Archive for the ‘ Mizzou International Composers Festival ’ Category

Tenth annual Mizzou International Composers Festival set for July 22-27, 2019; applications for resident composers now open

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is accepting applications for resident composers to take part in the tenth annual Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF), which will be held Monday, July 22 through Saturday, July 27, 2019 on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

In celebration of the festival’s tenth year, Donnacha Dennehy and Amy Beth Kirsten (pictured) will return to the MICF to serve as the two distinguished guest composers for 2019, teaching and consulting with the resident composers and ensemble. Dennehy was a guest composer at the MICF in 2012, while Kirsten was part of the festival’s first group of resident composers in 2010.

The MICF features three public concerts of music from contemporary composers, as well as workshops, master classes, and other events. As in years past, Saturday night’s grand finale at the Missouri Theatre will present the world premieres of new works from each of the eight resident composers, with Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, serving as resident ensemble.

The resident composers are selected for the MICF each year through an online portfolio application process. During the festival, they’ll get composition lessons from the distinguished guest composers and Mizzou faculty, and take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. Each composer also will receive a professional live recording of their work.

The deadline to apply to become a resident composer for the 2019 Mizzou International Composers Festival is 5:00 p.m. Central time, Friday, November 16, 2018. For more information or to submit an application, please visit

Considered one of Ireland’s top living composers, Donnacha Dennehy is the founder of the new music group Crash Ensemble and an associate professor of music at Princeton University. His music has been featured at festivals and venues around the world, including the Edinburgh International Festival, Carnegie Hall, The Barbican in London, and many others.

In recent years, Dennehy has concentrated especially on large-scale musico-dramatic works, including his first opera “The Last Hotel,” which premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2015; “The Second Violinist,” which won the 2017 Fedora Prize for Opera and premiered in July 2017 at the Galway International Arts Festival; and the docu-opera “The Hunger,” which was performed as a work-in-progress at the 2012 MICF, subsequently co-produced in completed form by Alarm Will Sound and Opera Theatre St. Louis, and presented at BAM in New York.

The full concert version of “The Hunger” will be performed during the 2019 MICF by Alarm Will Sound and guest soloists Kate Manley and Iarla O’Lionaird as part of AWS’ Thursday night concert. That concert also will include a performance of part of a new operatic work-in-progress that Kirsten is composing for Alarm Will Sound.

Educated at Roosevelt University and the Peabody Institute, Amy Beth Kirsten currently lives in New Haven, CT and is a member of the composition faculty of the Longy School of Music of Bard College. Her work explores theatrical elements of creation, performance, and presentation, fusing music, language, voice, and theatre, with musicians’ instruments, bodies, and voices often considered as equal vehicles of expression.

She has written and composed fully-staged theatrical works as well as traditional concert works for her own ensemble, HOWL, musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, eighth blackbird, American Composers Orchestra, and others.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2019 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be made available at a later date. For more information, please visit

MICF alumni win commissions from Barlow Endowment, Chamber Music America

Clockwise from top left: Cuong, Peck, Stark, McLosky

As this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival was ending, news broke that several MICF alumni have won commissions in annual competitions sponsored by the Barlow Endowment and by Chamber Music America.

This year’s winners of general commissions from the Barlow Endowment include past MICF resident composers Viet Cuong (MICF 2018), Charles Peck (MICF 2017), and Christopher Stark (MICF 2015). In addition, Lansing McLoskey, who visited the Mizzou campus as a guest composer in 2015, also won a Barlow commission for 2018.

The Barlow Endowment for Music Composition was established in 1983 at Brigham Young University, and makes annual awards in support of the Barlow Prize, general commissions, commissions for composers from the Church of Latter Day Saints, and education grants.

From left: Takuma Itoh, Amy Beth Kirsten

Meanwhile, Chamber Music America this week announced the 2018 awards from its major grant programs, including the classical commissioning program, which for 2018 will include grants to former MICF resident composers Takuma Itoh (MICF 2016) and Amy Beth Kirsten (MICF 2010).

CMA’s classical commissioning program provides grants to professional U.S.-based presenters and ensembles whose programming includes Western European and/or non-Western classical and contemporary music.

Congratulations to all!

A look back at the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival

MICF in the media

If you’ve missed any of the media coverage of the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival, you can catch up by following the links below:

* The Columbia Daily Tribune‘s coverage included interviews with resident composers Viet Cuong, Douglas Osmun and Gemma Peacocke, plus a guide to the entire festival.

* The Columbia Missourian published a short feature story offering an overview of the festival, along with a gallery of photos.

* MNMI managing director Jacob Gotlib was interviewed by Diana Moxon of KOPN’s “Speaking of the Arts.” Moxon also interviewed resident composers Amanda Feery and Gemma Peacocke.

