Spotlight on Martin Bresnick

We are honored to have Martin Bresnick as one of the guest composers and instructors who will work with the eight resident composers taking part in the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival.

Bresnick (pictured) was born in New York City and educated at the High School of Music and Art, the University of Hartford, Stanford University, and the Akademie für Musik in Vienna. His principal teachers of composition included György Ligeti, John Chowning, and Gottfried von Einem.

He is presently Professor of Composition and Coordinator of the Composition Department at the Yale School of Music, and also has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Stanford University and as a visiting professor or guest lecturer at many other institutions.

Bresnick’s compositions cover a wide range of instrumentation, from chamber music to symphonic compositions and computer music. His orchestral music and chamber music have been performed by major symphony orchestras and ensembles throughout the US, Europe and Asia, and heard at numerous major festivals.

The recipient of dozens of prizes and commissions during his long and distinguished career, Bresnick also has written music for films, two of which, Arthur & Lillie (1975) and The Day After Trinity (1981), were nominated for Academy Awards in the documentary category.

His music has been recorded by Cantaloupe Records, Composers Recordings Incorporated, Centaur, New World Records, Artifact Music and Albany Records and is published by Carl Fischer Music (NY), Bote and Bock, Berlin and CommonMuse Music Publishers, New Haven. The most recent recording of Bresnick’s music, Every Thing Must Go, came out in June on Albany Records.

Bresnick’s notable students include Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe (co-founders of Bang on a Can), Evan Ziporyn, Kevin Puts, Marc Mellits, Christopher Theofanidis, Carlos Sanchez-Guiterrez and Michael Torke. “We do look at him as our guru,” says Lang of his former teacher. “He’s a really inspiring person.”

On a personal note, Bresnick is married to pianist Lisa Moore, who’s a guest performer at the 2010 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival. (You can see a short video here of a joint interview that Bresnick and Moore did in 2008 for the website New Music Box.)

For more about Bresnick, read this profile written in 2007 by the New York Times‘ Anne Midgette for the Yale Alumni Magazine. For more on his compositional process, check out this interview with Bresnick, in which Bresnick discusses his work “Grace,” a concerto for two marimbas and orchestra written for marimbist Robert Van Sice.

In the first embedded video window below, you can see and hear an excerpt of Moore and Third Coast Percussion performing Bresnick’s multi-media work “Caprichos Enfaticos” in a concert on February 14, 2010 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Below that, there’s a 2010 performance of the first movement of “Grace” by percussionists Brad Meyer and Ben Stiers, accompanied by pianist Beth Ellen Rosenbaum playing a reduction of the orchestral parts.

Spotlight on Zhou Juan

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

A native of Sichuan, China, Zhou Juan (pictured) was raised in Kelamayi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) in Beijing, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Composition, studying with Guo Wenjing.

In 2007 she was named the first Edgar Snow Scholar from CCOM and began doctoral studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City with Zhou Long, Paul Rudy, Chen Yi and James Mobberly, ultimately earning her degree in May 2010.

In addition to winning numerous awards for her music in China, Zhou has received the Staunton Music Festival Emerging Composer Award and is a two-time winner of UMKC Chamber Composition Competition. She also has won commissions and fellowships from the Nieuw Ensemble, Kansas City Electronic Music & Arts Alliance, New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio, Virginia Arts Festival, California Summer Music, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Arts, Chinese Education Ministry, Viacom-Sumner M. Redstone Scholarship, Bao Steel Education Award, Fu Chengxian Commemorate Scholarship Foundation and Edgar Snow Foundation.

Zhou’s music has been performed in Beijing, Hong Kong, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States. You can hear samples of some of her compositions on her website. (Note: An embedded music player will start when the page loads.)

The video in the embedded window below features one of Zhou’s works performed in 2008 by ADORNO Ensemble as part of their program ScoreXchange, an online workshop for young composers. (The members of Adorno Ensemble offer follow-up comments for the composer here, providing some interesting insights into the process of developing a new composition.)

More news coverage of Mizzou New Music Summer Festival

The Mizzou New Music Summer Festival is the subject of two more stories published yesterday by Columbia’s newspapers.

The Missourian‘s Mallory Benedict wrote a story about the Festival highlighting the contribution of Thomas McKenney, MU professor of composition and music theory. McKenney’s new piece “Thirteen Ways of Looking at A Blackbird” (“loosely inspired” by a Wallace Stevens poem) will receive its world premiere at the Festival’s opening concert on Monday, July 12 at the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts. You can read that article online here.

Also, the Tribune‘s Aarik Danielsen continues his extensive coverage of the festival with an interview of resident composer Moon Young Ha for the paper’s Art Axis blog. You can see that interview here.

Mizzou New Music Initiative on Facebook, Twitter

In addition to this blog, the Festival website, and the main website for the Mizzou New Music Initiative, we’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

You’ll find our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/moNEWmusic. If you’re a Facebook member, click on the “Like” button, and you’ll get updates from the page as part of your Facebook news feed.

You can follow the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival’s Twitter feed at: http://twitter.com/MizzouNewMusic.

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.