Mizzou International Composers Festival announces resident composers for 2017

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) has selected eight resident composers to participate in the 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF).

Presented by MNMI and the University of Missouri School of Music from Monday, July 24 through Saturday, July 29 in Columbia, the eighth 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:

* 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

The resident composers are chosen through a portfolio application process that this year attracted a record 261 entries from 25 different countries, also a record for the MICF. Applications were received from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States.

Four of the resident composers selected for 2017 are originally from outside the US, including Selim Göncü, who was born in Turkey; Carolina Heredia, a native of Argentina; Christopher Mayo, a Canadian; and Aaron Parker, who hails from England.

Henry Breneman Stewart, a graduate student working toward a master’s in composition at Mizzou, will represent the University of Missouri. Stewart was the winner of the 2016 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the university’s highest honor for a student composer.

The 2017 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 2017 will be 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 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 Haas and Visconti; 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 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be announced at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Dustin Dunn advances in MTNA national composition competition

Mizzou student Dustin Dunn has won the West Central Division in the “Young Artist” category of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) composition competition.

Dunn (pictured), a junior working on a bachelor’s degree in music composition, was recognized for “Of Stained Glass and Hymnody,” which was premiered in March 2016 by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble.

His award in the West Central Division is the latest step in a process that began in October, when he was named winner of the Missouri state division of this year’s MTNA competition.

Dunn’s work now advances to the finals of MTNA’s national competition, which offers a first place prize of $3,000, plus a performance at the Winners Concert during the 2017 MTNA National Conference, which will take place from March 18 to March 22 in Baltimore, MD.

A native of Annapolis, MO and graduate of Iron South High School, Dunn was a winner in Mizzou’s statewide Creating Original Music Project (COMP) and in the Missouri Composers Project before enrolling at the university with a full-tuition Sinquefield Scholarship to study composition. In addition to his awards from MTNA, he also was the winner of the Springfield (MO) Symphony’s 2016 Missouri Composition Competition.

You can read more about Dustin Dunn in the Fall 2015 issue of Mizzou, the University’s alumni magazine, and see the Mizzou New Music Ensemble’s performance of “Of Stained Glass and Hymnody” in the embedded video player below.

2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival
gets record number of resident composer submissions

A total of 261 composers from around the world applied for the eight resident composer spots at the 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival, a new record for the MICF.

Submissions were received from 25 different countries – also a new record – including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States.

The 2017 MICF will be held July 24 – 29 on the University of Missouri campus and at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia. The eight resident composers selected to take part in the festival will be named in January.

Mizzou composer Douglas Osmun featured in Columbia Missourian

Mizzou composer Douglas Osmun, a first-year graduate student in composition and the winner of the 2017 Sinquefield Composition Prize, was the subject of a feature story this week in the Columbia Missourian.

Osmun (pictured) talked with reporter Ann Marion about his composition process and about “First Fig,” the work he submitted in this year’s Sinquefield Prize competition. As the winner of the competition, Osman was commissioned to write a new work for the University Philharmonic, which will get a premiere performance in April at the annual Chancellor’s Arts Showcase at the Missouri Theatre.

You can read the whole story here.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble presenting four world premieres and more
in concert Sunday, December 4 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will present four world premieres and more in the second concert of their 2016-17 season at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 4 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus. General admission is $5 for the public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff.

Three of those premieres were written by Mizzou students, including “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Adam Cohen, a freshman composition major and Sinquefield Scholar. Inspired by Heironymous Bosch’s famous triptych painting, the piece juxtaposes surrealistic sounds against each other both rhythmically and melodically to evoke an aural whimsy.

“Foresight” is a new work by Luke Henderson that’s based on ideas found in Benjamin Franklin’s essay “The Morals of Chess.” A senior composition major at Mizzou, Henderson also has had his music performed by the University of Missouri Studio Jazz Band and the Columbia Civic Orchestra.

Kay Cypret’s “Trials and Tribulations” is a four-movement work representing “struggles of the mind, feet, heart, and spirit.” Cypret is a master’s composition student at Mizzou who also has written music for the Golden Spectra String Quartet, clarinetist Dr. Cheryl Cifeli, flautist Camden Beavers, and the Mizzou Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble.

