Posts Tagged ‘ Stefan Freund

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform new works from Missouri composers
and more on Sunday, December 7 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will play their second concert of the academic year (and their final show of 2014)  at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, December 7 in Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Admission is free for Mizzou students, $5 suggested donation for the general public.

The program will feature a turn-of-the-century piece from a Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winning composer, plus four brand new works written right here in Missouri.

The prizewinner in question is Jennifer Higdon (pictured), the acclaimed contemporary composer whose major awards include a Pulitzer in 2010 for her Violin Concerto, and a Grammy that same year for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for her Percussion Concerto.

For this concert, the MNME will play Higdon’s “Celestial Hymns,” a work written in 2000 that further develops some of the material from a previous composition, “Blue Cathedral,” to evoke the details of stained glass within said cathedral.

Also on the program are three new works written by Mizzou composition majors: “Of Trickery and Toys,” by sophomore Erin Hoerchler; “The Pathless Woods,” by freshman Gus Knobbe; and “Nachtmusik” by junior Grant Bradshaw.

The concert will conclude with “Push/Pull,” written in 2013 and revised this year by Kansas City’s Nicholas Omiccioli, who was one of the resident composers at this past summer’s 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 and associate professor.

The Ensemble’s members for the 2014-15 season are Taylor Burkhardt, piano; Rachel Czech, cello; Jose Martínez, percussion; Jeremiah Rittel, clarinets; Erin Spencer, flute; Britney Stutz, violin; and Korin Wahl, viola.

The Ensemble serves as the repertory group for the Mizzou New Music Initiative, an array of programs intended to position the University of Missouri School of Music as a leading center in the areas of composition and new music. In that capacity, they work with faculty, students and visiting composers, and give public performances on campus and in the community.

A look back at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival

Here’s a comprehensive look back at this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival via news coverage and social media:

Columbia media previews 2014 MICF

With the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival starting today, the Columbia Daily Tribune had two stories in Sunday’s paper, plus another online, which together offer a thorough preview of the week’s events.

The Tribune‘s Aarik Danielsen interviewed managing director Billy Lackey and resident composer José Martínez for an overview of the festival, and also wrote separate articles about guest composer Nico Muhly and resident composer Nicholas Omiccioli.

Also last week, Mizzou professor, MICF co-artistic director and Alarm Will Sound cellist Stefan Freund appeared on KBIA’s “Radio Friends with Paul Pepper” to talk about the 2014 MICF. You can see and hear that conversation in the embedded video window below.

Also, if you’d like to get a look inside the program for the concerts on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, you can download a PDF copy here.

Composers Festival Spotlight: Mizzou New Music Ensemble

Mizzou New Music Ensemble

One week from tonight, the Mizzou New Music Ensemble will take the stage at the Missouri Theatre as part of the “Mizzou New Music” concert of the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Comprised of graduate students on scholarship, the Ensemble is directed by 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 2013-14 season are Rachel Czech, cello; Hsu Shun Jung, piano; Mary Jamerson, flute; Katherine Jones, violin; Ian McClaflin, percussion; Shawn Nemati-Baghestani, oboe; and Jeremiah Rittel, clarinet.

(Mizzou alum and former MICF resident composer Patrick David Clark also made a valuable contribution to the group during the fall of 2013, directing the ensemble while Freund was on sabbatical to finish writing his Civil War Oratorio.)

For the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 25, the Ensemble will play “The Rising of the Moon,” a brand-new work by Mizzou faculty composer W. Thomas McKenney; “I know where everything is,” written in 2007 by MICF guest composer Nico Muhly; and “A Leaf on the Wind,” a new work by Justin Pounds, who’s currently pursuing his master’s in composition at Mizzou.

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 four new works by Mizzou composition students that were commissioned for a Forest Park Forever event in St. Louis. The four compositions – Pounds’ “A Leaf on the Wind”; “Elysium” by Trey Makler; “Structural Symbiosis” by Matt Stiens; and “Forest Park Rhapsody” by Benedetto Colagiovanni – were recorded for inclusion on a fundraising DVD planned for release by Forest Park Forever.

The Ensemble also has performed in recent years at the World Chess Hall of Fame, the Sheldon Concert Hall, the Shoenberg Theatre at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

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 hand-on experience in the process of developing new work. In the embedded audio players below, you can hear three examples of pieces that were written at Mizzou during the past year and given their first performances by the Ensemble.

Composition major Trey Makler’s “Southern Portraits” was created for this past year’s collaboration between MNMI and the Stephens College dance department. Guest musician: Sam Jennings (guitar).

“Inception, Conception, Create” by Luke Wayne Henderson, a Mizzou freshman studying for degrees in music education and composition.

“#YOLO” by Trey Makler

2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival to include free events

In addition to the ticketed concerts at the Missouri Theatre, the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival once again will include a number of events that are free of charge.

All the presentations by the Festival’s guest, resident and faculty composers are free and open to the public, and will take place in Room 145 of the Fine Arts Building on the MU campus.

The resident composers will give presentations on their work from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, July 21; and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 22.

Guest composer Nico Muhly will discuss his work at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, followed at 8:15 p.m. by MU faculty composer Stefan Freund.

Then on Wednesday, July 23, guest composer Zhou Long will give his presentation at 7:00 p.m., with MU faculty composer W. Thomas McKenney to follow at 8:30 p.m.

To get a behind-the-scenes look at how the Festival’s eight world premieres and other new works are being prepared for performance, you can see the Festival’s resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound in several rehearsals during the week that will be open to the public at no charge.

Open rehearsals will take place from 9:00 a.m to noon on Tuesday and 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday at the Missouri Theatre; and from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, July 25 in Room 201 of Loeb Hall on the MU campus.

For a complete schedule of events, please see the Mizzou International Composers Festival website.

Mizzou composers, New Music Ensemble
develop new works inspired by Forest Park

Forest Park in St. Louis is the site of all sorts of musical performances, from the sounds of Broadway at the Muny to the St. Louis Symphony’s annual concert on Art Hill to the rock, pop and hip-hop of LouFest, and more.

Now, the park itself has become the subject of music, as four Mizzou students have been commissioned by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation to compose new works for the Mizzou New Music Ensemble to perform at “The Sounds of Forest Park,” a private event next month for members of Forest Park Forever‘s Leffingwell Society.

In February, the four composers and associate professor Stefan Freund, who is supervising the project, toured Forest Park and visited the Jewel Box (pictured), which will be the site of the performance. Each of the four composers then focused on a specific aspect of the park.

Sophomore Benedetto Colagiovanni wrote “Forest Park Rhapsody” to recall the park’s history, while the natural world of trees, plants and animals helped inspire “Elysium,” composed by sophomore Trey Makler.

Matt Steins, a junior at Mizzou, used the park’s architecture as creative fuel for his piece “Structural Symbiosis,” and master’s candidate Justin Pounds’ “A Leaf on the Wind” is meant to evoke all the different activities enjoyed by visitors in search of “fun in the park.”

While the event next month at the Jewel Box is invitation-only, you can get a sneak preview of “The Sounds of Forest Park” compositions at the Mizzou New Music Ensemble’s concert at 7:00 p.m. this Sunday, April 27 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the Mizzou campus.

Oratorio premiere draws media attention

The impending premiere this week of Stefan Freund’s Civil War oratorio is drawing plenty of attention from Columbia media.

Last week, Freund was interviewed by Trevor Harris of KBIA, and on Sunday, the Columbia Tribune published a feature story by Amy Wilder previewing the production.

Mizzou’s news service also had a preview story about the premiere, as did the Columbia Missourian. Though the latter article now is available only to subscribers, the Missourian also produced a short video to go with it, which you can view in the embedded video window below.

The world premiere of “The War Amongst Families and Neighbors: The Civil War in Missouri” takes place at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, April 24 in Jesse Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased online here, or at the door.

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

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.