Posts Tagged ‘ composer

Composers Festival spotlight: Matthew Browne

It’s been a busy year for Matthew Browne. Even before coming to Columbia as one of the eight resident composers for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, he’s already been one of seven young composers attending the 13th annual Composer Institute sponsored by the Minnesota Orchestra in conjunction with the American Composers Forum. Not only that, just before his visit to Missouri, he’ll be taking part in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s 2016 Edward T. Cone Composition Institute at Princeton University.

Born in Burlington, Vermont and raised in Colorado, Browne (pictured) currently is working on a doctoral degree in composition at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He previously earned his master’s degree in composition from UM-AA and a bachelor of music degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Praised as “compelling” by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and “beautifully crafted and considered” by What’s On London, Browne’s music is influenced by a diverse and evolving range of composers and musicians, from György Ligeti, Alfred Schnittke, and Igor Stravinsky to the Beatles, Frank Zappa and Buddy Rich.

His recent honors include winning a BMI Student Composer award in 2015, both an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers award and the New England Philharmonic Call for Scores in 2014, and more. He has collaborated with ensembles such as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Villiers Quartet, the Donald Sinta Quartet, the Tesla Quartet, and the Albany Symphony, which last year read one his works as part of a “Composer To Center Stage Reading Session.”

Browne’s new work composed for Alarm Will Sound to premiere at 2016 MICF is called “Writers’ Room”. While that piece can’t be heard until the festival’s grand finale on Saturday, July 30 at the Missouri Theatre, you can hear more of his music on his SoundCloud page, and see and hear performances of three of his compositions in the embedded windows below.

“Cabinet of Curiosities for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra,” performed by Dan Graser (soprano sax), Zach Stern (alto sax), Eddie Goodman (tenor sax), Danny Hawthorne-Foss (baritone sax) and an orchestra of students from the University of Michigan conducted by Thomas Gamboa.

The Villiers Quartet performs Browne’s 2014 work, String Quartet no. 1 “A Penumbral Eclipse.”

“Exit, Pursued by a Bear” is a work for solo viola, performed here in February, 2013 by Jarita Ng at Rice University.

Composers Festival spotlight: Takuma Itoh

As preparations continue for the official start of the Mizzou International Composers Festival on Monday, July 25, this will be the first of a series of brief profiles of the resident composers, distinguished guest composers, and musicians taking part in this year’s MICF, including (whenever possible) samples of their music.

Born in Japan, raised in Northern California, and now living in Hawaiʻi, where since 2012 he has been a faculty member at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, Takuma Itoh brings a well-traveled perspective to his turn as a resident composer at this year’s festival.

Educated at Cornell University, University of Michigan, and Rice University, Itoh (pictured) previously enjoyed wide public attention in 2011 as one of NPR Music and WQXR’s “100 Composers Under 40”.

He’s also been a fellow at the Cabrillo Composer Workshop, Wellesley Composers Conference, Copland House CULTIVATE, Pacific Music Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival, and in 2015 had a League of American Orchestras residency with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra that ended with the TSO presenting the world premiere of the orchestral version of his work “Ripple Effect.”

Described as “brashly youthful and fresh” by the New York Times, Itoh’s music has been performed by the Albany Symphony, the New York Youth Symphony, the Shanghai Quartet, the St. Lawrence Quartet, the Cassatt Quartet, and many others.

In addition to the Music Alive: New Partnerships grant that enabled his collaboration with the Tucson Symphony, Itoh has been the recipient of awards and commissions including the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prize; six ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, including the Leo Kaplan Award; and numerous others. His works can be heard on Albany and Blue Griffin Records, and have been published by Theodore Presser, Resolute Music, and Murphy Music Press.

For the MICF, Itoh has composed a work called “Arrow of Time” that will one of eight world premieres from this year’s resident composers performed by Alarm Will Sound at the festival’s grand finale on Saturday, July 30 at the Missouri Theatre.