The concert’s fourth premiere is “Passacaglia” by John Orfe, a faculty member at Bradley University and pianist for Alarm Will Sound, the group that serves as resident ensemble for the annual Mizzou International Composers Festival. Orfe’s work is a set of virtuosic variations over a line that is repeated throughout the duration of the piece.

In addition to the four world premieres, the ensemble (pictured) will be joined by a guest artist, mezzo-soprano and Mizzou professor of voice Julia Bentley, for performances of two more contemporary compositions.

“No Fire Gives Light” by Henry Breneman Stewart is an explosive work for mezzo-soprano, saxophone, percussion, and piano that is based on the biblical story “Terror Strikes the Egyptians at Night” from the Book of Wisdom, Chapter 17. Stewart is a second-year master’s student in composition at Mizzou, and was the winner of the 2016 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the university’s highest honor for a student composer.

The ensemble and Bentley will complete the program with Hans Abrahamsen’s “Efteraarslied,” which was written for mezzo-soprano, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, and incorporates text from German poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Autumn.” Abrahamsen, a Swiss composer who is the winner of the 2016 Grawemeyer Prize, was a distinguished guest composer for the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

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.

Mizzou composer’s work to be performed at SCI conference

The Society of Composers, Inc (SCI) has selected a work by Mizzou’s Douglas Osmun for performance at their annual national conference next year.

Osmun’s “First Fig,” a work for voice, cello, and piano that incorporates text by Edna St. Vincent Millay, will be performed on Friday, March 31 at the SCI event, which will take place March 30 through April 1 at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI.

Osmun (pictured) is a first-year graduate student in composition and winner of the 2017 Sinquefield Composition Prize. He’s also an alumnus of Western Michigan, having earned his BM in music composition there before coming to Mizzou.

Founded in 1965, SCI is an independent professional society of nearly 1500 members dedicated to the promotion, performance, understanding and dissemination of new and contemporary music.

You can hear a recording of “First Fig” in the embedded audio player below.

Dustin Dunn wins MTNA’s 2016 statewide composition competition

University of Missouri composition student Dustin Dunn has won this year’s award in the “Young Artist” category of the Missouri state division of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) composition competition.

Dunn, a junior working on a bachelor’s degree in music composition at Mizzou, was recognized for “Of Stained Glass and Hymnody,” which was premiered in March 2016 by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble. He’s the third Mizzou student in a row to win the statewide MTNA award, following Ben Colagiovanni last year and Trey Makler in 2014.

“Of Stained Glass and Hymnody” now will be entered in the national MTNA composition competition, which offers a first place prize of $3,000, plus a performance at the Winners Concert during the 2017 MTNA National Conference taking place from March 18 to March 22 in Baltimore, MD.

A native of Annapolis, MO and graduate of Iron South High School, Dunn (pictured) was a winner in Mizzou’s statewide Creating Original Music Project (COMP) and in the Missouri Composers Project before enrolling at MU with a full-tuition Sinquefield Scholarship to study composition. In addition to this most recent award from MTNA, he also was the winner of the Springfield (MO) Symphony’s 2016 Missouri Composition Competition.

Dunn was profiled in the Fall 2015 issue of Mizzou, the University’s alumni magazine, and you can read that story online here.

Creating Original Music Project (COMP) offers awards, cash prizes
for original music from Missouri student composers

From school bands to adjudicated contests, young musicians today have many outlets to demonstrate their instrumental prowess. For young composers, the opportunities to show their talents can be much harder to find, which is why the Mizzou New Music Initiative began the Creating Original Music Project (COMP).

Now in its twelfth year, COMP is an annual statewide competition that showcases new, original music from Missouri student composers and songwriters in grades K-12, offering positive recognition and prizes, performance and educational opportunities, and more.

Sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, COMP is now accepting entries for the 2017 competition. Both 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 15, 2017 at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

The postmark deadline for submission of all compositions is Friday, January 14, 2017.

Students in grades K-5 may submit compositions in two categories, Songs With Words and Instrumental. 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.

For students looking for more 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, ask questions about composing, and receive suggestions and answers directly from the composer on call. The composer on call for the 2016-17 academic year is Henry Breneman Stewart, who can be reached by email at composerconnection@missouri.edu.

For more information about the Creating Original Music Project and an application for the 2017 competition, please visit the COMP website at https://music.missouri.edu/mnmi/comp.