Archive for July, 2014

Zhou Long to serve as guest composer
for 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival;
Beat Furrer unable to attend for medical reasons

The Mizzou New Music Initiative announced today that Swiss composer Beat Furrer, who had been scheduled to be one of the guest composers later this month at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival, will be unable to attend the festival due to medical reasons.

In place of Furrer, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Zhou Long, Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, has agreed to serve as a guest composer for the 2014 MICF.

“We regret that Beat Furrer won’t be able to participate in this year’s festival, as his doctor has advised him not to travel, and we hope he’s feeling better soon,” said William J. Lackey, managing director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “However, we feel extraordinarily fortunate that a composer of Zhou Long’s stature happened to have space in his schedule at this time, and we are most grateful that he has agreed to join us in Columbia on such short notice.”

Zhou (pictured) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2011 for his first opera, Madame White Snake. Born in 1953 in China, he first came to the United States in 1985 to study music at Columbia University, where he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1993.

He has taught at UMKC since 2001, and has received awards, fellowships and commissions from major organizations and musical ensembles all around the world, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the Cary Trust, and the Copland Fund for Music.

For MICF ticket buyers, the change in guest composers means that they’ll hear a different program during the concert by Alarm Will Sound on Thursday, July 24 at the Missouri Theatre, as the festival’s resident ensemble will perform Zhou’s Bell Drum Towers in place of one of the Furrer compositions previously scheduled. That concert also will include music by Nico Muhly, the MICF’s other guest composer this year.

For the festival’s eight resident composers, Zhou’s participation in the festival will give them a chance to study and interact with a composer and teacher who has been recognized internationally for creating a unique body of music that brings together the aesthetic concepts and musical elements of East and West.

A pioneer in combining the idiomatic sounds and techniques of ancient Chinese musical traditions with contemporary Western ensembles and compositional forms, Zhou served as music director for the presenting organization Music From China for more than a decade while living in New York. During the MICF, he will give a public presentation about his music; instruct and interact with the eight resident composers in individual and group sessions; and work with Alarm Will Sound on the performance of Bell Drum Towers.

To buy tickets for the Mizzou International Composers Festival online, or to see a complete listing of events, please visit

Composers Festival Spotlight: Alarm Will Sound

Alarm Will Sound

It’s been a busy year for Alarm Will Sound since the last Mizzou International Composers Festival.

For starters, the MICF’s resident ensemble (pictured) recently completed a year-long residency at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, performing there four times during the 2013-14 presenting season.

The concerts at the Met included “Permanent Collection,” revisiting key works written for the sinfonietta throughout musical history, in October; an all-Steve Reich program in November; a collaboration with Dance Heginbotham in February; and “I Was Here I Was I,” a music and theater piece composed by Kate Soper with a libretto by Nigel Maister, in June.

AWS over the past year also presented their second season of performances in St. Louis, playing three different programs at the Sheldon Concert Hall and making their debut at the top rock venue The Pageant with music from Aphex Twin, Steve Reich and Tyondai Braxton.

As part of their effort to get more involved in St. Louis, members of Alarm Will Sound conducted an ongoing series of workshops with students at the Community Music School of Webster University, culminating with selected students from CMS joining AWS on stage to perform in season’s final concert at The Sheldon. The program’s eventual goal, according to AWS managing director Gavin Chuck, is to form a student ensemble  – sort of an “Alarm Will Sound Jr,” if you will – to give CMS students continuing opportunities to learn and perform music by living composers.

And as if all that weren’t enough, AWS also managed to travel to Europe twice, to perform last September at the Sacrum Profanum Festival in Krakow, Poland, and in November to play at the Cresc Biennale in Frankfurt, Germany.

Other 2014 performances included a concert at NYC’s Carnegie Hall in June, featuring works by Donnacha Dennehy, Kate Moore, Kaki King, and Richard Ayres; and Alarm Will Sound’s Chicago debut over the Independence Day weekend in a concert at Millennium Park.

Last but certainly not least, AWS managed to make it to Columbia for the first time during the academic year, playing February 7 in a free concert at the Missouri Theatre.

Looking ahead, this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival once again will feature two performances by Alarm Will Sound at the Missouri Theatre.  On Thursday, July 24, they’ll present a program including music from 2014 guest composer Nico Muhly, John Adams’ “Scratchband,” and more.

Then for the Festival’s grand finale on Saturday, July 26, AWS will will perform eight world premieres of works written especially for them by this year’s eight resident composers. Tickets for both concerts are on sale now.

For the latest from Alarm Will Sound, you can follow them on Twitter and/or “Like” them on Facebook.

You also can hear some of the music Alarm Will Sound has premiered at past Mizzou International Composers Festivals via SoundCloud. Audio files from 2010 are here; the tracks from 2011 are here; and 2012’s files are here.

Twinned: Alarm Will Sound/Dance Heginbotham
Recorded February 20, 2014 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Alarm Will Sound at the Community Music School of Webster University

Ives “Ragtime Dance No. 4”
Recorded October 11, 2013 during the “Permanent Collection” performance at the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Audio of the complete “Permanent Collection” concert

If you’re coming to Columbia…

If you’re planning coming to Columbia for the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival, you can get advance tickets online for all three concerts, which will be presented again this year at the Missouri Theatre:

Thursday, July 24: Alarm Will Sound
Friday, July 25: Mizzou New Music
Saturday, July 26: Eight World Premieres

Also, you may find these links useful for planning and/or during your visit:

Visitors information
Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau
University of Missouri Visitors Guide
Columbia Regional Airport
Vox Magazine’s guide to Columbia restaurants
City of Columbia official site
2013-2014 Columbia Missouri Visitor & Area Guide

Columbia Tribune
Columbia Missourian
Columbia area radio stations

National Weather Service forecast for Boone County, Missouri