Posts Tagged ‘ Hans Abrahamsen

Mizzou New Music Ensemble presenting four world premieres and more
in concert Sunday, December 4 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will present four world premieres and more in the second concert of their 2016-17 season at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 4 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus. General admission is $5 for the public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff.

Three of those premieres were written by Mizzou students, including “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Adam Cohen, a freshman composition major and Sinquefield Scholar. Inspired by Heironymous Bosch’s famous triptych painting, the piece juxtaposes surrealistic sounds against each other both rhythmically and melodically to evoke an aural whimsy.

“Foresight” is a new work by Luke Henderson that’s based on ideas found in Benjamin Franklin’s essay “The Morals of Chess.” A senior composition major at Mizzou, Henderson also has had his music performed by the University of Missouri Studio Jazz Band and the Columbia Civic Orchestra.

Kay Cypret’s “Trials and Tribulations” is a four-movement work representing “struggles of the mind, feet, heart, and spirit.” Cypret is a master’s composition student at Mizzou who also has written music for the Golden Spectra String Quartet, clarinetist Dr. Cheryl Cifeli, flautist Camden Beavers, and the Mizzou Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble.

The concert’s fourth premiere is “Passacaglia” by John Orfe, a faculty member at Bradley University and pianist for Alarm Will Sound, the group that serves as resident ensemble for the annual Mizzou International Composers Festival. Orfe’s work is a set of virtuosic variations over a line that is repeated throughout the duration of the piece.

In addition to the four world premieres, the ensemble (pictured) will be joined by a guest artist, mezzo-soprano and Mizzou professor of voice Julia Bentley, for performances of two more contemporary compositions.

“No Fire Gives Light” by Henry Breneman Stewart is an explosive work for mezzo-soprano, saxophone, percussion, and piano that is based on the biblical story “Terror Strikes the Egyptians at Night” from the Book of Wisdom, Chapter 17. Stewart is a second-year master’s student in composition at Mizzou, and was the winner of the 2016 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the university’s highest honor for a student composer.

The ensemble and Bentley will complete the program with Hans Abrahamsen’s “Efteraarslied,” which was written for mezzo-soprano, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, and incorporates text from German poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Autumn.” Abrahamsen, a Swiss composer who is the winner of the 2016 Grawemeyer Prize, was a distinguished guest composer for the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

The seven-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer, professor of composition, and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. The Ensemble’s members for the 2016-17 season are Victoria Hargrove, clarinet; Daniel Keeler, cello; Kelariz Keshavarz, flute; Renan Leme, violin; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; and Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophone.

Composers Festival spotlight: Hans Abrahamsen

All of us at the Mizzou New Music Initiative are pleased to welcome Hans Abrahamsen as one of our two distinguished guest composers for the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

The winner of major honors including the Carl Nielsen Prize (1989) and the Wilhelm Hansen Prize (1998), Abrahamsen (pictured) since 1995 has taught composition and orchestration at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. As a distinguished guest composer for the MICF, he’ll work with the festival’s eight resident composers as a group and individually, and also will give a public presentation on his music.

Born in 1952 in Copenhagen, Abrahamsen first pursued his own study of music at the Royal Danish Academy, where he was inspired by his composition teachers and mentors Per Nørgård and Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen.

His early works also reflected the influence of the “New Simplicity” movement, which had some parallels to minimalism in that it was a reaction by Danish composers of the mid-1960s to the excessive complexity of the music then being written by the European avant-garde. Noteworthy compositions from the first part of Abrahamsen’s career include his String Quartet No. 1, “10 Preludes,” and “Winternacht,” an ensemble work composed between 1976 and 1978.

In the 1980s, Abrahamsen studied with and befriended György Ligeti, and continued to develop his personal style in works such as the orchestral “Nacht und Trompeten” (1981); “Marchenbilder,” an ensemble piece from 1984, and “Lied in Fall,” written in 1987 for cello and 13 instruments.

After a hiatus from composing that lasted nearly a decade, Abrahamsen returned with more personal work, including a piano concerto written in 1999 for his wife Anne-Marie Abildskov, and the extended chamber work “Schnee”, which was premiered in 2008 by Ensemble Recherche and has received considerable critical acclaim.

Abrahamsen’s “Let me tell you,” for soprano and orchestra, was premiered in December 2013 by the Berlin Philharmonic, with Barbara Hannigan, to whom the work is dedicated, as soprano soloist and Andris Nelsons conducting. It has proven to be one of Abrahamsen’s most immediately popular works, with 15 performances since the premiere. Many additional performances and a recording are scheduled, and in May of this year, “Let me tell you” also won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2015 Award for Large-Scale Composition.

Abrahamsen’s current projects include work on an operatic setting of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” which will get a premiere performance in the fall of 2018 from the Royal Danish Opera. “Terms like ‘magical’, ‘mysterious’ and ‘elusive’ are often used describe Abrahamsen’s music, and for good reason,” said a recent feature story about Abrahamsen in the Glasgow, Scotland newspaper The Herald. “Like a fairytale or a winter landscape, he takes what is familiar and transforms it, allowing us to experience it, and perhaps ourselves, afresh.”

