Archive for the ‘ Mizzou New Music Initiative ’ Category

Stefan Freund wins commission from Barlow Endowment

University of Missouri professor of composition and Mizzou New Music Initiative artistic director Stefan Freund has won a commission for 2021 from the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition.

Freund (pictured) was one of 9 composers selected from among 259 applications this year to the Endowment’s General and LDS commissioning programs, which will award grants totaling $60,000 to the winners.

The Barlow Endowment was established in September 1983 through a gift from Milton A. and Gloria Barlow to Brigham Young University for the purpose of “engendering and supporting excellence in musical composition through the university and the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications.”

The Endowment hosts an international composition competition every year, receiving applications from around the world. The application are reviewed by a panel of musicians, who select the winners that will be commissioned to compose new works during the next year.

Freund will use his $6,000 grant to write a new work for Splinter Reeds, who will premiere the piece as part of a residency at Mizzou planned for 2023.

This is the second year in a row that a Mizzou faculty member has won a major commission from the Barlow Endowment. In 2020, assistant professor Carolina Heredia was awarded a grant which she used
to write a new work for Duo Axis, featuring flutist Zach Sheets and pianist Wei-Han Wu.

Several other composers with Mizzou connections also won commissions this year from the Endowment. Texu Kim, a resident composer at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival, was awarded the $12,000 Barlow Prize to compose a major new work for sinfonietta that will be premiered in 2023-24 by Alarm Will Sound, London Sinfonietta, Oakland Symphony Orchestra, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Also winning Barlow commissions for 2021 are David Biedenbender, who was a resident composer at the 2011 MICF; Wang Lu, a resident composer for the 2016 festival; and Lansing McCloskey, who visited the Mizzou campus as a guest composer in 2015.

The judging panel included Neil Thornock, Chen Yi, Ben Sabey, Benjamin Taylor and Miguel Del Aguila of the Endowment’s Board of Advisors, plus guest judges Tania León, Kristin Kuster, Lisa DeSpain, and Chance Thomas.

Mizzou composer, musicians featured in
PBS special celebrating Missouri’s bicentennial

A new work written by a Mizzou composer and performed by MU faculty members will be featured in “Show Me the Music: A Celebration of the Missouri Bicentennial,” a television special that will air beginning this week on PBS affiliates in Missouri.

“Waterways” was written on commission specifically for the bicentennial project by Stefan Freund (pictured), who is MNMI’s artistic director and professor of composition at Mizzou. The work then was performed and recorded in May at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis by MU faculty members Alice Dade (flute), Eli Lara (cello), Julie Rosenfeld (violin), and Wes Warnhoff (clarinet).

Their performance will be seen as part of the “Show Me the Music…” special, which celebrates the 200th anniversary of Missouri becoming the 24th state to enter the Union on August 10, 1821. The program features what producers call “a kaleidoscope of many of Missouri’s musical genres,” including blues, rock, bluegrass, ragtime, and jazz, performed by musicians from around the state.

In addition to the Mizzou faculty ensemble, other performers include jazz pianist Peter Martin with his trio, augmented by saxophonist Bobby Watson and trumpeter Keyon Harrold; St. Louis vocalist Anita Jackson; ragtime pianist Royce Martin; bluegrass star Rhonda Vincent and her band, The Rage; and fiddler Howard Marshall and friends.

“Show Me the Music…” will premiere at 7:00 p.m. CDT on Monday, August 9 on St. Louis’ Nine Network, followed by multiple repeat broadcasts on all four of Missouri’s PBS affiliates continuing through September 4.

The first airing on Kansas City’s KCPT and mid-Missouri’s KMOS, which covers Columbia, Jefferson City, Warrensburg, and Sedalia, will be at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, August 12, with Ozarks Public Television‘s first broadcast set for 8:00 p.m. Friday, August 13. (For a complete schedule, please consult your local listings.)

After the broadcast premiere, in addition to repeat airings on all four stations, “Show Me the Music…” also will be available for viewing online via The Sheldon’s website.

“Show Me the Music…” was created in partnership by the Missouri Arts Council; The Sheldon; Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee; JPL Development LLC; Sinquefield Charitable Foundation; St. Louis Cardinals; and the Budds Center for American Music at the University of Missouri.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble featured on new recording

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble is featured on Black Pierrot, a new album by Mizzou’s University Singers that is being released this week on the Centaur Records label.

The album (pictured) is described as “a program of great choral works, including one work from the 1500s, works from the 20th Century,” plus the title track, which is performed by the Singers and the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, directed by Stefan Freund.

