Posts Tagged ‘ composer

Aaron Mencher wins Boston New Music Initiative Young Composers Competition

Mizzou composer Aaron Mencher has won this year’s Boston New Music Initiative Young Composers Competition with his work “Uncertainly Yours,” which will be performed by the Boston New Music Initiative ensemble in a concert on November 4 at The Record Company in Boston.

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

He’s now the second Mizzou student to win BNMI’s Young Composers Competition, as Trey Makler was last year’s winner for his musical setting of poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Die Sonette an Orpheus.”

Listeners in Columbia can hear “Uncertainly Yours” played by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble as part of the Ensemble’s season-opening concert on Sunday, October 16 at Willmore Recital Hall.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to open 2016-17 season
on Sunday, October 16 at Whitmore Recital Hall

Keith Fitch

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will begin their 2016-17 season with a concert featuring music from a renowned visiting composer, two works written by Mizzou composers, and more.

The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, October 16 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus. General admission is $5 for the public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff.

Keith Fitch, who heads the composition department at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music, will be in Columbia that weekend for a residency at Mizzou, and the Ensemble’s concert will include his 1994 work “Dancing the Shadows,” which contrasts eerie, suspended resonances with hard-hitting, driving sections to create music for an imaginary ballet.

Aaron Mencher

The recipient of numerous honors, awards, and commissions, Fitch has had his music performed by ensembles such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the League of Composers Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and many others.

The concert also will feature two works from composers associated with Mizzou. “Uncertainly Yours” was written this year by Aaron Mencher, a Mizzou sophomore composition major and Sinquefield Scholar. The work recently won the Boston New Music Initiative’s second Young Composers Competition, and will be performed by the Boston New Music Ensemble as part of their concert season in November.

Phillip Sink

“Flowers of Salt” was composed in 2013 by Phillip Sink, who came to Mizzou in August as the University of Missouri’s first postdoctoral composition fellow. Inspired by microscopic, flower-like structures created from salt and silicon by engineers at Harvard University, the piece captures the fragility of these “nanogardens” with an organic form filled with ornamentation.

Completing the program will be “cheating, lying, stealing” by David Lang, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 2008 and co-founder of the new music organization Bang on a Can; and “Study III from Trio No. 3” by Greek-American composer Dinos Constantinides.

Lang’s piece, heralded as a post-minimalist classic, celebrates the dark and the dirty, incorporating two antiphonal brake drums to produce an ominous funk. Constantinides’ work, the first movement of his “Trio No. 3,” is based on a modal tune that resembles a Greek folk melody and uses intervals of fourths and fifths.

The seven-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer, professor of composition, and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. The Ensemble’s members for the 2016-17 season are Victoria Hargrove, clarinet; Daniel Keeler, cello; Kelariz Keshavarz, flute; Renan Leme, violin; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; and Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophone.

Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) seeks
new orchestral, choral works for performance in March 2017

Columbia Civic Orchestra

For composers of orchestral or choral music, completing a new work often is followed immediately by another formidable challenge: finding an orchestra or choir to perform it.

Recognizing this need, the Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) in 2017 once again is offering performance opportunities for new, large-ensemble music written by Missouri residents. (Founded in 2012 as the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project, MOCOP has been renamed for its sixth year to reflect the inclusion of choral music as well as orchestral works.)

MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO), the Columbia Chamber Choir, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Each year, recently composed works are selected through a competitive, blind judging process and are performed by the CCO and Chamber Choir at a concert in Columbia. Each of the composers of the selected works also is awarded a $500 honorarium, and will receive a professional recording of their work.

Columbia Chamber Choir

MOCOP’s 2017 competition is open to composers of orchestral and choral music in four categories – two for Missouri composers currently in high school, and two open to Missouri composers of any age. The CCO and the Columbia Chamber Choir will perform the selected works in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 19, 2017 at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia.

Composers who wish to submit their work to MOCOP can find details on eligibility and instrumentation plus complete application materials online at https://music.missouri.edu/mnmi/mocop.

Applications must be postmarked no later than Monday, December 5, 2016.

The Columbia Civic Orchestra is a volunteer group located in Columbia, Missouri, dedicated to providing enjoyment for its members and audiences with the presentation and preservation of high-quality symphonic music.

The Columbia Chamber Choir in a subset of the Columbia Chorale, which works to promote choral music of the highest artistic quality and to stimulate a greater community understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of choral music by presenting programs appealing to a wide cross-section of Missouri residents and visitors.

Composers Festival spotlight: Oscar Bettison

As one of two distinguished guest composers at the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival,
Oscar Bettison will give a public presentation on his music; mentor and teach the eight resident composers; and work with Alarm Will Sound, who will perform his chamber concerto “Livre des Sauvages” as part of Thursday night’s concert at the Missouri Theatre.

A member of the composition faculty of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University since 2009, Bettison originally is from Jersey, UK. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the Royal College of Music in London, then studied for three years at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague before completing his Ph.D at Princeton University.

As a composer, Bettison is noted for his use of found and “junk” percussion and other examples of what he calls “Cinderella instruments” - “instruments that really shouldn’t be the belle-of-the-ball but I make them so” – as well as for using electric instruments more common to rock music than classical.

His works have been commissioned and performed by leading ensembles and soloists around the world. Recent commissions include the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, musikFabrik, Tanglewood Music Center, Talea Ensemble, Slagwerk Den Haag, So Percussion, Bang on a Can All-Stars and the New York Philharmonic’s 2014 Biennial.

Bettison won the the very first BBC Young Composer of the Year Prize in 1993, and has gone on to earn numerous other awards and honors including a Chamber Music America Commissioning Award in 2013; the Yvar Mikhashoff Commissioning Fund Prize in 2009; and more, as well as fellowships to both the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals.

His music has been featured on several recordings, including in 2010 a full-length album, “O Death,” featuring the evening-long work of that name performed by Ensemble Klang; and “B&E (with aggravated assault)”, performed by NEWSPEAK on New Amsterdam Records.

For more about Oscar Bettison, read the profile of him published in 2013 by Johns Hopkins Magazine, and his 2009 interview with CompositionToday.com.

You can hear samples of Bettison’s music on his SoundCloud page. In the embedded media players below, you can see a brief video profile of Bettison, produced by the Peabody Conservatory, and
a video interview in which he talks about “Livre des Sauvages,” plus performances of two of Bettison’s works.

Oscar Bettison talks about life as a composer and finding inspiration through teaching. See him give lessons to students at the Peabody Conservatory and listen in as he rehearses his piece “Apart,” written for So Percussion.

Oscar Bettison talks about his chamber concerto, Livre des Sauvages.

The East Coast premiere of Bettison’s “An Inventory of Remnants,”
performed by Choo Choo Hu (piano, percussion) during the New Music Gathering 2016, at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD.

“Vamp (movement 2)”, performed by Ensemble Offspring, with Lamorna Nightingale (piccolo), Claire Edwardes (percussion), and Jason Noble (clarinet), on March 18, 2014 at Riverside Theatre in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia

Composers Festival spotlight: Wang Lu

Born in Xi’an, the ancient capital of China, 2016 MICF resident composer Wang Lu was raised as part of a musical family immersed in Chinese opera and folk music traditions, and her works “reflect a very natural identification with those influences, through the prism of contemporary instrumental techniques and new sonic possibilities.”

An assistant professor of music at Brown University since 2015, Wang (pictured) graduated in 2005 from the Central Conservatory of Music in Bejing and earned her doctoral degree in composition in 2012 from Columbia University.

Her honors include a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship, first prize at Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne’s Young Composers Forum in 2010, two ASCAP Morton Gould awards, and more.

Wang’s music has been performed internationally by groups including the Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, Shanghai National Chinese Orchestra, Holland Symfonia, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Albany Symphony, and many others.

In 2010, she was selected for a Tremplin commission by IRCAM/Ensemble Intercontemporain, and in 2012, she took part in the International Composition Seminar with the Ensemble Modern.

