Mizzou New Music Ensemble to present
benefit performance of “The Sound of Chess”

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will be the featured performers in “The Sound of Chess,” a benefit concert at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, April 30 at the Kingside Diner, 4651 Maryland Ave in St Louis’ Central West End.

The Ensemble will perform three new works written by Mizzou student composers inspired by the game of chess: “Love Your Enemy,” composed by Henry Stewart; “Caution” by Luke Henderson; and “The Endgame” by Alex Williams. The concert also will include a performance of “Illegal Cycles,” written in 2015 by Mizzou graduate student José Martínez.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center and the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Tickets for “The Sound of Chess” are $50 in advance from the St. Louis Chess Club website or $60 at the door, and include the concert, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and complimentary valet parking. For more information, contact events@worldchesshof.org.

The eight-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 2015-16 season are Rachel Czech, cello; José Martínez, percussion; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets; Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophones; Erin Spencer, flute; and Britney Stutz, violin.

Student Composers Concert set for Sunday, April 24 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The spring 2016 edition of the University of Missouri School of Music’s bi-annual Student Composers Concert will showcase new works written and performed by students at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 24 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the Mizzou campus.

Admission is free for Mizzou students, faculty and staff with ID, $5 for the general public.

The program will include:
“Four Jazz Moods” by Benedetto Colagiovanni
“That I Have Not Lived” by Dustin Dunn
“Ever Yours, l. Paris, 1 August 1890″ by Travis Herd
“Musings of Sky” by Hans Bridger Heruth
“Ballroom Blues” by Erin Höerchler
“Instruction Manual” by José Martínez
“Solitude” by Aaron Mencher
“Crystalline” by Henry Breneman Stewart

Performers will include Jenna Braaksma, piano; Ben Colagiovanni, piano; Rachel Czech, cello; Ross Dryer, piano; Jesús Gómez, violin; Erin Höerchler, soprano; Beverly Jones, baritone saxophone; Bria Jones, mezzo soprano; Mary Kettlewell, soprano; Renan Leme, violin; Sam McCullogh, tenor saxophone; Travis Meier, soprano saxophone; Gyumi Rha, piano; Joe Rulli, saxophone; Catherine Sandstedt, viola; Paola Savvidou, piano; Patrick Smith, bass baritone; Britney Stutz, violin; Matthew Vallot, alto saxophone; and Alex Williams, cello.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble making moves
with compositions inspired by chess in concert
Monday, April 25 at Whitmore Recital Hall

Three new works by Mizzou student composers inspired by the game of chess will be given a “sneak preview” in a concert by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 25 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus. Admission is free for Mizzou students, faculty and staff with ID, $5 for the general public.

All three pieces were composed for the Ensemble’s upcoming concert on Saturday, April 30 at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis.

“Love Your Enemy” is by Henry Breneman Stewart, a first-year master’s student majoring in composition and winner of the 2016 Sinquefield Composition Prize. Capturing the tensions found in both the competition of chess and the expression of the arts, Stewart’s work contrasts loud, aggressive, figures with bittersweet melodic lines.

“Caution,” composed by Luke Henderson, was inspired by a Ben Franklin quote about chess. It features carnival-like marches and improvised sections that convey the excitement and delight resulting from being passionate about an interest, like chess. Henderson is a senior at Mizzou majoring in composition and music education. His work “Routine Android” had its premiere performance by the Columbia Civic Orchestra in March 2016 as part of the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project.

Alex Williams’ “The Endgame” is a programmatic work based on the notion of chess as warfare. Opening with a saxophone “call to battle,” it depicts the violence of war with rugged mixed-meter melodies, which then give way to a mournful alto flute solo and the climax. Williams is a sophomore Sinquefield Scholar majoring in composition at Mizzou.

In addition to the three new chess-inspired works, the concert also will include “B&E (with aggravated assault)” by Oscar Bettison, who will be a distinguished guest composer at this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival. Performed with guest musician Robbie Lawson on electric guitar, “B&E (with aggravated assault)” is described as “an unabashed heavy metal rock tune,” complete with double-bass drum pedal fills, shredding electric guitar, and wailing bass clarinet.

Rounding out the program will be a special performance of “Off Pist,” a “delightfully jazzy” work by the eclectic Swedish composer and bassist Svante Henryson; and a set by the Mizzou Creative Improvisation Ensemble, directed by Rich Pellegrin.

The eight-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. The Ensemble’s members for the 2015-16 season are Rachel Czech, cello; José Martínez, percussion; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets; Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophones; Erin Spencer, flute; and Britney Stutz, violin.

