Posts Tagged ‘ R. Paul Crabb

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.

University Singers to premiere new work by Chen Yi

This weekend, the Mizzou New Music Initiative and the University of Missouri School of Music will have the honor of welcoming Chen Yi for a brief residency on the MU campus and a world premiere.

Chen (pictured) currently is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition “Si Ji” (“Four Seasons”), she was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and is known as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries.

Along with many orchestral works, Chen has written numerous choral works and pieces of chamber music, including works written for traditional Chinese instruments.

While she’s at Mizzou, Chen will give a presentation her works at 3:00 p.m. Saturday in room 146 of the Fine Arts Building, and take in the world premiere of her new composition “The Beautiful West Lake” during a concert by the University Singers at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at First Baptist Church.

The work was commissioned by the University of Missouri School of Music specifically for R. Paul Crabb and the University Singers with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. The lyric is taken from the poem “The West Lake,” written during the Song Dynasty in 1073 by the Chinese poet Su Dong-po (1037-1101).

Chen’s program notes describe “The Beautiful West Lake” like this:

“The shining waves in the lake, and the drizzling rains on the hills from a colorful landscape of the West Lake. It is presented by simple pentatonic melodies, with cluster harmonies and a pattern of reciting nonsense syllables in the background in my choral piece. The sound and voices in the music convey the feeling of enjoying the nature, which symbolizes the beauty in Southeast China, whose presence is just so natural and perfect.”

Following the concert, Chen will wrap up her visit on Monday by leading a morning coaching session at Loeb Hall with the Mizzou New Music Ensemble.

A violinist as well as a composer, she received bachelor and masters degrees in music composition from the Central Conservatory in Beijing, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University.

Chen is the recipient of the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2005. She has received
fellowships and commissions from organizations including the Guggenheim Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Koussevitzky, Fromm, Ford, Roche, and Rockefeller foundations; Meet The Composer, Chamber Music America;, the BBC Proms; the China National Center for the Performing Arts, the Lincoln Center Festival, and Carnegie Hall.

Ensembles and soloists commissioning her work have included the Cleveland Orchestra, Mira Wang and the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Seattle Symphony, Yo-Yo Ma and the Pacific Symphony, Evelyn Glennie and the Singapore Symphony, the Women’s Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Chen’s music is published by Theodore Presser Company, and has been recorded and released on more than 20 different labels, including New Albion, CRI, Angel, Koch International Classics, Delos, New World and Naxos.

Also of note is that her husband is Zhou Long, also a professor of composition at UMKC’s conservatory, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for music, and one of two distinguished guest composers at the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

For more about Chen Yi, you can read this 2001 interview with Minnesota Public Radio and this interview conducted at the 2005 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, and listen to this interview she did in 2012 with NYC radio station WQXR.

You can see and hear some samples of her works in the embedded videos below.

“Prospect Overture” for orchestra, commissioned by the China National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing and premiered by the China National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Harding, on December 31, 2008 at the CNCPA.

“Chinese Ancient Dances” for clarinet and piano, performed by Divan Consort on September 27, 2012 at CSU Fullerton’s Meng Hall.

“Distance can’t keep us two apart,” a 2012 work commissioned by the American Choral Directors Association Endowment and performed here by Montclair State University Singers, conducted by Dr. Heather Buchanan, on February 17, 2012 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, in Providence, RI.

Composers Festival Spotlight: Prometheus

Prometheus: An American Vocal Consort will be the guest performers for the 2014 MICF’s “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 25 at the Missouri Theatre.

The 12-member ensemble “aims to inspire, enlighten, heal, and share through intimate performances of blazingly communicative a cappella music from the renaissance to the brightest examples of music from today’s leading composers.”

Prometheus is conducted by artistic director R. Paul Crabb, who in his “day job” serves as the University of Missouri’s Director of Choral Activities. Now six years old, the group was founded by Kyle Stegall, who also coordinates administrative activities, with assistant conductor Emily Edgington Andrews completing the leadership troika.

Prometheus also includes Jordan Black (bass), Eric Dalbey (countertenor), Frank Fleschner (tenor), Christine Jarquio (mezzo-soprano), Lindsey Lang (soprano), Gabe Lewis-O’Connor (bass), Arwen Myers (soprano), Laura Thoreson (mezzo-soprano), and Timothy Whipple (baritone).

All of the members are professional singers and conductors who live in different parts of the country, but come together at selected times for intensive rehearsals and performances. This summer, Prometheus is celebrating the release of their self-titled first album with performances in Columbia, Oak Park IL, and Chicago.

You can hear samples of their music in the embedded SoundCloud player below.

New oratorio by Mizzou’s Stefan Freund reveals
Missouri’s Civil War history through music

Though the Civil War ended nearly 150 years ago, it remains a continuing subject of fascination for historians and in pop culture, inspiring poems, songs, novels, films and more. Now the war’s divisive effects on the state of Missouri are the subject of a new oratorio by Stefan Freund, an associate professor of composition and music theory at the University of Missouri and co-artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative.

The world premiere of “The War Amongst Families and Neighbors: The Civil War in Missouri” will be presented by the University of Missouri School of Music and the University Concert Series at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, April 24 in Jesse Auditorium on the campus of the University of Missouri.

The performance will feature the more than 200 voices of the MU Choral Union and University Singers, plus the Columbia Civic Orchestra and three guest singers: the acclaimed bass-baritone Timothy Jones as principal soloist; tenor Steven Tharp, an assistant professor of voice at Mizzou; and soprano Lindsey Lang, a Missouri native and Mizzou alumnae. R. Paul Crabb, professor and director of choral activities for the School of Music, will conduct the orchestra and combined chorus.

Drawing impetus from the impending 150th anniversary of the Centralia Massacre, Freund spent a year and a half working on the oratorio, first researching the course of the war in the region with the help of the State Historical Society of Missouri, and then composing the music.

The first part, “St. Louis to Pea Ridge (1861-1862),” tells the story of the political and military events that kept Missouri in the Union, while the second, “Guerrilla Warfare (1863-1865),” focuses on guerrilla activity in the later years of the war. In total, the completed oratorio includes four spoken texts; arrangements of five Civil War-era songs significant to Missouri; and 18 original compositions set to texts taken from source materials including letters, editorials, and battle reports.

The performance will be accompanied by projections of texts and art from the period provided by the State Historical Society of Missouri. In addition, students from Lee Elementary School in Columbia have created new artwork inspired by the project that will be exhibited in the lobby of Jesse Auditorium.

Tickets for “The War Amongst Families and Neighbors: The Civil War in Missouri” are $15 for general admission, $10 for Mizzou students, and may be purchased at the University Concert Series box office at the Missouri Theatre; by phone at 573-882-3781; or online at ticketmaster.com.

Two related events will offer additional opportunities for the community to get involved before the performance. On Friday, April 11, Freund and Ralph Kreigh of the Mid-Missouri Civil War Round Table will give a presentation to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at 1:30 p.m. at the Commerce Bank, 2000 Bernadette Dr.

On Thursday, April 24, a convocation with the composer, conductor, and soloists, moderated by Arthur Mehrhoff of Mizzou’s Museum of Art & Archaeology, will take place beginning at 3:00 p.m. at Whitmore Recital Hall on campus, with a reception to follow at the State Historical Society. Both events are free and open to the public.

“The War Amongst Families and Neighbors: The Civil War in Missouri” was composed and produced with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the MU Research Council, the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative, and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Visitors Program.