Posts Tagged ‘ Donnacha Dennehy

From the Grammy Awards to Mizzou with Third Coast Percussion

When Third Coast Percussion visits the University of Missouri next week, not only will they be coming directly from the Grammy Awards, they’ll actually be bringing a bit of Mizzou along with them.

The Chicago-based group is nominated for a Grammy this year in the category of “Best Chamber Music/ Small Ensemble Performance” for their album Steve Reich, and they’ll also be performing at the Grammy “Premiere Ceremony” hosted by comedian Margaret Cho before the nationally televised portion of the awards gets underway on Sunday, February 12 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

When they get to Columbia the next day, the four members of TCP will be looking at a busy schedule, culminating in a concert on Friday, February 17 at the Missouri Theatre, but also including various other activities throughout the week, most notably a workshop presentation of a new piece they recently commissioned from a Mizzou alumnus.

José Martínez, who earned his master’s degree in composition from Mizzou in 2016, was selected by Third Coast Percussion to participate in their Emerging Composers Partnership for the 2016-17 season.

Now pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Texas, Martínez during his time in Columbia was the percussionist for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble; a resident composer at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival; and the winner of the 2013 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the University’s highest honor for a composition student.

After being chosen by Third Coast Percussion for this year’s Emerging Composers Partnership, he took part in a series of workshops with the group as a prelude to writing a new piece to be premiered in a concert this spring in Chicago.

That commissioned composition, “Two Questions About Time,” will get its first official performance on Sunday, May 28 at the Chicago venue Constellation, but Mizzou students and curious Columbia listeners will be able to hear how it’s shaping up in a public open workshop session with TCP and Martínez from 10:00 a.m to noon on Thursday, February 16 in Room 112 of Loeb Hall.

Third Coast Percussion’s residency also will include a performance for students at Lee Elementary School and a masterclass with the MU Percussion Studio on Tuesday, February 14; a joint public performance of Terry Riley’s “In C” with the Mizzou New Music Ensemble at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 15 at the Student Center; and a reading session of new music by Mizzou student composers Jake Smucker, Trey Makler, and Aaron Mencher at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, February 16 at Whitmore Recital Hall.

Though TCP won’t be playing Martínez’ new work at their concert on Friday, the program nevertheless will have another connection to the Mizzou New Music Initiative, as it will include music by two former distinguished guest composers at the Mizzou International Composers Festival.

The group will play “Resounding Earth, mvt. 2, Prayer,” written by Augusta Read Thomas, who was a guest at the 2014 MICF; and “Surface Tension,” by Donnacha Dennehy, who took part in the 2012 festival. Steve Reich’s 2009 “Mallet Quartet” and Glenn Kotche’s “Wild Sound, part 4,” written in 2014, will complete the evening.

Photo of José Martínez (center) with Third Coast Percussion via

“Conversations with Composers” podcast – Episode 103

Here’s the third installment in our series of “Conversations With Composers” podcasts recorded at this year’s Mizzou New Music Summer Festival. Episode 103 is the second and final part of a conversation including guest composer Donnacha Dennehy and resident composers Stephanie Berg, Brian Ciach, Charlie Piper and Asha Srinivasan. Give it a listen using the embedded player below:

“Conversations with Composers” podcast – Episode 102

Here’s another installment in our series of “Conversations With Composers” podcasts. Recorded during the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, episode 102 is the first part of a conversation among guest composer Donnacha Dennehy and resident composers Stephanie Berg, Brian Ciach, Charlie Piper and Asha Srinivasan. You can hear it in the embedded player below:

More Mizzou New Music Summer Festival press coverage

As the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival has progressed this week, we’ve seen some more coverage of the Festival in the press and online:

* The Kansas City Star had a feature story about resident composer Stephanie Berg, who grew up in the KC suburb of Parkville.

* The Columbia Daily Tribune‘s Art Axis blog published interviews that reporter Aarik Danielsen conducted with guest composers Donnacha Dennehy and Steven Stucky.

* Violist Nadio Sirota, who’s a substitute player this week with the Festival’s resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound, has written about her experience for the website of NYC’s classical music radio station WQXR.

* Nonesuch Records, which has released recordings by both Alarm Will Sound and Donna Dennehy, mentioned the MNMSF in the weekly news wrap-up on their website. (Scroll down to see.)

Meanwhile, resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound has posted on their Facebook page some photo sets offering a behind-the-scenes look at the first three days of the Festival:
Alarm Will Sound at the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival – Day 1
Alarm Will Sound at the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival – Day 2
Alarm Will Sound at the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival – Day 3

Mizzou New Music Summer Festival to include free events

In addition to the ticketed concerts at the Missouri Theatre, the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival includes a number of events that are free of charge and open to the public.

