Archive for November, 2011

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform three world premieres Monday, December 5 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) will continue its 2011-12 season with a concert at 8:00 p.m., December 5 at 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.

The concert will feature three world premieres by composers associated with Mizzou, plus works from modern masters Steven Stucky and John Adams. Adams, known for his pioneering minimalist composition “Shaker Loops” and the operas Nixon in China and Doctor Atomic, is the composer of “Christian Zeal and Activity,” a 1973 work that slowly deconstructs a traditional New England hymn.

Stucky, a professor at Cornell University and the 2005 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for music, will be one of the guest composers for the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, to be held July 23-28 in Columbia. For the December 5 concert, the Ensemble will perform his 1998 piece “ad parnassum,” which offers an exploration of color and timbre.

Mizzou freshman Haley Myers, who is studying composition on a full Sinquefield scholarship, contributed “Motivic Motivations,” a 2011 piece that, as the name suggests, concentrates on motivic development. David Witter, who this year will complete a Master’s degree in composition at Mizzou, will direct the Ensemble in a performance of his new work “Soundpainting,” a series of gestures that create sound.

Rounding out the program will be “Let There Be Light,” a bright depiction of the story of the creation composed in 2011 by Kyung Soon Chang, a visiting scholar at Mizzou and adjunct professor of music education and composition at Chonbuk National University in Seoul, South Korea.

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.

As the repertory group for the Mizzou New Music Initiative, they work with faculty, students and visiting composers, and give public performances on campus and in the community. The Ensemble will present two more concerts this academic year at Whitmore Recital Hall, on Sunday, March 4, and Monday, April 16.

Stephanie Berg wins statewide composition competition

University of Missouri graduate student Stephanie Berg (pictured) has won this year’s award in the “Young Artist” category of the Missouri State Division of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) composition competition.

Berg, who is pursuing a Master’s degree in clarinet performance and composition at Mizzou, was recognized for her piece “Of Air Sweet and Water Deep.” The work was composed in 2010 for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and premiered at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis as part of a tribute to the Garden’s President Emeritus, Dr. Peter Raven.

“Of Air Sweet and Water Deep” 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 2012 MTNA National Conference, March 24–28 in New York City.

A native of Parkville, Missouri and graduate of Park Hill South High School, Berg earned her Bachelor of Music degree in clarinet performance from Mizzou in 2008. She was the recipient of the 2009 Sinquefield Composition Prize, which resulted in the commissioned work Motive and Reflection for full orchestra.

In addition to her work as a composer, she performs in the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, the University Philharmonic, and the Columbia Civic Orchestra, playing B flat, A, E flat, and bass clarinets. Berg also has served for three years as project manager for the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s Creating Original Music Program (C.O.M.P.).

Kirsten, Podgursky win commissions from Harvard’s Fromm Foundation

Congratulations to Amy Beth Kirsten and Jeremy Podgursky, both resident composers at the inaugural Mizzou New Music Summer Festival in 2010, for winning $10,000 commissions this year from Harvard University’s Fromm Music Foundation.

The Fromm Music Foundation has been located at Harvard since 1972, and has commissioned more than 300 new compositions and their performances, as well as sponsoring hundreds of new music concerts and concert series. Kirsten and Podgursky are among 12 winners of commissions this year.

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project seeks recent works for performance in March

The Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) and the Mizzou New Music Initiative are looking for recent orchestral compositions written by Missouri residents to perform at a concert in March, 2012.

To inaugurate the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project, a new program sponsored by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the CCO will present a concert of six recent works by Missouri composers at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, March 10 at Columbia College’s Launer Auditorium, 901 Rogers Street in Columbia.

Four of the works presented at the concert will be selected through a competitive process – one from the High School category and three from the Open category. The compositions must be written for symphony orchestra and can be up to 10 minutes in duration. The works also must have been composed within the past 10 years, while the composer was living in Missouri.

Each composer whose work is selected will be awarded a $500 honorarium, and must be present for the concert and the dress rehearsal, which will take place the afternoon of March 10 in Launer Auditorium.

Details on instrumentation and complete application materials are available online at Applications must be postmarked no later than December 15, 2011. For more information, interested composers also may contact Jonathan Kuuskoski of University of Missouri School of Music via email at

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. For more information, visit their website at