Posts Tagged ‘ composer

Composers Festival Spotlight: Michael Schacter

Michael Schachter

Michael Schacter is one of eight resident composers at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival, and comes to Columbia from Ann Arbor, MI, where he currently is working towards a Ph.D. in music theory and composition at the University of Michigan.

Originally from Massachusetts and an enthusiastic Red Sox fan, Michael is a pianist as well as a composer whose music draws from “an eclectic brew of influences including jazz and New Orleans, Renaissance polyphony, Jewish liturgy and klezmer, and South Indian classical music.”

He earned his BA in 2009 from Harvard, where he directed the Harvard Chamber Singers and founded and directed the Harvard Jazz Collective, performing in concerts and master classes with Herbie Hancock, Joshua Redman, Roy Haynes, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron, and many others.

As a scholar, Michael’s research interests include the philosophy of music (especially aesthetics, epistemology, and ethics), pedagogy, early music, jazz, New Orleans music, and the classical music of South India. He spent the 2009-2010 academic year in Chennai, India, studying South Indian classical singing and vina playing. He returned there earlier this year to continue his research on melodic structures in South Indian classical music and work on a joint project transcribing and cataloging ragas with vina virtuoso Karaikudi S. Subramanian.

As a composer, Michael has received recognition from BMI, ASCAP, and the American Composers Forum, and his orchestral work “Freylekhe Tanzen” was selected for the ill-fated 2013 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute.

In 2013, the University of Michigan in partnership with the Gershwin family commissioned him to compose a mash-up of the University’s fight song “Hail to the Victors” and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” The resulting “Rhapsody in Maize and Blue” was premiered by Kenneth Kiesler and the University Symphony Orchestra in a concert featuring singer Audra McDonald.

Other recent and upcoming projects include premieres with the New York Virtuoso Singers, the Vocal Essence Ensemble Singers, and the Aurea Silva Trio, as well as collaborations with Subramanian, the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, the Jameson Singers, bass-baritone Davone Tines, and saxophonist Eddie Goodman.

For the 2014 MICF, Michael has written a new work called “Five-Six-Seven-Eight,” that will be one of eight world premieres performed by resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound for the Festival’s grand finale on Saturday, July 26 at the Missouri Theatre.

“The opportunity to write for an ensemble with the timbral palette of a full orchestra but the locked-in tightness of a Pro Tools session perhaps overly piqued my imagination, and I wanted to use this piece to explore a greater range of textures and ideas than one coherent movement could reasonably accommodate,” he said. “As such, the work consists of four miniatures, each between one and two minutes in length. The title, a reference to the common bandstand count-in, reflects the different dance-inspired characters of each miniature.”

You can hear more of Michael Schacter’s music on his website, and in the videos below.

The world premiere performance of “Three Wallace Stevens Songs”
on March 30, 2014 by The New York Virtuoso Singers

The final three minutes of “Oseh Shalom Bimromav,” winner of the Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra’s Young Composer Competition, performed in May 2013 by the BCCO.

“II. Jig, for Cello and Piano” (2011) performed by Schachter (piano) and Pierre Derycz (cello) at 2012 Midwest Composers Symposium at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

Zhou Long to serve as guest composer
for 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival;
Beat Furrer unable to attend for medical reasons

The Mizzou New Music Initiative announced today that Swiss composer Beat Furrer, who had been scheduled to be one of the guest composers later this month at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival, will be unable to attend the festival due to medical reasons.

In place of Furrer, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Zhou Long, Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, has agreed to serve as a guest composer for the 2014 MICF.

“We regret that Beat Furrer won’t be able to participate in this year’s festival, as his doctor has advised him not to travel, and we hope he’s feeling better soon,” said William J. Lackey, managing director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “However, we feel extraordinarily fortunate that a composer of Zhou Long’s stature happened to have space in his schedule at this time, and we are most grateful that he has agreed to join us in Columbia on such short notice.”

