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World Premiere of “Dark Sky” at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania

April 8 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


World Premieres at Kutztown University, Pennsylvania with Heartland Marimba, Kutztown University Percussion Ensemble, Kutztown University Choirs
April 8, 2024: Wells-Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research
April 9, 2024: Schaeffer Auditorium, Kutztown University

Dark Sky – a new work by California composer Jenni Brandon for Marimba Quartet, Percussion Ensemble, SATB choir and Piano explores the beauty of Death Valley National Park’s pristine dark skies using original poetry by Brandon Krieg, Kutztown University Professor of English and Poetry. Part of a concert-length work, this movement “Dark Sky” is a cross-country collaboration between Heartland Marimba Quartet, Kutztown University Percussion Ensemble, in addition to Southern Utah University’s Percussion Ensemble, Choir, and Film Department.

With some of the darkest night skies in the United States, Death Valley is designated as a “Dark Sky Park” and offers a view of celestial objects often not visible in any other part of the world. Using the colors of the ensemble, this work will take the audience on a journey through the world’s hottest place on Earth illuminated by the light of stars to see the parks many animals, badlands, sand dunes, multi-hued hills and craters illuminated by the light of the night sky, and to look beyond into the vast universe.

Premieres during the 2023-2024 season include two performances at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania to celebrate the inaugural year of the Wells-Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research at Kutztown University. During the 2024-2025 season the SUU Percussion Ensemble and Choir will join forces with Heartland Marimba Quartet to give the second premiere of this work. In addition, the SUU ensembles will record this work and partner with the SUU Film Department to create a video to be released on YouTube. This video will feature the recording session in the hall as well as footage from the surrounding mountains of Utah at night. A special trip with a select group of musicians will travel to Death Valley National Park to get more footage of the park and possibly perform and stay at the historic Amargosa Opera House and Hotel at the junction to Death Valley.

Additional movements of this work are commissioned and premiered by Heartland Marimba Quartet and Duo Lin-Lynn.


April 8
8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Wells-Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research
Kutztown, PA United States + Google Map