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…”

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”

Trey Makler selected for Juilliard’s OperaComp program

Mizzou composition alumnus Trey Makler has been selected as one of the composers for the 2018 season of OperaComp, The Juilliard School’s “incubator of revolutionary opera from the next generation of composers and writers.”

Makler (pictured) graduated from Mizzou in 2016 and now is living in New York City, studying for an MM in composition at Juilliard. He’s one of six composers taking part in this year’s OperaComp program, for which he has written original music for a scene from “Let Them Eat Cake,” a new short play by librettist and Juilliard playwriting program graduate Ted Malawer. Arthur Makaryan, a master’s student at Columbia University and the current opera directing fellow at Juilliard, is directing the scene.

All six of the new OperaComp works were premiered by singers and a pianist in performances on March 17 and 18 at Juilliard, and will be performed again, this time accompanied by a chamber ensemble, on Sunday, April 22 at the NYC venue National Sawdust.

A native of Farmington, MO, Makler in 2015 was the winner of the Sinquefield Composition Prize, Mizzou’s top award for a student composer, and was one of eight resident composers for the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival. In addition to his current studies, he also is a teaching artist fellow with Juilliard’s Office of Community Engagement; assists composition faculty with Juilliard’s conservatory-style music advancement program; and teaches an arts integration curriculum focused on composers from diverse backgrounds to fourth and fifth graders at George Jackson Academy in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Now in its second season, OperaComp is an American opera theater artist collective involving collaboration among composers, playwrights, directors, singers, actors, instrumentalists, and designers from The Juilliard School, Columbia University, Fordham University, and NYU.

Mizzou’s COMP Festival to present award-winning works
from Missouri student composers on Saturday, April 21 in Columbia

Audio from the 2018 COMP Festival will stream live online on Saturday, April 21

The Mizzou New Music Initiative will showcase Missouri’s best young composers when the winning works from this year’s Creating Original Music Project (COMP) competition are performed at the 13th annual COMP Festival, held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, April 21 in the Fine Arts Building on the campus of the University of Missouri.

Admission 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 https://music.missouri.edu/concert-audio-streaming, with the audio stream going live 10 minutes before the start of each concert.

COMP was founded in 2005 to encourage K-12 students in Missouri to write original music and to provide performance opportunities for those works. It is a joint venture of the University of Missouri’s Mizzou New Music Initiative 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. High school winners also receive scholarships to attend the Missouri Summer Composition Institute, Mizzou’s high school summer music composition camp.

“The Mizzou New Music Initiative was created to find and grow composers and make Missouri a mecca for musical composition, and the Creating Original Music Project competition and summer camp were the cornerstones,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. “Since 2005, more than 200 young Missouri composers have won the K-12 composer competition. Although the Initiative has grown significantly since it began, seeing these young composers develop and respond to the support and encouragement that they get from COMP never gets old.”

The 2018 Creating Original Music Project (COMP) competition categories and winners are:

Elementary School – Song with Words
1) Lucy Gray Hamilton of Eugene Field Elementary, St. Joseph, for “This Old House.” Sponsor: Janell Becerra
2) Finley John Watkins of Bernie Elementary School, Bernie, for “Legend in Me.” Sponsor: Cecilia Lanpher
3) Landon Hall and Brody Oesch of Thomas W. Kelley Elementary, Benton, for “Winter Lights.” Sponsor: Heather DiStefano

Elementary School – Instrumental
1) Yueheng Wang of Ulysses S. Grant Elementary School, Columbia, for “Dancing Waves.” Sponsor: Pamela Sisson.
2) Olivia Bresler of Rogers Elementary School, St. Louis, for “Up in the Sky.” Sponsor: Donna Buehne.
3) Ian Moore of Rogers Elementary School, St. Louis, for “In the King’s Court.” Sponsor: Donna Buehne.

Middle School – Fine Art
1) Christopher Ramsey of The Barstow School, Kansas City, for “Tarantella.” Sponsor: Bruce Dickerson.
2) Brandon Kim of Jefferson Middle School, Columbia, for “The Dreamer.” Sponsor: Jaime Canepa.
3) Charlotte Bauer of The Summit Preparatory School of Southwest Missouri, Springfield, for “Playing With Time.” Sponsor: Shawn Keech.

Middle School – Popular
1) Jordin Mackenzie of The Barstow School, Kansas City, for “Comingbacktoyou.” Sponsor: Bruce Dickerson.
2) Stone Gill of Arcadia Valley Middle School, Ironton, for “Brave.” Sponsor: Charles Lee.
3) Posey Bischoff of Hixson Middle School, Webster Groves, for “About to Grow.” Sponsor: Joe Stevison.

High School – Fine Art
1) Jack Snelling of Webster Groves High School, Webster Groves, for “Napoleonic Dances in F Minor.” Sponsor: Kevin Cole.
2) Olivia Bennett, a home-schooled student from Nixa, for “Nefarious.” Sponsor: Carlyle Sharpe.
3) Brandon Thibodeau of Kearney High School, Kearney, for “Silence.” Sponsor: Chris Heil.

