Composers Festival spotlight: Mary Kouyoumdjian

Although composer Mary Kouyoumdjian was born in the USA, her music definitely is informed by perspectives from beyond its’ borders.

As a first generation Armenian-American from a family directly affected by the Lebanese civil war and Armenian genocide, Kouyoumdjian uses a sonic palette that, in her words, “draws on her heritage, interest in music as documentary, and background in experimental composition to progressively blend the old with the new.”

Based in Brooklyn, New York, Kouyoumdjian (pictured) is one of the eight resident composers for the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival, for which she’s written a new work called “Paper Pianos” that will be premiered as part of the festival’s grand finale concert on Saturday, July 30 at the Missouri Theatre.

She currently is working on a doctoral degree in composition as a Dean’s Fellow at Columbia University, and previously earned her master’s in scoring for film and multimedia from New York University and a degree in composition from the University of California, San Diego.

Kouyoumdjian’s musical projects range from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores, and she has received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, Carnegie Hall, the American Composers Forum/JFund, and numerous others. As a composer, orchestrator, and music editor for film, she has worked on soundtracks for motion pictures including The Place Beyond the Pines (Focus Features) and Demonic (Dimension Films).

An organizer as well as a composer, Kouyoumdjian is a co-founder and executive director of the ensemble Hotel Elefant, and a co-founder of the annual new music conference New Music Gathering.

This spring, her work was presented by the 2016 New York Philharmonic Biennial, and she previously has had artist residencies with Roulette/The Jerome Foundation, Montalvo Arts Center, and Exploring the Metropolis.

You can hear Mary Kouyoumdjian’s music on her SoundCloud page, and listen to an interview she did recently on KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program here. You also can see performances of three of her works in the embedded video windows below.

“Bombs Of Beirut” was performed by the Kronos Quartet as part of the celebration of their 40th anniversary at The Greene Space in NYC.

“Children of Conflict ‘Samar’s Song’” performed by Hotel Elefant, featuring Andie Tanning Springer (violin), Nick Gleason (percussion), Josh Perry (percussion), and Mary Kouyoumdjian (electronics).

“This Should Feel Like Home” performed by Hotel Elefant, featuring Katie Cox (flute), Domenica Fossati (alto flute), Isabel Kim (clarinet), Christa Van Alstine (bass clarinet), David Friend (piano), Hannis Brown (electric guitar), Josh Perry (percussion), Kirsten Volness (percussion), Caroline Bean (cello), Shawn Lovato (bass), and Peter Bussigel (electronics), conducted by Meg Zervoulis.

2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival
schedule of events and ticket information

Here’s the complete schedule of events and information on how to get tickets for the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

The 2016 MICF begins on Monday, July 25 and continues through Saturday, July 30.

Festival events will be held at the Fine Arts Building and Loeb Hall on the University of Missouri campus and at the Missouri Theatre in downtown Columbia, including:

Monday, July 25

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Matthew Browne, Resident Composer Presentation
Fine Arts Building Room 145 on the MU campus
Open to the Public

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Takuma Itoh, Resident Composer Presentation
Fine Arts Building Room 145
Open to the Public

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Wang Lu, Resident Composer Presentation
Fine Arts Building Room 145
Open to the Public

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Ryan Lindveit, Resident Composer Presentation
Fine Arts Building Room 145
Open to the Public

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Trey Makler, Resident Composer Presentation
Fine Arts Building Room 145
Open to the Public

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Wang A Mao, Resident Composer Presentation
Fine Arts Building Room 145
Open to the Public

Tuesday, July 26

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Alarm Will Sound Open Rehearsal
Missouri Theatre, 203 South 9th Street, Columbia, MO 65201
Open to the Public

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Daniel Silliman, Resident Composer Presentation
Fine Arts Building Room 145
Open to the Public

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Mary Kouyoumdjian, Resident Composer Presentation
Fine Arts Building Room 145
Open to the Public

