Posts Tagged ‘ Stefan Freund

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

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will celebrate the spirit of creativity in technology and the arts with performances in Columbia and St. Louis of “Innovation Symphony,” a new collaborative, multi-part work by four Mizzou student composers.

“Innovation Symphony” will be previewed in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 23 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia.

The work’s official premiere will be presented by Venture Cafe St. Louis at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, April 28 at the Cortex Innovation Community‘s @4240 building, located at 4240 Duncan Ave. in St. Louis.

The concert in Columbia is free and open to the public. Admission to the performance in St. Louis also is free and open to the public, but those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP online at https://innovationsymphony.eventbrite.com/.

“Innovation Symphony” has four sections, each written by a different composer based on a specific aspect of the Cortex Innovation Community, and was composed specifically for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

The sections are “A Creative Meditation,” written by Libby Roberts, who’s in her first year of study for a master’s degree in composition at Mizzou and is the pianist for the Ensemble; “Breath of Life,” by Ethan Forte, a sophomore composition major at Mizzou; “Efficiency of Locomotion,” by Adam Cohen, also a sophomore composition major; and “Untitled (Room to Breathe)” by Mikkel Christensen, who’s also a first year master’s student in composition.

“Innovation Symphony” does more than explore innovation as a subject, as the composers also have deployed unusual, creative techniques and instruments in their scores. For example, Christensen’s segment uses wood and plastic percussion instruments custom-built by the composer, while Roberts’ work incorporates a high-tech form of audience participation. Her composition includes ambient sounds that audience members will be able to trigger during the performance from three Novation Launchpad Minis, which are push-button controllers designed specifically for electronic music.

Before the premiere in St. Louis, all four composers will be on hand for Venture Cafe St. Louis’ weekly “Thursday Gathering” at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26 at Venture Cafe, 4240 Duncan Ave, to give a presentation about their works and compositional processes. That event also is free and open to the public, with no RSVP required.

Venture Cafe St. Louis is an organization dedicated to connecting innovators to make things happen. Cortex Innovation Community is a 200-acre innovation hub and technology district integrated into St. Louis’ historic Central West End and Forest Park Southeast residential neighborhoods.

Mizzou New Music Initiative awards postdoctoral fellowship to Yoshiaki Onishi

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) and the University of Missouri School of Music have awarded a postdoctoral fellowship to composer Yoshiaki “Yoshi” Onishi.

Starting with the Fall 2018 semester and continuing for two years, Onishi will teach private composition lessons, composition seminar, and freshman ear training to Mizzou students; serve as assistant conductor for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble; and assist with various MNMI programs. He also will begin a major research project to be completed during the two years of his fellowship.

Onishi (pictured) made news last week when he was awarded a 2018 fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, a prestigious prize that since 1925 has been given to scholars, artists and scientists who already have done exceptional work and continue to show promise for the future. As MNMI’s third postdoctoral fellow, he will succeed Carolina Heredia, who was hired by the School of Music to be an assistant professor of composition starting in Fall 2018.

“Yoshiaki Onishi has impressive credentials, and he’ll add another fresh perspective to our composition area,” said Julia Gaines, director of the School of Music and professor of percussion. “With Carolina Heredia joining the full-time faculty, we’re very pleased to have found yet another accomplished individual for this fellowship.”

“As a conductor and clarinetist as well as a teacher and a prize-winning composer, Yoshi has had a variety of experiences that apply directly to what we’re doing with the Mizzou New Music Initiative,” said Stefan Freund, professor of composition and artistic director of MNMI. “Our students definitely will benefit by having him in the mix, and since both of our previous post-doctoral fellows have gone on to tenure-track jobs, we hope that this opportunity will be good for Yoshi, too.”

Born in Hokkaido, Japan, Onishi received his doctorate in composition in 2015 from Columbia University. Previously, he studied composition, clarinet and conducting at University of the Pacific, graduating with highest honors, and earned an artist diploma and master of music degree in composition from Yale School of Music.

He has held teaching positions at Columbia University and Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, Japan, and has made guest lectures and appearances at the University of Hawai’i at Manoā, University of the Pacific, Columbia University, and other academic institutions.

