Archive for January, 2021

Mizzou International Composers Festival announces resident composers for 2021

Clockwise from top left: Ana Paola Santillán Alcocer, Daniel Fitzpatrick, Paul Mortilla & Nina Shekhar

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) has selected four resident composers to participate in the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF).

Presented by MNMI and the University of Missouri School of Music from Monday, July 26 through Saturday, July 31 in Columbia, the twelfth annual MICF will feature world premieres of new works written by each of the selected composers. Listed with their current places of residence, they are:

* Ana Paola Santillán Alcocer – Mexico City, Mexico
* Daniel Fitzpatrick – Columbia, MO
* Paul Mortilla – Coral Gables, FL
* Nina Shekhar – Princeton, NJ

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

Those composers are Yu Kuwabara (Tokyo, Japan), Pascal Le Boeuf (New York, NY), Shuying Li (Spokane, WA), Celka Ojakangas (Los Angeles, CA), DM R (Diana M. Rodriguez) (New York, NY), Niko Schroeder (Columbia, MO), Andrew Tholl (Los Angeles, CA), and Felipe Tovar-Henao (Bloomington, IN).

The premieres of the new works from all 12 composers will be presented during festival week in two concerts, six per concert, along with music by the distinguished guest composers. However, 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, such as additional concerts featuring music from the guest composers and other contemporary creators, workshops, master classes, and other events.

The Festival’s distinguished guest composers for 2021 will be Chen Yi and David T. Little. Chen 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.

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.

The acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, once again will serve as resident ensemble, as they have since the MICF began in 2010.

During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from Chen and Little and, if conditions permit, take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. The composers also will give public presentation on their music, and after the premiere performance, will receive professional live recordings of their new works.

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

Mizzou New Music Initiative to present Duo Cortona
in a free online concert on Friday, February 5

The Mizzou New Music Initiative will present Duo Cortona in a free online concert at 7:00 p.m. Friday, February 5.

The concert will be available to view on the University of Missouri School of Music’s YouTube channel and the Mizzou New Music Facebook page. It was recorded in conjunction with a “virtual residency” in November 2020 by the duo that also included reading and recording new works by Mizzou student composers and making a presentation to composition students.

The program will include music by Mizzou assistant professor Carolina Heredia; Evan Chambers, who also had a “virtual residency” with MNMI last fall; Robert Morris, a guest composer at the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival; and Annika Socolofsky, who visited Mizzou for a residency in 2019; as well as works by composers Hilda Paredes and John Liberatore.

Duo Cortona, the husband and wife team of violinist Ari Streisfeld and mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway, is a contemporary music ensemble dedicated to the creation of new works for their unique instrumentation. Both Streisfeld and Calloway are faculty members at the University of South Carolina School of Music.

Founded at and named for the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Italy, Duo Cortona (pictured) has done performances and residencies across the USA, including at the Resonant Bodies Festival; the SONiC Festival and The Stone, both in New York City; Contemporary Undercurrents of Song Project in Princeton, NJ; New Music on the Point in Vermont; the Southern Exposure Series for New Music; East Carolina New Music Initiative; University of Wisconsin; College of Charleston; and more.

Yoshiaki Onishi chosen as MMTA’s Commissioned Composer for 2021

The Missouri Music Teachers Association (MMTA) has selected Yoshiaki Onishi as their Commissioned Composer for 2021.

Onishi (pictured), a postdoctoral fellow with the Mizzou New Music Initiative, was chosen after submitting a portfolio of works anonymously to a panel of three judges. As the winner of the award, he will be commissioned to write a new work to be premiered in November 2021 at MMTA’s annual conference.

The winners of the Commissioned Composer competition in various states also are eligible to compete for the Music Teachers National Association’s “Distinguished Composer of Year” award, which includes a performance at MTNA’s national conference and a $5,000 cash prize.

Onishi is the third composer/educator from Mizzou to win the MMTA Commissioned Composer award in recent years, following former faculty member Bret Bohman, the 2019 winner, and associate professor Carolina Heredia, who won in 2018 when she was MNMI’s postdoctoral fellow.

Entry deadline for 2021 COMP extended to Friday, February 5

Due to the effects of the pandemic on Missouri schools, the Mizzou New Music Initiative and the University of Missouri School of Music are extending the deadline for this year’s Creating Original Music Project (COMP) competition.

The new deadline for 2021 COMP submissions will be 11:59 p.m., Friday, February 5, which gives student composers and songwriters in grades K-12 two additional weeks to submit their original music.

For more information or to enter, please visit