7:00 p.m.
Oscar Bettison, Distinguished Guest Composer Presentation
Fine Arts Building Room 145
Open to the Public

8:15 p.m.
Julia Bentley with Erin Gee, Guest Presentation
Fine Arts Building Room 145
Open to the Public

Wednesday, July 27

2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Alarm Will Sound Open Rehearsal
Missouri Theatre
Open to the Public

7:00 p.m.
Erin Gee, Distinguished Guest Composer Presentation
Fine Arts Building Room 145
Open to the Public

8:30 p.m.
Stefan Freund, Mizzou Faculty Composer Presentation
Fine Arts Building Room 145
Open to the Public

Thursday, July 28

7:30 p.m.
Alarm Will Sound
Missouri Theatre, 203 South 9th Street, Columbia, MO 65201
Tickets are $18 adults, $10 students

This concert features the festival’s resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound playing music by 2016 MICF distinguished guest composers Oscar Bettison and Erin Gee. AWS also will perform works by Mizzou student and former MICF resident composer José Martínez, and by AWS cellist and co-founder Stefan Freund, who is associate professor of composition at Mizzou and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative.

Friday, July 29

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Alarm Will Sound Open Rehearsal
Loeb Hall 201 on the MU campus
Open to the Public

2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Alarm Will Sound Open Rehearsal
Loeb Hall 201
Open to the Public

7:30 p.m.
Mizzou New Music
Missouri Theatre, 203 South 9th Street, Columbia, MO 65201
$18 adults/ $10 students

This concert features the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, the flagship group of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, plus guest performing artists Missouri Saxophone Quartet, violinist Julie Rosenfeld and pianist Peter Miyamoto.

Saturday, July 30

7:30 p.m.
Eight World Premieres
performed by Alarm Will Sound

Missouri Theatre, 203 South 9th Street, Columbia, MO 65201
$18 adults/ $10 students

More than 220 composers from around the world submitted their portfolios to the festival, and eight were selected. The grand finale concert features the world premieres of eight works composed specifically for the acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound by the MICF’s resident composers:

* Matthew Browne, Ann Arbor, MI
* Takuma Itoh, Honolulu, HI
* Mary Kouyoumdjian, Brooklyn, NY
* Ryan Lindveit, Los Angeles, CA
* Trey Makler, Columbia, MO
* Daniel Silliman, Princeton, NJ
* Wang A Mao, Kansas City, MO
* Wang Lu, Providence, RI

Tickets

Festival passes good for admission to all three concerts are on sale for $80 for the VIP package, which includes reserved premium seating and other benefits; $40 for adults; and $20 for students.

Single tickets are priced at $18 for adults, $10 for students. Tickets can be charged by phone using Visa, MasterCard or Discover by calling 1-573-882-3781. To buy tickets online, go to http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Box Office Hours and Location

Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St, Columbia, MO, 65211
Regular business hours: Monday – Friday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Hours during Mizzou International Composers Festival concert days:
Thursday, July 28: 9:00 AM – Performance Intermission (approx. 8:30 PM)
Friday, July 29: 9:00 AM – Performance Intermission (approx. 8:30 PM)
Saturday, July 30: 5:00 PM – Performance Intermission (approx. 8:30 PM)

Composers Festival spotlight: Matthew Browne

It’s been a busy year for Matthew Browne. Even before coming to Columbia as one of the eight resident composers for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, he’s already been one of seven young composers attending the 13th annual Composer Institute sponsored by the Minnesota Orchestra in conjunction with the American Composers Forum. Not only that, just before his visit to Missouri, he’ll be taking part in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s 2016 Edward T. Cone Composition Institute at Princeton University.

