Posts Tagged ‘ Aaron Mencher

Composers Festival spotlight: Missouri Clarinet Quartet

The Missouri Clarinet Quartet will make their Mizzou International Composers Festival debut as a part of the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre.

Founded in 2017 under the guidance of assistant teaching professor Wesley Warnhoff,  the MCQ is committed “to community engagement and the expansion of the clarinet quartet repertoire.”

The members of the quartet include Victoria Hargrove, a Mizzou alum now entering the DMA program at Michigan State University; music educator and Mizzou alum Erin Rhomberg; Andrew Mahonen, a Mizzou graduate student and teaching assistant; and Austin Wright, a graduate student and the new clarinetist for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble. (For their performances this summer, Warnhoff has substituted for Rhomberg.)

The MCQ has performed outreach concerts and clarinet workshops at venues throughout Missouri, and earlier this month made their European debut with a performance at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFEST 2018 in Ostend, Belgium.

Their ClarinetFEST concert featured two new works commissioned by the MCQ in 2018 from Mizzou composers, which also will be performed at the MICF. The commissions for Stefan Freund, professor of composition and artistic director of MNMI and MICF, and for student composer and clarinetist Aaron Mencher, were funded by MNMI with support for Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

You can hear a recording of the MCQ playing Mencher’s commission work “Checkerboard” via the embedded player below.

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra musicians
to perform three new works by Mizzou composers
on Sunday, April 29 at Powell Hall

Dustin Dunn, Aaron Mencher and Douglas Osmun

Members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, led by the SLSO’s resident conductor Gemma New, will perform three new works by student composers from the University of Missouri School of Music at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 29 at Powell Hall in St. Louis.

Admission to the performance is free and open to the public, but those wishing to attend are requested to RSVP via the SLSO’s website at https://www.slso.org/en/com/community_concerts/community-events/mizzou-composers/.

The event is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between the SLSO and the Mizzou New Music Initiative, with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Three new works for a 40-piece orchestra were commissioned for the project: Dustin Dunn‘s “Don’t Let the Fire Go Out,” Aaron Mencher‘s “Antrios,” and Douglas Osmun‘s “ghost. receding. (unto a shaded landscape).” The compositions were given a first reading by members of the SLSO in a private session last November in St. Louis, then revised by the composers based in part on feedback from the musicians and conductor.

Dunn, a senior, and Mencher, a junior, are working toward undergraduate degrees in composition at Mizzou, while Osmun is in his second year of study for a master’s degree. Mencher is the 2018 winner of the Sinquefield Composition Prize, Mizzou’s highest award for a student composer, and Osmun won the same award in 2017.

“This is a unique opportunity for our composers,” said Stefan Freund, professor of composition at the University of Missouri School of Music and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, in a statement announcing the program last fall. “We’re delighted to be collaborating with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra to give these students some real, practical experience working with an ensemble of world-class musicians. ”

“The two-session format makes this program particularly valuable,” Freund said. “There are other programs that give young composers the chance to have their works read by a professional orchestra, but most provide just one session with the musicians.”

“Here, because the SLSO and their musicians are willing to do two sessions, our composers will have a chance to evaluate everything from their overall orchestration to the notation of individual parts, make revisions, and then hear the results of the changes they’ve made. That’s a learning experience that’s impossible to get any other way,” he said.

Columbia Civic Orchestra, Columbia Chamber Choir to perform works by
Missouri Composers Project winners in concert on Sunday, March 11

The Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) and the Columbia Chamber Choir will perform the winning works from the 2018 Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) competition in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 11 at First Baptist Church, 1112 East Broadway in Columbia.

Admission to the concert is free and open to the public.

Two of the winning works from the MOCOP competition are for orchestra, and two are for chorus. “Antrios,” the winner in the “orchestral – open” category, is by Aaron Mencher, a junior composition major and Sinquefield Scholar at Mizzou and the winner of the 2018 Sinquefield Composition Prize. Named after a fictional painter in Yasmina Reza’s play “Art,” the work gives musical form to the composer’s reflections on the meaning of art via an introspective melody for flute and piccolo that “evolves throughout the piece to reflect art’s ever-changing role in my life.”

The winner in the “orchestral – high school” category is “The Fall of Númenor” by Devon Bollin, a 2017 graduate of Fort Zumwalt East High School who lives in St. Peters, MO. It’s described as “a musical depiction of the fantasy book “Akallabêth” by J.R.R. Tolkien (author of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”),” which “follows the downfall of a once powerful island nation because of the pride, envy, and bloodlust of its inhabitants.”

“Clap Your Hands” is a choral composition by Carlyle Sharpe, a professor of music at Drury University in Springfield. Using the word’s of the Bible’s Psalm 47 as text, the work originally was commissioned by Drury University for the inauguration of Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd as its 18th President, and reflects the celebratory mood of that event.

“Silence” is a choral work by Brandon Thibodeau, a student at Kearney High School in Kearney, MO, which the composer describes as “a bittersweet piece that indirectly voices the thoughts of a listener experiencing an internal struggle with pain and hardship.”

In addition to the four winning pieces from the MOCOP competition, the concert also will include performances of three more recent works by living Missouri composers.

“Dance and Sunrise” was composed for orchestra by Ian David Coleman, a professor of music and department chair at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO. Originally written for the New Plymouth Symphony in New Plymouth, New Zealand as an overture to a concert of American music, it moves “from fast action to quiet reflection,” leaving the “modern fast paced world, in order to take time to focus on the music of the concert at hand.”

“March of the Trees” is an orchestral work by Benjamin Rouder, a 2017 graduate of Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, and was inspired by summer weather and the views of nature from the composer’s back porch.

“She” is a choral piece by Jake Smucker, a second-year student working on a master’s in composition at Mizzou, that incorporates text from various Bible passages exploring pacifism.

Now in its seventh year, MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the CCO, the Chamber Choir, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. Composers from all over Missouri are invited each year to submit orchestral and choral works for potential performance, with winners selected in two age categories, “open” and “high school.” In addition to the performance and a recording of their work, all four winners of the competition receive a $500 honorarium from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Missouri Composers Project selects four works
for Columbia Civic Orchestra concert on Sunday, March 11

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) has announced the selection of four winners in the 2018 Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) competition.

Now in its seventh year, MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving MNMI, the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO), the Columbia Chamber Choir, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. Composers from all over Missouri are invited each year to submit orchestral and choral works for potential performance, with winners selected in two age categories, “open” and “high school.”

All four winners of the 2018 competition will receive a $500 honorarium from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, and the CCO and the Chamber Choir will perform their compositions in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 11 at First Baptist Church, 1112 East Broadway in Columbia. Admission to the concert is free and open to the public.

Pictured from left: Mencher, Sharpe, Bollin, Thibodeau

In the “open” categories, this year’s winning orchestral composition is “Antrios” by Aaron Mencher, and the winning choral work is “Clap Your Hands” by Carlyle Sharpe.

Mencher is a junior composition major and Sinquefield Scholar at Mizzou and the winner of the 2018 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the university’s top award for a student composer.

Sharpe is a professor of music at Drury University in Springfield who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and a DMA in composition from Boston University.

In the high school categories, the winning orchestral work for 2018 is “The Fall of Númenor” by Devon Bollin, a 2017 graduate of Fort Zumwalt East High School who lives in St. Peters, MO.

The winning choral composition is “Silence” by Brandon Thibodeau, a student at Kearney High School in Kearney, MO. Thibodeau previously has won three first-place awards and a second-place award in Mizzou’s annual Creating Original Music Project competition for Missouri students in grades K-12, and for the last two years has been a participant in the university’s Summer Composition Institute.

The Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) is a collaborative effort by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra, and the Columbia Chamber Choir to bring attention to new large ensemble works written in the state of Missouri. By identifying composers and providing opportunities for the performance of their work, MOCOP intends to showcase emerging talent of Missouri and share it with the world.

Aaron Mencher wins 2018 Sinquefield Composition Prize

The University of Missouri School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have awarded the 2018 Sinquefield Composition Prize to Aaron Mencher.

Mencher (pictured) is a junior and Sinquefield Scholar at Mizzou, studying composition with Carolina Heredia. He submitted “Bluish Orange,” a work written for flute, clarinet, and saxophone, to the competition and was selected for the prize by a panel of independent judges.

The adjudicators for the 2018 competition were Jennifer Jolley, assistant professor of composition at Ohio Wesleyan University; LJ White, lecturer in composition at Washington University; and Yoshiaki Onishi, a freelance composer in Columbia, MO.

Now in its 13th year, the Sinquefield Composition Prize is the top award for a composition student at Mizzou.

As this year’s winner, Mencher now will be commissioned to write an original work for Mizzou’s University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Brian Silvey, which will premiere it as part of the Chancellor’s Arts Showcase on Monday, April 9, 2018 at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia. With the commission, Mencher also receives a cash prize for the production of the score and parts, and will have his work professionally recorded.

Coming to the University of Missouri from John’s Creek, GA, a suburb of Atlanta, Aaron Mencher also is one of three Mizzou student composers selected this year to take part in reading sessions of new works with members of the St. Louis Symphony.

His piece “Fast-Forward” recently won the American Modern Ensemble’s composition competition in the Young Artist category for composers under the age of 22. In conjunction with this award, Mencher’s piece “Rise” will be performed by cellist Dave Eggar in a concert in November at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY.

In 2016, Mencher won the Boston New Music Initiative’s Young Composers Competition with his work “Uncertainly Yours,” which was performed by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble as part of their season-opening concert in October in Columbia, and then by BNMI’s ensemble in November in Boston.
Mencher’s piece “New” won awards in the 2015 NAfME Student Composers Competition and the 2016 American Prize in Composition – Band/Wind Ensemble, Student Division competition. It has been performed by the All-National Concert Band and Mizzou’s University Wind Ensemble, and has been published by Murphy Music Press.

The other finalists for the 2018 Sinquefield Composition Prize were Dustin Dunn, Jake Smucker, Ben Rouder, and Ben Colagiovanni.

St. Louis Symphony musicians to read works by Mizzou composers

Three student composers from the University of Missouri School of Music will get a chance this academic year to have their orchestral works read, critiqued, and then played again by musicians from the St. Louis Symphony.

Under the auspices of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, student composers Dustin Dunn, Aaron Mencher, and Douglas Osmun (pictured) are writing new works for a 40-piece chamber orchestra, which will be read and played by members of the Symphony in a private session this November in St. Louis.

The composers then will get a chance to revise their works for a second, public reading by the same musicians on Sunday, April 29 at Powell Hall.

Dunn, a senior, and Mencher, a junior, are working toward undergraduate degrees in composition at Mizzou, while Osmun, winner of the school’s Sinquefield Composition Prize for 2017, is in his second year of study for a master’s degree.

“This is a unique opportunity for our composers,” said Stefan Freund, professor of composition at the University of Missouri School of Music and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “We’re delighted to be collaborating with the St. Louis Symphony to give these students some real, practical experience working with an ensemble of world-class musicians. ”

“The two-session format makes this program particularly valuable,” Freund said.  “There are other programs that give young composers the chance to have their works read by a professional orchestra, but most provide just one session with the musicians.”

“Here, because the Symphony and their musicians are willing to do two sessions, our composers will have a chance to evaluate everything from their overall orchestration to the notation of individual parts, make revisions, and then hear the results of the changes they’ve made. That’s a learning experience that’s impossible to get any other way,” he said.

Dunn, Mencher, and Osmun already are working on their compositions, Freund said, and are expected to deliver the first versions of their works to the Symphony in October. More details about the public reading in April will be announced at a later date.

Aaron Mencher wins third place in American Prize composition competition

Mizzou student composer Aaron Mencher‘s piece “New” last month was awarded third place in the 2016 American Prize in Composition – Band/Wind Ensemble, Student Division competition.

Mencher (pictured) is a sophomore composition major and Sinquefield Scholar from John’s Creek, GA, a suburb of Atlanta.

“New” previously was a winner in the 2015 NAfME Student Composers Competition, and was premiered by the All-National Concert Band. The work also was performed last year by the University Wind Ensemble, and has been published by Murphy Music Press.

Last semester, Mencher won the Boston New Music Initiative’s 2016 Young Composers Competition with his work “Uncertainly Yours,” which was performed by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble as part of their season-opening concert in October in Columbia, and then by BNMI’s ensemble in November in Boston.

From the Grammy Awards to Mizzou with Third Coast Percussion

When Third Coast Percussion visits the University of Missouri next week, not only will they be coming directly from the Grammy Awards, they’ll actually be bringing a bit of Mizzou along with them.

The Chicago-based group is nominated for a Grammy this year in the category of “Best Chamber Music/ Small Ensemble Performance” for their album Steve Reich, and they’ll also be performing at the Grammy “Premiere Ceremony” hosted by comedian Margaret Cho before the nationally televised portion of the awards gets underway on Sunday, February 12 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

When they get to Columbia the next day, the four members of TCP will be looking at a busy schedule, culminating in a concert on Friday, February 17 at the Missouri Theatre, but also including various other activities throughout the week, most notably a workshop presentation of a new piece they recently commissioned from a Mizzou alumnus.

José Martínez, who earned his master’s degree in composition from Mizzou in 2016, was selected by Third Coast Percussion to participate in their Emerging Composers Partnership for the 2016-17 season.

Now pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Texas, Martínez during his time in Columbia was the percussionist for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble; a resident composer at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival; and the winner of the 2013 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the University’s highest honor for a composition student.

After being chosen by Third Coast Percussion for this year’s Emerging Composers Partnership, he took part in a series of workshops with the group as a prelude to writing a new piece to be premiered in a concert this spring in Chicago.

That commissioned composition, “Two Questions About Time,” will get its first official performance on Sunday, May 28 at the Chicago venue Constellation, but Mizzou students and curious Columbia listeners will be able to hear how it’s shaping up in a public open workshop session with TCP and Martínez from 10:00 a.m to noon on Thursday, February 16 in Room 112 of Loeb Hall.

Third Coast Percussion’s residency also will include a performance for students at Lee Elementary School and a masterclass with the MU Percussion Studio on Tuesday, February 14; a joint public performance of Terry Riley’s “In C” with the Mizzou New Music Ensemble at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 15 at the Student Center; and a reading session of new music by Mizzou student composers Jake Smucker, Trey Makler, and Aaron Mencher at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, February 16 at Whitmore Recital Hall.

Though TCP won’t be playing Martínez’ new work at their concert on Friday, the program nevertheless will have another connection to the Mizzou New Music Initiative, as it will include music by two former distinguished guest composers at the Mizzou International Composers Festival.

The group will play “Resounding Earth, mvt. 2, Prayer,” written by Augusta Read Thomas, who was a guest at the 2014 MICF; and “Surface Tension,” by Donnacha Dennehy, who took part in the 2012 festival. Steve Reich’s 2009 “Mallet Quartet” and Glenn Kotche’s “Wild Sound, part 4,” written in 2014, will complete the evening.

Photo of José Martínez (center) with Third Coast Percussion via https://www.instagram.com/thirdcoastpercussion/.