You can hear him talk about that new work, his approach to composing, and much more in an interview recently aired on the “Mizzou Music” program on KMUC-FM in Columbia. You also can hear (and see) performances of three of Takuma Itoh’s other compositions in the embedded video windows below.

“Conversations in the Garden” was written in 2015 for viola, guitar and piano to accompany an installation by French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot.

“City of Imagination” was recorded on February 21, 2015 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Orvis Auditorium, performed by Loo Sze Wang (sheng), Pan Ya Sze (yangqin), Yu Wing Ka (pipa), Wong Chi Chung (erhu), Frederick Lau (dizi), and Yi-Chieh Lai (zheng), and conducted by Thomas Osborne.

“Echolocation” was recorded in 2013 by Quanta Quartet, featuring Don-Paul Kahl (soprano saxophone), Matthew Hinchliffe (alto saxophone), Ali Fyffe (tenor saxophone), and Jacob Kopcienski (baritone saxophone).

Mizzou New Music Initiative awards postdoctoral fellowship to Phillip Sink

The Mizzou New Music Initiative and the University of Missouri School of Music have awarded the Initiative’s first-ever postdoctoral fellowship to composer Phillip Sink.

Starting with the Fall 2016 semester, Sink (pictured) will teach classes in composition and electronic music at Mizzou, and also will begin a major research project to be completed during the two years of his fellowship.

“We’re delighted to have Phillip as our first postdoctoral fellow,” said Stefan Freund, associate professor of composition at Mizzou and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “He’s an accomplished composer who has a lot of experience in electronic music and also has been teaching at the university level, which makes him a great fit for our program.”

A native of High Point, North Carolina, Sink comes to Mizzou from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where he recently earned a doctoral degree (DM) in music composition with minors in electronic music and music theory.

While at the Jacobs School, he studied electronic music with Jeffrey Hass and John Gibson, and acoustic composition with Claude Baker, David Dzubay, Aaron Travers, Sven-David Sandström, Ricardo Lorenz, Jere Hutcheson, and Scott Meister. Sink also served as an associate instructor of composition during his time in Indiana, teaching courses in counterpoint, notation, composition for non-majors, and more.

He received bachelor’s degrees in music composition/theory and music education from Appalachian State University in 2004, and then taught middle school orchestra and band in Charlotte, NC from 2005 to 2009. In 2012, he earned master’s degrees in music composition and music theory pedagogy from Michigan State University, while also serving as a graduate assistant in music theory.

Phillip Sink’s compositions have been performed in concerts and at conferences and festivals in the United States and Europe, including the 2015 Aspen Music Festival, where he was awarded the Hermitage Prize by the faculty; 2015 Art and Science Days in Bourges, France; the 2015 SEAMUS conference, and many others. His awards and honors include the 2015 Dean’s Prize for chamber music at Indiana University; Innovox Ensemble’s 2015 Green Call for Scores; the 2013 Kuttner String Quartet Composition Competition; and more.

Stefan Freund’s “Cyrillic Dreams” to be performed
by St. Louis Symphony in concert on Friday, April 29

The St. Louis Symphony once again will feature music from a Mizzou composer as part of their subscription season when they perform Stefan Freund’s “Cyrillic Dreams” in a concert at 8:00 p.m. Friday, April 29 at Powell Hall in St. Louis.

Freund (pictured) is associate professor of composition and music theory at the University of Missouri, co-artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and director of the Mizzou New Music Ensemble. The Memphis native also is a cellist and founding member of the new music group Alarm Will Sound, and is the music director and principal conductor of the Columbia Civic Orchestra.

“Cyrillic Dreams” was composed in 2008 with a commission from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, and was inspired by Freund’s trip to Russia that year. It was premiered in a performance by the Columbia Civic Orchestra on March 24, 2009 in Vienna’s Minoritenkirche with the composer conducting, and subsequently has been played by orchestras including the Tennessee Tech University Orchestra and the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, and at the Missouri River Festival of the Arts.

The St. Louis Symphony will play the work on a program that also includes popular favorites such as Bernstein’s “Candide Overture,” Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” and Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The concert is part of the St. Louis Symphony’s “Music You Know” series conducted by music director David Robertson, which aims to connect listeners to classical music by presenting “familiar tunes we’re certain you know, and others that you’ll long to hear again and again.”

“Cyrillic Dreams” also is one of just eight works by living composers on the orchestra’s schedule this season. It’s the second time they’ve played a work by a Mizzou composer, having performed “Ravish and Mayhem” by Mizzou alumna Stephanie Berg in January, 2014 at Powell Hall.

“When I wrote “Cyrillic Dreams,” I imagined the rich acoustic of the three huge churches in Austria where the piece was to be performed,” said Freund. “I think it will sound equally glorious in the majestic setting of Powell Hall.”

Tickets for the St. Louis Symphony’s concert featuring the performance of “Cyrillic Dreams” can be purchased in person at the Powell Hall box office or via their website at stlsymphony.org.

Student Composers Concert set for Sunday, April 24 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The spring 2016 edition of the University of Missouri School of Music’s bi-annual Student Composers Concert will showcase new works written and performed by students at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 24 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the Mizzou campus.

Admission is free for Mizzou students, faculty and staff with ID, $5 for the general public.

The program will include:
“Four Jazz Moods” by Benedetto Colagiovanni
“That I Have Not Lived” by Dustin Dunn
“Ever Yours, l. Paris, 1 August 1890″ by Travis Herd
“Musings of Sky” by Hans Bridger Heruth
“Ballroom Blues” by Erin Höerchler
“Instruction Manual” by José Martínez
“Solitude” by Aaron Mencher
“Crystalline” by Henry Breneman Stewart

Performers will include Jenna Braaksma, piano; Ben Colagiovanni, piano; Rachel Czech, cello; Ross Dryer, piano; Jesús Gómez, violin; Erin Höerchler, soprano; Beverly Jones, baritone saxophone; Bria Jones, mezzo soprano; Mary Kettlewell, soprano; Renan Leme, violin; Sam McCullogh, tenor saxophone; Travis Meier, soprano saxophone; Gyumi Rha, piano; Joe Rulli, saxophone; Catherine Sandstedt, viola; Paola Savvidou, piano; Patrick Smith, bass baritone; Britney Stutz, violin; Matthew Vallot, alto saxophone; and Alex Williams, cello.

Creating Original Music Project to present
award-winning works by Missouri student composers
in concert on Saturday, April 16 in Columbia

Audio from the 2016 COMP Festival will stream live online on Saturday, April 16

From classical, jazz, and blues to folk, rock, and hip-hop, Missouri has a rich and varied musical history. The Show-Me State over the years has produced a long list of musical luminaries, from Scott Joplin, Virgil Thomson, and Burt Bacharach to Clark Terry, Chuck Berry, and Sheryl Crow, but what does the future hold?

The answer could be in Columbia, where Mizzou’s Creating Original Music Project (COMP) will present performances of award-winning original works by young Missouri composers in grades K-12 at the 11th annual COMP Festival, held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, April 16 in the Fine Arts Building on the campus of the University of Missouri.

Admission is free and open to the public. The junior division concert, featuring works from elementary and middle school winners, begins at 10:30 a.m., with the senior division concert of music by high school winners following at 2:30 p.m..

The festival also will be streamed live online at https://music.missouri.edu/concert-audio-streaming, with the audio stream going live 10 minutes before the start of each concert.

COMP was founded in 2005 to encourage K-12 students in Missouri to write original musical works and to provide performance opportunities for those works. It is a joint venture of the university’s Mizzou New Music Initiative and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, which provides an annual gift of $80,000 to sponsor the competition.

Every year, in addition to having their music performed at the COMP Festival, the winning composers and their schools receive cash prizes, and high school winners also receive a scholarship to attend Mizzou’s high school summer music composition camp.