Zhou (pictured) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2011 for his first opera, Madame White Snake. Born in 1953 in China, he first came to the United States in 1985 to study music at Columbia University, where he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1993.

He has taught at UMKC since 2001, and has received awards, fellowships and commissions from major organizations and musical ensembles all around the world, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the Cary Trust, and the Copland Fund for Music.

For MICF ticket buyers, the change in guest composers means that they’ll hear a different program during the concert by Alarm Will Sound on Thursday, July 24 at the Missouri Theatre, as the festival’s resident ensemble will perform Zhou’s Bell Drum Towers in place of one of the Furrer compositions previously scheduled. That concert also will include music by Nico Muhly, the MICF’s other guest composer this year.

For the festival’s eight resident composers, Zhou’s participation in the festival will give them a chance to study and interact with a composer and teacher who has been recognized internationally for creating a unique body of music that brings together the aesthetic concepts and musical elements of East and West.

A pioneer in combining the idiomatic sounds and techniques of ancient Chinese musical traditions with contemporary Western ensembles and compositional forms, Zhou served as music director for the presenting organization Music From China for more than a decade while living in New York. During the MICF, he will give a public presentation about his music; instruct and interact with the eight resident composers in individual and group sessions; and work with Alarm Will Sound on the performance of Bell Drum Towers.

To buy tickets for the Mizzou International Composers Festival online, or to see a complete listing of events, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Tickets now on sale for 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival
concerts on July 24, 25 & 26 at Missouri Theatre

Alarm Will Sound

Tickets are now on sale for the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival’s concerts on Thursday, July 24; Friday, July 25; and Saturday, July 26.

Celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2014, the Mizzou International Composers Festival will take place starting Monday, July 21 through Saturday, July 26 in Columbia. Already considered one of the most noteworthy contemporary music events in the Midwest, the MICF attracts attention from composers, musicians, music educators, and media around the world.

Once again, the grand finale of the week will feature the world premieres of eight new works written by the festival’s resident composers and performed by the acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound (pictured, top left).  That concert will take place at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 26 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St.

Beat Furrer

The festival’s other two public performances will feature Alarm Will Sound at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 24 at the Missouri Theatre; and “Mizzou New Music,” featuring works by MICF guest composers Beat Furrer and Nico Muhly, and by MU faculty and student composers, performed by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 25 at the Missouri Theatre.

Festival passes good for admission to all three concerts are on sale for $80 for the VIP package, which includes reserved premium seating; $40 for an adult general admission pass; and $20 for a student general admission pass.

Nico Muhly

Single tickets are priced at $18 for adults, $10 for students, and are all general admission. Tickets can be charged by phone using Visa, MasterCard or Discover by calling 1-573-882-3781*. To buy tickets online, or to see a complete listing of Mizzou International Composers Festival events, visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

In addition to these three concerts, the MICF also will feature several free events, including open rehearsals and presentations by the participating composers. A complete schedule of those events will be released at a later date.

The eight resident composers were selected from more than 200 applicants from the USA and overseas to participate in the festival and create a new work for Alarm Will Sound. They are:
* Ian Dicke, Riverside, CA
* Holly Harrison, Sydney, Australia
* Texu Kim, Bloomington, IN
* José Martínez, Columbia, MO
* Nicholas Omiccioli, Kansas City, MO
* Michael Lee Schachter, Ann Arbor, MI
* Ashley Fu-Tsun Wang, Urbana, IL
* Christopher Weiss, Ann Arbor, MI

During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from guest composers Beat Furrer (pictured, center left), professor of composition at the Graz University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna; and Nico Muhly (pictured, below left), a Juilliard graduate and protégé of Phillip Glass known for composing an eclectic range of works for classical and pop musicians, ballet, opera, and more.

The resident composers also will take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound; give presentations on their music; and receive a premiere performance and professional live recording of their work.

