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.”

2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival set for July 20 – 25;
Hans Abrahamsen, Andrew Norman named as guest composers

The 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) will be held Monday, July 20 through Saturday, July 25 on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia, and will feature Hans Abrahamsen and Andrew Norman as guest composers.

The 2015 MICF will include a series of public concerts presenting music from contemporary composers, as well as workshops, master classes and other events.

Saturday night’s grand finale at the Missouri Theatre will feature the world premieres of new works from each of the festival’s eight resident composers, with the acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, serving as resident ensemble.

Hans Abrahamsen

Hans Abrahamsen was born in Copenhagen and attended the Royal Danish Academy of Music. A published composer beginning at age 16, Abrahamsen in the early part of his career was considered part of the “New Simplicity” movement that began in the mid-1960s as a reaction to the perceived over-complexity of avant-garde music. Some of his best-known early works include “Winternacht” (1976-78); “Nacht und Trompeten” (1981); and “Zwei Schneetänze” (1985).

Befriending and studying with György Ligeti during the 1980s, Abrahamsen received the Carl Nielsen Prize in 1989 and the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize in 1998. After a hiatus from composing, he re-emerged in the new century with a series of major compositions including the extended chamber work “Schnee” (2008), a Double Concerto for violin, piano and strings (2010-11); and “Let me tell you,” for soprano and orchestra, premiered in 2013 by the Berlin Philharmonic.

Andrew Norman

Andrew Norman is a Los Angeles-based composer and teacher at the USC Thornton School of Music. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Yale, Norman “draws on an eclectic mix of instrumental sounds, notational practices, and non-linear narrative structures.” His work has been noted by the New York Times for its “daring juxtapositions and dazzling colors” and by the Los Angeles Times for its “Chaplinesque” wit.

Norman has been the recipient of numerous commissions, prizes and awards, and his symphonic works have been performed by orchestras including the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the BBC Symphony, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich. His chamber music has been featured in the Wordless Music Series at Le Poisson Rouge and at the MATA Festival, the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, the Green Umbrella Series, and the Aspen Music Festival.

With the 2015 guest composers confirmed, eight resident composers now will be selected for the MICF through a portfolio application process to create a new work for Alarm Will Sound. During the week of the festival, they’ll get composition lessons from Abrahamsen and Norman and take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. Each composer also will receive a copy of a professional live recording of his or her work.

The application process for resident composers begins Thursday, October 23, 2014, and the deadline for submitting an application is Monday, November 24, 2014. To help composers save on printing and mailing costs, the MICF this year has moved to an online application process. For more information on applying to become a resident composer for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/application.html.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be made available at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Mizzou composer Trey Makler wins 2015 Sinquefield Composition Prize

Trey Makler

The University of Missouri School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have awarded the 2015 Sinquefield Composition Prize to Trey Makler.

Makler, a junior from Farmington, MO, is studying composition at Mizzou with W. Thomas McKenney and Stefan Freund. He submitted “Elysium,” a work for chamber ensemble, to the competition and was selected for the prize by a panel of independent judges.

The adjudicators for the 2015 competition were Mara Gibson, associate teaching professor, UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance ; Eric Honour, professor of music and director of the Center for Music Technology, University of Central Missouri; and Nick Omiccioli, composer.

Now in its tenth year, the Sinquefield Composition Prize is the top award for a composition student at Mizzou. As this year’s winner, Makler now will have the opportunity to write an original work for Mizzou’s University Philharmonic, which will receive its world premiere on Monday, April 13, 2015 at the annual Chancellor’s Concert in Columbia. With the commission, he also receives a cash prize for the production of the score and parts, and will have his work recorded.

In addition to “Elysium,” written for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and performed this summer at an event for Forest Park Forever, Makler has had several other notable premieres and commissions in his young career. They include a collaboration with choreographer LeeAnn Davis; second prize in the 2014 Mizzou Collaborative Arts Initiative; and a commission from the Sheldon Concert Hall, with the support of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation and the Mizzou New Music Initiative, for a new work for violin and piano to be premiered in February 2015 at The Sheldon.

As an oboist, Makler performs with the University of Missouri Wind Ensemble and Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as in various other ensembles and chamber groups on campus and in the community of Columbia. He currently is vice-president of the Mizzou Composer’s Guild and president of the Zeta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia national music fraternity.

The other finalists for the 2015 Sinquefield Composition Prize were Kaylene Cypret, Justin Pounds, and Matthew Stiens.

The Sinquefield Composition Prize competition is part of 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. The Initiative is the direct result of the generous support of Dr. Jeanne and Mr. Rex Sinquefield and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform collaborative concert
with Rich Pellegrin Quintet on Friday, October 24 at Whitmore Recital Hall

Rich Pellegrin

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will perform their first concert of the 2014-15 academic year at 7:30 p.m., Friday, October 24 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.

Presented in conjunction with the three-day Mizzou Improvisation Project conference happening that week, the program will feature a joint performance with the Rich Pellegrin Quintet. Pellegrin, a jazz pianist and composer, is an assistant professor of music theory at Mizzou. The two groups will collaborate on his 2012 work “Down,” which incorporates improvisation as well as composed material.

Improvisation also is a major part of “Four Spaces,” a 2012 work by Paul Steinbeck that uses a graphic score and requires the performers to work together with the conductor to develop musical ideas and create different sonic textures and colors. Steinbeck, a bassist and composer, is an assistant professor of music at Washington University in St. Louis.

The Ensemble also will perform “Loki,” composed this year by Luke Henderson, a senior in music education and composition at Mizzou. Named after the Norse god of trickery, the work surprises the listener with elements of jazz, klezmer, reggae, and Irish jigs.

Rounding out the program are Mischa Zupko’s “Source of Breath, Source of Life,” a 2007 work commissioned for the new music ensemble eighth blackbird that comments on the conflicts between industry and a sustainable environment; and “Rotae Passionis,” a 1982 composition by Pulitzer Prize winner Christopher Rouse that musically depicts the Stations of the Cross from the Biblical story of Christ’s crucifixion.

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 helps create audio tours for community arts project in Lexington, MO

The Lexington Community Arts Pilot Project and the University of Missouri Extension Division will present the premiere of “Legends of Lexington,” four audio tours of the historic districts of Lexington, MO featuring music, sound and production by composers from the Mizzou New Music Initiative, at a reception this Friday, September 26 at Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington.

The audio tours are part of a two-year program to help Lexington brand itself as a destination for tourists and artists. MNMI managing director William Lackey and Justin Pounds, who’s working on his master’s in composition at Mizzou, have spent the last year making period visits to Lexington, learning about the town, interacting with community members, and gathering ideas and material for the tours.

Pounds composed the music, while Lackey provided supervision, advice and audio engineering, recording voiceovers from volunteer narrators and location sounds, and editing and mixing all the parts into a finished product.

Lexington, which overlooks the Missouri River about 75 miles northeast of Kansas City, was the site of one of Missouri’s bloodiest Civil War Battles, and now is home to the Battle of Lexington Historic Site, wineries, orchards, an historic downtown with shops and restaurants, Wentworth Military Academy, and more.

The tours will available in digital formats and on CD, and will be released to the public for the first time this weekend during the town’s annual Apples, Arts and Antiques Festival.

You can find more information about the MU Extension Community Arts Program here, and see a brief video about the Lexington project in the embedded window below.

A look back at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival

Here’s a comprehensive look back at this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival via news coverage and social media: