St. Louis Symphony to perform Stefan Freund’s “Cyrillic Dreams”

Original music from Mizzou will be heard once again next year at Powell Hall in St. Louis, as the St. Louis Symphony’s announcement last Tuesday of their 2015-16 season schedule included the news that they’ll perform Stefan Freund’s “Cyrillic Dreams” as part of a concert on Friday, April 29, 2016.

Stefan Freund

Freund is associate professor of composition and music theory at the University of Missouri and co-artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. The Memphis native also is a cellist and founding member of the new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, and is the music director and principal conductor of the Columbia Civic Orchestra.

“Cyrillic Dreams,” composed in 2008 with a commission from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, was inspired by Freund’s trip to Russia that year. It was premiered by the Columbia Civic Orchestra by the Columbia Civic Orchestra on March 24, 2009 in Vienna’s Minoritenkirche with the composer conducting, and subsequently has been played by orchestras including the Tennessee Tech University Orchestra and the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, and at the Missouri River Festival of the Arts.

The St. Louis Symphony will play Freund’s composition on a program that also includes well-known works such as Bernstein’s “Candide Overture,” Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” and Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The concert is part of the St. Louis Symphony’s new “Music You Know” series conducted by music director David Robertson, which aims to connect listeners to classical music by presenting “familiar tunes we’re certain you know, and others that you’ll long to hear again and again.” “Cyrillic Dreams” also is one of just eight works by living composers on the orchestra’s schedule next season.

“When I wrote “Cyrillic Dreams,” I imagined the rich acoustic of the three huge churches in Austria where the piece was to be performed,” said Freund. “I think it will sound equally glorious in the majestic setting of Powell Hall.”

Tickets for the St. Louis Symphony’s 2015-16 season are on sale now via their website at stlsymphony.org.

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project chooses works
by Zachary Cairns, Hans Heruth for performance on Saturday, March 7

The famous conductor James Levine once compared the orchestra to a “treasure chest,” but the relative scarcity of modern works on orchestral programs means that few contemporary composers ever get the chance to access those riches.

Zachary Cairns

Now, two more Missouri composers will receive that valuable opportunity, as the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have announced the selection of two orchestral works written by Missouri residents to be performed by the CCO at a concert on Saturday, March 7 in Columbia.

The winning compositions were chosen in a statewide competition conducted under the auspices of the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP). Both winners will receive a $500 honorarium from MOCOP’s sponsor, the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Hans Heruth

The work chosen for 2015 in the Open category is “Refracted Moonlight” by Zachary Cairns, an assistant professor of music theory at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Cairns earned a Ph.D. in theory from the Eastman School of Music, and an M.A. in theory and a B.S. in music education from Penn State University.

The winning composition in the High School category is “Impression on a Theme” by Hans Heruth, a senior at Liberty High School in Liberty, MO. A two-time winner in the University of Missouri’s statewide Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition for students in grades K-12, Heruth also is a violinist, pianist, and vocalist.

Both winning compositions will be performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra as part of their annual concert of music by living composers at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 7 at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia. Admission is free and open to the public.

Cairns’ work will be conducted by Patrick David Clark, a Mizzou alumnus and music director of the Jefferson City Symphony Orchestra, while MU senior Grant Bradshaw, assistant conductor of the Missouri Symphony Society Conservatory, will take the baton for Heruth’s composition.

The concert also will include Bradshaw’s own work “Incandescent” and the premiere of Amy Leventhal’s “Mom and Me,” both conducted by CCO artistic director (and Mizzou professor) Stefan Freund; Mizzou alumna Katie Andres’ Horn Concertino, conducted by Mizzou graduate student Jaron Lester; and three new works sung by the Columbia Chorale Chamber Choir and conducted by Emily Edgington Andrews, the Chorale’s artistic director.

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 Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) is a collaborative effort by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and the Columbia Civic Orchestra to bring attention to orchestral works written in the state of Missouri. By identifying composers of orchestral music and providing opportunities for the performance of their work, MOCOP strives to showcase the talent of Missouri and share it with the community.