At 4:00 p.m. on Monday, July 23, guest composer Steven Stucky will present a master class with the vocal ensemble Voices of Prometheus at McKee Auditorium on the MU Campus.

Presentations by the Festival’s guest resident and faculty composers also will be open to the public. All the composer presentations will take place in the Fine Arts Building’s Room 145.

The resident composers will give presentations on their work from 9:00 a.m – 12:15 p.m. and 1:45 – 3:50 p.m. on Monday, and from 9:00 a.m – 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday. Guest composer Donnacha Dennehy will offer his presentation at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, followed at 8:30 p.m. by MU faculty composer Stefan Freund. Then on Wednesday evening, Steven Stucky will present at 7:00 p.m., with MU faculty composer W. Thomas McKenney discussing his work at 8:30 p.m..

If you’d like to get a close-up look at how new compositions are prepared for performance, the Festival’s resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound (pictured) will hold several open rehearsals during the week. Here’s the schedule of open rehearsals, which will be held in room 201 of Loeb Hall on the MU campus.

Tuesday, July 24:
12:45 p.m – 4:00 p.m – Resident composers
4:00 p.m – 5:00 p.m – Steven Stucky

Wednesday, July 25:
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Steven Stucky
10:45 a.m. – 12 15 p.m.- Donnacha Dennehy
1:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.- Resident composers

Friday, July 27:
9:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – Resident composers
1:45 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.- Resident composers

For a complete schedule of events, please see the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival website.

Summer Festival Spotlight: Donnacha Dennehy

It is a privilege and a pleasure to have Donnacha Dennehy as one of the guest composers for the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival.  Along with fellow guest composer Steven Stucky, Dennehy will instruct and mentor the Festival’s eight resident composers during their week in Columbia.

He’ll also oversee the world premiere of the first part of The Hunger,  a large work-in-progress that will be performed by resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound and the Festival’s guest artist, soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird, as part of the concert on Thursday, July 26.

Born in 1970 in Dublin, Dennehy is considered one of Ireland’s leading contemporary composers. He recently has earned worldwide acclaim for his 2011 album Grá Agus Bás, which made NPR Music’s list of Top 50 Albums of 2011 (in all genres), and was included in year-end best-of lists from critics Alex Ross and Paul Griffiths and in WNYC’s New Sounds top ten list of the year.

He has received commissions from musicians, ensembles and musical organizations from all over the UK, USA and Europe. Dennehy’s music has featured in festivals such as ISCM World Music Days, Bang On A Can in New York, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, WNYC’s New Sounds Live, Sonic Evolutions Festival at Lincoln Center, EXPO, the Ultima Festival in Oslo, Fuse Leeds, the Saarbrucken Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the State of the Nation at the South Bank in London and the Gaudeamus Festival in Amsterdam.

After studying abroad at the University of Illinois, IRCAM in France and in the Netherlands, in 1997 Dennehy returned to Dublin to found the Crash Ensemble, a renowned new music group that has premiered many of his best-known works.

You can hear Dennehy talk about the Crash Ensemble, Grá Agus Bás, and much more in this interview recorded in April, 2011 for NPR, and this one recorded the following month for radio station WNYC. In the embedded video windows below, you’ll find three samples of the Crash Ensemble playing Dennehy’s music, as well as a brief interview with him.

An excerpt from Donnacha Dennehy’s Grá agus Bás, performed at the Samuel Beckett Theatre by Crash Ensemble and Afro Celt Soundsystem’s Iarla Ó Lionáird

Crash Ensemble performing Dennehy’s Junk Box Fraud as part of their tenth anniversary show “Shindig”

Crash Ensemble and Iarla Ó Lionáird perform another Dennehy piece, Aisling Gheal

A 2010 interview with Dennehy, in which he discusses some recent compositions, working with texts and his interest in vocal music.

Summer Festival Spotlight: Alarm Will Sound

Continuing with our series of posts focusing on various participants in the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, today we shine out spotlight on Alarm Will Sound.

As the resident ensemble for the Festival, AWS plays an essential role in bringing to life the new works created by the resident composers. Not many groups would be willing or able to take on the challenge of premiering eight new pieces in one night with limited rehearsal time, but Alarm Will Sound has accomplished the task each year of the MNMSF with consummate skill and panache.

Former in 2001 by former students at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, Alarm Will Sound (pictured) is a 20-member ensemble “dedicated to the creation, performance, and recording of today’s music. It is an advocate for innovative work by established and emerging composers, especially works that incorporate theatrical and multimedia elements by choreographers, visual artists, designers, and directors. It fosters the education and professional development of young musicians through residencies, master classes, readings and workshops. With the goal of cultivating a diverse and sophisticated audience, the ensemble brings intelligence and a sense of adventure to the rich variety of musical expression in the contemporary world.” You can read a detailed history of the group here.

