Archive for February, 2015

Mizzou students are winners in young composers competition

Erin Hoerchler

Mizzou composition students Erin Hoerchler and Gus Knobbe are among the winners of the Community Music School of Webster University‘s 11th Annual Young Composers Competition.

Hoerchler, a 19-year-old freshman from Jefferson City, won first place in the 17-21 age division for her work “Flight of the Hang Gliding Nightingale Nurses.”

Knobbe, who’s also 19 and a freshman from Webster Groves, MO, took second place in the same division with his composition “Murmurations.”

Before enrolling at Mizzou, both Hoechler and Knobbe also were winners in the annual Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) statewide competition for composers in grades K-12.

Both of their award-winning works and the rest of this year’s winning compositions will be performed by professional musicians at the Community Music School’s Emerging Composers Concert at 3:00 p.m., Saturday, March 21, at the CMS Center on the campus of Webster University. Admission is free and open to the public.

Gus Knobbe

The concert, which is part of an entire weekend of composition activities presented by CMS, also will include an original work by guest composer Don Freund, professor of composition at Indiana University (and the father of Mizzou New Music Initiative co-artistic director Stefan Freund).

The Young Composers Competition began in 2004, and is intended to recognize and encourage the efforts of those between the ages of 12 and 21 who are involved in the creative process of composing music. The program is open to nationwide participation, and this year attracted entrants from 13 states.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform
new works by visiting and student composers
Sunday, March 8 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will play works by two visiting composers and three Mizzou students in their first concert of the new year at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 8 in Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus.

Admission is free for Mizzou students, faculty, and staff with MU ID, $5 for the general public, with tickets available at the door.

The Ensemble (pictured) will perform “The Gargoyles of Notre Dame” by Andrew List, who will be visiting the Mizzou campus that week to work with them, as well as select movements of “The Companion Guide to Rome” by Andrew Norman, who will be one of two guest composers at this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival in July.

List, a professor of composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, writes music in many different genres and has received numerous commissions and performances from professional music ensembles and solo artists in the United States and Europe.

Norman is an assistant professor of composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. He has won wide acclaim for his chamber and orchestral works, most recently “Play,” which was described as “a sprawling, engulfing, furiously unpredictable piece” by critic Alex Ross of The New Yorker.

The three student works to be performed are “Pulsar Phases” by senior composition major David Boullion, which combines his background in jazz with reference to classical music, funk and more; “Adrenaline” by freshman composition major Alex Williams, a work described as “a fast wild ride with unpredictable interruptions along the way”; and “Djole” by MNME clarinetist Jeremiah Rittel, which is inspired by West African drum music.

The seven-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 2014-15 season are Taylor Burkhardt, piano; Rachel Czech, cello; José Martínez, percussion; Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets; Erin Spencer, flute; Britney Stutz, violin; and Korin Wahl, viola.

In addition, at this concert Mizzou student Jaron Lester will serve as the Ensemble’s guest conductor for David Boullion’s “Pulsar Phases.”

St. Louis Symphony to perform Stefan Freund’s “Cyrillic Dreams”

Original music from Mizzou will be heard once again next year at Powell Hall in St. Louis, as the St. Louis Symphony’s announcement last Tuesday of their 2015-16 season schedule included the news that they’ll perform Stefan Freund’s “Cyrillic Dreams” as part of a concert on Friday, April 29, 2016.

Stefan Freund

Freund is associate professor of composition and music theory at the University of Missouri and co-artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. The Memphis native also is a cellist and founding member of the new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, and is the music director and principal conductor of the Columbia Civic Orchestra.

“Cyrillic Dreams,” composed in 2008 with a commission from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, was inspired by Freund’s trip to Russia that year. It was premiered by the Columbia Civic Orchestra by the Columbia Civic Orchestra on March 24, 2009 in Vienna’s Minoritenkirche with the composer conducting, and subsequently has been played by orchestras including the Tennessee Tech University Orchestra and the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, and at the Missouri River Festival of the Arts.

The St. Louis Symphony will play Freund’s composition on a program that also includes well-known works such as Bernstein’s “Candide Overture,” Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” and Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The concert is part of the St. Louis Symphony’s new “Music You Know” series conducted by music director David Robertson, which aims to connect listeners to classical music by presenting “familiar tunes we’re certain you know, and others that you’ll long to hear again and again.” “Cyrillic Dreams” also is one of just eight works by living composers on the orchestra’s schedule next season.

“When I wrote “Cyrillic Dreams,” I imagined the rich acoustic of the three huge churches in Austria where the piece was to be performed,” said Freund. “I think it will sound equally glorious in the majestic setting of Powell Hall.”

Tickets for the St. Louis Symphony’s 2015-16 season are on sale now via their website at stlsymphony.org.

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project chooses works
by Zachary Cairns, Hans Heruth for performance on Saturday, March 7

The famous conductor James Levine once compared the orchestra to a “treasure chest,” but the relative scarcity of modern works on orchestral programs means that few contemporary composers ever get the chance to access those riches.

Zachary Cairns

Now, two more Missouri composers will receive that valuable opportunity, as the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have announced the selection of two orchestral works written by Missouri residents to be performed by the CCO at a concert on Saturday, March 7 in Columbia.

The winning compositions were chosen in a statewide competition conducted under the auspices of the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP). Both winners will receive a $500 honorarium from MOCOP’s sponsor, the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Hans Heruth

The work chosen for 2015 in the Open category is “Refracted Moonlight” by Zachary Cairns, an assistant professor of music theory at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Cairns earned a Ph.D. in theory from the Eastman School of Music, and an M.A. in theory and a B.S. in music education from Penn State University.

The winning composition in the High School category is “Impression on a Theme” by Hans Heruth, a senior at Liberty High School in Liberty, MO. A two-time winner in the University of Missouri’s statewide Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition for students in grades K-12, Heruth also is a violinist, pianist, and vocalist.

Both winning compositions will be performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra as part of their annual concert of music by living composers at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 7 at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia. Admission is free and open to the public.

Cairns’ work will be conducted by Patrick David Clark, a Mizzou alumnus and music director of the Jefferson City Symphony Orchestra, while MU senior Grant Bradshaw, assistant conductor of the Missouri Symphony Society Conservatory, will take the baton for Heruth’s composition.

The concert also will include Bradshaw’s own work “Incandescent” and the premiere of Amy Leventhal’s “Mom and Me,” both conducted by CCO artistic director (and Mizzou professor) Stefan Freund; Mizzou alumna Katie Andres’ Horn Concertino, conducted by Mizzou graduate student Jaron Lester; and three new works sung by the Columbia Chorale Chamber Choir and conducted by Emily Edgington Andrews, the Chorale’s artistic director.

The 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.

The Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) is a collaborative effort by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and the Columbia Civic Orchestra to bring attention to orchestral works written in the state of Missouri. By identifying composers of orchestral music and providing opportunities for the performance of their work, MOCOP strives to showcase the talent of Missouri and share it with the community.