Archive for the ‘ Mizzou New Music Initiative ’ Category

Summer Festival Spotlight: Alarm Will Sound

Continuing with our series of posts focusing on various participants in the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, today we shine out spotlight on Alarm Will Sound.

As the resident ensemble for the Festival, AWS plays an essential role in bringing to life the new works created by the resident composers. Not many groups would be willing or able to take on the challenge of premiering eight new pieces in one night with limited rehearsal time, but Alarm Will Sound has accomplished the task each year of the MNMSF with consummate skill and panache.

Former in 2001 by former students at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, Alarm Will Sound (pictured) is a 20-member ensemble “dedicated to the creation, performance, and recording of today’s music. It is an advocate for innovative work by established and emerging composers, especially works that incorporate theatrical and multimedia elements by choreographers, visual artists, designers, and directors. It fosters the education and professional development of young musicians through residencies, master classes, readings and workshops. With the goal of cultivating a diverse and sophisticated audience, the ensemble brings intelligence and a sense of adventure to the rich variety of musical expression in the contemporary world.” You can read a detailed history of the group here.

Alarm Will Sound is connected to the University of Missouri School of Music via Stefan Freund, associate professor of composition and music theory at Mizzou who’s also the cellist for AWS. They’ve been the resident ensemble for the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival since its inception, and maintain an active touring schedule throughout the year.

For example, since appearing in Columbia last summer, they’ve had a variety of musical adventures, starting with a trip to Europe in the fall of 2011 to give concerts in Poland and Italy. During the 2011-12 academic year, AWS performed in New York City, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington state. Most recently, they’ve been involved in a series of multimedia presentations of John Cage’s “Song Books” in Ireland, the Netherlands and, this coming weekend, back in New York.

This year in Columbia, in addition to premiering eight new pieces at the Festival’s finale on Saturday, July 28, Alarm Will Sound also will perform a completely different program on Thursday, July 26 at the Missouri Theatre. That concert will feature works by Oliver Knussen and Caleb Burhans, as well as pieces written by the 2012 Festival’s guest composers Steven Stucky and Donnacha Dennehy.

AWS will perform Stucky’s Etudes, a concerto for recorded and orchestra featuring Erin Lesser as soloist, as well what are being described as “scenes from Hunger, a work in progress” by Dennehy that will spotlight guest artist, mezzo-soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird.

Down below, you can see and hear Alarm Will Sound in action in some of videos posted recently to their YouTube channel.

You also can hear most of the music they’ve premiered at the past two Mizzou New Music Festivals via SoundCloud. Audio files from the 2010 MNMSF are here, while the tracks from 2011 are here.

Alarm Will Sound plays Caleb Burhans’ oh ye of little faith… (do you know where your children are?)

Aphex Twin’s “Cliffs,” arranged by Caleb Burhans with staging by Nigel Maister. Recorded March 28, 2012 at Bowling Green State University.

A Song for Wade (This is Not That Song), composed by Matt Marks with lyrics by Royce Vavrek.

Summer Festival Spotlight: Steven Stucky

Guest composers play an important part at the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, teaching and mentoring the resident composers, and we are most fortunate to have Steven Stucky as one of our guest composers for the 2012 MNMSF.

Called by BMI “a towering figure in contemporary classical music,” Stucky (pictured) perhaps is best known for his Second Concerto for Orchestra, which was commissioned and premiered in 2004 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2005. He is a professor of music at Cornell University, where he has taught since 1980, and also maintains a busy schedule as a conductor, writer and lecturer.

For more than 20 years, Stucky enjoyed the longest relationship on record between a composer and an American orchestra, serving as Composer-in-Residence and Consulting Composer for New Music for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He also has written commissioned pieces for many other American orchestras, as well as for many other ensembles and for soloists including pianist Emanuel Ax, baritone Sanford Sylvan, percussionist Evelyn Glennie, and cellist Elinor Frey.

Stucky also was co-artistic director, conductor, and one of the co-founders of Ensemble X, a new music group of Cornell and Ithaca College faculty members that performed from 1997 to 2006.

More recently, in February 2012 his orchestral work Silent Spring received both its world and New York premieres by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where he currently serves as Composer of the Year. Later this year, Stucky’s Son et lumière will be performed by both the New York Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

You can view some scores of Stucky’s music at the website of his publisher, the Theodor Presser Company. The embedded video windows below feature three recent performances of Stucky compositions for small ensembles, followed by a pre-concert talk that Stucky gave earlier this year before the premiere of Silent Spring.

The LA Piano Quartet (Xak Bjerken, piano; Yehonatan Berick, violin; Katherine Murdock, viola; and Steven Doane, cello) performs Steven Stucky’s Piano Quartet:

Trio América (Penélope Quesada, flute; Kevin Ames, saxophone; and
Liz Ames, piano) performs Stucky’s composition Varianti:

A student percussion ensemble plays Stucky’s piece Refrains:

Steven Stucky speaks before the world premiere of Silent Spring:

2012 Missouri Summer Composition Institute
to conclude with concert on Saturday, June 23

The Mizzou New Music Initiative’s Missouri Summer Composition Institute will wrap up this year’s session with a concert at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, June 23. The concert will take place at Whitmore Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, and is free and open to the public.

The concert will feature two resident ensembles giving world premiere performances of sixteen new works created by student composers participating in the Institute. The students will be on campus beginning next Monday, July 18. They will spend the week receiving composition lessons from MU composition faculty and graduate composition students; networking and exchanging ideas with their peers; and composing their pieces.

The Missouri Summer Composition Institute is open to all students in grades 9 –12 and entering college freshmen in Missouri. Eight advanced division composers and eight intermediate division composers are selected each year through a portfolio application process.

Tickets now on sale for 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival

Tickets are now on sale for the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival’s concerts on Thursday, July 26; Friday, July 27; and Saturday, July 28.

Now in its third year, the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival will take place starting Monday, July 23 through Saturday, July 28 in Columbia, MO. The MNMSF already is established as one of the most noteworthy contemporary music events in the Midwest, attracting attention from composers, musicians, music educators and media around the world.

This year’s grand finale will feature the world premieres of eight new works written by the festival’s resident composers and performed by the acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound (pictured). That concert will take place at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St. in downtown Columbia.

The festival’s other two public performances are:

*Alarm Will Sound and special guest artist soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, July 26 at the Missouri Theatre; and

* Mizzou New Music, featuring music by MNMSF guest composers Steven Stucky and Donnacha Dennehy and by MU faculty members, performed by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and the Mizzou Concert Jazz Band at 8:00 p.m. Friday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre.

Festival passes good for admission to all three concerts are on sale for $40 for adults, $20 for students. Single tickets are priced at $16 for adults, $8 for students. Tickets can be charged by phone using Visa, MasterCard or Discover by calling 1-573-882-3781.

To buy tickets online, or to see a complete listing of Mizzou New Music Summer Festival events, visit http://newmusicsummerfestival.missouri.edu/.

(A $2.00 service fee and Missouri sales tax of 7.35% already are included in the price of each ticket. An additional fee of $2.50 per ticket will be charged for online purchases. For these fees, a three-concert festival pass is considered one ticket.)

Three local hotels – the Wingate by Wyndham, the Tiger Hotel, and the Hampton Inn & Suites Columbia – are offering discounts on rooms to festival attendees for the nights of July 26, 27 & 28. Rates range from $78 to $135 per night, plus tax. For details, visit http://newmusicsummerfestival.missouri.edu/hotels.html.

In addition to these three concerts, the MNMSF also will include several free events, such as open rehearsals and presentations by the participating composers. A complete schedule of those events will be released at a later date.

The eight resident composers were selected from across the USA through a portfolio review process to participate in the festival and create a new work for Alarm Will Sound. They are:

* Stephanie Berg – Columbia, MO
* Brian Ciach – Bloomington, IN
* David Crowell – New York, NY
* Stylianos Dimou – Rochester, NY
* Ted Goldman – Rochester, NY
* Patrick Harlin – Ann Arbor, MI
* Charlie Piper – London, England
* Asha Srinivasan – Appleton, WI

During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from guest composers Steven Stucky, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for composition and a professor at Cornell University, and Donnacha Dennehy, a native of Ireland and award-winning composer who founded Dublin’s critically acclaimed Crash Ensemble. The resident composers also will take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound; give presentations on their music; and receive a premiere performance and professional live recording of their work.

The Mizzou New Music Summer Festival is made possible through the generous support of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, led by Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield. The Missouri Arts Council and the MU Chancellor’s Distinguished Visitors Program also provided financial assistance for the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival.

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis to host
“New Music, New Works” on Saturday, May 19

Inspired by the Great Rivers Biennial 2012 exhibition, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) and the Mizzou New Music Initiative will present “New Music, New Works” at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, May 19. The event at CAM, 3750 Washington Blvd in St. Louis’ Grand Center district, is free and open to the public.

The concert will feature the world premiere of original compositions by University of Missouri students Grant Fonda, Joe Hills, and Joseph Weidinger, each of whom has created a new piece that attempts to capture the aural essence of one of the three Great Rivers Biennial artists’ projects.

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble, directed by University of Missouri associate professor Stefan Freund, will perform all three compositions, along with Ad Parnassum, a piece by 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner Steven Stucky that was inspired by sketches by artist Paul Klee.

“There’s been a historic link between the visual and musical arts, and we’re glad to be able to continue that tradition,” said Freund. “Any time we have an off-campus performance, it’s an opportunity for our composers and performers to step out of the academic world and into the real world. That’s a valuable experience for them.”

“Collaborating with CAM provides an interesting challenge for these bright, young composers, while also introducing their talents to new audiences,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, which provides financial support for the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “Composers want their music to be performed in front of audiences. Forging alliances like this one is another way our new music programs in Missouri are helping them achieve their aspirations.”

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Freund, and serves as the repertory group for the Mizzou New Music Initiative, working with faculty, students and visiting composers, and give public performances on campus and in the community.

