Montgomery Philharmonic 2016 - 17

Our 11th Season – Inspired by…

Concert 3, February 2, 2017– Inspired by Youth

Youth Overture – Emma Lou Diemer (WMHS Band/Orchestra and MP combined)

Instrumentation – Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, double bass, percussion

Youth Overture, subtitled “A Young People’s Overture,” has served as wonderful teaching music for young orchestras throughout the world. Its delightful sounds are achieved through brilliant harmonies and orchestration. Strings, trumpets, horns, and clarinets are all given short solos, which extend the range and virtuosity of each of the young musicians who play this short overture.


Emma Lou Diemer (born November 24, 1927 in Kansas City, Missouri) is an American composer. She has written many works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, keyboard, voice, chorus (women’s, men’s), and electronic media. Ms. Diemer is a keyboard performer and over the years has given concerts of her own organ works at Washington National Cathedral, The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, Grace Cathedral and St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, and others.
Works include many collections and single pieces for organ, as well as many for solo piano, piano 4 hands, and two pianos. Her major chamber works include a piano quartet, string quartet, two piano trios, and sonatas and suites for flute, violin, cello, and piano, as well as settings of the psalms for organ with other instruments. Ms. Diemer has written many choral works as well. She has written numerous hymns, several of which appear in church hymnals. Her songs number in the dozens, using texts written by many contemporary and early poets, including Walt Whitman, Amy Lowell, Sara Teasdale, Alice Meynell, Thomas Campion, Shakespeare, John Donne, her sister Dorothy Diemer Hendry, Emily Dickinson, Robert Lowell, and many others.
Ms. Diemer’s compositional style over the years has varied from tonal to atonal, from traditional to experimental. She has written works for non-professional and professional performers, originally under the
Gebrauchsmusik philosophy, but has produced many works, particularly for keyboard, that are difficult and challenging. The latter category includes her “Fantasy” for piano; Seven Etudes for piano; Homage to Cowell, Cage, Crumb, and Czerny for two pianos; Variations for Piano Four Hands (Homage to Ravel, Schoenberg, and May Aufderheide); Four Biblical Settings for organ, Concerto for Organ (“Alaska”); and many psalm setting collections. The totally serial “Declarations” for organ (1973) contrasts with the more tonal 2013 concerto for violin and orchestra “Summer Day.” Her work in the electronic field during her years on the faculty of the University of California influenced a number of works, including her Toccata for piano, many performances of which can be found on YouTube.
Ms. Diemer received both her Bachelor’s and Master of Music degrees from the Yale School of Music in 1949 and 1950, respectively. She then went on to study composition in Brussels, Belgium, on a Fulbright Scholarship from 1952 to 1953, ultimately returning to the United States to receive her Ph.D from the Eastman School of Music in 1960.
Ms. Diemer was professor of theory and composition at the University of Maryland 1965–1970, and joined the faculty of the University of California (UCSB) in 1971. She is professor emeritus, 1991–present.
While at UCSB, Diemer helped to establish the computer/electronic music program.