Posts Tagged ‘ composer

Mizzou New Music Summer Festival resident composers earn new honors

Several of the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival’s resident composers recently have received additional honors for their work.

Clint Needham (pictured), who was one of the resident composers for the 2011 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, was awarded the prestigious Barlow Prize for 2011. A total of 170 composers from around the world applied for this award, which carries a $12,000 commission to write a new work for woodwind quintet.

In addition, three resident composers were recognized among the 15 members of the last round of competition for the new music ensemble eighth blackbird‘s composition competition. Yotam Haber, who took part in the 2011 festival, and Amy Beth Kirsten and Jeremy Podgursky. who both were resident composers at the inaugural festival in 2010, were selected from among more than 500 composers who applied.

The Sound of Art documents collaboration between composers, visual artists

The Mizzou New Music Initiative has released online three episodes of The Sound of Art, a series of short films documenting collaborative efforts between composers and visual artists.

Now available for viewing on the Missouri New Music Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/moNEWmusic, the films cover the creation of three new compositions inspired by the summer 2010 exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and the premiere performances of those compositions at the Contemporary by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble.

Episode 1 features an interview with composer David Witter, who wrote “Failure to Communicate” in response to artist Martin Brief’s “Amazon God.” In episode 2, composer Michael Strausbaugh explains how he wrote “Crass Menagerie” after seeing artist Cameron Fuller’s “From The Collection Of The Institute for the Perpetuation of Imaginal Processes.” Episode 3 features composer Stephanie Berg talking about her piece “Paper Guns,” which was inspired by artist Sarah Frost’s “Arsenal.”

In addition to interviews with the composers, the episodes show the artworks as they were installed at the Contemporary, and include footage of the Mizzou New Music Ensemble performing the compositions.

“We thought it was important to support collaboration between local visual artists and local composers, giving them an opportunity interact and to support each other,” said Paul Ha, director of the Contemporary.

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of cellist, composer and associate professor Stefan Freund, and serves as the repertory group for the Mizzou New Music Initiative. At the time of these performances, the Ensemble’s members were Stephanie Berg, clarinets; Michael Strausbaugh, guitar; Matthew Pierce, cello; and Ian Derrickson, percussion, with violist Paul Seitz joining them as a guest performer.

The Sound of Art gave our composers an incredible opportunity to be inspired by living artists,” said Freund. “Through the concert at the Contemporary, they were able to share their musical vision of these artists’ works with an appreciative audience.”

The Sound of Art is underwritten by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation and produced by Randy Sinquefield of Spectrum Studios in Columbia, with Kevin Duggan serving as director of photography and Randy White as editor. Future episodes in the series will be produced to document similar collaborative efforts as they happen.

“The episodes consist of art, music and film. Combined, they provide a vivid sense though sound and imagery of the pieces of art. The result is more than the individual parts,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Foundation. “Some of the individual pieces of art or music might not inspire you, but the combined episodes will. Look, listen and let your imagination fly. Does the art, match the music and the film?”

To watch The Sound of Art online, please visit the Missouri New Music Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/moNEWmusic. (You need not have a Facebook account to view the videos.)

Mizzou New Music Summer Festival announces
selection of eight resident composers for 2011

The University of Missouri School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have selected eight resident composers for the 2011 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, which will be held Monday, July 11 through Saturday, July 16 in Columbia. They are:

* Kari Besharse, Champaign IL
* David Biedenbender, Ann Arbor MI
* Patrick David Clark, Columbia MO
* Michael-Thomas Foumai, Honolulu HI
* Yotam Haber, New York NY
* Clint Needham, Columbus OH
* Steven Snowden, Austin TX
* Liza White, Berkeley CA

The 2011 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival will include a series of public concerts featuring music from these eight resident composers and other contemporary creators, as well as workshops, master classes and other events.

The Festival’s guest composers for 2011 will be Roger Reynolds, winner of the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for composition and professor at the University of California at San Diego, and Anna Clyne, a native of London who currently serves as the Mead Composer-in- Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, once again will serve as resident ensemble, as they did for the inaugural Festival in 2010, and the Grammy award-winning soprano Susan Narucki will perform with them as a guest artist.