Onishi has had his music presented worldwide by festivals and organizations such as Festival Rainy Days at Philharmonie Luxembourg, Takefu International Music Festival, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, and more; and performed by ensembles and soloists including Asko/Schönberg Ensemble, Klangforum Wien, JACK Quartet, Momenta Quartet, Wet Ink Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Anssi Karttunen, Ari Streisfeld, and Linda Jankowska. His works are published by Edition Gravis in Berlin, Germany.

As a conductor, he describes himself as “deeply engaged” in new music and has conducted many ensembles and orchestras, working closely with composers of his generation. Onishi is one of the founding members of Ensemble Exophonie Tokyo, and previously served as an assistant conductor for the Columbia University Orchestra.

His honors and awards include winning the Gaudeamus Prize, one of the most prestigious awards given to young composers, in 2011; being a two-time finalist for the Akutagawa Award in Music Composition in Japan; an artistic residency fellowship from Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbertide, Italy; a commission from Ensemble Intercontemporain; and more.

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra musicians
to perform three new works by Mizzou composers
on Sunday, April 29 at Powell Hall

Dustin Dunn, Aaron Mencher and Douglas Osmun

Members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, led by the SLSO’s resident conductor Gemma New, will perform three new works by student composers from the University of Missouri School of Music at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 29 at Powell Hall in St. Louis.

Admission to the performance is free and open to the public, but those wishing to attend are requested to RSVP via the SLSO’s website at https://www.slso.org/en/com/community_concerts/community-events/mizzou-composers/.

The event is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between the SLSO and the Mizzou New Music Initiative, with funding from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

Three new works for a 40-piece orchestra were commissioned for the project: Dustin Dunn‘s “Don’t Let the Fire Go Out,” Aaron Mencher‘s “Antrios,” and Douglas Osmun‘s “ghost. receding. (unto a shaded landscape).” The compositions were given a first reading by members of the SLSO in a private session last November in St. Louis, then revised by the composers based in part on feedback from the musicians and conductor.

Dunn, a senior, and Mencher, a junior, are working toward undergraduate degrees in composition at Mizzou, while Osmun is in his second year of study for a master’s degree. Mencher is the 2018 winner of the Sinquefield Composition Prize, Mizzou’s highest award for a student composer, and Osmun won the same award in 2017.

“This is a unique opportunity for our composers,” said Stefan Freund, professor of composition at the University of Missouri School of Music and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, in a statement announcing the program last fall. “We’re delighted to be collaborating with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra to give these students some real, practical experience working with an ensemble of world-class musicians. ”

“The two-session format makes this program particularly valuable,” Freund said. “There are other programs that give young composers the chance to have their works read by a professional orchestra, but most provide just one session with the musicians.”

“Here, because the SLSO and their musicians are willing to do two sessions, our composers will have a chance to evaluate everything from their overall orchestration to the notation of individual parts, make revisions, and then hear the results of the changes they’ve made. That’s a learning experience that’s impossible to get any other way,” he said.

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.

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.

Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) looking for
new orchestral, choral works for concert in March 2018

While writing music may be a solitary activity, composers of new music for orchestra or chorus ultimately need the help of many others to bring their works to life in concert.

That’s why the Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) once again in 2018 will offer performance opportunities for new, large-ensemble music written by Missouri residents.

Now in its eighth year, MOCOP is a collaborative effort involving the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) (pictured), 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.

MOCOP’s 2018 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 11, 2018 at First Baptist Church, 1112 E 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 submitted no later than Monday, December 4, 2017.

Mizzou faculty ensemble ZouM to perform
Friday, September 8 in Columbia and
Saturday, September 9 in St. Louis

The Mizzou faculty collective ZouM will showcase new music from six living composers with performances next weekend in Columbia and St. Louis.

They’ll play at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 8 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the MU campus, then travel to St. Louis for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, September 9 at Washington University’s 560 Music Center.

Admission to the concert in Columbia is $5 for the general public, free to Mizzou students, staff and faculty with ID. The St. Louis concert is free and open to the public.

In all, fifteen Mizzou faculty members (plus one guest composer/performer) will take part in the concerts, which will feature two world premieres commissioned with support from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation and the Mizzou New Music Initiative.

The program for the two concerts will include:

* “Portrait Sequence (Blanching Out),” a 2012 work by Mizzou New Music Initiative managing director Jacob Gotlib that will be performed by percussionists Abby Rehard and Megan Arns.

* “Dejate Caer,” written in 2012 by MNMI’s new post-doctoral fellow Carolina Heredia, and performed by violinist Julie Rosenfeld with pre-recorded electronics by Heredia.

* “Southern Harmony,” composed in 2014 by Jacob Bancks and performed by mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley and pianist Neil Minturn.

* “Winter Haiku,” composed in 2016 by Dennis Leclaire specifically for the Esterhazy String Quartet, which includes Julie Rosenfeld, Eva Szekely (violin), Leslie Perna (viola), and Eli Lara (cello).

* “Tantrums,” a new work by Asha Srinivasan, who was a resident composer at the 2012 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF). The piece was commissioned and will be given its world premiere by MU faculty duo DRAX, featuring Leo Saguiguit on baritone saxophone and Megan Arns on percussion, with the composer on electronics.

     Christopher Stark

* “Monday, Midnight,” a new work commissioned from Christopher Stark, who’s an assistant professor of composition at Washington University and was a resident composer at the 2015 MICF.

The world premiere will be performed by an ensemble including Rosenfeld, Lara, Minturn, and Arns, plus Steven Tharp (tenor), Kristine Poulsen (alto flute), and Wesley Warnhoff (clarinet), conducted by Mizzou professor of composition and MNMI artistic director Stefan Freund.

ZouM is a collective of Mizzou faculty members formed in the spring of 2015 to present contemporary chamber music.

After only two seasons, ZouM already has enlisted the talents of more than 25 faculty performers, composers, and academics from the University of Missouri School of Music to present innovative programs that promote contemporary chamber works by living composers.

Recent projects have featured works by Jennifer Higdon, Gabriel Prokofiev, and Dennis DeSantis, and by Mizzou composers Stefan Freund, Trey Makler, Jacob Gotlib, and Carolina Heredia.

MICF in the news

With the 2017 Mizzou International Composers Festival set to start on Monday, July 24, the MICF has been in the news.

The website I Care If You Listen, which has an international following among composers, musicians, and new music enthusiasts, offered extensive coverage of the festival with “5 Questions for Stefan Freund,” which included several photos and a SoundCloud playlist of the 2016 MICF’s eight world premieres.

Freund – the artistic director of the MICF and the Mizzou New Music Initiative, professor of composition at Mizzou, and cellist for Alarm Will Sound – used the opportunity to tell ICIYL’s worldwide audience all about the festival and how it fits into MNMI’s array of programs for composers at all stages of their careers.

On Sunday, July 16, the Columbia Daily Tribune published a feature story, “Face the Music,” previewing the MICF. The article by the Tribune‘s Aarik Danielsen, which was the cover story of the paper’s “Sunday Blend” section (pictured), featured interviews with resident composers Carolina Heredia and Christopher Mayo.

The Tribune and Danielsen followed up that story with three sidebars published online: one profiling the MICF’s resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound, one featuring a wide-ranging Q&A about the festival with MNMI managing director Jacob Gotlib, and one touting the MICF’s “can’t miss” moments.

Gotlib also was interviewed by Connor Lagore of the Columbia Missourian for that newspaper’s preview of the MICF, “Composers descend upon Columbia for new-music festival,”

On Tuesday, July 25, Columbia’s NBC affiliate KOMU aired a story about the festival by reporter Nick Allen, “Mizzou International Composers Festival begins eighth annual showcase.”

In addition, over the past few weeks the festival’s resident and distinguished guest composers all have talked with KMUC’s Trevor Harris for the station’s weekly “Mizzou Music” program, which airs at 6:00 p.m. every Wednesday. Those interviews have been archived on KMUC’s website.