Erin Gee to serve as distinguished guest composer
for 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival

The Mizzou New Music Initiative announced today that Erin Gee will be a distinguished guest composer at the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF), scheduled for Monday, July 25 through Saturday, July 30 on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Currently an assistant professor of music at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Gee (pictured) is known for her series of compositions entitled “Mouthpieces,” which “use non-traditional vocal techniques, devoid of semantic language, to construct intricate and subtle patterns of a diverse array of vocal sounds.”

Her works are taught in the composition and musicology programs of universities such as MIT, University of Pennsylvania, Smith College, and Mills College, and she has lectured at Harvard, UC Berkeley, Dartmouth and Wellesley.

Gee’s awards for composition include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, the 2008 Rome Prize, the 2015 Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and more. She has written works on commission for the Zurich Opera House, Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, American Composers Orchestra, and many others, and in January 2014 she was cited by Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, as being one of the most influential composer-vocalists of the 21st century.

Next July in Columbia, she’ll join British/American composer Oscar Bettison, who was named in September as the MICF’s other distinguished guest composer for 2016.

The MICF features three public concerts of 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 eight resident composers, with the acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, serving as resident ensemble.

The resident composers are selected for the MICF each year through an online portfolio application process. During the Festival, they’ll get composition lessons from Bettison, Gee, and Mizzou faculty, and take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. Each composer also will receive a copy of a professional live recording of his or her work.

The deadline for submitting an application is 5:00 p.m. Central time, Monday, November 23, 2015. For more information or to apply to become a resident composer for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, please visit https://app.getacceptd.com/mizzou.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be made available at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Ben Colagiovanni wins statewide composition competition

University of Missouri composition student Ben Colagiovanni has won this year’s award in the “Young Artist” category of the Missouri state division of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) composition competition.

Colagiovanni, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music composition at Mizzou, was recognized for “Forest Park Rhapsody.”

The work originally was one of four commissioned in 2014 by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform at an event for members of Forest Park Forever’s Leffingwell Society.

“Forest Park Rhapsody” 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 2016 MTNA National Conference, taking place April 2 through April 6 in San Antonio, TX.

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

Erin Höerchler featured in Columbia Daily Tribune

Mizzou composition major Erin Höerchler was the subject of a feature article last week in the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Reported by the Daily Tribune’s Amy Wilder, the profile is part of the paper’s weekly “Niche” series highlighting artists in the Columbia area.

Höerchler (pictured), a junior who’s originally from Jefferson City, used the opportunity to talk briefly about her compositional process, telling Wilder, “When I write, it’s like each part is a character, and there’s drama in between those characters…I’m not just writing sounds and music. It’s a story. There’s a whole aesthetic and a time period and a color scheme I create with each of my pieces.”

You can read the entire article online at http://www.columbiatribune.com/arts_life/ovation/erin-hoerchler/article_aeeec5bb-9100-5b55-a077-c31d1fec0be3.html.

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project seeks
orchestral, choral works for performance in March

For the past four years, the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) has been providing performance opportunities for new orchestral music written by Missouri residents. For its fifth year, MOCOP is expanding, both musically and geographically.

The 2016 competition will include both choral and orchestral works in five categories, three for Missouri composers and two added specifically for composers currently studying at schools in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving the Mizzou New Music Initiative, Columbia Civic Orchestra (pictured), and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Each year, recently composed works are selected through a competitive, blind judging process and are performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra at a concert in Columbia. Each of the composers of the selected works is awarded a $500 honorarium, and this year, the composers selected from SEC schools also will receive travel expenses so they can attend the final rehearsal and concert.


New categories added for composers from SEC schools!

The categories for the 2016 MOCOP competition are Missouri Open – Orchestral; Missouri High School – Orchestral; Missouri High School – Choral; SEC Students – Orchestral; and SEC Students – Choral.

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

Composers who wish to submit their work to MOCOP can find details on eligibility and instrumentation plus complete application materials online at http://mizzounewmusic.missouri.edu/project.html.

Applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. Central time on Friday, December 11, 2015

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.

University Singers to premiere new work by Chen Yi

This weekend, the Mizzou New Music Initiative and the University of Missouri School of Music will have the honor of welcoming Chen Yi for a brief residency on the MU campus and a world premiere.

Chen (pictured) currently is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition “Si Ji” (“Four Seasons”), she was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and is known as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries.

Along with many orchestral works, Chen has written numerous choral works and pieces of chamber music, including works written for traditional Chinese instruments.

