Tickets for 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival go on sale
Friday, June 23, with limited-time discount for early buyers

Tickets for the 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. CDT on Friday, June 23, with a special limited-time discount for early ticket buyers.

If you purchase tickets before July 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 “2017MICF” (without quotes) when prompted for a promotional code. This offer is good only on tickets purchased between June 23 and July 3, 2017.

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/

Known as the region’s premier showcase for new works by top young composers, the MICF will take place this year from Monday, July 24 through Saturday, July 29 in Columbia, and will include three public concerts.

Returning for the eighth year as the festival’s resident ensemble, Alarm Will Sound will begin the weekend of shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St. in downtown Columbia.

They’ll perform music from the 2017 MICF’s distinguished guest composers, George Friedrich Haas and Dan Visconti, as well as works by Robert Sirota, Don Freund, and AWS violinist/guitarist Caleb Burhans.

Next, the “Mizzou New Music” concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre will feature performances by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and guest artists DRAX, with saxophonist Leo Saguiguit and percussionist Megan Arns, and cellist Eli Lara.

The grand finale of the week will showcase the world premieres of eight new works written by the festival’s resident composers and performed by Alarm Will Sound at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 29 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..

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.

Mizzou New Music Initiative awards postdoctoral fellowship to Carolina Heredia

The Mizzou New Music Initiative and the University of Missouri School of Music have awarded a postdoctoral fellowship to composer Carolina Heredia.

Starting with the Fall 2017 semester and continuing for two years, Heredia (pictured) will teach private composition lessons to Mizzou students; assist with various MNMI programs; and work on interdisciplinary collaborative projects, initiating and supervising student efforts and also completing a major research project herself.

As MNMI’s second postdoctoral fellow, Heredia succeeds Phillip Sink, who is leaving Mizzou for a tenure-track job as assistant professor of theory and composition at Northern Illinois University.

Before beginning her fellowship, Heredia will have a chance to get acquainted with her new home as one of the eight resident composers for this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival, a position for which she applied and was accepted last year.

“We were very impressed with Carolina’s work when we reviewed her application for the Mizzou International Composers Festival,” said Stefan Freund, professor of composition and artistic director of MNMI. “The festival is a catalyst for all sorts of opportunities, and in this case, it led to a connection with a composer and teacher who is going to be a great addition to our program.”

“Carolina’s interest in interdisciplinary projects was particularly attractive to us, and potentially could strengthen our ties with the university’s art and theater departments and the College of Arts and Science’s new digital storytelling program,” said Julia Gaines, director/associate professor of percussion and director of the School of Music. “We’re delighted to have her as part of the Mizzou New Music Initiative.“

Born in Córdoba, Argentina, Heredia comes to Mizzou from the University of Michigan, where she has just completed her doctorate in musical arts, studying with Michael Daugherty, Evan Chambers, Kristin Kuster, and Erik Santos.

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 bachelor’s degree in music composition from the Universidad and Nacional de Villa María, and a bachelor’s degree in violin from the Conservatorio Superior Félix Garzón, both in 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 JACK Quartet, Derek Bermel, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Duo Cortona, and the Argentinean Cordoba State String Orchestra, 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, the Cordoba Composition Biennial, and more.

Heredia’s honors and fellowships include a 2015 commission from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University; the 2015 fellowship from the Susan and Ford Schumman Center for Composition Studies at the Aspen Music Festival; the Brehm Prize in Choral Composition (2015); the 2015 International Research Grant from the University of Michigan; the Margaret Dow Towsley Scholarship (2012); the Merit Scholarship from the University of Michigan (2011); and the Dorothy Greenwald Scholarship (2011).

Ticket sales for 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival
delayed until Friday, June 23

Due to maintenance and upgrades to the ticketing system for the Missouri Theatre, the start of ticket sales for the 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) will be delayed until 10:00 a.m. CDT on Friday, June 23.

The MICF will take place this year from Monday, July 24 through Saturday, July 29 in Columbia, and will include three public concerts of music from contemporary composers on Thursday, July 27; Friday, July 28; and Saturday, July 29 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St. in downtown Columbia.

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/.

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.

Tickets for 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival go on sale Friday, May 26

Tickets for the 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. CDT on Friday, May 26.