Born in Burlington, Vermont and raised in Colorado, Browne (pictured) currently is working on a doctoral degree in composition at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He previously earned his master’s degree in composition from UM-AA and a bachelor of music degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Praised as “compelling” by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and “beautifully crafted and considered” by What’s On London, Browne’s music is influenced by a diverse and evolving range of composers and musicians, from György Ligeti, Alfred Schnittke, and Igor Stravinsky to the Beatles, Frank Zappa and Buddy Rich.

His recent honors include winning a BMI Student Composer award in 2015, both an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers award and the New England Philharmonic Call for Scores in 2014, and more. He has collaborated with ensembles such as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Villiers Quartet, the Donald Sinta Quartet, the Tesla Quartet, and the Albany Symphony, which last year read one his works as part of a “Composer To Center Stage Reading Session.”

Browne’s new work composed for Alarm Will Sound to premiere at 2016 MICF is called “Writers’ Room”. While that piece can’t be heard until the festival’s grand finale on Saturday, July 30 at the Missouri Theatre, you can hear more of his music on his SoundCloud page, and see and hear performances of three of his compositions in the embedded windows below.

“Cabinet of Curiosities for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra,” performed by Dan Graser (soprano sax), Zach Stern (alto sax), Eddie Goodman (tenor sax), Danny Hawthorne-Foss (baritone sax) and an orchestra of students from the University of Michigan conducted by Thomas Gamboa.

The Villiers Quartet performs Browne’s 2014 work, String Quartet no. 1 “A Penumbral Eclipse.”

“Exit, Pursued by a Bear” is a work for solo viola, performed here in February, 2013 by Jarita Ng at Rice University.

Composers Festival spotlight: Takuma Itoh

As preparations continue for the official start of the Mizzou International Composers Festival on Monday, July 25, this will be the first of a series of brief profiles of the resident composers, distinguished guest composers, and musicians taking part in this year’s MICF, including (whenever possible) samples of their music.

Born in Japan, raised in Northern California, and now living in Hawaiʻi, where since 2012 he has been a faculty member at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, Takuma Itoh brings a well-traveled perspective to his turn as a resident composer at this year’s festival.

Educated at Cornell University, University of Michigan, and Rice University, Itoh (pictured) previously enjoyed wide public attention in 2011 as one of NPR Music and WQXR’s “100 Composers Under 40”.

He’s also been a fellow at the Cabrillo Composer Workshop, Wellesley Composers Conference, Copland House CULTIVATE, Pacific Music Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival, and in 2015 had a League of American Orchestras residency with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra that ended with the TSO presenting the world premiere of the orchestral version of his work “Ripple Effect.”

Described as “brashly youthful and fresh” by the New York Times, Itoh’s music has been performed by the Albany Symphony, the New York Youth Symphony, the Shanghai Quartet, the St. Lawrence Quartet, the Cassatt Quartet, and many others.

In addition to the Music Alive: New Partnerships grant that enabled his collaboration with the Tucson Symphony, Itoh has been the recipient of awards and commissions including the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prize; six ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, including the Leo Kaplan Award; and numerous others. His works can be heard on Albany and Blue Griffin Records, and have been published by Theodore Presser, Resolute Music, and Murphy Music Press.

For the MICF, Itoh has composed a work called “Arrow of Time” that will one of eight world premieres from this year’s resident composers performed by Alarm Will Sound at the festival’s grand finale on Saturday, July 30 at the Missouri Theatre.

You can hear him talk about that new work, his approach to composing, and much more in an interview recently aired on the “Mizzou Music” program on KMUC-FM in Columbia. You also can hear (and see) performances of three of Takuma Itoh’s other compositions in the embedded video windows below.

“Conversations in the Garden” was written in 2015 for viola, guitar and piano to accompany an installation by French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot.

“City of Imagination” was recorded on February 21, 2015 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Orvis Auditorium, performed by Loo Sze Wang (sheng), Pan Ya Sze (yangqin), Yu Wing Ka (pipa), Wong Chi Chung (erhu), Frederick Lau (dizi), and Yi-Chieh Lai (zheng), and conducted by Thomas Osborne.

