$10 million donation kicks off campaign for new music building at Mizzou


Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield have given a $10 million gift to the University of Missouri to help fund the proposed new School of Music building. The gift, the largest ever in support of the arts at MU, was announced in a news conference on Friday April 10 at the Reynolds Alumni Center on the Mizzou campus.

Through the generous gift, the Sinquefields will help begin the fundraising efforts for the new School of Music building, which will be located at the northeast corner of Hitt Street and University Avenue on the MU campus. The new School of Music building (pictured, in an artist’s conception) is a part of a larger project that will include the renovation of the Fine Arts Building in order also to improve facilities for the MU theater and art departments.

Overall project highlights include a new recital hall for the School of Music, renovations to the Rhynsburger Theatre, and an expansion of the Bingham Gallery. Julia Gaines, the director of the MU School of Music, says this gift and the fine arts renovation project will not only raise MU’s stature in music composition, but also across the board in fine arts.

“The idea of having the entire School of Music in one building is a dream come true–a dream that has been talked about for decades,” Gaines said. “I can’t even begin to express how exciting this is for the MU music faculty, staff, and students. We’ve had a glass ceiling over us for many years because of our facility limitations. This gift will allow us to grow in so many ways, and we are more than ready for the opportunity.”

The Sinquefields’ support for composition began a decade ago with the Creating Original Music Project, a statewide competition for Missouri students in grades K-12, and an affiliated high school summer camp. In 2009, they gave MU $1 million to create the Mizzou New Music Initiative, an array of programs including the Sinquefield Composition Prize, MU’s highest honor for a student composer.

You can read the full text of the University’s announcement here, and see Jeanne Sinquefield talking about the $10 million gift and her interest in composition in the video below.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to highlight works
by Hans Abrahamsen, Andrew Norman in concert
on Sunday, April 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will highlight works from the two guest composers for this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) in a concert at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 26 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 concert will feature performances of “Zwei Schneetänze,” two works by Dutch composer Hans Abrahamsen from 1985 that foreshadow his extended tour-de-force “Schnee,” and four movements of “The Companion Guide to Rome,” written by Andrew Norman in 2010 as a musical evocation of Roman landmarks.

Abrahamsen is one of Europe’s leading composers and a member of the “New Simplicity” movement. His major awards include the Carl Nielsen Prize and the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize, and his works been performed by European orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic. Norman is an assistant professor of composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, and currently is composer in residence with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia.

Both men will be guest composers at the 2015 MICF, which will take place from Monday, July 20 through Saturday July 25 in Columbia.

The April 26 concert also will include a 2012 piece written by a former resident composer for the MICF, as well as two brand new, poetically inspired works from Mizzou composition students.

David Biedenbender’s “Grit” is described as “an aggressive work dedicated to the composer’s sister-in-law’s battle with cancer.” Biedenbender, who was a resident composer at the 2012 Mizzou International Composers Festival and now teaches composition at Boise State University, will be in the audience for this performance.

“The Year 1861” by Mizzou freshman Dustin Dunn was inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem of the same name about the Civil War, while junior Trey Makler’s “Sonette an Orpheus” is a “colorful and vibrant” setting of a Ranier Maria Rilke sonnet. Makler’s composition will be conducted by Mizzou junior Travis Herd, and features a guest performance by baritone Sam Wright.

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.

MNMI, COMP featured on St. Louis Public Radio

Mizzou New Music Initiative managing director William Lackey, junior composition major Ben Colagiovanni and composer, clarinetist and Mizzou alum Stephanie Berg were guests this past Friday, April 3 on St. Louis Public Radio’s program “CityScape.”

In the segment, they talked with host Steve Potter about the Creating Original Music Project, the annual statewide competition for Missouri student composers in grades K-12. The annual COMP Festival showcasing the original compositions of this year’s winners will take place on Saturday, April 18 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the Mizzou campus.

