composition, Fire Works, was the winner of the 1990 American Bandmasters Association's prestigious Ostwald Award for band composition.
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