The Ensemble’s members for the 2011-12 season are Stephanie Berg, clarinets; Ryan Borden, percussion; Young Kim, flutes; Matthew Pierce, cello; David Snow, violin; and Renata Tavernard, piano. For this concert, Rachel AuBuchon also will perform on piano, and doctoral candidate Christopher Baumgartner will conduct the Steven Stucky composition Ad Parnassum

Presented in partnership with Gateway Foundation, the Great Rivers Biennial 2012 is organized by CAM and curated by Kelly Shindler, Assistant Curator. The exhibition will be on view May 11 – August 12, 2012. Opening Night for the exhibition is Friday, May 11, 2012, 7:00 – 9:00 pm.

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) “promotes meaningful engagement with the most relevant and innovative art being made today. As a non-collecting institution, CAM focuses its efforts on featuring local, national and international, well-known and newly established artists from diverse backgrounds, working in all types of media. As St. Louis’ forum for interpreting culture through contemporary visual art, CAM connects visitors to the dynamic art and ideas of our times. As a gathering place for experiencing contemporary art and culture, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis pushes the boundaries of innovation, creativity, and expression.”

Support for CAM’s exhibition program is provided by Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield; Nancy Reynolds and Dwyer Brown; William E. Weiss Foundation; Mary Ann and Andy Srenco; and Étant donnés, the French-American Fund for Contemporary Art.

Grant Fonda

Joe Hills

Joseph Wiedinger

C.O.M.P. Winners on TV in St. Louis

Three of the winners in this year’s Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition had the opportunity this week to perform their winning compositions on local TV in St. Louis.

Lily Ibur of Wydown Middle School played her song “Nothing Boy” on Wednesday for the 9:00 a.m. edition of FOX 2 News. You can see that performance in the embedded video window below:

Later that same day, Menea Vladi Kefalov and Ande Celeste Siegel of Reed Elementary Schol could be seen performing their song “War” for a feature story on local NBC affiliate KSDK’s program Show Me St. Louis. You can see that story online here.

All three of these young composers, and most of their fellow 2012 C.O.M.P. winners, will perform their winning compositions at the annual Creating Original Music Project Festival, which will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. this Saturday, April 21 at the Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus.

2012 C.O.M.P. winners in the news

The student composers who submitted winning entries in the 2012 Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition are making news throughout the state:

The six winners from the St. Louis area were featured Monday in an item by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Sarah Bryan Miller on the Post‘s Culture Club blog.

Gus Knobbe of Webster Groves High School, who won first place in the High School – Fine Art category, also was mentioned in the Post’s Suburban Journals and the Webster Groves edition of Patch.com.

Meanwhile, the Ballwin/Ellisvile Patch.com site had an article about Anthony Delia of Holy Infant School in Ballwin, who won first place in the High School – Popular category; and the Ladue/Frontenac edition spotlighted Ande Siegel and Menea Kefalov of Reed School, who won first place in the Elementary – Song With Words category for “War.”

In addition, Olivia Bennett of Mathews School in Nixa was featured on her school’s site for her composition “Count Olaf,” which won third place in the Elementary – Instrumental category.

The young composers will perform their winning compositions at the annual Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) Festival, which will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. this Saturday, April 21 at the Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to play final concert of the season Monday, April 16 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) will play the final concert of their 2011-12 season at 8:00 p.m., Monday, April 16 in Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Admission to the concert is free for Mizzou students, $5 suggested donation for the general public.

Continuing the Ensemble’s practice of performing new works by composers associated with the University, the concert will feature world premieres of three pieces written by Mizzou students who are earning master’s degrees in composition.

Grant Fonda’s SHARK! BLIMP! GERSHWIN! draws inspiration from the simplicity and joy of the composer’s young piano students, with influences from jazz and commercial music.

Joe HillsChildren with Smart Phones is a tongue-in-cheek piece about the negative effects of technology that includes syncopated rhythms contrasted with lyrical melodies and lush harmonies.

The third student piece, sifting through ashes,  is the master’s thesis for composer Michael Strausbaugh. It’s a 10-minute-long work with solemn, slow sections bracketing an expansive middle of shifting meters and tonalities that seemingly are inspired by a folk or rock dance.

Completing the concert program is Donnacha Dennehy’s “As An Nós,” an epic soundscape filled with rich colors and rhythmic energy that originally was written for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and featured in 2009 on WNYC’s “New Sounds Live.” For this piece, the Ensemble will be augmented by guest musicians Michael Strausbaugh, guitar; and Grant Bradshaw, viola.

Dennehy, considered one of the leading new music innovators in Ireland, will be one of the guest composers for the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, to be held July 23-28 in Columbia. The Ensemble is preparing As An Nós for the Festival, and will be coached that week by Dennehy for their performance on Friday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre.

The six-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 2011-12 season are Stephanie Berg, clarinets; Ryan Borden, percussion; Young Kim, flutes; Matthew Pierce, cello; David Snow, violin; and Renata Tavernard, piano.

They serve as the repertory group for the Mizzou New Music Initiative, working with faculty, students and visiting composers, and giving public performances on campus and in the community.