Olivia Bennett wins 2019-20 Luna Composition Lab fellowship

Missouri student composer Olivia Bennett has been named one of five 2019-20 fellows by Luna Composition Lab, a program at the Kaufman Music Center in New York City that provides mentorship and performance opportunities to young composers who are female-identifying, non-binary, or gender non-conforming.

Bennett (pictured), a 17-year-old home-schooled student from Nixa, Mo (just south of Springfield), has won multiple awards in competitions sponsored by the Mizzou New Music Initiative.

Those awards include a total of five prizes in the annual Creating Original Music Project (COMP), a statewide composition competition for students in grades K-12, and two wins in the “High School” division of the Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP), which each year showcases recent large ensemble works by Missouri composers in a concert by the Columbia Civic Orchestra and the Columbia Chamber Choir.

In addition to the COMP and MOCOP performances, Bennett’s works have been played by ensembles including the Mizzou String Quartet, Springfield Youth Symphony, Interlochen Philharmonic, and Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Orchestra. She is an alumna of the 2018 Interlochen Arts Camp and Boston University’s 2019 Tanglewood Institute, and was selected as a 2019 American Composers NextNotes winner. A pianist and cellist as well as a composer, Bennett plays cello in the Missouri Philharmonic Orchestra in Springfield.

Now in its fourth year, Luna Composition Lab was founded by composers Missy Mazzoli and Ellen Reid, with composers Reena Esmail, Kristin Kuster, Gity Razaz and Tamar Muskal set to mentor the 2020 fellows.

As part of their fellowships, Bennett and the other young composers will receive one-on-one mentorship and bi-weekly Skype lessons throughout the year; a week of masterclasses, workshops, backstage tours, concerts, and networking events in New York City; a performance opportunity in NYC as part of the Kaufman Music Center’s “Face the Music” concert season; high-quality recordings of their work; and more.

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