Archive for October, 2020

Mizzou’s 2021 Creating Original Music Project (COMP)
offers awards, cash prizes for Missouri student composers

COMP winners receive personalized plaques, and they and their schools both receive cash prizes

At a time when live performances have become scarce, young composers still need opportunities to present their new works, which makes the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s 2021 Creating Original Music Project (COMP) especially timely and relevant for music students from across Missouri.

Now in its 16th year, COMP is an annual statewide competition sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. COMP showcases new, original music from Missouri student composers and songwriters in grades K-12, offering positive recognition and prizes, performance and educational opportunities, and more.

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 24, 2021 at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Winners in high school also are eligible for scholarships to attend the Missouri Summer Composition Institute, which will take place June 21-26, 2021 on the Mizzou campus.

Because the COVID pandemic makes future conditions difficult to predict, MNMI will have several contingent plans for the COMP Festival and the Summer Composition Institute if safety concerns, University policy, or state or local laws make it impossible to present the events “in-person.” Those plans may include (but are not limited to) online-only events, a limited in-person experience, or some combination of online and in-person activities.

Students in grades K-5 may submit compositions in two categories, Songs With Words and Instrumental. For grades 6-8, the categories are Fine Art Music and Popular Music, and for grades 9-12, they are Fine Art Music, Jazz, and Pop Music/Other styles. All entries must be original music written by the student, and only one entry per student is allowed. Both notated pieces and music made electronically are eligible. 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 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. All entries must be submitted online by Friday, January 22, 2021.

For more information about the Creating Original Music Project and how to submit an application for the 2021 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 2020-21 academic year is Luis Hermano Bezerra, who can be reached by email at

Santiago Beis wins 2021 Sinquefield Composition Prize

The University of Missouri School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have awarded the 2021 Sinquefield Composition Prize to Santiago Beis.

Beis is a first-year graduate student working toward a master’s degree in composition at Mizzou. He submitted “La sed y el Agua” (“Thirst and Water”), a work for piano and string orchestra, to the competition and was selected for the prize by a panel of independent judges.

The adjudicators for the 2021 competition were Yigit Kolat, composer and lecturer at the University of Washington; Wendy Richman, violist with the International Contemporary Ensemble and The Rhythm Method; and Evan Williams, assistant professor of music and director of instrumental studies at Rhodes College.

Now in its 16th year, the Sinquefield Composition Prize is the top award for a composition student at Mizzou.

As this year’s winner, Beis (pictured) will be commissioned to write a new work for the string section of the MU Philharmonic to be recorded in Spring 2021. With the commission, Beis also will receive a cash prize for the production of the score and parts.

Born in Rivera, Uruguay, Beis earned his bachelor’s degree in composition and conducting from EMBAP – UNESPAR (Escola de Música e Belas Artes do Paraná – Universidade Estadual do Paraná) in Curitiba, Brazil. As an undergraduate, he collaborated with a number of local and regional new music ensembles, and won first prizes in two Brazilian national composition festivals, the Funarte Prémio de Composição Clássica and the Bienal Música Hoje.

Also a performer who plays piano, flute, saxophone, trumpet, and synthesizers, Beis has recorded his jazz compositions with various groups including his own trio, which was recognized as one of the top five groups in the “Made in NY Jazz Gala” competition at the Tribeca Center of Performing Arts in New York City.

The other finalists for the 2021 Sinquefield Composition Prize were Daniel Fitzpatrick, Daniel Vega, Oswald Huynh, and Luis Hermano Bezerra.

Mizzou International Composers Festival set for July 26 – 31, 2021;
applications for resident composers now open

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is accepting applications for resident composers to take part in the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF), which will take place starting Monday, July 26 through Saturday, July 31.

Reprising their roles from the online-only 2020 edition of the MICF, Chen Yi and David T. Little (pictured) will serve as the festival’s two distinguished guest composers for 2021, teaching and consulting with the resident composers and ensemble. Little also has written a new commissioned work specifically for the festival.

The week-long MICF will feature concerts of music from contemporary composers, along with workshops, master classes, and other events. Saturday night’s grand finale at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia will present the world premieres of new works from each of the festival’s resident composers, with 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 the distinguished guest composers and take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. Each composer also will receive a professional live recording of their work.

For 2021, MNMI will select four resident composers to take part in the festival. These four composers will be featured along with the eight composers who were chosen for the 2020 MICF, but whose works could not be premiered when COVID-related restrictions forced the festival to be reconfigured as an online event.

Because the COVID pandemic makes future conditions difficult to predict, MNMI will have several contingent plans for the 2021 MICF if safety concerns, University policy, or state or local laws make it impossible to present the festival “in-person” on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Those plans may include (but are not limited to) an online-only festival, a limited in-person experience, or some combination of online and in-person activities.