Colagiovanni was a two-time COMP winner while a student at Clayton High School, before enrolling at Mizzou with a full Sinquefield Scholarship to study composition, and Berg helped administer COMP as one of her many MNMI-related activities while a graduate student. They discussed their personal experiences with the program, while Lackey provided background and context about the competition, the COMP Festival, and the entire Mizzou New Music Initiative. You can listen to the segment online here.

Creating Original Music Project celebrates 10 years
of original works from Missouri student composers
with concert on Saturday, April 18

Multiple COMP winner HyunJun Yoo with Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation

Mizzou’s Creating Original Music Project (COMP) will mark 10 years of showcasing the works of Missouri student composers in grades K-12 with the 2015 COMP Festival, which will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, April 18 in the Fine Arts Building on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Admission to the festival is free and open to the public. The junior division concert, featuring works from elementary and middle school winners, begins at 10:30 a.m., with the senior division concert of music by high school winners following at 2:30 p.m..

The festival also will be streamed live online at http://music.missouri.edu/concert_streaming.html, with the audio stream going live 10 minutes before the start of each concert.

COMP was founded in 2005 to encourage students in Missouri to write original musical works and provide performance opportunities for those works. It is a joint venture of the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, which provides an annual gift of $80,000 to sponsor the competition.

Every year, in addition to having their music performed at the COMP Festival, the winning composers in each age group and category and their schools receive cash prizes, and high school winners also receive a scholarship to attend Mizzou’s high school summer music composition camp.

“It’s always a joy to see young composers developing their talents and expressing themselves,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. “Over the past ten years, we’ve seen increasing recognition for Missouri as a center for new music, and COMP has been an important part of that.

“Through the annual competition and summer COMP camp, we’ve been able to provide encouragement and opportunities for hundreds of Missouri students,” Sinquefield said. “Some past winners already have gone on to become music majors in college and, in a couple of cases, have even started playing or composing music professionally.”

The 2015 Creating Original Music Project (COMP) competition categories and winners are:

Elementary School – Songs with Words
1) Nathan Fee-Wiley & Michael Marshall of Bristol Elementary School, Webster Groves, for “Champion.” Sponsor: Sara Wichard.
2) Sadie Tanner of Maplewood-Richmond Heights Elementary School, Richmond Heights, for “Springtime.” Sponsor: John Israel.
3) Taylor Anderson & Braden Wicker of Chaffee Elementary School, Chaffee, for “I Wanna Be Loved.” Sponsor: Carrie Cain.

Elementary School – Instrumental
1) Lochlan Stewart of Ellisville Elementary School, Ellisville, for “The Everlasting Battle.” Sponsor: Katie Brown.
2) Judah Robbins Bernal of Russell Boulevard Elementary School, Columbia, for “Broken Video Game.” Music teacher: Paola Savvidou. Sponsor: Jared Smith.
3) Brandon Kim of Paxton Keeley Elementary School, Columbia, for “Knights of the Round Table.” Sponsor: Elizabeth Gergian.

Middle School – Popular
1) Ande Celeste Siegel of Ladue Middle School, Ladue, for “Rate Your Pain.” Sponsor: Leah Alrutz.
2) Samuel Luetkemeyer of Immanuel Lutheran School, Jefferson City, for “Closing Hours.” Sponsor: Kristi Schleade.
3) Menea Kefalov of Ladue Middle School, Ladue, for “Moving On.” Sponsor: Jeff Lindhorst.

Middle School – Fine Art
1) Brandon Thibodeau of Kearney Junior High School, Kearney, for “Roundabout.” Music teacher: Narong Prangcharoen. Sponsor: Jamie Heil.
2) Audrey McCulley of South Iron R-1 School District, Annapolis, for “A New Year.” Sponsor: Eva Barnes.
3) HyunJun Yoo of West Middle School, Columbia, for “Into the Storm.” Sponsor: Julie Swope.

