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Dustin Dunn wins second place in MTNA’s national composition competition

Mizzou student Dustin Dunn has placed second in the “Young Artist” category of this year’s Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) national 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 work became eligible for a national award after winning first place in the Missouri statewide and West Central Division portions of the competition. As the second place winner, Dunn will receive a cash prize.

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.

Mizzou composer Douglas Osmun wins 2017 Sinquefield Composition Prize

The University of Missouri School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have awarded the 2017 Sinquefield Composition Prize to Douglas Osmun.

Osmun, who grew up in Zeeland, MI, is a first-year graduate student at Mizzou studying composition with Stefan Freund. He submitted “First Fig,” a work written for alto voice, cello and piano, to the competition and was selected for the prize by a panel of independent judges.

The adjudicators for the 2017 competition were:
* Lee Hartman, instructor in music and music theory, University of Central Missouri;
* Allison Ogden, lecturer in composition, University of Louisville; and
* Christopher Stark, assistant professor of composition, Washington University.

Now in its 12th year, the Sinquefield Composition Prize is the top award for a composition student at Mizzou.

As this year’s winner, Osmun (pictured) now will be commissioned to write an original work for Mizzou’s University Philharmonic orchestra, with the premiere performance to be presented as part of the Chancellor’s Arts Showcase on Monday, April 10, 2017 at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia. With the commission, he also will receive funding for the production of the score and parts, and a professional recording of his work.

Before coming to Mizzou, Osmun earned a BM in music composition at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. While at WMU, he studied with Lisa Renée Coons and Christopher Biggs, and was named a Beulah and Harold McKee Scholar, one of the school’s three top awards for music students.

Osmun’s other awards and accomplishments include the Ron Nelson Award and Symphonic Band Commission; an international premiere of his work at the highSCORE Festival in Italy; a mini-grant from the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo; and serving as the Region V Student Representative for the Society of Composers, Inc.

The other finalists for the 2017 Sinquefield Composition Prize were Dustin Dunn, Hans B. Heruth, Aaron Mencher, and Jake Smucker.

“Herstory” website features original music from Mizzou composer Haley Myers

Senior composition major Haley Myers talks about creating the soundtrack for "Herstory"

Haley Myers, a senior composition major at Mizzou, has written and performed original music for The Herstory: JAWS Oral History Project, a new website created by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri.

“Herstory,” which went online last week, documents the professional careers, work experiences and associational life of senior women journalists who have participated in the Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS), an organization of female journalists that grew out of a 1984 panel discussion at the Missouri School of Journalism. The site features in-depth interviews with 34 JAWS members, as well as profiles of the interviewees; audio and video clips; pictures of early JAWS gatherings; and newsletters and documents from the organization’s first few years, provided by the State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscript Collection.

Myers wrote the music and played piano for the site’s soundtrack, which also features fellow student Grant Bradshaw performing on viola. The music editing was done by Mizzou New Music Initiative managing director Billy Lackey.

The site was unveiled in a presentation on Friday, May 1 at the School of Journalism. You can read more about “Herstory” and the students and faculty members who worked on the project here.

Pictured, from left: Young Volz, associate professor, School of Journalism; A.J. Million, web developer; Dean Mills, professor and Dean of the School of Journalism; William Lackey; Haley Myers; Ying Wu, website creative director & assistant professor, School of Journalism.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to highlight works
by Hans Abrahamsen, Andrew Norman in concert
on Sunday, April 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will highlight works from the two guest composers for this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) in a concert at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 26 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.

The concert will feature performances of “Zwei Schneetänze,” two works by Dutch composer Hans Abrahamsen from 1985 that foreshadow his extended tour-de-force “Schnee,” and four movements of “The Companion Guide to Rome,” written by Andrew Norman in 2010 as a musical evocation of Roman landmarks.

Abrahamsen is one of Europe’s leading composers and a member of the “New Simplicity” movement. His major awards include the Carl Nielsen Prize and the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize, and his works been performed by European orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic. Norman is an assistant professor of composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, and currently is composer in residence with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia.

Both men will be guest composers at the 2015 MICF, which will take place from Monday, July 20 through Saturday July 25 in Columbia.

The April 26 concert also will include a 2012 piece written by a former resident composer for the MICF, as well as two brand new, poetically inspired works from Mizzou composition students.

David Biedenbender’s “Grit” is described as “an aggressive work dedicated to the composer’s sister-in-law’s battle with cancer.” Biedenbender, who was a resident composer at the 2012 Mizzou International Composers Festival and now teaches composition at Boise State University, will be in the audience for this performance.

“The Year 1861” by Mizzou freshman Dustin Dunn was inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem of the same name about the Civil War, while junior Trey Makler’s “Sonette an Orpheus” is a “colorful and vibrant” setting of a Ranier Maria Rilke sonnet. Makler’s composition will be conducted by Mizzou junior Travis Herd, and features a guest performance by baritone Sam Wright.

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.

St. Louis Symphony to perform Stefan Freund’s “Cyrillic Dreams”

Original music from Mizzou will be heard once again next year at Powell Hall in St. Louis, as the St. Louis Symphony’s announcement last Tuesday of their 2015-16 season schedule included the news that they’ll perform Stefan Freund’s “Cyrillic Dreams” as part of a concert on Friday, April 29, 2016.

Stefan Freund

Freund is associate professor of composition and music theory at the University of Missouri and co-artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. The Memphis native also is a cellist and founding member of the new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, and is the music director and principal conductor of the Columbia Civic Orchestra.

“Cyrillic Dreams,” composed in 2008 with a commission from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, was inspired by Freund’s trip to Russia that year. It was premiered by the Columbia Civic Orchestra by the Columbia Civic Orchestra on March 24, 2009 in Vienna’s Minoritenkirche with the composer conducting, and subsequently has been played by orchestras including the Tennessee Tech University Orchestra and the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, and at the Missouri River Festival of the Arts.

The St. Louis Symphony will play Freund’s composition on a program that also includes well-known works such as Bernstein’s “Candide Overture,” Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” and Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The concert is part of the St. Louis Symphony’s new “Music You Know” series conducted by music director David Robertson, which aims to connect listeners to classical music by presenting “familiar tunes we’re certain you know, and others that you’ll long to hear again and again.” “Cyrillic Dreams” also is one of just eight works by living composers on the orchestra’s schedule next season.

“When I wrote “Cyrillic Dreams,” I imagined the rich acoustic of the three huge churches in Austria where the piece was to be performed,” said Freund. “I think it will sound equally glorious in the majestic setting of Powell Hall.”

Tickets for the St. Louis Symphony’s 2015-16 season are on sale now via their website at stlsymphony.org.

Mizzou composers, New Music Ensemble
develop new works inspired by Forest Park

Forest Park in St. Louis is the site of all sorts of musical performances, from the sounds of Broadway at the Muny to the St. Louis Symphony’s annual concert on Art Hill to the rock, pop and hip-hop of LouFest, and more.

Now, the park itself has become the subject of music, as four Mizzou students have been commissioned by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation to compose new works for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform at “The Sounds of Forest Park,” a private event next month for members of Forest Park Forever‘s Leffingwell Society.

In February, the four composers and associate professor Stefan Freund, who is supervising the project, toured Forest Park and visited the Jewel Box (pictured), which will be the site of the performance. Each of the four composers then focused on a specific aspect of the park.

Sophomore Benedetto Colagiovanni wrote “Forest Park Rhapsody” to recall the park’s history, while the natural world of trees, plants and animals helped inspire “Elysium,” composed by sophomore Trey Makler.

Matt Steins, a junior at Mizzou, used the park’s architecture as creative fuel for his piece “Structural Symbiosis,” and master’s candidate Justin Pounds’ “A Leaf on the Wind” is meant to evoke all the different activities enjoyed by visitors in search of “fun in the park.”

While the event next month at the Jewel Box is invitation-only, you can get a sneak preview of “The Sounds of Forest Park” compositions at the Mizzou New Music Ensemble’s concert at 7:00 p.m. this Sunday, April 27 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the Mizzou campus.

Mizzou New Music Initiative in the news

The Mizzou New Music Initiative has been in the news for several reasons in recent weeks. Here’s a recap of some recent coverage:

Last week’s announcement of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation’s $1.4 million gift to the Initiative was a featured story on the University’s news service, and in Mizzou magazine and Mizzou Weekly.  Local coverage included stories in the Daily Tribune, Missourian and Maneater, and on KBIA and KOMU.

The gift also was covered in other publications around the state, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and St. Louis Business Journal, and the Associated Press story about it was picked up by dozens of media outlets around the country.

The previous week, the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) concert on March 9 was spotlighted in an article by Aarik Danielsen for the Columbia Daily Tribune, and this year’s MOCOP High School division winner Dustin Dunn was featured in his hometown paper in Ironton.

In other news, if you missed the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s recent town hall meeting,  at which the SLSO announced that they’ll perform new works next season by Mizzou’s Stephanie Berg and former Mizzou International Composers Festival resident composer Patrick Harlin,  you can watch it online at the website of cable network HEC-TV.

Finally, our congratulations also go out to Patrick Harlin for being awarded a 2013 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform works by Muñiz, Kellogg, Colagiovanni, and Makler on Sunday, March 3 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) will present the third concert of their 2012-13 season at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 3 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.

The program will include the world premiere of “Duende,” a new piece by Spanish-American composer Jorge Muñiz. Inspired by the sounds and traditions of Flamenco, “Duende” was commissioned specifically for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble. Muñiz, an associate professor of music composition and theory at Indiana University South Bend, currently is teaching at Central Methodist University in Fayette, MO.

The concert also will include two pieces written by Mizzou freshman composition students. “Winter Reflections” by Benedetto Colagiovanni is an exploration of jazz rhythms and harmonies, while “Reflections” by Trey Makler is an introspective work featuring solo sections for each instrument in the Ensemble.

The MNME will complete the program by performing the third and fourth movements of Daniel Kellogg’s Divinum Mysterium . Commissioned in 2000 by the chamber ensemble eighth blackbird, the five-movement work is based on the 13th century chant melody “Divinum Mysterium.”

The Ensemble is playing different parts of the work at each of their concerts this year in preparation for a full performance during the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival. Kellogg, an associate professor of music at the University of Colorado, will be one of the guest composers for the Festival.

The six-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students and recent alumni under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer and associate professor. They serve as the repertory group for 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 Ensemble’s members for the 2012-13 season are Rachel AuBuchon, piano; Stephanie Berg, clarinets; Mary Jamerson, flute; Katherine Jones, violin; Ian McClaflin, percussion; and Matthew Pierce, cello. As the repertory group for the Initiative, they work with faculty, students and visiting composers, and give public performances on campus and in the community.