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.

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project selects six works for concert on March 20

For many young composers, writing for orchestra or chorus represents a significant pinnacle of achievement, offering artistic satisfaction and enhancing credibility and career opportunities.

Reaching that pinnacle, however, also requires getting that new, large ensemble work played in public, which is not always an easy task when resources are scarce and many music directors tend to rely on familiar favorites.

Now, six up-and-coming composers are getting a boost from the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP), as their orchestral and choral works will be performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) and the Columbia Chamber Choir at a concert on Sunday, March 20 in Columbia.

The compositions were chosen in the fifth annual competition conducted under the auspices of MOCOP, a collaborative effort involving the CCO, Chamber Choir, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

The 2016 MOCOP competition included for the first time both choral and orchestral works in five categories – three for Missouri composers, and two added this year specifically for composers currently studying at schools in the Southeastern Conference.

All the winners will receive a $500 honorarium from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, and the composers selected from SEC schools also will receive travel expenses so they can attend the final rehearsal and concert. This year’s selected works and their composers are:

Missouri Open – Orchestral: “Wafting Mists” by Daniel Morel, a doctoral student at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. Morel also holds degrees from Bucknell University (BA) and The Hartt School, University of Hartford (MM, AD).

Missouri High School – Orchestral: “Nightmare Waltz” by Emily Shaw, a sophomore at Gloria Deo Academy in Springfield, MO.

Missouri High School – Choral: “Solar Flare” by Ethan Forte, a senior at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, MO.

SEC Student – Orchestral: “A Cypress Prelude” by Christopher Lowry, a DMA student at Louisiana State University (LSU). Lowry, who plays viola with several regional orchestras, also has a bachelor of music degree from Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and a master of music degree from LSU.

SEC Student – Choral: “When I am Dead, My Dearest” by Ryan Stennes, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in composition at the University of Tennessee.

The concert also will include a performance of “Routine Android,” an orchestral work by University of Missouri senior composition major Luke Henderson that was recognized with an Honorable Mention in the 2016 MOCOP competition.

The CCO and the Columbia Chamber Choir will perform all the selected works in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 20 at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia. Admission is free and open to the public.

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 Columbia Chamber Choir in a subset of the Columbia Chorale, which works to promote choral music of the highest artistic quality and to stimulate a greater community understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of choral music by presenting programs appealing to a wide cross-section of Missouri residents and visitors.

The Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) is a collaborative effort by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra, and the Columbia Chamber Choir to bring attention to new large ensemble works written in the state of Missouri and by SEC student composers. By identifying composers and providing opportunities for the performance of their work, MOCOP intends to showcase emerging talent from Missouri and SEC schools and share it with the world.

$2 million gift provides continued support for new music at Mizzou


In a news conference on Monday, February 1, the University of Missouri announced that Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield have given a gift of more than $2 million over three years to support the Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI). The MNMI brings together a diverse array of programs which position the MU School of Music as a leading national and international center in the areas of composition and new music. This latest gift will support the MNMI through 2019.

The Sinquefields are long-time supporters of music and the arts, specifically music composition. The Sinquefields’ support for composition at Mizzou began more than 10 years ago with the Creating Original Music Project, a statewide K-12 competition and affiliated high school summer camp. In 2009, they gave MU $1 million to create the Mizzou New Music Initiative. With this most recent gift, the Sinquefields have given nearly $4.5 million to support the MNMI and more than $15 million, including a $10 million gift in support of a new School of Music building, in total giving to MU.

“The Sinquefields’ most recent gift helps position the MU School of Music as a recognized leader in music composition nationally and throughout the world,” MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said. “By combining their love of the arts with their financial support to MU, the Sinquefelds have found a meaningful way to showcase their passion for musical composition and their love of performance arts. We are grateful for their generosity and for their leadership in supporting the arts here in Missouri, nationally and internationally.”

“We want Mizzou and Missouri to become an international mecca for music composition,” Jeanne Sinquefield said. “There are so many talented young composers, but there is a lack of public funding for programs and scholarships to support them. We are thrilled with the success the MNMI has enjoyed in its first seven years, and we are excited to help support its growth into the future.”

Alarm Will Sound to perform free concert
Saturday, February 13 at Missouri Theatre

The Mizzou New Music Initiative and the University of Missouri School of Music will welcome back to Columbia the acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound for a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 13 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S 9th St.

The concert will feature works by Hungarian avant-garde composer György Sándor Ligeti, who’s considered one of the most influential figures in the history of 20th century music. Born in Hungary in 1923, Ligeti escaped to the West in the late 1950s and, once freed from the artistic restrictions imposed by the Hungarian government, began to write innovative electronic and orchestral works noted particularly for their dense use of polyphony.

In addition to influencing several subsequent generations of composers, Ligeti’s work also earned the admiration of filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, who included excerpts of the composer’s pieces in 2001: A Space Odyssey and other films.

Alarm Will Sound’s production will tell Ligeti’s story through a blend of music, text and imagery. Centered on his Chamber Concerto and Piano Concerto, the performance will make the connection between biography and music, explore the relationship of politics and art, and shed light on a unique artistic imagination. AWS member John Orfe will be featured as soloist in the Piano Concerto.

Formed in 2001, Alarm Will Sound (pictured) is a 20-member ensemble that approaches contemporary music in the spirit of curiosity and fearlessness, with a repertoire ranging from the archmodernist to the pop-influenced.

Alarm Will Sound performs regularly in New York City, St. Louis, and on tour throughout the US and Europe. AWS also has served as resident ensemble for the Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) since its inception in 2010, and will return to Columbia in July for the seventh year of the MICF.

Ben Colagiovanni wins “Young Artist” award
in MTNA national composition competition

The University of Missouri’s Ben Colagiovanni is the national winner of the “Young Artist” award in this year’s Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) composition competition.

Colagiovanni (pictured) currently is a senior at Mizzou pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music composition. He was recognized for “Forest Park Rhapsody,” one of four works originally commissioned in 2014 by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform at an event for Forest Park Forever’s Leffingwell Society.

As a winner of the competition, Colagiovanni will receive a first place prize of $3,000, and “Forest Park Rhapsody” will be performed at the 2016 MTNA National Conference, which takes place April 2 through April 6 in San Antonio, TX.

A native of St. Louis and graduate of Clayton High School, Colagiovanni was a two-time winner in Mizzou’s statewide Creating Original Music Project (COMP) before enrolling at the university with a full-tuition Sinquefield Scholarship to study composition.

The Music Teachers National Association was founded in 1876 to advance the value of music study and music-making to society while supporting the careers and professionalism of teachers of music. The organization currently has nearly 22,000 members and more than 500 local affiliates in 50 states, and each year conducts several different competitions for student musicians and composers.