MICF on TV

The 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival has two different video spots running online, on central Missouri’s PBS affiliate, and on local and cable news in Columbia.

The videos were produced by Michael Boles and Nicholas Barwick of Mizzou’s Academic Support Center and by Dale H. Lloyd, working under the direction of Mizzou New Music Initiative managing director Jacob Gotlib.

You can see both spots in the embedded windows below.

Composers Festival spotlight: Dan Visconti

Dan Visconti

Dan Visconti, one of the two distinguished guest composers at the 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival, is known both for his music and for his work as a speaker, writer, and activist seeking “to address social issues through music by re-imagining the arts as a form of cultural and civic service.”

Visconti’s biography describes his compositions as “rooted in the improvisational energy and maverick spirit of rock, folk music, and other vernacular performance traditions,” and the Cleveland Plain Dealer has characterized his work as “both mature and youthful, bristling with exhilarating musical ideas and a powerfully crafted lyricism.”

As a distinguished guest composer for the MICF, Visconti (pictured) will work with the eight resident composers and Alarm Will Sound, and give a public presentation on his music. The festival will include performances of two of his works – “Psychedelia,” a brand new piece composed for Alarm Will Sound that they’ll play during their concert on Thursday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre, and “Fractured Jams,” which the Mizzou New Music Ensemble will perform on Friday, July 28.

Visconti recently completed three years as the California Symphony’s Young American Composer in Residence, during which he wrote works including “Tangle Eye,” a concerto for cello and orchestra inspired by folk recordings collected by Alan Lomax that debuted in May of this year, and 2016’s “Living Language,” a concerto for guitar and orchestra featuring Grammy-winning soloist Jason Vieaux.

Other recent projects include “Amplified Soul,” a showpiece written specifically for Venezuelan piano virtuoso Gabriela Martinez; “ANDY: A Popera,” an opera/cabaret hybrid commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and inspired by the life, work, and philosophy of pop artist Andy Warhol; and the interactive video game opera “Permadeath,” a collaboration with acclaimed Pulitzer-winning librettist Cerise Jacobs and director Michael Counts.

Visconti also has written commissioned works for the Kronos Quartet, Branford Marsalis, Eighth Blackbird, the JACK Quartet, Da Capo Chamber Players, Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, Silkroad percussionist Shane Shanahan, soprano Lucy Shelton, and many others.

His honors include the Rome Prize, Berlin Prize, and awards from the Koussevitzky Foundation at the Library of Congress, Fromm Foundation, Naumburg Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In addition to his composer residency with the California Symphony, he recently completed a multi-year residency with opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, New York City Opera, and the Glimmerglass Festival as recipient of the Douglas Moore Fellowship in American Opera.

Visconti’s music has been performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Los Angeles’s Disney Hall, London’s Barbican Theatre, and Sydney Opera House.

He currently serves as director of artistic programming at Chicago’s Fifth House Ensemble, and works with young musicians at the ensemble’s annual Fresh Inc Festival on cultivating musical careers in line with their own unique vision and values. Visconti also recently was named artistic advisor at Astral Artists, a nonprofit intensive mentoring program that specializes in developing the early careers of extraordinary classical musicians.

A sought-after speaker on music and social topics, Visconti was awarded a 2014 TED Fellowship and delivered a TED talk at the conference’s thirtieth anniversary. Other recent appearances include speeches at the Clinton School for Public Service, the National Archive, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post and his writing also has appeared in NewMusicBox, ArtsJournal, Medium, The 21st-Century Musician, and Symphony magazine.

Dan Visconti was interviewed last week on KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program, and you can listen to that conversation here. For more, read his 2016 interview with 21cm.org, and watch the accompanying video of his talk about “Music and Community” at DePauw University.

You can hear samples of Visconti’s music on his SoundCloud page and via the embedded players below.

“Lonesome Roads” performed in May 2017 by Fifth House Ensemble.

“Black Bend” from “Hitchhiker’s Tales,” performed by Sybarite5, with Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney (violins), Angela Pickett (viola), Laura Metcalf (cello), and Louis Levit (double bass), for the 2013 International Society of Double Bassists Convention at the Eastman School Of Music’s Kilbourn Hall.

“Amplified Soul,” written for and performed by Gabriela Martinez on her first album.

“Fractured Jams,” recorded by Scharoun Ensemble Berlin.