“The Mizzou New Music Initiative is all about helping young composers grow and develop, from elementary school all the way through post-graduate studies,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. “The Creating Original Music Project competition and summer camp are the first steps in that process, and we’re delighted that over the last 11 years, we’ve been able to provide opportunities and encouragement for hundreds of Missouri’s youngest composers through those programs.”

The 2016 Creating Original Music Project (COMP) competition categories and winners are:

Elementary School – Song with Words
1) Miles Cole & Drew Hauser of Bristol Elementary School, Webster Groves, for “Number One.” Sponsor: Sara Wichard.
2) Kadyn Bilberry of Reeds Spring Elementary School, Reeds Spring, for “Run Lanie Run.” Sponsor: Sue Gillen.
3) Jenna Yaw of Reeds Spring Elementary School, Reeds Spring, for “I’m Lost.” Sponsor: Sue Gillen.

Elementary School – Instrumental
1) Judah Robbins Bernal of Russell Boulevard Elementary School, Columbia, for “Sounds of Life.” Music Teacher: Paola Savvidou. Sponsor: Jared Smith.
2) Yueheng Wang of Grant Elementary School, Columbia, for “Miserable Me.” Music Teacher: Mabel Kinder. Sponsor: Pam Sisson.
3) Alexis Rysanek of Rogers Elementary School, St. Louis, for “I Went to the City.” Sponsor: Donna Buehne.

Middle School – Fine Art
1) Olivia Bennett, a home-schooled student from Nixa, for “Wistful Fog.” Sponsor: Dan Bennett.
2) HyunJun Yoo of West Middle School, Columbia, for “I.Clown.” Sponsor: Julie Swope.
3) Brandon Kim of Jefferson Middle School, Columbia, for “Time Travel.” Music Teacher: Erin Hoerchler. Sponsor: Jaime Canepa.

Middle School – Popular
1) Thomas Trollope of Wright City Middle School, Wright City, for “Giants.” Sponsor: Todd Oberlin.
2) Ella Leible of Chaffee Elementary School, Chaffee, for “Our Melody.” Sponsor: Carrie Cane.
3) Finnegan Stewart of Wildwood Middle School, Wildwood, for “You Will Never Change Me.” Sponsor: Julia Lega.

High School – Fine Art
1) Julia Riew of John Burroughs School, St. Louis, for “The Executioner’s Dream.” Sponsor: Robert Carter.
2) Mary Park of David H. Hickman High School, Columbia, for “Dream of Life.” Sponsor: Megan Maddeleno.
3) Amanda Bradshaw, a home-schooled student from Columbia, for “a very unusual Summer afternoon.” Music Teacher: Grant Bradshaw. Sponsor: Mike Bradshaw.

High School – Popular
1) Menea Kefalov of Ladue Horton Watkins High School, St. Louis, for “I Can’t Take It.” Sponsor: Twinda Murry.
2) Audrey McCulley of Arcadian Academy of Music, Ironton, for “Remember.” Sponsor: Emily Parker.
3) Sarah Meadows of David H. Hickman High School, Columbia, for “Tomorrow’s Gonna Change.” Sponsor: Robin Steinhaus.

High School – Jazz
1) Nick Larimore of Parkway Central High School, Chesterfield, for “I Need the Eggs.” Sponsor: Doug Hoover.
2) Jack Snelling of Webster Groves High School, Webster Groves, for “Tribute to San Calcetín.” Sponsor: Kevin Cole.
3) Samuel Luetkemeyer of Calvary Lutheran High School, Jefferson City, for “Tickets, Please.” Sponsor: Melissa Ahlers.

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.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform works
by four award-winning composers
Tuesday, March 22 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will play works from four award-winning composers in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 22 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus. Admission is free for Mizzou students, faculty and staff with ID, $5 for the general public.

The program will include two pieces from composers visiting Mizzou this year and two from undergraduate students majoring in composition at the university.

“Rhapsodies” by David Liptak is a three-movement work from 1992 that showcases contrasting timbral colors in the ensemble. Liptak, a composition professor at the Eastman School of Music and winner of a 2013 Koussevitzky Music Foundation commission, was in residence last month at Mizzou and worked with the Ensemble to help them prepare for this performance.