High School – Popular
1) Anthony Delia of St. Louis University High School, St. Louis, for “Little Bit of Your Time.” Sponsor: Jeff Pottinger.
2) Sarah Meadows of David H. Hickman High School, Columbia, for “Just Wait for Me.” Sponsor: Robin Steinhaus.
3) Hera Scher-Zagier of Crossroads College Preparatory School, St. Louis, for “Hurricane.” Sponsor: Hugh Jones.

High School – Fine Art
1) Hans Heruth of Liberty Senior High School, Liberty, for “Autumn’s Orchestra.” Sponsor: Rika Heruth.
2) Julia Riew of John Burroughs School, St. Louis, for “Laughing Lake.” Sponsor: Robert M. Carter.
3) Mary Park of David H. Hickman High School, Columbia, for “The Reminiscence.” Music teacher: Eun Kim. Sponsor: Margaret Lawless.

Each student who enters the competition must have the signature and sponsorship of his or her school’s music teacher. Community agencies, churches, after-school programs, private teachers and other musical mentors also may sponsor their young musicians in partnership with the student’s school music teacher.

Mizzou students are winners in young composers competition

Erin Hoerchler

Mizzou composition students Erin Hoerchler and Gus Knobbe are among the winners of the Community Music School of Webster University’s 11th Annual Young Composers Competition.

Hoerchler, a 19-year-old freshman from Jefferson City, won first place in the 17-21 age division for her work “Flight of the Hang Gliding Nightingale Nurses.”

Knobbe, who’s also 19 and a freshman from Webster Groves, MO, took second place in the same division with his composition “Murmurations.”

Before enrolling at Mizzou, both Hoechler and Knobbe also were winners in the annual Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) statewide competition for composers in grades K-12.

Both of their award-winning works and the rest of this year’s winning compositions will be performed by professional musicians at the Community Music School’s Emerging Composers Concert at 3:00 p.m., Saturday, March 21, at the CMS Center on the campus of Webster University. Admission is free and open to the public.

Gus Knobbe

The concert, which is part of an entire weekend of composition activities presented by CMS, also will include an original work by guest composer Don Freund, professor of composition at Indiana University (and the father of Mizzou New Music Initiative co-artistic director Stefan Freund).

The Young Composers Competition began in 2004, and is intended to recognize and encourage the efforts of those between the ages of 12 and 21 who are involved in the creative process of composing music. The program is open to nationwide participation, and this year attracted entrants from 13 states.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform
new works by visiting and student composers
Sunday, March 8 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will play works by two visiting composers and three Mizzou students in their first concert of the new year at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 8 in Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus.

Admission is free for Mizzou students, faculty, and staff with MU ID, $5 for the general public, with tickets available at the door.

The Ensemble (pictured) will perform “The Gargoyles of Notre Dame” by Andrew List, who will be visiting the Mizzou campus that week to work with them, as well as select movements of “The Companion Guide to Rome” by Andrew Norman, who will be one of two guest composers at this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival in July.

List, a professor of composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, writes music in many different genres and has received numerous commissions and performances from professional music ensembles and solo artists in the United States and Europe.

Norman is an assistant professor of composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. He has won wide acclaim for his chamber and orchestral works, most recently “Play,” which was described as “a sprawling, engulfing, furiously unpredictable piece” by critic Alex Ross of The New Yorker.

The three student works to be performed are “Pulsar Phases” by senior composition major David Boullion, which combines his background in jazz with reference to classical music, funk and more; “Adrenaline” by freshman composition major Alex Williams, a work described as “a fast wild ride with unpredictable interruptions along the way”; and “Djole” by MNME clarinetist Jeremiah Rittel, which is inspired by West African drum music.

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; José Martínez, percussion; Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets; Erin Spencer, flute; Britney Stutz, violin; and Korin Wahl, viola.

In addition, at this concert Mizzou student Jaron Lester will serve as the Ensemble’s guest conductor for David Boullion’s “Pulsar Phases.”

