Archive for July 17th, 2013

Composers Festival Spotlight: Mizzou New Music Ensemble

Mizzou New Music Ensemble

Although resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound understandably attracts a lot of attention during the Mizzou International Composers Festival, let’s not forget that the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 26 at the Missouri Theatre will showcase the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s “home team,” the Mizzou New Music Ensemble.

Comprised of graduate students on scholarship, the Ensemble is directed by faculty composer and Alarm Will Sound member Stefan Freund. They serve as the flagship group of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, collaborating with student, faculty and visiting composers throughout the year to perform a variety of new works.

The Ensemble’s members for 2012-13 are Rachel AuBuchon, piano; Stephanie Berg, clarinet; Mary Jamerson, flute; Katherine Jones, violin; Ian McClaflin, percussion; and Matthew Pierce, cello.

During the academic year, the Ensemble performs a series of concerts on campus, and they also play off campus as well. In May, they presented a standing-room-only performance at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis, playing original music by Mizzou composers Joe Hills, Haley Myers, and Robert Strobel written in response to Beyond the Humanities, an exhibition of work by St. Louis artist Bill Smith.

They’ve also performed in recent years at the Sheldon Concert Hall, the Shoenberg Theatre at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

For Friday night’s Festival program, the Mizzou New Music Ensemble will play music by Mizzou composers W. Thomas McKenney and Paul Seitz and guest composers Augusta Read Thomas and Daniel Kellogg.

The Kellogg work, Divinum Mysterium, is an extended five-movement piece commissioned in 2000 by the chamber ensemble eighth blackbird and based on the 13th century chant melody “Divinum Mysterium.” The Ensemble rehearsed Divinium Mysterium throughout the academic year, presenting individual movements at each of their on-campus concerts in preparation for performing the entire work at the Festival.

Each of those concerts also featured music from student composers at Mizzou, giving both composers and performers valuable hand-on experience in the process of developing new work. In the embedded audio players below, you can hear three examples of pieces that were written at Mizzou during the past year and given their first performances by the Ensemble.

“Reflections” by Trey Anthony Makler

“Penrose Staircase” by Matt Steins

“I’m Back at My Cliff” by Daniel Cox

Composers Festival Spotlight: Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis

Continuing with our series on the resident composers for the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival, today let’s get acquainted with Andrew Davis.

Though he shares a name with a famous British conductor, this Andrew Davis is a composer and electric guitarist from Columbia, MD by way of Texas. He earned a B.A. in music from Yale University in 2009, and then in 2012 completed his M.M. in composition at the University of Texas at Austin.

Davis’ early experiences in music included playing trombone in concert bands and guitar in rock bands, which have led him to explore a variety of different genres and musical aesthetics.

He has written both acoustic and electroacoustic music for a variety of media, and his works have been performed by groups including the JACK Quartet, the Argento Ensemble, counter)induction, the Boston New Music Initiative, the University of Texas Wind Ensemble, the Yale Concert Band, the Florida State Wind Ensemble, and the University of Texas New Music Ensemble.

Davis’ music has been heard at a variety of festivals including the Festival of New Music at FSU, the Manchester New Music Mini-Festival, New Music on the Point, and SEAMUS, and he has received honors from ASCAP, Vox Novus, and ISCM-Texas,

You can hear samples of Andrew Davis’ music in the embedded video window and audio player below.

Davis’ “Open Airs” is a short work for string quartet commissioned in 2012 by the New Music on the Point Festival. It is performed here by the Skyros Quartet, the graduate string quartet-in-residence at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.