* New Music USA helped spread the word about the live radio broadcasts and audio streaming of this year’s MICF concerts.

* You can listen to interviews with the festival’s resident composers and more, originally broadcast on Classical 90.5’s “Mizzou Music” program and now archived on their website.


Composers Festival spotlight: Robert Morris

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is most grateful to Robert Morris for agreeing to serve as one of the two distinguished guest composers at the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Morris, a composer and professor at Eastman School of Music, graciously re-arranged his summer schedule on short notice to come to Columbia after composer Chen Yi had to withdraw for medical reasons.

Festival-goers will be able to hear two of Morris’ works during the MICF.  As part of their concert on Thursday night at the Missouri Theatre, resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound will perform Morris’ “In Concert,” and Friday’s “Mizzou New Music” concert will include his electronic piece “Mountain Streams.”

While at the festival, Morris also will give a public presentation about his music; teach the seven resident composers in individual and group sessions; and consult with Alarm Will Sound on their performance of his music.

Morris was born in Cheltenham, England and received his musical education at the Eastman School and at the University of Michigan, where he earned his masters and doctoral degrees in composition and ethnomusicology.

He has taught at Eastman since 1980, serving as chair of the composition department from 1999 to 2005 and again from 2008 to 2011. Before his appointment at Eastman, Morris taught composition, electronic music, and music theory at the University of Hawaii; at Yale University, where he was chairman of the composition department and director of the Yale Electronic Music Studio; and at the University of Pittsburgh, where he directed the Computer and Electronic Studio.

Morris has composed more than 160 musical works, which have been performed in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and recorded on labels including CRI, New World, Music Gallery Editions, Neuma, Music and Arts, Fanfare, Centaur, Open Space, Innova, Yank Gulch, Albany, and Attacca.

In addition to his music and teaching, Morris has written four books and more than 50 articles and reviews on subjects including musical analysis and aesthetics; compositional design; electronic and computer music; the Carnatic music of south India; and more.

He is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the A. Whitney Griswold Foundation, the American Music Center, the Hanson Institute of American Music, and the American Council of Learned Societies. In 1975 he was a MacDowell Colony fellow, and in 2008, a Djerassi artist.

Morris has been guest composer at many festivals and series of new music, including the ISCM Festival of Contemporary MusicInternational Conferences of Computer MusicComposer to Composer, Composer’s Symposium, Kobe International Modern Music Festival, Heidelberg Contemporary Music Festival, Western Illinois University New Music Festival, Center for Research in Electronic Art TechnologyMidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music’s  New Music Festival, New Music on the Point, University of South Florida at Tampa New Music Festival, and more.

He has received numerous awards and commissions from organizations and ensembles including the Pittsburgh Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Yale University, Speculum Musicae, Brave New Works, JACK Quartet, Momenta String Quartet, The Society for New Music, Alienor Harpsichord Society, Hartt College Festival of Contemporary Organ Music, National Flute Association, and more.

For more about Robert Morris, read the interview with him published in 2010 by New Music Box, and watch a video in which he discusses his work SOUND/PATH/FIELD, one of series of works inspired by his enjoyment of hiking that are intended to be performed outdoors. You can hear some samples of Robert Morris’ music in the embedded players below.

“Mysterious Landscape [excerpt],” recorded live by Robert Morris at Eastman School of Music’s Hatch Recital Hall.

“Entelechy 2012” (version p100g250) for piano with electronic modification

“Still,” performed by Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu (piano)

“Oracle,” performed in March 2011 at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, FL by the University of South Florida New-Music Consortium, conducted by Baljinder Sekhon

Composers Festival spotlight: Igor Santos

Originally from Curitiba, Brazil, resident composer Igor Santos comes to the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival by way of Chicago, where he recently earned his PhD in music composition from the University of Chicago.

Before that, Santos received his M.A. from the Eastman School of Music, where he was an active member of the Ossia New Music group, assisting in organizing and promoting concerts of contemporary music.

He earned his B.M. in composition and electronic music from the University of South Florida, also serving as a board member and pianist for the USF Composer’s Consortium.

Santos has written a new work for the MICF called “through thoughts of a different kind,” which will be premiered by resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound along with new music from the other six resident composers at the fest’s grand finale on Saturday, April 28 at the Missouri Theatre.

Santos’ music has been performed by groups such as eighth blackbird, Ensemble Intercontemporain, POING, Ensemble Dal Niente, Spektral Quartet and The Florida Orchestra. He also frequently writes incidental theater music in collaboration with director David Frankel and the Tampa Repertory Theatre.

He has participated in workshops and festivals such as Impuls in Graz, Austria; Time of Music in Viitasaar, Finland; ManiFeste and Fontainebleau in Paris, France; Synthetis in Radziejowice, Poland; Brevard Music Center in North Carolina; and more.

