Tickets for 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival
go on sale Friday, May 25

Tickets for the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. CDT on Friday, May 25.

Recognized as an important regional showcase for new works by top young composers, the MICF will take place this year from Monday, July 23 through Saturday, July 28 in Columbia, and will include three public concerts.

Returning for the ninth year as the festival’s resident ensemble, Alarm Will Sound will begin the weekend of shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 26 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St. in downtown Columbia.

They’ll perform music from the 2018 MICF’s distinguished guest composers, Chen Yi and Alex Mincek, as well as a work by Mizzou’s Stefan Freund and more.

The following evening, the “Mizzou New Music” concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre will feature the Mizzou New Music Ensemble performing works by Chen and Mincek, plus the Missouri Clarinet Quartet playing new music by Stefan Freund, Carolina Heredia, and Aaron Mencher.

The grand finale of the week will showcase the world premieres of seven new works written by the festival’s resident composers and performed by Alarm Will Sound at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre.

Festival VIP packages are $80, and include reserved premium seating at all three concerts; two drink tickets good at the Thursday and Friday performances; and admission to a VIP reception prior to the Saturday evening performance, featuring champagne and hors d’oeuvres with members of Alarm Will Sound and the composers.

Festival passes for all three concerts are $40 for an adult general admission pass, and $20 for a student general admission pass.

Single tickets are priced at $18 for adults, $10 for students, and are all general admission. Tickets can be charged by phone using Visa, MasterCard or Discover by calling 1-573-882-3781. To buy tickets online, visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

The MICF also offers a special limited-time discount for early ticket buyers. If you purchase tickets before June 3 and use the promotional code, you can get single adult tickets for any MICF concert for just $10 each (regular price $18), while student tickets are discounted to $7 (from $10).

To get the discount, use “2018MICF” (without quotes) when prompted for a promotional code. This offer is good only on tickets purchased between May 25 and June 3, 2018.

In addition to these three concerts, the MICF also will feature several free events, including open rehearsals and presentations by the participating composers. A complete schedule of those events will be released at a later date.

The seven resident composers were chosen from among more than 240 applicants from 22 different countries to participate in the festival and create a new work for Alarm Will Sound. Listed with their current places of residence, they are:

* Oren Boneh, Berkeley, CA
* Christine Burke, Iowa City, IA
* Viet Cuong, Philadelphia, PA
* Amanda Feery, Princeton, NJ
* Douglas Osmun, Columbia, MO
* Gemma Peacocke, Princeton, NJ
* Igor Santos, Chicago, IL

An eighth resident composer, Peter Shin, was announced as part of the group in December 2017, but had to postpone his participation due to scheduling conflicts. “At the same time that Peter was selected for the MICF, he also received a commission to write a new work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic,” said Stefan Freund, professor of composition and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “When it became apparent that he could not complete both pieces in time, we extended an invitation to him to be part of our 2019 festival, and we look forward to working with him next year.”

During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from distinguished guest composers Chen Yi, who is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City; and Alex Mincek, an assistant professor, composition and music technology at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and a co-founder and artistic director of the Wet Ink Ensemble.

The resident composers also will take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound; give presentations on their music; and receive a premiere performance and professional live recording of their work.

Mizzou New Music Initiative 2017-18 year in review

Stefan Freund’s “Unremixed” featured in new Alarm Will Sound music video

“Unremixed,” a composition by Mizzou’s Stefan Freund, is featured in a new music video from Alarm Will Sound.

Freund, who is professor of composition at Mizzou and the artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, also is a co-founder of and cellist for Alarm Will Sound, the new music group who since 2010 has served as resident ensemble for the Mizzou International Composers Festival. There’s another local connection, too, as the video was shot at Spectrum Studios in Columbia.

You can see the complete music video for “Unremixed” in the embedded window below, followed by the production notes from Alarm Will Sound.

“Unremixed” was written for Alarm Will Sound’s debut at the Lincoln Center Festival in 2005. The work was created as a finale for the concert, which was the complete presentation of “Acoustica,” Alarm Will Sound’s album of arrangements of Aphex Twin’s electronica. The work integrates several ideas from Aphex Twin’s music as well as instrumental techniques used in Acoustica arrangements to imitate electronic sounds.

“Unremixed” is divided into four sections. The first features the descent from “Gwely Mernans” presented in various ratios against a consistent quarter note pulse divided into sixteenths. A lick similar to the pentatonic figures found in “Cliffs” emerges, played in different meters against the pulse.

