José Guillermo Martínez Rubiano wins 2014 Sinquefield Composition Prize

The University of Missouri School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have awarded the 2014 Sinquefield Composition Prize to José Guillermo Martínez Rubiano.

Martínez (pictured), a composer and percussionist currently studying for a master’s degree in composition at Mizzou, submitted his orchestral work “Mutaciones I” to the competition and was selected for the prize by a panel of independent judges.

The adjudicators for the 2014 competition were:
* Warren Gooch, professor of music, theory and composition at Truman State University;
* Forrest Pierce, associate professor of composition at the University of Kansas; and
* Ingrid Stölzel, director of the International Center for Music at Park University.

Now in its ninth year, the Sinquefield Composition Prize is the top award for a composition student at Mizzou. As this year’s winner, Martínez now will have the opportunity to write an original work for Mizzou’s University Philharmonic, which will receive its world premiere on Monday, April 7, 2014 at the Chancellor’s Concert in Columbia. With the commission, he also receives a cash prize for the production of the score and parts, and will have his work recorded.

José Guillermo Martínez Rubiano was born in 1983 in Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia. He earned his diploma at the Conservatory of Music at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá in 2009. That same year, he received Colombia’s national composition prize for young composers from the National Ministry of Culture. His other significant awards include winning a Colombian national composition contest in 2011, and the National Cultural Prize from the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, which he received earlier this year for “Mutaciones I.”

Martinez was co-founder of the Bogotá conservatory’s Contemporary Music Ensemble and is music director for the percussion ensemble Ictu5. As a percussionist, he also won a national performance contest in 2004; has been a member of the percussion ensembles Contempo, Sinergia Ensamble, and Octopus; and for five years was timpanist for the Bogotá Symphonic Orchestra Foundation (FOSBO).

The other finalists for the 2014 Sinquefield Composition Prize were Justin Pounds, Matthew Stiens, and Robert Strobel.

St. Louis Symphony plays work by 2012 MICF resident composer Patrick Harlin

Patrick Harlin takes a bow on stage at Powell Hall. (Photo courtesy of Adam Crane, St. Louis Symphony)

This past weekend, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performed Patrick Harlin‘s work “Rapture” as a part of their concerts on Friday, September 27 and Saturday, September 28 at Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis.

Harlin, who currently is working on a DMA at the University of Michigan, was a resident composer at the 2012 Mizzou International Composers Festival. His work was brought to the attention of the SLSO and music director David Robertson though a new collaborative effort launched this year by the orchestra and the Mizzou New Music Initiative.

Arriving in St. Louis on Tuesday night, Harlin was able to attend rehearsals with the orchestra during the week and discuss his composition in depth with guest conductor Stéphane Denève, who led the SLSO for the program. He also was interviewed about the concerts on Radio Arts Foundation – St. Louis, and by Michigan Radio, the NPR affiliate in Ann Arbor, MI.

During the concerts, Harlin was introduced from the stage by Denève, and got to take a bow before an appreciative audience (pictured, above left). The work also was heard on radio by listeners throughout the region as part of the orchestra’s Saturday night broadcast on KWMU (90.7 FM).

Reviewing the weekend’s program for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, classical music Sarah Bryan Miller had nice things to say about Rapture, noting the work’s “minimalist roots, jazzy elements and strong hints of the ‘Dies irae.’ ”

“It grows from simplicity into complexity, with a boffo finish, and it got a smart performance from all concerned: groovy indeed,” Miller wrote.

From left, Stéphane Denève, Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, and Patrick Harlin, backstage at Powell Hall

Harlin’s next project involves a trip to the Amazon River in South America, where he’ll record environmental sounds as part of his work toward his doctorate.

Here in Missouri,  the collaboration between MNMI and the St. Louis Symphony will continue when the orchestra plays “Ravish and Mayhem,” written by Mizzou alumnae and 2012 MICF resident composer Stephanie Berg, at concerts on January 10 and 11, 2014 at Powell Hall.

Fifth annual Mizzou International Composers Festival set for July 21-26, 2014

The Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) will celebrate its fifth year in 2014, and composers Beat Furrer and Nico Muhly will be among those attending the party. Furrer and Muhly have been named guest composers for the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s signature event, which will be held Monday, July 21 through Saturday, July 26 on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

The 2014 MICF once again will present a series of public concerts featuring music from contemporary composers, as well as workshops, master classes and other events. As in years past, Saturday night’s grand finale at the Missouri Theatre will present the world premieres of new works from each of the festival’s eight resident composers. The acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, will serve as resident ensemble.