Robert Sirota to discuss “Three Nocturnes” in pre-concert talk on Thursday, July 27

Composer Robert Sirota will discuss his new work “Three Nocturnes” in a pre-concert talk before Alarm Will Sound’s world premiere performance of it for the Mizzou International Composers Festival on Thursday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre. Sirota’s talk will begin at 7:00 p.m., and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m.

Sirota (pictured) will be joined by artist Simon Dinnerstein, whose drawings “Night,” “Night Scene I,” and “Purple Haze” provided inspiration for “Three Nocturnes”; and Alex Barker, director of Mizzou’s Museum of Art & Archaeology, where the exhibition “The Lasting World – Simon Dinnerstein and the Fulbright Triptych” will be presented starting July 25 through December 22.

A native New Yorker who now splits his time between New York City and Maine, Robert Sirota has been called “a quintessentially American composer” by ClassicalLite. Over the past 40 years, his chamber, orchestral, and liturgical works have been performed all over the world, and he has been the recipient of numerous awards, honors and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Meet The Composer, the American Music Center, and many others.

As a teacher, he served as director of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, chairman of the department of music and performing arts professions at New York University, director of Boston University’s school of music, and from 2005 to 2012, president of Manhattan School of Music. Sirota’s “Three Nocturnes” was commissioned by Alarm Will Sound specifically for the Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Admission to the pre-concert talk is included in the ticket price for the concert. Single tickets for all Mizzou International Composers Festival concerts are priced at $18 for adults, $10 for students. Tickets can be charged by phone using Visa, MasterCard or Discover by calling 1-573-882-3781. To buy tickets online, visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Composers Festival spotlight: Eli Lara

Cellist Eli Lara will make her Mizzou International Composers Festival debut this year, performing as part of the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, November 28 at the Missouri Theatre.

Lara (pictured) joined the Mizzou faculty last fall as assistant professor of cello and the newest member of the Esterhazy Quartet.

For the MICF, she’ll perform a program of works dedicated to iconic Swiss conductor Paul Sacher, including “Trois Strophes sur le Nom de Sacher” by Henri Dutilleux, and several pieces composed as part of the “Mystery Variations” project celebrating the 50th birthday of Finnish cellist Anssi Karttunen.

As an ensemble and solo musician, Lara has performed across North America, South America, Asia, and Europe. She is co-founder of Trio Séléné and was formerly cellist of the Calla Quartet and the Franklin String Quartet.

Lara has worked with many contemporary composers, including Fernando Buide, Krzystof Penderecki, Caroline Shaw, Julia Wolfe, and Jeffrey Wood. She has performed and/or premiered new works in numerous concerts and festivals including the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and Summergarden at the New York MoMA.

She is a graduate of Yale University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and an M.M. in cello performance. As a recipient of a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellowship, Lara then completed her D.M.A. at The Juilliard School

Before coming to Mizzou, Lara taught at Austin Peay State University in Nashville, where she also performed as co-principal of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, guest principal of the Paducah Symphony, and in the Nashville Opera Orchestra.

While in the Nashville area, she also worked frequently as a studio musician, recording with Willie Nelson on his album For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price, as well as performing on video game soundtracks for Insomniac, Oculus Rift, and Electronic Arts (including Madden 16).

Lara also has been heard on NPR, at major venues such as New York’s Alice Tully Hall and London’s Wigmore Hall and at festivals including Birdfoot, Kneisel Hall, Sarasota, Banff, and Festival Pablo Casals (France).

Shortly after moving to Columbia last year, Lara was a guest on KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program, and you can hear that interview here.

Trio Séléné, featuring Eli Lara (cello), Mingzhe Wang (clarinet), and Ilya Poletaev (piano), performs Fauré’s “Clarinet Trio, op. 120” in February 2017 at Austin Peay State University’s Mabry Hall.

Composers Festival spotlight: Charles Peck

It’s been a busy year so far for Charles Peck. In addition to being one of the eight resident composers for the 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival, in the past two months he was selected for the Minnesota Orchestra’s Composers Institute, and also won the Boston New Music Initiative‘s annual commissioning competition.

Just this week, Peck’s oboe and tape piece “Fade” was performed at the NYC Electroacoustic Music Festival, a couple of days after his audiovisual work “Ferrous” was featured at the Caz Counterpoint Festival in Cazenovia, NY.

In addition, in June the Albany Symphony performed Peck’s “Mosaic” during the American Music Festival at EMPAC Concert Hall in Troy, NY as part of their Composer to Center Stage program. And in May, he had the debut performance of his work at Carnegie Hall, as members of the New York Youth Symphony played his new piano quartet “Sunburst” at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall.

