Archive for November, 2015

Mizzou New Music Ensemble, Exit 128 Orchestra
to perform Sunday, December 6 at Missouri Theatre

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will join forces with the Exit 128 Chamber Orchestra to present “Electric New Music” at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, December 6 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 South 9th St. Admission is free for Mizzou students, faculty and staff with ID, $5 for the general public.

The first half of the concert will feature Exit 128, a student-run ensemble conducted by music director and Mizzou senior Travis Herd. They’ll perform three selections, starting with “Assembly Lines” by Ian Dicke, who was a resident composer at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival Resident Composer and is assistant professor of digital composition at the University of California, Riverside.

Next, guest artist Roberto Maggio will join Exit 128 to perform an arrangement of Robert Schumann’s “Drei Romanzen, Op. 94.” Maggio is professor of flute at the Conservatory of Music in Avellino, Italy, and will be visiting Mizzou that week.

Exit 128 will conclude their set with Joseph Meland’s “FAUVE,” a work for rock band and chamber orchestra that won a 2015 BMI Student Composer Award. Meland, who attends the University of Illinois, wrote the piece for the Illinois Modern Ensemble, and this performance will feature his rock band, Feral States.

In the second half of the concert, Roberto Maggio will augment the Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) for three selections, starting with Louis Andriessen “Workers Union,” a 1975 composition that gives performers specific rhythms without specific pitches, allowing them to choose their own notes.

After that, they’ll perform “Poetry for Ensemble” a new work by clarinetist Jeremiah Rittel that consists of three text-based pieces whose words and direction inspire the ensemble to improvise.

Next, it’s a new arrangement of “Mentis Modus” written specifically for the Ensemble by its composer, Italian pianist Giuseppe Di Bianco. The three-part work, originally composed in 1995, features rhythmic sections evoking marches and tangoes surrounding a calm, dream-like center.

The concert will conclude with “Rhapsody in Zoo,” written by Mizzou junior Erin Höerchler for the Ensemble’s performance in May at the St. Louis Zoo. Inspired by jazz and Gershwin, it features a rock beat underpinning rambunctious clarinet musings, flirtatious flute solos, a sentimental string section, and a stylized piano solo. Guest musicians Ryan Wall, flutes, and Grant Bradshaw, viola, will join the Ensemble for this finale.

The eight-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 2015-16 season are Rachel Czech, cello; José Martínez, percussion; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets; Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophones; Erin Spencer, flute; and Britney Stutz, violin.

The members of the Exit 128 Chamber Orchestra are Tyler Martin, flute; Trey Makler, oboe; Devin Kaveler, clarinets; Anthony Hasek, bassoon; Ryan McFall, horn; Adam Matejek, trumpet; Andrew Meyer, trombone; Kyle Bauche, percussion; Ross Dryer, piano; Xiaoxiao Du and Nichole Morrison, violins; Catherine Sandstedt, viola; Rachel Czech, cello; Massimo Montalbano, bass; Travis Herd, artistic director; and Rachel Hill, managing director.

Photo of the Mizzou New Music Ensemble by Gene Royer.

Dustin Dunn featured in Mizzou alumni magazine

Composition major Dustin Dunn is featured in the latest issue of Mizzou magazine, which was mailed to alumni and other subscribers earlier this week.

Dunn, a sophomore from Annapolis, Missouri, is attending Mizzou on a full Sinquefield Scholarship from the Mizzou New Music Initiative.

“My future changed with a letter that said, ‘Congratulations! You have a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Missouri for the next four years,” he told reporter Dale Smith. “That’s when I knew that I was going to get an undergraduate experience that no one in my family had ever gotten before.”

You can read the entire profile of Dunn (pictured with his piano teacher, associate professor Peter Miyamoto) online at

(Photo courtesy of Mizzou magazine.)

Creating Original Music Project (COMP) to recognize original music
from Missouri student composers with awards, cash

2015 COMP award winners

For ten years, the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s Creating Original Music Project (COMP) has encouraged the musical dreams and aspirations of hundreds of K-12 students across Missouri, offering positive recognition and prizes, performance and educational opportunities, and more.

Some past winners of the annual statewide competition sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation have even gone on to earn to full college scholarships or launch professional careers in music.

Now, heading into its second decade, COMP once again is looking for new, original music from student composers and songwriters in the Show-Me State. This year’s effort began when information was mailed last month to music teachers across the state inviting students to participate in the 2016 competition.

