Yates is a quiet, composed man with an open, attentive presence. For some fifty years he's written music but only recently found himself with a number of commissions and a growing, appreciative audience. We met to talk about music but first Yates sat me down to listen. . . -R. W

Yates: It's a symphony entitled, "Calls, Canons, and Chorales." It's in sixteen sections, which is not a conventional symphony form although there are some precedents. It's a kind of mosaic really. The person who commissioned it asked me to keep in mind certain of his memories from our early relationship. He's now a psychiatrist. He felt I'd had a great deal of influence on his life. Particularly he remembered coming up to see me when I was living in Sausalito in a rug shop. He was sixteen at the time and would drive up at night along the coast from Santa Cruz in his old Studebaker. He asked me to try to incorporate something that might invoke something of those memories. The first movement of the piece is entitled "The Call of the Night Sea and Sky."

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