Composers Festival spotlight: Anthony Vine

One of two resident composers at this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival now based in Brooklyn, NYC, Anthony Vine originally hails from Warren, OH.

He earned a B.M. in composition from The Ohio State University and an M.A. in composition from the University of Washington, and is the founder and artistic director of CNX: The Columbus // New York New Music Exchange, a programming and outreach initiative that seeks to build relationships between the contemporary music communities of Columbus, OH and New York City.

Vine’s music has been played and workshopped in North America and Europe by ensembles and performers including JACK Quartet, Pascal Gallois, Ensemble Besides, Quasar Saxophone Quartet, Bearthoven, Protean Duo, Inverted Space Ensemble, and members of the Columbus Symphony, among others.

He has attended summer courses and residencies such as the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music, SALT New Music Festival, and Composit New Music Festival, and taken private lessons and masterclasses with composers such as Rebecca Saunders, Georges Aperghis, Brian Ferneyhough, Joshua Fineberg, Enno Poppe, Philippe Leroux, Steven Takasugi, David Lang, and others. In January 2016, he’ll be one of seven composers participating in the Minnesota Orchestra’s 13th annual Composer Institute.

Vine frequently collaborates with choreographers and multimedia artists, and recently has been developing a site-specific project, Hallways, with Logan Company (Kathryn Logan and Katy Gilmore) and Matt Evans.
 
You can hear samples of Anthony Vine’s music in the embedded SoundCloud players below.  

Composers Festival spotlight: Thomas Dougherty

Resident composer Thomas Dougherty comes to the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival from Houston, TX, where he earned his master of music degree in composition from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and has served as composer and violinist for the Da Camera of Houston Young Artists Program.

Very soon, though, he’ll move to Los Angeles to begin work this fall on a DMA in composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where the faculty includes 2015 MICF distinguished guest composer Andrew Norman.

A native of Pittsburgh, Dougherty attended Carnegie Mellon University during his senior year of high school, and went on to receive bachelor’s degrees in both composition and violin performance from the Eastman School of Music.

While a student at Eastman, Dougherty was awarded the Anthony and Carolyn Donato Prize and the Louis Lane Prize for Composition, and also was the winner of the Eastman Orchestral Composition Competition, which resulted in a performance of his “Three Pieces for Orchestra” by the Eastman Philharmonia.

As a violinist, Dougherty has performed many of his own solo and chamber works, has served as concertmaster for the Eastman Philharmonia, and was awarded first prize at the 2014 Music For Mt. Lebanon Keynotes Scholarship competition.

His residencies have included time as a Chamber Music Institute Fellow at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he wrote a piece for the Meadowlark Trio, and at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau in France, studying harmony and composition. Dougherty has also attended festivals such as the FUBiS Music Composition Course at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Composition Course at Montserrat in Valencia, Spain, and has presented his works in masterclasses to composers Steven Stucky and David Lang.

You can hear samples of Thomas Dougherty’s music in the embedded SoundCloud players below.

Composers Festival spotlight: Justin Pounds

Resident composer Justin Pounds is the University of Missouri’s representative at the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival, and along with Christopher Stark, one of two resident composers this year with ties to Missouri and St. Louis.

A St. Louis native who grew up in the suburb of Oakville, Pounds earned his bachelor of music degree at Mizzou, and currently is pursuing a master of music in composition, studying with Dr. Thomas McKenney and Dr. Stefan Freund. 

This past November, his chamber opera “The Outlaw” was premiered by at Mizzou by the Show-Me Opera. Pounds also recently completed a commissioned work for solo piano inspired by the rhythms of Africa, which was performed at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis.

Pounds spent August 2013 to August 2014 as the resident composer for the town of Lexington, Missouri, scoring original music for audio tours of the city’s historic districts as part of a two-year program in which the University is helping Lexington brand itself as a destination for tourists and artists.

Also in 2014, Pounds and three other Mizzou composers wrote a group of commissioned works for Forest Park Forever in St. Louis, with Pounds’ composition “A Leaf on the Wind” getting performances at The Jewel Box in Forest Park and subsequently at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Pounds’ work “Electric Brain” was choreographed for dancers at Stephens College by Stephanie Reynolds and presented at the central region American College Dance Festival, and his choral piece “Music, When Soft Voices Die”‘ was selected by The C7 Prize as a Recommended Work.

Justin Pounds’ music also has been featured in masterclasses with composers John Orfe and Tod Machover, and given premiere performances by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, Mizzou’s Concert Chorale, and various chamber groups.

During the 2013-14 academic year, he served as “composer on call” for the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s Composer Connection distance learning program. Pounds also was a finalist for the Sinquefield Composition Prize in 2013, 2014, and 2015; and was a finalist for the 2014 MU Collaborative Arts Initiative.