A bombastic percussion solo leads to the second section, which places a firm 5/4 pulse against a tune formed from two phrases of 10/16 that change their division of the meter. Though not directly taken from the music of Aphex Twin, the tune is reminiscent of many modal funky grooves found in electronic dance music. Eventually it is placed against the descent from the previous section.

The third section imitates the industrial sound of electronica. The tune from “Meltphace 6” emerges over a 7/8 groove whose working title was “Sick Machine.” Various layers are added to the texture to grow towards a giant climax.

The final section is a simple dance party featuring techno drum tracks that grow increasingly complex and a sped up presentation of the mixed meter dance tune from the second section. The performers are encouraged to get a little rowdy towards the end.

Composed by Stefan Freund
Performed by Alarm Will Sound
Shot by Four/Ten Media

Alarm Will Sound:
Erin Lesser, flute
Christa Robinson, oboe
Bill Kalinkos, clarinet and saxophone
Elisabeth Stimpert, clarinet
Michael Harley, bassoon
Matt Marks, horn
Tim Leopold, trumpet
Michael Clayville, trombone
Chris Thompson, percussion
Matt Smallcomb, percussion
John Orfe, piano
Courtney Orlando, violin
Caleb Burhans, violin
Stefan Freund, cello
Miles Brown, bass
Alan Pierson, conductor and Artistic Director

Daniel Neumann, Audio Engineer
Gavin Chuck, Managing Director
Nigel Maister, Theatrical Director
Jason Varvaro, Production Manager
Peter Ferry, Production Assistant
Chihiro Shibayama, Librarian
Tracy Mendez, Development Manager

Special thanks to these musicians for their contribution to the video:
Andrew Nogal (oboe), Megan Arns (percussion), Ben Russell (violin), Karin Brown (viola)

Special thanks to these musicians who performed on the recording:
Jason Price (trumpet), Nadia Sirota (viola), Chihiro Shibayama (percussion), Juilia Gaines (percussion)

Filmed at Spectrum Studios during an Alarm Will Sound residency at the University of Missouri sponsored by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. Funding for the video shoot came from the MU Research Council.

MADSM Collegiate Composer Competition
seeks new works for chamber ensemble

The Missouri Association of Departments and Schools of Music (MADSM) and the Mizzou New Music Initiative are co-sponsoring a new competition for collegiate composers in Missouri to encourage the creation of original chamber music that can be played by high-school level musicians

The MADSM Collegiate Composer Competition is open to all students currently enrolled in any MADSM member institution, with separate categories for undergraduate and graduate students. Composers are asked to write a new work from five to seven minutes in length for a group of three to five musicians, consisting of some combination of flute, clarinet, piano, violin, cello, and percussion.

Scores and recordings must be submitted online by Friday, September 14, and winners will be announced on Monday, November 12.

Winning composers then will be invited to the University of Missouri, where their pieces will be workshopped and recorded by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble. The Ensemble will premiere this year’s winning works in January 2019 at the Missouri Music Educators Association conference in Osage Beach, with the goal of attracting future opportunities on concert programs around the state.

For more information or to submit an entry, go to https://music.missouri.edu/mnmi/madsm-composition-contest.

The Missouri Association of Departments and Schools of Music (MADSM) includes all institutions in the state of Missouri that offer post-secondary music study. MADSM offers a regular forum for leaders from these institutions to discuss issues pertaining to music study; to provide mutual support for each other; and to advocate for music education at the collegiate level, presenting a strong and unified voice for music education in Missouri.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to debut “Innovation Symphony”
with performances in Columbia and St. Louis

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will celebrate the spirit of creativity in technology and the arts with performances in Columbia and St. Louis of “Innovation Symphony,” a new collaborative, multi-part work by four Mizzou student composers.

“Innovation Symphony” will be previewed in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 23 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia.

The work’s official premiere will be presented by Venture Cafe St. Louis at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, April 28 at the Cortex Innovation Community‘s @4240 building, located at 4240 Duncan Ave. in St. Louis.

The concert in Columbia is free and open to the public. Admission to the performance in St. Louis also is free and open to the public, but those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP online at https://innovationsymphony.eventbrite.com/.

“Innovation Symphony” has four sections, each written by a different composer based on a specific aspect of the Cortex Innovation Community, and was composed specifically for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

The sections are “A Creative Meditation,” written by Libby Roberts, who’s in her first year of study for a master’s degree in composition at Mizzou and is the pianist for the Ensemble; “Breath of Life,” by Ethan Forte, a sophomore composition major at Mizzou; “Efficiency of Locomotion,” by Adam Cohen, also a sophomore composition major; and “Untitled (Room to Breathe)” by Mikkel Christensen, who’s also a first year master’s student in composition.