(You can hear some samples of Hans Abrahamsen’s music and an interview with him via the embedded YouTube and SoundCloud players below.)

String Quartet No. 1 “10 Preludes”

“Winternacht”

Hans Abrahamsen talks about his compositions “Schnee”‘ and String Quartet No. 4

“Schnee” Canon 2B, from the US premiere performance by the Talea Ensemble, conducted by James Baker, on January 21, 2011 at Scandinavia House, New York City.

“Let me tell you”

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to highlight works
by Hans Abrahamsen, Andrew Norman in concert
on Sunday, April 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will highlight works from the two guest composers for this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) in a concert at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 26 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 concert will feature performances of “Zwei Schneetänze,” two works by Dutch composer Hans Abrahamsen from 1985 that foreshadow his extended tour-de-force “Schnee,” and four movements of “The Companion Guide to Rome,” written by Andrew Norman in 2010 as a musical evocation of Roman landmarks.

Abrahamsen is one of Europe’s leading composers and a member of the “New Simplicity” movement. His major awards include the Carl Nielsen Prize and the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize, and his works been performed by European orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic. Norman is an assistant professor of composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, and currently is composer in residence with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia.

Both men will be guest composers at the 2015 MICF, which will take place from Monday, July 20 through Saturday July 25 in Columbia.

The April 26 concert also will include a 2012 piece written by a former resident composer for the MICF, as well as two brand new, poetically inspired works from Mizzou composition students.

David Biedenbender’s “Grit” is described as “an aggressive work dedicated to the composer’s sister-in-law’s battle with cancer.” Biedenbender, who was a resident composer at the 2012 Mizzou International Composers Festival and now teaches composition at Boise State University, will be in the audience for this performance.

“The Year 1861” by Mizzou freshman Dustin Dunn was inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem of the same name about the Civil War, while junior Trey Makler’s “Sonette an Orpheus” is a “colorful and vibrant” setting of a Ranier Maria Rilke sonnet. Makler’s composition will be conducted by Mizzou junior Travis Herd, and features a guest performance by baritone Sam Wright.

The seven-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer and associate professor. The Ensemble’s members for the 2014-15 season are Taylor Burkhardt, piano; Rachel Czech, cello; Jose Martínez, percussion; Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets; Erin Spencer, flute; Britney Stutz, violin; and Korin Wahl, viola.

2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival set for July 20 – 25;
Hans Abrahamsen, Andrew Norman named as guest composers

The 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) will be held Monday, July 20 through Saturday, July 25 on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia, and will feature Hans Abrahamsen and Andrew Norman as guest composers.

The 2015 MICF will include a series of public concerts presenting music from contemporary composers, as well as workshops, master classes and other events.

Saturday night’s grand finale at the Missouri Theatre will feature the world premieres of new works from each of the festival’s eight resident composers, with the acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, serving as resident ensemble.

Hans Abrahamsen

Hans Abrahamsen was born in Copenhagen and attended the Royal Danish Academy of Music. A published composer beginning at age 16, Abrahamsen in the early part of his career was considered part of the “New Simplicity” movement that began in the mid-1960s as a reaction to the perceived over-complexity of avant-garde music. Some of his best-known early works include “Winternacht” (1976-78); “Nacht und Trompeten” (1981); and “Zwei Schneetänze” (1985).

Befriending and studying with György Ligeti during the 1980s, Abrahamsen received the Carl Nielsen Prize in 1989 and the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize in 1998. After a hiatus from composing, he re-emerged in the new century with a series of major compositions including the extended chamber work “Schnee” (2008), a Double Concerto for violin, piano and strings (2010-11); and “Let me tell you,” for soprano and orchestra, premiered in 2013 by the Berlin Philharmonic.

Andrew Norman

Andrew Norman is a Los Angeles-based composer and teacher at the USC Thornton School of Music. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Yale, Norman “draws on an eclectic mix of instrumental sounds, notational practices, and non-linear narrative structures.” His work has been noted by the New York Times for its “daring juxtapositions and dazzling colors” and by the Los Angeles Times for its “Chaplinesque” wit.

Norman has been the recipient of numerous commissions, prizes and awards, and his symphonic works have been performed by orchestras including the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the BBC Symphony, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich. His chamber music has been featured in the Wordless Music Series at Le Poisson Rouge and at the MATA Festival, the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, the Green Umbrella Series, and the Aspen Music Festival.

With the 2015 guest composers confirmed, eight resident composers now will be selected for the MICF through a portfolio application process to create a new work for Alarm Will Sound. During the week of the festival, they’ll get composition lessons from Abrahamsen and Norman and take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. Each composer also will receive a copy of a professional live recording of his or her work.

The application process for resident composers begins Thursday, October 23, 2014, and the deadline for submitting an application is Monday, November 24, 2014. To help composers save on printing and mailing costs, the MICF this year has moved to an online application process. For more information on applying to become a resident composer for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/application.html.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be made available at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.