Missouri Composers Project selects four works
for Columbia Civic Orchestra concert on Sunday, March 11

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) has announced the selection of four winners in the 2018 Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) competition.

Now in its seventh year, MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving MNMI, the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO), the Columbia Chamber Choir, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. Composers from all over Missouri are invited each year to submit orchestral and choral works for potential performance, with winners selected in two age categories, “open” and “high school.”

All four winners of the 2018 competition will receive a $500 honorarium from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, and the CCO and the Chamber Choir will perform their compositions in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 11 at First Baptist Church, 1112 East Broadway in Columbia. Admission to the concert is free and open to the public.

Pictured from left: Mencher, Sharpe, Bollin, Thibodeau

In the “open” categories, this year’s winning orchestral composition is “Antrios” by Aaron Mencher, and the winning choral work is “Clap Your Hands” by Carlyle Sharpe.

Mencher is a junior composition major and Sinquefield Scholar at Mizzou and the winner of the 2018 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the university’s top award for a student composer.

Sharpe is a professor of music at Drury University in Springfield who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and a DMA in composition from Boston University.

In the high school categories, the winning orchestral work for 2018 is “The Fall of Númenor” by Devon Bollin, a 2017 graduate of Fort Zumwalt East High School who lives in St. Peters, MO.

The winning choral composition is “Silence” by Brandon Thibodeau, a student at Kearney High School in Kearney, MO. Thibodeau previously has won three first-place awards and a second-place award in Mizzou’s annual Creating Original Music Project competition for Missouri students in grades K-12, and for the last two years has been a participant in the university’s Summer Composition Institute.

The Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) is a collaborative effort by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra, and the Columbia Chamber Choir to bring attention to new large ensemble works written in the state of Missouri. By identifying composers and providing opportunities for the performance of their work, MOCOP intends to showcase emerging talent of Missouri and share it with the world.

Mikkel Christensen wins grand prize in ShoutHouse call for scores

Mizzou’s Mikkel Christensen has won the grand prize in a worldwide open call for scores from the ensemble ShoutHouse in New York City.

Christensen (pictured) is in his first year of work toward a master’s degree in composition at Mizzou, studying with Stefan Freund. A native of Lockhart, TX, he earned his undergraduate degree in music and technology at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ.

Formed in 2012, ShoutHouse is a 14-member chamber orchestra of classical, hip-hop, and jazz musicians that describes their style as combining “the freedom and lyricism of jazz, the poetry of hip-hop, and the structures and textures of contemporary art music.”

They chose Chistensen’s work “Outsider” as the grand prize winner from among nearly 200 submissions, and will perform it at one of their concerts this year in New York, date and location to be announced.

Aaron Hynds to perform Wednesday, January 17 at Whitmore Recital Hall

Aaron Hynds, a tubist, composer, and audio engineer with a penchant for new music, is coming to Mizzou to present a guest artist recital and lecture at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 17 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the MU campus.

The program will include “Dyadic Affinities’ by Asha Srinivasan (who was a resident composer at the 2012 Mizzou International Composers Festival), plus one of Hynds’ own compositions, as well as works by Hong-Da Chin, Asia Ahmetjanova, Elise Roy, and Doug McCausland. The concert is free and open to the public.

Hynds (pictured) has been a featured performer at new music events and venues including the Omaha Under the Radar Festival; the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany; the Null Point music series in Buffalo, NY; Constellation in Chicago; the 2016 and 2017 New Music Gatherings, in Baltimore, MD and Bowling Green, OH, respectively; the Bowling Green New Music Festival; and the Vanguard New Music Series at Kent State University.

As part of his ongoing efforts to promote new music for tuba and euphonium, he has commissioned and performed works by composers such as Kurt Isaacson, Nicholas Deyoe, Eliza Brown, Ruby Fulton, and Monte Weber, with more collaborations currently underway with Kari Besharse, Louise Fristensky, Ray Evanoff, and Mizzou’s own Jacob Gotlib.

Hynds is in the process of recording his first solo project, “Colossus: New Music for Tuba, Vols. 1 & 2,” featuring 13 of the works that he has commissioned. He also has recorded with Ensemble Dal Niente, ambient group The Midwest Hackers, and in a doom metal/jazz trio with Jordan Snow and Danny Hynds.

In addition to performing, Hynds is a composer and new media artist, with recent premieres including “Choke (Radio Edit),” for bass clarinetist Gunnar Hirthe and electronics; “Sediment,” for three bass drums and electronics, performed by Ensemble Knox; and “SID 6581” for amplified violin and computer, premiered by Abdel Anzaldua at the SPLICE Institute.

