Khemia Ensemble visiting Mizzou for residency, concert on Tuesday, March 6

The new music group Khemia Ensemble will visit Columbia next week for a residency that will include a concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 6 at Whitmore Recital Hall.

Admission to the performance is free and open to the public.

With eight instrumentalists, two resident composers, and a visual artist, Khemia Ensemble (pictured) will present a concert program including works by the group’s founders Carolina Heredia and Bret Bohman, plus a new piece by Mizzou’s Dustin Dunn and music by Andy Akiho, Marcos Balter, Luciano Berio, Pierre Jalbert, and Harold Meltzer.

While they’re on campus, the group also will coach the Mizzou New Music Ensemble in a rehearsal and work with student composers in a reading session of new pieces, while individual members will take part in a composition seminar and present master classes on their instruments.

Khemia Ensemble was founded in 2014 in Ann Arbor, MI by Heredia and Bohman, spouses who now are, respectively, a post-doctoral fellow and an adjunct faculty member both teaching composition here at Mizzou. Drawing on the faculty and students of the University of Michigan, they assembled musicians from five countries in the Americas – Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States – to form an ensemble that seeks to diversify and spread the music of living composers while providing unique concert experiences.

Since then, the ensemble has been featured on festivals and concert series such as Strange, Beautiful Music in Detroit; the third annual New Music Gathering; Latin IS America at Michigan State University;and the Biennial New Music Festival at the National University of Cordoba in Argentina. Khemia has held residencies at University of Michigan, Tufts University, Michigan State University, the National University of Bogota in Colombia, and the National University of Cordoba, as well as two consecutive years at Avaloch Farm Music Institute in New Hampshire. They released their first album Voyages in the winter of 2016.

You can hear some sample tracks from Khemia Ensemble in the embedded players below.

Columbia Civic Orchestra, Columbia Chamber Choir to perform works by
Missouri Composers Project winners in concert on Sunday, March 11

The Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) and the Columbia Chamber Choir will perform the winning works from the 2018 Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) competition in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 11 at First Baptist Church, 1112 East Broadway in Columbia.

Admission to the concert is free and open to the public.

Two of the winning works from the MOCOP competition are for orchestra, and two are for chorus. “Antrios,” the winner in the “orchestral – open” category, is by Aaron Mencher, a junior composition major and Sinquefield Scholar at Mizzou and the winner of the 2018 Sinquefield Composition Prize. Named after a fictional painter in Yasmina Reza’s play “Art,” the work gives musical form to the composer’s reflections on the meaning of art via an introspective melody for flute and piccolo that “evolves throughout the piece to reflect art’s ever-changing role in my life.”

The winner in the “orchestral – high school” category is “The Fall of Númenor” by Devon Bollin, a 2017 graduate of Fort Zumwalt East High School who lives in St. Peters, MO. It’s described as “a musical depiction of the fantasy book “Akallabêth” by J.R.R. Tolkien (author of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”),” which “follows the downfall of a once powerful island nation because of the pride, envy, and bloodlust of its inhabitants.”

“Clap Your Hands” is a choral composition by Carlyle Sharpe, a professor of music at Drury University in Springfield. Using the word’s of the Bible’s Psalm 47 as text, the work originally was commissioned by Drury University for the inauguration of Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd as its 18th President, and reflects the celebratory mood of that event.

“Silence” is a choral work by Brandon Thibodeau, a student at Kearney High School in Kearney, MO, which the composer describes as “a bittersweet piece that indirectly voices the thoughts of a listener experiencing an internal struggle with pain and hardship.”

In addition to the four winning pieces from the MOCOP competition, the concert also will include performances of three more recent works by living Missouri composers.

“Dance and Sunrise” was composed for orchestra by Ian David Coleman, a professor of music and department chair at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO. Originally written for the New Plymouth Symphony in New Plymouth, New Zealand as an overture to a concert of American music, it moves “from fast action to quiet reflection,” leaving the “modern fast paced world, in order to take time to focus on the music of the concert at hand.”

“March of the Trees” is an orchestral work by Benjamin Rouder, a 2017 graduate of Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, and was inspired by summer weather and the views of nature from the composer’s back porch.

“She” is a choral piece by Jake Smucker, a second-year student working on a master’s in composition at Mizzou, that incorporates text from various Bible passages exploring pacifism.

Now in its seventh year, MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the CCO, the Chamber Choir, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. Composers from all over Missouri are invited each year to submit orchestral and choral works for potential performance, with winners selected in two age categories, “open” and “high school.” In addition to the performance and a recording of their work, all four winners of the competition receive a $500 honorarium from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

James Mobberley coming to Mizzou for residency next week

The Mizzou New Music Initiative will welcome composer and educator James Mobberley to the Mizzou campus for a residency next week.

Mobberly (pictured) currently is a distinguished professor emeritus and adjunct professor at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, having retired as a full-time faculty member there in 2016.

He’ll be in Columbia next Monday, February 26 and Tuesday, February 27 for a residency that will include a presentation on his music to a seminar of composition students, giving private lessons, and coaching the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, who will play his work “Toccatas and Interludes” at their concert on Monday night at Whitmore Recital Hall.

A Rome Prize winner and Guggenheim Fellow, Mobberley has written works for a variety of media, from orchestral, chamber and electro-acoustic music for the concert stage to music for dance, film, and video.

Born in Des Moines, Iowa and raised in Pennsylvania, Mobberley earned his master’s degree at the University of North Carolina and his doctorate at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He began teaching at UMKC in 1983.

He has been a resident composer with the Kansas City Symphony (1992-1999), and a visiting composer with both the Taiwan National Symphony (1999) and the Fort Smith Symphony (2000). Past guest residencies and workshops include the Taiwan National Symphony, the Ft. Smith Symphony, the Composers Forum of the East at Bennington College, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Southern California, Oberlin College, Washington State University, the University of Arkansas, Heidelberg College, and more.

Mobberly has received commissions from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, Koussevitzky Foundation/Library of Congress, Barlow Endowment, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, National Endowment for the Arts, and numerous ensembles and individual performers. He also has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, League-ISCM, Meet the Composer, the Van Cliburn Foundation, the Shanghai Spring Festival, and many other organizations.

His music has been featured on two dozen recordings, notably an all-Mobberley album by the Czech National Symphony on the Albany label, as well as on labels such as Black Canyon, Bridge, Capstone, Centaur, Everglade, and Troppa Note.

You can see performances of two of James Mobberley’s works in the embedded players below, and hear many of his other compositions on his SoundCloud page.

“In B” and “Peace Study,” performed by pianist Anthony DeMare at the 2013 Tribeca New Music Festival

“Caution to the Winds” for piano and electronic tape, performed by Kristina Sandulova on February 15, 2008 in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Kuang-Hao Huang to visit Mizzou for residency, concerts on February 24 & 25

Pianist Kuang-Hao Huang is coming to Mizzou later this month for a four-day residency that will include public performances on Saturday, February 24 and Sunday, February 25.

Huang (pictured) will perform with Mizzou faculty mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley in a concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 24, presenting works by Alban Berg, Arnold Schönberg, Anton Webern, Hanns Eisler, and Olivier Messiaen.

Then at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 25, Huang will accompany Mizzou students singing and performing in an all-Messiaen concert of chamber music.

Both performances will take place in Whitmore Recital Hall on the Mizzou campus. Admission to Saturday’s concert is $5 for the general public, free to Mizzou students, staff and faculty with ID. Sunday’s concert is free and open to the public.

While he’s in Columbia, Huang also will give a talk to Mizzou student composers about contemporary piano techniques on Thursday, February 22 and coach the Mizzou New Music Ensemble in a rehearsal on Friday, February 23.

Known as an advocate of new music, Huang has performed throughout the United States as well as in Europe and Asia. Notably, he gave the world premiere performances of solo works by Louis Andriessen and 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival distinguished guest composer Chen Yi at Weill Hall in New York City as part of Carnegie Hall’s “Millennium Piano Book” project.

Huang also has premiered numerous ensemble works, including pieces by Jacob Bancks, Mason Bates, Kyong Mee Choi, Stacy Garrop, John Harbison, Daniel Kellogg, James Matheson, and Laura Schwendinger.

His collaborative projects include membership in the Fulcrum Point New Music Project and work with the Chicago Chamber Musicians Composer Perspectives series, MusicNOW and CUBE Ensemble.
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Born in Wisconsin, Huang has degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, and Northwestern University. He currently lives in the Chicago area, where he teaches as the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and Concordia University-Chicago.

In addition to teaching at the university level, Huang has presented educational outreach programs throughout the Chicago Public Schools on behalf of the International Music Foundation, and for a decade coordinated the piano program at Northwestern University’s National High School Music Institute. He also has served as artistic director of Make Music Chicago, a day-long, citywide, DIY music festival held at the summer solstice that “celebrates the musician in us all.”

When in his home city, he performs in concerts and radio broadcasts with Chicago’s finest musicians, from instrumentalists of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to singers with the Lyric Opera. Huang also has been a guest of the Chicago Chamber Musicians; has performed with the Avalon, Chicago, Spektral and Vermeer String Quartets; and can be heard in recordings on the Cedille and Naxos labels.

You can hear two examples of Huang and Julia Bentley performing works by contemporary composers in the embedded audio players below.

“Southern Harmony, 6. WINTER” by Jacob Bancks, performed by Julia Bentley, mezzo-soprano, and Kuang-Hao Huang, piano

David Dies’ setting of Rilke’s “An die Musik,” premiered at Roosevelt University in Chicago by Julia Bentley and Kuang-Hao Huang

Mizzou New Music Ensemble performing works
by Mobberley, Chen, Mincek and Bohman
on Monday, February 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble’s first concert of 2018 will feature works by three guest composers who will be visiting the University of Missouri campus this year, plus a piece by a new faculty composer.

The Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, February 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the Mizzou campus. Admission is $5 for the general public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff with ID.

Composer James Mobberley will coach the Ensemble and be present for the performance of his piece “Toccatas and Interludes” as part of a two-day residency at Mizzou. A winner of the prestigious Rome Prize and a Guggenheim Fellow, Mobberley officially retired from the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance in 2016 and now is a distinguished professor emeritus and adjunct professor at UMKC.

The concert also will include the Ensemble’s first performances of works by the two distinguished guest composers for this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival, each featuring an MU student as guest conductor.

“Near Distance” is by Chen Yi, who is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Chen also is a Guggenheim fellow, a recipient of the Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a former finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. Her work will be conducted by Hans Heruth, a junior composition major at Mizzou.

“Portraits and Repetitions” was composed by Alex Mincek, who is an assistant professor of composition and music technology at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and a co-founder and artistic director of the Wet Ink Ensemble. Mincek also is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as an Alpert Award and multiple honors from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble’s performance of his piece will include guest saxophonist (and School of Music admissions coordinator) Ben Harting, and will be conducted by Jesus Gomez, who’s in his first year of studies at MU for a master’s degree in music.

Completing the program will be “Spiral,” a composition by Mizzou adjunct faculty member Bret Bohman that originally was commissioned in 2015 by the Khemia Ensemble, a new music group based in Ann Arbor, MI who will be visiting the Mizzou campus in March. Bohman, who earned his doctorate in music at the University of Michigan, joined the Mizzou faculty in the fall of 2017 and teaches courses in electronic music composition and music theory.

The seven-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer, professor of composition, and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. The Ensemble’s members for the 2017-18 season are Victoria Hargrove, clarinet; Hannah Hutchins, percussion; Daniel Keeler, cello; Kelariz Keshavarz, flute; Pedro Ramiro, violin; Libby Roberts, piano; and Brianna Trainor, percussion.

Missouri Composers Project selects four works
for Columbia Civic Orchestra concert on Sunday, March 11

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) has announced the selection of four winners in the 2018 Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) competition.

Now in its seventh year, MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving MNMI, the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO), the Columbia Chamber Choir, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. Composers from all over Missouri are invited each year to submit orchestral and choral works for potential performance, with winners selected in two age categories, “open” and “high school.”

All four winners of the 2018 competition will receive a $500 honorarium from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, and the CCO and the Chamber Choir will perform their compositions in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 11 at First Baptist Church, 1112 East Broadway in Columbia. Admission to the concert is free and open to the public.

Pictured from left: Mencher, Sharpe, Bollin, Thibodeau

In the “open” categories, this year’s winning orchestral composition is “Antrios” by Aaron Mencher, and the winning choral work is “Clap Your Hands” by Carlyle Sharpe.

Mencher is a junior composition major and Sinquefield Scholar at Mizzou and the winner of the 2018 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the university’s top award for a student composer.

Sharpe is a professor of music at Drury University in Springfield who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and a DMA in composition from Boston University.

In the high school categories, the winning orchestral work for 2018 is “The Fall of Númenor” by Devon Bollin, a 2017 graduate of Fort Zumwalt East High School who lives in St. Peters, MO.

The winning choral composition is “Silence” by Brandon Thibodeau, a student at Kearney High School in Kearney, MO. Thibodeau previously has won three first-place awards and a second-place award in Mizzou’s annual Creating Original Music Project competition for Missouri students in grades K-12, and for the last two years has been a participant in the university’s Summer Composition Institute.

The Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) is a collaborative effort by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra, and the Columbia Chamber Choir 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 intends to showcase emerging talent of Missouri and share it with the world.

Mikkel Christensen wins grand prize in ShoutHouse call for scores

Mizzou’s Mikkel Christensen has won the grand prize in a worldwide open call for scores from the ensemble ShoutHouse in New York City.

Christensen (pictured) is in his first year of work toward a master’s degree in composition at Mizzou, studying with Stefan Freund. A native of Lockhart, TX, he earned his undergraduate degree in music and technology at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ.

Formed in 2012, ShoutHouse is a 14-member chamber orchestra of classical, hip-hop, and jazz musicians that describes their style as combining “the freedom and lyricism of jazz, the poetry of hip-hop, and the structures and textures of contemporary art music.”

They chose Chistensen’s work “Outsider” as the grand prize winner from among nearly 200 submissions, and will perform it at one of their concerts this year in New York, date and location to be announced.

Aaron Hynds to perform Wednesday, January 17 at Whitmore Recital Hall

Aaron Hynds, a tubist, composer, and audio engineer with a penchant for new music, is coming to Mizzou to present a guest artist recital and lecture at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 17 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the MU campus.

The program will include “Dyadic Affinities’ by Asha Srinivasan (who was a resident composer at the 2012 Mizzou International Composers Festival), plus one of Hynds’ own compositions, as well as works by Hong-Da Chin, Asia Ahmetjanova, Elise Roy, and Doug McCausland. The concert is free and open to the public.

Hynds (pictured) has been a featured performer at new music events and venues including the Omaha Under the Radar Festival; the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany; the Null Point music series in Buffalo, NY; Constellation in Chicago; the 2016 and 2017 New Music Gatherings, in Baltimore, MD and Bowling Green, OH, respectively; the Bowling Green New Music Festival; and the Vanguard New Music Series at Kent State University.

As part of his ongoing efforts to promote new music for tuba and euphonium, he has commissioned and performed works by composers such as Kurt Isaacson, Nicholas Deyoe, Eliza Brown, Ruby Fulton, and Monte Weber, with more collaborations currently underway with Kari Besharse, Louise Fristensky, Ray Evanoff, and Mizzou’s own Jacob Gotlib.

Hynds is in the process of recording his first solo project, “Colossus: New Music for Tuba, Vols. 1 & 2,” featuring 13 of the works that he has commissioned. He also has recorded with Ensemble Dal Niente, ambient group The Midwest Hackers, and in a doom metal/jazz trio with Jordan Snow and Danny Hynds.

In addition to performing, Hynds is a composer and new media artist, with recent premieres including “Choke (Radio Edit),” for bass clarinetist Gunnar Hirthe and electronics; “Sediment,” for three bass drums and electronics, performed by Ensemble Knox; and “SID 6581” for amplified violin and computer, premiered by Abdel Anzaldua at the SPLICE Institute.

Originally from Decatur, IL, Hynds currently is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Bowling Green State University,  having previously earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Music degrees from the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since the fall of 2017, he also is the sound production coordinator and events technician for the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, serving as primary audio engineer for the department and supervising the Sound Recording Technologies minor.

You can hear samples of Aaron Hynds’ music via his pages on Bandcamp and SoundCloud.