Posts Tagged ‘ Stefan Freund

Summer Festival Spotlight: Alarm Will Sound

Continuing with our series of posts focusing on various participants in the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, today we shine out spotlight on Alarm Will Sound.

As the resident ensemble for the Festival, AWS plays an essential role in bringing to life the new works created by the resident composers. Not many groups would be willing or able to take on the challenge of premiering eight new pieces in one night with limited rehearsal time, but Alarm Will Sound has accomplished the task each year of the MNMSF with consummate skill and panache.

Former in 2001 by former students at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, Alarm Will Sound (pictured) is a 20-member ensemble “dedicated to the creation, performance, and recording of today’s music. It is an advocate for innovative work by established and emerging composers, especially works that incorporate theatrical and multimedia elements by choreographers, visual artists, designers, and directors. It fosters the education and professional development of young musicians through residencies, master classes, readings and workshops. With the goal of cultivating a diverse and sophisticated audience, the ensemble brings intelligence and a sense of adventure to the rich variety of musical expression in the contemporary world.” You can read a detailed history of the group here.

Alarm Will Sound is connected to the University of Missouri School of Music via Stefan Freund, associate professor of composition and music theory at Mizzou who’s also the cellist for AWS. They’ve been the resident ensemble for the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival since its inception, and maintain an active touring schedule throughout the year.

For example, since appearing in Columbia last summer, they’ve had a variety of musical adventures, starting with a trip to Europe in the fall of 2011 to give concerts in Poland and Italy. During the 2011-12 academic year, AWS performed in New York City, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington state. Most recently, they’ve been involved in a series of multimedia presentations of John Cage’s “Song Books” in Ireland, the Netherlands and, this coming weekend, back in New York.

This year in Columbia, in addition to premiering eight new pieces at the Festival’s finale on Saturday, July 28, Alarm Will Sound also will perform a completely different program on Thursday, July 26 at the Missouri Theatre. That concert will feature works by Oliver Knussen and Caleb Burhans, as well as pieces written by the 2012 Festival’s guest composers Steven Stucky and Donnacha Dennehy.

AWS will perform Stucky’s Etudes, a concerto for recorded and orchestra featuring Erin Lesser as soloist, as well what are being described as “scenes from Hunger, a work in progress” by Dennehy that will spotlight guest artist, mezzo-soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird.

Down below, you can see and hear Alarm Will Sound in action in some of videos posted recently to their YouTube channel.

You also can hear most of the music they’ve premiered at the past two Mizzou New Music Festivals via SoundCloud. Audio files from the 2010 MNMSF are here, while the tracks from 2011 are here.

Alarm Will Sound plays Caleb Burhans’ oh ye of little faith… (do you know where your children are?)

Aphex Twin’s “Cliffs,” arranged by Caleb Burhans with staging by Nigel Maister. Recorded March 28, 2012 at Bowling Green State University.

A Song for Wade (This is Not That Song), composed by Matt Marks with lyrics by Royce Vavrek.

Tickets now on sale for 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival

Tickets are now on sale for the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival’s concerts on Thursday, July 26; Friday, July 27; and Saturday, July 28.

Now in its third year, the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival will take place starting Monday, July 23 through Saturday, July 28 in Columbia, MO. The MNMSF already is established as one of the most noteworthy contemporary music events in the Midwest, attracting attention from composers, musicians, music educators and media around the world.

This year’s grand finale will feature the world premieres of eight new works written by the festival’s resident composers and performed by the acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound (pictured). That concert will take place at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, July 28 at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St. in downtown Columbia.

The festival’s other two public performances are:

*Alarm Will Sound and special guest artist soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, July 26 at the Missouri Theatre; and

* Mizzou New Music, featuring music by MNMSF guest composers Steven Stucky and Donnacha Dennehy and by MU faculty members, performed by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and the Mizzou Concert Jazz Band at 8:00 p.m. Friday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre.