Originally from Decatur, IL, Hynds currently is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Bowling Green State University,  having previously earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Music degrees from the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since the fall of 2017, he also is the sound production coordinator and events technician for the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, serving as primary audio engineer for the department and supervising the Sound Recording Technologies minor.

You can hear samples of Aaron Hynds’ music via his pages on Bandcamp and SoundCloud.

Mizzou International Composers Festival announces resident composers for 2018

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) has selected eight resident composers to participate in the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF).

Presented by MNMI and the University of Missouri School of Music from Monday, July 23 through Saturday, July 28 in Columbia, the ninth annual MICF will feature world premieres of new works written by each of the selected composers. Listed with their current places of residence, they are:

* Oren Boneh, Berkeley, CA
* Christine Burke, Iowa City, IA
* Viet Cuong, Philadelphia, PA
* Amanda Feery, Princeton, NJ
* Douglas Osmun, Columbia, MO
* Gemma Peacocke, Princeton, NJ
* Igor Santos, Chicago, IL
* Peter Shin, Los Angeles, CA

The resident composers are chosen through a portfolio application process that this year attracted 244 entries from 22 different countries. Applications were received from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Three of the resident composers selected for 2018 are originally from outside the US: Amanda Feery, a native of Offaly, Ireland; Gemma Peacocke, who’s from Hamilton, New Zealand; and Igor Santos, born in Curitiba, Brazil.

Douglas Osmun, a graduate student working toward a master’s in composition at Mizzou, will represent the University of Missouri. Osmun was the winner of the 2017 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the university’s highest honor for a student composer. Resident composer Peter Shin also has a Missouri connection, as he was born and raised in Kansas City.

The 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival will include a series of public concerts featuring music from the resident composers and other contemporary creators, as well as workshops, master classes, and other events.

The Festival’s distinguished guest composers for 2018 will be Chen Yi, a native of Guangzhou, China who is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Alex Mincek, an assistant professor, composition and music technology at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and a co-founder and artistic director of the Wet Ink Ensemble.

The acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, once again will serve as resident ensemble, as they have since the MICF began in 2010.

During the festival, the eight resident composers will receive composition lessons from Chen and Mincek; take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound; give public presentations on their music; and receive a premiere performance and professional live recording of a new work created specifically for the MICF and Alarm Will Sound.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be announced at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Mizzou International Composers Festival gets submissions from around the world

With a flurry of last-minute activity, a total of 244 composers from around the world applied for the eight resident composer spots at the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Submissions were received from 22 different countries, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The 2018 MICF is scheduled for July 23 – 28 on the University of Missouri campus and at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia, and will feature Chen Yi and Alex Mincek as distinguished guest composers and Alarm Will Sound as resident ensemble. The eight resident composers selected to take part in the festival will be named in January.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble presenting “Words and Music”
and more on Sunday, December 3 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will premiere new works by seven different Mizzou composers in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 3 at Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the Mizzou campus. Admission is $5 for the general public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff with ID.

The full Ensemble (pictured) will present the premiere performances of “notfromme” by Mikkel Christensen, a first-year master’s student; “Night Blossoms,” by senior composition major Ben Colagiovanni; “If you have nothing nice to say [say it softly],” by Libby Roberts, also a first-year master’s student and the pianist for the Ensemble; and “Good Vibes,” by freshman composition major Nick Williams.

The concert also will feature four songs created this fall as part of “Words and Music,” a collaborative project between the School of Music and the Department of English.

Overseen by post-doctoral fellow Carolina Heredia and assistant teaching professor Julia Bentley from the School of Music, along with Gabriel Fried, assistant professor of English, the “Words and Music” project involved three teams, each including an MU student poet, composer, singer, and a Mizzou New Music Ensemble member.

The new works they created to be performed at this concert are:

“Katabasis,” with words by Mary Clare Agnew and music by Libby Roberts, which will be performed by Briana Bennett, mezzo-soprano, and Kelariz Keshavarz, flute;

“The Wanderer,” with words by Hannah Cajandig and music by Adam J. Cohen, a sophomore composition major, to be performed by soprano Morgan Owen and percussionist Brianna Trainor; and

“Transience,” with words by Bryn Bartel and music by sophomore composition major Ethan Forte, performed by Matt Ahn, baritone and Daniel Keeler, cello.

