Posts Tagged ‘ Sinquefield Charitable Foundation

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.

Creating Original Music Project (COMP) offers awards, cash prizes
for original music from Missouri student composers

From school bands to adjudicated contests, young musicians today have many outlets to demonstrate their instrumental prowess. For young composers, the opportunities to show their talents can be much harder to find, which is why the Mizzou New Music Initiative began the Creating Original Music Project (COMP).

Now in its twelfth year, COMP is an annual statewide competition that showcases new, original music from Missouri student composers and songwriters in grades K-12, offering positive recognition and prizes, performance and educational opportunities, and more.

Sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, COMP is now accepting entries for the 2017 competition. Both the winning composers and their schools will be awarded cash prizes, and the winning compositions will be performed at the Creating Original Music Project’s New Music Festival on Saturday, April 15, 2017 at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

The postmark deadline for submission of all compositions is Friday, January 14, 2017.

Students in grades K-5 may submit compositions in two categories, Songs With Words and Instrumental. For grades 6-8, the categories are Fine Art Music and Popular Music; and for grades 9-12, they are Fine Art Music, Popular Music, Jazz, and Other styles. All entries must be original music written by the student, and only one entry per student is allowed. Arrangements of previously composed pieces or improvisation based on composed pieces will not be accepted.

Mentors and teachers are encouraged to offer support and critiques, though the submissions must be the students’ own original compositions. Music teachers and/or mentors may assist students in notating or recording the pieces, and each student who applies must have the signature and sponsorship of their school’s music teacher.

Only three submissions per category per school are allowed. It is the responsibility of the school music teacher(s) to decide which three pieces per category will be entered in the contest.

For students looking for more guidance or feedback on their work, the Mizzou New Music Initiative also offers Composer Connection, a distance-learning program that gives aspiring composers a chance to talk with and receive instruction from a graduate student in composition at MU.

Students can e-mail works in progress, ask questions about composing, and receive suggestions and answers directly from the composer on call. The composer on call for the 2016-17 academic year is Henry Breneman Stewart, who can be reached by email at composerconnection@missouri.edu.

For more information about the Creating Original Music Project and an application for the 2017 competition, please visit the COMP website at https://music.missouri.edu/mnmi/comp.

Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) seeks
new orchestral, choral works for performance in March 2017

Columbia Civic Orchestra

For composers of orchestral or choral music, completing a new work often is followed immediately by another formidable challenge: finding an orchestra or choir to perform it.

Recognizing this need, the Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) in 2017 once again is offering performance opportunities for new, large-ensemble music written by Missouri residents. (Founded in 2012 as the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project, MOCOP has been renamed for its sixth year to reflect the inclusion of choral music as well as orchestral works.)

MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO), the Columbia Chamber Choir, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Each year, recently composed works are selected through a competitive, blind judging process and are performed by the CCO and Chamber Choir at a concert in Columbia. Each of the composers of the selected works also is awarded a $500 honorarium, and will receive a professional recording of their work.

Columbia Chamber Choir

MOCOP’s 2017 competition is open to composers of orchestral and choral music in four categories – two for Missouri composers currently in high school, and two open to Missouri composers of any age. The CCO and the Columbia Chamber Choir will perform the selected works in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 19, 2017 at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia.

Composers who wish to submit their work to MOCOP can find details on eligibility and instrumentation plus complete application materials online at https://music.missouri.edu/mnmi/mocop.

Applications must be postmarked no later than Monday, December 5, 2016.

The Columbia Civic Orchestra is a volunteer group located in Columbia, Missouri, dedicated to providing enjoyment for its members and audiences with the presentation and preservation of high-quality symphonic music.

The Columbia Chamber Choir in a subset of the Columbia Chorale, which works to promote choral music of the highest artistic quality and to stimulate a greater community understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of choral music by presenting programs appealing to a wide cross-section of Missouri residents and visitors.

A look back at the 2016 Mizzou International Composers Festival…

Creating Original Music Project to present
award-winning works by Missouri student composers
in concert on Saturday, April 16 in Columbia

Audio from the 2016 COMP Festival will stream live online on Saturday, April 16

From classical, jazz, and blues to folk, rock, and hip-hop, Missouri has a rich and varied musical history. The Show-Me State over the years has produced a long list of musical luminaries, from Scott Joplin, Virgil Thomson, and Burt Bacharach to Clark Terry, Chuck Berry, and Sheryl Crow, but what does the future hold?

The answer could be in Columbia, where Mizzou’s Creating Original Music Project (COMP) will present performances of award-winning original works by young Missouri composers in grades K-12 at the 11th annual COMP Festival, held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, April 16 in the Fine Arts Building on the campus of the University of Missouri.

Admission is free and open to the public. The junior division concert, featuring works from elementary and middle school winners, begins at 10:30 a.m., with the senior division concert of music by high school winners following at 2:30 p.m..

