Stephanie Berg wins statewide composition competition

University of Missouri graduate student Stephanie Berg (pictured) has won this year’s award in the “Young Artist” category of the Missouri State Division of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) composition competition.

Berg, who is pursuing a Master’s degree in clarinet performance and composition at Mizzou, was recognized for her piece “Of Air Sweet and Water Deep.” The work was composed in 2010 for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and premiered at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis as part of a tribute to the Garden’s President Emeritus, Dr. Peter Raven.

“Of Air Sweet and Water Deep” now will be entered in the national MTNA composition competition, which offers a first place prize of $3,000, plus a performance at the Winners Concert during the 2012 MTNA National Conference, March 24–28 in New York City.

A native of Parkville, Missouri and graduate of Park Hill South High School, Berg earned her Bachelor of Music degree in clarinet performance from Mizzou in 2008. She was the recipient of the 2009 Sinquefield Composition Prize, which resulted in the commissioned work Motive and Reflection for full orchestra.

In addition to her work as a composer, she performs in the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, the University Philharmonic, and the Columbia Civic Orchestra, playing B flat, A, E flat, and bass clarinets. Berg also has served for three years as project manager for the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s Creating Original Music Program (C.O.M.P.).

Kirsten, Podgursky win commissions from Harvard’s Fromm Foundation

Congratulations to Amy Beth Kirsten and Jeremy Podgursky, both resident composers at the inaugural Mizzou New Music Summer Festival in 2010, for winning $10,000 commissions this year from Harvard University’s Fromm Music Foundation.

The Fromm Music Foundation has been located at Harvard since 1972, and has commissioned more than 300 new compositions and their performances, as well as sponsoring hundreds of new music concerts and concert series. Kirsten and Podgursky are among 12 winners of commissions this year.

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project seeks recent works for performance in March

The Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) and the Mizzou New Music Initiative are looking for recent orchestral compositions written by Missouri residents to perform at a concert in March, 2012.

To inaugurate the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project, a new program sponsored by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the CCO will present a concert of six recent works by Missouri composers at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, March 10 at Columbia College’s Launer Auditorium, 901 Rogers Street in Columbia.

Four of the works presented at the concert will be selected through a competitive process – one from the High School category and three from the Open 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 composer whose work is selected will be awarded a $500 honorarium, and must be present for the concert and the dress rehearsal, which will take place the afternoon of March 10 in Launer Auditorium.

Details on instrumentation and complete application materials are available online at http://mizzounewmusic.missouri.edu/project.html. Applications must be postmarked no later than December 15, 2011. For more information, interested composers also may contact Jonathan Kuuskoski of University of Missouri School of Music via email at kuuskoskij@missouri.edu.

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. For more information, visit their website at http://cco.missouri.org/.

Michael E. Anderson wins 2012 Sinquefield Composition Prize

Michael E. Anderson

Mizzou senior Michael E. Anderson is the winner of the 2012 Sinquefield Composition Prize

The University of Missouri School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative are pleased to announce that Michael E. Anderson (pictured) is the winner of the 2012 Sinquefield Composition Prize.

Anderson, a Mizzou senior, submitted his piece “At the Mercy of the Forest” to the competition and was selected for the prize by a panel of independent judges.

The adjudicators for the 2012 competition were Warren Gooch, professor of music theory and composition at Truman State University in Kirksville, MO; Martin Kennedy, assistant professor of composition and theory at Washington University in St. Louis; and Renee Waters, coordinator of music theory and professor of music at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO.

As winner of the 2012 Sinquefield Composition Prize, Anderson now will have the opportunity to write an original work for Mizzou’s University Philharmonic, which will receive its world premiere on Monday, March 5, 2012 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.

Michael Anderson currently is working on a bachelor of music degree in composition at Mizzou, studying with W. Thomas McKenney and Stefan Freund. A native of Platte City, MO and graduate of Platte County R-3 High School, Anderson also was a finalist for last year’s Sinquefield Composition Prize with his piece “Dendrocnide.”

His works have been performed by ensembles including the Rezound! Handbell Choir, the KC Vibrations Handbell Choir, the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, the MU Saxophone Ensemble, and various other chamber groups. In addition to composing, Anderson performs as a saxophonist in the University of Missouri’s Wind Ensemble, and is a member of the Columbia Handbell Ensemble and the Zeta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

The other finalists for the 2012 Sinquefield Composition Prize were Grant Fonda, Joe Hills and David Witter. We congratulate all four composers on this notable achievement!

Seventh annual Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition offers prizes, recognition for Missouri student composers

From concert halls to Hollywood movies to TV, video games, commercials and more, every minute of music we hear starts with a composer – and every composer needs a start.

Giving young composers their start is the purpose of the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P), an annual statewide competition now in its seventh year that recognizes Missouri students in grades K-12 who compose original music in a variety of styles.

Sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, C.O.M.P. in September mailed information to music teachers across the state inviting students to participate in the 2012 competition. The winning composers and their schools will be awarded cash prizes, and the winning compositions will be performed at the Creating Original Music Project’s New Music Festival on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

2011 C.O.M.P. winners from the Elementary and Middle School categories with Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield

Students in grades K-5 may submit compositions in the categories of Vocal Music or Instrumental Music. For grades 6-8, the categories are Fine Art Music or Popular Music; and for grades 9-12, they are Fine Art Music, Popular Music, Jazz, or other styles. All entries must be original music written by the student, and only one entry per student is allowed. Arrangements of previously composed pieces or improvisation based on composed pieces will not be accepted.

2011 winners from the High School categories with Dr. Sinquefield

Mentors and teachers are encouraged to offer support and critiques, though the submissions must be the students’ own original compositions. Music teachers and/or mentors may assist students in notating or recording the pieces, and each student who applies must have the signature and sponsorship of their school’s music teacher. Only three submissions per category per school are allowed. It is the responsibility of the school music teacher(s) to decide which three pieces per category will be entered in the contest. The postmark deadline for submission of all compositions is January 2, 2012.

For more information about the Creating Original Music Project and an application for the 2012 competition, please visit the C.O.M.P website at http://music.missouri.edu/COMP/.

For students looking for additional guidance or feedback on their work, the Mizzou New Music Initiative also offers Composer Connection, a distance-learning program that gives aspiring composers a chance to talk with and receive instruction from a graduate student in composition at MU. Students can e-mail works in progress and ask questions about composing, and receive suggestions and answers directly from the composer on call. The composer on call for the 2011-12 academic year is David Witter, who can be reached by email at composerconnection@missouri.edu.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to feature works from Missouri composers in concert on Monday, October 10 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) will open its 2011-12 season with a concert at 8:00 p.m., Monday, October 10 at Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Admission to the concert is free and open to the public.

The concert will feature a program written entirely by Missouri composers and including three world premiere performances, said Stefan Freund, who directs the Ensemble.

“Drumming,” composed in 2011 by Mizzou senior Joe Widinger, is “filled with rhythmic energy as figures are passed amongst members of the ensemble,” said Freund, while Mizzou graduate student Grant Fonda’s “Amelia: 1937” (2011) is an orchestrated homage to legendary aviator Amelia Earhart.

Donovan Tousignant, another MU undergrad, is the composer of “Sleeper: Dreamer pt. 2” (2011), which Freund said “includes a wide range of expression from intimate solos to majestically broad climaxes.” To complete the program, Patrick David Clark, a Mizzou graduate student and winner of last year’s Sinquefield Composition Prize, will conduct a performance of his 1995 work “Rhyming Shapes.”

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

The Ensemble’s members for the 2011-12 season are Stephanie Berg, clarinet; Ryan Borden, percussion; Young Kim, flute; Matthew Pierce, cello; David Snow, violin; and Renata Tavernard, piano. 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.

After the season opener, the Ensemble will present three more concerts this academic year at Whitmore Recital Hall, on Monday, December 5; Sunday, March 4, and Monday, April 16.

2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival to be held July 23 – 28

The Mizzou New Music Initiative will present the third annual Mizzou New Music Summer Festival from Monday, July 23, 2012 through Sunday, July 28 on the campus of the University of Missouri.

The 2012 Festival will include a series of public concerts featuring music from contemporary composers, as well as workshops, master classes and other events. The Festival’s guest composers for 2012 will be Steven Stucky (pictured), winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for composition and professor at Cornell University; and Donnacha Dennehy, a native of Dublin who is one of the leading contemporary composers in Ireland. The acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, once again will serve as resident ensemble.

Eight resident composers will be selected for the Festival through a portfolio application process to create a new work for Alarm Will Sound. They will receive composition lessons from Stucky and Dennehy; take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound; and receive a premiere performance and professional live recording of their work.

The application process for resident composers began September 1, 2011, and the deadline for submitting an application is November 1, 2011. For more information on applying to become a resident composer for the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, please visit http://newmusicsummerfestival.missouri.edu/application.html.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival will be made available at a later date. For more information, please visit http://newmusicsummerfestival.missouri.edu/.

New Music Initiative benefactors featured in Philanthropy magazine

Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, whose generous donations established and continue to fund the Mizzou New Music Initiative, were featured in the July issue of Philanthropy magazine as part of a symposium of America’s leading arts donors. The Sinquefields and the other philanthropists interviewed responded to three different questions about funding the arts.

You can see their responses here (scroll down each page to find the Sinquefields):

Tell Me About A Really Smart Grant to the Arts
http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/article.asp?article=1682&paper=0&cat=149

What Is Your Favorite Hidden Gem in Arts and Culture?
http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/article.asp?article=1683&paper=0&cat=149

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know about Giving to the Arts
http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/article.asp?article=1685&paper=0&cat=149