In addition, as an example for the students, Gabriel Fried and Carolina Heredia worked together to write “Schoolyard Blessing,” which will be performed at the concert by Julia Bentley with Libby Roberts on piano.

Chen Yi to serve as distinguished guest composer
for 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival

The Mizzou New Music Initiative will welcome Chen Yi as a distinguished guest composer at the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF), scheduled for Monday, July 23 through Saturday, July 28 on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Chen (pictured) is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition “Si Ji” (“Four Seasons”), she was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and is known as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries. Along with many orchestral works, Chen has written numerous choral works and pieces of chamber music, including works written for traditional Chinese instruments.

Next July in Columbia, she’ll join Alex Mincek, who was named in October as the MICF’s other distinguished guest composer for 2018. The MICF features three public concerts of music from contemporary composers, as well as workshops, master classes, and other events. As in years past, Saturday night’s grand finale at the Missouri Theatre will present the world premieres of new works from eight resident composers, with Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, serving as resident ensemble.

The resident composers are selected for the MICF each year through an online portfolio application process. During the festival, they’ll get composition lessons from the distinguished guest composers and Mizzou faculty, and take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. Each composer also will receive a professional live recording of their work.

The deadline for submitting an application is 5:00 p.m. Central time, Friday, November 17, 2017. For more information or to apply to become a resident composer for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, please visit https://app.getacceptd.com/mizzou.

The 2018 MICF will be Chen’s second visit to Columbia under the auspices of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. She previously came to Mizzou in 2015 for a brief residency during which the University Singers presented the world premiere of her composition “The Beautiful West Lake.”

In addition, her husband Zhou Long, also a professor of composition at UMKC’s conservatory and winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for music, was one of two distinguished guest composers at the 2013 MICF, making them the only married couple who both have served in that capacity.

A violinist as well as a composer, Chen Yi earned bachelor and masters degrees in music composition from the Central Conservatory in Beijing, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University.

She received the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2005. Other honors include first prize from the Chinese National Composition Contest, Lili Boulanger Award, NYU Sorel Medal Award, CalArts/Alpert Award, and many more.

Chen has won fellowships and commissions from organizations including the Guggenheim Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Koussevitzky, Fromm, Ford, Roche, and Rockefeller foundations; Meet The Composer, Chamber Music America;, the BBC Proms; the China National Center for the Performing Arts, the Lincoln Center Festival, and Carnegie Hall.

Ensembles and soloists commissioning her work have included the Cleveland Orchestra, Mira Wang and the Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Seattle Symphony, Yo-Yo Ma and the Pacific Symphony, Evelyn Glennie and the Singapore Symphony, the Women’s Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and more.

Chen’s music is published by Theodore Presser Company, and has been recorded and released on more than 20 different labels, including New Albion, CRI, Angel, Koch International Classics, Delos, New World and Naxos.

Alarm Will Sound to play free concert on
Wednesday, December 6 at Missouri Theatre

Alarm Will Sound is returning to Columbia to perform at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 6 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. 9th St. Admission to the concert is free and open to the public.

As the resident ensemble for the annual Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF), Alarm Will Sound (pictured) has been playing in mid-Missouri since 2010, and five of the six composers whose works they’ll perform in December at the Missouri Theatre have a connection to the MICF.

Two of the works were created specifically for the festival by past resident composers. “Paper Pianos I. You are not a kid,” was written by Mary Kouyoumdjian and premiered at the 2016 MICF, and “Urban Sprawl” was written by Clint Needham and was first performed the 2011 festival.

Needham currently is composer-in-residence and assistant professor at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music in Ohio; Kouyoumdjian is a freelance composer based in New York City.

Alarm Will Sound also will perform new works by two of its own members. “Escape Wisconsin” is by AWS violinist and guitarist Caleb Burhans, and premiered at the 2017 MICF, while “Unremixed” was composed by Stefan Freund, who is the cellist for AWS, professor of composition at Mizzou, and artistic director of the MICF and the Mizzou New Music Initiative.

Completing the program will be two pieces by well-known contemporary composers, “Try” by Andrew Norman and “Scratchband” by John Adams.

Norman was a distinguished guest composer at the 2015 MICF, and is the winner of the 2017 Grawemeyer Award for outstanding achievement by a living composer, and an assistant professor of composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music; Adams is the Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize winning composer of “Nixon In China,” “Doctor Atomic,” “Shaker Loops” and more.