Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform
works by Onishi, Berko in a free online concert
on Wednesday, February 17

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will perform recent works by Yoshiaki Onishi and Alex Berko in a free online concert at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 17.

The concert will be available to view on the University of Missouri School of Music’s YouTube channel and the Mizzou New Music Facebook page.

“Antefenas-Studies” was written in 2018 by Onishi, who is a postdoctoral fellow in composition at the University of Missouri School of Music and serves as the Ensemble’s assistant conductor. Using both live instrumentation and prerecorded electronics, the piece explores “the kinetics of one sound responding to another, eventually forming the perception of a dialogue.”

Berko’s “Living in Color” (2019) was inspired in part by an image by Boston-based artist Melanie Long, and uses variations on an R&B-flavored three-chord progression to develop “a theme of connectedness and tangling of worlds.”

Both works will be performed live by the Ensemble during the stream, which also will include a prerecorded interview with Berko and Stefan Freund.

Freund, a cellist, composer, conductor, professor of composition, and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, is the director of the Mizzou New Music Ensemble.

The seven-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) is made up of University of Missouri graduate students, and serves as the repertory group for the Mizzou New Music Initiative. In that capacity, they work with faculty, students, and visiting composers, and give public performances on campus and in the community.

The Ensemble’s members for the 2020-21 season are Johanny Veiga Barbosa, violin; Tâmila Freitas, flute; Stephen Landy, percussion; Jordan Nielsen, percussion; Andy Lewis, cello; Andrew Weile, clarinet; and Evie Werger, piano.

Mizzou International Composers Festival announces resident composers for 2021

Clockwise from top left: Ana Paola Santillán Alcocer, Daniel Fitzpatrick, Paul Mortilla & Nina Shekhar

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) has selected four resident composers to participate in the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF).

Presented by MNMI and the University of Missouri School of Music from Monday, July 26 through Saturday, July 31 in Columbia, the twelfth annual MICF will feature world premieres of new works written by each of the selected composers. Listed with their current places of residence, they are:

* Ana Paola Santillán Alcocer – Mexico City, Mexico
* Daniel Fitzpatrick – Columbia, MO
* Paul Mortilla – Coral Gables, FL
* Nina Shekhar – Princeton, NJ

These four composers will be featured in the 2021 MICF along with the eight composers who were chosen for the 2020 festival, but whose works could not be premiered when COVID-related restrictions forced the festival to be reconfigured as an online event.

Those composers are Yu Kuwabara (Tokyo, Japan), Pascal Le Boeuf (New York, NY), Shuying Li (Spokane, WA), Celka Ojakangas (Los Angeles, CA), DM R (Diana M. Rodriguez) (New York, NY), Niko Schroeder (Columbia, MO), Andrew Tholl (Los Angeles, CA), and Felipe Tovar-Henao (Bloomington, IN).

The premieres of the new works from all 12 composers will be presented during festival week in two concerts, six per concert, along with music by the distinguished guest composers. However, because the COVID pandemic makes future conditions difficult to predict, MNMI will have several contingent plans for the 2021 MICF if safety concerns, University policy, or state or local laws make it impossible to present the festival “in-person” on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Those plans may include (but are not limited to) an online-only festival, a limited in-person experience, or some combination of online and in-person activities, such as additional concerts featuring music from the guest composers and other contemporary creators, workshops, master classes, and other events.

The Festival’s distinguished guest composers for 2021 will be Chen Yi and David T. Little. Chen is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition “Si Ji” (“Four Seasons”), she was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and is known as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries.

Little currently chairs the composition program at Mannes – The New School in New York City. He previously served as Executive Director of MATA and on the board of directors at Chamber Music America, and from 2014–2017 was composer-in-residence with Opera Philadelphia and Music-Theatre Group.

The acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, once again will serve as resident ensemble, as they have since the MICF began in 2010.

During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from Chen and Little and, if conditions permit, take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. The composers also will give public presentation on their music, and after the premiere performance, will receive professional live recordings of their new works.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be announced at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Mizzou New Music Initiative to present Duo Cortona
in a free online concert on Friday, February 5

The Mizzou New Music Initiative will present Duo Cortona in a free online concert at 7:00 p.m. Friday, February 5.

The concert will be available to view on the University of Missouri School of Music’s YouTube channel and the Mizzou New Music Facebook page. It was recorded in conjunction with a “virtual residency” in November 2020 by the duo that also included reading and recording new works by Mizzou student composers and making a presentation to composition students.

The program will include music by Mizzou assistant professor Carolina Heredia; Evan Chambers, who also had a “virtual residency” with MNMI last fall; Robert Morris, a guest composer at the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival; and Annika Socolofsky, who visited Mizzou for a residency in 2019; as well as works by composers Hilda Paredes and John Liberatore.

Duo Cortona, the husband and wife team of violinist Ari Streisfeld and mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway, is a contemporary music ensemble dedicated to the creation of new works for their unique instrumentation. Both Streisfeld and Calloway are faculty members at the University of South Carolina School of Music.

Founded at and named for the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Italy, Duo Cortona (pictured) has done performances and residencies across the USA, including at the Resonant Bodies Festival; the SONiC Festival and The Stone, both in New York City; Contemporary Undercurrents of Song Project in Princeton, NJ; New Music on the Point in Vermont; the Southern Exposure Series for New Music; East Carolina New Music Initiative; University of Wisconsin; College of Charleston; and more.