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble serves as the repertory group for the Mizzou New Music Initiative, an array of programs positioning 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.

Mizzou’s fine arts departments to celebrate Shakespeare
at Chancellor’s Arts Showcase Monday, April 11 at Missouri Theatre

The fine arts departments at the University of Missouri will join together to celebrate the works of William Shakespeare at the annual Chancellor’s Arts Showcase, starting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 11 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St. in Columbia.

The event will feature the world premiere of “Sonnet 73: De Profundis,” a musical setting of a Shakespeare poem composed by this year’s Sinquefield Composition Prize winner, Henry Breneman Stewart (pictured), and performed by the University Singers.

In addition to the world premiere and other selections from the University Singers, the showcase also will include music from Mizzou’s Concert Jazz Band and Show-Me Opera; monologues and scenes from some of the Bard’s best-loved works, performed by students from the Department of Theatre; and art installations by MU students inspired by Shakespeare.

Tickets for the Chancellor’s Arts Showcase are $10 for adults, $8 for Mizzou faculty and staff, and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Missouri Theatre box office or online via Ticketmaster, and also will be available at the door.

Creating Original Music Project to present
award-winning works by Missouri student composers
in concert on Saturday, April 16 in Columbia

Audio from the 2016 COMP Festival will stream live online on Saturday, April 16

From classical, jazz, and blues to folk, rock, and hip-hop, Missouri has a rich and varied musical history. The Show-Me State over the years has produced a long list of musical luminaries, from Scott Joplin, Virgil Thomson, and Burt Bacharach to Clark Terry, Chuck Berry, and Sheryl Crow, but what does the future hold?

The answer could be in Columbia, where Mizzou’s Creating Original Music Project (COMP) will present performances of award-winning original works by young Missouri composers in grades K-12 at the 11th annual COMP Festival, held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, April 16 in the Fine Arts Building on the campus of the University of Missouri.

Admission is free and open to the public. The junior division concert, featuring works from elementary and middle school winners, begins at 10:30 a.m., with the senior division concert of music by high school winners following at 2:30 p.m..

The festival also will be streamed live online at https://music.missouri.edu/concert-audio-streaming, with the audio stream going live 10 minutes before the start of each concert.

COMP was founded in 2005 to encourage K-12 students in Missouri to write original musical works and to provide performance opportunities for those works. It is a joint venture of the university’s Mizzou New Music Initiative and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, which provides an annual gift of $80,000 to sponsor the competition.

Every year, in addition to having their music performed at the COMP Festival, the winning composers and their schools receive cash prizes, and high school winners also receive a scholarship to attend Mizzou’s high school summer music composition camp.

“The Mizzou New Music Initiative is all about helping young composers grow and develop, from elementary school all the way through post-graduate studies,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. “The Creating Original Music Project competition and summer camp are the first steps in that process, and we’re delighted that over the last 11 years, we’ve been able to provide opportunities and encouragement for hundreds of Missouri’s youngest composers through those programs.”

The 2016 Creating Original Music Project (COMP) competition categories and winners are:

Elementary School – Song with Words
1) Miles Cole & Drew Hauser of Bristol Elementary School, Webster Groves, for “Number One.” Sponsor: Sara Wichard.
2) Kadyn Bilberry of Reeds Spring Elementary School, Reeds Spring, for “Run Lanie Run.” Sponsor: Sue Gillen.
3) Jenna Yaw of Reeds Spring Elementary School, Reeds Spring, for “I’m Lost.” Sponsor: Sue Gillen.

Elementary School – Instrumental
1) Judah Robbins Bernal of Russell Boulevard Elementary School, Columbia, for “Sounds of Life.” Music Teacher: Paola Savvidou. Sponsor: Jared Smith.
2) Yueheng Wang of Grant Elementary School, Columbia, for “Miserable Me.” Music Teacher: Mabel Kinder. Sponsor: Pam Sisson.
3) Alexis Rysanek of Rogers Elementary School, St. Louis, for “I Went to the City.” Sponsor: Donna Buehne.

Middle School – Fine Art
1) Olivia Bennett, a home-schooled student from Nixa, for “Wistful Fog.” Sponsor: Dan Bennett.
2) HyunJun Yoo of West Middle School, Columbia, for “I.Clown.” Sponsor: Julie Swope.
3) Brandon Kim of Jefferson Middle School, Columbia, for “Time Travel.” Music Teacher: Erin Hoerchler. Sponsor: Jaime Canepa.