*A $2.00 service fee and Missouri sales tax of 7.35% already are included in the price of each ticket. An additional fee of $3.00 per ticket will be charged for online purchases.

Mizzou composers, New Music Ensemble
develop new works inspired by Forest Park

Forest Park in St. Louis is the site of all sorts of musical performances, from the sounds of Broadway at the Muny to the St. Louis Symphony’s annual concert on Art Hill to the rock, pop and hip-hop of LouFest, and more.

Now, the park itself has become the subject of music, as four Mizzou students have been commissioned by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation to compose new works for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform at “The Sounds of Forest Park,” a private event next month for members of Forest Park Forever‘s Leffingwell Society.

In February, the four composers and associate professor Stefan Freund, who is supervising the project, toured Forest Park and visited the Jewel Box (pictured), which will be the site of the performance. Each of the four composers then focused on a specific aspect of the park.

Sophomore Benedetto Colagiovanni wrote “Forest Park Rhapsody” to recall the park’s history, while the natural world of trees, plants and animals helped inspire “Elysium,” composed by sophomore Trey Makler.

Matt Steins, a junior at Mizzou, used the park’s architecture as creative fuel for his piece “Structural Symbiosis,” and master’s candidate Justin Pounds’ “A Leaf on the Wind” is meant to evoke all the different activities enjoyed by visitors in search of “fun in the park.”

While the event next month at the Jewel Box is invitation-only, you can get a sneak preview of “The Sounds of Forest Park” compositions at the Mizzou New Music Ensemble’s concert at 7:00 p.m. this Sunday, April 27 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the Mizzou campus.

Oratorio premiere draws media attention

The impending premiere this week of Stefan Freund’s Civil War oratorio is drawing plenty of attention from Columbia media.

Last week, Freund was interviewed by Trevor Harris of KBIA, and on Sunday, the Columbia Tribune published a feature story by Amy Wilder previewing the production.

Mizzou’s news service also had a preview story about the premiere, as did the Columbia Missourian. Though the latter article now is available only to subscribers, the Missourian also produced a short video to go with it, which you can view in the embedded video window below.

The world premiere of “The War Amongst Families and Neighbors: The Civil War in Missouri” takes place at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, April 24 in Jesse Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased online here, or at the door.

Creating Original Music Project concert to present award-winning works
from Missouri student composers on Saturday, April 19

Listen online to the 2014 C.O.M.P. Festival

New award-winning works by Missouri student composers will be performed at the 2014 Creating Original Music Project Festival, which will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, April 19 in the Fine Arts Building on the Mizzou campus.

Admission to the concert is free and open to the public. The concert also will be streamed live online at http://music.missouri.edu/concert_streaming.html.

For nine years, the annual Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition has championed Missouri’s youngest composers, awarding cash prizes and performance opportunities to elementary, middle school, and high school students from across the state.

A joint venture of the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, which provides an annual gift of $60,000 to sponsor the competition, C.O.M.P. was created in 2005 to encourage K-12 students in Missouri to write original musical works and to encourage performances of those works.

The winning composers in each of seven different categories and their schools receive cash prizes, and high school winners also receive a scholarship to attend Mizzou’s high school summer music composition camp.

“As recognition for Missouri as a center for new music continues to grow, we’re delighted that students from all around the state continue to express themselves, develop their skills, and be recognized for their talents,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. “For some of these kids, C.O.M.P. could be a first step toward a career as a composer or musician. We’ve already seen some winners become music majors in college, and given time, encouragement and hard work, there’s no telling how far they may go.”

The 2014 Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition categories and winners are:

Elementary School – Songs with Words
1) Sadie Tanner of Maplewood-Richmond Heights Elementary School, Richmond Heights, for “Trees.” Music teacher: Kristin Tanner. Sponsor: John Israel.
2) Grace Filer of Harrisonville Christian School, Harrisonville, for “Imagination.” Music teacher and sponsor: Al Sancken.
3) Elizabeth Hess of Southern Boone County Elementary School, Ashland, for “Magic.” Music teacher and sponsor: Sean Hennessey.

