Archive for September, 2017

Composer Steven Snowden visiting Mizzou for residency from October 1-3

Composer Steven Snowden will visit the Mizzou campus next week for a residency starting Sunday, October 1 and culminating in a “Composer Portrait” concert of his works at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 3 at Whitmore Recital Hall.

The concert will include Mizzou faculty ensemble DRAX performing the world premieres of “Where are Our Mothers” and “We Don’t Have Enough Time,” two new works commissioned from Snowden with support from the Mizzou New Music Initiative and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

While on campus, Snowden (pictured) also will give a presentation to composition students about his music, and will coach the Mizzou New Music Ensemble on the performance of his work “Matilda,” which they’ll play at their concert on October 16 at Whitmore.

A native Missourian, Snowden grew up in the Ozarks and earned his undergraduate degree in music at Missouri State University.  After subsequently getting a master’s degree in music from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a doctorate from the University of Texas, he now is a freelance composer based in Boston.

This won’t be his first visit back to his home state in a professional capacity – he was one of the eight resident composers chosen for the 2011 Mizzou International Composers Festival – but he’ll be especially busy this trip, book-ending his residency in Columbia with stops on the campuses of his alma mater in Springfield and Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg.

Though he’s received extensive training as a composer, Snowden nevertheless cites vernacular music like bluegrass, folk, and rock as key influences. “It’s really important to me that someone who doesn’t come from a background of listening to classical music can still be intrigued and drawn into the music that I write,” Snowden told the Columbia Daily Tribune‘s Aarik Danielsen in 2011. “Because of that, I strive to incorporate many possible perspectives of listening that can appeal to the uninitiated as well as seasoned analytical listeners. Hopefully, that also makes for music that can endure multiple hearings in which new details and levels of understanding can continually be discovered.”

Snowden’s works have been performed at venues and festivals throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and he has earned honors and awards from the American Composers Forum’s national composition contest, ASCAP’s Morton Gould Awards, New Music USA, and many others.

Other notable accomplishments include helping to found and direct the Fast Forward Austin Music Festival in Texas (with another former MICF resident composer, Ian Dicke, from the 2014 fest), and serving in 2012 and 2013 as a Fulbright Scholar in Portugal, researching the implementation of motion tracking technology as a means to facilitate collaboration between music and dance. Snowden also was a visiting professor and composer in residence in 2013-14 at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

You can hear samples of Steven Snowden’s music in the embedded player below and on his SoundCloud page.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble playing works
by Mizzou composers past and present
on Monday, October 16 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble‘s first concert of the 2017-18 season will feature music from two Mizzou alumni, one new faculty member, and more.

The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, October 16 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the Mizzou campus. Admission is $5 for the general public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff with ID.

Works to be performed will include “Lus in Bello” by Carolina Heredia, who this fall joined the University of Missouri faculty as the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s new postdoctoral fellow. Heredia first composed the piece in 2014 for the acclaimed new music group JACK Quartet, and in 2016 revised the arrangement for the Khemia Ensemble, the group she founded while a graduate student at the University of Michigan.

Also on the program are two pieces by recent Mizzou alumni. “Spherodendron” is by Haley Myers, who graduated in 2015 with a BM in composition. Inspired by the work of artist Bill Smith, it was written in 2013 specifically for a concert at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis.

“Naturally Synthetic” was premiered in 2012 at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and was written by Joe Hills, who earned his master’s degree in composition from Mizzou in 2013.

In addition, Mizzou faculty mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley will join the Ensemble as guest artist for a performance of Steven Snowden‘s “Matilda.” Written in 2010 for soprano and mixed chamber ensemble, the piece incorporates the text of “Matilda Who Told Lies, and was Burned to Death,” a satirical children’s poem by the early 20th century writer Hilaire Belloc.

Snowden is a freelance composer based in Boston who was a resident composer at the 2011 Mizzou International Composers Festival. He’s returning to Mizzou for a guest composer residency in October, which will include a “Composer Portrait” concert of his music on Tuesday, October 3.

Completing the evening, the Ensemble will perform “Damn,” a 1998 work for amplified clarinet and four percussionists composed by John Mackey. Mackey, who lives in Massachusetts and is known particularly for his works for wind ensemble and concert band, visited the Mizzou campus for a residency in 2012.

The seven-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer, professor of composition, and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. The Ensemble’s members for the 2017-18 season are Victoria Hargrove, clarinet; Hannah Hutchins, percussion; Daniel Keeler, cello; Kelariz Keshavarz, flute; Pedro Ramiro, violin; Libby Roberts, piano; and Brianna Trainor, percussion.

Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) looking for
new orchestral, choral works for concert in March 2018

While writing music may be a solitary activity, composers of new music for orchestra or chorus ultimately need the help of many others to bring their works to life in concert.

That’s why the Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) once again in 2018 will offer performance opportunities for new, large-ensemble music written by Missouri residents.

Now in its eighth year, MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) (pictured), the Columbia Chamber Choir, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Each year, recently composed works are selected through a competitive, blind judging process and are performed by the CCO and Chamber Choir at a concert in Columbia. Each of the composers of the selected works also is awarded a $500 honorarium.

MOCOP’s 2018 competition is open to composers of orchestral and choral music in four categories – two for Missouri composers currently in high school, and two open to Missouri composers of any age.

The CCO and the Columbia Chamber Choir will perform the selected works in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 11, 2018 at First Baptist Church, 1112 E Broadway in Columbia.

Composers who wish to submit their work to MOCOP can find details on eligibility and instrumentation plus complete application materials online at

Applications must be submitted no later than Monday, December 4, 2017.