Posts Tagged ‘ composer

Composers Festival spotlight: Aaron Parker

Aaron Parker is another of the resident composers helping to put the “international” in this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival, coming to Columbia all the way from England.

Parker currently is working toward a masters in experimental music at Brunel University in London, and, reflecting his continuing interest in teaching as well as composition, also serves as assistant director of music at Lord Wandsworth College in Hampshire.

A native of Manchester, Parker (pictured) previously completed a BMus in Composition at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, studying with Gary Carpenter and Larry Goves.

He writes what he calls “loosely-defined instrumental and electronic music informed by a love of landscape, film (Jonas Mekas, Rose Lowder, Peter Bo Rappmund, Joshua Bonnetta), visual art (Anselm Keifer, Gerhard Richter, Ai Weiwei), and sound (Eliane Radigue, Rashad Becker, John Cage, Giuseppe Ielasi, Chris Watson, György Kurtág, Radiohead, and many others).”

In addition to “atholhu,” the new piece he composed for Alarm Will Sound to perform at the 2017 MICF, Parker’s recent projects include a workshop and performance of “biakoulem” by Kokoro, the new music ensemble of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; a new piece for toy piano and live electronics for Xenia Pestova; a performance of large-scale ensemble and electronics work “Warehouse” as part of the 21C Music Festival at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto; and collaborations with Manchester-based multi-instrumentalist David Bainbridge and with vocalist Kathryn West.

Other recent commissions have come from the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the new music ensemble Psappha, and the ddmmyy series.

Parker released a solo album, Storage, in 2016 on the SLIP imprint, which was featured on Pitchfork.com, and also has had works recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra (through their Panufnik Composers program) and on Architectures, a 2016 compilation of new music on the RMN Classical label. Performances of his compositions have taken place across the UK and Europe, and have been broadcast on BBC TV and radio.

You can listen to Parker talk about his music in the interview he did earlier a few weeks ago for KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program, and hear samples of his work on his SoundCloud page and via the embedded players below.

“Now (no more)” (2013), performed by Jenny Dyson (alto flute), Graham Proctor (percussion), Elinor Nicholson (harp), Oliver Farrant (cello), and Aaron Parker (electronics) .

“51° 12’ N / 0° 55’ W – 080115,” a world premiere performance recorded on February 24, 2015 at Hallé St. Peter’s in Manchester, England, featuring Conrad Marshall (flute), Dov Goldberg (clarinet),
Benjamin Powell (piano), Tim Williams (percussion), Benedict Holland (violin) and Jennifer Langridge (cello).

“serisu” (2016), performed by BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Gourlay

Composers Festival spotlight: Carolina Heredia

Born in Córdoba, Argentina, Carolina Heredia is the first resident composer originally from South America to take part in the Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Heredia (pictured) has just completed her doctorate in musical arts at the University of Michigan, studying with Michael Daugherty, Evan Chambers, Kristin Kuster, and Erik Santos.

(Interestingly, while being the first from South America, she’s also the latest in a series of Michigan grads to serve as MICF resident composers, including Patrick Harlin (2012), Elizabeth Kelly (2013), Greg Simon (2013), Michael Schachter (2014), Ian Dicke (2014), Takuma Itoh (2016), and Matthew Browne (2016).)

Once the 2017 MICF is over, Heredia will be sticking around Columbia for a while, as last month she was awarded a two-year postdoctoral fellowship by the Mizzou New Music Initiative. Starting with the Fall 2017 semester, Heredia will teach private composition lessons to Mizzou students; assist with various MNMI programs; and work on interdisciplinary collaborative projects, initiating and supervising student efforts and also completing a major research project herself.

While at Michigan, she taught electronic music as a graduate student instructor and founded the Khemia Ensemble, a contemporary music group dedicated to creating innovative concert experiences involving interactive technology.

Previously, Heredia earned her bachelor’s degree in music composition from the Universidad Nacional de Villa María, and a bachelor’s degree in violin from the Conservatorio Superior Félix Garzón, both in Argentina; and a master’s degree in music composition from the University of Michigan.

Her compositions have been commissioned and performed in the United States and South America by musicians and ensembles including JACK Quartet, Derek Bermel, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Duo Cortona, and the Argentinean Cordoba State String Orchestra, and featured at events such as the SONIC Festival NYC, Aspen Music Festival and School, Bowling Green New Music Festival, TIES Toronto International Electroacoustic Festival, SEAMUS, the Cordoba Composition Biennial, and more.

