Archive for July 18th, 2014

Composers Festival Spotlight: José Martínez

José Martínez

Resident composer José Martínez is representing the University of Missouri and the Mizzou New Music Initiative at this year’s MICF.

Originally from Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, José earned his diploma at the Conservatory of Music at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá, and currently is studying for a master’s degree in composition at Mizzou. For the festival, he has written a new work, “Dances Torridas” that will be one of eight world premieres performed by resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound at the Festival’s grand finale on Saturday, July 26 at the Missouri Theatre.

José is the winner of the 2014 Sinquefield Composition Prize, Mizzou’s top honor for composers, for which he received a commission to write a new work, “Interferencias,” for the University Philharmonic to premiere at the annual Chancellor’s Concert in April

That was the second orchestral performance of José’s work this year, as the Columbia Civic Orchestra also played his composition “Mutaciones I” as part of the annual Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) concert in March.

Before coming to Mizzou, José’s honors included winning the National Cultural Prize for “Mutaciones I” from the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín; receiving Colombia’s national composition prize for young composers from the National Ministry of Culture in 2009; and winning a Colombian national composition contest in 2011.

A percussionist as well as a composer, José was co-founder of the Bogotá Conservatory’s Contemporary Music Ensemble and is music director for the percussion ensemble Ictu5. As a percussionist, he also won a national performance contest in 2004; has been a member of the percussion ensembles Contempo, Sinergia Ensemble, and Octopus; and for five years was timpanist for the Bogotá Symphonic Orchestra Foundation (FOSBO).

You can hear some of José Martínez’ music via the SoundCloud player embedded below.

Composers Festival Spotlight: Mizzou New Music Ensemble

Mizzou New Music Ensemble

One week from tonight, the Mizzou New Music Ensemble will take the stage at the Missouri Theatre as part of the “Mizzou New Music” concert of the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

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 the 2013-14 season are Rachel Czech, cello; Hsu Shun Jung, piano; Mary Jamerson, flute; Katherine Jones, violin; Ian McClaflin, percussion; Shawn Nemati-Baghestani, oboe; and Jeremiah Rittel, clarinet.

(Mizzou alum and former MICF resident composer Patrick David Clark also made a valuable contribution to the group during the fall of 2013, directing the ensemble while Freund was on sabbatical to finish writing his Civil War Oratorio.)

For the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 25, the Ensemble will play “The Rising of the Moon,” a brand-new work by Mizzou faculty composer W. Thomas McKenney; “I know where everything is,” written in 2007 by MICF guest composer Nico Muhly; and “A Leaf on the Wind,” a new work by Justin Pounds, who’s currently pursuing his master’s in composition at Mizzou.

During the academic year, the group performs a series of concerts on campus, and they also play off campus as well. Most recently, in May of this year they premiered four new works by Mizzou composition students that were commissioned for a Forest Park Forever event in St. Louis. The four compositions – Pounds’ “A Leaf on the Wind”; “Elysium” by Trey Makler; “Structural Symbiosis” by Matt Stiens; and “Forest Park Rhapsody” by Benedetto Colagiovanni – were recorded for inclusion on a fundraising DVD planned for release by Forest Park Forever.

The Ensemble also has performed in recent years at the World Chess Hall of Fame, the Sheldon Concert Hall, the Shoenberg Theatre at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

Just about all of the Ensemble’s concerts, whether on campus or off, include 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.

Composition major Trey Makler’s “Southern Portraits” was created for this past year’s collaboration between MNMI and the Stephens College dance department. Guest musician: Sam Jennings (guitar).

“Inception, Conception, Create” by Luke Wayne Henderson, a Mizzou freshman studying for degrees in music education and composition.

“#YOLO” by Trey Makler