You can hear samples of Justin Pounds’ music in the embedded YouTube and SoundCloud players below.

“The Outlaw,” performed November 15, 2014 at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia.

Composers Festival spotlight: Alessandro Ratoci

Alessandro Ratoci has the longest journey of any of this year’s resident composers to get to the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival, coming to Columbia from Lausanne, Switzerland, where he teaches electronic music at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève (Geneva University of Music).

Born in Tuscany, Italy, Ratoci majored in composition, piano, and electronic music at the University of Bologna, and then went on to earn his master’s degree in composition at Geneva University of Music, studying with Michael Jarrell, Luis Naón and Eric Daubresse.

He then moved to Paris to continue his studies of composition and electronic performance at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM).

Ratoci’s compositions have been played by groups including PRIME Recorder Ensemble, Ictus Ensemble, the ensemble of HEM Geneve and Quartetto Fiorentino, with performances at events such as Festival Archipel in Geneva, Milano Musica in Milan, Angelica Festival Internazionale di Musica and Musica Insieme in Bologna, and “In My Life,” held at the Parco della Musica in Rome.

You can hear samples of Alessandro Ratoci’s music in the embedded YouTube and SoundCloud players below.

“Rima Flow’ for tuba and electronics, recorded April 2, 2015 at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, featuring Jean Baptiste Renaux (tuba).

“Le journal du Colonel Astral” for actor, soprano, and amplified ensemble of nine performers and electronics

Composers Festival spotlight: Christopher Stark

Christopher Stark is one of eight resident composers for the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival, and, along with Mizzou’s Justin Pounds, one of two resident composers this year with ties to Missouri and the St. Louis area.

Currently an assistant professor of composition at Washington University in St. Louis, Stark is a native of Polson, Montana who describes his music as being “deeply rooted in the American West” and “seeking to capture the expansive energy of this quintessential American landscape.”

His honors and awards include the Underwood Commission from the American Composers Orchestra, the prix de composition from the Orléans International Piano Competition, and an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award.

Stark’s music been programmed, rehearsed, and performed by a variety of ensembles and orchestras across the country; featured on NPR’s “Performance Today”; and broadcast as a listener-voted favorite on WQXR in New York City. He also recently worked with Grammy-winning country music artists Zac Brown Band on an arrangement of their hit song “Free” for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

Before coming to Wash U, Stark studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory and the University of Montana, and earned his doctorate at Cornell University, where one of his teachers was Steven Stucky, a distinguished guest composer at the 2012 MICF.

You can hear samples of Christopher Stark’s music in the embedded YouTube players below.

Piano Quartet (2014) I. “Assisi, in memoriam Jonathan Harvey” for violin, viola, cello, and piano, recorded in 2014 by the Los Angeles Piano Quartet

“Soldier Asleep at the Tomb” for soprano, orchestra, and electronics, recorded November 1, 2014 at Bailey Hall, Cornell University with Lucy Fitz Gibbon, soprano, and the Cornell Symphony Orchestra, Chris Younghoon Kim, conductor.

“Rosenthal Miniatures” (2014), seven duets for oboe and bass clarinet with image projections, performed by Jennifer Gookin Cavanaugh (oboe)
and Christopher Kirkpatrick (bass clarinet), with illustrations by Marc Rosenthal

Composers Festival spotlight: Emily Koh

Resident composer Emily Koh comes to the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival by way of Singapore, her place of birth, and Boston, where she currently is a Ph.D. candidate in composition and theory at Brandeis University.

A bassist as well as a composer, Koh also serves as a visiting faculty member at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, director of concert series at the Boston New Music Initiative, and principal bass for the New England Philharmonic.

Her music is characterized by timbral extremes, and has been described as “beautifully eerie” (New York Times), and “subtly spicy” (Baltimore Sun). Koh’s works have been played at venues in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Finland, Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States by a variety of ensembles and performers, including Talea Ensemble , New York New Music Ensemble, Ensemble Signal, and many others.

Koh is a graduate of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Her honors and awards include the Asian Composers League’s Yoshiro Irino Memorial Prize, an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and the Parma Student Composer Competition, as well as numerous commissions and grants.

You can hear samples of Emily Koh’s music in the embedded YouTube and SoundCloud players below.

“in retro|re-intro:spect” for sinfonietta, written for the 2011 Composers Conference at Wellesley College and performed by the Purchase Contemporary Ensemble, directed by Dominic Donato, on November 29, 2012 at SUNY Purchase College’s Recital Hall

“bridging:isolation” (2013) for clarinet, violin and piano, recorded by the Talea Ensemble in March 2014 at Brandeis University

Composers Festival spotlight: DRAX

Formed in fall 2014, DRAX is the newest faculty ensemble-in-residence at the University of Missouri, and they’ll be making their Mizzou International Composers Festival debut as guest artists for the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 24 at the Missouri Theatre.

As the latest addition to the growing new music scene at Mizzou, the duo of percussionist Megan Arns and saxophonist Leo Saguiguit intends to explore the existing repertoire for saxophone and percussion duo as well as commission new works.

They’ve already made their its international debut at the 2015 World Saxophone Congress in Strasbourg, France, and also have performed at the North American Saxophone Alliance Region 4 Conference in Norman, Oklahoma, and the Missouri Percussive Arts Society’s Day of Percussion.

Although their collaboration is relatively new, both members of DRAX have been involved in the creation and performance of new music throughout their respective careers.

Megan Arns recently joined the music faculty of the University of Missouri as an assistant teaching professor of percussion. She has performed with the contemporary chamber groups [Switch~ Ensemble] and What is Noise as well as with a number of symphony orchestras, and also has extensive experience in the field of marching percussion.

An advocate for the creation of new music, Arns has been involved in co-commissioning and premiering works by notable composers such as John Luther Adams, Alejandro Viñao, Halim El-Dahb, Steven Snowden, Adam Silverman, David Skidmore, Ivan Trevino and Brian Nozny.

She earned performance degrees from Florida State University and Truman State University; an M.A. in ethnomusicology from the Eastman School of Music, and currently is a candidate for a D.M.A. in percussion performance and literature.

Leo Saguiguit serves as associate professor of saxophone at the University of Missouri, and also enjoys a busy schedule performing as a soloist and chamber musician and presenting master classes and lectures throughout the United States and abroad.

In addition to DRAX, he performs with the Athens (Greece) Saxophone Quartet, Chicago Saxophone Quartet, Missouri Saxophone Quartet, Trio Chymera, and the Odyssey Chamber Music Series of Columbia.

Saguiguit has appeared as concerto soloist with numerous orchestras and wind ensembles, and has performed regularly as an orchestral saxophonist with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Milwaukee Symphony, Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Florida Orchestra, and Missouri Symphony.

He has earned degrees from Emory University and Northwestern University, and has recorded CDs with the Athens Quartet, Impuls Quartet, Chromos Quartet, and the wind ensemble Philharmonia à Vent.

(While DRAX has yet to be captured on video – no, not that Drax, this DRAX – you can see separate performances involving Leo Saguiguit and Megan Arns in the embedded YouTube players below.)

Leo Saguiguit plays “Attila” by Mizzou alumnus Patrick David Clark in July 2012 at the World Saxophone Congress, accompanied by pianist Rachel Aubuchon

Megan Arns performs in the St. Louis celebration of ‘A Worldwide Day of In C,” held December 21, 2014 to mark 50 years of Terry Riley’s pioneering minimalist work

Composers Festival spotlight: Andrew Norman

Along with Hans Abrahamsen, the Mizzou New Music Initiative is pleased to welcome Andrew Norman as one of our two distinguished guest composers for the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Currently an assistant professor of composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, Norman (pictured) is a graduate of Yale and the University of Southern California. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 2006 Rome Prize and the 2009 Berlin Prize, and in 2012 was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his string trio “The Companion Guide to Rome.”

Norman has served as composer-in-residence for Young Concert Artists in New York and for the Heidelberg Philharmonic, and currently is composer-in-residence for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Composer Fellowship Program.

Along with music, Norman has a notable interest in architecture – he even considered pursuing it as a career – and that interest is reflected in his use of visual patterns and textures as inspirations for his compositions, as well as in an enthusiasm for musical notation, both historic and experimental. It came out even more explicitly in his recent work “Frank’s House,” which was inspired directly by the Santa Monica residence of famed architect Frank Gehry and was premiered earlier this year by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Norman’s music has been recognized by the New York Times for its “daring juxtapositions and dazzling colors,” the Boston Globe for its “staggering imagination,” and the Los Angeles Times for its “Chaplinesque” wit. His symphonic works have been performed by ensembles around the world, including the Los Angeles, New York, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonics, the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras, the BBC, Saint Louis, and Melbourne Symphonies, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, the Orchestre National de France, and many others.

For more about Andrew Norman, you can read his 2014 interview with New Music Box, and listen to him on a 2014 episode of WQXR’s “Meet the Composer.”

(You can hear some samples of Andrew Norman’s music in the YouTube players embedded below.)

The Companion Guide to Rome

Excerpt from “Frank’s House”

“Play: Level 1, Level 2, Level 3″ & “Try”