It’s the world premiere recording of this new work, which was commissioned from composer William Averitt by R. Paul Crabb, director of choral activities at Mizzou, with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Averitt’s “Black Pierrot” is based on seven poems by Langston Hughes, each incorporated into a movement of the work. It was premiered by the University Singers and the Mizzou New Music Ensemble in a concert in March 2017 at First Baptist Church in Columbia.

The Ensemble’s members for that year were Victoria Hargrove, clarinet; Daniel Keeler, cello; Kelariz Keshavarz, flute; Renan Leme, violin; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; and Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophone.

Founded in 1976, Centaur is one of the oldest and largest independent classical labels in the U.S. Their recordings are available as physical CDs in major markets throughout the world and from select online retailers. Digital downloads are available through iTunes and many other download sites, and streams are available through Spotify, YouTube, and other streaming services.

Springfield Symphony to perform Stefan Freund’s
“Ragfare” in concerts on Saturday, May 8

The Springfield Symphony will perform “Ragfare,” a work written by University of Missouri professor of composition Stefan Freund, in a pair of concerts on Saturday, May 8 at the Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts in Springfield, MO.

Freund (pictured), who’s also a cellist, conductor, and the artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, originally composed “Ragfare” for the Columbia Civic Orchestra to play at the reopening in 2008 of the renovated Missouri Theatre in Columbia.

Inspired for the occasion by the music of Scott Joplin, Freund says that he “wanted to write a piece that would celebrate the rich musical heritage of Missouri.” The music that resulted offers “ragtime-style figures, like syncopated tunes and octave-leap ostinatos, in the context of a fanfare.”

Since premiering in 2008, “Ragfare” was revisited by the Columbia Civic Orchestra in 2018, and also has been performed by the Missouri Symphony Orchestra (2009), and by members of the St. Louis and Kansas City symphonies at the Missouri River Festival of the Arts in Boonville (2015).

The upcoming performance of “Ragfare” by the Springfield Symphony will be as part of a program titled “Locally Grown” that also will feature arrangements of Joplin works including “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer,” W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues March,” the folk song “Frankie and Johnny,” “The Missouri Waltz,” and more.

Kyle Pickett, the orchestra’s music director, will conduct, with ragtime pianist and storyteller Gary Ellison serving as featured soloist.

The program will be presented at 2:00 p.m. for the general public, and again at 7:30 p.m. for season ticket holders and as a livestream online.

For tickets to the 2:00 p.m. performance, please visit https://www.springfieldmosymphony.org/tickets. To purchase access to the livestream at 7:30 p.m., go to https://springfieldsymphony.uscreen.io/.

New documentary with score by Mizzou students to get
free screening Monday, May 3 at Missouri Theatre

A new documentary film produced at Mizzou and featuring a musical score composed and performed by students from the School of Music will get a free screening at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 3 at the Missouri Theatre.

“Keep the Cameras Rolling: The Pedro Zamora Way” tells the story of one of the early stars of the MTV reality show “The Real World” who became a noted advocate for people with AIDS before dying in 1994 at age 22.

The film was co-directed by MU professors William Horner and Stacey Woelfel, who first approached the School of Music’s director Julia Gaines for help in finding a Mizzou composer to score the film. Gaines enlisted the help of the composition faculty, who in turn selected master’s student Daniel Vega to write the music.

Vega’s score was performed by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, who debuted a portion of it in a concert back in November 2019.

The film includes appearances from “Real World” alums as well as former President Bill Clinton, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and actor Taye Diggs, and also features contributions from MU faculty and students in the school’s Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism, which is named after MU alum and “Real World” creator, and the Harry S. Truman School of Government and Public Affairs.

[Switch~ Ensemble] virtual residency at Mizzou will include
presentations plus a free online concert on Sunday, May 2

The new music group [Switch~ Ensemble] will do a “virtual residency” this spring for the Mizzou New Music Initiative, culminating in a online concert featuring works by Mizzou student composers.

The concert at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 2 will include new works by Mizzou’s Santiago Beis, Luis Bezerra, and Oswald Huynh, as well as music by Chris Chandler and Zachary James Watkins. The performance will be available to view on the University of Missouri School of Music’s YouTube channel and on the Mizzou New Music Facebook page.

The [Switch~ Ensemble] residency also will include a presentation to the School of Music’s convocation on entrepreneurship for musicians, plus presentations to the School’s composition seminar and “introduction to electronic music” class.

Founded in 2012 at the Eastman School of Music, [Switch~ Ensemble] (pictured) is a group of ten instrumentalists and composers dedicated to performing high-level chamber music integrated with cutting-edge technology and supporting emerging and early career composers.