Known as the region’s premier showcase for new works by top young composers, the MICF will take place this year from Monday, July 24 through Saturday, July 29 in Columbia, and will include three public concerts.

Returning for the eighth year as the festival’s resident ensemble, Alarm Will Sound will begin the weekend of shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St. in downtown Columbia.

They’ll perform music from the 2017 MICF’s distinguished guest composers, Georg Friedrich Haas and Dan Visconti, as well as works by Robert Sirota, Don Freund, and AWS violinist/guitarist Caleb Burhans.

Next, the “Mizzou New Music” concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre will feature performances by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and guest artists DRAX, with saxophonist Leo Saguiguit and percussionist Megan Arns, and cellist Eli Lara.

The grand finale of the week will showcase the world premieres of eight new works written by the festival’s resident composers and performed by Alarm Will Sound at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 29 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/.

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 eight resident composers were chosen from among more than 260 applicants from 25 different countries to participate in the festival and create a new work for Alarm Will Sound. They are:
* Clare Glackin, Los Angeles, CA
* Selim Göncü, Berkeley, CA
* Carolina Heredia, Ann Arbor, MI
* Christopher Mayo, Toronto, Canada
* Aaron Parker, Manchester, England
* Charles Peck, Ithaca, NY
* Amadeus Regucera, Oakland, CA
* Henry Breneman Stewart, Columbia, MO

During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from distinguished guest composers George Friedrich Haas, a native of Austria and a professor of composition at Columbia University who is considered to be one of the major European composers of his generation; and Dan Visconti, a Chicago-based composer and concert programmer also known as an advocate for the arts as a form of cultural and civic service.

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 Ensemble to debut “Eclipse Symphony”
with performances in Columbia and St. Louis

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will commemorate the upcoming solar eclipse of August 2017 with performances in Columbia and St. Louis of the “Eclipse Symphony,” a new collaborative, multi-part work by four Mizzou student composers.

The work will be previewed in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29 at the Bond Life Sciences Center on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, with the official premiere set for 7:00 p.m. Friday, May 5 at the St. Louis Science Center’s James S. McDonnell Planetarium.

General admission to the concert in Columbia is $5 for the public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff.

Admission to the performance in St. Louis is free, but will require a ticket. Tickets will be available for pickup at any Science Center box office starting at 6:00 p.m. on the day of the concert.

The “Eclipse Symphony” has four sections, each written by a different composer to correspond to a different stage of eclipse that will take place on Monday, August 21, 2017. The work was composed specifically for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

The first section, Hans Bridger Heruth’s “In the Shadow of the Moon,” heralds the coming of the eclipse, followed by Dustin Dunn’s “Now That Daylight Fills the Sky” to mark the event’s inception. Douglas Osmun’s “Convergences” then describes the point of total eclipse, with Jake Smucker’s “But You Have So Much to Live For” serving as a celebratory conclusion.

For the concert at the Planetarium in St. Louis, a backdrop of images, photos, and projections inspired by the eclipse will add a visual element to the Ensemble’s performance.

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, professor of composition, and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. The Ensemble’s members for the 2016-17 season are Victoria Hargrove, clarinet; Daniel Keeler, cello; Kelariz Keshavarz, flute; Renan Leme, violin; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; and Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophone.

Creating Original Music Project to present award-winning works
from Missouri student composers in concert on Saturday, April 15

Some of the winners at the 2016 COMP Festival

Whether heard on a concert stage or in a theater, on film or TV, or in a video game or app, every piece of music starts with a composer – and every young composer needs a start.

That’s why Mizzou’s Creating Original Music Project (COMP) will present performances of award-winning original works by young Missouri composers at the twelfth annual COMP Festival, held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, April 15 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 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 a scholarship to attend the Missouri Summer Composition Institute, Mizzou’s high school summer music composition camp.

“The Mizzou New Music Initiative began with the Creating Original Music Project competition and summer camp, and COMP still is fundamental to our efforts to help composers of all ages grow and develop,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. “Hundreds of Missouri students have enjoyed opportunities from these programs over the last 12 years, and it’s encouraging to see both repeat winners and first-time entrants among this year’s group of winning young composers.”

