Posts Tagged ‘ composer

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.

Composers Festival spotlight: Erin Gee

The innovative composer of vocal music Erin Gee is one of the two distinguished guest composers at this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

In that capacity, she’ll give a public presentation on her music; teach and interact informally with the festival’s eight resident composers; and be in the audience for performances of her work in concerts by Alarm Will Sound on Thursday night and the Mizzou New Music Ensemble on Friday night.

Currently an assistant professor of composition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Gee (pictured) is known particularly for her series of compositions called “Mouthpieces,” which use “non-traditional vocal techniques, devoid of semantic language, to construct intricate and subtle patterns of a diverse array of vocal sounds.”

In 2014 she was cited by Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, as part of his short list of the most influential composer-vocalists of the 21st century. Since then, she has been awarded the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Bogliasco Fellowship.

Gee graduated from the University of Iowa with BA and MA degrees in piano and composition, then earned a PhD in music theory in 2007 from the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz.

“Mouthpieces” began as one piece for solo voice, which Gee began performing as a graduate student, and has grown to more than 25 works for orchestra, opera, vocal ensemble, large chamber ensemble and string quartet. Those works have been performed internationally by some of the top new music ensembles in Europe, North America, South America, Hong Kong and Japan and in the Wittener Tage für Neue Musik; Musik Protokoll in Steirischer Herbst; Klangspuren;, Darmstadt Festival Summer Courses; the SONiC Festival; and the Zurich Tage der Neue Musik. among others.

Gee’s awards for composition include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, the 2008 Rome Prize, Zürich Opera House’s Teatro Minimo, and the Picasso-Mirò Medal, among others. She has written commissioned works for the Zurich Opera House; the Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna; the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group under Esa-Pekka Salonen; Klangforum Wien; the American Composers Orchestra; and more.

Gee also has worked with the Latvian Radio Chamber Choir, Ensemble SurPlus, Alter Ego, Either/Or Ensemble, Wet Ink, Metropolis Ensemble, Repertorio Zero, and many others.

Her works are taught in the composition and musicology programs of many leading universities such as MIT, University of Pennsylvania, Smith College, and Mills College, and she has lectured at Harvard, UC Berkeley, Dartmouth, and Wellesley.

Gee’s debut CD, also called Mouthpieces, was released in January 2014 on the col legno label in Vienna, and was praised by Gramophone magazine in a review which noted the “tangible virtuosity of Gee’s formidable vocal execution, as well as the comparable (if relatively more orthodox) finesse of the instrumental component” and stated, “Erin Gee clearly has a contribution to make.”

You can hear Erin Gee being interviewed last month on KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program here, and see and hear some samples of her music being performed in the embedded players below.

Erin Gee and RepertorioZero perform “Mouthpiece XII” in a concert presented by Tage für Neue Musik in November 2009 at the Tonhalle in Zürich, Switzerland.

The Ecce ensemble performs “Mouthpiece XIXc” during the 2016 nienteForte Contemporary Music Festival in New Orleans.

The U.S. premiere of “Mouthpiece X” for amplified voice and amplified ensemble, performed on November 19 & 20, 2009 at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York City, featuring Erin Gee on vocals and Metropolis Ensemble, led by conductor Andrew Cyr.

“Mouthpiece XXIV” performed in 2015 by Ryan Muncy and Ross Karre of the International Contemporary Ensemble at Abrons Arts Center in New York City

Composers Festival spotlight: Ryan Lindveit

Resident composer Ryan Lindveit comes to this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival with a brand new bachelor of music degree in composition from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, from which he graduated summa cum laude this spring and was selected as Salutatorian for the class of 2016.

Lindveit (pictured) also was named this year’s “Outstanding Graduate” from the Thornton School of Music and received both the Composition Department Award and the USC Discovery Scholars Prize, a competitive postgraduate grant awarded to ten graduating seniors for the creation of outstanding original work in any discipline.

Raised near Houston, TX, Lindveit has had his works performed by ensembles including the United States Marine Band, USC Thornton Symphony, USC Thornton Wind Ensemble, the Donald Sinta Quartet, the City of Tomorrow, and FearNoMusic, in addition to numerous performances by students.