“Innovation Symphony” does more than explore innovation as a subject, as the composers also have deployed unusual, creative techniques and instruments in their scores. For example, Christensen’s segment uses wood and plastic percussion instruments custom-built by the composer, while Roberts’ work incorporates a high-tech form of audience participation. Her composition includes ambient sounds that audience members will be able to trigger during the performance from three Novation Launchpad Minis, which are push-button controllers designed specifically for electronic music.

Before the premiere in St. Louis, all four composers will be on hand for Venture Cafe St. Louis’ weekly “Thursday Gathering” at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26 at Venture Cafe, 4240 Duncan Ave, to give a presentation about their works and compositional processes. That event also is free and open to the public, with no RSVP required.

Venture Cafe St. Louis is an organization dedicated to connecting innovators to make things happen. Cortex Innovation Community is a 200-acre innovation hub and technology district integrated into St. Louis’ historic Central West End and Forest Park Southeast residential neighborhoods.

Mizzou New Music Initiative awards postdoctoral fellowship to Yoshiaki Onishi

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) and the University of Missouri School of Music have awarded a postdoctoral fellowship to composer Yoshiaki “Yoshi” Onishi.

Starting with the Fall 2018 semester and continuing for two years, Onishi will teach private composition lessons, composition seminar, and freshman ear training to Mizzou students; serve as assistant conductor for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble; and assist with various MNMI programs. He also will begin a major research project to be completed during the two years of his fellowship.

Onishi (pictured) made news last week when he was awarded a 2018 fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, a prestigious prize that since 1925 has been given to scholars, artists and scientists who already have done exceptional work and continue to show promise for the future. As MNMI’s third postdoctoral fellow, he will succeed Carolina Heredia, who was hired by the School of Music to be an assistant professor of composition starting in Fall 2018.

“Yoshiaki Onishi has impressive credentials, and he’ll add another fresh perspective to our composition area,” said Julia Gaines, director of the School of Music and professor of percussion. “With Carolina Heredia joining the full-time faculty, we’re very pleased to have found yet another accomplished individual for this fellowship.”

“As a conductor and clarinetist as well as a teacher and a prize-winning composer, Yoshi has had a variety of experiences that apply directly to what we’re doing with the Mizzou New Music Initiative,” said Stefan Freund, professor of composition and artistic director of MNMI. “Our students definitely will benefit by having him in the mix, and since both of our previous post-doctoral fellows have gone on to tenure-track jobs, we hope that this opportunity will be good for Yoshi, too.”

Born in Hokkaido, Japan, Onishi received his doctorate in composition in 2015 from Columbia University. Previously, he studied composition, clarinet and conducting at University of the Pacific, graduating with highest honors, and earned an artist diploma and master of music degree in composition from Yale School of Music.

He has held teaching positions at Columbia University and Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, Japan, and has made guest lectures and appearances at the University of Hawai’i at Manoā, University of the Pacific, Columbia University, and other academic institutions.

Onishi has had his music presented worldwide by festivals and organizations such as Festival Rainy Days at Philharmonie Luxembourg, Takefu International Music Festival, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, and more; and performed by ensembles and soloists including Asko/Schönberg Ensemble, Klangforum Wien, JACK Quartet, Momenta Quartet, Wet Ink Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Anssi Karttunen, Ari Streisfeld, and Linda Jankowska. His works are published by Edition Gravis in Berlin, Germany.

As a conductor, he describes himself as “deeply engaged” in new music and has conducted many ensembles and orchestras, working closely with composers of his generation. Onishi is one of the founding members of Ensemble Exophonie Tokyo, and previously served as an assistant conductor for the Columbia University Orchestra.

His honors and awards include winning the Gaudeamus Prize, one of the most prestigious awards given to young composers, in 2011; being a two-time finalist for the Akutagawa Award in Music Composition in Japan; an artistic residency fellowship from Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbertide, Italy; a commission from Ensemble Intercontemporain; and more.

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra musicians
to perform three new works by Mizzou composers
on Sunday, April 29 at Powell Hall

Dustin Dunn, Aaron Mencher and Douglas Osmun

Members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, led by the SLSO’s resident conductor Gemma New, will perform three new works by student composers from the University of Missouri School of Music at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 29 at Powell Hall in St. Louis.

Admission to the performance is free and open to the public, but those wishing to attend are requested to RSVP via the SLSO’s website at https://www.slso.org/en/com/community_concerts/community-events/mizzou-composers/.

The event is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between the SLSO and the Mizzou New Music Initiative, with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Three new works for a 40-piece orchestra were commissioned for the project: Dustin Dunn‘s “Don’t Let the Fire Go Out,” Aaron Mencher‘s “Antrios,” and Douglas Osmun‘s “ghost. receding. (unto a shaded landscape).” The compositions were given a first reading by members of the SLSO in a private session last November in St. Louis, then revised by the composers based in part on feedback from the musicians and conductor.

Dunn, a senior, and Mencher, a junior, are working toward undergraduate degrees in composition at Mizzou, while Osmun is in his second year of study for a master’s degree. Mencher is the 2018 winner of the Sinquefield Composition Prize, Mizzou’s highest award for a student composer, and Osmun won the same award in 2017.

“This is a unique opportunity for our composers,” said Stefan Freund, professor of composition at the University of Missouri School of Music and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, in a statement announcing the program last fall. “We’re delighted to be collaborating with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra to give these students some real, practical experience working with an ensemble of world-class musicians. ”

“The two-session format makes this program particularly valuable,” Freund said. “There are other programs that give young composers the chance to have their works read by a professional orchestra, but most provide just one session with the musicians.”

“Here, because the SLSO and their musicians are willing to do two sessions, our composers will have a chance to evaluate everything from their overall orchestration to the notation of individual parts, make revisions, and then hear the results of the changes they’ve made. That’s a learning experience that’s impossible to get any other way,” he said.

Composer Jonathan Newman to visit Mizzou for residency

Photo by Peace Gardiner SavetzComposer Jonathan Newman is coming to Columbia this month for a residency at the School of Music.

Newman (pictured), who is director of composition and coordinator of new music at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA,  will visit Mizzou from Wednesday, April 25 through Friday, April 27.

While he’s on campus, his activities will include coaching the Mizzou New Music Ensemble in rehearsal; giving composition lessons and a presentation on his works; and attending the concert by the Mizzou Wind Ensemble on Friday at the Missouri Theatre.

Wind and educational ensembles around the world frequently perform Newman’s music, and the Mizzou Wind Ensemble’s concert will include one of his best-known compositions, “Blow It Up, Start Again,” as well as “Avenue X” and “As the scent of spring rain…” In addition, Newman’s works “Moon by Night” and “1861” will be performed by Mizzou’s Symphonic Band at their concert on Sunday, April 29, also at the Missouri Theatre.

Trained as a pianist, trombonist, and singer, Newman creates music informed by an upbringing performing in orchestras, singing in jazz choirs, playing in marching bands, and accompanying himself in talent shows, incorporating pop, blues, jazz, folk, and funk into otherwise classical models.

Born in 1972, he received the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and holds degrees from Boston University’s School for the Arts and from The Juilliard School, where his collaborative works for dance enjoyed multiple performances at The Juilliard Theater, Alice Tully Hall, P.S. 122, and Dance Theater Workshop.

Newman’s music has been performed by orchestras worldwide, including the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the 2015 BBC Proms, and many others.

In 2016 he was appointed composer-in-residence for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, which originally commissioned “Blow It Up, Start Again” in 2011 and performed four of his works, including the newly commissioned “Meridian,” during their 2016-17 season. Other recent projects include a re-imagined Mass for The Choir of Trinity Wall Street; a large-scale work commissioned by the Florida State University Wind Orchestra; “Prayers of Steel” for Chicago’s Gaudete Brass, and, with playwright Gary Winter, an opera based on the 1962 cult horror film Carnival of Souls.

Newman also has a connection to the Mizzou International Composers Festival’s resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound, having transcribed and arranged “Logan Rock With” and “Fingerbib” for their 2005 album Acoustica: Alarm Will Sound Performs Aphex Twin on Cantaloupe Records.

His works have been recorded on labels such as Avian, BCM, Brain Music, Cantaloupe, Cedille, Klavier, Mark Custom, Naxos, Potenza, and Summit Records. Newman also is a founding member of the composer consortium BCM International, which has released two albums.

You can hear some of Jonathan Newman’s music in the embedded players below and on his SoundCloud page.

“Blow It Up, Start Again,” a transcription with performance by the Florida State University Wind Orchestra, conducted by Richard Clary, recorded April 15, 2013 at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall in Tallahassee FL

“Stereo Action,” recorded by the Texas A&M-Commerce Percussion Ensemble at the 2010 PASIC in Indianapolis, IN

“My Hands Are A City,” as performed by the University Of Georgia Wind Ensemble, conducted by John Lynch, on their album “Millennium Canons: Looking Forward, Looking Back”