Posts Tagged ‘ Stefan Freund

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 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.

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project chooses works
by Clark, Strobel and Williams for performance on Sunday, March 16

For a composer of orchestral music, getting a new work performed by a live orchestra represents not only the culmination of many hours of hard work but also the realization of a dream.

Now, three Missouri composers will see their work rewarded and hear their dreams realized, as the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have announced the selection of three orchestral works written by Missouri residents to be performed by the CCO at a concert on Sunday, March 16 in Columbia.

The winning compositions were chosen in a statewide competition conducted under the auspices of the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP). Each winner will receive a $500 honorarium from MOCOP’s sponsor, the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

The works chosen for 2014 in the Open category are FE 700° C by Patrick David Clark and From the Book of the Dead by Robert Strobel. Clark, a native of St. Louis who now lives in Columbia, earned both a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s in composition from the University of Missouri. Strobel, also a resident of Columbia, is working on a master’s in composition at Mizzou.

The winning composition in the High School category is Firelight by Alex Williams, an 18-year-old senior at Neosho High School in Neosho.

The winners were selected through a blind judging process by John Cheetham, professor emeritus of music theory and composition at the University of Missouri, and Bruce Gordon, former orchestra manager for CCO.

All three winning compositions will be performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra as part of their annual concert of music by living composers at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 16 at Columbia College’s Launer Auditorium, 901 Rogers St. in Columbia.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students, and can be purchased in advance online at http://cco.missouri.org/ or at the door.

The concert also will include the Overture from Mizzou professor and CCO music director Stefan Freund’s forthcoming Civil War Oratorio; American Sojourn by Kevin Hartnett, a former winner in the statewide Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) competition for student composers; and Mutaciones I by Mizzou student José Martínez, which won the $6,000 National Prize for Culture in Martínez’ native country of Colombia.

Freund will conduct the orchestra’s performances of his Overture and of Martínez’ work, while Patrick Clark will conduct his own work and Robert Strobel’s composition. Brian Silvey, assistant professor of music education at Mizzou, will lead the performance of Hartnett’s American Sojourn, and MU junior Grant Bradshaw, assistant conductor of the Missouri Symphony Society Conservatory, will conduct Williams’ Firelight.

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 Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) is a collaborative effort by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and the Columbia Civic Orchestra to bring attention to orchestral works written in the state of Missouri. By identifying composers of orchestral music and providing opportunities for the performance of their work, MOCOP strives to showcase the talent of Missouri and share it with the community.

Patrick David Clark

Robert Strobel

Alex Williams

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to open 2013-14 season
on Friday, October 11 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will open their 2013-14 season with a concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, October 11 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 include works by the acclaimed contemporary composers Daniel Asia and Nico Muhly, as well as the world premieres of four pieces written by composers affiliated with Mizzou.

Daniel Asia’s ”Breath in a Ram’s Horn” (2003) is a song cycle based on five poems by writer Paul Pines, described as “imbued with images of family and Judaism, and their intertwining…filled with the difficulties and anguish of a life as it is really lived.”

”I Know Where Everything Is,” written by Muhly in 2007 on commission from the Seattle Chamber Players, “is a cycle of chords in a pile. Each chord has a series of possible voicings, and a series of possible quick ornamentations,” which begin with the most moderate and progress through a series of variations to a vigorous conclusion.

“Rhetoric and Drama in Ahuan Tones,” a brand new work by Mizzou alumnus Patrick David Clark, is a musical manifestation of twilight colors, using soft, delicate sounds and establishing “a feeling of free space and suspended time.”

Completing the program will be three works composed this year by current Mizzou students. Matthew Stiens’ “Rituals of Ancient Voices” is “a musical depiction of a druidic ceremony as I saw it,” utilizing extreme registers of each instrument in the ensemble and unusual techniques. “#YOLO” by Trey Makler is described as “energetic and exciting, heavily influenced by rock and popular music,” while Justin Pounds’ “Electric Brain,” is ”a fast-paced piece focused on a series of mixed-meter grooves inspired by the progressive rock genre.”

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 and associate professor. However, while Freund is on research leave this semester, Patrick David Clark is directing the group. Clark earned his master’s degree in conducting at Mizzou in 2012; was the winner of the 2011 Sinquefield Composition Prize; and also holds a bachelor’s in composition from Mizzou and a DMA in composition from Rice University.

The Mizzou New Music 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. As the repertory group for the Initiative, they work with faculty, students and visiting composers, and give public performances on campus and in the community.

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, clarinets.

Composers Festival Spotlight: Mizzou New Music Ensemble

Mizzou New Music Ensemble

Although resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound understandably attracts a lot of attention during the Mizzou International Composers Festival, let’s not forget that the “Mizzou New Music” concert on Friday, July 26 at the Missouri Theatre will showcase the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s “home team,” the Mizzou New Music Ensemble.

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 2012-13 are Rachel AuBuchon, piano; Stephanie Berg, clarinet; Mary Jamerson, flute; Katherine Jones, violin; Ian McClaflin, percussion; and Matthew Pierce, cello.

During the academic year, the Ensemble performs a series of concerts on campus, and they also play off campus as well. In May, they presented a standing-room-only performance at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis, playing original music by Mizzou composers Joe Hills, Haley Myers, and Robert Strobel written in response to Beyond the Humanities, an exhibition of work by St. Louis artist Bill Smith.

They’ve also performed in recent years at the Sheldon Concert Hall, the Shoenberg Theatre at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

For Friday night’s Festival program, the Mizzou New Music Ensemble will play music by Mizzou composers W. Thomas McKenney and Paul Seitz and guest composers Augusta Read Thomas and Daniel Kellogg.

The Kellogg work, Divinum Mysterium, is an extended five-movement piece commissioned in 2000 by the chamber ensemble eighth blackbird and based on the 13th century chant melody “Divinum Mysterium.” The Ensemble rehearsed Divinium Mysterium throughout the academic year, presenting individual movements at each of their on-campus concerts in preparation for performing the entire work at the Festival.

Each of those concerts also featured 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.

“Reflections” by Trey Anthony Makler

“Penrose Staircase” by Matt Steins

“I’m Back at My Cliff” by Daniel Cox