Alarm Will Sound is connected to the University of Missouri School of Music via Stefan Freund, associate professor of composition and music theory at Mizzou who’s also the cellist for AWS. They’ve been the resident ensemble for the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival since its inception, and maintain an active touring schedule throughout the year.

For example, since appearing in Columbia last summer, they’ve had a variety of musical adventures, starting with a trip to Europe in the fall of 2011 to give concerts in Poland and Italy. During the 2011-12 academic year, AWS performed in New York City, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington state. Most recently, they’ve been involved in a series of multimedia presentations of John Cage’s “Song Books” in Ireland, the Netherlands and, this coming weekend, back in New York.

This year in Columbia, in addition to premiering eight new pieces at the Festival’s finale on Saturday, July 28, Alarm Will Sound also will perform a completely different program on Thursday, July 26 at the Missouri Theatre. That concert will feature works by Oliver Knussen and Caleb Burhans, as well as pieces written by the 2012 Festival’s guest composers Steven Stucky and Donnacha Dennehy.

AWS will perform Stucky’s Etudes, a concerto for recorded and orchestra featuring Erin Lesser as soloist, as well what are being described as “scenes from Hunger, a work in progress” by Dennehy that will spotlight guest artist, mezzo-soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird.

Down below, you can see and hear Alarm Will Sound in action in some of videos posted recently to their YouTube channel.

You also can hear most of the music they’ve premiered at the past two Mizzou New Music Festivals via SoundCloud. Audio files from the 2010 MNMSF are here, while the tracks from 2011 are here.

Alarm Will Sound plays Caleb Burhans’ oh ye of little faith… (do you know where your children are?)

Aphex Twin’s “Cliffs,” arranged by Caleb Burhans with staging by Nigel Maister. Recorded March 28, 2012 at Bowling Green State University.

A Song for Wade (This is Not That Song), composed by Matt Marks with lyrics by Royce Vavrek.

Tickets now on sale for 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival

Tickets are now on sale for the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival’s concerts on Thursday, July 26; Friday, July 27; and Saturday, July 28.

Now in its third year, the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival will take place starting Monday, July 23 through Saturday, July 28 in Columbia, MO. The MNMSF already is established as one of the most noteworthy contemporary music events in the Midwest, attracting attention from composers, musicians, music educators and media around the world.

This year’s grand finale will feature the world premieres of eight new works written by the festival’s resident composers and performed by the acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound (pictured). That concert will take place at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St. in downtown Columbia.

The festival’s other two public performances are:

*Alarm Will Sound and special guest artist soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, July 26 at the Missouri Theatre; and

* Mizzou New Music, featuring music by MNMSF guest composers Steven Stucky and Donnacha Dennehy and by MU faculty members, performed by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and the Mizzou Concert Jazz Band at 8:00 p.m. Friday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre.

Festival passes good for admission to all three concerts are on sale for $40 for adults, $20 for students. Single tickets are priced at $16 for adults, $8 for students. Tickets can be charged by phone using Visa, MasterCard or Discover by calling 1-573-882-3781.

To buy tickets online, or to see a complete listing of Mizzou New Music Summer Festival events, visit

(A $2.00 service fee and Missouri sales tax of 7.35% already are included in the price of each ticket. An additional fee of $2.50 per ticket will be charged for online purchases. For these fees, a three-concert festival pass is considered one ticket.)

Three local hotels – the Wingate by Wyndham, the Tiger Hotel, and the Hampton Inn & Suites Columbia – are offering discounts on rooms to festival attendees for the nights of July 26, 27 & 28. Rates range from $78 to $135 per night, plus tax. For details, visit

In addition to these three concerts, the MNMSF also will include several free events, such as open rehearsals and presentations by the participating composers. A complete schedule of those events will be released at a later date.

The eight resident composers were selected from across the USA through a portfolio review process to participate in the festival and create a new work for Alarm Will Sound. They are:

* Stephanie Berg – Columbia, MO
* Brian Ciach – Bloomington, IN
* David Crowell – New York, NY
* Stylianos Dimou – Rochester, NY
* Ted Goldman – Rochester, NY
* Patrick Harlin – Ann Arbor, MI
* Charlie Piper – London, England
* Asha Srinivasan – Appleton, WI

During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from guest composers Steven Stucky, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for composition and a professor at Cornell University, and Donnacha Dennehy, a native of Ireland and award-winning composer who founded Dublin’s critically acclaimed Crash Ensemble. The resident composers also will 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 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival is made possible through the generous support of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, led by Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield. The Missouri Arts Council and the MU Chancellor’s Distinguished Visitors Program also provided financial assistance for the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival.