Archive for June 27th, 2011

The Sound of Art documents collaboration between composers, visual artists

The Mizzou New Music Initiative has released online three episodes of The Sound of Art, a series of short films documenting collaborative efforts between composers and visual artists.

Now available for viewing on the Missouri New Music Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/moNEWmusic, the films cover the creation of three new compositions inspired by the summer 2010 exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and the premiere performances of those compositions at the Contemporary by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble.

Episode 1 features an interview with composer David Witter, who wrote “Failure to Communicate” in response to artist Martin Brief’s “Amazon God.” In episode 2, composer Michael Strausbaugh explains how he wrote “Crass Menagerie” after seeing artist Cameron Fuller’s “From The Collection Of The Institute for the Perpetuation of Imaginal Processes.” Episode 3 features composer Stephanie Berg talking about her piece “Paper Guns,” which was inspired by artist Sarah Frost’s “Arsenal.”

In addition to interviews with the composers, the episodes show the artworks as they were installed at the Contemporary, and include footage of the Mizzou New Music Ensemble performing the compositions.

“We thought it was important to support collaboration between local visual artists and local composers, giving them an opportunity interact and to support each other,” said Paul Ha, director of the Contemporary.

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of cellist, composer and associate professor Stefan Freund, and serves as the repertory group for the Mizzou New Music Initiative. At the time of these performances, the Ensemble’s members were Stephanie Berg, clarinets; Michael Strausbaugh, guitar; Matthew Pierce, cello; and Ian Derrickson, percussion, with violist Paul Seitz joining them as a guest performer.

The Sound of Art gave our composers an incredible opportunity to be inspired by living artists,” said Freund. “Through the concert at the Contemporary, they were able to share their musical vision of these artists’ works with an appreciative audience.”

The Sound of Art is underwritten by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation and produced by Randy Sinquefield of Spectrum Studios in Columbia, with Kevin Duggan serving as director of photography and Randy White as editor. Future episodes in the series will be produced to document similar collaborative efforts as they happen.

“The episodes consist of art, music and film. Combined, they provide a vivid sense though sound and imagery of the pieces of art. The result is more than the individual parts,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Foundation. “Some of the individual pieces of art or music might not inspire you, but the combined episodes will. Look, listen and let your imagination fly. Does the art, match the music and the film?”

To watch The Sound of Art online, please visit the Missouri New Music Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/moNEWmusic. (You need not have a Facebook account to view the videos.)