“Mouthpiece: Segment of the 4th Letter,” written in 2007 by Erin Gee, uses an unusual collection of instruments and techniques to create a foreign world of breathy sounds. Gee, who teaches at the University of Illinois, won a 2015 Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and will serve as a distinguished guest composer at this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

“Of Stained Glass and Hymnody” was composed in 2015 by Dustin Dunn, a sophomore Sinquefield Scholar at Mizzou and winner of the Springfield Symphony’s 2016 Missouri Composition Competition. Using chimes and vibraphone to emulate church bells, Dunn’s work mixes hymn-like melodies with fast flourishes to create a fantasy of sounds associated with churches.

“Forest Park Rhapsody” was written in 2014 by Benedetto Colagiovanni, a junior Sinquefield Scholar at Mizzou, for a benefit for the St. Louis not-for-profit organization Forest Park Forever. The work offers a musical evocation of the park’s history from its 19th century beginnings to the present day, and was Colagiovanni’s winning submission for the “Young Artist” award in the 2016 Music Teachers National Association’s composition competition.

The eight-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) 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 Martinez, percussion; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets; Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophones; Erin Spencer, flute; and Britney Stutz, violin. For this performance, the Ensemble will be joined by guest musicians Trey Makler, oboe; and Mike Peiffer, viola.

Deviant Septet to present world premiere of David Liptak’s “Focusing”
in concert Friday, February 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall


The new music group Deviant Septet will present the world premiere of “Focusing,” a new work by composer David Liptak, as part of their concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, February 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall, 151 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Admission is free and open to the public.

The performance will be the final event of simultaneous residencies that week at Mizzou for Liptak and Deviant Septet (pictured), with the premiere of “Focusing” representing the culmination of a three-year process that began in 2013 with a commissioning grant from the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation.

Started in 1942 by Serge Alexandrovich Koussevitzky, the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a famous advocate for modern music, the Foundation over the years has commissioned works from a “who’s who” of 20th and 21st century composers, from Bartók, Berio, and Bernstein to Stockhausen, Stravinsky, and Varèse.

In addition to the concert and world premiere, the residencies of Liptak and Deviant Septet will include a public convocation of the School of Music at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, February 25 at Whitmore Recital Hall.

Liptak also will coach the Mizzou New Music Ensemble in a rehearsal, and give a master class at 4:00 p.m. Friday, February 26 in Fine Arts Building Room 146. Deviant Septet’s visit will include a session in which they’ll read works from student composers at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 24 at Whitmore Hall.

Liptak is professor of composition and former chair of the composition department at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, where he has been on the faculty since 1986. Before Eastman, Liptak taught at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois.

His music has been performed by ensembles including the San Francisco Symphony, Montreal Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Youngstown Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera of Illinois, New England Philharmonic, and more.

Hailed as “exciting” by the New York Times, “superb” by the Washington Post, and “exceedingly fun” by Time Out New York, Deviant Septet is an ensemble of top classical and avant-garde musicians that for this concert will include Mizzou’s own assistant visiting professor Bill Kalinkos (clarinet, executive director), Mike Gurfield (trumpet, artistic director), Gabriela Diaz (violin), Brad Balliett (bassoon), Doug Balliett (double bass), Michael Lormand (trombone), and Jared Soldiviero (percussion).

Their musical mission is to fulfill the vision that Igor Stravinsky had for the ensemble instrumentation used in his composition “L’Histoire du Soldat,” creating a distinctive repertoire for the unique blend of instrumental voices that includes “the soprano and bass voice of every instrument family.”

Individually, the members of Deviant Septet also perform with various contemporary groups including Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Signal, International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble ACJW, Wordless Music Orchestra, and Talea Ensemble, and have collaborated with artists such as The National, David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens, The Dirty Projectors, Tyondai Braxton, St. Vincent, John Zorn, and many others.