The eight resident composers were selected through a portfolio application process to create a new work for Alarm Will Sound. During the festival, they will receive composition lessons from Reynolds and Clyne; 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. The resident composers also will have the opportunity to return to Missouri for a residency at the Sinquefield Reserve sometime during the following academic year.

“Last year a participant described composing for Alarm will Sound as being like driving a Ferrari,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Foundation. “It will be fun to see what this year’s composers can do with their ‘car’.”

C.O.M.P. winners make news

The announcement of the winners of this year’s Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition has prompted a flurry of press coverage around the state.

In St. Louis, sisters Bella and Lilly Ibur have been the subjects of several news stories. They recently were featured on Show Me St. Louis, which airs weekday afternoons on local NBC affiliate KSDK (Channel 5), in a segment that also included Lilly performing her composition “Spinning.” The story was reported by KSDK’s Dana Hendrickson, and you can see it online here.

Meanwhile, Lilly had a chance to perform her song “By My Side” on the morning news show of local Fox affiliate KTVI (Channel 2). You can see that report by KTVI’s Tim Ezell here.

Bella also was featured in a story written for the Kirkwood/Webster Groves edition of Patch.com by reporter Owen Skolar, which you can read here.

All the C.O.M.P winners from the St. Louis area were mentioned in this story from the Suburban Journals, a group of regional weeklies covering St. Louis and surrounding counties.

In Jefferson City, C.O.M.P. winner Megan Villanueva was profiled in a story by News-Tribune reporter Michelle Brooks, while the four winners from Springfield were recognized in a blog post by News-Leader reporter Claudette Riley.

This year’s C.O.M.P. winners will perform their compositions at the Creating Original Music Project Festival, which will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. this Saturday, April 23 in the Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus.

Missouri student composers win prizes in statewide music competition

The University of Missouri School of Music has announced that 28 elementary, middle school and high school students from across Missouri have been awarded prizes in the sixth annual Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition.

C.O.M.P. is a joint venture of the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, which provides an annual gift of $50,000 to sponsor the competition. The program was created to encourage K-12 students in Missouri to write original musical works and to encourage performances of those works. The 2011 competition had the most submissions in the event’s six-year history, with more than 100 entrants in eight different categories.

This year’s winning compositions will be performed at the Creating Original Music Project Festival from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, April 23 in the Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Both the composers and their music programs will receive cash prizes, and high school winners will receive a scholarship to attend Mizzou’s high school summer music composition camp.

“I am pleased that the number of student composers applying for this competition is increasing every year,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. “This year’s winners came from18 cities across Missouri, covering public, private and home-schooled students. It is hard to describe the joy in hearing original music performed live, and watching the response of the young composers not only to their own music, but the other composers’ music.”

The 2011 Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition categories and winners include:

Elementary – Song with words
1) Menea Vladi Kefalov & Ande Celeste Siegel of Reed Elementary School, St. Louis, for “A Spoonful of Heart”
2) Jack Stebbins of Reeds Spring Elementary, Branson West, for “The Popcorn Pop.” Music teacher: Sue Gillen.

Elementary – Instrumental
1) Esther Whang of Mary Paxton Keeley Elementary, Columbia, for “Letter from the Wolves.” Music teachers: Mabel Kinder and Beth Luetjen.
2) Hyun Jun (John) Yoo of Fairview Elementary, Columbia, for “Song of D Minor”
Music teachers: Judy Shaw and Sara Dexheimer.
3) Grace Filer of Harrisonville Christian School, Harrisonville, for “It’s My Time to Shine.” Music teacher: Kay Schrock.

Middle School – Popular
1) Megan L. Villanueva of St. Peter’s School, Jefferson City, for “Insanity.” Music teacher: Donna Stuckenschneider.
2) Lexie Althaus of Oak Grove Middle School, Oak Grove, for “Summer Love.” Music teacher: Julie Ammons.
3) Lileana Ibur of Wydown Middle School, St. Louis, for “Spinning.” Music teachers: Aaron Doerr and Jerry Estes.

