Posts Tagged ‘ composer

Composer David Maslanka to visit Mizzou

Although the Mizzou International Composers Festival represents the largest gathering of composers taking place each year in Columbia, the School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative also are pleased to be able to host individual composers for short-term residencies during the school year.

Composer David Maslanka (pictured) will be in residence at Mizzou next week, and he’ll have a busy schedule while he’s visiting Columbia.

On Tuesday, October 13, Maslanka will present a seminar for composition students, and that evening, the Missouri Quintet will perform a concert including one of his works at 7:30 p.m. at Whitmore Recital Hall.

On Wednesday, Maslanka will have a coaching session with the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, who will be performing one of his works this season, and on Thursday, he’ll take part in a School of Music convocation at 3:00 p.m. at Whitmore Hall.

Maslanka’s visit will be capped by a concert at 7:30 pm. Thursday at the Missouri Theatre, featuring performances of his music by Mizzou’s Symphonic Band, University Band, and Wind Ensemble.

Born in 1943 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, David Maslanka is known particularly for his compositions for winds, a number of which have become staples of band repertoire. Among his more than 130 works are forty pieces for wind ensemble, including seven symphonies, fifteen concertos, a Mass, and many concert pieces. His chamber music includes four wind quintets, five saxophone quartets, and many works for solo instrument and piano. In addition, he has written a variety of orchestral and choral pieces.

His education includes undergraduate work at the Oberlin College Conservatory, a year at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and masters and doctoral studies in composition at Michigan State University.

Maslanka served for more than 20 years on the faculty at Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York, and also has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and State University of New York at Geneseo.

Now a freelance composer who has worked solely on commission since 1990, Maslanka currently lives in Missoula, Montana. His compositions are published by Maslanka Press, Carl Fischer, Kjos Music, Marimba Productions, and OU Percussion Press. They have been recorded on labels including Albany, Reference Recordings, BIS (Sweden), Naxos, Cambria, CRI, Mark, Novisse, AUR, Cafua (Japan), Brain Music (Japan), Barking Dog, and Klavier.

For more about David Maslanka, check out this interview from back in 1998, and his interview with The Musicalist podcast, recorded in May 2014.

You can see and hear some performances of Maslanka’s music in the embedded videos below.

“Symphony No. 4,” performed by the United States Navy Concert Band, guest conducted by Mallory Thompson, on September 19, 2010 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, VA.

“Requiem,” performed by the University of North Texas Wind Symphony, conducted by Dominic Talanca, on November 21, 2013 at Winspear Hall, University of North Texas.

“Hell’s Gate” for alto, tenor and baritone saxophones and wind ensemble, performed in 2012 by members of Zzyzx Quartet and the Arizona State University Wind Ensemble, conducted by Gary Hill.

Henry Breneman Stewart wins 2016 Sinquefield Composition Prize

The University of Missouri School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have awarded the 2016 Sinquefield Composition Prize to Henry Breneman Stewart.

Stewart, a native of Lancaster County, PA, is a first-year graduate student at Mizzou studying composition with Stefan Freund and piano with Janice Wenger. He submitted “Threnody,” a work for string quartet, to the competition and was selected for the prize by a panel of independent judges.

The adjudicators for the 2016 competition were:
* R. Paul Crabb, director of choral activities, University of Missouri; and artistic director, Prometheus;
* Nick Omiccioli, composer;
* John Orfe, assistant professor, Bradley University; and composer and pianist with Alarm Will Sound; and
* Ingrid Stölzel, assistant professor, University of Kansas, and composer.

Now in its eleventh year, the Sinquefield Composition Prize is the top award for a composition student at Mizzou. As this year’s winner, Stewart now will have the opportunity to write an original work for Mizzou’s University Singers, which, in keeping with the theme of the 2016 Chancellor’s Arts Showcase, will incorporate text selected from the works of William Shakespeare.