St. Louis Symphony to perform Stefan Freund’s “Cyrillic Dreams”

Original music from Mizzou will be heard once again next year at Powell Hall in St. Louis, as the St. Louis Symphony’s announcement last Tuesday of their 2015-16 season schedule included the news that they’ll perform Stefan Freund’s “Cyrillic Dreams” as part of a concert on Friday, April 29, 2016.

Stefan Freund

Freund is associate professor of composition and music theory at the University of Missouri and co-artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. The Memphis native also is a cellist and founding member of the new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, and is the music director and principal conductor of the Columbia Civic Orchestra.

“Cyrillic Dreams,” composed in 2008 with a commission from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, was inspired by Freund’s trip to Russia that year. It was premiered by the Columbia Civic Orchestra by the Columbia Civic Orchestra on March 24, 2009 in Vienna’s Minoritenkirche with the composer conducting, and subsequently has been played by orchestras including the Tennessee Tech University Orchestra and the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, and at the Missouri River Festival of the Arts.

The St. Louis Symphony will play Freund’s composition on a program that also includes well-known works such as Bernstein’s “Candide Overture,” Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” and Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The concert is part of the St. Louis Symphony’s new “Music You Know” series conducted by music director David Robertson, which aims to connect listeners to classical music by presenting “familiar tunes we’re certain you know, and others that you’ll long to hear again and again.” “Cyrillic Dreams” also is one of just eight works by living composers on the orchestra’s schedule next season.

“When I wrote “Cyrillic Dreams,” I imagined the rich acoustic of the three huge churches in Austria where the piece was to be performed,” said Freund. “I think it will sound equally glorious in the majestic setting of Powell Hall.”

Tickets for the St. Louis Symphony’s 2015-16 season are on sale now via their website at stlsymphony.org.

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project chooses works
by Zachary Cairns, Hans Heruth for performance on Saturday, March 7

The famous conductor James Levine once compared the orchestra to a “treasure chest,” but the relative scarcity of modern works on orchestral programs means that few contemporary composers ever get the chance to access those riches.

Zachary Cairns

Now, two more Missouri composers will receive that valuable opportunity, as the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have announced the selection of two orchestral works written by Missouri residents to be performed by the CCO at a concert on Saturday, March 7 in Columbia.

The winning compositions were chosen in a statewide competition conducted under the auspices of the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP). Both winners will receive a $500 honorarium from MOCOP’s sponsor, the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Hans Heruth

The work chosen for 2015 in the Open category is “Refracted Moonlight” by Zachary Cairns, an assistant professor of music theory at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Cairns earned a Ph.D. in theory from the Eastman School of Music, and an M.A. in theory and a B.S. in music education from Penn State University.

The winning composition in the High School category is “Impression on a Theme” by Hans Heruth, a senior at Liberty High School in Liberty, MO. A two-time winner in the University of Missouri’s statewide Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition for students in grades K-12, Heruth also is a violinist, pianist, and vocalist.

Both winning compositions will be performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra as part of their annual concert of music by living composers at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 7 at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia. Admission is free and open to the public.

Cairns’ work will be conducted by Patrick David Clark, a Mizzou alumnus and music director of the Jefferson City Symphony Orchestra, while MU senior Grant Bradshaw, assistant conductor of the Missouri Symphony Society Conservatory, will take the baton for Heruth’s composition.

The concert also will include Bradshaw’s own work “Incandescent” and the premiere of Amy Leventhal’s “Mom and Me,” both conducted by CCO artistic director (and Mizzou professor) Stefan Freund; Mizzou alumna Katie Andres’ Horn Concertino, conducted by Mizzou graduate student Jaron Lester; and three new works sung by the Columbia Chorale Chamber Choir and conducted by Emily Edgington Andrews, the Chorale’s artistic director.

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 Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) is a collaborative effort by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and the Columbia Civic Orchestra 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.