Middle School – Fine Art
1) Savannah Kitchen of Lange Middle School, Columbia, for “Central Park Stroll.” Music teachers: Suzanne Kitchen and Nellie Schrantz
2) Michael Buckner, a home-schooled student from St. Louis, for “A Summer Night.”
3) Lillian Wayne of St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School, Kansas City, for “Over the water.” Music teacher: Richard Held.

High School – Fine Art
1) Shaun Gladney of Rock Bridge High School, Columbia, for “Red Soul.” Music Teacher: Steve Mathews
2) Cullam Olsen of Central High School,Springfield, for “A Journey Through the Woods.” Music Teacher: Alberta Smith.
3) Dustin Dunn of South Iron R-I High School, Ironton, for “American Rhapsody.”
Music teacher: Amber Cuneio.

High School – Jazz
1) Benedetto Colagiovanni of Clayton High School, Clayton, for “And the Prince Can Swing.” Music Teacher: Alice Fasman.
2) Josh Blythe of Hickman High School, Columbia, for “Trial by Fire.” Music teacher: Loyd Warden.
3) Joseph Misterovich of The Summit Preparatory School, Springfield, for “Day Old Swing.” Music teacher: Shawn Keech.

High School – Sacred
1) Taylor Qualls, a home-schooled student from Lee’s Summit, for ”The Real Things.”
2) Desiree G. Donaldson of Niangua R-V High School, Strafford, for “Lead Me to the Cross (Why Do I Question?).” Music Teacher: Kelly Donaldson.
3) Ethan Edwards of Providence Fine Arts Center, Florissant, for “He Turns My Weeping into Dancing.” Music teacher: Theresa Blackwell.

High School – Popular
1) Tanner Qualls, a home-schooled student from Lee’s Summit, for “Drown.”
2) Jaron Christopher Geil, a home-schooled student from Grandview, for “Stick People.”
3) Bella Kalei Ibur of Webster Groves High School, Webster Groves, for “By My Side.” Music teachers: Nate Carpenter & Dane Williams.

High School – Folk
1) Kori Caswell of Hannibal High School, Hannibal, for “Let It Fall.” Music teacher: Megan Pieper.
2) Daphne Yu of Rock Bridge High School, Columbia, for “Legende d’Amour: A Tragedy in Medieval France.” Music Teacher: Briana Belding-Peck.

High School – Other
1) Kyle Dunn of Lebanon High School, Lebanon, for “Freaky-Lick.” Music teacher: Lori Scott.
2) Nick Simon of Providence Fine Arts Center, O’Fallon, for “Serene.” Music teacher: Theresa Blackwell
3) Alexandra Young of Lebanon High School, Lebanon, for “The Lightning Strike.” Music teacher: Lori Scott

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.

Zhou Juan, Christopher Dietz win faculty appointments

While the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival was going on, two of our resident composers got some good news regarding their academic careers.

Christopher Dietz has won a one-year appointment as a full-time composition instructor at Bowling Green State University, home of the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music. Dietz’ music was performed at BGSU in 2008 and 2009 as part of the the university’s annual new music festival.

Meanwhile, Zhou Juan (pictured) has been appointed to a full-time teaching position in the composition department of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

She hasn’t had much time to savor the news, though, because upon leaving Columbia, Zhou went to NYC to take part in the The Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute,  presented by The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University and the American Composers Orchestra. The event  “brings together jazz musicians from across the country to explore the challenges of writing for the symphony orchestra.”  You can see a short video interview with Zhou talking about her music here, and read more about the Institute here and here.

Spotlight on Stefan Freund

Cellist and composer Stefan Freund is a big part of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. As associate professor of composition and music theory, Freund teaches young composers at Mizzou and directs the Creating Original Music Project (COMP). He’ll be busy during the inaugural Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, too, both as a teacher and as a performer with Alarm Will Sound, the Fest’s resident ensemble.

A native of Memphis, TN, Freund received a BM with High Distinction from the Indiana University School of Music and an MM and a DMA from the Eastman School of Music. His primary composition teachers included Pulitzer Prize winners Christopher Rouse and Joseph Schwantner as well as Augusta Read Thomas, Frederick Fox, Claude Baker, David Dzubay, and Don Freund, his father. He studied cello with Steven Doane, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, and Peter Spurbeck and others.