Heredia’s honors and fellowships include a 2015 commission from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University; the 2015 fellowship from the Susan and Ford Schumman Center for Composition Studies at the Aspen Music Festival; the Brehm Prize in Choral Composition (2015); the 2015 International Research Grant from the University of Michigan; the Margaret Dow Towsley Scholarship (2012); the Merit Scholarship from the University of Michigan (2011); and the Dorothy Greenwald Scholarship (2011).

For more about Caroline Heredia, listen to the interview she recorded last month for KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program. You can hear some of her music via the embedded players below and on her SoundCloud page.

“Ausencias/Ausências/Absences” (2016) For String Quartet and Electronics, made possible by a grant from the Fromm Music Foundation and performed by JACK Quartet on March 8, 2016 at the University of Michigan’s Stamps Auditorium in Ann Arbor, MI.

“Virginia” (2015) for alto and SATB choir, recorded October 24, 2015 at Stamps Auditorium as performed by Rehanna Thelwell, contralto with the University of Michigan Chamber Choir, conducted by Jerry Blackstone.

“Añoranzas” (2016) for cello and electronics, performed by cellist Horacio Contreras for Khemia Ensemble’s album Voyages.

Composers Festival spotlight: Henry Breneman Stewart

The University of Missouri’s representative among the eight resident composers for this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival is Henry Breneman Stewart, who just completed a master’s degree in composition at Mizzou.

While at Mizzou, Stewart (pictured) has composed works for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, Columbia Civic Orchestra, University Singers and more, and served as the “composer on call” for the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s Composer Connection distance-learning program.

Most notably, he was the winner of the 2016 Sinquefield Composition Prize – the university’s top honor for a student composer – which resulted in a commission to write a new original work that was premiered at the 2016 Chancellor’s Arts Showcase.

A native of Lancaster County, PA, Stewart came to Mizzou via Goshen College in Goshen, IN, where he earned a BA in music and biochemistry, studying 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, Stewart 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.

When the 2017 MICF is over, Stewart will be staying in Columbia to earn a second master’s degree in music theory while also applying to doctoral programs in composition.

For more about Henry Breneman Stewart, you can listen to him talk about the process of creating a commission and his work that will be premiered at the MICF in an interview recorded in June for KMUC’s weekly “Mizzou Music” program.. You can hear his music in the embedded players below and on his SoundCloud page.

“Sun Will Rise In Black,” commissioned by the Columbia Civic Orchestra with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation and performed by Natalia Bolshakova, piano, and the Columbia Civic Orchestra, Stefan Freund, conductor.

“Love Your Enemy,” performed by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble

“Sonnet 73: De Profundis,” commissioned as a result of winning the 2016 Sinquefield Composition Prize, and performed by the University of Missouri University Singers, directed by R. Paul Crabb.

Mizzou New Music Initiative awards postdoctoral fellowship to Carolina Heredia

The Mizzou New Music Initiative and the University of Missouri School of Music have awarded a postdoctoral fellowship to composer Carolina Heredia.

Starting with the Fall 2017 semester and continuing for two years, Heredia (pictured) will teach private composition lessons to Mizzou students; assist with various MNMI programs; and work on interdisciplinary collaborative projects, initiating and supervising student efforts and also completing a major research project herself.

As MNMI’s second postdoctoral fellow, Heredia succeeds Phillip Sink, who is leaving Mizzou for a tenure-track job as assistant professor of theory and composition at Northern Illinois University.

Before beginning her fellowship, Heredia will have a chance to get acquainted with her new home as one of the eight resident composers for this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival, a position for which she applied and was accepted last year.

“We were very impressed with Carolina’s work when we reviewed her application for the Mizzou International Composers Festival,” said Stefan Freund, professor of composition and artistic director of MNMI. “The festival is a catalyst for all sorts of opportunities, and in this case, it led to a connection with a composer and teacher who is going to be a great addition to our program.”

