Posts Tagged ‘ Celka Ojakangas

Composers Festival spotlight: Celka Ojakangas

Resident composer Celka Ojakangas comes to the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival from Los Angeles, CA, where she currently is pursuing her doctorate at the University of Southern California, while also serving as a part-time professor of music at Occidental College.

The festival also will be a homecoming of sorts for Ojakangas, a Missouri native who was raised in Springfield and earned her bachelor’s degree at Drury University before heading west.

Active as a composer, conductor, and performer, Ojakangas (pictured) creates music that “plays with hybridism and recontextualization, intentionally exploring and blurring the boundaries between culturally-defined genres for a resultant fun and eclectic palette of textures, rhythms, and grooves.”

Gleaning musical ideas from her collaborative work as a violist in symphonies, new music ensembles, jazz groups, and rock bands, Ojakangas composes “with the intention of bringing creativity and play to the forefront of the listener’s and performer’s experiences.”

For the MICF, she has written a new work titled “Sploopy,” which will be performed by Alarm Will Sound as part of the “World Premieres I” online concert on Tuesday, July 27.

Ojakangas’ compositions have been premiered and commissioned by artists including yMusic, Hocket, Kaufman School of Dance, the Raleigh Symphony, Portland State University Opera, New Opera West, Blackhouse Collective, Bantam Winds, Thornton Symphony Orchestra, and Thornton Wind Ensemble.

In addition to being selected for the MICF, she also has collaborated with musicians at the Oh My Ears! Festival, and the Oregon Bach Festival Composers’ Symposium. Other honors include the Thornton School’s Hans J. Salter Endowed Music Award, Opera America’s Discovery Grant for Female Composers, the American Prize for Wind Band, the IAWM Alex Shapiro Prize Honorable Mention, and multiple finalist awards in ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composer’s Competition.

You can hear samples of Celka Ojakangas’ music on her SoundCloud page and in the embedded video windows below.

“Revival” premiered February 20, 2019 by the USC Thornton Symphony with Dr. Donald Crockett conducting.

“Bellman Strut,” recorded by Blackhouse Collective during their 2019 SoCal Intermedia Workshop, featuring Kimberly Dunning (clarinets), Daniel Lemer (flutes), Hunter Long (recorders), Kenken Gorder (trumpet), Jacob Elkin (bass trombone), Jordan Curcuruto (percussion), Joanna Chen (percussion), John Smigelski (percussion), Zoe Hartenbaum (viola), Dustin Seo (cello), and Rebecca Lawrence (bass),

“HOCKET Joined the Meeting,” recorded by Hocket Ensemble as part of “#What2020SoundsLike,” a project of miniature commissions with a quick turnaround time.

Mizzou International Composers Festival to return
July 26-31 with nine world premieres and more

After a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic forced last-minute changes in programming, the Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) is back in 2021 in a more familiar form.

Presented Monday, July 26 through Saturday, July 31 by the Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) and the University of Missouri School of Music, the twelfth annual MICF will showcase the world premieres of new works from nine resident composers and more, with all four concerts streamed online for free. The schedule of performances is:

Tuesday, July 27: “World Premieres I,” featuring resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound performing new works by three of the festival’s resident composers, plus the premiere of an excerpt from distinguished guest composer David T. Little’s monodrama “What Belongs to You,” featuring singer Karim Sulayman.

Wednesday, July 28: “Mizzou New Music,” featuring the Mizzou New Music Ensemble playing music by David Little and Chen Yi, and Khemia Ensemble premiering new works by Stefan Freund, Phillip Sink, and Nina Shekhar.

Friday, July 30: “Entry Points of Empathy,” a world premiere multi-media event with music composed by inti figgis-vizueta, Carolina Heredia, Tanner Porter, Annika Socolofsky, and Nina Shekhar, performed by Mizzou faculty and guests, plus video interludes and live graphics by Xuan Zhang.

Saturday, July 31: “World Premieres II,” featuring Alarm Will Sound performing new works from six resident composers, plus the American premiere of Stefan Freund’s arrangement of “Sparkle” by distinguished guest composer Chen Yi.

All concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time, and can be viewed on the Mizzou New Music Facebook page and on the University of Missouri School of Music YouTube channel.

The concerts on Tuesday and Saturday will feature world premieres of new works written by each of the festival’s nine resident composers. Listed with their current places of residence, they are:

(Four of the composers – Alcocer, Fitzpatrick, Mortilla and Shekar – were newly selected this year to participate in the 2021 MICF; the other five originally were chosen for the 2020 MICF, but their works could not be premiered when COVID-related restrictions forced the festival to be reconfigured. Three more composers chosen in 2020 were unable to participate this year, but will be invited to be part of a future festival.)

The MICF’s distinguished guest composers for 2021 are Chen Yi and David T. Little. Chen is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition “Si Ji” (“Four Seasons”), she was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and is known as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries.

Little currently chairs the composition program at Mannes – The New School in New York City. He previously served as Executive Director of MATA and on the board of directors at Chamber Music America, and from 2014–2017 was composer-in-residence with Opera Philadelphia and Music-Theatre Group.

During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from Chen and Little and take part via Zoom in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. The resident composers also will give public presentations online about their music, and after the premiere performances, will receive professional live recordings of their new works.

For more information on the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival, including a complete schedule of events, times, and dates, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Mizzou International Composers Festival announces resident composers for 2021

Clockwise from top left: Ana Paola Santillán Alcocer, Daniel Fitzpatrick, Paul Mortilla & Nina Shekhar

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) has selected four resident composers to participate in the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF).

Presented by MNMI and the University of Missouri School of Music from Monday, July 26 through Saturday, July 31 in Columbia, the twelfth 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:

* Ana Paola Santillán Alcocer – Mexico City, Mexico
* Daniel Fitzpatrick – Columbia, MO
* Paul Mortilla – Coral Gables, FL
* Nina Shekhar – Princeton, NJ

These four composers will be featured in the 2021 MICF along with the eight composers who were chosen for the 2020 festival, but whose works could not be premiered when COVID-related restrictions forced the festival to be reconfigured as an online event.

Those composers are Yu Kuwabara (Tokyo, Japan), Pascal Le Boeuf (New York, NY), Shuying Li (Spokane, WA), Celka Ojakangas (Los Angeles, CA), DM R (Diana M. Rodriguez) (New York, NY), Niko Schroeder (Columbia, MO), Andrew Tholl (Los Angeles, CA), and Felipe Tovar-Henao (Bloomington, IN).

The premieres of the new works from all 12 composers will be presented during festival week in two concerts, six per concert, along with music by the distinguished guest composers. However, because the COVID pandemic makes future conditions difficult to predict, MNMI will have several contingent plans for the 2021 MICF if safety concerns, University policy, or state or local laws make it impossible to present the festival “in-person” on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Those plans may include (but are not limited to) an online-only festival, a limited in-person experience, or some combination of online and in-person activities, such as additional concerts featuring music from the guest composers and other contemporary creators, workshops, master classes, and other events.

The Festival’s distinguished guest composers for 2021 will be Chen Yi and David T. Little. Chen is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition “Si Ji” (“Four Seasons”), she was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and is known as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries.

Little currently chairs the composition program at Mannes – The New School in New York City. He previously served as Executive Director of MATA and on the board of directors at Chamber Music America, and from 2014–2017 was composer-in-residence with Opera Philadelphia and Music-Theatre Group.

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 resident composers will receive composition lessons from Chen and Little and, if conditions permit, take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. The composers also will give public presentation on their music, and after the premiere performance, will receive professional live recordings of their new works.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be announced at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

A look back at the 2020 Mizzou International Composers Festival online

Mizzou International Composers Festival announces resident composers for 2020

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) has selected eight resident composers to participate in the 2020 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF).

Presented by MNMI and the University of Missouri School of Music from Monday, July 27 through Saturday, August 1 in Columbia, the eleventh annual MICF (http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/) will feature world premieres of new works written by each of the selected composers. Listed with their current places of residence, they are:

* Yu Kuwabara – Tokyo, Japan
* Pascal Le Boeuf – New York, NY
* Shuying Li – Boston, MA
* Celka Ojakangas – Los Angeles, CA
* DM R (Diana M. Rodriguez) – New York, NY
* Niko Schroeder – Columbia, MO
* Andrew Tholl – Los Angeles, CA
* Felipe Tovar-Henao – Bloomington, IN

The resident composers were chosen from among 346 entrants – a record for the MICF – from 24 countries. Four of them are originally from outside the US: Yu Kuwabara was born in Japan; Shuying Li is a native of China; and Felipe Tovar-Henao and DM R both are from Colombia.

Niko Schroeder, who will be in his second year of study for a masters in composition at Mizzou, will represent the University of Missouri. Schroeder was the winner of the 2019 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the university’s highest honor for a student composer. Resident composer Celka Ojakangas also has a Missouri connection, as she was raised in Springfield and earned her bachelor’s degree at Drury University.

The 2020 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.

The Festival’s distinguished guest composers for 2020 will be Chen Yi and David T. Little. Chen is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition “Si Ji” (“Four Seasons”), she was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and is known as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries.

Little currently chairs the composition program at Mannes – The New School in New York City. He previously served as Executive Director of MATA and on the board of directors at Chamber Music America, and from 2014–2017 was composer-in-residence with Opera Philadelphia and Music-Theatre Group.

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 Chen and Little; 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 2020 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be announced at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.