Stewart’s composition will receive premiere performances on Sunday, April 10, 2016 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center in St. Louis and on Monday, April 11, 2016 as part of the Chancellor’s Arts Showcase at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia. With the commission, he also receives a cash prize for the production of the score and parts, and will have his work recorded.

Before coming to Mizzou, Stewart (pictured) earned a BA in music and biochemistry at Goshen College in Goshen, IN, where he studied composition with Dr. Jorge Muñiz of Indiana University South Bend. His interest in music began in childhood, as he grew up singing four-part harmony at East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church in Lancaster and began playing piano at age 5, later learning saxophone, flute and accordion as well.

During his sophomore year at Goshen, he and two friends started the indie-folk band Moral Circus, which released a full-length album in early 2014. In addition to the Mennonite tradition, he cites as significant influences the music of Krzysztof Penderecki, James Blake, Shostakovich, Kanye West, Samuel Barber, Johnny Greenwood, and Run the Jewels.

The other finalists for the 2016 Sinquefield Composition Prize were Ben Colagiovanni, Hans B. Heruth, and Erin Hoerchler.

2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival set for July 25 – 30;
applications for eight resident composers now open

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is now accepting applications for eight resident composers to take part in the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF), which will be held Monday, July 25 through Saturday, July 30 on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

British/American composer Oscar Bettison (pictured) will serve as one of the MICF’s two distinguished guest composers, teaching and consulting with the resident composers and ensemble. The second distinguished guest composer will be announced at a later date.

The MICF features three public concerts of music from contemporary composers, as well as workshops, master classes and other events. As in years past, Saturday night’s grand finale at the Missouri Theatre will present the world premieres of new works from each of the eight resident composers, with the acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, serving as resident ensemble.

The resident composers are selected for the MICF each year through an online portfolio application process. During the Festival, they’ll receive composition lessons from the distinguished guest composers and Mizzou faculty, and take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. Each composer also will receive a copy of a professional live recording of their work.

Born in the UK, Bettison has served on the composition faculty of Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute since 2009. His music has been described as possessing “an unconventional lyricism and a menacing beauty” and a “unique voice,” and has been commissioned and performed by leading ensembles and soloists around the world.

Bettison’s works have been featured and reviewed in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and British, Dutch and Italian media outlets, and has received airplay on radio throughout the US, Australia, Britain, The Netherlands and Brazil and on British and Dutch TV.

The application period for resident composers begins September 21, 2015, and the deadline for submitting an application is 5:00 p.m. Central time, Monday, November 23, 2015. For more information or to apply to become a resident composer for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, please visit

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be made available at a later date. For more information, please visit

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform music by Chen Yi and David Maslanka, plus new student works on Monday, October 12 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will perform music written by two upcoming composers-in-residence in a concert at 7:30 p.m., Monday, October 12 in Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Admission is free for Mizzou students, faculty and staff with ID, $5 for the general public.

The concert will feature performances of “Out of This World” by David Maslanka, a work inspired by the poets Seamus Heaney and Czeslaw Milosz, and “Sparkle” by Chen Yi, described by its composer as “bright” and “nimble.”

Maslanka, a Montana resident and freelance composer known particularly for his music for winds, has written more than 130 published works and served on the faculties of universities including Sarah Lawrence College and New York University. He will be in residence at Mizzou from October 13 through October 15, working with the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, Missouri Quintet, and University wind ensembles.

Chen, a native of China who currently is a professor of composition at the University of Missouri–Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music. She will be in residence at Mizzou from October 24 to October 26, working with the Ensemble and the University Singers.

The concert also will include two premieres by Mizzou composition students. “Titan Arum” by junior Luke Henderson is a three-movement concerto for trumpet and chamber ensemble written for graduate trumpeter Adam Matejek, who will join the Ensemble as a guest performer for this concert. It reveals the influence of Sumatran music as it depicts the growth, blooming, and withering of the Sumatran “corpse flower” that give the piece its name.