The festival also will be streamed live online at https://music.missouri.edu/concert-audio-streaming, with the audio stream going live 10 minutes before the start of each concert.

COMP was founded in 2005 to encourage K-12 students in Missouri to write original musical works and to provide performance opportunities for those works. It is a joint venture of the university’s Mizzou New Music Initiative and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, which provides an annual gift of $80,000 to sponsor the competition.

Every year, in addition to having their music performed at the COMP Festival, the winning composers and their schools receive cash prizes, and high school winners also receive a scholarship to attend Mizzou’s high school summer music composition camp.

“The Mizzou New Music Initiative is all about helping young composers grow and develop, from elementary school all the way through post-graduate studies,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. “The Creating Original Music Project competition and summer camp are the first steps in that process, and we’re delighted that over the last 11 years, we’ve been able to provide opportunities and encouragement for hundreds of Missouri’s youngest composers through those programs.”

The 2016 Creating Original Music Project (COMP) competition categories and winners are:

Elementary School – Song with Words
1) Miles Cole & Drew Hauser of Bristol Elementary School, Webster Groves, for “Number One.” Sponsor: Sara Wichard.
2) Kadyn Bilberry of Reeds Spring Elementary School, Reeds Spring, for “Run Lanie Run.” Sponsor: Sue Gillen.
3) Jenna Yaw of Reeds Spring Elementary School, Reeds Spring, for “I’m Lost.” Sponsor: Sue Gillen.

Elementary School – Instrumental
1) Judah Robbins Bernal of Russell Boulevard Elementary School, Columbia, for “Sounds of Life.” Music Teacher: Paola Savvidou. Sponsor: Jared Smith.
2) Yueheng Wang of Grant Elementary School, Columbia, for “Miserable Me.” Music Teacher: Mabel Kinder. Sponsor: Pam Sisson.
3) Alexis Rysanek of Rogers Elementary School, St. Louis, for “I Went to the City.” Sponsor: Donna Buehne.

Middle School – Fine Art
1) Olivia Bennett, a home-schooled student from Nixa, for “Wistful Fog.” Sponsor: Dan Bennett.
2) HyunJun Yoo of West Middle School, Columbia, for “I.Clown.” Sponsor: Julie Swope.
3) Brandon Kim of Jefferson Middle School, Columbia, for “Time Travel.” Music Teacher: Erin Hoerchler. Sponsor: Jaime Canepa.

Middle School – Popular
1) Thomas Trollope of Wright City Middle School, Wright City, for “Giants.” Sponsor: Todd Oberlin.
2) Ella Leible of Chaffee Elementary School, Chaffee, for “Our Melody.” Sponsor: Carrie Cane.
3) Finnegan Stewart of Wildwood Middle School, Wildwood, for “You Will Never Change Me.” Sponsor: Julia Lega.

High School – Fine Art
1) Julia Riew of John Burroughs School, St. Louis, for “The Executioner’s Dream.” Sponsor: Robert Carter.
2) Mary Park of David H. Hickman High School, Columbia, for “Dream of Life.” Sponsor: Megan Maddeleno.
3) Amanda Bradshaw, a home-schooled student from Columbia, for “a very unusual Summer afternoon.” Music Teacher: Grant Bradshaw. Sponsor: Mike Bradshaw.

High School – Popular
1) Menea Kefalov of Ladue Horton Watkins High School, St. Louis, for “I Can’t Take It.” Sponsor: Twinda Murry.
2) Audrey McCulley of Arcadian Academy of Music, Ironton, for “Remember.” Sponsor: Emily Parker.
3) Sarah Meadows of David H. Hickman High School, Columbia, for “Tomorrow’s Gonna Change.” Sponsor: Robin Steinhaus.

High School – Jazz
1) Nick Larimore of Parkway Central High School, Chesterfield, for “I Need the Eggs.” Sponsor: Doug Hoover.
2) Jack Snelling of Webster Groves High School, Webster Groves, for “Tribute to San Calcetín.” Sponsor: Kevin Cole.
3) Samuel Luetkemeyer of Calvary Lutheran High School, Jefferson City, for “Tickets, Please.” Sponsor: Melissa Ahlers.

Each student who enters the competition must have the signature and sponsorship of his or her school’s music teacher. Community agencies, churches, after-school programs, private teachers, and other musical mentors also may sponsor their young musicians in partnership with the student’s school music teacher.

$2 million gift provides continued support for new music at Mizzou


In a news conference on Monday, February 1, the University of Missouri announced that Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield have given a gift of more than $2 million over three years to support the Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI). The MNMI brings together a diverse array of programs which position the MU School of Music as a leading national and international center in the areas of composition and new music. This latest gift will support the MNMI through 2019.

The Sinquefields are long-time supporters of music and the arts, specifically music composition. The Sinquefields’ support for composition at Mizzou began more than 10 years ago with the Creating Original Music Project, a statewide K-12 competition and affiliated high school summer camp. In 2009, they gave MU $1 million to create the Mizzou New Music Initiative. With this most recent gift, the Sinquefields have given nearly $4.5 million to support the MNMI and more than $15 million, including a $10 million gift in support of a new School of Music building, in total giving to MU.

“The Sinquefields’ most recent gift helps position the MU School of Music as a recognized leader in music composition nationally and throughout the world,” MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said. “By combining their love of the arts with their financial support to MU, the Sinquefelds have found a meaningful way to showcase their passion for musical composition and their love of performance arts. We are grateful for their generosity and for their leadership in supporting the arts here in Missouri, nationally and internationally.”

“We want Mizzou and Missouri to become an international mecca for music composition,” Jeanne Sinquefield said. “There are so many talented young composers, but there is a lack of public funding for programs and scholarships to support them. We are thrilled with the success the MNMI has enjoyed in its first seven years, and we are excited to help support its growth into the future.”

Creating Original Music Project (COMP) to recognize original music
from Missouri student composers with awards, cash

2015 COMP award winners

For ten years, the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s Creating Original Music Project (COMP) has encouraged the musical dreams and aspirations of hundreds of K-12 students across Missouri, offering positive recognition and prizes, performance and educational opportunities, and more.

Some past winners of the annual statewide competition sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation have even gone on to earn to full college scholarships or launch professional careers in music.

Now, heading into its second decade, COMP once again is looking for new, original music from student composers and songwriters in the Show-Me State. This year’s effort began when information was mailed last month to music teachers across the state inviting students to participate in the 2016 competition.

Both the winning composers and their schools will be awarded cash prizes, and the winning compositions will be performed at the Creating Original Music Project’s New Music Festival on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Students in grades K-5 may submit compositions in two categories, Songs With Words and Instrumental Pieces. For grades 6-8, the categories are Fine Art Music and Popular Music; and for grades 9-12, they are Fine Art Music, Popular Music, Jazz, and Other styles.

All entries must be original music written by the student, and only one entry per student is allowed. Arrangements of previously composed pieces or improvisation based on composed pieces will not be accepted.

Mentors and teachers are encouraged to offer support and critiques, though the submissions must be the students’ own original compositions. Music teachers and/or mentors may assist students in notating or recording the pieces, and each student who applies must have the signature and sponsorship of their school’s music teacher.

Only three submissions per category per school are allowed. It is the responsibility of the school music teacher(s) to decide which three pieces per category will be entered in the contest. The postmark deadline for submission of all compositions is January 15, 2016.

For more information about the Creating Original Music Project and an application for the 2016 competition, please visit the COMP website at http://music.missouri.edu/COMP/.

For students looking for more guidance or feedback on their work, the Mizzou New Music Initiative also offers Composer Connection, a distance-learning program that gives aspiring composers a chance to talk with and receive instruction from a graduate student in composition at MU.

Students can e-mail works in progress, ask questions about composing, and receive suggestions and answers directly from the composer on call. The composer on call for the 2015-16 academic year is José Martínez, who can be reached by email at composerconnection@missouri.edu.

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project seeks
orchestral, choral works for performance in March

For the past four years, the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) has been providing performance opportunities for new orchestral music written by Missouri residents. For its fifth year, MOCOP is expanding, both musically and geographically.

The 2016 competition will include both choral and orchestral works in five categories, three for Missouri composers and two added specifically for composers currently studying at schools in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving the Mizzou New Music Initiative, Columbia Civic Orchestra (pictured), and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Each year, recently composed works are selected through a competitive, blind judging process and are performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra at a concert in Columbia. Each of the composers of the selected works is awarded a $500 honorarium, and this year, the composers selected from SEC schools also will receive travel expenses so they can attend the final rehearsal and concert.

New categories added for composers from SEC schools!

The categories for the 2016 MOCOP competition are Missouri Open – Orchestral; Missouri High School – Orchestral; Missouri High School – Choral; SEC Students – Orchestral; and SEC Students – Choral.

The CCO and the Columbia Chamber Choir will perform the selected works in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 20 at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia.

Composers who wish to submit their work to MOCOP can find details on eligibility and instrumentation plus complete application materials online at http://mizzounewmusic.missouri.edu/project.html.

Applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. Central time on Friday, December 11, 2015

The Columbia Civic Orchestra is a volunteer group located in Columbia, Missouri, dedicated to providing enjoyment for its members and audiences with the presentation and preservation of high-quality symphonic music.

The Columbia Chamber Choir in a subset of the Columbia Chorale, which works to promote choral music of the highest artistic quality and to stimulate a greater community understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of choral music by presenting programs appealing to a wide cross-section of Missouri residents and visitors.