“Carolina’s interest in interdisciplinary projects was particularly attractive to us, and potentially could strengthen our ties with the university’s art and theater departments and the College of Arts and Science’s new digital storytelling program,” said Julia Gaines, director/associate professor of percussion and director of the School of Music. “We’re delighted to have her as part of the Mizzou New Music Initiative.“

Born in Córdoba, Argentina, Heredia comes to Mizzou from the University of Michigan, where she has just completed her doctorate in musical arts, studying with Michael Daugherty, Evan Chambers, Kristin Kuster, and Erik Santos.

While at Michigan, she also taught electronic music as a graduate student instructor and founded the Khemia Ensemble, a contemporary music group dedicated to creating innovative concert experiences involving interactive technology.

Previously, she earned her bachelor’s degree in music composition from the Universidad and Nacional de Villa María, and a bachelor’s degree in violin from the Conservatorio Superior Félix Garzón, both in Argentina; and a master’s degree in music composition from the University of Michigan.

Her compositions have been commissioned and performed in the United States and South America by musicians and ensembles including JACK Quartet, Derek Bermel, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Duo Cortona, and the Argentinean Cordoba State String Orchestra, and featured at events such as the SONIC Festival NYC, Aspen Music Festival and School, Bowling Green New Music Festival, TIES Toronto International Electroacoustic Festival, SEAMUS, the Cordoba Composition Biennial, and more.

Heredia’s honors and fellowships include a 2015 commission from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University; the 2015 fellowship from the Susan and Ford Schumman Center for Composition Studies at the Aspen Music Festival; the Brehm Prize in Choral Composition (2015); the 2015 International Research Grant from the University of Michigan; the Margaret Dow Towsley Scholarship (2012); the Merit Scholarship from the University of Michigan (2011); and the Dorothy Greenwald Scholarship (2011).

Creating Original Music Project to present award-winning works
from Missouri student composers in concert on Saturday, April 15

Some of the winners at the 2016 COMP Festival

Whether heard on a concert stage or in a theater, on film or TV, or in a video game or app, every piece of music starts with a composer – and every young composer needs a start.

That’s why Mizzou’s Creating Original Music Project (COMP) will present performances of award-winning original works by young Missouri composers at the twelfth annual COMP Festival, held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, April 15 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 music and to provide performance opportunities for those works. It is a joint venture of the 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 in each age group and category and their schools receive cash prizes. High school winners also receive a scholarship to attend the Missouri Summer Composition Institute, Mizzou’s high school summer music composition camp.

“The Mizzou New Music Initiative began with the Creating Original Music Project competition and summer camp, and COMP still is fundamental to our efforts to help composers of all ages grow and develop,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. “Hundreds of Missouri students have enjoyed opportunities from these programs over the last 12 years, and it’s encouraging to see both repeat winners and first-time entrants among this year’s group of winning young composers.”

The 2017 Creating Original Music Project (COMP) competition categories and winners are:

Elementary School – Song with Words
1) Brooke Noelle Eck of Woerther Elementary School, Ballwin, for “Full Blown Storm.” Sponsor: Rachel Puleo.
2) Jackson Smith of Our Lady of Lourdes Interparish School, Columbia, for “Pokémon.” Sponsor: Sarah Nolke.
3) Landon Irvin of Reeds Spring Elementary School, Reeds Spring, for “Game of Life.” Sponsor: Susan Gillen.

Elementary School – Instrumental
1) Yueheng Wang of Ulysses S. Grant Elementary School, Columbia, for “Echoing in the Sky.” Sponsor: Pam Sisson.
2) Natalie Johnson of Rogers Elementary School, St. Louis, for “Winter Snow.” Sponsor: Donna Buehne.
3) Stone Gill of Arcadia Valley Middle School, Ironton, for “Grab a Mic.” Sponsor: Chuck Lee.

Middle School – Fine Art
1) Brandon Kim of Jefferson Middle School, Columbia, for “The Quarrel.” Sponsor: Jaime Canepa.
2) Ammar Farra of Smithton Middle School, Columbia, for “Brass Trio in C Minor.” Sponsor: Emily Ebrecht.

Middle School – Popular
1) Grace Ensor, Holly Travers, Posey Bischoff, and Katie Downey of Steger Sixth Grade Center, Rock Hill, for “The Path of Life.” Sponsor: Kevin Cole.
2) Elsa Kelley-Marcum of Jefferson Middle School, Columbia, for “Deal with the Devil.” Sponsor: Christine Nichols.