While she’s at Mizzou, Chen will give a presentation her works at 3:00 p.m. Saturday in room 146 of the Fine Arts Building, and take in the world premiere of her new composition “The Beautiful West Lake” during a concert by the University Singers at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at First Baptist Church.

The work was commissioned by the University of Missouri School of Music specifically for R. Paul Crabb and the University Singers with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. The lyric is taken from the poem “The West Lake,” written during the Song Dynasty in 1073 by the Chinese poet Su Dong-po (1037-1101).

Chen’s program notes describe “The Beautiful West Lake” like this:

“The shining waves in the lake, and the drizzling rains on the hills from a colorful landscape of the West Lake. It is presented by simple pentatonic melodies, with cluster harmonies and a pattern of reciting nonsense syllables in the background in my choral piece. The sound and voices in the music convey the feeling of enjoying the nature, which symbolizes the beauty in Southeast China, whose presence is just so natural and perfect.”

Following the concert, Chen will wrap up her visit on Monday by leading a morning coaching session at Loeb Hall with the Mizzou New Music Ensemble.

A violinist as well as a composer, she received bachelor and masters degrees in music composition from the Central Conservatory in Beijing, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University.

Chen is the recipient of the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2005. She has received
fellowships and commissions from organizations including the Guggenheim Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Koussevitzky, Fromm, Ford, Roche, and Rockefeller foundations; Meet The Composer, Chamber Music America;, the BBC Proms; the China National Center for the Performing Arts, the Lincoln Center Festival, and Carnegie Hall.

Ensembles and soloists commissioning her work have included the Cleveland Orchestra, Mira Wang and the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Seattle Symphony, Yo-Yo Ma and the Pacific Symphony, Evelyn Glennie and the Singapore Symphony, the Women’s Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Chen’s music is published by Theodore Presser Company, and has been recorded and released on more than 20 different labels, including New Albion, CRI, Angel, Koch International Classics, Delos, New World and Naxos.

Also of note is that her husband is Zhou Long, also a professor of composition at UMKC’s conservatory, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for music, and one of two distinguished guest composers at the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

For more about Chen Yi, you can read this 2001 interview with Minnesota Public Radio and this interview conducted at the 2005 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, and listen to this interview she did in 2012 with NYC radio station WQXR.

You can see and hear some samples of her works in the embedded videos below.

“Prospect Overture” for orchestra, commissioned by the China National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing and premiered by the China National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Harding, on December 31, 2008 at the CNCPA.

“Chinese Ancient Dances” for clarinet and piano, performed by Divan Consort on September 27, 2012 at CSU Fullerton’s Meng Hall.

“Distance can’t keep us two apart,” a 2012 work commissioned by the American Choral Directors Association Endowment and performed here by Montclair State University Singers, conducted by Dr. Heather Buchanan, on February 17, 2012 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, in Providence, RI.

Composer David Maslanka to visit Mizzou

Although the Mizzou International Composers Festival represents the largest gathering of composers taking place each year in Columbia, the School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative also are pleased to be able to host individual composers for short-term residencies during the school year.

Composer David Maslanka (pictured) will be in residence at Mizzou next week, and he’ll have a busy schedule while he’s visiting Columbia.

On Tuesday, October 13, Maslanka will present a seminar for composition students, and that evening, the Missouri Quintet will perform a concert including one of his works at 7:30 p.m. at Whitmore Recital Hall.

On Wednesday, Maslanka will have a coaching session with the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, who will be performing one of his works this season, and on Thursday, he’ll take part in a School of Music convocation at 3:00 p.m. at Whitmore Hall.

Maslanka’s visit will be capped by a concert at 7:30 pm. Thursday at the Missouri Theatre, featuring performances of his music by Mizzou’s Symphonic Band, University Band, and Wind Ensemble.

Born in 1943 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, David Maslanka is known particularly for his compositions for winds, a number of which have become staples of band repertoire. Among his more than 130 works are forty pieces for wind ensemble, including seven symphonies, fifteen concertos, a Mass, and many concert pieces. His chamber music includes four wind quintets, five saxophone quartets, and many works for solo instrument and piano. In addition, he has written a variety of orchestral and choral pieces.

His education includes undergraduate work at the Oberlin College Conservatory, a year at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and masters and doctoral studies in composition at Michigan State University.

Maslanka served for more than 20 years on the faculty at Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York, and also has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and State University of New York at Geneseo.

