Mizzou New Music Ensemble to open 2016-17 season
on Sunday, October 16 at Whitmore Recital Hall

Keith Fitch

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will begin their 2016-17 season with a concert featuring music from a renowned visiting composer, two works written by Mizzou composers, and more.

The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, October 16 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus. General admission is $5 for the public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff.

Keith Fitch, who heads the composition department at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music, will be in Columbia that weekend for a residency at Mizzou, and the Ensemble’s concert will include his 1994 work “Dancing the Shadows,” which contrasts eerie, suspended resonances with hard-hitting, driving sections to create music for an imaginary ballet.

Aaron Mencher

The recipient of numerous honors, awards, and commissions, Fitch has had his music performed by ensembles such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the League of Composers Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and many others.

The concert also will feature two works from composers associated with Mizzou. “Uncertainly Yours” was written this year by Aaron Mencher, a Mizzou sophomore composition major and Sinquefield Scholar. The work recently won the Boston New Music Initiative’s second Young Composers Competition, and will be performed by the Boston New Music Ensemble as part of their concert season in November.

Phillip Sink

“Flowers of Salt” was composed in 2013 by Phillip Sink, who came to Mizzou in August as the University of Missouri’s first postdoctoral composition fellow. Inspired by microscopic, flower-like structures created from salt and silicon by engineers at Harvard University, the piece captures the fragility of these “nanogardens” with an organic form filled with ornamentation.

Completing the program will be “cheating, lying, stealing” by David Lang, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 2008 and co-founder of the new music organization Bang on a Can; and “Study III from Trio No. 3” by Greek-American composer Dinos Constantinides.

Lang’s piece, heralded as a post-minimalist classic, celebrates the dark and the dirty, incorporating two antiphonal brake drums to produce an ominous funk. Constantinides’ work, the first movement of his “Trio No. 3,” is based on a modal tune that resembles a Greek folk melody and uses intervals of fourths and fifths.

The seven-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer, professor of composition, and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. The Ensemble’s members for the 2016-17 season are Victoria Hargrove, clarinet; Daniel Keeler, cello; Kelariz Keshavarz, flute; Renan Leme, violin; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; and Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophone.

Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) seeks
new orchestral, choral works for performance in March 2017

Columbia Civic Orchestra

For composers of orchestral or choral music, completing a new work often is followed immediately by another formidable challenge: finding an orchestra or choir to perform it.

Recognizing this need, the Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) in 2017 once again is offering performance opportunities for new, large-ensemble music written by Missouri residents. (Founded in 2012 as the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project, MOCOP has been renamed for its sixth year to reflect the inclusion of choral music as well as orchestral works.)

MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO), the Columbia Chamber Choir, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Each year, recently composed works are selected through a competitive, blind judging process and are performed by the CCO and Chamber Choir at a concert in Columbia. Each of the composers of the selected works also is awarded a $500 honorarium, and will receive a professional recording of their work.

Columbia Chamber Choir

MOCOP’s 2017 competition is open to composers of orchestral and choral music in four categories – two for Missouri composers currently in high school, and two open to Missouri composers of any age. The CCO and the Columbia Chamber Choir will perform the selected works in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 19, 2017 at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia.

Composers who wish to submit their work to MOCOP can find details on eligibility and instrumentation plus complete application materials online at https://music.missouri.edu/mnmi/mocop.

Applications must be postmarked no later than Monday, December 5, 2016.

The Columbia Civic Orchestra is a volunteer group located in Columbia, Missouri, dedicated to providing enjoyment for its members and audiences with the presentation and preservation of high-quality symphonic music.

The Columbia Chamber Choir in a subset of the Columbia Chorale, which works to promote choral music of the highest artistic quality and to stimulate a greater community understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of choral music by presenting programs appealing to a wide cross-section of Missouri residents and visitors.

Jacob Gotlib profiled in Columbia Daily Tribune

The Mizzou New Music Initiative’s new managing director Jacob Gotlib (pictured) recently was profiled in the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Gotlib, who earned his Ph.D in composition in 2015 from the State University of New York at Buffalo and also holds a master’s degree in composition from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a B.M. in music technology from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, began work at Mizzou in August.

You can read the article, written by the Tribune’s Aarik Danielsen, here.

A look back at the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival…

Mizzou International Composers Festival in print and on TV

In case you missed them, here are links to some newspaper stories about the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival:

* “Making maps: Composers’ festival charts course of new music” by Aarik Danielsen of the Columbia Tribune.