High School – Fine Art
1) Brandon Thibodeau of Kearney High School, Kearney, for “Kaleidoscope.” Sponsor: Chris Heil.
2) Olivia Bennett, a home-schooled student from Nixa, for “The Hare.” Sponsor: Gabe Fleetwood.
3) Cheyenne Stumpf of Cuba High School, Cuba, for “Ki Bhavi Ragini.” Sponsor: Shannon Moore.

High School – Popular
1) Cooper Carr of Lee’s Summit West High School, Lee’s Summit, for “I See You.” Sponsor: Kirt Mosier.
2) Julia Riew of John Burroughs School, St. Louis, for “No More.” Sponsor: Robert Carter.
3) Menea Kefalov of Ladue Horton Watkins High School, Ladue, for “Storm.” Sponsor: Twinda Murry.

High School – Jazz
1) Jack Snelling of Webster Groves High School, Webster Groves, for “Lovesick.” Sponsor: Kevin Cole.
2) Samuel Luetkemeyer of Calvary Lutheran High School, Jefferson City, for “Playin’ Hooky.” Sponsors: Melisa Ahlers and Calee Gerth.

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.

William Averitt’s “Black Pierrot” inspired by poet Langston Hughes

Mizzou musicology professor Stephanie Shonekan leads a discussion with William Averitt on the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Mizzou musicology professor Stephanie Shonekan (at left) leads a discussion with composer William Averitt (second from right) on the poetry of Langston Hughes.

For his latest commissioned work “Black Pierrot,” composer William Averitt once again has drawn inspiration from the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Scheduled for a world premiere on Saturday, March 18 at First Baptist Church in Columbia, “Black Pierrot” was commissioned by Mizzou’s director of choral studies Paul Crabb for the University Singers and the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, directed by Stefan Freund, with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Averitt, who’s now professor emeritus of music at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA after serving on the faculty there from 1973 to 2012,  is known particularly as a composer of choral works.

He has received commissions from a wide range of organizations and artists, including Texas Lutheran University, Choral Arts of Seattle, Virginia Music Teachers Association, organist Dudley Oakes, the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, Opus 3 Trio, Murray State University Concert Choir, and the Shenandoah Conservatory Chamber Choir.

Other commissions include works for the Virginia-based contemporary music ensemble Currents, Shippensburg (PA) Summer Music Festival, Paducah Symphony Orchestra, First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC, Sonus Ensemble of Washington, DC, the Youth Orchestras of Prince William (VA), choreographer Elizabeth Bergmann, Shenandoah University, Winchester (VA) Musica Viva, and the Hans Kindler Foundation of the Library of Congress.

Averitt has incorporated his interest in the work of Langston Hughes into several of his compositions.  His “Afro-American Fragments,” composed in 1991 with the text of a 1930 poem by Hughes,  has been performed by a number of professional choruses, including the Grammy winning ensemble, Conspirare, which in 2004 released three movements of the work on their CD through the green fuse.

“Afro-American Fragments” also has been performed by the Washington Singers, the Desert Chorale, the New Texas Festival, the Air Force Singing Sergeants, Kantorei (Denver, CO), Winchester Musica Viva and by numerous university choruses throughout the country, including last year by the University Singers.

More recently, Averitt has written two more works based on Hughes’ poetry. “The Dream Keeper” was composed in 2009 for Choral Arts of Seattle and included on their CD Mornings Like This, while “The Deepness of the Blue” originally was composed in 2012 for Texas Lutheran University, with subsequent performances from Choral Arts Northwest and the Evansville University Choir.

All three of Averitt’s Hughes-related cycles were recorded by the UMKC Conservatory Singers and released as an album titles The Deepness of the Blue on MSR Classical.

Performing Hughes’ work in Missouri actually brings the poet back to his roots, for though he is identified in the popular imagination with the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes in fact was a native Midwesterner, born in Joplin, Missouri and raised in Lawrence, Kansas.

A prolific poet, essayist, novelist, and playwright as well as a social activist, Hughes wrote a wide variety of works ranging from personal to political, chronicling the lives and feelings of 20th century African-Americans, as well as the social conditions they endured, in a way that still resonates today.

Hughes during his lifetime was closely associated with jazz music, not only as a listener, but as a participant – reciting his poetry on record with Charles Mingus, contributing lyrics to pianist Randy Weston’s album Uhuru Afrika, and even writing a children’s book called The First Book of Jazz.

