St. Louis Symphony musicians to read works by Mizzou composers

Three student composers from the University of Missouri School of Music will get a chance this academic year to have their orchestral works read, critiqued, and then played again by musicians from the St. Louis Symphony.

Under the auspices of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, student composers Dustin Dunn, Aaron Mencher, and Douglas Osmun (pictured) are writing new works for a 40-piece chamber orchestra, which will be read and played by members of the Symphony in a private session this November in St. Louis.

The composers then will get a chance to revise their works for a second, public reading by the same musicians on Sunday, April 29 at Powell Hall.

Dunn, a senior, and Mencher, a junior, are working toward undergraduate degrees in composition at Mizzou, while Osmun, winner of the school’s Sinquefield Composition Prize for 2017, is in his second year of study for a master’s degree.

“This is a unique opportunity for our composers,” said Stefan Freund, professor of composition at the University of Missouri School of Music and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “We’re delighted to be collaborating with the St. Louis Symphony to give these students some real, practical experience working with an ensemble of world-class musicians. ”

“The two-session format makes this program particularly valuable,” Freund said.  “There are other programs that give young composers the chance to have their works read by a professional orchestra, but most provide just one session with the musicians.”

“Here, because the Symphony and their musicians are willing to do two sessions, our composers will have a chance to evaluate everything from their overall orchestration to the notation of individual parts, make revisions, and then hear the results of the changes they’ve made. That’s a learning experience that’s impossible to get any other way,” he said.

Dunn, Mencher, and Osmun already are working on their compositions, Freund said, and are expected to deliver the first versions of their works to the Symphony in October. More details about the public reading in April will be announced at a later date.

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