The 2017 Creating Original Music Project (COMP) competition categories and winners are:

Elementary School – Song with Words
1) Brooke Noelle Eck of Woerther Elementary School, Ballwin, for “Full Blown Storm.” Sponsor: Rachel Puleo.
2) Jackson Smith of Our Lady of Lourdes Interparish School, Columbia, for “Pokémon.” Sponsor: Sarah Nolke.
3) Landon Irvin of Reeds Spring Elementary School, Reeds Spring, for “Game of Life.” Sponsor: Susan Gillen.

Elementary School – Instrumental
1) Yueheng Wang of Ulysses S. Grant Elementary School, Columbia, for “Echoing in the Sky.” Sponsor: Pam Sisson.
2) Natalie Johnson of Rogers Elementary School, St. Louis, for “Winter Snow.” Sponsor: Donna Buehne.
3) Stone Gill of Arcadia Valley Middle School, Ironton, for “Grab a Mic.” Sponsor: Chuck Lee.

Middle School – Fine Art
1) Brandon Kim of Jefferson Middle School, Columbia, for “The Quarrel.” Sponsor: Jaime Canepa.
2) Ammar Farra of Smithton Middle School, Columbia, for “Brass Trio in C Minor.” Sponsor: Emily Ebrecht.

Middle School – Popular
1) Grace Ensor, Holly Travers, Posey Bischoff, and Katie Downey of Steger Sixth Grade Center, Rock Hill, for “The Path of Life.” Sponsor: Kevin Cole.
2) Elsa Kelley-Marcum of Jefferson Middle School, Columbia, for “Deal with the Devil.” Sponsor: Christine Nichols.

High School – Fine Art
1) Brandon Thibodeau of Kearney High School, Kearney, for “Kaleidoscope.” Sponsor: Chris Heil.
2) Olivia Bennett, a home-schooled student from Nixa, for “The Hare.” Sponsor: Gabe Fleetwood.
3) Cheyenne Stumpf of Cuba High School, Cuba, for “Ki Bhavi Ragini.” Sponsor: Shannon Moore.

High School – Popular
1) Cooper Carr of Lee’s Summit West High School, Lee’s Summit, for “I See You.” Sponsor: Kirt Mosier.
2) Julia Riew of John Burroughs School, St. Louis, for “No More.” Sponsor: Robert Carter.
3) Menea Kefalov of Ladue Horton Watkins High School, Ladue, for “Storm.” Sponsor: Twinda Murry.

High School – Jazz
1) Jack Snelling of Webster Groves High School, Webster Groves, for “Lovesick.” Sponsor: Kevin Cole.
2) Samuel Luetkemeyer of Calvary Lutheran High School, Jefferson City, for “Playin’ Hooky.” Sponsors: Melisa Ahlers and Calee Gerth.

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.

William Averitt’s “Black Pierrot” inspired by poet Langston Hughes

Mizzou musicology professor Stephanie Shonekan leads a discussion with William Averitt on the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Mizzou musicology professor Stephanie Shonekan (at left) leads a discussion with composer William Averitt (second from right) on the poetry of Langston Hughes.

For his latest commissioned work “Black Pierrot,” composer William Averitt once again has drawn inspiration from the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Scheduled for a world premiere on Saturday, March 18 at First Baptist Church in Columbia, “Black Pierrot” was commissioned by Mizzou’s director of choral studies Paul Crabb for the University Singers and the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, directed by Stefan Freund, with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Averitt, who’s now professor emeritus of music at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA after serving on the faculty there from 1973 to 2012,  is known particularly as a composer of choral works.

He has received commissions from a wide range of organizations and artists, including Texas Lutheran University, Choral Arts of Seattle, Virginia Music Teachers Association, organist Dudley Oakes, the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, Opus 3 Trio, Murray State University Concert Choir, and the Shenandoah Conservatory Chamber Choir.

Other commissions include works for the Virginia-based contemporary music ensemble Currents, Shippensburg (PA) Summer Music Festival, Paducah Symphony Orchestra, First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC, Sonus Ensemble of Washington, DC, the Youth Orchestras of Prince William (VA), choreographer Elizabeth Bergmann, Shenandoah University, Winchester (VA) Musica Viva, and the Hans Kindler Foundation of the Library of Congress.

