Archive for the ‘ Mizzou New Music Initiative ’ Category

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

For more information about the Creating Original Music Project and an application for the 2017 competition, please visit the COMP website at

Aaron Mencher wins Boston New Music Initiative Young Composers Competition

Mizzou composer Aaron Mencher has won this year’s Boston New Music Initiative Young Composers Competition with his work “Uncertainly Yours,” which will be performed by the Boston New Music Initiative ensemble in a concert on November 4 at The Record Company in Boston.

Mencher (pictured) is a sophomore composition major and Sinquefield Scholar from John’s Creek, GA, a suburb of Atlanta.

He’s now the second Mizzou student to win BNMI’s Young Composers Competition, as Trey Makler was last year’s winner for his musical setting of poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Die Sonette an Orpheus.”

Listeners in Columbia can hear “Uncertainly Yours” played by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble as part of the Ensemble’s season-opening concert on Sunday, October 16 at Willmore Recital Hall.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to open 2016-17 season
on Sunday, October 16 at Whitmore Recital Hall

Keith Fitch

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will begin their 2016-17 season with a concert featuring music from a renowned visiting composer, two works written by Mizzou composers, and more.

The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, October 16 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus. General admission is $5 for the public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff.

Keith Fitch, who heads the composition department at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music, will be in Columbia that weekend for a residency at Mizzou, and the Ensemble’s concert will include his 1994 work “Dancing the Shadows,” which contrasts eerie, suspended resonances with hard-hitting, driving sections to create music for an imaginary ballet.

Aaron Mencher

The recipient of numerous honors, awards, and commissions, Fitch has had his music performed by ensembles such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the League of Composers Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and many others.

The concert also will feature two works from composers associated with Mizzou. “Uncertainly Yours” was written this year by Aaron Mencher, a Mizzou sophomore composition major and Sinquefield Scholar. The work recently won the Boston New Music Initiative’s second Young Composers Competition, and will be performed by the Boston New Music Ensemble as part of their concert season in November.

Phillip Sink

“Flowers of Salt” was composed in 2013 by Phillip Sink, who came to Mizzou in August as the University of Missouri’s first postdoctoral composition fellow. Inspired by microscopic, flower-like structures created from salt and silicon by engineers at Harvard University, the piece captures the fragility of these “nanogardens” with an organic form filled with ornamentation.

Completing the program will be “cheating, lying, stealing” by David Lang, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 2008 and co-founder of the new music organization Bang on a Can; and “Study III from Trio No. 3” by Greek-American composer Dinos Constantinides.

Lang’s piece, heralded as a post-minimalist classic, celebrates the dark and the dirty, incorporating two antiphonal brake drums to produce an ominous funk. Constantinides’ work, the first movement of his “Trio No. 3,” is based on a modal tune that resembles a Greek folk melody and uses intervals of fourths and fifths.

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.

Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) seeks
new orchestral, choral works for performance in March 2017

Columbia Civic Orchestra

For composers of orchestral or choral music, completing a new work often is followed immediately by another formidable challenge: finding an orchestra or choir to perform it.

Recognizing this need, the Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) in 2017 once again is offering performance opportunities for new, large-ensemble music written by Missouri residents. (Founded in 2012 as the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project, MOCOP has been renamed for its sixth year to reflect the inclusion of choral music as well as orchestral works.)

MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO), the Columbia Chamber Choir, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Each year, recently composed works are selected through a competitive, blind judging process and are performed by the CCO and Chamber Choir at a concert in Columbia. Each of the composers of the selected works also is awarded a $500 honorarium, and will receive a professional recording of their work.

Columbia Chamber Choir

MOCOP’s 2017 competition is open to composers of orchestral and choral music in four categories – two for Missouri composers currently in high school, and two open to Missouri composers of any age. The CCO and the Columbia Chamber Choir will perform the selected works in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 19, 2017 at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia.

Composers who wish to submit their work to MOCOP can find details on eligibility and instrumentation plus complete application materials online at

Applications must be postmarked no later than Monday, December 5, 2016.

The Columbia Civic Orchestra is a volunteer group located in Columbia, Missouri, dedicated to providing enjoyment for its members and audiences with the presentation and preservation of high-quality symphonic music.

The Columbia Chamber Choir in a subset of the Columbia Chorale, which works to promote choral music of the highest artistic quality and to stimulate a greater community understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of choral music by presenting programs appealing to a wide cross-section of Missouri residents and visitors.

Jacob Gotlib profiled in Columbia Daily Tribune

The Mizzou New Music Initiative’s new managing director Jacob Gotlib (pictured) recently was profiled in the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Gotlib, who earned his Ph.D in composition in 2015 from the State University of New York at Buffalo and also holds a master’s degree in composition from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a B.M. in music technology from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, began work at Mizzou in August.

You can read the article, written by the Tribune‘s Aarik Danielsen, here.

Jacob Gotlib hired as new managing director for Mizzou New Music Initiative

The University of Missouri School of Music has hired Jacob Gotlib to be the new managing director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative.

Gotlib, who earned his Ph.D in composition in 2015 from the State University of New York at Buffalo, will start work at Mizzou on Monday, August 15.

As managing director, he will oversee all programs and operations of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, including the Mizzou International Composers Festival, Creating Original Music Project (COMP), the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP), and more.

Currently living in Louisville, KY, Gotlib (pictured) already has some familiarity with the state of Missouri. Before getting his doctorate in Buffalo, he earned his master’s degree in composition in 2008 from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and during his time there was one of the co-founders of the Kansas City Electronic Music and Arts Alliance (KcEMA). Gotlib also holds a B.M. in music technology from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

His compositions have been performed by a variety of groups, including Ensemble Linea, Ensemble SurPlus, Ensemble Dal Niente, Crossfire Percussion Duo, Schlagquartett Köln, and Slagwerk Den Haag, and his music has received recognition from ASCAP/SEAMUS, Ossia, The Acht Brücken Festival, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, and various others.

While attending the University at Buffalo, Gotlib taught courses in composition, theory, and more. He also has served as an adjunct instructor in composition at Indiana University Southeast and Marshall University.

“We are delighted to have Jacob as the new managing director for the Mizzou New Music Initiative,” said Julia Gaines, director of the School of Music. “We were really impressed with both his overall knowledge of the field and his specific experiences as a composer, teacher, and organizer of new music events and festivals.”

Mizzou New Music Initiative awards postdoctoral fellowship to Phillip Sink

The Mizzou New Music Initiative and the University of Missouri School of Music have awarded the Initiative’s first-ever postdoctoral fellowship to composer Phillip Sink.

Starting with the Fall 2016 semester, Sink (pictured) will teach classes in composition and electronic music at Mizzou, and also will begin a major research project to be completed during the two years of his fellowship.

“We’re delighted to have Phillip as our first postdoctoral fellow,” said Stefan Freund, associate professor of composition at Mizzou and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “He’s an accomplished composer who has a lot of experience in electronic music and also has been teaching at the university level, which makes him a great fit for our program.”

A native of High Point, North Carolina, Sink comes to Mizzou from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where he recently earned a doctoral degree (DM) in music composition with minors in electronic music and music theory.

While at the Jacobs School, he studied electronic music with Jeffrey Hass and John Gibson, and acoustic composition with Claude Baker, David Dzubay, Aaron Travers, Sven-David Sandström, Ricardo Lorenz, Jere Hutcheson, and Scott Meister. Sink also served as an associate instructor of composition during his time in Indiana, teaching courses in counterpoint, notation, composition for non-majors, and more.

He received bachelor’s degrees in music composition/theory and music education from Appalachian State University in 2004, and then taught middle school orchestra and band in Charlotte, NC from 2005 to 2009. In 2012, he earned master’s degrees in music composition and music theory pedagogy from Michigan State University, while also serving as a graduate assistant in music theory.

Phillip Sink’s compositions have been performed in concerts and at conferences and festivals in the United States and Europe, including the 2015 Aspen Music Festival, where he was awarded the Hermitage Prize by the faculty; 2015 Art and Science Days in Bourges, France; the 2015 SEAMUS conference, and many others. His awards and honors include the 2015 Dean’s Prize for chamber music at Indiana University; Innovox Ensemble’s 2015 Green Call for Scores; the 2013 Kuttner String Quartet Composition Competition; and more.