Posts Tagged ‘ Mizzou New Music Ensemble

Mizzou New Music Ensemble presenting “Words and Music”
and more on Sunday, December 3 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will premiere new works by seven different Mizzou composers in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 3 at Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the Mizzou campus. Admission is $5 for the general public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff with ID.

The full Ensemble (pictured) will present the premiere performances of “notfromme” by Mikkel Christensen, a first-year master’s student; “Night Blossoms,” by senior composition major Ben Colagiovanni; “If you have nothing nice to say [say it softly],” by Libby Roberts, also a first-year master’s student and the pianist for the Ensemble; and “Good Vibes,” by freshman composition major Nick Williams.

The concert also will feature four songs created this fall as part of “Words and Music,” a collaborative project between the School of Music and the Department of English.

Overseen by post-doctoral fellow Carolina Heredia and assistant teaching professor Julia Bentley from the School of Music, along with Gabriel Fried, assistant professor of English, the “Words and Music” project involved three teams, each including an MU student poet, composer, singer, and a Mizzou New Music Ensemble member.

The new works they created to be performed at this concert are:

“Katabasis,” with words by Mary Clare Agnew and music by Libby Roberts, which will be performed by Briana Bennett, mezzo-soprano, and Kelariz Keshavarz, flute;

“The Wanderer,” with words by Hannah Cajandig and music by Adam J. Cohen, a sophomore composition major, to be performed by soprano Morgan Owen and percussionist Brianna Trainor; and

“Transience,” with words by Bryn Bartel and music by sophomore composition major Ethan Forte, performed by Matt Ahn, baritone and Daniel Keeler, cello.

In addition, as an example for the students, Gabriel Fried and Carolina Heredia worked together to write “Schoolyard Blessing,” which will be performed at the concert by Julia Bentley with Libby Roberts on piano.

Composer Steven Snowden visiting Mizzou for residency from October 1-3

Composer Steven Snowden will visit the Mizzou campus next week for a residency starting Sunday, October 1 and culminating in a “Composer Portrait” concert of his works at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 3 at Whitmore Recital Hall.

The concert will include Mizzou faculty ensemble DRAX performing the world premieres of “Where are Our Mothers” and “We Don’t Have Enough Time,” two new works commissioned from Snowden with support from the Mizzou New Music Initiative and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

While on campus, Snowden (pictured) also will give a presentation to composition students about his music, and will coach the Mizzou New Music Ensemble on the performance of his work “Matilda,” which they’ll play at their concert on October 16 at Whitmore.

A native Missourian, Snowden grew up in the Ozarks and earned his undergraduate degree in music at Missouri State University.  After subsequently getting a master’s degree in music from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a doctorate from the University of Texas, he now is a freelance composer based in Boston.

This won’t be his first visit back to his home state in a professional capacity – he was one of the eight resident composers chosen for the 2011 Mizzou International Composers Festival – but he’ll be especially busy this trip, book-ending his residency in Columbia with stops on the campuses of his alma mater in Springfield and Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg.

Though he’s received extensive training as a composer, Snowden nevertheless cites vernacular music like bluegrass, folk, and rock as key influences. “It’s really important to me that someone who doesn’t come from a background of listening to classical music can still be intrigued and drawn into the music that I write,” Snowden told the Columbia Daily Tribune‘s Aarik Danielsen in 2011. “Because of that, I strive to incorporate many possible perspectives of listening that can appeal to the uninitiated as well as seasoned analytical listeners. Hopefully, that also makes for music that can endure multiple hearings in which new details and levels of understanding can continually be discovered.”

Snowden’s works have been performed at venues and festivals throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and he has earned honors and awards from the American Composers Forum’s national composition contest, ASCAP’s Morton Gould Awards, New Music USA, and many others.

Other notable accomplishments include helping to found and direct the Fast Forward Austin Music Festival in Texas (with another former MICF resident composer, Ian Dicke, from the 2014 fest), and serving in 2012 and 2013 as a Fulbright Scholar in Portugal, researching the implementation of motion tracking technology as a means to facilitate collaboration between music and dance. Snowden also was a visiting professor and composer in residence in 2013-14 at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

You can hear samples of Steven Snowden’s music in the embedded player below and on his SoundCloud page.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble playing works
by Mizzou composers past and present
on Monday, October 16 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble‘s first concert of the 2017-18 season will feature music from two Mizzou alumni, one new faculty member, and more.