Now a freelance composer who has worked solely on commission since 1990, Maslanka currently lives in Missoula, Montana. His compositions are published by Maslanka Press, Carl Fischer, Kjos Music, Marimba Productions, and OU Percussion Press. They have been recorded on labels including Albany, Reference Recordings, BIS (Sweden), Naxos, Cambria, CRI, Mark, Novisse, AUR, Cafua (Japan), Brain Music (Japan), Barking Dog, and Klavier.

For more about David Maslanka, check out this interview from back in 1998, and his interview with The Musicalist podcast, recorded in May 2014.

You can see and hear some performances of Maslanka’s music in the embedded videos below.

“Symphony No. 4,” performed by the United States Navy Concert Band, guest conducted by Mallory Thompson, on September 19, 2010 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, VA.

“Requiem,” performed by the University of North Texas Wind Symphony, conducted by Dominic Talanca, on November 21, 2013 at Winspear Hall, University of North Texas.

“Hell’s Gate” for alto, tenor and baritone saxophones and wind ensemble, performed in 2012 by members of Zzyzx Quartet and the Arizona State University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Gary Hill.

Henry Breneman Stewart wins 2016 Sinquefield Composition Prize

The University of Missouri School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have awarded the 2016 Sinquefield Composition Prize to Henry Breneman Stewart.

Stewart, a native of Lancaster County, PA, is a first-year graduate student at Mizzou studying composition with Stefan Freund and piano with Janice Wenger. He submitted “Threnody,” a work for string quartet, to the competition and was selected for the prize by a panel of independent judges.

The adjudicators for the 2016 competition were:
* R. Paul Crabb, director of choral activities, University of Missouri; and artistic director, Prometheus;
* Nick Omiccioli, composer;
* John Orfe, assistant professor, Bradley University; and composer and pianist with Alarm Will Sound; and
* Ingrid Stölzel, assistant professor, University of Kansas, and composer.

Now in its eleventh year, the Sinquefield Composition Prize is the top award for a composition student at Mizzou. As this year’s winner, Stewart now will have the opportunity to write an original work for Mizzou’s University Singers, which, in keeping with the theme of the 2016 Chancellor’s Arts Showcase, will incorporate text selected from the works of William Shakespeare.

Stewart’s composition will receive premiere performances on Sunday, April 10, 2016 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center in St. Louis and on Monday, April 11, 2016 as part of the Chancellor’s Arts Showcase at the Missouri Theatre 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.

Before coming to Mizzou, Stewart (pictured) earned a BA in music and biochemistry at Goshen College in Goshen, IN, where he studied composition with Dr. Jorge Muñiz of Indiana University South Bend. His interest in music began in childhood, as he grew up singing four-part harmony at East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church in Lancaster and began playing piano at age 5, later learning saxophone, flute and accordion as well.

During his sophomore year at Goshen, he and two friends started the indie-folk band Moral Circus, which released a full-length album in early 2014. In addition to the Mennonite tradition, he cites as significant influences the music of Krzysztof Penderecki, James Blake, Shostakovich, Kanye West, Samuel Barber, Johnny Greenwood, and Run the Jewels.

The other finalists for the 2016 Sinquefield Composition Prize were Ben Colagiovanni, Hans B. Heruth, and Erin Hoerchler.

2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival set for July 25 – 30;
applications for eight resident composers now open

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is now accepting applications for eight resident composers to take part in the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF), which will be held Monday, July 25 through Saturday, July 30 on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

British/American composer Oscar Bettison (pictured) will serve as one of the MICF’s two distinguished guest composers, teaching and consulting with the resident composers and ensemble. The second distinguished guest composer will be announced at a later date.

The MICF features three public concerts of 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 eight resident composers, with the acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, serving as resident ensemble.

The resident composers are selected for the MICF each year through an online portfolio application process. During the Festival, they’ll receive composition lessons from the distinguished guest composers and Mizzou faculty, and take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. Each composer also will receive a copy of a professional live recording of their work.

Born in the UK, Bettison has served on the composition faculty of Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute since 2009. His music has been described as possessing “an unconventional lyricism and a menacing beauty” and a “unique voice,” and has been commissioned and performed by leading ensembles and soloists around the world.

Bettison’s works have been featured and reviewed in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and British, Dutch and Italian media outlets, and has received airplay on radio throughout the US, Australia, Britain, The Netherlands and Brazil and on British and Dutch TV.

The application period for resident composers begins September 21, 2015, and the deadline for submitting an application is 5:00 p.m. Central time, Monday, November 23, 2015. For more information or to apply to become a resident composer for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, please visit https://app.getacceptd.com/mizzou.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be made available at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.