Averitt has incorporated his interest in the work of Langston Hughes into several of his compositions.  His “Afro-American Fragments,” composed in 1991 with the text of a 1930 poem by Hughes,  has been performed by a number of professional choruses, including the Grammy winning ensemble, Conspirare, which in 2004 released three movements of the work on their CD through the green fuse.

“Afro-American Fragments” also has been performed by the Washington Singers, the Desert Chorale, the New Texas Festival, the Air Force Singing Sergeants, Kantorei (Denver, CO), Winchester Musica Viva and by numerous university choruses throughout the country, including last year by the University Singers.

More recently, Averitt has written two more works based on Hughes’ poetry. “The Dream Keeper” was composed in 2009 for Choral Arts of Seattle and included on their CD Mornings Like This, while “The Deepness of the Blue” originally was composed in 2012 for Texas Lutheran University, with subsequent performances from Choral Arts Northwest and the Evansville University Choir.

All three of Averitt’s Hughes-related cycles were recorded by the UMKC Conservatory Singers and released as an album titles The Deepness of the Blue on MSR Classical.

Performing Hughes’ work in Missouri actually brings the poet back to his roots, for though he is identified in the popular imagination with the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes in fact was a native Midwesterner, born in Joplin, Missouri and raised in Lawrence, Kansas.

A prolific poet, essayist, novelist, and playwright as well as a social activist, Hughes wrote a wide variety of works ranging from personal to political, chronicling the lives and feelings of 20th century African-Americans, as well as the social conditions they endured, in a way that still resonates today.

Hughes during his lifetime was closely associated with jazz music, not only as a listener, but as a participant – reciting his poetry on record with Charles Mingus, contributing lyrics to pianist Randy Weston’s album Uhuru Afrika, and even writing a children’s book called The First Book of Jazz.

More recently, his epic poem “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz,” written in 1960, was performed for the first time with music by composer  Laura Karpman in March 2009 at Carnegie Hall, and subsequently became the centerpiece of “The Langston Hughes Project”, a multimedia concert presentation.

Averitt’s “Black Pierrot” is based on seven poems by Hughes, each incorporated into a movement of the work. It begins with a celebratory feeling via the poet’s “A Black Pierrot” (1923), “Breath of a Rose” (1944), and “Jazzonia” (1923).

As Averitt writes in his program notes, “the mood changes abruptly and profoundly with the fourth movement,” which features Hughes’ brief 1923 poem, the ironically titled “Justice.” and is followed by musical settings of “Song for a Dark Girl” (1927), “Silhouette” (1944), and the concluding “To a Dead Friend” (1922).

As a side note, while the title and text of “Black Pierrot” come from Langston Hughes, the title and the work’s instrumentation also reference another significant cultural figure of the 20th century, composer Arnold Schönberg.

Specifically, “Black Pierrot” is written for soprano, choir and a sextet of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion, an instrumental ensemble that sometimes is called a “Pierrot plus percussion,” after Schönberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire,” which was written in 1912 for a single vocalist accompanied by a similarly configured quintet of two winds, two strings, and piano.

University Singers, Mizzou New Music Ensemble
to premiere new work by William Averitt
in concert on Saturday, March 18

The University of Missouri’s University Singers and Mizzou New Music Ensemble will present the world premiere of “Black Pierrot,” a newly commissioned work from composer William Averitt, in a concert at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 18 at the First Baptist Church, 1112 East Broadway in Columbia.

General admission to the concert is $5 for the public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff.

“Black Pierrot” was commissioned by Mizzou director of choral activities Paul Crabb for the University Singers and the Mizzou New Music Ensemble with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Inspired by seven poems written by Langston Hughes, the famed African-American poet, novelist and playwright who was born in Joplin, MO, it is scored for soprano, choir, and an instrumental sextet of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion.

William Averitt, who will be in Columbia for the premiere, has composed numerous works that have received performances throughout the United States and in Western Europe, Russia and Asia. He has received composer fellowships, grants and commissions from organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, and many others. Averitt (pictured) is professor emeritus of music at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA, where he was on the faculty from 1973 to 2012.

In addition to attending Saturday’s concert, while he’s visiting the Mizzou campus Averitt also will give a presentation on his music at 3:00 p.m. Friday, March 17 in Loeb Hall, and will give private lessons to selected student composers.