Relevant Tones two-part radio special about
Mizzou International Composers Festival now available online

Last Saturday, the syndicated radio program “Relevant Tones” broadcast the second part of a two-hour special about the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Now, both episodes about the MICF can be streamed online. You can hear part one of the special here, and part two here.

Originating from WFMT (98.7 FM) in Chicago, “Relevant Tones” also is heard on nearly 40 other NPR, public, and commercial stations, plus 150 “translator” frequencies, in the USA, Canada and New Zealand.

Mizzou International Composers Festival gets
record number of resident composer applicants for 2015

With all the applications for 2015 submitted and logged, the Mizzou International Composers Festival has set another new record this year for the number of submissions from prospective resident composers.

The MICF got a total of 231 applications for the 2015 festival, including 82 returning applicants and 149 who applied for the first time.

Fifteen percent of the submissions came from outside the US, with applications arriving from composers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Last weekend, festival organizers met in St. Louis to review the submissions and decide which composers to invite for 2015. The working group included Mizzou New Music Initiative co-artistic directors Stefan Freund and W. Thomas McKenney and managing director William Lackey, as well as resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound’s conductor/music director Alan Pierson and pianist John Orfe. They looked at applications, studied scores, listened to hours of music, and discussed it all extensively before compiling their final list.

The results of their deliberations will be revealed on Monday, January 5, when we announce publicly the names of the eight resident composers who will take part in the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

To stay current with all the latest news from the MICF and MNMI, keep watching this space. Also, please follow us on Twitter at @MizzouNewMusic, and “like” the Missouri New Music Facebook page.

Tom McKenney and Alan Pierson look at a score

MNMI managing director William Lackey coordinated the application process

John Orfe and Stefan Freund listen intently

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project
2015 entry deadline extended to Monday, December 15

The Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) deadline for 2015 submissions has been extended until Monday, December 15.

Now in its fourth year, MOCOP is a collaborative effort of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO), and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation to bring attention to orchestral works written in the state of Missouri. By identifying composers of orchestral music and providing opportunities for the performance of their work, MOCOP strives to showcase the talent of Missouri and share it with the community

Each year, works are selected through a competitive, blind judging process to be performed by the CCO at a concert in Columbia. This year, one work will be chosen in the Open category, and one in the High School category. The compositions must be written for symphony orchestra and can be up to 10 minutes in duration. The works also must have been composed within the past 10 years, while the composer was living in Missouri.

Each selected composer will be awarded a $500 honorarium, and the works chosen will be performed by the CCO in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 7, 2015 at at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia.

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.

Composers who wish to submit their work to MOCOP can find details on instrumentation and complete application materials online at http://mizzounewmusic.missouri.edu/project.html. Applications must be postmarked no later than Monday, December 15, 2014.

Mizzou International Composers Festival to be featured
on “Relevant Tones” radio program December 6 and December 13

The 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be the subject of two upcoming episodes of the syndicated radio program “Relevant Tones,” which originates from WFMT (98.7 FM) in Chicago.

The two episodes will feature the world broadcast premiere of music from the 2014 MICF, plus interviews with many of the participating composers. Part one will air on WFMT at 5:00 p.m. Central time this coming Saturday, December 6, with part two to follow at the same time on Saturday, December 13.

You can listen to a live stream of the broadcasts at http://www.wfmt.com/streaming. Once they’ve aired, episodes also are archived online at the program’s website.

In addition to the broadcast on WFMT, “Relevant Tones” can be heard on nearly 40 other NPR, public, and commercial stations, plus 150 “translator” frequencies, in the USA, Canada and New Zealand.  These affiliate stations air “Relevant Tones” at a day and time of their choosing, so to see if and when your local NPR or public station carries it,  check their program guide.

Launched in 2011, the weekly program “celebrates the dynamic and diverse musical creations of modern-day composers from around the world.” To put together the MICF episodes, host Seth Boustead and producer Jesse McQuarters came to Columbia for a week last July to take in the various events, talk with participating musicians and composers, listen to rehearsals and performances, and record the interviews used on the show.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform new works from Missouri composers
and more on Sunday, December 7 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will play their second concert of the academic year (and their final show of 2014)  at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, December 7 in Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Admission is free for Mizzou students, $5 suggested donation for the general public.

The program will feature a turn-of-the-century piece from a Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winning composer, plus four brand new works written right here in Missouri.

The prizewinner in question is Jennifer Higdon (pictured), the acclaimed contemporary composer whose major awards include a Pulitzer in 2010 for her Violin Concerto, and a Grammy that same year for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for her Percussion Concerto.

For this concert, the MNME will play Higdon’s “Celestial Hymns,” a work written in 2000 that further develops some of the material from a previous composition, “Blue Cathedral,” to evoke the details of stained glass within said cathedral.

Also on the program are three new works written by Mizzou composition majors: “Of Trickery and Toys,” by sophomore Erin Hoerchler; “The Pathless Woods,” by freshman Gus Knobbe; and “Nachtmusik” by junior Grant Bradshaw.

The concert will conclude with “Push/Pull,” written in 2013 and revised this year by Kansas City’s Nicholas Omiccioli, who was one of the resident composers at this past summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

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 and associate professor.

The Ensemble’s members for the 2014-15 season are Taylor Burkhardt, piano; Rachel Czech, cello; Jose Martínez, percussion; Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets; Erin Spencer, flute; Britney Stutz, violin; and Korin Wahl, viola.

The Ensemble serves as the repertory group for the Mizzou New Music Initiative, an array of programs intended to position the University of Missouri School of Music as a leading center in the areas of composition and new music. In that capacity, they work with faculty, students and visiting composers, and give public performances on campus and in the community.

