Archive for July 16th, 2018

Composers Festival spotlight: Amanda Feery

If there were a prize for “longest distance traveled to take part in the Mizzou International Composers Festival,” resident composer Amanda Feery would be the winner for 2018, coming to Columbia all the way from Dublin, Ireland.

Originally from County Offaly in Ireland, Feery recently moved back to her home country after completing her PhD in composition here in the USA at Princeton University. She previously earned a B.A. in music and an M.Phil in music and media technologies from Trinity College Dublin.

For the MICF, Feery has composed a new work titled “This is the House of,” which will be performed by resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound along with new music from the fest’s other resident composers as part of the grand finale concert on Saturday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre.

Working variously in acoustic, electronic, and improvised music, her past collaborations include Third Coast Percussion, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Choir Ireland, Crash Ensemble, Fidelio Trio, Ensemble Mise-en, Bearthoven, RTÉ Contempo Quartet, Dither Quartet, Dublin Guitar Quartet, Mivos String Quartet, Orkest de Ereprijs, Quince Vocal Ensemble, This is How we Fly, Lisa Moore, Michelle O’Rourke, and Paul Roe.

Feery’s previous fellowships and residencies include the Ostrava Days Festival in the Czech Republic, Soundscape Festival in Italy, Bang on a Can Summer Festival in the United States and the International Young Composers Meeting in the Netherlands. She was the winner of the West Cork Chamber Music Composer Award in 2009, and the Jerome Hynes Young Composers Award in 2013.

You can hear Feery discuss her new work for the Mizzou International Composers Festival in the interview she recently did with radio station KMUC for their weekly “Mizzou Music” program.

For more about her, check out her video interview from 2016 at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, in which she discusses her piece “The Very Air Tastes Different,” and her interview on Athena Media’s podcast special about Irish women composers, “Cross Currents,” also from 2016. You can listen to some samples of Amanda Feery’s music via the embedded players below.

Excerpt from “Stray Sods,” recorded March 25, 2016 at Mount Tremper Arts in Phoenicia, NY by Amanda Gookin (cello).

“On Shuffle,” recorded December 9, 2017 at the Mathewson Street Theater in Providence, RI by Verdant Vibes, featuring EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks (violin), Zan Berry (cello), Jacob Richman (bass), Alexander Dupuis (guitar), and Chuck Furlong (bass clarinet).

Robert Morris to serve as guest composer for 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival; Chen Yi withdraws for medical reasons

Composer Chen Yi, who had been scheduled to be one of the distinguished guest composers later this month at the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival, has withdrawn from the festival due to medical reasons.

In place of Chen, Robert Morris, composer and professor at the Eastman School of Music, has agreed to serve as a guest composer for the 2018 MICF.

“We regret that Chen Yi is unable to participate in this year’s festival. She recently had surgery and though a full recovery is expected, it’s taking longer than originally anticipated,” said Stefan Freund, professor of composition and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative and the MICF. “We hope she’ll be feeling better soon, and we’re very grateful to Bob Morris for being willing to come to Columbia on such short notice.”

Morris (pictured) 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.

For MICF ticket buyers, the change in guest composers means that they’ll hear a slightly different program during the concert by Alarm Will Sound on Thursday, July 26 at the Missouri Theatre, as the festival’s resident ensemble will perform Morris’ “In Concert” in place of the Chen Yi work that had been announced previously. In addition, “Mountain Streams,” an electronic work composed by Morris, will be added to the program for the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 27.

For the MICF’s seven resident composers, Morris’ participation in the festival will give them a chance to work with a composer and teacher who has written for many musical forms and types of media. Spanning the gap from academic to experimental, his compositions range from orchestral and chamber works to computer and improvisational music to works heavily influenced by non-Western music from Asia and the Middle East.

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.

During the MICF, he 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 the performance of “In Concert.”

Composers Festival spotlight: Missouri Clarinet Quartet

The Missouri Clarinet Quartet will make their Mizzou International Composers Festival debut as a part of the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre.

Founded in 2017 under the guidance of assistant teaching professor Wesley Warnhoff,  the MCQ is committed “to community engagement and the expansion of the clarinet quartet repertoire.”

The members of the quartet include Victoria Hargrove, a Mizzou alum now entering the DMA program at Michigan State University; music educator and Mizzou alum Erin Rhomberg; Andrew Mahonen, a Mizzou graduate student and teaching assistant; and Austin Wright, a graduate student and the new clarinetist for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble. (For their performances this summer, Warnhoff has substituted for Rhomberg.)

The MCQ has performed outreach concerts and clarinet workshops at venues throughout Missouri, and earlier this month made their European debut with a performance at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFEST 2018 in Ostend, Belgium.

Their ClarinetFEST concert featured two new works commissioned by the MCQ in 2018 from Mizzou composers, which also will be performed at the MICF. The commissions for Stefan Freund, professor of composition and artistic director of MNMI and MICF, and for student composer and clarinetist Aaron Mencher, were funded by MNMI with support for Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

You can hear a recording of the MCQ playing Mencher’s commission work “Checkerboard” via the embedded player below.

Yoshi Onishi answers “5 Questions” from I Care If You Listen

The Mizzou New Music Initiative’s new postdoctoral fellow Yoshiaki “Yoshi” Onishi is the subject of a “5 Questions” interview published last week by the new-music website I Care If You Listen.

In the interview, Onishi (pictured) talks with ICIYL’s Alexander Rothe about his compositional process and his ongoing project “Les Six Aspects du Néant” (“The Six Aspects of Nothingness”).

The work is a cycle of six pieces for string quartet, parts of which will be performed this fall at the Vertixe Sonora Festival in Spain, the 45th International Viola Congress in Rotterdam, and the Trieste Prima Festival in Italy.

You can read the complete interview here.