Archive for October, 2021

Luis Hermano Bezerra wins 2022 Sinquefield Composition Prize

The University of Missouri School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have awarded the 2022 Sinquefield Composition Prize to Luis Hermano Bezerra. Now in its 17th year, the Sinquefield Composition Prize is the top award for a composition student at Mizzou.

Luis Hermano Bezerra

As this year’s winner, Bezerra will be awarded a $1,500 prize and will be commissioned to write a new work for the University Wind Ensemble. The Ensemble will premiere the work as part of the 2022 Chancellor’s Arts Showcase on Friday, February 25, 2022 at Jesse Auditorium on the University of Missouri campus. The work will also be professionally recorded.

The other finalists for the 2022 Sinquefield Composition Prize were María Laura Disandro, Jack Snelling, and Oswald Huynh. The adjudicators for the 2020 competition were clarinetist Bill Kalinkos, pianist and composer John Orfe, and cellist and composer Jon Silpayamanant.

Bezerra is a Brazilian composer, bassist, and arranger primarily focused on mixing his Brazilian roots with the classical legacy. His compositions, which are profoundly influenced by Brazilian popular dances and musical genres, present a variety of traditional musical expressions. As a bassist, he has recorded and toured with many groups and ensembles in Brazil, including the Northeast Popular Orchestra and the State University of Ceara Symphony Orchestra. 

Bezerra worked as an instructor at the Alberto Nepomuceno Music Conservatory in Brazil, teaching theory, aural training, and bass. He is a now a graduate student in the composition program at the School of Music of the University of Missouri, studying under the mentorship of Dr. Stefan FreundDr. Carolina Heredia, and Dr. Yoshiaki Onishi. Bezerra is also a graduate teaching assistant with the Mizzou New Music Initiative, working as an instructor of theory and computer technology. 

As a composer, Bezerra’s music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles and organizations such as the [Switch~ Ensemble], the Sheldon Arts Foundation in St. Louis, and the Mizzou New Music Ensemble in Columbia, MO.  

For more information about the Sinquefield Prize, visit the MNMI website.

Mizzou’s 2022 Creating Original Music Project (COMP) offers awards, cash prizes for Missouri student composers

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) has returned to presenting live perfomances for the 2021-22 season. As part of our upcoming season, MNMI is looking forward to once again providing young music students in Missouri with the opportunity to hear their new compositions performed in concert through the MNMI Creating Original Music Project (COMP).

Now in its 17th 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 23, 2022 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 in June 2022 on the Mizzou campus.

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 9, 2022.

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 2021-22 academic year is Luis Hermano Bezerra, who can be reached by email at

Although MNMI is now back to presenting live performances in the 2021-22 season, the COVID pandemic makes future conditions difficult to predict. As a result, 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.

Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) seeks new orchestral, choral music for concert in March 2022

The Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) is looking for new, large-ensemble music written by Missouri residents to be performed in a concert on March 20, 2022.

Now in its tenth year, MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO), the Columbia Chamber Choir, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation to bring attention to new large ensemble works written in the state of Missouri. By identifying composers and providing opportunities for the performance of their work, MOCOP showcases emerging talent from Missouri and shares it with the world.

Columbia Civic Orchestra performs works at MOCOP concert

Each year recently composed orchestral and choral works are selected through a competitive, blind judging process to be performed by the CCO and Chamber Choir (pictured) at a concert in Columbia and professionally recorded. Each of the composers of the selected works will also be awarded a $500 honorarium.

MOCOP’s 2022 competition has four categories: High School Choral and High School Orchestral, for Missouri composers currently in high school; and Open Choral and Open Orchestral, for Missouri composers of any age.

The CCO and Columbia Chamber Choir will perform selected works in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 20, 2022 at First Baptist Church, 605 Elm St, in Columbia. Since the 2021 MOCOP concert was cancelled because of COVID protocols, the 2022 concert will feature performances of this year’s winning compositions as well as the winning compositions from last year’s competition.

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 December 6, 2021.

The Columbia Civic Orchestra is a volunteer group located in Columbia, Missouri, dedicated to providing enjoyment for its members and audiences with the presentation and preservation of high-quality symphonic music.

The Columbia Chamber Choir is an ensemble of the Chorale Arts Alliance of Missouri, which works to promote choral music of the highest artistic quality and to stimulate a greater community understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of choral music by presenting programs appealing to a wide cross-section of Missouri residents and visitors.

Visiting Artist Ami Dang to perform Nov. 4, 2021 as part of the Columbia Experimental Music Festival

Amrita “Ami” Kaur Dang, (pictured) a South Asian-American vocalist, sitarist, composer and producer from Baltimore, will be a visiting artist at the Mizzou New Music Initiative on Nov. 4, and open the 2021 Columbia Experimental Music Festival with a performance that evening.

Ami Dang

Dang’s concert will take place at A.P. Green Chapel, 518 Hitt St. on the University of Missouri campus at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available for Dang’s concert, as well as other Columbia Experimental Music Festival performances on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5 and 6 at this link. Face masks and proof of vaccination will be required for admission to all festival events. 

Dang’s concert is presented in conjunction with Dismal Niche Arts and the Mizzou New Music Initiative, with additional sponsorship by Missouri Arts Council89.5 KOPN, Hitt Records and the Columbia Office of Cultural AffairsDismal Niche Arts was founded in 2013 in Columbia as a DIY record label and community arts network. Since incorporating as a non-profit in 2015, the activities of the organization have focused on programming the annual Columbia Experimental Music Festival and seasonal concerts.

Ami Dang’s sound ranges from North Indian classical fused with noise/ambient electronics to beat-driven psych and experimental dance pop. Her work references her hybrid identity as a first-generation South Asian-American, Sikh upbringing, musical education, as well as the chaos and spirituality of the landscapes of both Baltimore and urban India.

Dang began playing sitar at the age of 12 and has studied North Indian classical music (voice and sitar) in both New Delhi and Maryland. She also holds a degree in music technology & composition from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. 

Influenced by artists such as Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass, Dang blends contemporary experimental, pop, and electronic music with the sounds of South Asia -through vocals and sitar, ragas, and sampling. Dang has released three albums: Hukam (2011), Uni Sun (2016), and Parted Plains (2019), as well as a duet recording, Raw Silk (2018), with cellist Alexa Richardson. 

Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) Announces 2022 Festival Dates; Opens Resident Composers Application Process

Alarm Will Sound in concert

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is accepting applications for resident composers to take part in the 2022 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF), which will take place Monday, July 25 through Saturday, July 30, 2022 at the University of Missouri School of Music in Columbia, MO.

The week-long MICF will feature concerts of music from contemporary composers performed in front of live audiences, along with in-person workshops, master classes, and other events. All events will take place at the Sinquefield Music Center. Saturday night’s grand finale 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, these resident composers will receive composition lessons from two distinguished guest composers, who will be announced soon. The 2022 MICF guest composers will teach and consult with the resident composers and ensemble. Resident composers will take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound, and also receive a professional live recording of their work.

For the first time in several years, anyone who applies to be a 2022MICF resident composer will not be charged an application fee. The deadline to apply to become a resident composer for the 2022 Mizzou International Composers Festival is 11:59 p.m. Central time, Nov. 20, 2021. For more information, or to submit an application, please visit

For 2022, MNMI will select five resident composers to take part in the festival. These five composers will be featured alongside three composers from 2020 whose performances had to be postponed.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates, and venues for the 2022 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be made available at a later date. For more information, please visit

Although all 2022 MICF performances and events are planned to take place with live audiences, the COVID pandemic makes future conditions difficult to predict, MNMI will have contingency plans in place 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.