Posts Tagged ‘ Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts

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.

Mizzou New Music Summer Festival includes free events

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

For those who’d like to get an inside look at how brand new compositions are prepared for performance, our resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound (pictured) will hold several open rehearsals during the week.

Here’s the schedule of open rehearsals and their locations:

Tuesday, July 13: 1:45 p.m – 5:00 p.m, Loeb Hall 201
Wednesday, July 14: 1:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Loeb Hall 201
Thursday, July 15: 1:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Loeb Hall 201
Friday, July 16: 1:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts

Presentations by the Festival’s resident and faculty composers also will be open to the public. They’ll take place from 8:45 AM – 12:15 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the Fine Arts Building‘s Room 145.  MU associate professor Stefan Fruend’s presentation at 7:30 p.m. Saturday also will take place in Fine Arts 145, and is open to the public.

In addition, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, several members of Alarm Will Sound will present a free lecture and recital titled “Composers as Performers”; and at 7:30 p.m. Friday, members of Alarm Will Sound will give a free presentation on extended instrumental techniques. Both of these events will take place at Whitmore Recital Hall, which is located in the Fine Arts Building.

About the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts

The venue for the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival’s public performances will be the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, an historic, newly restored former movie palace at 203 S. Ninth St. in downtown Columbia.

First opened in 1928, the MTCA had a six-decade run as the city’s most prominent movie house, but by the late 1980s, the single-screen theater had fallen out of favor with moviegoers as new multi-screen cinemas were built in Columbia.

The building was purchased in 1988 by the Missouri Symphony Society to serve as the home of the Missouri Symphony Orchestra. However, the once-grand facility was in dire need of renovation and restoration. Plaster was crumbling; seats were worn; the plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems were outdated; and the stage, backstage and wing spaces were inadequate for a modern performing arts facility.

After some major fund-raising, extensive construction and remodeling work, the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts celebrated its grand opening in May 2008 with a concert by singer Tony Bennett.  The MTCA now serves as artistic home for the  Missouri Symphony Society and the Columbia Art League; presents performances by a variety of local, regional and touring performers; and offers arts education programs for the community’s youth and adults.

You can take an online “virtual tour” of the restored Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts here.

As the performance venue for the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, the MTCA is handling ticket sales for all Festival concerts. Festival passes good for admission to all four concerts are on sale now for $35 for adults, $20 for students. Single tickets are priced at $10 for adults, $5 for students for the concerts on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; and $15 for adults, $10 for students for the final concert on Sunday.

Tickets can be charged by phone by calling the Missouri Theatre box office at 573-875-0600 or purchased online at (There is a $2 per ticket fee for online purchases; phone purchases will not be charged a fee.)