Mizzou assistant professor Megan Arns is their percussionist, and there are two other members who have some prior experience at MU: cellist T.J. Borden, who did a residency and concert for MNMI in 2019, and Jason Thorpe Buchanan, the ensemble’s artistic director, who was a resident composer at the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Other members of [Switch~ Ensemble] are Lauren Cauley, violin; Christopher Chandler, composer and sound engineer; Matt Evans, saxophones; Madison Greenstone, clarinets; Clay Mettens, director of development, composer and sound engineer; Zach Sheets, composer, flutes, and managing director; and Wei-Han Wu, piano..

In keeping with their mission statement, [Switch~ Ensemble] has collaborated with both emerging and established composers, performing commissions and premieres of dozens of new works. Upcoming engagements include world premieres of commissioned works by Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, Katharina Rosenberger, Anna-Louise Walton, and Kelly Sheehan, supported by New Music USA, the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, Pro Helvetia, the MAP Fund, and more.

Past performances and residencies include Cornell, Bard College, University of Chicago, Ithaca College, Harvard University Group for New Music, UC Berkeley, the VIPA Festival (Spain), Eastman School of Music, Frost School of Music at University of Miami, and Avaloch Farms Music Institute, as well as concerts at the Image/Sound Festival, San Francisco Center for New Music, MATA Interval Series, NYCEMF, Vanguard New Music Series at Kent State University, the Queens New Music Festival, and more.

Sheldon commissions to be available for online viewing

New works written on commission by Mizzou student composers for premiere at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis soon will be available for everyone to view via The Sheldon’s YouTube channel.

The first three pieces that will go online at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, March 25 are The Grace of Falling” by Santiago Beis, “Aubade with Ashen Clouds, Scarlet Sky by Oswald Huynh, and “Poem of the Phantom Queen” by Daniel Fitzpatrick.

All three works were written as the result of a partnership between The Sheldon (pictured) and the Mizzou New Music Initiative that since 2012 has commissioned new music to premiere live as part of the long-running Sheldon Classics series at the hall.

Performed variously by members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Mizzou faculty or fellow students and funded by Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the commissions are intended to “offer emerging composers the opportunity to premiere their works in a professional setting, and classical-music lovers the chance to experience some of today’s most adventurous new music.”

Additional world premieres will be added as The Sheldon’s season continues into mid-June.


George Lewis’ virtual residency at Mizzou
to include public panel discussion and more

The renowned composer, musician, educator, and author George Lewis will take part in a “virtual residency” for the Mizzou New Music Initiative next month.

Lewis (pictured) will coach the Mizzou New Music Ensemble in preparation for their performance of his composition “Les exercises spirituels” in an online concert at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 14. The performance will be available to view on the University of Missouri School of Music’s YouTube channel and on the Mizzou New Music Facebook page.

Then on Thursday, April 15, Lewis will be one of the panelists for a School of Music convocation to discuss “Decolonizing Contemporary Music.” The presentation, which will be open to the public for online viewing via Zoom, also will feature Mizzou faculty members including Stefan Freund, Yoshiaki Onishi, Sam Griffith, and Stephanie Shonekan.

Lewis’ residency will conclude on Friday, April 16 with a presentation to the School of Music’s composition seminar.

Currently the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University in New York City, Lewis has been a distinctive and prominent figure in American music for the past half-century. He has been a member of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, and holds doctoral degrees from the University of Edinburgh, New College of Florida, and Harvard University.

Lewis’ work in electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, and notated and improvisational forms has been documented on more than 150 recordings, and his music has been presented by ensembles around the world, including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonia Orchestra, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, London Sinfonietta, Spektral Quartet, and many others.

His book “A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music” (University of Chicago Press, 2008) received the American Book Award and the American Musicological Society’s Music in American Culture Award. He also is the co-editor of the two-volume “Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies” (2016), and his opera “Afterword” (2015), commissioned by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, has been performed in the United States, United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic.

Lewis also has received numerous other commissions from ensembles such as the American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Harvestworks, Ensemble Either/Or, Orkestra Futura, Turning Point Ensemble, IRCAM, and more.

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. His other honors include a MacArthur Fellowship (2002) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015); a Doris Duke Artist Award (2019); a United States Artists Walker Fellowship (2011); an Alpert Award in the Arts (1999); and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

He has been on the faculty of Columbia University since 2004, having previously taught at the University of California, San Diego; Mills College; the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Koninklijke Conservatorium Den Haag; and Simon Fraser University’s Contemporary Arts Summer Institute.

Lewis also has served as visiting professor at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley; as composer in residence for the American Academy in Rome; as resident scholar for the University of Chicago’s Center for Disciplinary Innovation; and as artist in residence at Brown University.