Festival passes good for admission to all three concerts are on sale for $40 for adults, $20 for students. Single tickets are priced at $16 for adults, $8 for students. Tickets can be charged by phone using Visa, MasterCard or Discover by calling 1-573-882-3781.

To buy tickets online, or to see a complete listing of Mizzou New Music Summer Festival events, visit

(A $2.00 service fee and Missouri sales tax of 7.35% already are included in the price of each ticket. An additional fee of $2.50 per ticket will be charged for online purchases. For these fees, a three-concert festival pass is considered one ticket.)

Three local hotels – the Wingate by Wyndham, the Tiger Hotel, and the Hampton Inn & Suites Columbia – are offering discounts on rooms to festival attendees for the nights of July 26, 27 & 28. Rates range from $78 to $135 per night, plus tax. For details, visit

In addition to these three concerts, the MNMSF also will include several free events, such as open rehearsals and presentations by the participating composers. A complete schedule of those events will be released at a later date.

The eight resident composers were selected from across the USA through a portfolio review process to participate in the festival and create a new work for Alarm Will Sound. They are:

* Stephanie Berg – Columbia, MO
* Brian Ciach – Bloomington, IN
* David Crowell – New York, NY
* Stylianos Dimou – Rochester, NY
* Ted Goldman – Rochester, NY
* Patrick Harlin – Ann Arbor, MI
* Charlie Piper – London, England
* Asha Srinivasan – Appleton, WI

During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from guest composers Steven Stucky, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for composition and a professor at Cornell University, and Donnacha Dennehy, a native of Ireland and award-winning composer who founded Dublin’s critically acclaimed Crash Ensemble. The resident composers also will take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound; give presentations on their music; and receive a premiere performance and professional live recording of their work.

The Mizzou New Music Summer Festival is made possible through the generous support of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, led by Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield. The Missouri Arts Council and the MU Chancellor’s Distinguished Visitors Program also provided financial assistance for the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival.

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis to host
“New Music, New Works” on Saturday, May 19

Inspired by the Great Rivers Biennial 2012 exhibition, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) and the Mizzou New Music Initiative will present “New Music, New Works” at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, May 19. The event at CAM, 3750 Washington Blvd in St. Louis’ Grand Center district, is free and open to the public.

The concert will feature the world premiere of original compositions by University of Missouri students Grant Fonda, Joe Hills, and Joseph Weidinger, each of whom has created a new piece that attempts to capture the aural essence of one of the three Great Rivers Biennial artists’ projects.

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble, directed by University of Missouri associate professor Stefan Freund, will perform all three compositions, along with Ad Parnassum, a piece by 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner Steven Stucky that was inspired by sketches by artist Paul Klee.

“There’s been a historic link between the visual and musical arts, and we’re glad to be able to continue that tradition,” said Freund. “Any time we have an off-campus performance, it’s an opportunity for our composers and performers to step out of the academic world and into the real world. That’s a valuable experience for them.”

“Collaborating with CAM provides an interesting challenge for these bright, young composers, while also introducing their talents to new audiences,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, which provides financial support for the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “Composers want their music to be performed in front of audiences. Forging alliances like this one is another way our new music programs in Missouri are helping them achieve their aspirations.”

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Freund, and serves as the repertory group for the Mizzou New Music Initiative, working with faculty, students and visiting composers, and give public performances on campus and in the community.

The Ensemble’s members for the 2011-12 season are Stephanie Berg, clarinets; Ryan Borden, percussion; Young Kim, flutes; Matthew Pierce, cello; David Snow, violin; and Renata Tavernard, piano. For this concert, Rachel AuBuchon also will perform on piano, and doctoral candidate Christopher Baumgartner will conduct the Steven Stucky composition Ad Parnassum

Presented in partnership with Gateway Foundation, the Great Rivers Biennial 2012 is organized by CAM and curated by Kelly Shindler, Assistant Curator. The exhibition will be on view May 11 – August 12, 2012. Opening Night for the exhibition is Friday, May 11, 2012, 7:00 – 9:00 pm.