The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, October 16 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the Mizzou campus. Admission is $5 for the general public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff with ID.

Works to be performed will include “Lus in Bello” by Carolina Heredia, who this fall joined the University of Missouri faculty as the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s new postdoctoral fellow. Heredia first composed the piece in 2014 for the acclaimed new music group JACK Quartet, and in 2016 revised the arrangement for the Khemia Ensemble, the group she founded while a graduate student at the University of Michigan.

Also on the program are two pieces by recent Mizzou alumni. “Spherodendron” is by Haley Myers, who graduated in 2015 with a BM in composition. Inspired by the work of artist Bill Smith, it was written in 2013 specifically for a concert at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis.

“Naturally Synthetic” was premiered in 2012 at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and was written by Joe Hills, who earned his master’s degree in composition from Mizzou in 2013.

In addition, Mizzou faculty mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley will join the Ensemble as guest artist for a performance of Steven Snowden‘s “Matilda.” Written in 2010 for soprano and mixed chamber ensemble, the piece incorporates the text of “Matilda Who Told Lies, and was Burned to Death,” a satirical children’s poem by the early 20th century writer Hilaire Belloc.

Snowden is a freelance composer based in Boston who was a resident composer at the 2011 Mizzou International Composers Festival. He’s returning to Mizzou for a guest composer residency in October, which will include a “Composer Portrait” concert of his music on Tuesday, October 3.

Completing the evening, the Ensemble will perform “Damn,” a 1998 work for amplified clarinet and four percussionists composed by John Mackey. Mackey, who lives in Massachusetts and is known particularly for his works for wind ensemble and concert band, visited the Mizzou campus for a residency in 2012.

The seven-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) 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 2017-18 season are Victoria Hargrove, clarinet; Hannah Hutchins, percussion; Daniel Keeler, cello; Kelariz Keshavarz, flute; Pedro Ramiro, violin; Libby Roberts, piano; and Brianna Trainor, percussion.

Composers Festival spotlight: Mizzou New Music Ensemble

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will be the featured performers in the Mizzou International Composers Festival‘s “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre.

Comprised of graduate students on scholarship, the Ensemble (pictured) is directed by professor of composition, faculty composer, and Alarm Will Sound member Stefan Freund. They serve as the flagship group of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, collaborating with student, faculty, and visiting composers throughout the year to perform a variety of new works.

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.

For the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 28, the Ensemble will play works by both of this year’s distinguished guest composers, performing Dan Visconti’s “Fractured Jams” and Georg Friedrich Haas’ “…aus freier Lust…verbunden”.

During the academic year, the group performs a series of concerts on campus, and they also play off campus as well. Most recently, in May of this year they premiered “Eclipse Symphony,” a suite of four new works written by Mizzou students to commemorate the upcoming solar eclipse, in a performance at the St. Louis Science Center’s McDonnell Planetarium.

The Ensemble also has performed at the World Chess Hall of Fame, the Sheldon Concert Hall, the Shoenberg Theatre at the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the St. Louis Zoo’s Living World, and in St. Louis’ Forest Park as part of a benefit for Forest Park Forever.

Just about all of the Ensemble’s concerts, whether on campus or off, include music from student composers at Mizzou, giving both composers and performers valuable hands-on experience in the process of developing new work.

In the embedded audio player below, you can hear some samples of the Ensemble performing music from various student, faculty and visiting composers.

Tickets for 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival go on sale Friday, May 26

Tickets for the 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. CDT on Friday, May 26.

Known as the region’s premier showcase for new works by top young composers, the MICF will take place this year from Monday, July 24 through Saturday, July 29 in Columbia, and will include three public concerts.

Returning for the eighth year as the festival’s resident ensemble, Alarm Will Sound will begin the weekend of shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St. in downtown Columbia.

They’ll perform music from the 2017 MICF’s distinguished guest composers, Georg Friedrich Haas and Dan Visconti, as well as works by Robert Sirota, Don Freund, and AWS violinist/guitarist Caleb Burhans.

Next, the “Mizzou New Music” concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre will feature performances by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and guest artists DRAX, with saxophonist Leo Saguiguit and percussionist Megan Arns, and cellist Eli Lara.