“Illegal Cycles” was written by master’s student José Martínez for the chamber orchestra wildUp as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s “Next on Grand” National Composers Intensive. The work features grooves from traditional Latin American music, and now has been rearranged in a version for chamber ensemble for this premiere performance.

Rounding out the program will be encore performances of recent Mizzou graduate Grant Bradshaw’s “Colors of Nature” and master’s student Kay Cypret’s “Predator,” two works composed for the Ensemble’s concert in May, 2015 at the St. Louis Zoo. Bradshaw, a violist as well as a composer and conductor, will join the Ensemble as a guest performer on both works.

The eight-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer and associate professor. The Ensemble’s members for the 2015-16 season are Rachel Czech, cello; José Martínez, percussion; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets; Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophones; Erin Spencer, flute; and Britney Stutz, violin.

In addition to the guest musicians mentioned previously, bassist Sam Copeland will augment the Ensemble in this concert for their performance of “Sparkle,” which will be conducted by Mizzou senior Travis Herd.

Photo of Mizzou New Music Ensemble by Gene Royer.

Composers Festival spotlight: Andrew McManus

A native of Massachusetts, 2015 MICF resident composer Andrew McManus currently lives in Chicago, where he earned his PhD at the University of Chicago, studying with Marta Ptaszynska, Augusta Read Thomas, Shulamit Ran and Howard Sandroff. He also holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Yale University.

The work McManus has composed for Alarm Will Sound to play at the festival is called “embers, fused to ash,” and you can read some of his thoughts about it and see a bit of the score here.

McManus’ acoustic works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, eighth blackbird, Pacifica Quartet, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Spektral Quartet, Minnesota Orchestra and the New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program. His electronic works have been presented at the University of South Florida and the Aries Composers Festival in Fort Collins, CO.

Notable performances include the premiere of his orchestral work “Strobe” in June 2014 by the New York Philharmonic, which was called “riveting” and “breathless…surging…hazy… sometimes all at once” by the New York Times. And in May 2014 his opera “Killing the Goat,” based on the novel La Fiesta del Chivo (The Feast of the Goat) by Mario Vargas Llosa, was premiered by eighth blackbird, the Pacifica Quartet, and members of the Contempo Chamber Players at the University of Chicago.

McManus’ electronic work “Mesospherics” (2011-2013) was featured at the University of South Florida New Music Festival, and other compositions of his have been performed at the Wellesley Composers Conference, the Bowdoin International Music Festival and the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute.

For more about Andrew McManus, read this interview with him, done in conjunction with the University of Chicago’s Arts, Science and Culture Initiative. You can hear samples of Andrew McManus’ music in the embedded Vimeo and SoundCloud players below.

“Killing the Goat,” a chamber opera recorded May 16, 2014 at Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. Performed by the Contempo Chamber Players of the University of Chicago; Julia Bentley, mezzo soprano; Chad Sloan, baritone; Ricardo Rivera, baritone; eighth blackbird; the Pacifica Quartet; and Jesse Langen, guitar; conducted by Cliff Colnot.

Composers Festival spotlight: Conrad Winslow

Even before coming to Columbia for the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival, resident composer Conrad Winslow has been all over these United States.

As his professional bio puts it, “Extended childhood road-trips through the continental United States and a residential stint in Hawaii have taught him to look wide.” Raised in Homer, Alaska and now based in Brooklyn, Winslow earned his undergraduate degree in music from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.

He subsequently moved to the Northeast, earning an M.M. degree in film scoring from New York University and a master’s degree in composition from the Juilliard School, where he studied with John Corigliano.

Informed by his travels and by “watching his parents chop down trees and build a log cabin home in the woods,” Winslow’s music has been lauded for its “harmonic thorniness and rhythmic vitality” by the New York Times and described as a “scenic, boisterous and bumpy ride” by the Albany Times Union.

He has earned honors and awards from ASCAP, New Music USA, the American Composers Forum and The Jerome Fund, and more. Winslow also has written instrumental music on commission from Carnegie Hall, the American Composers Orchestra, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, Bala Brass, and Gaudete Brass (who recorded his work for Cedille Records), and others.

His most recent commissions include works for bassoonists Rebekah Heller and Adrian Morejon, under the auspices of the International Double Reed Society, and Cadillac Moon Ensemble; and a ballet score for choreographer Justin Peck.

Winslow’s orchestral work “Joint Account” will receive a world premiere performance from the American Composers Orchestra in October at Carnegie Hall as part of the SONiC Festival, curated by former MICF distinguished guest composers Derek Bermel and Anna Clyne.

You can hear samples of Conrad Winslow’s music in the embedded SoundCloud and YouTube players below.

“Two Riddles” for two bassoons, performed by Rebekah Heller and Adrian Morejon on August 6, 2014 at SubCulture, NYC.

Composers Festival spotlight: Anthony Vine

One of two resident composers at this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival now based in Brooklyn, NYC, Anthony Vine originally hails from Warren, OH.

He earned a B.M. in composition from The Ohio State University and an M.A. in composition from the University of Washington, and is the founder and artistic director of CNX: The Columbus // New York New Music Exchange, a programming and outreach initiative that seeks to build relationships between the contemporary music communities of Columbus, OH and New York City.

Vine’s music has been played and workshopped in North America and Europe by ensembles and performers including JACK Quartet, Pascal Gallois, Ensemble Besides, Quasar Saxophone Quartet, Bearthoven, Protean Duo, Inverted Space Ensemble, and members of the Columbus Symphony, among others.

He has attended summer courses and residencies such as the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music, SALT New Music Festival, and Composit New Music Festival, and taken private lessons and masterclasses with composers such as Rebecca Saunders, Georges Aperghis, Brian Ferneyhough, Joshua Fineberg, Enno Poppe, Philippe Leroux, Steven Takasugi, David Lang, and others. In January 2016, he’ll be one of seven composers participating in the Minnesota Orchestra’s 13th annual Composer Institute.

Vine frequently collaborates with choreographers and multimedia artists, and recently has been developing a site-specific project, Hallways, with Logan Company (Kathryn Logan and Katy Gilmore) and Matt Evans.
You can hear samples of Anthony Vine’s music in the embedded SoundCloud players below.  

Composers Festival spotlight: Thomas Dougherty

Resident composer Thomas Dougherty comes to the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival from Houston, TX, where he earned his master of music degree in composition from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and has served as composer and violinist for the Da Camera of Houston Young Artists Program.

Very soon, though, he’ll move to Los Angeles to begin work this fall on a DMA in composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where the faculty includes 2015 MICF distinguished guest composer Andrew Norman.

A native of Pittsburgh, Dougherty attended Carnegie Mellon University during his senior year of high school, and went on to receive bachelor’s degrees in both composition and violin performance from the Eastman School of Music.

While a student at Eastman, Dougherty was awarded the Anthony and Carolyn Donato Prize and the Louis Lane Prize for Composition, and also was the winner of the Eastman Orchestral Composition Competition, which resulted in a performance of his “Three Pieces for Orchestra” by the Eastman Philharmonia.

As a violinist, Dougherty has performed many of his own solo and chamber works, has served as concertmaster for the Eastman Philharmonia, and was awarded first prize at the 2014 Music For Mt. Lebanon Keynotes Scholarship competition.

His residencies have included time as a Chamber Music Institute Fellow at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he wrote a piece for the Meadowlark Trio, and at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau in France, studying harmony and composition. Dougherty has also attended festivals such as the FUBiS Music Composition Course at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Composition Course at Montserrat in Valencia, Spain, and has presented his works in masterclasses to composers Steven Stucky and David Lang.

You can hear samples of Thomas Dougherty’s music in the embedded SoundCloud players below.