Archive for July, 2018

A look back at the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival

MICF in the media

If you’ve missed any of the media coverage of the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival, you can catch up by following the links below:

* The Columbia Daily Tribune‘s coverage included interviews with resident composers Viet Cuong, Douglas Osmun and Gemma Peacocke, plus a guide to the entire festival.

* The Columbia Missourian published a short feature story offering an overview of the festival, along with a gallery of photos.

* MNMI managing director Jacob Gotlib was interviewed by Diana Moxon of KOPN’s “Speaking of the Arts.” Moxon also interviewed resident composers Amanda Feery and Gemma Peacocke.

* New Music USA helped spread the word about the live radio broadcasts and audio streaming of this year’s MICF concerts.

* You can listen to interviews with the festival’s resident composers and more, originally broadcast on Classical 90.5’s “Mizzou Music” program and now archived on their website.


Composers Festival spotlight: Robert Morris

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is most grateful to Robert Morris for agreeing to serve as one of the two distinguished guest composers at the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Morris, a composer and professor at Eastman School of Music, graciously re-arranged his summer schedule on short notice to come to Columbia after composer Chen Yi had to withdraw for medical reasons.

Festival-goers will be able to hear two of Morris’ works during the MICF.  As part of their concert on Thursday night at the Missouri Theatre, resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound will perform Morris’ “In Concert,” and Friday’s “Mizzou New Music” concert will include his electronic piece “Mountain Streams.”

While at the festival, Morris also will give a public presentation about his music; teach the seven resident composers in individual and group sessions; and consult with Alarm Will Sound on their performance of his music.

Morris was born in Cheltenham, England and received his musical education at the Eastman School and at the University of Michigan, where he earned his masters and doctoral degrees in composition and ethnomusicology.

He has taught at Eastman since 1980, serving as chair of the composition department from 1999 to 2005 and again from 2008 to 2011. Before his appointment at Eastman, Morris taught composition, electronic music, and music theory at the University of Hawaii; at Yale University, where he was chairman of the composition department and director of the Yale Electronic Music Studio; and at the University of Pittsburgh, where he directed the Computer and Electronic Studio.

Morris has composed more than 160 musical works, which have been performed in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and recorded on labels including CRI, New World, Music Gallery Editions, Neuma, Music and Arts, Fanfare, Centaur, Open Space, Innova, Yank Gulch, Albany, and Attacca.

In addition to his music and teaching, Morris has written four books and more than 50 articles and reviews on subjects including musical analysis and aesthetics; compositional design; electronic and computer music; the Carnatic music of south India; and more.

He is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the A. Whitney Griswold Foundation, the American Music Center, the Hanson Institute of American Music, and the American Council of Learned Societies. In 1975 he was a MacDowell Colony fellow, and in 2008, a Djerassi artist.

Morris has been guest composer at many festivals and series of new music, including the ISCM Festival of Contemporary MusicInternational Conferences of Computer MusicComposer to Composer, Composer’s Symposium, Kobe International Modern Music Festival, Heidelberg Contemporary Music Festival, Western Illinois University New Music Festival, Center for Research in Electronic Art TechnologyMidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music’s  New Music Festival, New Music on the Point, University of South Florida at Tampa New Music Festival, and more.

He has received numerous awards and commissions from organizations and ensembles including the Pittsburgh Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Yale University, Speculum Musicae, Brave New Works, JACK Quartet, Momenta String Quartet, The Society for New Music, Alienor Harpsichord Society, Hartt College Festival of Contemporary Organ Music, National Flute Association, and more.

For more about Robert Morris, read the interview with him published in 2010 by New Music Box, and watch a video in which he discusses his work SOUND/PATH/FIELD, one of series of works inspired by his enjoyment of hiking that are intended to be performed outdoors. You can hear some samples of Robert Morris’ music in the embedded players below.

“Mysterious Landscape [excerpt],” recorded live by Robert Morris at Eastman School of Music’s Hatch Recital Hall.

“Entelechy 2012” (version p100g250) for piano with electronic modification

“Still,” performed by Solungga Fang-Tzu Liu (piano)

“Oracle,” performed in March 2011 at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, FL by the University of South Florida New-Music Consortium, conducted by Baljinder Sekhon

Composers Festival spotlight: Igor Santos

Originally from Curitiba, Brazil, resident composer Igor Santos comes to the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival by way of Chicago, where he recently earned his PhD in music composition from the University of Chicago.

Before that, Santos received his M.A. from the Eastman School of Music, where he was an active member of the Ossia New Music group, assisting in organizing and promoting concerts of contemporary music.

He earned his B.M. in composition and electronic music from the University of South Florida, also serving as a board member and pianist for the USF Composer’s Consortium.

Santos has written a new work for the MICF called “through thoughts of a different kind,” which will be premiered by resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound along with new music from the other six resident composers at the fest’s grand finale on Saturday, April 28 at the Missouri Theatre.

Santos’ music has been performed by groups such as eighth blackbird, Ensemble Intercontemporain, POING, Ensemble Dal Niente, Spektral Quartet and The Florida Orchestra. He also frequently writes incidental theater music in collaboration with director David Frankel and the Tampa Repertory Theatre.

He has participated in workshops and festivals such as Impuls in Graz, Austria; Time of Music in Viitasaar, Finland; ManiFeste and Fontainebleau in Paris, France; Synthetis in Radziejowice, Poland; Brevard Music Center in North Carolina; and more.

In 2017, Santos won first prize in the Luigi Nono International Composition Competition, and also was awarded a prize for “Best Sound Design” from Theatre Tampa Bay.

For more about Igor Santos, listen to his recent interview on Classical 90.5 FM’s “Mizzou Music” program.

“towards snow,” performed by the Volta Trio, and Joseph Yungen on April 6, 2011 at the Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall

“Étude nº 1,” recorded live by Winston Choi on May 10, 2015 as part of the Project Incubator concert at Constellation Chicago

Composers Festival spotlight: Gemma Peacocke

Over the past nine years, the Mizzou International Composers Festival has had portfolios submitted from all over the world, and this year, resident composer Gemma Peacocke became the first New Zealander ever to be part of the MICF.

Now living in the USA and working toward a PhD at Princeton University, Peacocke grew up in Hamilton, New Zealand in a home once occupied by another creative individual – Richard O’Brien, who wrote the book, lyrics. and music for The Rocky Horror Show.

Before attending Princeton, she did undergraduate work at New Zealand School of Music and earned her master’s degree in composition at New York University Steinhardt.

Writing works that use acoustic instruments, voices, and electronics, Peacocke says she enjoys “finding ways to seamlessly combine and move between electronic and acoustic sound worlds.” She has collaborated with directors, filmmakers and choreographers, often addressing social, political or historical themes, and also is co-founder of the composer collective Kinds of Kings.

For the MICF, she has written a new piece called “Skirl,” which will be performed by Alarm Will Sound as part of the grand finale concert on Saturday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre.

Some of her other recent projects include “Wreak,” a percussion and electronics work for Kaylie Melville; new songs for Fresh Squeezed Opera and Iarla Ó Lionáird; “Disbelief,” a percussion quartet for choreographer Mari Takeda; and a saxophone quartet called “Dwalm” for ~Nois.

In 2017, her song cycle “Waves + Lines,” based on female Afghan folk poems called landays and adapted from Eliza Griswold’s book I Am the Beggar of the World, premiered at Roulette in Brooklyn with the support of a Jerome Foundation commission. It subsequently had its Australian premiere in April 2018 as part of the Metropolis Festival at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

Peacocke’s music also has been performed by The Tudor Consort, JACK Quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Rubiks Ensemble, Schiele Quartet, and more. Her awards and honors include composition fellowships from Eighth Blackbird Lab and Bang On A Can; the Creative New Zealand Edwin Carr Scholarship, and the NYU Steinhardt Prize.

For more about Gemma Peacocke, read the interview with her just published by the Columbia Daily Tribune; her recent conversation with Classical 90.5 FM’s Aaron Hay for the station’s “Mizzou Music” program; and the interview with her published earlier this year on the website of National Sawdust. You can listen to some samples of her music via the embedded players below.

“disbelief,” performed by percussionists Russell Fischer, Tatevik Khoja-Eynatyan, Mari Takeda, and Wanyue Ye. Choreography by Mari Takeda for JHUBalletCompany dancers Erika Belitzky, Natalie Campbell, Georgia LaMacchia, and Isabella Perone

“Koràh,” recorded in 2016 at the JCC Manhattan

Composers Festival spotlight: Mizzou New Music Ensemble

As has become tradition over the past nine years, the Mizzou New Music Ensemble will be performing during the Mizzou International Composers Festival as part of Friday night’s “Mizzou New Music” concert at the Missouri Theatre.

Their portion of the evening’s program will include works by the MICF’s two distinguished guest composers – “Portraits and Repetitions” by Alex Mincek and “Mountain Streams” by Robert Morris – as well as “Near Distance” by Chen Yi (who last week had to withdraw from the festival for medical reasons and was replaced by Morris).

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Stefan Freund, professor of composition and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative and the MICF. The Ensemble serves as the repertory group for MNMI, working with faculty, students, and visiting composers, and giving public performances on campus and in the community.

In addition to presenting several concerts each year in Columbia, the Ensemble also has performed programs of works by Mizzou composers at the Contemporary Art Museum – St. Louis, the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, Forest Park, the World Chess Hall of Fame, Cortex Innovation Community, and more.

Since the MICF happens in the summer when school’s not in session, the current members of the Ensemble in any given year are augmented as necessary for the festival by guest musicians, drawn from Mizzou students,  alumni, faculty and staff, as well as the regional community of performers engaged in new music.

For the 2018 MICF, the lineup of players will include Kelariz Keshavarz (flute), Victoria Hargrove (clarinet), Ben Harting (saxophone), Brianna Trainor (percussion), Hannah Hutchins (percussion), Libby Roberts (piano), and Pedro Ramiro (violin), plus freelance Kansas City cellist Sascha Groschang. Mizzou senior Hans Bridger Heruth will conduct the ensemble for Chen’s “Near Distance,” and graduate student Jesus Gomez will conduct the performance of Mincek’s “Portraits and Repetitions”

You can hear some past performances by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble via the embedded player below.

2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival to be broadcast, audio streamed live on Classical 90.5 FM

For the first time ever, all three concerts of the Mizzou International Composers Festival will be broadcast and audio streamed “live” by Classical 90.5 FM.

In mid-Missouri, listeners can tune in to the broadcasts at 90.5 FM, while anyone anywhere in the world with an Internet connection can access the live stream at

All three concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia. The schedule is:

Thursday, July 26: Alarm Will Sound
The festival’s resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound will perform music by 2018 MICF distinguished guest composers Robert Morris and Alex Mincek, plus a work by Stefan Freund and Matt Marks, and more.

Friday, July 27: Mizzou New Music
Friday night’s concert showcases the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, the flagship group of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, performing music from distinguished guest composers Robert Morris and Alex Mincek and composer Chen Yi. In addition, the Missouri Clarinet Quintet, featuring Mizzou students and faculty members, will perform works by Mizzou composers Stefan Freund, Carolina Heredia, and Aaron Mencher.

Saturday, July 28: Seven World Premieres performed by Alarm Will Sound
More than 250 composers from around the world submitted their portfolios to the festival, and seven were selected. The grand finale concert features the world premieres of seven works composed specifically for the acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound by the festival’s resident composers Oren Boneh, Christine Burke, Viet Cuong, Amanda Feery, Douglas Osmun, Gemma Peacocke, and Igor Santos.

KMUC is a frequency licensed to the University of Missouri Board of Curators and managed jointly with KBIA 91.3 FM. Known as Classical 90.5, the station broadcasts classical music and NPR news headlines at 1,900 watts from McReynolds Hall on the MU campus.

Composers Festival spotlight: Alex Mincek

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is pleased to welcome Alex Mincek as one of the two distinguished guest composers for this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

In addition to composing, New York-based Mincek also is the saxophonist, bass clarinetist, and artistic director of the Wet Ink Ensemble, a contemporary music group he founded in 1998.

Two of his works will be performed during the MICF. Thursday night’s concert by Alarm Will Sound will feature the world premiere of “Chimeras,” a newly commissioned work by Mincek. Then on Friday, the Mizzou New Music Ensemble will perform “Portraits and Repetitions,” which he wrote in 2007.

While he’s in Columbia, Mincek also will give a public presentation about his music; teach the seven resident composers in individual and group sessions; and consult with Alarm Will Sound and the Mizzou New Music Ensemble on the performances of his works.

Born and raised in Florida, Mincek moved to New York City in 1995 to study saxophone at the Manhattan School of Music. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he pursued a master’s degree in composition at the Manhattan School, followed by doctoral studies at Columbia University, where in 2011 he earned his DMA.

Mincek’s music has been programmed at major venues and festivals including Carnegie Hall, Miller Theatre, the Musica festival in Strasbourg, Festival Présences of Radio France, Festival Archipel in Geneve, Voix Nouvelles at the Abbaye de Royaumont in Paris, Festival des Musiques Démesurées in Clermont-Ferrand, the Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt (IMD), Unerhörte Musik in Berlin, the Contempuls Festival in Prague, and the Ostrava New Music Days.

He has collaborated with ensembles including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, the Janacek Philharmonic, Ensemble Cairn, Ensemble Le Balcon, Ensemble Linea, Ensemble XXI, SEM Ensemble, Present Music, Talea Ensemble, Dal Niente, Yarn/Wire, Mivos Quartet, and the JACK Quartet.

Mincek’s awards and commissions include an Alpert Award in the Arts in 2013, as well as recognition from institutions such as the Guggenheim Foundation, the French Ministry of Culture, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, ASCAP, the National Endowment for the Arts, MATA, Radio France, the Barlow Endowment, Meet The Composer, and the Issue Project Room.

Along with three albums by Wet Ink and several early recordings as a member of the band Zs, Mincek has put out two albums under his own name: an eponymous set in 2011 on Carrier Records, and Torrent, released in 2017 with deluxe packaging and a 28-page booklet to launch Sound American’s Young Composer Portrait (YCP) series.

For more about Alex Mincek, read music journalist and critic George Grella’s essay on his music, published in 2016 in Music & Literature magazine; watch an interview with Mincek after his Alpert Award win, and listen to his 2013 interview on NYC radio station WQXR. You can hear some samples of his music via the embedded players below.

Excerpt from “Color-Form-Line,” recorded December 15, 2015 at St. Peter’s Church in New York City by Wet Ink Ensemble, featuring Erin Lesser (flutes), Alex Mincek (saxophone), Ryan Muncy (saxophone), Eric Wubbels (piano), Ian Antonio (percussion), Josh Modney (violin), and Kate Soper (voice)

“String Quartet No. 3,” performed by Mivos Quartet on February 8th, 2013 at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York City