Posts Tagged ‘ David Witter

Composers Festival Spotlight: David Witter

David Witter

Today, let’s get acquainted with David Witter, another of the eight resident composers at this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

A native of Holt’s Summit, MO (near Jefferson City) and current resident of Columbia, Witter has studied composition with W. Thomas McKenney and Stefan Freund, earning his bachelor’s degree in music from Mizzou in 2010 and an M.M. degree in 2012. While working this past academic year toward his K-12 teaching certification, he was awarded the 2013 Sinquefield Composition Prize, resulting in a new commission to write a work for the University Philharmonic.

Previously, he was one of three Mizzou composers selected to write a piece inspired by the 2010 Great Rivers Biennial exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. This project was documented in the short film The Sound of Art, which you can see in the embedded video window at the very end of this post.

Witter also has a strong interest in improvised music and jazz. He can be heard playing trombone on recent recordings by the University of Missouri Concert Jazz Band, and also works around Columbia with smaller jazz ensembles. He has led performances of the MU Creative Improvisation Ensemble at conferences in Ann Arbor, MI and Paterson, NJ, and is a member of the Gamma Gamma chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda.

The US Navy veteran and father of two was profiled last year in an article in the Columbia Daily Tribune, which you can read online here.

You can hear an audio recording of Witter’s composition “Missouri,” written after he won the Sinquefield Composition Prize and premiered by the University Philharmonic at the Chancellor’s Concert on March 11, 2013, in the embedded window below.

The Sound of Art

School of Music to begin streaming concerts online

Some of the new music being made at Mizzou will soon be heard all around the world in real time.

Thanks to the efforts of College of Arts and Science IT director Mike Watson and recording engineer Rob Boullion, the School of Music now has a system in place that will allow for live audio streaming on the web of selected concerts presented by the University.

The first concert to stream online will be the annual Chancellor’s Concert at 7:30 p.m. next Monday, March 11, featuring the world premiere of 2013 Sinquefield Composition Prize winner David Witter’s new work “Missouri” by the University Philharmonic.

You can access the stream via the link at the top of the Chancellor’s Concert page, or by clicking on the icon of the speaker in this post.  (Please note that the audio links only will become active just before the start of the concert at 7:30 p.m. Central time.)

Mizzou International Composers Festival announces resident composers for 2013

Columbia, MO – After considering the largest number of applicants yet in the event’s four-year history, the University of Missouri School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative today announced the eight resident composers selected for next year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Formerly known as the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) will take place Monday, July 22 through Saturday, July 27 in Columbia. The resident composers were chosen through a portfolio application process that this year attracted 158 entries from across the USA and around the world, a new record for the event. Listed with their current places of residence, the selected composers are:

* Jason Thorpe Buchanan – Rochester, NY
* Ryan Chase – Bloomington, IN
* Andrew Davis – Austin, TX
* Eric Guinivan – Los Angeles, CA
* Elizabeth Kelly – Rochester, NY
* Wei-Chieh Lin – New York, NY
* Greg Simon – Ann Arbor, MI
* David Witter – Columbia, MO

As another indicator of its growing prestige and recognition both here and abroad, the 2013 MICF also attracted an event-record number of applications from outside the United States, including Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Greece, Israel, Italy, Republic of Korea, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Three of the eight composers selected have significant international ties. Wei-Chieh Lin was born in Taiwan; Elizabeth Kelly studied at the The Hague Royal Conservatory in The Netherlands; and Jason Thorpe Buchanan spent 2010-2011 living in Hamburg, Germany as a visiting scholar with a Fulbright Fellowship at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater.

The University of Missouri is represented by David Witter, who recently earned a master’s degree in composition from Mizzou and is the winner of the 2013 Sinquefield Composition Prize.

The 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival will include a series of public concerts featuring music from the resident composers and other contemporary creators, as well as workshops, master classes, and other events.

The Festival’s guest composers for 2013 will be Augusta Read Thomas , University Professor of composition at the University of Chicago and past composer-in-residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and Daniel Kellogg , an assistant professor of composition at the University of Colorado who has been called “one of the most exciting composers around” by the Washington Post.

The acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, once again will serve as resident ensemble, as they have since the Festival began in 2010.

