Spotlight on Jeremy Podgursky

Here’s another in our series of profiles of the resident composers taking part in this year’s Mizzou New Music Summer Festival:

Jeremy Podgursky (pictured) is a composer and performer of acoustic and electro-acoustic concert music who originally is from Louisville, KY. He currently lives in Bloomington, IN, where he has a Jacobs School of Music doctoral fellowship (D.M.) at Indiana University. Podgursky has studied acoustic composition with Don Freund, Steve Rouse and Marc Satterwhite, and electronic music with John Gibson and Alicyn Warren.

After completing his masters degree, Podgursky taught music theory, aural skills and private composition lessons at the University of Louisville, as well as after-school composition programs in Louisville area public high schools.

In addition to his interest in concert music, Podgursky says he has “a love/hate relationship with rock ‘n’ roll,” and finds himself “writing and singing his own songs at the most inopportune times.” His rock band The Pennies has shared stages with many leading indie rock acts, toured in the United States and Europe, and has issued four CDs.

You can hear samples of Podgursky’s concert music on his website and on his MySpace page.

As part of the paper’s coverage of the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, Podgursky was profiled in last Sunday’s Columbia Daily Tribune by staff writer Aarik Danielsen, and you can read that story online here. (A complete transcript of the interview is available here.)

For more, go here to see and hear Podgursky and fellow composer Derek Bermel (one of the guest composers at the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival) discussing the first reading of Podgursky’s piece Our Bliss, It Comes in Waves at the Earshot festival in Denver, CO.

Spotlight on Derek Bermel

The Mizzou New Music Summer Festival is privileged to have Derek Bermel (pictured) as one of the guest composers and instructors working with our eight resident composers this year.

Described by the Toronto Star as an “eclectic with wide open ears” and by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as “one of America’s finest young composers”, Bermel has been widely hailed for his creativity, theatricality, and virtuosity. His works draw from a rich variety of musical genres, including classical, jazz, pop, rock, blues, folk, and gospel.

From 2006 to 2009 Bermel was Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. He has received commissions from the Pittsburgh, National, and Saint Louis Symphonies, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, WNYC Radio, eighth blackbird, the Guarneri String Quartet, Music from China, De Ereprijs (Netherlands), Jazz Xchange (U.K.), Figura (Denmark), violinist Midori, electric guitarist Wiek Hijmans, cellist Fred Sherry, and pianists Christopher Taylor and Andy Russo, among others.

Bermel’s awards include the Alpert Award in the Arts, the Rome Prize, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, the Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center, the Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Lili Boulanger Award, commissions from the Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, Meet the Composer, and residencies at Yaddo, Tanglewood, Aspen, Banff, Bellagio, Copland House, Sacatar, and Civitella Ranieri.

A clarinetist as well as a composer, Bermel performed in 2008 as soloist alongside Wynton Marsalis in his Migration Series, a work commissioned by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and ACO. He also appeared as clarinet soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in conductor/composer John Adams’ Gnarly Buttons, and as soloist in his own concerto Voices at the Beijing Modern Music Festival. The Philharmonia Orchestra also produced an all-Bermel concert as part of its Music of Today series at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Other recent highlights include the Pittsburgh Symphony’s premiere of The Good Life for chorus and orchestra, and two premieres at Carnegie Hall: a Koussevitzky Commission for ACO conducted by Maestro Dennis Russell Davies, and as soloist in the world premiere of Fang Man’s clarinet concerto.

In 2009, Bermel served as composer-in-residence with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and as artist-in-residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Voices, a disc of his orchestral music on the BMOPsound label, was hailed as “magnificent” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Bermel’s music is published by Peermusic (Americas & Asia) and Faber Music (Europe/Australia).

You can listen to recorded excerpts of a number of Bermel’s compositions on his website. For more on Derek Bermel, read this profile, written before a concert with American Composers Orchestra, and this interview with Composition Today,

In the first embedded video window below, you can see and hear Bermel performing “Voices” at the Beijing Modern Music Festival. The second video clip shows a performance of Bermel’s “Tied Shifts” by the new music ensemble eighth blackbird.

If you’re coming to Columbia…

If you’re coming to Columbia to attend the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, you may find some of these links useful:

Visitors information:
Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau
Columbia Regional Airport
Hotels in Columbia
“Virtual tour” of Columbia
I Heart Columbia
Vox Magazine’s guide to Columbia restaurants
Mid-Missouri Dining Guide

Media:
Columbia Tribune
Columbia Missourian
Columbia area radio stations
KOMU-TV (NBC)
KMIZ-TV (ABC)
KRCG-TV (CBS)

National Weather Service forecast for Boone County

Mizzou New Music Summer Festival ticket information:

Festival passes good for admission to all four concerts are on sale now for $35 for adults, $20 for students. Single tickets are priced at $10 for adults, $5 for students for the concerts on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; and $15 for adults, $10 for students for the final concert on Sunday.

Tickets can be charged by phone by calling the Missouri Theatre box office at 573-875-0600 or purchased online at www.motheatre.org. (There is a $2 per ticket fee for online purchases; phone purchases will not be charged a fee.)

Spotlight on Kirk Trevor

The Mizzou New Music Summer Festival is fortunate to have Maestro Kirk Trevor as one of our guest artists in 2010.

Trevor (pictured) will conduct the Festival’s “Composers That Rock” concert featuring pianist Lisa Moore on Thursday, July 15, but audiences in Columbia have known him since the year 2000 as the conductor and music director of the Missouri Symphony.

He also was music director of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra from 1985 to 2003, and continues as conductor and music director of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, a post he’s held since 1988.

Born and educated in England, Trevor trained at London’s Guildhall School of Music, graduating in cello performance and conducting. He has guest conducted more than forty orchestras in twelve countries. His début with the London Symphony Orchestra was in January 2003 and Carnegie Hall debut in 2007. Trevor is one of the most recorded conductors of the past decade, with more than 50 recordings of new American music with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra in Bratislava, and 20 recordings with other orchestras for the EMI, Koch, Albany, Fatra, Crystal and Carlton Classics labels.

Like all the guest artists in the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, Trevor has a particular interest in music education, and he specifically is becoming widely recognized as one of the leading conducting teachers in the world.

Trevor has been a master teacher for the American Symphony Orchestra League and the Conductor’s Guild, and in 1991 co-founded and has been Artistic Director of the International Workshop for Conductors. (Held in the Czech Republic for a month every summer,  IWC is the world’s largest conducting school, each year training more than 80 conductors from 20 countries.)  Trevor also is a frequent guest teacher at Northwestern University and in Switzerland, annually giving a week of master classes at the Zurich and Basel Conservatories.

In the first embedded video, you can see and hear Maestro Trevor conducting the chamber orchestra and choir of the 32º International Festival in Brasilia, Brazil in a performance of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” In the second, you can see and a brief interview with Trevor, in which he discusses preparing a performance of film music with the ICO.

Spotlight on Paul Dooley

Here’s another in our series of profiles of the resident composers at the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival:

Paul M. Dooley (pictured) is a composer, pianist, and percussionist currently working for his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Michigan, where he is the Graduate Student Instructor in Electronic Music.

He was born and raised in Santa Rosa, CA and began composing music at age 12. His work today is inspired by dance, nature and travel, and has earned praise from famed composer Steve Reich, who said Dooley has “clearly learned how to deal with the orchestra,” and the Omaha World-Herald, which wrote that his music “shimmered beautifully.”

“El Mirador” (2010), about Paul’s travels to ancient Mayan ruins in Guatemala, was named the winner of the Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble’s American Composers Competition, which resulted in a commission for that group. Dooley’s composition “Dani’s Dance” (2007) received a 2008 Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and “Encaenia” (2008) was featured in a master class with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. His orchestral work Pomo Canyon Air (2005) has been performed by five different orchestras and read by the Detroit Symphony, conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

Dooley also earned a degree in music composition and a second bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Southern California. Recent awards include a fellowship from the Aspen Music Festival and commissions from the Michigan Music Teachers Association and members of the San Francisco Ballet. You can hear samples of many of Dooley’s compositions and see copies of his scores on his website.

You can see performances of two of Dooley’s works in the embedded video windows below. The first clip shows part one of his composition “Pagoda” (2010), as performed by vibraphonist Samuel Livingston and the Yersinia Saxophone Quartet, with Robert Young, soprano sax; Zachary Stern, alto sax; Joseph Girard, tenor sax; and Daniel Blumenthal, baritone sax. (Part two can be seen here.)

In the second window, you can see cellist Paul Dywer performing the first movement of  “Gradus,” a composition for solo cello in seven movements. Originally commissioned by the Michigan Music Teachers Association and written especially for Dwyer, it was first performed at the MMTA State Conference in October 2009, and received the BMI Student Composer Award in 2010. (You also can watch online videos of Dwyer playing movements no. 2, 5, 6 and 7.)

