Dr. Ycaza Gives Tuba Recital

Showcased tuba instructor from Iowa blows the crowd away


Nick Wagner photo

On Feb. 21, the Brodbeck Concert Hall held a tuba recital to showcase Dr. Stephanie Ycaza’s skills playing the tuba. Dr. Ycaza is the instructor of Tuba and Euphonium at University of Northern Iowa. She is also teaching tuba and music theory at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Shenandoah University, a Master of Music degree and an Artist diploma from Yale and a Bachelor of Music from Virginia Commonwealth University.

The first piece Dr. Ycaza played was called “Two Latin Dances” by Lauren Bernofsky. This piece was split into two parts named “Bossa Nova” and “Tango.”

Dr. Ycaza’s tuba playing with Natia Shioshivili as accompanist was executed perfectly and effortlessly. This piece set the tone for the evening and excitement for the pieces to come later in the recital.

The second piece of the night was titled “ElevenTwelve” by Joanna Ross Hersey. Dr. Ycaza’s playing was able to bring the listener on the journey the piece told. The deep notes used were in perfect arrangement and caused goosebumps for the listeners. The low bass tones fully enraptured the audience.

The next piece was titled “D’un Mantin de Printemps,” which was originally written for a flute or violin. However, Dr. Ycaza made it into a tuba arrangement. The reason for this is that tubas are similar when it
comes to breathing. The use of a tuba in place of a flute showed the soft,
snappy side of the tuba. It showcased the opposite impression a tuba gives. This was the first time this arrangement was performed and it left the listener wanting more.

The next piece was titled “Thrust” by Wayne Lu. The title speaks to exactly what was performed. Unlike the previous piece where the delicate side of the tuba was shown, this piece showed the power and energy the tuba is capable of and pushed note after note with no stop. The only break was in the middle of the piece, but only to be brought back into the barrage of notes. Paired up with Shioshivili’s piano playing, there was an indescribable energy between the two on the stage. It was hypnotizing to watch them play, and before the audience knew it, the recital was over.

The last piece of the evening was called “Just Breathe” by John Sipher. It was in three parts, which represented the emotions that might run through one’s head while taking a deep breath. These parts were called “Breathe In,” “Monkey Mind” and “Release”. Unlike the other pieces performed, Dr. Ycaza utilized a foot pedal looper to sample a sound, loop it and continue to play alongside the loop.

Overall, this enhanced the entire experience. Her creation of different loops mid-piece, while still playing simultaneously, took a great amount of skill and coordination. At times, Dr. Ycaza sampled her own breathing and used it in the piece. This demonstration of talent was a great way to end the evening. All performances at the recital were done very well and left the audience inspired.