MNMI alumni in the news

Several Mizzou composition alumni have been in the news this fall:

* Grant Fonda, who earned his master’s degree at Mizzou in 2012, was featured as a “composer to watch” as part of ASCAP’s “Composer Spotlight.”

Fonda (pictured) was selected earlier this year to take part in the the organization’s Film Scoring Workshop in Los Angeles.

* Michael Anderson, who graduated and won the Sinquefield Composition Prize in 2012, had a new work, “The Heart of A Land” premiered by the combined forces of the Parkville Symphonic Band and the Platte City Community Band at their joint concert on October 26. A native of Platte City, Anderson wrote the piece on commission for the concert celebrating the 175th anniversary of Platte County.

* Stephanie Berg, who’s originally from Parkville, also had a piece on the same concert, as the Parkville Symphonic Band played her work “Pick Up Your Sword and Follow Me!” The band also will play Berg’s “Summoning Fire” at their spring concert on April 12.

Berg, who earned her master’s degree in 2013, currently is finishing up an original score for a theatrical production of “A Christmas Carol!” that will run from December 12 through December 21 at  the Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock, MO. She also learned recently that the Quincy (IL) Symphony Orchestra Association will be performing her work “Ravish and Mayhem” as part of a concert on April 18.

And if all that weren’t enough, the DDG Trio has scheduled several performances of Berg’s woodwind trio “The Featherlight Ballet.”  They’ll play the work in Conway, AR on a concert series called “Under the Dome” on January 25; at Harding University on February 12; and as part of the Arkansas Symphony’s chamber series River Rhapsodies on March 3. You can hear their recording of the piece in the embedded SoundCloud player below.

Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) celebrates tenth year of prizes, recognition for Missouri student composers

Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield with multiple C.O.M.P. winner HyunJun Yoo of Columbia

Over the past nine years, the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P) has encouraged the musical dreams and aspirations of hundreds of K-12 students across Missouri. Now for its tenth year, the annual statewide competition sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation once again is looking for new, original music from student composers and songwriters in the Show-Me State.

Information was mailed last month to music teachers across the state inviting students to participate in the 2015 competition. The winning composers and their schools will be awarded cash prizes, and the winning compositions will be performed at the Creating Original Music Project’s New Music Festival on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Students in grades K-5 may submit compositions in two categories, Songs With Words and Instrumental Pieces. For grades 6-8, the categories are Fine Art Music and Popular Music; and for grades 9-12, they are Fine Art Music, Popular Music, Jazz, and Other styles. All entries must be original music written by the student, and only one entry per student is allowed. Arrangements of previously composed pieces or improvisation based on composed pieces will not be accepted.

Mentors and teachers are encouraged to offer support and critiques, though the submissions must be the students’ own original compositions. Music teachers and/or mentors may assist students in notating or recording the pieces, and each student who applies must have the signature and sponsorship of their school’s music teacher. Only three submissions per category per school are allowed. It is the responsibility of the school music teacher(s) to decide which three pieces per category will be entered in the contest. The postmark deadline for submission of all compositions is January 10, 2015.

For more information about the Creating Original Music Project and an application for the 2015 competition, please visit the C.O.M.P website at http://music.missouri.edu/COMP/.

For students looking for additional guidance or feedback on their work, the Mizzou New Music Initiative also offers Composer Connection, a distance-learning program that gives aspiring composers a chance to talk with and receive instruction from a graduate student in composition at MU. Students can e-mail works in progress and ask questions about composing, and receive suggestions and answers directly from the composer on call. The composer on call for the 2014-15 academic year is Justin Pounds, who can be reached by email at composerconnection@missouri.edu.

Mizzou composers, Stephens College choreographers
collaborating again for concerts on November 14, 15 & 16

Composers from the Mizzou New Music Initiative are working once again with choreographers and dancers from Stephens College to create original music for this year’s Senior Dance Concert at Stephens.

The performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 14 and Saturday, November 15, and at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, November 16 at the Macklanburg Playhouse, 100 Willis Ave on the Stephens campus.

Tickets are $8 for general admission, $6 for students and seniors, and can be purchased in advance at the Macklanburg Playhouse box office; by calling 573-876-7199; or at the door.

Renewing the collaboration between MNMI and Stephens that began in the 2013-14 academic year, the concert will feature dances choreographed by Stephens students to three original works by Mizzou composers.

Stephens seniors Kyla Ranney and Jessie Burgess have created choreography for two pieces written by Erin Hoerchler, a sophomore composition major at Mizzou, and MU graduate student Kaylene Cypret has composed music for senior Alexis Collins’ dance.

For Stephens’ graduating dance majors, the Senior Dance Concert performances represent the culmination of their personal dance experiences, and the collaboration with Mizzou affords them the rare opportunity to perform with live musical accompaniment, provided by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble.

The seven-member Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer and associate professor.

The Ensemble’s members for the 2014-15 season are Taylor Burkhardt, piano; Rachel Czech, cello; Jose Martínez, percussion; Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets; Erin Spencer, flute; Britney Stutz, violin; and Korin Wahl, viola. Joining them for the performances at Stephens will be two guest musicians from Mizzou, violinist Graham Woodland and clarinetist Travis Herd.

“The composers and performers of the Mizzou New Music Initiative are truly grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Stephens’ choreographers and dancers,” said William Lackey, assistant teaching professor of composition and managing director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “As a teacher, I always want to provide young composers with opportunities that will push them artistically.”