“Echolocation” was recorded in 2013 by Quanta Quartet, featuring Don-Paul Kahl (soprano saxophone), Matthew Hinchliffe (alto saxophone), Ali Fyffe (tenor saxophone), and Jacob Kopcienski (baritone saxophone).

If you’re coming to Columbia

If you’re planning on coming to Columbia for the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival, you can get advance tickets online for all three concerts, which are being presented again this year at the Missouri Theatre:

Thursday, July 28: Alarm Will Sound
Friday, July 29: Mizzou New Music
Saturday, July 30: Eight World Premieres with Alarm Will Sound

Also, you may find these links useful for planning and/or during your visit:

Visitors information
Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau
University of Missouri Visitors Guide
Columbia Regional Airport
Vox magazine’s guide to Columbia restaurants
City of Columbia official site
2015-2016 Columbia Missouri Visitor & Area Guide

Media
Columbia Tribune
Columbia Missourian
Inside Columbia magazine
Columbia area radio stations
KOMU-TV (NBC)
KMIZ-TV (ABC)
KRCG-TV (CBS)
KMOS-TV (PBS)

National Weather Service forecast for Boone County, Missouri

Mizzou New Music Initiative awards postdoctoral fellowship to Phillip Sink

The Mizzou New Music Initiative and the University of Missouri School of Music have awarded the Initiative’s first-ever postdoctoral fellowship to composer Phillip Sink.

Starting with the Fall 2016 semester, Sink (pictured) will teach classes in composition and electronic music at Mizzou, and also will begin a major research project to be completed during the two years of his fellowship.

“We’re delighted to have Phillip as our first postdoctoral fellow,” said Stefan Freund, associate professor of composition at Mizzou and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “He’s an accomplished composer who has a lot of experience in electronic music and also has been teaching at the university level, which makes him a great fit for our program.”

A native of High Point, North Carolina, Sink comes to Mizzou from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where he recently earned a doctoral degree (DM) in music composition with minors in electronic music and music theory.

While at the Jacobs School, he studied electronic music with Jeffrey Hass and John Gibson, and acoustic composition with Claude Baker, David Dzubay, Aaron Travers, Sven-David Sandström, Ricardo Lorenz, Jere Hutcheson, and Scott Meister. Sink also served as an associate instructor of composition during his time in Indiana, teaching courses in counterpoint, notation, composition for non-majors, and more.

He received bachelor’s degrees in music composition/theory and music education from Appalachian State University in 2004, and then taught middle school orchestra and band in Charlotte, NC from 2005 to 2009. In 2012, he earned master’s degrees in music composition and music theory pedagogy from Michigan State University, while also serving as a graduate assistant in music theory.

Phillip Sink’s compositions have been performed in concerts and at conferences and festivals in the United States and Europe, including the 2015 Aspen Music Festival, where he was awarded the Hermitage Prize by the faculty; 2015 Art and Science Days in Bourges, France; the 2015 SEAMUS conference, and many others. His awards and honors include the 2015 Dean’s Prize for chamber music at Indiana University; Innovox Ensemble’s 2015 Green Call for Scores; the 2013 Kuttner String Quartet Composition Competition; and more.

Mizzou New Music Initiative seeks new managing director

The University of Missouri School of Music is looking for a new managing director for the Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI).

The managing director is responsible for administering all of MNMI’s various programs, which include the Mizzou International Composers Festival, the Creating Original Music Project (COMP), the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP), and more.

The job begins on August 1, 2016, and offers a competitive salary and full benefits package. It is a full-time, 12-month faculty position with at least 75% administrative duties and potential for up to 25% teaching, depending on the applicant’s area of specialty.

Applicants must have previous administrative and teaching experience in a music-related field, and excellent interpersonal and organizational skills. A master’s degree in arts administration is strongly preferred, but those with DMA, PhD or MM degrees in music fields also will be considered.