Wang’s orchestral work “Scenes from the Bosco Sacro” was selected for the 2014 New York Philharmonic Biennial New Music Readings, and her music also has been featured at the Cresc Biennale for New Music, MATA Festival, Gaudeamus Music Week, Tanglewood Music Center, Cabrillo Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Takefu International Music Festival, and more.

In addition to “Backstory,” which she wrote for Alarm Will Sound to perform as part of the MICF’s “Eight World Premieres” concert on Saturday, July 30, Wang’s other recent projects include commissions for ICE, Yarn/Wire, the Momenta Quartet, organist Mark Steinbach, and violinist Miranda Cuckson; and a residency at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation.

For more about Wang Lu, read this short feature about her from last year on ClassicalLite.com; the 2014 interview with her published on the American Composers Orchestra’s website; and her 2011 interview with the Huffington Post.

You can hear samples of Wang Lu’s music on her SoundCloud page and in the embedded players below.

Composers Festival spotlight: Daniel Silliman

2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival resident composer Daniel Silliman was born in Syracuse, NY and grew up in Katy, TX, near Houston.

He began studying piano as a child, and upon graduating high school, enrolled in the USC Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles, where his composition teachers included Andrew Norman, who was a distinguished guest composer at last year’s MICF.

After graduating summa cum laude from USC in 2015 with a B.M. in composition, Silliman is now a doctoral fellow working on an MFA/Ph.D in composition at Princeton University in New Jersey. His teachers there include Louis Andriessen and another former MICF distinguished guest composer, Donnacha Dennehy, who was part of the 2012 festival.

Silliman’s music has been recognized with a number of awards and honors, including the 2015 William Schuman Prize from the BMI Foundation; an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, for which he was a finalist in 2012 and a winner in 2015; and being selected as a resident composer in New York Youth Symphony’s First Music competition.

In 2015, Silliman was one of seven young composers chosen to participate in CULTIVATE, the annual composers institute at Copland House, which is the former home of composer Aaron Copland in upstate New York that’s now a center for new music. Daniel Silliman’s music also has been presented by the Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music, American Festival for the Arts, Texas Music Teachers Association, and Access Contemporary Music.

His new work created for the 2016 MICF is titled “Endless Castle Romance,” and will be premiered by Alarm Will Sound along with new pieces from the other seven resident composers at the festival’s grand finale on Saturday, July 30 at the Missouri Theatre.

You can hear samples of Daniel Silliman’s music on his SoundCloud page and in the embedded media players below.

“strain” for cello and orchestra, featuring Michael Kaufman (cello) and the USC Symphony conducted by Donald Crockett.

“mechanical trees,” a 2014 work for bassoon, percussion, piano and page turns that was premiered and recorded on July 28, 2014 at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, ME.

“scaffold,” recorded February 24, 2015 in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California’s Joyce J. Cammileri Hall, featuring Clara Kim (violin), Michael Kaufman (cello), and Brendan White (piano).

Composers Festival spotlight: Wang A Mao

Coming originally from China, Wang A Mao had to travel a long way from home to study composing in the United States. But her journey to Columbia to serve as one of the eight resident composers for this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival was considerably shorter, for as the latest festival participant from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, she only had to travel another hundred miles or so down the road.

Wang (pictured) earned her bachelor of arts in composition at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and first came to Missouri to study for a master’s degree, which she earned in 2012. She currently is completing work on her doctorate in Kansas City, where her teachers have included Chen Yi, James Mobberley, Paul Rudy, and Zhou Long (who was a distinguished guest composer at the 2014 MICF).

Wang’s music has been recognized with awards and performances in both Asia and the United States. In 2011, she was selected as a winner of the Beijing Modern Music Festival’s Young Composer Project, and her orchestral works have been read by the American Composers Orchestra and the Kansas City Symphony. In 2015, Wang’s “Characters in Theatre” was played at the NY Phil’s Biennial, a performance that the New York Times called “arresting…a kind of concentrated shot of the music associated with Chinese opera.”