High School – Popular
1) Christian Geil, a home-schooled student from Grandview, for “The Cold Will Come.” Sponsor: Christopher Geil.
2) Katherine Vlamis of Liberty High School, Liberty, for “We Won’t Fall.” Sponsor: Baker Purdon
3) Victoria Raulston of Clever High School, Clever, for “Devour.” Sponsor: Alex Nelson

High School – Jazz
1) Samuel Luetkemeyer of Calvary Lutheran High School, Jefferson City, for “Sibling Rivalry.” Sponsors: Melisa Ahlers.
2) Robyne Sieh of Ft. Zumwalt North High School, O’Fallon, for “The Interview.” Sponsor: Allison Houghton
3) William E. Cremer III of Crawford County R-II High School, Cuba, for “The Overcomer.” Sponsor: Shannon Moore

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.

Carolina Heredia to join faculty of
University of Missouri School of Music
as assistant professor of composition

The University of Missouri School of Music will welcome Carolina Heredia as an assistant professor of composition starting with the fall semester in 2018.

Currently a post-doctoral fellow with the Mizzou New Music Initiative, Heredia (pictured) first came to Columbia as one of the eight resident composers for the 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival. In her new tenure-track job, she’ll teach individual lessons, lead and teach independent and collaborative intermedia projects, and continue to assist with various MNMI programs.

“Carolina Heredia was the best fit for the job, and with that credential, we’re very pleased to welcome her as the first woman ever to join the University of Missouri’s composition faculty,” said Julia Gaines, director of the School of Music and professor of percussion. “As a native of Argentina, she also brings a Latinx influence to our program. We’re delighted that our top candidate also expands the diversity of our faculty in more than one way.”

“Carolina brings a unique and impassioned voice to the Mizzou New Music Initiative,” said Stefan Freund, professor of composition and artistic director of MNMI. “Her work with intermedia is inspiring for our students, and she will be leading them and our area in making collaborative art of the future.”

“I’m thrilled to join the Mizzou community as a full-time faculty member next year. Being here as a postdoc has allowed me to appreciate the enthusiastic, supportive and inspiring environment at the School of Music, and I truly believe this is a unique place,” said Heredia. “I’m very pleased to be part of a composition department that is committed to excellence and inclusivity at all levels of musicianship, while also making an important difference in the larger community.”

Born in Córdoba, Argentina, Carolina Heredia earned her doctorate in musical arts in composition at the University of Michigan, studying with Michael Daugherty and Evan Chambers.

While at Michigan, she also taught electronic music as a graduate student instructor and founded the Khemia Ensemble, a contemporary music group dedicated to creating innovative concert experiences involving interactive technology.

Previously, she earned her degree in music composition from the Universidad and Nacional de Villa María in Villa María, Argentina, and a master’s degree in music composition from the University of Michigan.

Her compositions have been commissioned and performed in the United States and South America by musicians and ensembles including Alarm Will Sound, JACK Quartet, Derek Bermel, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Duo Cortona, Tesla Quartet, and Alexander Fiterstein; and featured at events such as the SONIC Festival NYC, Aspen Music Festival and School, Bowling Green New Music Festival, TIES Toronto International Electroacoustic Festival, SEAMUS, New Music Gathering 2017 and 2018, Cordoba Composition Biennial, Mizzou International Composers Festival, and more.

Heredia’s honors and fellowships include the Fromm Commission from Harvard University (2015); a fellowship from the Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies at the Aspen Music Festival (2015); an Institute of Humanities Fellowship from University of Michigan (2016-17); a Missouri Music Teachers Association (MMTA) composition commission from Music Teachers National Association and MMTA (2017); the Institute for Research on Women and Gender Award from University of Michigan (2017); and a Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research grant from Eastman University (2017).

Mizzou New Music Initiative seeks high school students
for Missouri Summer Composition Institute
to be held June 24 – 30 at the University of Missouri

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is looking for Missouri high school students interested in music composition to attend the 2018 Missouri Summer Composition Institute, which will be held from Sunday, June 24 through Saturday, June 30 on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia.

Known informally as “COMP Camp,” after MNMI’s annual Creating Original Music Project contest for student composers, the Institute is open to students entering grades 9-12 and entering college freshman.

The week-long program offers young composers from across the state the opportunity to receive composition lessons from MU faculty, learn from and interact with other creative minds, and compose a new work to be premiered at the end of the week by the camp’s resident ensemble.

The program also is an outstanding value, as the fee is just $100 and includes all instruction and activities, plus six nights in a double room in one of Mizzou’s newest, air-conditioned residence halls and meals.

A total of up to 16 student composers – eight advanced and eight intermediate – will be selected to participate. All current and former Creating Original Music Project contest winners of high school age receive a full scholarship to the Missouri Summer Composition Institute, and additional scholarships are available based on financial need.

The application deadline is Monday, April 23. Applicants must complete the online application form and submit a score and a recording of a representative composition, plus a list of completed works.

Materials can be emailed to MNMI managing director Jacob Gotlib at gotlibj@missouri.edu, or sent by postal mail to: COMP Camp c/o Jacob Gotlib, 138 Fine Arts Building, University of Missouri School of Music, Columbia, MO 65211.

For more information, visit https://music.missouri.edu/CMP/camps, or contact Jacob Gotlib via email at gotlibj@missouri.edu or by phone at 573-884-9478.