Posts Tagged ‘ Mizzou New Music Ensemble

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.

Composer Don Freund in residence this weekend at Mizzou

This weekend, the Mizzou New Music Initiative will welcome composer Don Freund to campus for a four-day residency.

A professor of composition at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music since 1992, Freund (pictured) is an internationally recognized composer whose works range from solo, chamber, and orchestral music to pieces involving live performances with electronic instruments; music for dance; and large theater works.

He has been described as “a composer thoughtful in approach and imaginative in style” (The Washington Post), whose music is “exciting, amusing, disturbing, beautiful, and always fascinating” (Music and Musicians/London ).

Freund also has a personal connection to the University of Missouri, because in addition to being an esteemed composer and educator, he’s also the father of Mizzou’s Stefan Freund, professor of composition and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative.

An alumnus of the Eastman School of Music, where he earned a masters degree and a doctorate, Don Freund is the recipient of numerous awards and commissions, including two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim fellowship. He has served as guest composer at many universities and music festivals, and presented master classes in the US, Europe, Asia, and South America.

Before joining the faculty at the Jacobs School, from 1972 to 1992 he was chairman of the composition department at Memphis State University, where he founded the university’s annual new music festival and programmed nearly 1,000 new American works. Also active as pianist and conductor, Freund been involved in those capacities in the performance of some 200 new pieces, usually in collaboration with the composer.

During his visit to Columbia, Freund will coach the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and give individual lessons to several student composers. He’ll also give a public presentation of his works, and talk about one of his favorite composers in a lecture titled “Composition Lessons with J.S. Bach.”

Freund’s residency also will include public performances of two of his works. The Columbia Civic Orchestra, conducted by Stefan Freund, will perform Don Freund’s “Preludes for Orchestra” as part of their concert on Sunday, February 26 at the Missouri Theatre, a performance that also will feature the premiere of Mizzou composer Henry Breneman Stewart’s new piano concerto.

Then on Monday, February 27, the Mizzou New Music Ensemble’s concert at Whitmore Recital Hall will include Freund’s 2013 composition “Mixed Blood.”

For more about Don Freund, read the interview with him published in 2015 in the Society of Composers newsletter, and listen to his music on his SoundCloud page and on the Jacobs School of Music site.

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 https://www.instagram.com/thirdcoastpercussion/.

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to present works
by Freund, Haas, Visconti, McKenney, and Heruth
on Monday, February 27 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble’s first performance of 2017 will include music from a visiting guest composer, new works written by a longtime faculty member and a Mizzou student, and a sneak preview of this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, February 27 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus. General admission is $5 for the public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff.

Visiting the Mizzou campus for a guest composer residency that weekend will be Don Freund, professor of composition at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and the father of University of Missouri professor and Mizzou New Music Initiative artistic director Stefan Freund. The Ensemble will perform the elder Freund’s 2013 work “Mixed Blood,” which combines Latin rhythms and a tango tune with sounds and structures of American contemporary art music.

The program also will feature “Their Rest Too is Related to Motion,” a new composition from W. Thomas “Tom” McKenney, professor emeritus and co-artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. Inspired by a piece of music that his daughter wrote for him while she was in grade school, McKenney adapted and expanded the tune’s basic musical elements into three movements, evoking the motions of ladybugs, whirligigs, and fireflies.

Mizzou’s student composers will be represented by Hans Heruth, a sophomore composition major and Sinquefield Scholar whose new work “To Decipher the Art” is a musical setting of a poem by Lee K. Acton. The piece was written especially for baritone Patrick Graham, who will perform it as a guest with the Ensemble.

Music from the two distinguished guest composers for this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival will complete the program.

Georg Friedrich Haas’ composition “aus freier Lust…verbunden” (“Bound … of free will”) is one of a series of works from 1996 in which each of the seven instrumental parts is simultaneously a solo piece, so that it can be played by any combination from solo performer to full ensemble. (The Ensemble will perform it as a quintet, using bass flute, bass clarinet, cello, and two percussionists.) Haas is 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.

Dan Visconti’s “Fractured Jams” is a “high modernist” work for violin, cello, clarinet, and percussion that was composed in 2007 and features the use of extended techniques. Visconti is a Chicago-based composer and concert programmer who also is known as an advocate for the arts as a form of cultural and civic service.

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.

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.