Elementary School – Instrumental
1) Weston Krenn of The Summit Preparatory School, Springfield, for “Frolic.” Music teacher and sponsor: Shawn Keech.
2) Emily Chevalier of The Country Schoolhouse, Amazonia, for “Winter’s Promise.” Music teacher: Rebecca Quimby. Sponsor: Michelle Bland.
3) Amelia Markwell of Green Trails Elementary School, Chesterfield, for “The Four-Leaf Clover.” Music teacher and sponsor: Jacquelyn Gross.

Middle School – Popular
1) Samuel Luetkemeyer of Immanuel Lutheran at Honey Creek, Jefferson City, for “The Jacks of Swing.” Sponsor: Debra Leech.
2) Emma Reinagel of Oakville Middle School, Mehlville, for “When You’re Awake.” Music teacher and sponsor: Lacey Cupp.
3) Menea Kefalov and Ande Siegel of Ladue Middle School, Ladue, for “You’re Alone.” Music teacher: Leah Gastman. Sponsors: Leah Gastman, Jeffrey W. Lidhorst and Elizabeth Dalby.

Middle School – Fine Art
1) Brandon Thibodeau of Kearney Middle School, Kearney, for “A Collaborative Conversation.” Music teacher: Narong Prangcharoen. Sponsor: Chris Heil.
2) Soyoung (Mary) Park of Smithton Middle School, Columbia, for “Dreamcatcher.” Music teacher: Eun Kim. Sponsor: Nellie Schrantz.
3) HyunJun (John) Yoo of West Middle School, Columbia, for “Rhythm Festival.” Music teacher and sponsor: Julie Swope.

High School – Jazz
1) Brian Lollman of Raytown South High School, Raytown, for “96.” Music teacher and sponsor: Michelle Dake.
2) Adam Cohen of Parkway Central High School, Chesterfield, for “Smokey Lounge.” Music teacher and sponsor: Winifred Crock

High School – Popular
1) Tanner Qualls, a home-schooled student from Lee’s Summit, for “Both Sides.” Music teacher and sponsor: Becky Qualls.
2) Kael Upschulte of Jefferson City High School, Jefferson City, for “Break Through.” Sponsor: Beth Dampf.
3) Silas Luetkemeyer of Calvary Lutheran High School, Jefferson City, for “Sunshine Rain.” Sponsor: Melissa Ahlers.

High School – Fine Art
1) Dustin Dunn of South Iron High School, Ironton, for “Mortuis Loqui.” Music teacher and sponsor: Eva Barnes.
2) Hans Heruth of Liberty High School, Liberty, for “Perception.” Music teacher and sponsor: Rika K. Heruth.
3) Joseph Misterovich of The Summit Preparatory School of Southwest Missouri, Springfield, for “i stand in the moon and call it good.” Music teacher: John Prescott. Sponsor: Shawn Keech.

Each student who enters the competition must have the signature and sponsorship of his or her school’s music teacher. Community agencies, churches, after-school programs, private teachers and other musical mentors also may sponsor their young musicians in partnership with the student’s school music teacher.

MICF resident composers in the news

Here’s the latest news and updates from some of the resident composers at past Mizzou International Composers Festivals:

* Jeremy Podgursky, MICF 2010, is one of six winners this year of a Charles Ives scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The $7,500 scholarships are awarded to composition students of great promise, as selected by a committee of academy members including MICF 2010 guest composer Martin Bresnick, Joan Tower, Samuel Adler, Mario Davidovsky, John Harbison, Stephen Hartke, Tania León, and Tobias Picker. The Ives scholarships and the academy’s other awards in music will be presented at a ceremony in May.