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) “promotes meaningful engagement with the most relevant and innovative art being made today. As a non-collecting institution, CAM focuses its efforts on featuring local, national and international, well-known and newly established artists from diverse backgrounds, working in all types of media. As St. Louis’ forum for interpreting culture through contemporary visual art, CAM connects visitors to the dynamic art and ideas of our times. As a gathering place for experiencing contemporary art and culture, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis pushes the boundaries of innovation, creativity, and expression.”

Support for CAM’s exhibition program is provided by Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield; Nancy Reynolds and Dwyer Brown; William E. Weiss Foundation; Mary Ann and Andy Srenco; and Étant donnés, the French-American Fund for Contemporary Art.

Grant Fonda

Joe Hills

Joseph Wiedinger

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project selects four winning new works

The Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) and the Mizzou New Music Initiative have announced the selection of four orchestral compositions written by Missouri residents to be performed by the CCO at a concert in March. The works were chosen in a statewide competition conducted under the auspices of the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP). The winners will receive a $500 honorarium from MOCOP’s sponsor, the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

The three works chosen in the Open category are “Euphoria Overture” by Michael Blackwood, who lives in Florissant and teaches orchestra for the Rockwood School District; “This Is the Garden” by Joseph Eidson, a Jefferson City native now residing in New Cumberland, PA and teaching music at Bucknell University; and “Menuet Macabre” by Warren Gooch, professor of music theory and composition at Truman State University in Kirksville. The winning composition in the High School category is “The Tragedy of the Hero” by Edward Crouse, a sophomore at Jefferson City High School.

The winners were selected by judges John Cheetham, professor emeritus of music theory and composition at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Bruce Gordon, orchestra manager for CCO. The judges also awarded an Honorable Mention to composer Michael Strausbaugh for his piece “Erebus,” and a Special Mention to Ryan Jesperson for “I. Jest.”

The four winning compositions will be performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra as part of a concert of new music by Missouri composers at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, March 10 at Columbia College’s Launer Auditorium, 901 Rogers Street in Columbia. The program also will include recent orchestral compositions by two University of Missouri students, Stephanie Berg’s “Distraction” and Patrick Clark’s “Ptolemy’s Carousel.”

Six different conductors will lead the six pieces, with CCO music director Stefan Freund conducting Berg’s work and Patrick Clark conducting his own piece. Also wielding the baton will be Rob Shay, director of the MU School of Music (Blackwood); MU symphonic band director Brian Silvey (Eidson); Alex Blanton, director of Philharmonia Columbia (Gooch); and Grant Bradshaw, assistant conductor of the Missouri Symphony Society Conservatory (Crouse).

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.

Edward Crouse

Joseph Eidson

Warren Gooch

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to feature works from Missouri composers in concert on Monday, October 10 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) will open its 2011-12 season with a concert at 8:00 p.m., Monday, October 10 at Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Admission to the concert is free and open to the public.

The concert will feature a program written entirely by Missouri composers and including three world premiere performances, said Stefan Freund, who directs the Ensemble.

“Drumming,” composed in 2011 by Mizzou senior Joe Widinger, is “filled with rhythmic energy as figures are passed amongst members of the ensemble,” said Freund, while Mizzou graduate student Grant Fonda’s “Amelia: 1937” (2011) is an orchestrated homage to legendary aviator Amelia Earhart.

Donovan Tousignant, another MU undergrad, is the composer of “Sleeper: Dreamer pt. 2” (2011), which Freund said “includes a wide range of expression from intimate solos to majestically broad climaxes.” To complete the program, Patrick David Clark, a Mizzou graduate student and winner of last year’s Sinquefield Composition Prize, will conduct a performance of his 1995 work “Rhyming Shapes.”

The six-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Freund, a cellist, composer and associate professor, and 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.