Her chamber works have been premiered by groups including Third Angle New Music, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, and Music from China, and her commissioned work “The Feeble Breeze, The Sullen Spring” was included on the album East Meets West, Vol. II released by Albany Records.

She received a composition commission from the Missouri Music Teachers Association in 2013, and also has participated in composer fellowships and residencies at the Aspen Music Festival, the Intimacy of Creativity in Hong Kong, and the Banff Centre in Canada.

As a performer, Wang has played her own chamber works at Le Poisson Rouge in New York, Hong Kong’s City Hall Theatre, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, and many Chinese venues. She also has performed her solo piano compositions at the Edgar Snow Memorial Fund Symposium and the National Association of Schools of Music concert series.

You can hear Wang A Mao talk about her music and about “Prowesses,’ the new work she’s written for Alarm Will Sound to perform as part of the MICF’s grand finale, in the interview she recorded last month for KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program. For more, read her 2015 interview on the American Composers Orchestra’s website, and listen to samples of her music and another brief interview in the embedded players below.

“Shades of Chinese Essence,” a work for piano composed in 2014 and performed by pianist Zhang Yiming on February 26, 2015 at Temple University.

“Characters in Theatre (excerpt),” performed by the American Composers Orchestra led by George Manahan in June 2014 for the
Underwood New Music Readings at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York, NY.

Wang A Mao describes how her composition “Spirit of Zheng” was inspired by the poetry of Ruan Li.

Composers Festival spotlight: Trey Makler

Originally from Farmington, Missouri, Trey Makler
is Mizzou’s representative among this year’s group of eight resident composers at the Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Makler (pictured) just completed his senior year in Columbia, earning his bachelor’s degree studying composition with Stefan Freund and oboe with Dan Willett. While an undergraduate, he has served as vice-president of the Mizzou Composers Guild and president of the Zeta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia national music fraternity, and he’s also quite familiar with the MICF, having been a production coordinator for the festival for the past three years.

An avid collaborator, Makler has worked with dancers, writers, and visual artists on a variety of interdisciplinary projects. He performs as an oboist with various ensembles in the Columbia area, including the Exit 128 contemporary chamber orchestra, of which he is a founding member; the University of Missouri Wind Ensemble and Philharmonic Orchestra; and others.

In addition to “Long String of Molecules,” the work Makler has written for Alarm Will Sound to premiere at the 2016 MICF, he also recently composed a piece for flute and guitar for this summer’s Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, and completed work this year on “Hatrack,” a one-act chamber opera with libretto by Katie Kull.

Based on an essay by Herbert Asbury about the oppressive religious culture of rural Missouri in the early 20th century, “Hatrack” was premiered by Exit 128 in May 2016 at the Missouri Theatre.

Makler was the winner of the 2015 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the top award given to a student composer at Mizzou. He used the resulting commission to write “whatever we lose” for the University Philharmonic, and the work then was premiered at the 2015 Chancellor’s Arts Showcase. Also in 2015, Makler’s “die Sonette an Orpheus” was winner of the annual Boston New Music Initiative Young Composers Competition. It was premiered at the Arlington Center for the Arts in April of this year.

Makler also has written commissioned works for the Sheldon Concert Hall and others, including “Elysium,” composed for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and premiered in 2014 at an event for Forest Park Forever in St. Louis.

For more about Trey Makler, you can listen to the interview he did in May of this year on KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program, and read this 2014 profile of him in the Columbia Daily Tribune. You can hear Trey Makler’s music on his SoundCloud page and in the embedded media players below.

The world premiere of “Hatrack,” with music by Trey Makler and libretto by Katie Kull, performed by Exit 128 and conducted by Travis Herd on May 5, 2016 at the Missouri Theatre.

“I remember everything,” recorded at the 2015 Charlotte New Music Festival’s Dance Co-Lab concert.

“It Was There All Along,” premiered by Andrew Cuneo (bassoon) and Peter Henderson (piano) in February 2016 at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis.