2019 MICF in the media

With this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival fast approaching, MNMI has been working to get the word out via local media.

For starters, the “Mizzou Music” radio program, heard at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday evenings on Columbia’s classical music station KMUC, has been airing a series of interviews with participants in this year’s MICF.

Composers interviewed by host Aaron Hay so far include Peter Shin, Nicole Murphy, Inti Viggis-Vizueta, Donnacha Dennehy, Chelsea Komschlies, Kristina Wolfe, Theo Chandler and Mizzou’s own Aaron Mencher.

Still to come are interviews with Charles Halka, Amy Beth Kirsten, and MNMI managing director Jacob Gotlib. All the interviews are or will be archived on KMUC’s website.

Meanwhile, MNMI artistic director and Mizzou composition professor Stefan Freund was interviewed for Columbia Access Television by Elise Bucheit of the Columbia Office of Cultural Affairs. You can see their conversation about the MICF in the video embed below:

Lastly, if you’d like to get a “sneak peek” at this year’s MICF, you can take a look inside the official program through the embedded window below. (To enlarge to full-page size, click the icon in the middle of the window.)

Composers Festival spotlight: Eli Keszler

For this year’s expanded edition of the Mizzou International Composers Festival, the Mizzou New Music Initiative is teaming up with Columbia-based experimental music organization Dismal Niche to present two free late-night concerts on Thursday, July 25 and Friday, July 26 after the performances at the Missouri Theatre.

Friday’s late-night concert will feature percussionist, composer, and artist Eli Keszler in a solo performance starting at 9:30 p.m. at the Firestone Baars Chapel on the campus of Stephens College.

Keszler (pictured), who’s based in New York City, earned his BA in music performance and composition from the New England Conservatory of Music, and has lectured as a visiting artist at Brooklyn College, Columbia University, New England Conservatory, Dartmouth University, Washington University, Mass Art, and UMass Boston.

His music, praised as “a unique combination of intense drumming and sparse, often dramatic sound design” which “occupies a unique but imaginative space on the experimental music landscape,” can be heard on solo recordings released by Shelter Press, Empty Editions, ESP-Disk’, PAN and his own label REL records.

Keszler’s two most recent releases are Stadium, which made several critics’ year-end “best of” lists in 2018 and was called “an isolationist avant-jazz masterpiece that’s both highly complex and entirely accessible,” and Empire, an EP that came out earlier this year.

As a composer, Keszler has received commissions from the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, and So Percussion. He also has collaborated with Oneohtrix Point Never, Laurel Halo, Rashad Becker, and David Grubbs, and many others.

Keszler’s works frequently explore the relationship between sound and the environment, whether physical or virtual, in which it is heard, and his music, installations, and visual art have appeared at the Whitney Museum, Lincoln Center, MIT List Visual Arts Center, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Sculpture Center, The Kitchen, South London Gallery, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Barbican at St. Luke’s, Walker Art Center, and numerous other institutions, galleries, and venues.

His awards include a Sound and Music Fellowship from the New York Foundation For The Arts, grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and Creative Connections, the MATA Composers Prize, and the Gaudeamus Composer Award.

For more about Eli Keszler, read the interview with him published earlier this year on TinyMixTapes.com and his interview from October 2018 with Self-TitledMag.com. You can see and hear samples of some of his performances and compositions via the embedded players below.

“Stadium,” recorded October 2, 2018 at The Kitchen in New York City

Keszler performs live on October 24, 2018 at Zebulon in Los Angeles

Keszler improvises for Fact magazine’s video series “Against The Clock,” recorded in February 2019 at his home studio in NYC

Composers Festival spotlight: Aaron Mencher

Resident composer Aaron Mencher is representing the University of Missouri at this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mencher (pictured) received his bachelor’s degree in music from Mizzou this year, and in the fall will begin studies for a master’s in music at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, MD.

For the MICF, he’s written a piece titled “Haworthia,” which will be performed by Alarm Will Sound along with new music from the seven other resident composers as part of the festival’s grand finale on Saturday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre.

While at Mizzou, Mencher was the winner of the 2018 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the school’s top award for a student composer. He used the accompanying commission to write “Gravity” for the University Wind Ensemble, which premiered the work in April 2018 at the annual Chancellor’s Arts Showcase.

He was one of three student composers in the 2017-18 academic year selected to work with musicians from the St. Louis Symphony, who read his work “Antrios” and performed it at Powell Hall under the baton of resident conductor Gemma New. “Antrios” also was selected in 2018 to be performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra at the annual Missouri Composers Project concert.

Mencher’s works include contemporary classical music, film scores, and incidental music. His music has received honors and awards from organizations such as the American Modern Ensemble, ASCAP, the Boston New Music Initiative, National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the European-American Musical Alliance, the American Prize, and the Third Millennium Ensemble.