* Asha Srinivasan, MICF 2012, (pictured) is having compositions performed at three major events this month.  She was the featured composer and her works “Dviraag” and “Bapu” were played at the Western Illinois University New Music Festival, March 4 in Macomb, IL.  Srinivasan’s “Keerthanata” will be played at the Region V conference of the Society of Composers, Inc., held March 27-29 at Ball State University in Muncie, IN, and  her tuba and fixed media work “Dyadic Affinities” will be played at the national conference of SEAMUS, aka the Society of Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States which takes place the same weekend  at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.

* A new oboe trio composed by Stephanie Berg, MICF 2012 and a Mizzou almuna who earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at MU, will be performed next year as part of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra‘s chamber music series.

* David Crowell, MICF 2012, was the subject of a recent profile in the Huffington Post. The accompanying audio samples include “Fallout,” which Crowell wrote for Alarm Will Sound and the MICF. His new percussion work “Celestial Sphere” will be performed by Ian David Rosenbaum and a consortium of percussionists on March 23 at the Philips Collection in Washington D.C., while Crowell and his band Empyrean Atlas will play March 24 at Roulette in Brooklyn.

* Speaking of Alarm Will Sound, they’ve been using David Biedenbender‘s “Schism,” composed for the 2011 MICF, as part of their work in St. Louis with students at Webster University’s Community Music School. AWS and the CMS students will perform the piece together on Friday, May 30 at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The video below shows them working side-by-side on “Schism,” while the audio player contains AWS’ recording of it from the MICF.

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project chooses works
by Clark, Strobel and Williams for performance on Sunday, March 16

For a composer of orchestral music, getting a new work performed by a live orchestra represents not only the culmination of many hours of hard work but also the realization of a dream.

Now, three Missouri composers will see their work rewarded and hear their dreams realized, as the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have announced the selection of three orchestral works written by Missouri residents to be performed by the CCO at a concert on Sunday, March 16 in Columbia.

The winning compositions were chosen in a statewide competition conducted under the auspices of the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP). Each winner will receive a $500 honorarium from MOCOP’s sponsor, the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

The works chosen for 2014 in the Open category are FE 700° C by Patrick David Clark and From the Book of the Dead by Robert Strobel. Clark, a native of St. Louis who now lives in Columbia, earned both a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s in composition from the University of Missouri. Strobel, also a resident of Columbia, is working on a master’s in composition at Mizzou.

The winning composition in the High School category is Firelight by Alex Williams, an 18-year-old senior at Neosho High School in Neosho.

The winners were selected through a blind judging process by John Cheetham, professor emeritus of music theory and composition at the University of Missouri, and Bruce Gordon, former orchestra manager for CCO.

All three winning compositions will be performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra as part of their annual concert of music by living composers at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 16 at Columbia College’s Launer Auditorium, 901 Rogers St. in Columbia.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students, and can be purchased in advance online at http://cco.missouri.org/ or at the door.

The concert also will include the Overture from Mizzou professor and CCO music director Stefan Freund’s forthcoming Civil War Oratorio; American Sojourn by Kevin Hartnett, a former winner in the statewide Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition for student composers; and Mutaciones I by Mizzou student José Martínez, which won the $6,000 National Prize for Culture in Martínez’ native country of Colombia.

Freund will conduct the orchestra’s performances of his Overture and of Martínez’ work, while Patrick Clark will conduct his own work and Robert Strobel’s composition. Brian Silvey, assistant professor of music education at Mizzou, will lead the performance of Hartnett’s American Sojourn, and MU junior Grant Bradshaw, assistant conductor of the Missouri Symphony Society Conservatory, will conduct Williams’ Firelight.

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 Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) is a collaborative effort by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and the Columbia Civic Orchestra to bring attention to orchestral works written in the state of Missouri. By identifying composers of orchestral music and providing opportunities for the performance of their work, MOCOP strives to showcase the talent of Missouri and share it with the community.

Patrick David Clark

Robert Strobel

Alex Williams