The grand finale of the week will showcase the world premieres of eight new works written by the festival’s resident composers and performed by Alarm Will Sound at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 29 at the Missouri Theatre.

Festival VIP packages are $80, and include reserved premium seating at all three concerts; two drink tickets good at the Thursday and Friday performances; and admission to a VIP reception prior to the Saturday evening performance, featuring champagne and hors d’oeuvres with members of Alarm Will Sound and the composers.

Festival passes for all three concerts are $40 for an adult general admission pass, and $20 for a student general admission pass. Single tickets are priced at $18 for adults, $10 for students, and are all general admission. Tickets can be charged by phone using Visa, MasterCard or Discover by calling 1-573-882-3781. To buy tickets online, visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

In addition to these three concerts, the MICF also will feature several free events, including 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 chosen from among more than 260 applicants from 25 different countries to participate in the festival and create a new work for Alarm Will Sound. They are:
* Clare Glackin, Los Angeles, CA
* Selim Göncü, Berkeley, CA
* Carolina Heredia, Ann Arbor, MI
* Christopher Mayo, Toronto, Canada
* Aaron Parker, Manchester, England
* Charles Peck, Ithaca, NY
* Amadeus Regucera, Oakland, CA
* Henry Breneman Stewart, Columbia, MO

During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from distinguished guest composers George Friedrich Haas, a native of Austria and a professor of composition at Columbia University who is considered to be one of the major European composers of his generation; and Dan Visconti, a Chicago-based composer and concert programmer also known as an advocate for the arts as a form of cultural and civic service.

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.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to debut “Eclipse Symphony”
with performances in Columbia and St. Louis

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will commemorate the upcoming solar eclipse of August 2017 with performances in Columbia and St. Louis of the “Eclipse Symphony,” a new collaborative, multi-part work by four Mizzou student composers.

The work will be previewed in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29 at the Bond Life Sciences Center on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, with the official premiere set for 7:00 p.m. Friday, May 5 at the St. Louis Science Center’s James S. McDonnell Planetarium.

General admission to the concert in Columbia is $5 for the public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff.

Admission to the performance in St. Louis is free, but will require a ticket. Tickets will be available for pickup at any Science Center box office starting at 6:00 p.m. on the day of the concert.

The “Eclipse Symphony” has four sections, each written by a different composer to correspond to a different stage of eclipse that will take place on Monday, August 21, 2017. The work was composed specifically for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

The first section, Hans Bridger Heruth’s “In the Shadow of the Moon,” heralds the coming of the eclipse, followed by Dustin Dunn’s “Now That Daylight Fills the Sky” to mark the event’s inception. Douglas Osmun’s “Convergences” then describes the point of total eclipse, with Jake Smucker’s “But You Have So Much to Live For” serving as a celebratory conclusion.

For the concert at the Planetarium in St. Louis, a backdrop of images, photos, and projections inspired by the eclipse will add a visual element to the Ensemble’s performance.

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.

William Averitt’s “Black Pierrot” inspired by poet Langston Hughes

Mizzou musicology professor Stephanie Shonekan leads a discussion with William Averitt on the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Mizzou musicology professor Stephanie Shonekan (at left) leads a discussion with composer William Averitt (second from right) on the poetry of Langston Hughes.

For his latest commissioned work “Black Pierrot,” composer William Averitt once again has drawn inspiration from the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Scheduled for a world premiere on Saturday, March 18 at First Baptist Church in Columbia, “Black Pierrot” was commissioned by Mizzou’s director of choral studies Paul Crabb for the University Singers and the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, directed by Stefan Freund, with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Averitt, who’s now professor emeritus of music at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA after serving on the faculty there from 1973 to 2012,  is known particularly as a composer of choral works.

He has received commissions from a wide range of organizations and artists, including Texas Lutheran University, Choral Arts of Seattle, Virginia Music Teachers Association, organist Dudley Oakes, the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, Opus 3 Trio, Murray State University Concert Choir, and the Shenandoah Conservatory Chamber Choir.

Other commissions include works for the Virginia-based contemporary music ensemble Currents, Shippensburg (PA) Summer Music Festival, Paducah Symphony Orchestra, First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC, Sonus Ensemble of Washington, DC, the Youth Orchestras of Prince William (VA), choreographer Elizabeth Bergmann, Shenandoah University, Winchester (VA) Musica Viva, and the Hans Kindler Foundation of the Library of Congress.

