Posts Tagged ‘ Aaron Mencher

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/.

Mizzou International Composers Festival announces resident composers for 2019

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) has selected eight resident composers to participate in the 2019 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF).

Presented by MNMI and the University of Missouri School of Music from Monday, July 22 through Saturday, July 27 in Columbia, the tenth annual MICF will feature world premieres of new works written by each of the selected composers. Listed with their current places of residence, they 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

Two of the resident composers are originally from outside the US. Nicole Murphy is a native of Sydney, Australia, while Inti Figgis-Vizueta, though raised in Washington DC, was born in Dublin, Ireland.

Aaron Mencher, a senior composition major at Mizzou, will represent the University of Missouri. Mencher was the winner of the 2018 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the university’s highest honor for a student composer. Resident composer Peter Shin also has a Missouri connection, as he was born and raised in Kansas City.

The 2019 Mizzou International Composers Festival will include a series of public concerts featuring music from the resident composers and other contemporary creators, as well as workshops, master classes, and other events.

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, who is considered one of Ireland’s top living composers, is the founder of the 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. Her works explore theatrical elements of creation, performance, and presentation through music, language, voice, and theatre. She was part of the festival’s first group of resident composers in 2010.

The acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, once again will serve as resident ensemble, as they have since the MICF began in 2010.

During the festival, the eight resident composers will receive composition lessons from Dennehy and Kirsten; take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound; give public presentations on their music; and receive a premiere performance and professional live recording of a new work created specifically for the MICF and Alarm Will Sound.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2019 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be announced at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Fall 2018 Student Composers Recital set for
Monday, November 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Fall 2018 edition of the University of Missouri School of Music’s Student Composers Recital will present new works written and performed by students at 7:30 p.m. Monday, November 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the Mizzou campus. Admission is free and open to the public.

The program will include:
“The Wooden Playground” by Nathan Andrzejewski
“Numbers” by Mikkel Christensen
“The Struggle of a Painter” by Zach Davis
“When Icarus fell it was Spring” by Aaron Mencher
“Duck Your Modernism” by Niko Schroeder
“The Exquisites” by Emily Shaw
“Stream of Consciousness” by Jack Snelling
“The Bounds of Tonality” by Harry Tryer

The concert also will feature a performance of “Exquisite Corpse I,” a collaborative work written by first-year composition students Nathan Andrejewski, Ross Dryer, Holden Franklin, Emily Shaw, Jack Snelling, Nathaniel Swan, and Harry Tryer under the supervision of assistant professor Carolina Heredia.

The concept of “Exquisite Corpse” is derived from the Surrealist parlor game of the same name, in which the first participant would write a phrase or make a sketch on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for their contribution.

As Heredia explains in the program notes, “Each student worked on a variation of the Happy Birthday song. The first collaborator wrote the introduction and passed on the last two bars only to the second collaborator. Then, the second collaborator repeated this action, and so on. At the end, our copyist and arranger took all the materials, put them together, and worked on the transitions to make them smoother.” The students dedicated the work to Dr. Stefan Freund, professor of composition and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and presented it to him for his birthday on October 31.

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.