* Danielsen also penned a sidebar story detailing “Who’s New, Who’s Who” among this year’s MICF participants.

* “New music premieres at Mizzou International Composers Festival” by Rebecca Ferman of the Columbia Missourian.

* The Missourian also published a gallery of pictures of Alarm Will Sound, taken by photographer Youngrae Kim at one of the ensemble’s MICF rehearsals.

* Trey Makler, Mizzou’s representative among this year’s eight resident composers, was profiled by reporter Traci M. Black for his hometown paper, the Farmington Daily Journal, in an article headlined “Local composer’s work to be showcased at festival“.

Once again this year, the Mizzou New Music Initiative also promoted the festival with a TV spot, which ran both online and on broadcast TV in mid-Missouri. You can see the spot in the embedded window below.



Composers Festival spotlight: Oscar Bettison

As one of two distinguished guest composers at the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival,
Oscar Bettison will give a public presentation on his music; mentor and teach the eight resident composers; and work with Alarm Will Sound, who will perform his chamber concerto “Livre des Sauvages” as part of Thursday night’s concert at the Missouri Theatre.

A member of the composition faculty of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University since 2009, Bettison originally is from Jersey, UK. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the Royal College of Music in London, then studied for three years at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague before completing his Ph.D at Princeton University.

As a composer, Bettison is noted for his use of found and “junk” percussion and other examples of what he calls “Cinderella instruments” - “instruments that really shouldn’t be the belle-of-the-ball but I make them so” – as well as for using electric instruments more common to rock music than classical.

His works have been commissioned and performed by leading ensembles and soloists around the world. Recent commissions include the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, musikFabrik, Tanglewood Music Center, Talea Ensemble, Slagwerk Den Haag, So Percussion, Bang on a Can All-Stars and the New York Philharmonic’s 2014 Biennial.

Bettison won the the very first BBC Young Composer of the Year Prize in 1993, and has gone on to earn numerous other awards and honors including a Chamber Music America Commissioning Award in 2013; the Yvar Mikhashoff Commissioning Fund Prize in 2009; and more, as well as fellowships to both the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals.

His music has been featured on several recordings, including in 2010 a full-length album, “O Death,” featuring the evening-long work of that name performed by Ensemble Klang; and “B&E (with aggravated assault)”, performed by NEWSPEAK on New Amsterdam Records.

For more about Oscar Bettison, read the profile of him published in 2013 by Johns Hopkins Magazine, and his 2009 interview with CompositionToday.com.

You can hear samples of Bettison’s music on his SoundCloud page. In the embedded media players below, you can see a brief video profile of Bettison, produced by the Peabody Conservatory, and
a video interview in which he talks about “Livre des Sauvages,” plus performances of two of Bettison’s works.

Oscar Bettison talks about life as a composer and finding inspiration through teaching. See him give lessons to students at the Peabody Conservatory and listen in as he rehearses his piece “Apart,” written for So Percussion.

Oscar Bettison talks about his chamber concerto, Livre des Sauvages.

The East Coast premiere of Bettison’s “An Inventory of Remnants,”
performed by Choo Choo Hu (piano, percussion) during the New Music Gathering 2016, at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD.

“Vamp (movement 2)”, performed by Ensemble Offspring, with Lamorna Nightingale (piccolo), Claire Edwardes (percussion), and Jason Noble (clarinet), on March 18, 2014 at Riverside Theatre in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia

Composers Festival spotlight: Julie Rosenfeld and Peter Miyamoto

Performing as guest artists at the Mizzou International Composers Festival this year are violinist Julie Rosenfeld and pianist Peter Miyamoto, who will be playing together as part of the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 29 at the Missouri Theatre.

Rosenfeld (pictured, top left) joined the faculty of the University of Missouri School of Music in the fall of 2014 as assistant professor, violin and a member of the Esterhazy Quartet. Previously, from 2009 until 2013 she was assistant professor of violin in-residence at the University of Connecticut, and from 2001 to 2009 she was a visiting professor of music at Bard College.

She also has taught violin and chamber music at the European Mozart Academy in Poland, and has served on juries for the Astral Foundation, the Juilliard School, the Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation, the Banff International String Quartet Competition, and others.

A native of Los Angeles, Rosenfeld attended the Curtis Institute of Music and received a bachelor of music from the University of Southern California and a master of music from Yale University.

As a performer, she has appeared at the Marlboro, Santa Fe, Newport and La Jolla Chamber Music Festivals and as a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She has recorded for labels including Parnassus Records, Albany Records, and BMG Classics, for which she performed on two CDs of French chamber music with André Previn.

As the first violinist of the award-winning Colorado Quartet for 32 years, Rosenfeld played more than 1200 concerts throughout the United States and Canada and in more than 20 other countries.

Widely praised for their recordings of both standard and contemporary repertoire, the quartet performed and promoted the work of living composers such as Karel Husa, Joan Tower, Richard Wernick, Katherine Hoover, George Tsontakis, Laura Kaminsky, and Libby Larsen.

The Colorado Quartet was in residence at Bard College from 2000 until 2009, and also directed the Soundfest Festival and Institute of String Quartets, a music camp for players aged 10 to adult amateurs in Falmouth, Massachusetts, from 1991 until disbanding in 2013.

Peter Miyamoto is professor of piano and chamber music at Mizzou. He holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music, Yale University School of Music, Michigan State University, and the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Before coming to Missouri, Miyamoto (pictured, bottom left) taught at Michigan State University and the California Institute of the Arts and also served as head of the piano faculty at the New York Summer Music Festival.

In 1990, he was named the winner of the first-ever Gilmore Young Artist award, and he has won numerous other competitions, including the American Pianist Association National Fellowship Competition, the D’Angelo Competition, the San Francisco Symphony Competition and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Competition.

Miyamoto has performed in recital and as a soloist in Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, China, and Japan, and in major US cities including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.

He has performed with orchestras such as the Chautauqua Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, Florida Philharmonic, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony, and many others. As a chamber musician, he has played with Charles Castleman, Victor Danchenko, Lara St. John, members of the Blair, Borromeo, Euclid and Pacifica String Quartets, and many others. Miyamoto is a former member of the August Trio and the Beaumont Trio, and was a founding member of the Quadrivium Players, the resident ensemble at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Miyamoto’s critically acclaimed solo CDs include The Chopin Ballades and Fantasies, A Schubert Recital, Brahms Works, and A Piano Recital.

You can hear performances by Julie Rosenfeld (with the Colorado Quartet) and Peter Miyamoto in the embedded media players below.

The Colorado Quartet – Julie Rosenfeld (violin), Deborah Lydia Redding (violin), Marka Gustavsson (viola) and Diane Chaplin (cello) – and oboist Humbert Lucarelli perform the string quartet version of John Corigliano’s “Aria – Adagio” from his Concerto for oboe and orchestra.

“Pictures at an Exhibition” performed by Peter Miyamoto (piano) with Keisuke Hoashi (narrator) in July 2012 for the New York Summer Music Festival at the Goodrich Theatre at SUNY Oneonta College.

Composers Festival spotlight: Wang Lu

Born in Xi’an, the ancient capital of China, 2016 MICF resident composer Wang Lu was raised as part of a musical family immersed in Chinese opera and folk music traditions, and her works “reflect a very natural identification with those influences, through the prism of contemporary instrumental techniques and new sonic possibilities.”

An assistant professor of music at Brown University since 2015, Wang (pictured) graduated in 2005 from the Central Conservatory of Music in Bejing and earned her doctoral degree in composition in 2012 from Columbia University.

Her honors include a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship, first prize at Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne’s Young Composers Forum in 2010, two ASCAP Morton Gould awards, and more.

Wang’s music has been performed internationally by groups including the Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, Shanghai National Chinese Orchestra, Holland Symfonia, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Albany Symphony, and many others.

In 2010, she was selected for a Tremplin commission by IRCAM/Ensemble Intercontemporain, and in 2012, she took part in the International Composition Seminar with the Ensemble Modern.

Wang’s orchestral work “Scenes from the Bosco Sacro” was selected for the 2014 New York Philharmonic Biennial New Music Readings, and her music also has been featured at the Cresc Biennale for New Music, MATA Festival, Gaudeamus Music Week, Tanglewood Music Center, Cabrillo Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Takefu International Music Festival, and more.

In addition to “Backstory,” which she wrote for Alarm Will Sound to perform as part of the MICF’s “Eight World Premieres” concert on Saturday, July 30, Wang’s other recent projects include commissions for ICE, Yarn/Wire, the Momenta Quartet, organist Mark Steinbach, and violinist Miranda Cuckson; and a residency at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation.

For more about Wang Lu, read this short feature about her from last year on ClassicalLite.com; the 2014 interview with her published on the American Composers Orchestra’s website; and her 2011 interview with the Huffington Post.

You can hear samples of Wang Lu’s music on her SoundCloud page and in the embedded players below.