Mizzou International Composers Festival announces resident composers for 2015

The Mizzou New Music Initiative has selected eight resident composers to participate in the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Presented by MNMI and the University of Missouri School of Music from Monday, July 20 through Saturday, July 25 in Columbia, the sixth annual MICF (http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/) will feature world premieres of new works written by each of the selected composers.

Listed with their current places of residence, they are (from top left):
* Thomas Dougherty, Houston, TX
* Emily Koh, Waltham, MA
* Andrew McManus, Chicago, IL
* Justin Pounds, Columbia, MO
* Alessandro Ratoci, Lausanne, Switzerland
* Christopher Stark, St. Louis, MO
* Anthony Vine, Brooklyn, NY
* Conrad Winslow, Brooklyn, NY

The resident composers are chosen through a portfolio application process that this year attracted 231 entries from around the world, another new record for the MICF.

This year’s international representatives are Emily Koh, a native of Singapore currently pursuing a Ph.D. in composition and theory at Brandeis University in Boston; and Alessandro Ratoci, who was born in Tuscany, Italy and now teaches computer music at the Haute Ecole de Musique (HEMU) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Justin Pounds, a St. Louis native working on a master’s degree in composition at Mizzou, will represent the University of Missouri. The 2015 group also includes another current Missourian, Christopher Stark, who grew up in Montana and now is an assistant professor of composition at Washington University in St. Louis.

The 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival will include a series of public concerts featuring music from the resident composers and other contemporary creators, as well as workshops, master classes, and other events.

The Festival’s guest composers for 2015 will be Hans Abrahamsen, a Danish composer whose spare yet lyrical works reflect his involvement in the “New Simplicity” movement of the 1960s; and Andrew Norman, a Los Angeles-based composer and teacher at the USC Thornton School of Music.

The acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, once again will serve as resident ensemble, as they have since the MICF began in 2010.

During the festival, the eight resident composers will receive composition lessons from Abrahamsen and Norman; take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound; give public presentations on their music; and receive a premiere performance and professional live recording of a new work created specifically for the MICF and Alarm Will Sound.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be announced at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Relevant Tones two-part radio special about
Mizzou International Composers Festival now available online

Last Saturday, the syndicated radio program “Relevant Tones” broadcast the second part of a two-hour special about the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Now, both episodes about the MICF can be streamed online. You can hear part one of the special here, and part two here.

Originating from WFMT (98.7 FM) in Chicago, “Relevant Tones” also is heard on nearly 40 other NPR, public, and commercial stations, plus 150 “translator” frequencies, in the USA, Canada and New Zealand.

Mizzou International Composers Festival gets
record number of resident composer applicants for 2015

With all the applications for 2015 submitted and logged, the Mizzou International Composers Festival has set another new record this year for the number of submissions from prospective resident composers.

The MICF got a total of 231 applications for the 2015 festival, including 82 returning applicants and 149 who applied for the first time.

Fifteen percent of the submissions came from outside the US, with applications arriving from composers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Last weekend, festival organizers met in St. Louis to review the submissions and decide which composers to invite for 2015. The working group included Mizzou New Music Initiative co-artistic directors Stefan Freund and W. Thomas McKenney and managing director William Lackey, as well as resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound‘s conductor/music director Alan Pierson and pianist John Orfe. They looked at applications, studied scores, listened to hours of music, and discussed it all extensively before compiling their final list.

The results of their deliberations will be revealed on Monday, January 5, when we announce publicly the names of the eight resident composers who will take part in the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

To stay current with all the latest news from the MICF and MNMI, keep watching this space. Also, please follow us on Twitter at @MizzouNewMusic, and “like” the Missouri New Music Facebook page.

Tom McKenney and Alan Pierson look at a score

MNMI managing director William Lackey coordinated the application process

John Orfe and Stefan Freund listen intently

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project
2015 entry deadline extended to Monday, December 15

The Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) deadline for 2015 submissions has been extended until Monday, December 15.

Now in its fourth year, MOCOP is a collaborative effort of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO), and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation to bring attention to orchestral works written in the state of Missouri. By identifying composers of orchestral music and providing opportunities for the performance of their work, MOCOP strives to showcase the talent of Missouri and share it with the community

Each year, works are selected through a competitive, blind judging process to be performed by the CCO at a concert in Columbia. This year, one work will be chosen in the Open category, and one in the High School category. The compositions must be written for symphony orchestra and can be up to 10 minutes in duration. The works also must have been composed within the past 10 years, while the composer was living in Missouri.

Each selected composer will be awarded a $500 honorarium, and the works chosen will be performed by the CCO in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 7, 2015 at at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia.

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.

Composers who wish to submit their work to MOCOP can find details on instrumentation and complete application materials online at http://mizzounewmusic.missouri.edu/project.html. Applications must be postmarked no later than Monday, December 15, 2014.

Mizzou International Composers Festival to be featured
on “Relevant Tones” radio program December 6 and December 13

The 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be the subject of two upcoming episodes of the syndicated radio program “Relevant Tones,” which originates from WFMT (98.7 FM) in Chicago.

The two episodes will feature the world broadcast premiere of music from the 2014 MICF, plus interviews with many of the participating composers. Part one will air on WFMT at 5:00 p.m. Central time this coming Saturday, December 6, with part two to follow at the same time on Saturday, December 13.

You can listen to a live stream of the broadcasts at http://www.wfmt.com/streaming. Once they’ve aired, episodes also are archived online at the program’s website.

In addition to the broadcast on WFMT, “Relevant Tones” can be heard on nearly 40 other NPR, public, and commercial stations, plus 150 “translator” frequencies, in the USA, Canada and New Zealand.  These affiliate stations air “Relevant Tones” at a day and time of their choosing, so to see if and when your local NPR or public station carries it,  check their program guide.

Launched in 2011, the weekly program “celebrates the dynamic and diverse musical creations of modern-day composers from around the world.” To put together the MICF episodes, host Seth Boustead and producer Jesse McQuarters came to Columbia for a week last July to take in the various events, talk with participating musicians and composers, listen to rehearsals and performances, and record the interviews used on the show.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform new works from Missouri composers
and more on Sunday, December 7 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will play their second concert of the academic year (and their final show of 2014)  at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, December 7 in Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Admission is free for Mizzou students, $5 suggested donation for the general public.

The program will feature a turn-of-the-century piece from a Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winning composer, plus four brand new works written right here in Missouri.

The prizewinner in question is Jennifer Higdon (pictured), the acclaimed contemporary composer whose major awards include a Pulitzer in 2010 for her Violin Concerto, and a Grammy that same year for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for her Percussion Concerto.

For this concert, the MNME will play Higdon’s “Celestial Hymns,” a work written in 2000 that further develops some of the material from a previous composition, “Blue Cathedral,” to evoke the details of stained glass within said cathedral.

Also on the program are three new works written by Mizzou composition majors: “Of Trickery and Toys,” by sophomore Erin Hoerchler; “The Pathless Woods,” by freshman Gus Knobbe; and “Nachtmusik” by junior Grant Bradshaw.

The concert will conclude with “Push/Pull,” written in 2013 and revised this year by Kansas City’s Nicholas Omiccioli, who was one of the resident composers at this past summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

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 and associate professor.

The Ensemble’s members for the 2014-15 season are Taylor Burkhardt, piano; Rachel Czech, cello; Jose Martínez, percussion; Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets; Erin Spencer, flute; Britney Stutz, violin; and Korin Wahl, viola.

The Ensemble serves as the repertory group for the Mizzou New Music Initiative, an array of programs intended to position the University of Missouri School of Music as a leading center in the areas of composition and new music. In that capacity, they work with faculty, students and visiting composers, and give public performances on campus and in the community.