Averitt has incorporated his interest in the work of Langston Hughes into several of his compositions.  His “Afro-American Fragments,” composed in 1991 with the text of a 1930 poem by Hughes,  has been performed by a number of professional choruses, including the Grammy winning ensemble, Conspirare, which in 2004 released three movements of the work on their CD through the green fuse.

“Afro-American Fragments” also has been performed by the Washington Singers, the Desert Chorale, the New Texas Festival, the Air Force Singing Sergeants, Kantorei (Denver, CO), Winchester Musica Viva and by numerous university choruses throughout the country, including last year by the University Singers.

More recently, Averitt has written two more works based on Hughes’ poetry. “The Dream Keeper” was composed in 2009 for Choral Arts of Seattle and included on their CD Mornings Like This, while “The Deepness of the Blue” originally was composed in 2012 for Texas Lutheran University, with subsequent performances from Choral Arts Northwest and the Evansville University Choir.

All three of Averitt’s Hughes-related cycles were recorded by the UMKC Conservatory Singers and released as an album titles The Deepness of the Blue on MSR Classical.

Performing Hughes’ work in Missouri actually brings the poet back to his roots, for though he is identified in the popular imagination with the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes in fact was a native Midwesterner, born in Joplin, Missouri and raised in Lawrence, Kansas.

A prolific poet, essayist, novelist, and playwright as well as a social activist, Hughes wrote a wide variety of works ranging from personal to political, chronicling the lives and feelings of 20th century African-Americans, as well as the social conditions they endured, in a way that still resonates today.

Hughes during his lifetime was closely associated with jazz music, not only as a listener, but as a participant – reciting his poetry on record with Charles Mingus, contributing lyrics to pianist Randy Weston’s album Uhuru Afrika, and even writing a children’s book called The First Book of Jazz.

More recently, his epic poem “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz,” written in 1960, was performed for the first time with music by composer  Laura Karpman in March 2009 at Carnegie Hall, and subsequently became the centerpiece of “The Langston Hughes Project”, a multimedia concert presentation.

Averitt’s “Black Pierrot” is based on seven poems by Hughes, each incorporated into a movement of the work. It begins with a celebratory feeling via the poet’s “A Black Pierrot” (1923), “Breath of a Rose” (1944), and “Jazzonia” (1923).

As Averitt writes in his program notes, “the mood changes abruptly and profoundly with the fourth movement,” which features Hughes’ brief 1923 poem, the ironically titled “Justice.” and is followed by musical settings of “Song for a Dark Girl” (1927), “Silhouette” (1944), and the concluding “To a Dead Friend” (1922).

As a side note, while the title and text of “Black Pierrot” come from Langston Hughes, the title and the work’s instrumentation also reference another significant cultural figure of the 20th century, composer Arnold Schönberg.

Specifically, “Black Pierrot” is written for soprano, choir and a sextet of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion, an instrumental ensemble that sometimes is called a “Pierrot plus percussion,” after Schönberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire,” which was written in 1912 for a single vocalist accompanied by a similarly configured quintet of two winds, two strings, and piano.

University Singers, Mizzou New Music Ensemble
to premiere new work by William Averitt
in concert on Saturday, March 18

The University of Missouri’s University Singers and Mizzou New Music Ensemble will present the world premiere of “Black Pierrot,” a newly commissioned work from composer William Averitt, in a concert at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 18 at the First Baptist Church, 1112 East Broadway in Columbia.

General admission to the concert is $5 for the public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff.

“Black Pierrot” was commissioned by Mizzou director of choral activities Paul Crabb for the University Singers and the Mizzou New Music Ensemble with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Inspired by seven poems written by Langston Hughes, the famed African-American poet, novelist and playwright who was born in Joplin, MO, it is scored for soprano, choir, and an instrumental sextet of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion.

William Averitt, who will be in Columbia for the premiere, has composed numerous works that have received performances throughout the United States and in Western Europe, Russia and Asia. He has received composer fellowships, grants and commissions from organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, and many others. Averitt (pictured) is professor emeritus of music at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA, where he was on the faculty from 1973 to 2012.

In addition to attending Saturday’s concert, while he’s visiting the Mizzou campus Averitt also will give a presentation on his music at 3:00 p.m. Friday, March 17 in Loeb Hall, and will give private lessons to selected student composers.