Freund is the recipient of numerous prizes, including multiple awards from BMI and  ASCAP, a Music Merit Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters, and the Howard Hanson Prize. He was selected as the 2004 Music Teachers National Association-Shepherd Distinguished Composer of the Year, and in 2006 was awarded the MU Provost’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award.

Freund also has received many commissions as a composer, and his music has been performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Weill Recital Hall, NPR’s St. Paul Sunday Morning, the National Gallery of Art, the Aspen Music Festival, the Art Institute of Chicago, the International Performing Arts Center (Moscow), Glinka Hall (St. Petersburg), Queen’s Hall (DK), the Bank of Ireland Arts Centre, and other concert halls in Austria, Germany, and Greece. His works have been recorded on the Innova, Crystal, and Centaur labels.

As a cellist, Freund has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, the Hermitage Theatre (RU), the Muzikgebouw (ND), the World Financial Center, and Miller Theatre.  He has recorded on the Nonesuch, Cantaloupe, and I Virtuosi labels as well as Sweetspot Music DVD.

Previously an assistant professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music, Freund also has served as a faculty member of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, and presently is the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Columbia Civic Orchestra.

For more about Freund, check out “The next sound: A new initiative supports aspiring composers, ” a feature story written by Dale Smith for the summer 2010 issue of Mizzou magazine.

In the first embedded video window below, you can see and hear Freund conducting the Columbia Civic Orchestra in a performance of his composition “Cyrillic Dream,” created in 2009 and inspired by a visit to Russia and the omnipresence there of the Cyrillic alphabet.  In the second window, you can check out Freund and Alarm Will Sound performing their rendition of “Revolution 9” by the Beatles in July 2009 at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC.

Spotlight on W. Thomas McKenney

As the Mizzou faculty member charged with overseeing the Festival, W. Thomas “Tom” McKenney has been involved in the event since its inception. During the next week, his task will be even more hands-on, as he works with the Festival’s eight resident composers, takes part in faculty presentations, and more.

McKenney, who is professor of composition and music theory and director of Mizzou’s electronic music studios, also will be represented during the Festival as a composer. His piece “Thirteen Ways of Looking at A Blackbird” will receive its world premiere performance by Alarm Will Sound at the Festival’s opening concert on Monday, July 12 at the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts. You can read more about that composition, McKenney and the Festival in this article by Mallory Benedict published last week in the Columbia Missourian.

Dr. McKenney received his PhD in composition from the Eastman School of Music, and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati. In 1970 he was named the Distinguished Composer of the Year by the Music Teachers National Association.

His compositions have been performed in Europe, South America, China, and throughout the United States, and he is the recipient of numerous grants and commissions. In 1987, McKenney was invited by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China to present a series of lectures on the use of lasers and electronic music.

In addition to his work at the electronic music studio at the University of Missouri, he conducts the New Music Technology Institutes and has worked at Robert Moog’s studio, the Stiftelson Elektronikmusiktudion in Stockholm, Sweden, the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia at North Texas State University, and the Center for Electroacoustic Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Dr. McKenney received the Purple Chalk Award for Excellence in Teaching, given by the Arts and Science Student Government, and the Orpheus Award, given by the Zeta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia for significant contributions to the cause of music in America.

For more on McKenney, check out the profile written a couple of years ago by LuAnne Roth for SyndicateMizzou. In addition to the text, it includes a series of video clips in which he discusses a variety of topics, from his research and creative activity to the use of electronic instruments to the importance of emotion in music.

“The bottom line for McKenney is that “music has to speak to the human spirit. That’s what it’s really all about,” the interview concludes. “The violin might be just a wooden box with metal strings, “yet, put in the hands of an artist, the most beautiful things in the world can come out of it.” Ponder as well the human voice. “We could scream and say nasty, horrible things to other human beings,” he points out, “or we could sing and make beautiful sounds. That’s really what the human spirit is all about.” And that’s what motivates McKenney’s musical compositions.”