Spotlight on Amy Beth Kirsten

Here’s another in our series of profiles of the resident composers taking part in this year’s Mizzou New Music Summer Festival:

Born in East St. Louis, Illinois, Amy Beth Kirsten grew up in Kansas City and Chicago, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Jazz Studies from Benedictine University and a master’s degree in Composition from Chicago College of Performing Arts.

She currently lives and works in New Haven, CT, and graduated from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in May 2010 with a doctorate in music composition.

Kirsten was honored in 2009 to have the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marin Alsop, read her new orchestra piece “The Girl He Drew.” In 2009 she also held a Creative Arts residency at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy; was a finalist for the 2009 Rome Prize in Musical Composition; and held summer composition fellowships at the Norfolk New Music Workshop and Bang on a Can Summer Festival.

Previously, Kirsten was chosen to participate in the American Composers Orchestra’s 16th Annual Underwood New Music Readings and won the 2006-07 Volti Choral Arts Lab Commissioning and Residency competition in San Francisco. She also recently was named a 2010 Composer Fellow for the Music10 New Music Festival in Switzerland with 8th Blackbird.

In addition to participating in the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, Kirsten has another recent Missouri connection. Previously, she was commissioned by Missouri Verses and Voices to create a musical setting for “Hall of Waters” by Missouri Poet Laureate Walter Bargen, which had its debut performance in February 2010 at the Capitol in Jefferson City.

Before moving to the East Coast, Kirsten was a regular fixture on the Chicago singer/songwriter scene, performing at such venues as Fitzgerald’s Nightclub, Quenchers Saloon, The Subterranean, Katerina’s, and Uncommon Ground. She got her start as a singer by studying the great improvisors of jazz, and continues to use the skills developed in her jazz training as a tool in her work as a composer of contemporary concert music.

To hear samples of Amy Beth Kirsten’s music, you can visit her website.

In the embedded video window below, you can see a performance of part one of Kirsten’s composition “Little Falling Red,” which was written for Norfolk New Music Workshop. (For more about the piece, see Kirsten’s comments to NYC classical music radio station WQXR here.) The video was made July 3, 2009, and features soprano Alice Teyssier and the Norfolk New Music Ensemble, withe Sarunas Jankauskas, clarinet; Jennifer Griggs, trombone; Chun-Chien Chuang, violin; Brian Ellingson, double bass; Julia Den Boer, piano; and Ian Rosenbaum, percussion.

Mizzou New Music Summer Festival featured in Columbia Daily Tribune

The Mizzou New Music Summer Festival was the subject of a couple of stories published this past Sunday, July 4 in the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Staff writer Aarik Danielsen penned an extensive overview of the festival, covering its concept and origins, guest composers and performers, and more. You can read his article online here.

Danielsen also wrote a profile of one of the Festival’s resident composers, Jeremy Podgursky, which you can see here.

UPDATE: You can read the entire unedited Q&A session with Podgursky on the Tribune‘s “Art Axis” blog. The Tribune‘s Danielsen also promises ongoing coverage throughout the festival, so you may want to bookmark the Art Axis main page.

About the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts

The venue for the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival’s public performances will be the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, an historic, newly restored former movie palace at 203 S. Ninth St. in downtown Columbia.

First opened in 1928, the MTCA had a six-decade run as the city’s most prominent movie house, but by the late 1980s, the single-screen theater had fallen out of favor with moviegoers as new multi-screen cinemas were built in Columbia.

The building was purchased in 1988 by the Missouri Symphony Society to serve as the home of the Missouri Symphony Orchestra. However, the once-grand facility was in dire need of renovation and restoration. Plaster was crumbling; seats were worn; the plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems were outdated; and the stage, backstage and wing spaces were inadequate for a modern performing arts facility.

After some major fund-raising, extensive construction and remodeling work, the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts celebrated its grand opening in May 2008 with a concert by singer Tony Bennett.  The MTCA now serves as artistic home for the  Missouri Symphony Society and the Columbia Art League; presents performances by a variety of local, regional and touring performers; and offers arts education programs for the community’s youth and adults.

You can take an online “virtual tour” of the restored Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts here.

As the performance venue for the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, the MTCA is handling ticket sales for all Festival concerts. Festival passes good for admission to all four concerts are on sale now for $35 for adults, $20 for students. Single tickets are priced at $10 for adults, $5 for students for the concerts on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; and $15 for adults, $10 for students for the final concert on Sunday.

Tickets can be charged by phone by calling the Missouri Theatre box office at 573-875-0600 or purchased online at www.motheatre.org. (There is a $2 per ticket fee for online purchases; phone purchases will not be charged a fee.)