Archive for July 14th, 2015

Composers Festival spotlight: Christopher Stark

Christopher Stark is one of eight resident composers for the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival, and, along with Mizzou’s Justin Pounds, one of two resident composers this year with ties to Missouri and the St. Louis area.

Currently an assistant professor of composition at Washington University in St. Louis, Stark is a native of Polson, Montana who describes his music as being “deeply rooted in the American West” and “seeking to capture the expansive energy of this quintessential American landscape.”

His honors and awards include the Underwood Commission from the American Composers Orchestra, the prix de composition from the Orléans International Piano Competition, and an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award.

Stark’s music been programmed, rehearsed, and performed by a variety of ensembles and orchestras across the country; featured on NPR’s “Performance Today”; and broadcast as a listener-voted favorite on WQXR in New York City. He also recently worked with Grammy-winning country music artists Zac Brown Band on an arrangement of their hit song “Free” for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

Before coming to Wash U, Stark studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory and the University of Montana, and earned his doctorate at Cornell University, where one of his teachers was Steven Stucky, a distinguished guest composer at the 2012 MICF.

You can hear samples of Christopher Stark’s music in the embedded YouTube players below.

Piano Quartet (2014) I. “Assisi, in memoriam Jonathan Harvey” for violin, viola, cello, and piano, recorded in 2014 by the Los Angeles Piano Quartet

“Soldier Asleep at the Tomb” for soprano, orchestra, and electronics, recorded November 1, 2014 at Bailey Hall, Cornell University with Lucy Fitz Gibbon, soprano, and the Cornell Symphony Orchestra, Chris Younghoon Kim, conductor.

“Rosenthal Miniatures” (2014), seven duets for oboe and bass clarinet with image projections, performed by Jennifer Gookin Cavanaugh (oboe)
and Christopher Kirkpatrick (bass clarinet), with illustrations by Marc Rosenthal

Composers Festival spotlight: Emily Koh

Resident composer Emily Koh comes to the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival by way of Singapore, her place of birth, and Boston, where she currently is a Ph.D. candidate in composition and theory at Brandeis University.

A bassist as well as a composer, Koh also serves as a visiting faculty member at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, director of concert series at the Boston New Music Initiative, and principal bass for the New England Philharmonic.

Her music is characterized by timbral extremes, and has been described as “beautifully eerie” (New York Times), and “subtly spicy” (Baltimore Sun). Koh’s works have been played at venues in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Finland, Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States by a variety of ensembles and performers, including Talea Ensemble , New York New Music Ensemble, Ensemble Signal, and many others.

Koh is a graduate of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Her honors and awards include the Asian Composers League’s Yoshiro Irino Memorial Prize, an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and the Parma Student Composer Competition, as well as numerous commissions and grants.

You can hear samples of Emily Koh’s music in the embedded YouTube and SoundCloud players below.

“in retro|re-intro:spect” for sinfonietta, written for the 2011 Composers Conference at Wellesley College and performed by the Purchase Contemporary Ensemble, directed by Dominic Donato, on November 29, 2012 at SUNY Purchase College’s Recital Hall

“bridging:isolation” (2013) for clarinet, violin and piano, recorded by the Talea Ensemble in March 2014 at Brandeis University