He has collaborated on performances of his music with a variety of ensembles and soloists, including Deviant Septet, Third Coast Percussion, International Counterpoint, the All-National Concert Band, DRAX, newEar, clarinetist Wesley Warnhoff, cellists Bjorn Ranheim and Dave Eggar, and more.

Other recent commissions include a clarinet concerto for Warnhoff and the University of Missouri Philharmonic, and a work for violin and piano for the classical music series at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Mencher’s dramatic projects include scoring a documentary directed by Katie Schnell, and writing music for the short film Maggephah, directed by Atlanta-based filmmaker Brad McGaughey. He also worked as the composer and sound designer for many shows at the now-closed Dancing Goat Theater in Atlanta, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Anne of Green Gables, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest.

For more about Aaron Mencher, listen to the interview he did last month on KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program. You can hear some of his music via the embedded windows below.

“Rise” for solo cello, performed by Dave Eggar on November 1, 2017 at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY

“Perspectives” for clarinet, violin, and piano, performed by newEar on April 20, 2019

Composers Festival spotlight: Nicole Murphy

Originally from Sydney, Australia, Nicole Murphy is only the second Australian to be a resident composer for the Mizzou International Composers Festival. (Holly Harrison, MICF ’14, was the first.)

Murphy (pictured) earned her PhD from the University of Queensland and is represented as an associate artist by the Australian Music Centre. Her music is published by Wirripang, Austalia’s leading independent print music publisher of classical and jazz.

She is composer-in-residence at the Queensland Academy for Creative Industries in Brisbane, Queensland, and in 2018 was the inaugural recipient of the Australia Ensemble‘s Emerging Composer Fellowship.

For the MICF, she’s written a new work for Alarm Will Sound called “Dust,” which will receive its world premiere performance during the festival’s grand finale concert on Saturday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre.

Murphy’s awards include winning international calls for scores in 2017 from ICEBERG and in 2016 from Nief Norf, as well as the Mid America Freedom Band international commissioning prize in 2016, the International Alliance for Women in Music‘s Theodore Front Prize in 2013, and the Definiens C3 international composers award in 2011.

She was chosen in 2012 as the young composer to represent Australia at the 30th Asian Composers League Festival in Tel Aviv, and in 2016 was one of six composers selected to work with Steve Reich as a part of a celebration of his 80th birthday presented by Soundstreams in Toronto.

Murphy has been commissioned by well-known arts organizations including the Australian Ballet, the Royal Academy of Dance in London, Experiments in Opera/Symphony Space in New York, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Wild Rumpus in San Francisco, and others.

Her music has been performed by ensembles such as the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, New York’s NOW Ensemble, Ars Nova Dallas, and Halcyon in Sydney, and at festivals including the Atlantic Music Festival and the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Connecticut, the Dallas Festival of Modern Music, and more.

For more about Nicole Murphy, listen to her interview recorded a few weeks ago for KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program; her interview published in 2017 on the website of Experiments in Opera; and her 2017 interview on the Australian composer podcast “Making Conversation.” You can hear some of her music on her SoundCloud page and via the embedded players below.

“Stolen,” performed in 2017 by Solomon Silber (guitar) and the Norfolk Contemporary Ensemble, conducted by Julian Pellicano

“Untangled,” performed by Contemporaneous on April 6, 2017 at the DiMenna Center in New York City

“Parched Paddock,” performed by Zorana Sadiq (soprano), Wesley Shen (piano), and Daniel Morphy (percussion) as part of Soundstreams 2016 Emerging Composer Workshop on April 13, 2016 at Alliance Francaise Spadina Theatre in Toronto

Composers Festival spotlight: Theo Chandler

Resident composer Theo Chandler comes to the 2019 Mizzou International Composers Festival by way of Houston, TX, where he currently is working on a doctorate of musical arts at the Rice University Shepherd School of Music.

He’s already had a busy summer, having served as composer in residence for the Maryland Wind Festival, held in June in Frederick, MD, and as a fellow at the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, which is going on right now in Suffolk, England.

The piece Chandler (pictured) has written for the MICF, “Familiar Punchlines,” will be performed by Alarm Will Sound along with new works from the seven other resident composers as part of the festival’s grand finale on Saturday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre.

A native of Hillsborough, NC, Chandler started playing clarinet in sixth grade band. He officially switched his focus to composing while earning his bachelor’s degree in music at Oberlin Conservatory, and went on to earn a master’s degree in composition from The Juilliard School.

His honors as a composer include a Charles Ives Scholarship from the Academy of Arts and Letters and a Morton Gould Award from ASCAP, both in 2018. In addition, while at Juilliard, Chandler was selected as the winner of the school’s Orchestra Competition, Gena Raps Competition, and New Juilliard Ensemble Competition.

He previously has been a fellow at Tanglewood Music Center, Copland House CULTIVATE, and Aspen Music Festival, and was selected for an I-Park Composer + Musicians collaborative residency with Akropolis Reed Quintet.