Earlier this year, he was selected as the winner of a BMI Student Composer Award for “Spinning Yarns” and honored at a ceremony in New York City. Lindveit was a finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award in both 2015 and 2016, and also has received honors and awards from SCI, the American Modern Ensemble, the National Band Association, Tribeca New Music, and more.

In addition to “Spiked,” the piece he composed for Alarm Will Sound to perform as part of the 2016 MICF’s grand finale on Saturday, July 30 at the Missouri Theatre, he also recently has created new works for the Donald Sinta Quartet and the LA-based trombone ensemble Skinny Lips and the Sound Malfunction.

Lindveit currently is taking a gap year, and in the fall of 2017 will begin work on a master’s degree in composition at the Yale School of Music. For more about Ryan Lindveit, you can read a feature story about him published on the USC website here, and listen to his interview last month on KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program here. You can hear samples of Ryan Lindveit’s music on his SoundCloud page and via the embedded players below.

“Word Salads – III” is part of a 2015 work for wind quintet, performed here by Stephanie Bell (flute), Sarah Minneman (oboe), Sergio Coelho (clarinet), Emily Schoendorf (bassoon), Matt Otto (horn), and conducted by Ryan Lindveit on April 4, 2016 at the University of Southern California’s Alfred Newman Recital Hall.

“Like An Altar With Nine Thousand Robot Attendants,” was composed in 2015 and is performed here by by the USC Thornton Symphony on October 16, 2015 at Bovard Auditorium on the USC campus.

“Spinning Yarns,” performed by the United States Marine Band conducted by Joe Higgins on June 16, 2015 at the John Philip Sousa Band Hall Marine Barracks Annex in Washington, DC.

Composers Festival spotlight: Mary Kouyoumdjian

Although composer Mary Kouyoumdjian was born in the USA, her music definitely is informed by perspectives from beyond its’ borders.

As a first generation Armenian-American from a family directly affected by the Lebanese civil war and Armenian genocide, Kouyoumdjian uses a sonic palette that, in her words, “draws on her heritage, interest in music as documentary, and background in experimental composition to progressively blend the old with the new.”

Based in Brooklyn, New York, Kouyoumdjian (pictured) is one of the eight resident composers for the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival, for which she’s written a new work called “Paper Pianos” that will be premiered as part of the festival’s grand finale concert on Saturday, July 30 at the Missouri Theatre.

She currently is working on a doctoral degree in composition as a Dean’s Fellow at Columbia University, and previously earned her master’s in scoring for film and multimedia from New York University and a degree in composition from the University of California, San Diego.

Kouyoumdjian’s musical projects range from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores, and she has received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, Carnegie Hall, the American Composers Forum/JFund, and numerous others. As a composer, orchestrator, and music editor for film, she has worked on soundtracks for motion pictures including The Place Beyond the Pines (Focus Features) and Demonic (Dimension Films).

An organizer as well as a composer, Kouyoumdjian is a co-founder and executive director of the ensemble Hotel Elefant, and a co-founder of the annual new music conference New Music Gathering.

This spring, her work was presented by the 2016 New York Philharmonic Biennial, and she previously has had artist residencies with Roulette/The Jerome Foundation, Montalvo Arts Center, and Exploring the Metropolis.

You can hear Mary Kouyoumdjian’s music on her SoundCloud page, and listen to an interview she did recently on KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program here. You also can see performances of three of her works in the embedded video windows below.

“Bombs Of Beirut” was performed by the Kronos Quartet as part of the celebration of their 40th anniversary at The Greene Space in NYC.

“Children of Conflict ‘Samar’s Song’” performed by Hotel Elefant, featuring Andie Tanning Springer (violin), Nick Gleason (percussion), Josh Perry (percussion), and Mary Kouyoumdjian (electronics).

“This Should Feel Like Home” performed by Hotel Elefant, featuring Katie Cox (flute), Domenica Fossati (alto flute), Isabel Kim (clarinet), Christa Van Alstine (bass clarinet), David Friend (piano), Hannis Brown (electric guitar), Josh Perry (percussion), Kirsten Volness (percussion), Caroline Bean (cello), Shawn Lovato (bass), and Peter Bussigel (electronics), conducted by Meg Zervoulis.

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.