With all this going on, Peck (pictured) also found time to complete “Vinyl,” which Alarm Will Sound will perform as part of the MICF’s “Eight World Premieres” grand finale on Saturday, July 29 at the Missouri Theatre.

A Philadelphia native, Peck currently is a doctoral candidate at Cornell University, where he has received the Otto R. Stahl Memorial Award in composition. Previously, Peck earned a bachelor’s degree in music industry from Drexel University, and a master’s in music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

His works have been performed by groups and soloists including the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, Symphony in C, the New York Youth Symphony, the JACK Quartet, Sandbox Percussion, ensemble mise-en, the Locrian Chamber Players, sTem, Derek Bermel, Ji Hye Jung, Rachel Calloway, Xak Bjerken, and Holly Roadfeldt.

Peck’s music also has been featured at the Aspen Music Festival, the Lake George Music Festival, the New Music Gathering, and the highSCORE Festival.

His honors and awards include winning the Lake George Music Festival’s Composition Competition, the NC New Music Initiative’s Orchestral Composition Competition, the Frame Dance Music Composition Competition, and the Symphony in C’s Young Composers’ Competition; taking part in the Castleton Festival’s Young Composer’s Forum; and winning grants from the McKnight Foundation, the American Composers Forum, and the Cornell Council for the Arts.

You can find out more about Charles Peck in the interview he did a couple of weeks ago on KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program, and you can listen to his music on his SoundCloud page and in the embedded players below.

“Rift & Shade” performed by the JACK Quartet

“Mosaic,” world premiere performance by Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra on September 18, 2016 at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Monica, CA.

“Fade” for oboe and tape, performed by Mattie Peck

Composers Festival spotlight: Selim Göncü

Born in Turkey and educated in Hungary and Austria, Selim Göncü is one of four resident composers at the 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival who originally comes from outside the USA.

He currently is pursuing a PhD in composition at University of California, Berkeley, studying with Franck Bedrossian and Ken Ueno, and the Bay Area is just the latest stop in an itinerary that already has included some prestigious destinations.

Göncü (pictured) started taking piano lessons at the age of eleven, and began his higher education with a year of study at the Liszt Academy of Music in Hungary.

He moved to University Mozarteum of Salzburg in Austria, studying with Reinhard Febel and focusing on electronic music. Göncü also served as an assistant in Mozarteum’s composition department for two years before graduating in 2012.

From Salzburg, it was on to Graz, as Göncü then attended the famous Kunstuniversität Graz, studying with Clemens Gadenstätter and graduating with the highest distinction.

As part of his musical education, he also has taken part in workshops and seminars with other notable composers including Francesco Filidei, Franck Bedrossian, Beat Furrer, Philippe Leroux, Klaus Huber, Aaron Cassidy, Isabel Mundry, and Dieter Ammann.

Göncü’s works have been performed and recorded in festivals and concerts in Austria, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Turkey and the USA. In 2016, he participated in IRCAM’s ManiFeste Festival, where his work “dimINNUENDO” was premiered by Ensemble Intercontemporain.

Other honors include being selected for the 2013 Firenze Suona Contemporanea festival; a special mention in Risuonanze 2013; and a Kunstuniversität Graz Jahresstipendium fellowship.

For the 2017 MICF, Göncü has written a new work called “post-pandemonium” that will be performed by Alarm Will Sound as part of the festival’s grand finale on Saturday, July 29.

Other recent projects include a small ensemble work for L’Instant Donné, a duo for electric guitar and accordion for Ensemble Cairn soloists, a new work for Ensemble Proton Bern, and a concerto for keyboard and ensemble for Berkeley’s ECO Ensemble.

You can hear Selim Göncü talk about his music in the interview he did earlier this summer with KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” Program, and you can listen to samples of his work on his SoundCloud page and via the embedded players below.

“damplification” (2014-15), US premiere recording performed by Kate Campbell and Anne Rainwater.

Works for Ensemble playlist

“SISYPHEAN S(T)EIN” (2015), recorded at the world premiere at the 2015 Etchings Festival, performed by by Ecce Ensemble, with Vasko Dukovski (clarinet) Diamanda La Berge Dramm (violin), László Hudacsek (percussion), and Nicholas Isherwood (bass baritone), conducted by Jean-Philippe Wurtz.

Composers Festival spotlight: Mizzou New Music Ensemble

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will be the featured performers in the Mizzou International Composers Festival‘s “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre.

Comprised of graduate students on scholarship, the Ensemble (pictured) is directed by professor of composition, faculty composer, and Alarm Will Sound member Stefan Freund. They serve as the flagship group of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, collaborating with student, faculty, and visiting composers throughout the year to perform a variety of new works.

The Ensemble’s members for the 2016-17 season are Victoria Hargrove, clarinet; Daniel Keeler, cello; Kelariz Keshavarz, flute; Renan Leme, violin; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; and Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophone.

For the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 28, the Ensemble will play works by both of this year’s distinguished guest composers, performing Dan Visconti’s “Fractured Jams” and Georg Friedrich Haas’ “…aus freier Lust…verbunden”.

During the academic year, the group performs a series of concerts on campus, and they also play off campus as well. Most recently, in May of this year they premiered “Eclipse Symphony,” a suite of four new works written by Mizzou students to commemorate the upcoming solar eclipse, in a performance at the St. Louis Science Center’s McDonnell Planetarium.

The Ensemble also has performed at the World Chess Hall of Fame, the Sheldon Concert Hall, the Shoenberg Theatre at the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the St. Louis Zoo’s Living World, and in St. Louis’ Forest Park as part of a benefit for Forest Park Forever.

Just about all of the Ensemble’s concerts, whether on campus or off, include music from student composers at Mizzou, giving both composers and performers valuable hands-on experience in the process of developing new work.

In the embedded audio player below, you can hear some samples of the Ensemble performing music from various student, faculty and visiting composers.

Composers Festival spotlight: DRAX

DRAX, the duo of percussionist Megan Arns and saxophonist Leo Saguiguit, will return to the Mizzou International Composers Festival this year as guest artists for the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre.

They’ll perform “Where Are Our Mothers/We Don’t Have Enough Time” by 2011 MICF resident composer Steve Snowden, and “Tantrums,” a world premiere that they commissioned from 2012 MICF resident composer Asha Srinivasan.

Formed in fall 2014 to explore the existing repertoire for saxophone and percussion duo and to commission new works, DRAX (pictured) made their MICF debut at the 2015 festival, performing new music including a piece commissioned from Mizzou alumnus and 2014 MICF resident composer Jose Martinez.

Recent performances include a concert for the Odyssey Chamber Music Series in December 2016, and an appearance at the 2017 North American Saxophone Alliance Region IV Conference in Oklahoma City, where they played new works by Mizzou student composer Aaron Mencher and Steve Snowden.

DRAX made their international debut at the 2015 World Saxophone Congress in Strasbourg, France, and also have performed at the North American Saxophone Alliance Region 4 Conference in Norman, Oklahoma, and the Missouri Percussive Arts Society’s Day of Percussion.

Both members of DRAX have multi-faceted careers as performers, teachers, and advocates for new music. Megan Arns is an assistant teaching professor of percussion at Mizzou who also has performed with the contemporary chamber groups [Switch~Ensemble] and What is Noise and with a number of symphony orchestras.

Arns has been involved in co-commissioning and premiering works by notable composers such as John Luther Adams, Alejandro Viñao, Halim El-Dahb, Steven Snowden, Adam Silverman, David Skidmore, Ivan Trevino, and Brian Nozny.

She earned performance degrees from Florida State University and Truman State University; an M.A. in ethnomusicology from the Eastman School of Music, and currently is a candidate for a D.M.A. in percussion performance and literature at Eastman.

Leo Saguiguit serves as associate professor of saxophone at the University of Missouri, and in 2016 was one of eight recipients of the university’s Faculty-Alumni Award. He also enjoys a busy schedule performing as a soloist and chamber musician and presenting master classes and lectures throughout the United States and abroad.

In addition to DRAX, he performs with the Athens (Greece) Saxophone Quartet, Chicago Saxophone Quartet, Missouri Saxophone Quartet, Trio Chymera, and the Odyssey Chamber Music Series of Columbia.

Saguiguit has appeared as concerto soloist with numerous orchestras and wind ensembles, and has performed regularly as an orchestral saxophonist with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Milwaukee Symphony, Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Florida Orchestra, and Missouri Symphony.

He has earned degrees from Emory University and Northwestern University, and has recorded CDs with the Athens Quartet, Impuls Quartet, Chromos Quartet, and the wind ensemble Philharmonia à Vent.

DRAX performs “Burn” (2016) by Nathan Daughtrey and “Greensleeves” (traditional, arr. Mark Hanson), recorded December 2, 2016 at First Baptist Church in Columbia, MO