The new managing director will be the permanent replacement for William J. “Billy” Lackey, who had held the position since 2009 but left Mizzou in March to become vice president of programs for the American Composers Forum in St. Paul, MN. Drew Worden, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music who has been serving as interim managing director since March, has taken a job at the New England Conservatory of Music beginning with the Fall 2016 semester.

For more information or to apply, go to:
https://hrprd.umsystem.edu/psp/prd/EMPLOYEE/HRMS/c/HRS_HRPM.HRS_JOB_OPENING.GBL?Action=U&HRS_JOB_OPENING_ID=20088

The University of Missouri School of Music has 40 full-time faculty members and nearly 300 music majors, and offers a full range of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music. Graduate music education degrees are offered in collaboration with the College of Education.

MU is fully committed to achieving the goal of a diverse and inclusive academic community of faculty, staff and students, and seeks individuals who are committed to this goal and our core campus values of respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence. The University of Missouri is an equal opportunity/access/affirmative action/pro-disabled & veteran employer.

Tickets for 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival go on sale Friday, June 3

Alarm Will Sound

Tickets for the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. CDT on Friday, June 3.

Hailed as “a vibrant inferno of creative energy” by the internationally syndicated radio program “Relevant Tones,” and praised for offering “kinetic excitement” by the hometown Columbia Daily Tribune, the MICF will take place this year from Monday, July 25 through Saturday, July 30 in Columbia, and will include three public concerts of new music by living composers.

Returning for the seventh year as the festival’s resident ensemble, Alarm Will Sound will begin the weekend of shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St. in downtown Columbia.

They’ll perform music from the 2016 MICF’s distinguished guest composers, Oscar Bettison and Erin Gee, and a work by Stefan Freund, who is an associate professor at Mizzou, artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and cellist for Alarm Will Sound.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble

Next, the “Mizzou New Music” concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 29 at the Missouri Theatre will feature performances by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and guest artists Missouri Saxophone Quartet, violinist Julie Rosenfeld, and pianist Peter Miyamoto. The concert will feature music from Bettison, Gee, Freund, Mizzou student composer Jose Martinez, and more.

The grand finale of the week will showcase the world premieres of eight new works, written by the festival’s resident composers and performed by Alarm Will Sound at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 30 at the Missouri Theatre.

Festival VIP packages are $80, and include reserved premium seating at all three concerts; two drink tickets good at the Thursday and Friday performances; and admission to a VIP reception prior to the Saturday evening performance, featuring champagne and hors d’oeuvres with members of Alarm Will Sound and the composers.

Festival passes for all three concerts are $40 for an adult general admission pass, and $20 for a student general admission pass.

Single tickets are priced at $18 for adults, $10 for students, and are all general admission. Tickets can be charged by phone using Visa, MasterCard or Discover by calling 1-573-882-3781. To buy tickets online, visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

In addition to these three concerts, the MICF also will feature several free events, including open rehearsals and presentations by the participating composers. A complete schedule of those events will be released at a later date.

The eight resident composers were chosen from among more than 220 applicants from across the USA and around the world to participate in the festival and create a new work for Alarm Will Sound. They are:

* Matthew Browne, Ann Arbor, MI
* Takuma Itoh, Honolulu, HI
* Mary Kouyoumdjian, Brooklyn, NY
* Ryan Lindveit, Los Angeles, CA
* Trey Makler, Columbia, MO
* Daniel Silliman, Princeton, NJ
* Wang A Mao, Kansas City, MO
* Wang Lu, Providence, RI

During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from distinguished guest composers Oscar Bettison, a British/American composer who has served on the composition faculty of Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute since 2009; and Erin Gee, an assistant professor of music at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who is known for her works using non-traditional vocal techniques.

The resident composers also will take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound; give presentations on their music; and receive a premiere performance and professional live recording of their work.