Both the winning composers and their schools will be awarded cash prizes, and the winning compositions will be performed at the Creating Original Music Project’s New Music Festival on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Students in grades K-5 may submit compositions in two categories, Songs With Words and Instrumental Pieces. For grades 6-8, the categories are Fine Art Music and Popular Music; and for grades 9-12, they are Fine Art Music, Popular Music, Jazz, and Other styles.

All entries must be original music written by the student, and only one entry per student is allowed. Arrangements of previously composed pieces or improvisation based on composed pieces will not be accepted.

Mentors and teachers are encouraged to offer support and critiques, though the submissions must be the students’ own original compositions. Music teachers and/or mentors may assist students in notating or recording the pieces, and each student who applies must have the signature and sponsorship of their school’s music teacher.

Only three submissions per category per school are allowed. It is the responsibility of the school music teacher(s) to decide which three pieces per category will be entered in the contest. The postmark deadline for submission of all compositions is January 15, 2016.

For more information about the Creating Original Music Project and an application for the 2016 competition, please visit the COMP website at

For students looking for more guidance or feedback on their work, the Mizzou New Music Initiative also offers Composer Connection, a distance-learning program that gives aspiring composers a chance to talk with and receive instruction from a graduate student in composition at MU.

Students can e-mail works in progress, ask questions about composing, and receive suggestions and answers directly from the composer on call. The composer on call for the 2015-16 academic year is José Martínez, who can be reached by email at

Erin Gee to serve as distinguished guest composer
for 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival

The Mizzou New Music Initiative announced today that Erin Gee will be a distinguished guest composer at the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF), scheduled for Monday, July 25 through Saturday, July 30 on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Currently an assistant professor of music at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Gee (pictured) is known for her series of compositions entitled “Mouthpieces,” which “use non-traditional vocal techniques, devoid of semantic language, to construct intricate and subtle patterns of a diverse array of vocal sounds.”

Her works are taught in the composition and musicology programs of universities such as MIT, University of Pennsylvania, Smith College, and Mills College, and she has lectured at Harvard, UC Berkeley, Dartmouth and Wellesley.

Gee’s awards for composition include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, the 2008 Rome Prize, the 2015 Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and more. She has written works on commission for the Zurich Opera House, Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, American Composers Orchestra, and many others, and in January 2014 she was cited by Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, as being one of the most influential composer-vocalists of the 21st century.

Next July in Columbia, she’ll join British/American composer Oscar Bettison, who was named in September as the MICF’s other distinguished guest composer for 2016.

The MICF features three public concerts of music from contemporary composers, as well as workshops, master classes and other events. As in years past, Saturday night’s grand finale at the Missouri Theatre will present the world premieres of new works from each of eight resident composers, with the acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, serving as resident ensemble.

The resident composers are selected for the MICF each year through an online portfolio application process. During the Festival, they’ll get composition lessons from Bettison, Gee, and Mizzou faculty, and take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. Each composer also will receive a copy of a professional live recording of his or her work.

The deadline for submitting an application is 5:00 p.m. Central time, Monday, November 23, 2015. For more information or to apply to become a resident composer for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, please visit

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be made available at a later date. For more information, please visit

Ben Colagiovanni wins statewide composition competition

University of Missouri composition student Ben Colagiovanni has won this year’s award in the “Young Artist” category of the Missouri state division of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) composition competition.

Colagiovanni, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music composition at Mizzou, was recognized for “Forest Park Rhapsody.”

The work originally was one of four commissioned in 2014 by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform at an event for members of Forest Park Forever’s Leffingwell Society.

“Forest Park Rhapsody” now will be entered in the national MTNA composition competition, which offers a first place prize of $3,000, plus a performance at the Winners Concert during the 2016 MTNA National Conference, taking place April 2 through April 6 in San Antonio, TX.

A native of St. Louis and graduate of Clayton High School, Colagiovanni (pictured) was a two-time winner in Mizzou’s statewide Creating Original Music Project (COMP) before enrolling at MU with a full-tuition Sinquefield Scholarship to study composition.

Erin Höerchler featured in Columbia Daily Tribune

Mizzou composition major Erin Höerchler was the subject of a feature article last week in the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Reported by the Daily Tribune‘s Amy Wilder, the profile is part of the paper’s weekly “Niche” series highlighting artists in the Columbia area.

Höerchler (pictured), a junior who’s originally from Jefferson City, used the opportunity to talk briefly about her compositional process, telling Wilder, “When I write, it’s like each part is a character, and there’s drama in between those characters…I’m not just writing sounds and music. It’s a story. There’s a whole aesthetic and a time period and a color scheme I create with each of my pieces.”

You can read the entire article online at