During the festival, the eight resident composers will receive composition lessons from Thomas and Kellogg; take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound; give public presentations on their music; and receive a premiere performance and professional live recording of a new work created specifically for the Festival and Alarm Will Sound.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be announced at a later date. For more information, please visit

Jason Thorpe Buchanan

Ryan Chase

Andrew Davis

Eric Guinivan

Elizabeth Kelly

Wei-Chieh Lin

Greg Simon

David Witter

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform works by Cage, Kellogg, Gladney, and Strobel on Monday, December 3 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) will present the second concert of their 2012-13 season at 7:30 p.m., Monday, December 3 in Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Admission is free for Mizzou students, $5 suggested donation for the general public.

The program will include two pieces written by Mizzou students; a performance incorporating several works by famed composer John Cage; and the second installment in the Ensemble’s ongoing examination of Daniel Kellogg’s extended work Divinum Mysterium.

Synergetic Waveforms, written this year by University of Missouri freshman composition student Shaun Gladney, explores the collaborative nature of music performance and features sections written for body percussion.

Robert Strobel’s Three Recollections, also written in 2012, is a multi-movement work, inspired by Plato’s Phaed, which explores philosophies about life after death. Strobel currently is pursuing an M.M. in composition at Mizzou.

The Cage performance is based on Seven, which was composed in 1988 as one of the “Numbers” pieces and has a score that provides performers with notes and a range of times in which to perform them. This version of Seven also will incorporate various 60-second texts written by Cage – known collectively and colloquially as the “indeterminacy stories” – and selections from Song Books, a series of songs and theatrical happenings first conceived in 1970.

The prelude and second movement of Daniel Kellogg’s Divinum Mysterium will complete the program. Commissioned in 2000 by the chamber ensemble eighth blackbird, the five-movement work is based on the 13th century chant melody “Divinum Mysterium.” The second movement, The Spirit of God Moved Upon the Face of the Waters, features the alto flute in a mysterious, primal style of composition.

With Patrick David Clark directing, the Ensemble is playing different parts of the work at each of their concerts this year in preparation for a full performance during the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival. Kellogg, an associate professor of music at the University of Colorado, will be one of the guest composers for the Festival.

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students and recent alumni under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer and associate professor. The Ensemble’s members for the 2012-13 season are Rachel AuBuchon, piano; Stephanie Berg, clarinets; Mary Jamerson, flute; Katherine Jones, violin; Ian McClaflin, percussion; and Matthew Pierce, cello.

For this concert, the Ensemble will augmented for Seven by cellist Grant Bradshaw. In addition, the performance of the Cage selections will include musicians from MU’s Creative Improvisation Ensemble, including faculty members Neil Minturn and Arthur White and students Alexandra Signor, Nathan Smith, Sam Copeland, and David Witter, who also will conduct the CIE members.

David Witter wins 2013 Sinquefield Composition Prize

The University of Missouri School of Music and the Mizzou New Music Initiative are pleased to announce that David Witter is the winner of the 2013 Sinquefield Composition Prize. Witter, who holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition from Mizzou, submitted his piece “Garden Music” to the competition and was selected for the prize by a panel of independent judges.

The adjudicators for the 2013 competition were:
* Mara Gibson, director of the Community Music and Dance Academy and a member of the composition faculty at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance in Kansas City;
* Eric Honour, professor of music at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO; and
* Ingrid Stölzel, an instructor at Park University, composer with newEar contemporary chamber ensemble, and program manager for the Youth Symphony of Kansas City.

As winner of the 2013 Sinquefield Composition Prize, Witter now will have the opportunity to write an original work for Mizzou’s University Philharmonic, which will receive its world premiere on Monday, March 11, 2013 at the Chancellor’s Concert in Columbia. With the commission, he also receives a cash prize for the production of the score and parts, and will have his work recorded.

David Witter, born in 1978, is a composer, trombonist, improvisor, and educator originally from Holts Summit, MO. Now living in Columbia, he holds B.M. and M.M. degrees in composition from the University of Missouri, where he studied with W. Thomas McKenney and Stefan Freund. Witter (pictured) also was a finalist for the 2012 Sinquefield Composition Prize for his piece “Water Music”.

Witter’s compositions have been performed by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and the Missouri Botanical Garden, and he has led performances of the MU Creative Improvisation Ensemble at conferences in Ann Arbor, MI and Paterson, NJ. Witter is a member of the Gamma Gamma chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda, and currently is pursuing a Missouri teaching certification for K-12, after which he will teach elementary and middle school music.

The other finalists for the 2013 Sinquefield Composition Prize were Justin Pounds and Joseph Hills.

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, 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 (You need not have a Facebook account to view the videos.)