Chandler has been the Young Artist Composer for Da Camera, Emerging Composer Fellow for Musiqa, and the Young Composer in Residence for the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings. He also has received commissions from the New York Youth Symphony First Music Program, Les Délices, Golden West Winds, cellist Amir Eldan, flutist Alexa Still, and others.

He also is active as a clarinetist, and to date has collaborated on the premieres of more than 100 pieces by fellow composers. Combining both of his principle pursuits, Chandler has performed his own work “Modern Etude for Clarinet” at the Kennedy Center and the Akron New Music Festival, his “Four Homophonic Studies” for Oberlin’s commencement recital, and his “Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra” for Oberlin’s Concerto Competition finals.

For more about Theo Chandler, listen to his recent interview on Classical 90.5 FM’s “Mizzou Music” program. You can hear some of his music in the embedded players below.

Two Taylor Songs, performed by soprano Ally Smither and Tanglewood Music Center Woodwind Fellows in 2017

“A Delicate Perpetuum,” performed by The Zafa Collective on December 18, 2016 at Ganz Hall in Chicago, IL.

If you’re coming to Columbia…

There’s never been a better time to visit Columbia for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, because to celebrate its tenth year in 2019, the MICF has added more concerts and has made ALL festival events, including Saturday’s grand finale featuring eight world premieres performed by Alarm Will Sound, FREE.

You can see a complete schedule of all 2019 MICF events here.

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
Discover the District
City of Columbia official site
2018-19 Columbia Missouri Visitor and Area Guide

Columbia Tribune
Columbia Missourian
Inside Columbia magazine
Columbia area radio stations

National Weather Service forecast for Columbia, Missouri

Mizzou New Music Initiative 2018-19 year in review

2019 Mizzou International Composers Festival adding
more concerts, offering free admission to all events

Khemia Ensemble

For its tenth year, the Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) in 2019 is adding five more concerts and an audio installation, and is making all MICF events free and open to the public.

Presented by the Mizzou New Music Initiative and the University of Missouri School of Music from Monday, July 22 through Saturday, July 27 in Columbia, the MICF once again will feature three evening concerts at the Missouri Theatre.

Resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound will perform on Thursday, July 25, followed by “Mizzou New Music” on Friday, July 26 and “Eight World Premieres” on Saturday, July 27. All three of those concerts, which in past years have been ticketed events, will be free this year.

The new events for 2019, also all free and open to the public, will include post-concert performances at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at Cafe Berlin, 220 N. 10th St. (about eight blocks from the Missouri Theatre).

From left: Bels Lontano, Eli Keszler

Thursday’s performance will feature Bels Lontano playing electronic works by Mizzou student composers and MICF resident composers. On Friday, the MICF will team with Columbia community arts organization Dismal Niche to present a performance by percussionist and composer Eli Keszler.

The other three concerts added for the festival’s tenth year involve Khemia Ensemble, the group led by Mizzou assistant professor of composition Carolina Heredia and her husband Bret Bohman, who’s also a composer and adjunct faculty member.

Musicians from the ensemble will present informal “pop-up” concerts at 1:00 p.m. Thursday on 9th St. near Sparky’s Ice Cream, 21 S. 9th St, and at 1:00 p.m. Friday at Uprise Bakery, 10 Hitt St. The full Khemia Ensemble then will perform in a matinee concert at 11:00 a.m. Saturday at Whitmore Recital Hall on the Mizzou campus.

Lastly, a sound installation by Alarm Will Sound audio engineer and technical director Daniel Neumann and musician Kenneth Kirschner will be running in the second floor lobby of the Missouri Theatre throughout the festival. As yet untitled, the installation will feature eight channels of audio delivering algorithm-generated soundscapes based on samples of extended instrumental techniques performed by members of Alarm Will Sound.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2019 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be available on the festival’s website at http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

The culmination of the MICF is Saturday’s concert featuring world premieres of new works written by each of the festival’s eight resident composers and performed by Alarm Will Sound. The resident composers for 2019 are:

* Theophilus Chandler, Houston TX
* Inti Figgis-Vizueta, Brooklyn NY
* Charles Halka, Bellingham WA
* Chelsea Komschlies, Philadelphia PA
* Aaron Mencher, Columbia MO
* Nicole Murphy, Brisbane, Australia
* Peter Shin, New Haven CT
* Kristina Wolfe, Huddersfield, UK

In celebration of the festival’s tenth year, Donnacha Dennehy and Amy Beth Kirsten will return to the MICF to serve as the two distinguished guest composers for 2019, teaching and consulting with the resident composers and ensemble.

Dennehy is the founder of the Irish new music group Crash Ensemble and an associate professor of music at Princeton University. He previously was a guest composer at the MICF in 2012. Kirsten is a member of the composition faculty of the Longy School of Music of Bard College, and was part of the festival’s first group of resident composers in 2010.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2019 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be available on the festival’s website at http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.