In 2017, Santos won first prize in the Luigi Nono International Composition Competition, and also was awarded a prize for “Best Sound Design” from Theatre Tampa Bay.

For more about Igor Santos, listen to his recent interview on Classical 90.5 FM’s “Mizzou Music” program.

“towards snow,” performed by the Volta Trio, and Joseph Yungen on April 6, 2011 at the Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall

“Étude nº 1,” recorded live by Winston Choi on May 10, 2015 as part of the Project Incubator concert at Constellation Chicago

Composers Festival spotlight: Gemma Peacocke

Over the past nine years, the Mizzou International Composers Festival has had portfolios submitted from all over the world, and this year, resident composer Gemma Peacocke became the first New Zealander ever to be part of the MICF.

Now living in the USA and working toward a PhD at Princeton University, Peacocke grew up in Hamilton, New Zealand in a home once occupied by another creative individual – Richard O’Brien, who wrote the book, lyrics. and music for The Rocky Horror Show.

Before attending Princeton, she did undergraduate work at New Zealand School of Music and earned her master’s degree in composition at New York University Steinhardt.

Writing works that use acoustic instruments, voices, and electronics, Peacocke says she enjoys “finding ways to seamlessly combine and move between electronic and acoustic sound worlds.” She has collaborated with directors, filmmakers and choreographers, often addressing social, political or historical themes, and also is co-founder of the composer collective Kinds of Kings.

For the MICF, she has written a new piece called “Skirl,” which will be performed by Alarm Will Sound as part of the grand finale concert on Saturday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre.

Some of her other recent projects include “Wreak,” a percussion and electronics work for Kaylie Melville; new songs for Fresh Squeezed Opera and Iarla Ó Lionáird; “Disbelief,” a percussion quartet for choreographer Mari Takeda; and a saxophone quartet called “Dwalm” for ~Nois.

In 2017, her song cycle “Waves + Lines,” based on female Afghan folk poems called landays and adapted from Eliza Griswold’s book I Am the Beggar of the World, premiered at Roulette in Brooklyn with the support of a Jerome Foundation commission. It subsequently had its Australian premiere in April 2018 as part of the Metropolis Festival at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

Peacocke’s music also has been performed by The Tudor Consort, JACK Quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Rubiks Ensemble, Schiele Quartet, and more. Her awards and honors include composition fellowships from Eighth Blackbird Lab and Bang On A Can; the Creative New Zealand Edwin Carr Scholarship, and the NYU Steinhardt Prize.

For more about Gemma Peacocke, read the interview with her just published by the Columbia Daily Tribune; her recent conversation with Classical 90.5 FM’s Aaron Hay for the station’s “Mizzou Music” program; and the interview with her published earlier this year on the website of National Sawdust. You can listen to some samples of her music via the embedded players below.

“disbelief,” performed by percussionists Russell Fischer, Tatevik Khoja-Eynatyan, Mari Takeda, and Wanyue Ye. Choreography by Mari Takeda for JHUBalletCompany dancers Erika Belitzky, Natalie Campbell, Georgia LaMacchia, and Isabella Perone

“Koràh,” recorded in 2016 at the JCC Manhattan

Composers Festival spotlight: Mizzou New Music Ensemble

As has become tradition over the past nine years, the Mizzou New Music Ensemble will be performing during the Mizzou International Composers Festival as part of Friday night’s “Mizzou New Music” concert at the Missouri Theatre.

Their portion of the evening’s program will include works by the MICF’s two distinguished guest composers – “Portraits and Repetitions” by Alex Mincek and “Mountain Streams” by Robert Morris – as well as “Near Distance” by Chen Yi (who last week had to withdraw from the festival for medical reasons and was replaced by Morris).

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

In addition to presenting several concerts each year in Columbia, the Ensemble also has performed programs of works by Mizzou composers at the Contemporary Art Museum – St. Louis, the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, Forest Park, the World Chess Hall of Fame, Cortex Innovation Community, and more.

Since the MICF happens in the summer when school’s not in session, the current members of the Ensemble in any given year are augmented as necessary for the festival by guest musicians, drawn from Mizzou students,  alumni, faculty and staff, as well as the regional community of performers engaged in new music.

For the 2018 MICF, the lineup of players will include Kelariz Keshavarz (flute), Victoria Hargrove (clarinet), Ben Harting (saxophone), Brianna Trainor (percussion), Hannah Hutchins (percussion), Libby Roberts (piano), and Pedro Ramiro (violin), plus freelance Kansas City cellist Sascha Groschang. Mizzou senior Hans Bridger Heruth will conduct the ensemble for Chen’s “Near Distance,” and graduate student Jesus Gomez will conduct the performance of Mincek’s “Portraits and Repetitions”

You can hear some past performances by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble via the embedded player below.