The deadline to apply to become a resident composer for the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival is 11:59 p.m. Central time, Friday, November 20, 2020. For more information or to submit an application, please visit

Chen Yi is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition “Si Ji” (“Four Seasons”), she was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and is known as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries.

Along with many orchestral works, Chen has written numerous choral works and pieces of chamber music, including works written for traditional Chinese instruments. A violinist as well as a composer, Chen Yi earned bachelor and master’s degrees in music composition from the Central Conservatory in Beijing, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University.

Chen received the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2005. Ensembles and soloists commissioning her work have included the Cleveland Orchestra, Mira Wang and the Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Seattle Symphony, Yo-Yo Ma and the Pacific Symphony, Evelyn Glennie and the Singapore Symphony, the Women’s Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and more.

Chen’s music has been recorded and released on more than 20 different labels, including New Albion, CRI, Angel, Koch International Classics, Delos, New World, and Naxos.

David T. Little currently chairs the composition program at Mannes – The New School in New York City. He previously served as Executive Director of MATA and on the board of directors at Chamber Music America, and from 2014–2017 was composer-in-residence with Opera Philadelphia and Music-Theatre Group.

Little’s music has been presented by the LA Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, LA Opera, Park Avenue Armory, Lincoln Center Festival, Kennedy Center, Holland Festival, and Opéra de Montréal, with upcoming engagements at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Opera Theater. He is the founding artistic director of the ensemble Newspeak, and recordings of his music can be heard on labels including New Amsterdam, Innova, Sono Luminus, Centaur, and National Sawdust Tracks.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates, and venues for the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be made available at a later date. For more information, please visit

American Wild Ensemble to perform in concert
on Sunday, October 18 at Sinquefield Music Center

The American Wild Ensemble will perform in a concert presented by the Mizzou New Music Initiative at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, October 18 outside the Sinquefield Music Center on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia.

Titled “The American Aviatrix,” the program commemorates the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment by honoring the achievements of American women aviators. The concert will celebrate the lives of two of these groundbreaking women, pilots Bessie Coleman and Amelia Earhart, with world premiere performances of two new works, “Il n’y aura pas de regrets” by Mizzou assistant professor Carolina Heredia and “Livid Loneliness of Fear” by Ingrid Stölzel. The program also will include a performance of “Solitude of Self,” composed in 2018 by Caroline Malloneé.

Formed in 2016 with a commissioning project inspired by American national parks, the American Wild Ensemble  (pictured) celebrates American places, historic figures, and events by commissioning new works and performing them in site-inspired and site-specific locations. They have received support from organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts and Chamber Music America for performances in both traditional and nontraditional venues across the country.

The group is led by flutist Emlyn Johnson and cellist Daniel Ketter, who both are faculty members at Missouri State University in Springfield. The ensemble also includes Mizzou assistant professor Megan Arns on percussion; Bill Kalinkos on clarinet; Sarah Peters on violin; and soprano Ann-Marie Wilcox Daehn.

Admission to the American Wild Ensemble concert is free, but reservations are required, and concertgoers are asked to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing. Reservations can be made online at

There will be two seating options available: lawn seating and drive-in. With the ensemble set up in front of the north entrance of the Sinquefield Music Center, a limited number of socially distant seats will be available on the adjacent lawn. In addition, there will be a limited number of drive-in spaces available on the parking lot, where additional speakers will be set up and live video of the performance will be projected on the side of the building.

Feature film scored by Mizzou alumnus Grant Fonda opening Friday, October 9

A feature film with a score composed by a Mizzou alumnus will open this month in movie theaters across the country.

Pray: the Story of Patrick Peyton, directed by Jonathan Cipiti and scored by Grant Fonda, is set to hit theaters nationwide on Friday, October 9.

The documentary tells the story of Patrick Peyton, an Irish immigrant who in 1928 came to the US in hopes of becoming a millionaire, and instead ended up joining the priesthood, championing the idea that “the family who prays together stays together.”

Fonda (pictured), who earned his master’s degree in music from Mizzou in 2012, subsequently graduated from USC’s Screen Scoring program and the ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop. He has worked on a wide array of projects, including writing the music for Pray… director Cipiti’s 2018 film The Dating Project and the award-winning Down The Fence (2017), and commercial jingles heard internationally for Suprizamal plush toys. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the closing of movie theaters in many places, Pray: The Story of Patrick Peyton will debut on more than 50 screens in 23 states. In Missouri, the film will open at two theaters, the B&B Liberty 12 in Liberty, and the Marcus St. Charles 18 in St. Charles. You can see the full list of theaters showing the film  here.

Fonda’s music also is used in the movie’s trailer, which can be seen here. A recording of the original score, featuring performances from musicians who have been heard on the soundtracks of films and TV shows such as Braveheart, Titanic, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones, will be released on major digital music services including iTunes and Spotify on Friday, October 16.