More recently, his epic poem “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz,” written in 1960, was performed for the first time with music by composer  Laura Karpman in March 2009 at Carnegie Hall, and subsequently became the centerpiece of “The Langston Hughes Project”, a multimedia concert presentation.

Averitt’s “Black Pierrot” is based on seven poems by Hughes, each incorporated into a movement of the work. It begins with a celebratory feeling via the poet’s “A Black Pierrot” (1923), “Breath of a Rose” (1944), and “Jazzonia” (1923).

As Averitt writes in his program notes, “the mood changes abruptly and profoundly with the fourth movement,” which features Hughes’ brief 1923 poem, the ironically titled “Justice.” and is followed by musical settings of “Song for a Dark Girl” (1927), “Silhouette” (1944), and the concluding “To a Dead Friend” (1922).

As a side note, while the title and text of “Black Pierrot” come from Langston Hughes, the title and the work’s instrumentation also reference another significant cultural figure of the 20th century, composer Arnold Schönberg.

Specifically, “Black Pierrot” is written for soprano, choir and a sextet of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion, an instrumental ensemble that sometimes is called a “Pierrot plus percussion,” after Schönberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire,” which was written in 1912 for a single vocalist accompanied by a similarly configured quintet of two winds, two strings, and piano.

University Singers, Mizzou New Music Ensemble
to premiere new work by William Averitt
in concert on Saturday, March 18

The University of Missouri’s University Singers and Mizzou New Music Ensemble will present the world premiere of “Black Pierrot,” a newly commissioned work from composer William Averitt, in a concert at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 18 at the First Baptist Church, 1112 East Broadway in Columbia.

General admission to the concert is $5 for the public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff.

“Black Pierrot” was commissioned by Mizzou director of choral activities Paul Crabb for the University Singers and the Mizzou New Music Ensemble with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Inspired by seven poems written by Langston Hughes, the famed African-American poet, novelist and playwright who was born in Joplin, MO, it is scored for soprano, choir, and an instrumental sextet of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion.

William Averitt, who will be in Columbia for the premiere, has composed numerous works that have received performances throughout the United States and in Western Europe, Russia and Asia. He has received composer fellowships, grants and commissions from organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, and many others. Averitt (pictured) is professor emeritus of music at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA, where he was on the faculty from 1973 to 2012.

In addition to attending Saturday’s concert, while he’s visiting the Mizzou campus Averitt also will give a presentation on his music at 3:00 p.m. Friday, March 17 in Loeb Hall, and will give private lessons to selected student composers.

Mizzou New Music Initiative seeks high school students
for Missouri Summer Composition Institute

Mizzou’s Tom McKenney with COMP Camp students

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is looking for Missouri high school students interested in music composition to attend this year’s Missouri Summer Composition Institute, which will be held from Sunday, June 18 through Saturday, June 24 on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia.

Known informally as “COMP Camp,” after MNMI’s annual Creating Original Music Project contest for student composers, the Institute is open to students entering grades 9-12 and entering college freshman.

The week-long program offers young composers from across the state the opportunity to receive composition lessons from MU faculty, learn from and interact with other creative minds, and compose a new work to be premiered at the end of the week by the camp’s resident ensemble.

The program also is an outstanding value, as the fee is just $100 and includes all instruction and activities, plus six nights in a double room in one of Mizzou’s newest, air-conditioned residence halls and meals.

Class size is limited so participants can receive personal attention. All current and former Creating Original Music Project contest winners of high school age receive a full scholarship to the Missouri Summer Composition Institute, and additional scholarships are available based on financial need.

The application deadline is Monday, April 24. Applicants must complete the online application form (https://goo.gl/forms/KfMuhUZgeKDuP7JM2) and submit a score and a recording of a representative composition, plus a list of completed works.

Materials can be emailed to MNMI managing director Jacob Gotlib at gotlibj@missouri.edu, or sent by postal mail to: COMP Camp c/o Jacob Gotlib, 138 Fine Arts Building, University of Missouri School of Music, Columbia, MO 65211

For more information, visit https://music.missouri.edu/CMP/camps, or contact Jacob Gotlib via email at gotlibj@missouri.edu or by phone at 573- 884-9478.