The Ensemble’s members for the 2011-12 season are Stephanie Berg, clarinet; Ryan Borden, percussion; Young Kim, flute; Matthew Pierce, cello; David Snow, violin; and Renata Tavernard, piano. 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.

After the season opener, the Ensemble will present three more concerts this academic year at Whitmore Recital Hall, on Monday, December 5; Sunday, March 4, and Monday, April 16.

New Music Ensemble to perform Monday, December 6 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) will present their second performance of the 2010-11 season at 8:00 p.m. Monday, December 6 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus. If you’re in Columbia or anywhere nearby, you’re invited to attend the concert, which is free and open to the public.

The Ensemble is directed by Stefan Fruend, Associate Professor, Composition & Music Theory, and this season is their first full year of rehearsals and performances with a complete roster of musicians. All of us are delighted to have this talented group representing the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and we hope you’ll take this opportunity to get to know them a bit as individuals, too:

* Stephanie Berg, clarinet – Berg received her Bachelor of Music degree in clarinet performance from Mizzou in December 2008, and now is pursuing a Master’s degree in clarinet performance and composition. She also performs in the University Philharmonic, and is a member of the 9th Street Philharmonic and the Columbia Civic Orchestra, playing Bb, A, Eb, and bass clarinets wherever required.

Berg also is very active in music composition. This is her third year serving as the project manager of the Creating Original Music Program (C.O.M.P.), and she was the 2009 recipient of the Sinquefield Composition Prize, resulting in the commissioned work, “Motive and Reflection” for full orchestra. She also recently received a commission for the 9th Street Philharmonic; has had several works performed by the New Music Ensemble, including a premiere at the St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum; and was accepted to the Atlantic Music Festival Composition Program.

* Ian Derrickson, percussion – Derrickson currently is in his second year as a Master’s student at Mizzou. A native of Chillicothe, Missouri, he attended Missouri Western State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education. During his time at Missouri Western, he received instruction from Dr. Dennis Rogers, Kevin Bobo, Tracy Thomas, and Doug Auwarter, and after graduation, he taught 5-12 instrumental music at Braymer High School in Braymer, Missouri.

In addition to performing with the New Music Ensemble, Derrickson currently is involved in the University of Missouri Percussion Department under the direction of Julia Gaines, and serves as president of the MU Percussion Society, a student organization that promotes percussion performance and education on the MU campus.

* Young Kim, flute – A native of South Korea who began her music studies in her home country, Kim won numerous awards and competitions there before going abroad to further her education.  She currently is studying with Steven Geibel at Mizzou and working toward a PhD in Musicology, which will be awarded upon her return home.

Kim also has studied in the UK for a postgraduate Diploma at Royal College of Music in London and for a Master of Music degree at Canterbury Christ Church University. In addition to performing in South Korea, the US and the UK, she has performed in China and Japan, too. Kim says she’s curious about American composers, and is eager to learn and perform contemporary music with the Ensemble.

* Matthew Pierce, cello – A native Minnesotan and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, Pierce is a second-year graduate student in cello performance at Mizzou. He first performed in Columbia in 1998 as a member of the Missouri Symphony Society’s cello section. Later that year, he won a position with the Cedar Rapids Symphony (now known as Orchestra Iowa), but relocated to New England after two seasons to pursue further musical opportunities. While in Massachusetts, Pierce spent a combined 12 professional seasons as the principal cellist of the Plymouth Philharmonic and of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra while also maintaining an active chamber music schedule and teaching private lessons.

He was also a frequent contributor to many other musical organizations across the region, including the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, the Cape Symphony, the Boston Philharmonic, and the Company Theatre. Pierce returned to Columbia in the fall of 2009 as a member of the newly formed New Music Ensemble. In addition to continuing his musical studies this fall, he also is expanding his ongoing research into the fundamental interconnections between emotion, instinct, and intelligence.

* David Snow, violin – Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Snow is a first year masters student studying violin performance at Mizzou, He has played violin since childhood, and did his undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with Professor David Neely. While in Nebraska, Snow performed in many university ensembles as well as with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra.

He began to explore 20th and 21st century music as a freshman at UNL with Dr. Randall Snyder, and since then, he’s been playing new compositions written by multiple student composers. Snow says he enjoys playing new music because of the challenges it holds for the performers, the listeners, and even the composers themselves.

* Renata Tavernard, piano – Born in Brazil, Tavernard currently is pursuing her M.M degree in piano performance at Mizzou, studying with Dr. Peter Miyamoto. She began her piano studies at eight years old with Lucia Uchoa at the Federal University of Pará Music School. In 2001, she was accepted to the Carlos Gomes Conservatory, and three years later earned her bachelor degree with Professor Gloria Caputo.

Tavernard has studied chamber music with Professor Marilia Caputo, and worked as a piano and chamber music teacher as well as accompanist at both the Federal State of Pará University and State University of Pará. In 2004, she formed the group “Duo Deno” with violinist Ronaldo Sarmanho, and she also has performed in the master classes of Daniel Schene, Gabriella Affonso, Harold Brown, Edson Elias, Ivani Venturieri, Fany Solter, and Ricardo Castro.

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will be performing both on campus and in Columbia and surrounding communities a number of times during 2011. Stay tuned for more news of those future performances….

(Photo: The 2010-11 Mizzou New Music Ensemble (from left) –  Stefan Freund, Young Kim, David Snow, Renata Tavernard, Matthew Pierce, Ian Derrickson and Stephanie Berg. )

Spotlight on Stefan Freund

Cellist and composer Stefan Freund is a big part of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. As associate professor of composition and music theory, Freund teaches young composers at Mizzou and directs the Creating Original Music Project (COMP). He’ll be busy during the inaugural Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, too, both as a teacher and as a performer with Alarm Will Sound, the Fest’s resident ensemble.

A native of Memphis, TN, Freund received a BM with High Distinction from the Indiana University School of Music and an MM and a DMA from the Eastman School of Music. His primary composition teachers included Pulitzer Prize winners Christopher Rouse and Joseph Schwantner as well as Augusta Read Thomas, Frederick Fox, Claude Baker, David Dzubay, and Don Freund, his father. He studied cello with Steven Doane, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, and Peter Spurbeck and others.

Freund is the recipient of numerous prizes, including multiple awards from BMI and  ASCAP, a Music Merit Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters, and the Howard Hanson Prize. He was selected as the 2004 Music Teachers National Association-Shepherd Distinguished Composer of the Year, and in 2006 was awarded the MU Provost’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award.

Freund also has received many commissions as a composer, and his music has been performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Weill Recital Hall, NPR’s St. Paul Sunday Morning, the National Gallery of Art, the Aspen Music Festival, the Art Institute of Chicago, the International Performing Arts Center (Moscow), Glinka Hall (St. Petersburg), Queen’s Hall (DK), the Bank of Ireland Arts Centre, and other concert halls in Austria, Germany, and Greece. His works have been recorded on the Innova, Crystal, and Centaur labels.

As a cellist, Freund has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, the Hermitage Theatre (RU), the Muzikgebouw (ND), the World Financial Center, and Miller Theatre.  He has recorded on the Nonesuch, Cantaloupe, and I Virtuosi labels as well as Sweetspot Music DVD.

Previously an assistant professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music, Freund also has served as a faculty member of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, and presently is the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Columbia Civic Orchestra.

For more about Freund, check out “The next sound: A new initiative supports aspiring composers, ” a feature story written by Dale Smith for the summer 2010 issue of Mizzou magazine.

In the first embedded video window below, you can see and hear Freund conducting the Columbia Civic Orchestra in a performance of his composition “Cyrillic Dream,” created in 2009 and inspired by a visit to Russia and the omnipresence there of the Cyrillic alphabet.  In the second window, you can check out Freund and Alarm Will Sound performing their rendition of “Revolution 9” by the Beatles in July 2009 at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC.