Missouri Couple Gives $1.4 Million to Continue New Music Initiative

Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield at the Chancellor's Concert on Monday, March 11, announcing a $1.4 million gift to the MU School of Music

The University of Missouri has announced that a generous gift from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation will support programs and scholarships directed toward promoting the creation of new music

Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield of Westphalia, MO have given the University $1.4 million to continue and expand the Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) and the Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P) at MU. The gift announcement was made at the annual MU Chancellor’s Concert Monday evening.

The Sinquefields’ support for composition at Mizzou began more than eight years ago with C.O.M.P., the Sinquefield Prize for composition and a high school summer camp. In 2009, they gave $1 million to MU to expand university scholarships, ensembles, faculty support, and create an international composer festival. To continue the work, the Sinquefields are giving a new gift of $1.4 million over the next three years.

“I have been overwhelmed by the success of the MNMI,” Jeanne Sinquefield said. “Since the program began, more than 300 new pieces of music have been written, performed and recorded – some more successful than others, but all providing valuable learning experiences for their composers. And when a composer succeeds, there is nothing better than listening to a beautiful piece of music that you have encouraged to be written.”

“The Sinquefields’ generous gift allows us to provide diverse opportunities to composers across various stages of their careers,” William Lackey, managing director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, said. “The Mizzou New Music Initiative has played a pivotal role in the lives of many composers, and this gift not only supports Missouri composers but composers around the world. During the past four years, it has been an honor to witness the impact of the Initiative, and I look forward to working with Thomas McKenney and Stefan Freund, co-artistic directors of the Initiative, to build upon our current programs funded through this renewed gift.”

“At MU, we are dedicated to promoting and proliferation of the arts,” said MU Chancellor Brady Deaton. “The Sinquefields’ gifts and vision have helped position the university as a leader in the education and creation of new music and we are ever grateful for their generosity.”

Beyond supporting the MNMI and the Creating Original Music Project, the Sinquefields’ gift will support graduate assistantships, undergraduate full-tuition scholarships, and the annual Mizzou International Composers Festival, as well as provide support for faculty and staff positions and for various special projects including visiting composers, visiting performers, recording projects, and commissions of new works.

“Through their inspiring support, passion, and vision, the Sinquefields have established MU as a destination for composers of all ages,” said Robert Shay, director of the MU School of Music. “The programs of the Mizzou New Music Initiative and the Creating Original Music Project are the direct result of their past generosity. This new gift will allow the School of Music to take its programs to next level, nationally and internationally.”

“Rarely do you see such a long-term commitment to a project like the Sinquefields have shown with their commitment to promoting the creation of new music,” said Michael O’Brien, dean of the MU College of Arts and Science. “Their gifts to MU have given the School of Music a tremendous advantage in attracting top notch students and faculty. Students now know MU is the place to be if they want to study music composition.”

School of Music to begin streaming concerts online

Some of the new music being made at Mizzou will soon be heard all around the world in real time.

Thanks to the efforts of College of Arts and Science IT director Mike Watson and recording engineer Rob Boullion, the School of Music now has a system in place that will allow for live audio streaming on the web of selected concerts presented by the University.

The first concert to stream online will be the annual Chancellor’s Concert at 7:30 p.m. next Monday, March 11, featuring the world premiere of 2013 Sinquefield Composition Prize winner David Witter’s new work “Missouri” by the University Philharmonic.

You can access the stream via the link at the top of the Chancellor’s Concert page, or by clicking on the icon of the speaker in this post.  (Please note that the audio links only will become active just before the start of the concert at 7:30 p.m. Central time.)

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform works by Muñiz, Kellogg, Colagiovanni, and Makler on Sunday, March 3 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) will present the third concert of their 2012-13 season at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 3 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 the world premiere of “Duende,” a new piece by Spanish-American composer Jorge Muñiz. Inspired by the sounds and traditions of Flamenco, “Duende” was commissioned specifically for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble. Muñiz, an associate professor of music composition and theory at Indiana University South Bend, currently is teaching at Central Methodist University in Fayette, MO.

The concert also will include two pieces written by Mizzou freshman composition students. “Winter Reflections” by Benedetto Colagiovanni is an exploration of jazz rhythms and harmonies, while “Reflections” by Trey Makler is an introspective work featuring solo sections for each instrument in the Ensemble.

The MNME will complete the program by performing the third and fourth movements of Daniel Kellogg’s Divinum Mysterium . Commissioned in 2000 by the chamber ensemble eighth blackbird, the five-movement work is based on the 13th century chant melody “Divinum Mysterium.”

The Ensemble is playing different parts of the work at each of their concerts this year in preparation for a full performance during the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival. Kellogg, an associate professor of music at the University of Colorado, will be one of the guest composers for the Festival.

The six-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students and recent alumni under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer and associate professor. They serve 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.

The Ensemble’s members for the 2012-13 season are Rachel AuBuchon, piano; Stephanie Berg, clarinets; Mary Jamerson, flute; Katherine Jones, violin; Ian McClaflin, percussion; and Matthew Pierce, cello. 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.

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s 2013-14 season
to include works from Mizzou New Music Initiative composers

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra music director David Robertson, Stephanie Berg and Jeanne Sinquefield

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra announced Thursday that it will perform new works by two young composers associated with the Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) as part of its 2013-14 season. The announcement came during a “town hall” event at Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis as the orchestra unveiled its entire season schedule for next year.

The SLSO will play Stephanie Berg’s Ravish and Mayhem as part of a concert program scheduled for Friday, January 10 and Saturday, January 11, 2014 at Powell Hall. The performances will be the first times that a work composed under the auspices of MNMI will be played by a major American symphony orchestra.

Berg, a native of Parkville, MO, earned her master’s degree in composition last year at the University of Missouri and now lives in Columbia. Chosen in 2012 as one of the resident composers for what now is known as the Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF), she wrote Ravish and Mayhem, which then was premiered last July during the festival by the new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound. The piece subsequently has been re-arranged and expanded into a score for a full symphony orchestra, which will be played for the first time in March 2013 by the Columbia Civic Orchestra.

The SLSO also will perform Patrick Harlin’s Rapture during its concerts on Friday, September 27 and Saturday, September 28, 2013. Harlin also was one of the eight resident composers at last summer’s MICF, and currently is studying for a doctorate in composition at the University of Michigan. Both his work and Berg’s were selected from among a list of four compositions chosen by 2012 MICF faculty members Steven Stucky, Donnacha Dennehy, W. Thomas McKenney and Stefan Freund for submission to the SLSO’s artistic staff.

As a graduate teaching assistant on full scholarship, a member of the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, and past winner of the annual Sinquefield Composition Prize, “Stephanie has benefited from being a part of many programs established by the Mizzou New Music Initiative,” said Stefan Freund, associate professor of music at Mizzou and co-director of the Initiative. “The selection of Ravish and Mayhem for performance by the St. Louis Symphony demonstrates the broad impact the MNMI is having by providing young composers with amazing opportunities, including those on the very highest levels.”

“Our goal always has been to provide opportunities for composers at all stages of their development, from grade school to grad school and then on into their professional lives,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, which funds the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “When outstanding young composers like Stephanie and Patrick are able to have their works played by a top orchestra like the St. Louis Symphony, it shows that we’re well on the way to reaching that goal.”

You can hear a recording of Stephanie Berg’s Ravish and Mayhem at https://soundcloud.com/stephanie-berg, and a recording of Patrick Harlin’s Rapture at http://www.patrickharlin.com/#!music.

For information on purchasing tickets for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and a complete season schedule for 2013-14, visit the SLSO’s website at http://www.stlsymphony.org/.

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project selects works
by Stephanie Berg, Dustin Dunn for performance in March

Stephanie Berg

Continuing their collaborative efforts to spotlight the work of Missouri composers, 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 in March.

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

The work chosen in the Open category is Ravish and Mayhem by Stephanie Berg, a native of Parkville who earned her master’s degree in composition from the University of Missouri last May and now lives in Columbia. The winning composition in the High School category is Appalachian Rhapsody by Dustin Dunn, a 16-year-old junior at South Iron R-1 High School in Ironton.

Dustin Dunn

The winners were selected through a blind judging process by John Cheetham, professor emeritus of music theory and composition at the University of Missouri, and Bruce Gordon, former orchestra manager for CCO. The judges also awarded Honorable Mentions to Nicholas S. Omiccioli of Kansas City for his work flourishes, and to Patrick David Clark of Columbia for FE 700° C.

Both winning compositions will be performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra as part of their annual concert of music by living composers at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, March 9 at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia. Tickets are $15 for individuals, $40 for a group of up to five, and can be purchased in advance online at http://www.columbiachorale.com/ or at the door.

The concert also will spotlight several contemporary works for chorus, including the world premiere of La Terra Illuminata by Mizzou adjunct assistant professor Paul Seitz, a new piece commissioned specifically for CCO and the Columbia Chorale by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Also on the program are Music, When Soft Voices Die, written by Mizzou senior composition major Justin Pounds and performed by the MU Concert Chorale; and two works by Jerry Custer, a renowned choral music composer and educator. Custer teaches at Wayne State University in Michigan and will be guest lecturing that week at Mizzou. His new piece Chamber Music will be premiered by the Columbia Chorale and pianist James Kelly, while the CCO and MU Concert Chorale will perform his setting of the Stabat Mater Speciosa.

CCO music director Stefan Freund will lead the orchestra in the works by Berg and Seitz, while Marci Major, assistant professor of music education and assistant director of choral activities at Mizzou, will conduct the pieces by Custer and Pounds. MU sophomore Grant Bradshaw, assistant conductor of the Missouri Symphony Society Conservatory, will conduct Dunn’s work.

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.

Columbia Chorale is a mixed voice classical community choir located in Columbia, MO. It has existed in one form or another since 1978. Its mission is to promote choral music of the highest artistic quality and to stimulate a greater community understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of choral music by presenting rich, vital, varied musical programs that appeal to a wide cross-section of Columbia residents.

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.

St. Louis Beacon spotlights Mizzou composers’ new works
for Sheldon Concert Hall’s 100th anniversary season

The St. Louis Beacon today published an article by Terry Perkins about the new works commissioned from Mizzou composers by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation that are being performed at the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries as part of the hall’s 100th anniversary season.

The third commission in the series, Patrick David Clark’s “Snow Coming,” will be premiered next Tuesday, February 5 by pianist Peter Henderson at one of the Sheldon’s “Coffee Concerts.” You can read the Beacon article here.

Mizzou New Music Initiative featured in Symphony magazine

The Mizzou New Music Initiative and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation are prominently mentioned in the cover story of the Winter 2013 issue of Symphony magazine.

The article by Frank Oteri is about programs that support emerging composers, and the opening spread also features a nice photo of Alarm Will Sound’s Alan Pierson and composer Yotam Haber taken during the Mizzou International Composers Festival in Columbia. You can read the article online here.

Mizzou International Composers Festival announces resident composers for 2013

Columbia, MO – After considering the largest number of applicants yet in the event’s four-year history, the University of Missouri School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative today announced the eight resident composers selected for next year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Formerly known as the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) will take place Monday, July 22 through Saturday, July 27 in Columbia. The resident composers were chosen through a portfolio application process that this year attracted 158 entries from across the USA and around the world, a new record for the event. Listed with their current places of residence, the selected composers are:

* Jason Thorpe Buchanan – Rochester, NY
* Ryan Chase – Bloomington, IN
* Andrew Davis – Austin, TX
* Eric Guinivan – Los Angeles, CA
* Elizabeth Kelly – Rochester, NY
* Wei-Chieh Lin – New York, NY
* Greg Simon – Ann Arbor, MI
* David Witter – Columbia, MO

As another indicator of its growing prestige and recognition both here and abroad, the 2013 MICF also attracted an event-record number of applications from outside the United States, including Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Greece, Israel, Italy, Republic of Korea, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Three of the eight composers selected have significant international ties. Wei-Chieh Lin was born in Taiwan; Elizabeth Kelly studied at the The Hague Royal Conservatory in The Netherlands; and Jason Thorpe Buchanan spent 2010-2011 living in Hamburg, Germany as a visiting scholar with a Fulbright Fellowship at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater.

The University of Missouri is represented by David Witter, who recently earned a master’s degree in composition from Mizzou and is the winner of the 2013 Sinquefield Composition Prize.

The 2013 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 2013 will be Augusta Read Thomas , University Professor of composition at the University of Chicago and past composer-in-residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and Daniel Kellogg , an assistant professor of composition at the University of Colorado who has been called “one of the most exciting composers around” by the Washington Post.

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 Festival began in 2010.

During the festival, the eight resident composers will receive composition lessons from Thomas and Kellogg; 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 Festival and Alarm Will Sound.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be announced at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Jason Thorpe Buchanan

Ryan Chase

Andrew Davis

Eric Guinivan

Elizabeth Kelly

Wei-Chieh Lin

Greg Simon

David Witter