Middle School – Popular
1) Thomas Trollope of Wright City Middle School, Wright City, for “Giants.” Sponsor: Todd Oberlin.
2) Ella Leible of Chaffee Elementary School, Chaffee, for “Our Melody.” Sponsor: Carrie Cane.
3) Finnegan Stewart of Wildwood Middle School, Wildwood, for “You Will Never Change Me.” Sponsor: Julia Lega.

High School – Fine Art
1) Julia Riew of John Burroughs School, St. Louis, for “The Executioner’s Dream.” Sponsor: Robert Carter.
2) Mary Park of David H. Hickman High School, Columbia, for “Dream of Life.” Sponsor: Megan Maddeleno.
3) Amanda Bradshaw, a home-schooled student from Columbia, for “a very unusual Summer afternoon.” Music Teacher: Grant Bradshaw. Sponsor: Mike Bradshaw.

High School – Popular
1) Menea Kefalov of Ladue Horton Watkins High School, St. Louis, for “I Can’t Take It.” Sponsor: Twinda Murry.
2) Audrey McCulley of Arcadian Academy of Music, Ironton, for “Remember.” Sponsor: Emily Parker.
3) Sarah Meadows of David H. Hickman High School, Columbia, for “Tomorrow’s Gonna Change.” Sponsor: Robin Steinhaus.

High School – Jazz
1) Nick Larimore of Parkway Central High School, Chesterfield, for “I Need the Eggs.” Sponsor: Doug Hoover.
2) Jack Snelling of Webster Groves High School, Webster Groves, for “Tribute to San Calcetín.” Sponsor: Kevin Cole.
3) Samuel Luetkemeyer of Calvary Lutheran High School, Jefferson City, for “Tickets, Please.” Sponsor: Melissa Ahlers.

Each student who enters the competition must have the signature and sponsorship of his or her school’s music teacher. Community agencies, churches, after-school programs, private teachers, and other musical mentors also may sponsor their young musicians in partnership with the student’s school music teacher.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform works
by four award-winning composers
Tuesday, March 22 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will play works from four award-winning composers in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 22 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus. Admission is free for Mizzou students, faculty and staff with ID, $5 for the general public.

The program will include two pieces from composers visiting Mizzou this year and two from undergraduate students majoring in composition at the university.

“Rhapsodies” by David Liptak is a three-movement work from 1992 that showcases contrasting timbral colors in the ensemble. Liptak, a composition professor at the Eastman School of Music and winner of a 2013 Koussevitzky Music Foundation commission, was in residence last month at Mizzou and worked with the Ensemble to help them prepare for this performance.

“Mouthpiece: Segment of the 4th Letter,” written in 2007 by Erin Gee, uses an unusual collection of instruments and techniques to create a foreign world of breathy sounds. Gee, who teaches at the University of Illinois, won a 2015 Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and will serve as a distinguished guest composer at this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

“Of Stained Glass and Hymnody” was composed in 2015 by Dustin Dunn, a sophomore Sinquefield Scholar at Mizzou and winner of the Springfield Symphony’s 2016 Missouri Composition Competition. Using chimes and vibraphone to emulate church bells, Dunn’s work mixes hymn-like melodies with fast flourishes to create a fantasy of sounds associated with churches.

“Forest Park Rhapsody” was written in 2014 by Benedetto Colagiovanni, a junior Sinquefield Scholar at Mizzou, for a benefit for the St. Louis not-for-profit organization Forest Park Forever. The work offers a musical evocation of the park’s history from its 19th century beginnings to the present day, and was Colagiovanni’s winning submission for the “Young Artist” award in the 2016 Music Teachers National Association’s composition competition.

The eight-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. The Ensemble’s members for the 2015-16 season are Rachel Czech, cello; José Martinez, percussion; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets; Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophones; Erin Spencer, flute; and Britney Stutz, violin. For this performance, the Ensemble will be joined by guest musicians Trey Makler, oboe; and Mike Peiffer, viola.

William Lackey leaving Mizzou New Music Initiative;
Andrew Worden named interim managing director

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is undergoing what might be called a change of the administrative guard.

William J. “Billy” Lackey, who has served as managing director of the Initiative since it was founded in 2009, is leaving Mizzou on March 4 and moving to Minnesota to take a job with American Composers Forum (ACF). Lackey (pictured, top left), who also is an assistant teaching professor of composition at the university, will become vice president of programs for ACF.

A search for a permanent replacement at the Mizzou New Music Initiative will begin immediately. In the meantime, Andrew Worden, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, has accepted the position of interim managing director, starting March 1 and continuing until July 31.

“Billy Lackey’s knowledge, dedication, and hard work have been essential to the success and growth of the Mizzou New Music Initiative over the past seven years,” said Julia Gaines, director of the University of Missouri School of Music. “While we regret losing him as a colleague, our sense of loss is tempered by knowing that he’ll be doing great things for composers in his new job.”

Founded in 1973 as the Minnesota Composers Forum, American Composers Forum is a non-profit organization with headquarters in St. Paul, MN that works to promote and assist American composers and contemporary classical music. It’s the largest organization of its type in the country, and as vice-president of programs, Lackey will head a staff of three administering ACF’s commissions, residencies, and other opportunities and services for composers.

“It’s been an honor to work for the past seven years alongside Mizzou New Music Initiative co-artistic directors Dr. W. Thomas McKenney and Dr. Stefan Freund, MU School of Music staff, faculty, and students,” said Lackey. “I’d also like to thank Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield, as the numerous programs we offer would not be possible without her generosity and dedication.”

“I am truly grateful for all of the opportunities provided to me and for the lasting friendships I have made through MNMI, and I think the Initiative has a bright future. Programs are expanding, and new ways of assisting and promoting composers and performers are constantly being discussed, ” he said. “The experience I’ve gained at Mizzou has positioned me well for my new job, and I’m excited about the opportunity, as my passion coincides with ACF’s mission to nurture the creative spirit of composers and communities.”

Lackey’s interim replacement Andrew Worden (pictured, lower left) is a native of Arizona who graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 2014 with a master’s degree in percussion performance and an arts leadership certificate.

Since then, he’s been a post-graduate fellow in an Eastman program to promote musicians’ health, collaborating with healthcare providers to develop wellness practices for musicians. Worden also has been involved in a number of music-related entrepreneurial ventures during his time in Rochester, founding or co-founding four different performing ensembles and directing two others.

Deviant Septet to present world premiere of David Liptak’s “Focusing”
in concert Friday, February 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall


The new music group Deviant Septet will present the world premiere of “Focusing,” a new work by composer David Liptak, as part of their concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, February 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall, 151 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Admission is free and open to the public.

The performance will be the final event of simultaneous residencies that week at Mizzou for Liptak and Deviant Septet (pictured), with the premiere of “Focusing” representing the culmination of a three-year process that began in 2013 with a commissioning grant from the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation.

Started in 1942 by Serge Alexandrovich Koussevitzky, the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a famous advocate for modern music, the Foundation over the years has commissioned works from a “who’s who” of 20th and 21st century composers, from Bartók, Berio, and Bernstein to Stockhausen, Stravinsky, and Varèse.

In addition to the concert and world premiere, the residencies of Liptak and Deviant Septet will include a public convocation of the School of Music at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, February 25 at Whitmore Recital Hall.

Liptak also will coach the Mizzou New Music Ensemble in a rehearsal, and give a master class at 4:00 p.m. Friday, February 26 in Fine Arts Building Room 146. Deviant Septet’s visit will include a session in which they’ll read works from student composers at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 24 at Whitmore Hall.

Liptak is professor of composition and former chair of the composition department at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, where he has been on the faculty since 1986. Before Eastman, Liptak taught at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois.

His music has been performed by ensembles including the San Francisco Symphony, Montreal Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Youngstown Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera of Illinois, New England Philharmonic, and more.

Hailed as “exciting” by the New York Times, “superb” by the Washington Post, and “exceedingly fun” by Time Out New York, Deviant Septet is an ensemble of top classical and avant-garde musicians that for this concert will include Mizzou’s own assistant visiting professor Bill Kalinkos (clarinet, executive director), Mike Gurfield (trumpet, artistic director), Gabriela Diaz (violin), Brad Balliett (bassoon), Doug Balliett (double bass), Michael Lormand (trombone), and Jared Soldiviero (percussion).

Their musical mission is to fulfill the vision that Igor Stravinsky had for the ensemble instrumentation used in his composition “L’Histoire du Soldat,” creating a distinctive repertoire for the unique blend of instrumental voices that includes “the soprano and bass voice of every instrument family.”

Individually, the members of Deviant Septet also perform with various contemporary groups including Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Signal, International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble ACJW, Wordless Music Orchestra, and Talea Ensemble, and have collaborated with artists such as The National, David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens, The Dirty Projectors, Tyondai Braxton, St. Vincent, John Zorn, and many others.