Yoshiaki Onishi chosen as MMTA’s Commissioned Composer for 2021

The Missouri Music Teachers Association (MMTA) has selected Yoshiaki Onishi as their Commissioned Composer for 2021.

Onishi (pictured), a postdoctoral fellow with the Mizzou New Music Initiative, was chosen after submitting a portfolio of works anonymously to a panel of three judges. As the winner of the award, he will be commissioned to write a new work to be premiered in November 2021 at MMTA’s annual conference.

The winners of the Commissioned Composer competition in various states also are eligible to compete for the Music Teachers National Association’s “Distinguished Composer of Year” award, which includes a performance at MTNA’s national conference and a $5,000 cash prize.

Onishi is the third composer/educator from Mizzou to win the MMTA Commissioned Composer award in recent years, following former faculty member Bret Bohman, the 2019 winner, and associate professor Carolina Heredia, who won in 2018 when she was MNMI’s postdoctoral fellow.

Entry deadline for 2021 COMP extended to Friday, February 5

Due to the effects of the pandemic on Missouri schools, the Mizzou New Music Initiative and the University of Missouri School of Music are extending the deadline for this year’s Creating Original Music Project (COMP) competition.

The new deadline for 2021 COMP submissions will be 11:59 p.m., Friday, February 5, which gives student composers and songwriters in grades K-12 two additional weeks to submit their original music.

For more information or to enter, please visit https://newmusic.missouri.edu/comp.

MICF alumni in the news

Clockwise from top left: Browne, Simon, Kouyoumdjian, figgis-vizueta, Chandler, LeBoeuf

Although the resident composers for the Mizzou International Composers Festival are with us here in Columbia for only a short time each summer, MNMI continues to follow the progress of their careers as the years pass. Congratulations to these MICF alumni on their recent accomplishments:

* Works originally written for the MICF by Matt Browne (MICF 2016) and Greg Simon (MICF 2013) won first and second prizes respectively in the “new classics” division of the 2020 International Competition of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory for young composers.

You can see a video of the conservatory’s orchestra performing Browne’s “Writer’s Room,” Simon’s “Draw Me The Sun” and the other competition winners on YouTube.

* Mary Kouyoumdjian (MICF 2016) and inti figgis-vizueta (MICF 2019) recently took part in a roundtable discussion called “Understanding Intersectionality: Gender and Other Identities” that was presented online by the new music publication I CARE IF YOU LISTEN and American Composers Forum as part of their “UNEVEN MEASURES” discussion series. They were joined on the panel by violinist Jennifer Koh, composer Melissa Dunphy, and facilitator Amanda Cook, the editor-in-chief of ICIYL.

* figgis-vizueta also recently was selected to be part of the composition faculty for the 2021 Sewanee WinterFest at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN

* Theo Chandler (MICF 2019) recently was awarded a residency at Copland House, the former home of composer Aaron Copland in Cortlandt Manor, NY. Chandler will have the opportunity to live and work in the home next year for several weeks, expenses paid, as will Pascal LeBoeuf (MICF 2020) who previously was announced as a resident in 2019, had to postpone his stay due to the pandemic shutdown, and will be rescheduled for the coming season.

Mizzou New Music Initiative presenting American Wild Ensemble
in free online concert on Thursday, December 10

The Mizzou New Music Initiative will present the American Wild Ensemble performing “The American Aviatrix” in a free online concert at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, December 10.

The program commemorates the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment by honoring the achievements of American women aviators. It will celebrate the lives of two of these groundbreaking women, pilots Bessie Coleman and Amelia Earhart, with world premiere performances of two new works, “Il n’y aura pas de regrets” by Mizzou assistant professor Carolina Heredia and “Livid Loneliness of Fear” by Ingrid Stölzel. The concert also will include a performance of “Solitude of Self,” composed in 2018 by Caroline Mallonee.

As part of the online event, viewers also will be able to see interviews with the composers before each work is performed, as well as an online discussion including the composers and performers following the concert.

The entire program will be available to view on the University of Missouri School of Music’s YouTube channel, the American Wild Ensemble’s YouTube channel, and the Facebook pages of Mizzou New Music and the American Wild Ensemble.

Formed in 2016 with a commissioning project inspired by American national parks, the American Wild Ensemble (pictured) celebrates American places, historic figures, and events by commissioning new works and performing them in site-inspired and site-specific locations. They have received support from organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts and Chamber Music America for performances in both traditional and nontraditional venues across the country.

The group is led by flutist Emlyn Johnson and cellist Daniel Ketter, who both are faculty members at Missouri State University in Springfield. The ensemble also includes Mizzou assistant professor Megan Arns on percussion; Bill Kalinkos on clarinet; Sarah Peters on violin; and mezzo-soprano Ann Marie Wilcox-Daehn.

“The American Aviatrix” is generously funded by Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival
gets submissions from around the world

A total of 300 composers from around the world have applied for the four resident composer spots at the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Submissions were received from 24 different countries, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The 2021 MICF will be held Monday, July 26 through Saturday, July 31, and will feature Chen Yi and David T. Little as distinguished guest composers and Alarm Will Sound as resident ensemble.

Depending on travel and regulatory conditions next summer, the festival may be held in person on the University of Missouri campus and at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia; as a series of online events; or some combination of the two. That decision will be made as soon as there’s sufficient information to do so. In the meantime, the four resident composers selected to take part in the festival will be named in January.