Beat Furrer is a Swiss native who studied music in his home country and in Vienna before co-founding one of Europe’s leading contemporary music ensembles, Klangforum Wien, which he still conducts. He has written a variety of critically acclaimed works, including operas and musical theater, and has received numerous awards and honors for his music in Europe.

Since 1991, Furrer has served as professor of composition at the Graz University of Music and Dramatic Arts, and he has been guest professor in composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt since 2006. In 2004 Furrer was awarded the Music Prize of the City of Vienna, and in 2005 became a member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin.

Nico Muhly was born in Vermont and earned a master’s in composition at Juilliard studying with Christopher Rouse and John Corigliano. He also worked for Philip Glass as a MIDI programmer and editor for six years.

Muhly has composed a wide scope of work for ensembles, soloists and organizations including the American Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony, countertenor Iestyn Davies, violinist Hilary Hahn, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic, Paris Opéra Ballet, soprano Jessica Rivera, and designer/illustrator Maira Kalman.

With the 2014 guest composers confirmed, eight resident composers now will be selected for the Festival through a portfolio application process to create a new work for Alarm Will Sound. During the Festival, they’ll get composition lessons from Furrer and Muhly and take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. Each composer also will receive a copy of a professional live recording of their work.

The application process for resident composers begins September 26, 2013, and the deadline for submitting an application is Friday, November 15, 2013. For more information on applying to become a resident composer for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/application.html.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be made available at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project seeks
recent works for performance in March

The Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) is looking for recent orchestral compositions written by Missouri residents to be performed at a concert in March, 2014.

Now in its third year, MOCOP is a collaborative effort to spotlight the work of Missouri composers that involves the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO), and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. 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 – one from the High School category and three from the Open category – to be performed by the CCO at a concert in Columbia. 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 four works chosen will be performed by the CCO in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 16, 2014 at Columbia College’s Launer Auditorium, 901 Rogers St. 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.

The concert also will feature a performance of “American Sojourn,” by former Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) winner Kevin Hartnett, and the world premiere of the overture from Stefan Freund’s upcoming “Civil War Oratorio,” which was commissioned by the Columbia Civic Orchestra in honor of patron Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield.

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 December 13, 2013.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to open 2013-14 season
on Friday, October 11 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will open their 2013-14 season with a concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, October 11 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 include works by the acclaimed contemporary composers Daniel Asia and Nico Muhly, as well as the world premieres of four pieces written by composers affiliated with Mizzou.

Daniel Asia’s ”Breath in a Ram’s Horn” (2003) is a song cycle based on five poems by writer Paul Pines, described as “imbued with images of family and Judaism, and their intertwining…filled with the difficulties and anguish of a life as it is really lived.”

”I Know Where Everything Is,” written by Muhly in 2007 on commission from the Seattle Chamber Players, “is a cycle of chords in a pile. Each chord has a series of possible voicings, and a series of possible quick ornamentations,” which begin with the most moderate and progress through a series of variations to a vigorous conclusion.

“Rhetoric and Drama in Ahuan Tones,” a brand new work by Mizzou alumnus Patrick David Clark, is a musical manifestation of twilight colors, using soft, delicate sounds and establishing “a feeling of free space and suspended time.”

Completing the program will be three works composed this year by current Mizzou students. Matthew Stiens’ “Rituals of Ancient Voices” is “a musical depiction of a druidic ceremony as I saw it,” utilizing extreme registers of each instrument in the ensemble and unusual techniques. “#YOLO” by Trey Makler is described as “energetic and exciting, heavily influenced by rock and popular music,” while Justin Pounds’ “Electric Brain,” is ”a fast-paced piece focused on a series of mixed-meter grooves inspired by the progressive rock genre.”

The seven-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer and associate professor. However, while Freund is on research leave this semester, Patrick David Clark is directing the group. Clark earned his master’s degree in conducting at Mizzou in 2012; was the winner of the 2011 Sinquefield Composition Prize; and also holds a bachelor’s in composition from Mizzou and a DMA in composition from Rice University.

The Mizzou New Music 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. As the repertory group for the Initiative, they work with faculty, students and visiting composers, and give public performances on campus and in the community.

The Ensemble’s members for the 2013-14 season are Rachel Czech, cello; Hsu Shun Jung, piano; Mary Jamerson, flute; Katherine Jones, violin; Ian McClaflin, percussion; Shawn Nemati-Baghestani, oboe; and Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets.

Wrapping up the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival

The 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival has come to a successful conclusion, but we’ve still got a few more Festival-related links to share with you:

* The Festival’s Saturday night grand finale concert was named a “Best Bet” for the weekend by St. Louis Post-Dispatch classical music critic Sarah Bryan Miller.

* Jeanne Sinquefield, whose Sinquefield Charitable Foundation provides funding for the Festival, was interviewed by KBIA, the NPR affiliate in Columbia, MO. Dr. Sinquefield’s interview with KBIA’s Trevor Harris is available online here.

* Resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound has posted on their Facebook page another album of behind-the-scenes photos from the Festival., including the photo of one of AWS’ rehearsals at the Missouri Theatre that accompanies this post.

Mizzou International Composers Festival in the news

In case you’ve missed out, here’s a recap of some of the press coverage so far of the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

In the past week, there was an extensive feature story in the Sunday, July 21 edition of the Columbia Daily Tribune, as well as a preview of the Festival in the St. Louis Beacon.

The Columbia Missourian also ran a feature story on the Festival (although it may have disappeared behind the paywall, and thus be inaccessible to non-subscribers, by the time you read this).

Brief mentions of this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival also have appeared in the Chicago Tribune and in School Band & Orchestra magazine.

On a related note, resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound once again this year has shared on their Facebook page some albums of photos from their pre-Festival rehearsals:

Alarm Will Sound rehearsals, Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6

Composers Festival Spotlight: Jason Thorpe Buchanan

Jason Thorpe Buchanan

We end our series of profiles of the resident composers for the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival with Jason Thorpe Buchanan, who’s currently working on his Ph.D. at the Eastman School of Music, studying composition with Robert Morris and serving as a graduate TA at the Computer Music Center.

Buchanan began studying music at age fourteen at the College of San Mateo, CA, later attending San José State University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While working for his master’s degree at UNLV from 2008 to 2010, he taught courses in composition and music theory.

He has studied composition with Allan Schindler, Virko Baley, Peter Michael Hamel, Jorge Grossmann, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Pablo Furman, Kevin Puts, Robert Aldridge, and Manfred Stahnke, as well as additional studies with Takayoshi Suzuki and Brad Lubman in conducting, and at Darmstadt with Georges Aperghis, Brian Ferneyhough, and Raphaël Cendo.

Buchanan spent 2010-2011 living in Hamburg, Germany, where he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater as a visiting scholar. He studied with Peter Michael Hamel, Manfred Stahnke, Georg Hajdu, and Sascha Lino Lemke while conducting research and interviews in regard to compositional process and aesthetics.

Buchanan has received awards from ASCAP, ACF, MPE, the NEON and Brevard Music Festivals, UNLV, SJSU, the Eastman School of Music, the American Prize, and the Miami Beach International Animated Film Festival. Recordings of his music are commercially available on the Melos Music label in the United States and the Windstream label in Japan.

He is the founder of Melos Music, a composer’s consortium for which he served as director from 2007-2012, as well as their annual New Music Concert series. During this past academic year, he served as assistant conductor for Eastman’s new music ensemble Musica Nova, as well as a board member of Ossia, coordinator for the Graduate Composers’ Sinfonietta, and co-founder/conductor of Eastman’s brand new Electroacoustic Initiative, the [Switch~ Ensemble].

You can see and hear Jason Thorpe Buchanan’s music being performed in various clips on his YouTube channel, and in the embedded video windows below.

Buchanan’s “Asymptotic Flux: First Study in Entropy,” performed in October 2012 at Eastman School of Music by the [Switch~ Ensemble], featuring Madison Greenstone, amplified bass clarinet; Lauren Cauley, amplified violin; Kelsey Farr, amplified viola; and Julia Nilsen, amplified cello.

“Amplified Box” Improvisation 1.0 (Study for Percussion Quartet) is an
improvisation with a homemade instrument built for Buchanan’s first percussion quartet.