Posts Tagged ‘ Stephanie Berg

Stefan Freund’s “Cyrillic Dreams” to be performed
by St. Louis Symphony in concert on Friday, April 29

The St. Louis Symphony once again will feature music from a Mizzou composer as part of their subscription season when they perform Stefan Freund’s “Cyrillic Dreams” in a concert at 8:00 p.m. Friday, April 29 at Powell Hall in St. Louis.

Freund (pictured) is associate professor of composition and music theory at the University of Missouri, co-artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and director of the Mizzou New Music Ensemble. The Memphis native also is a cellist and founding member of the new music group Alarm Will Sound, and is the music director and principal conductor of the Columbia Civic Orchestra.

“Cyrillic Dreams” was composed in 2008 with a commission from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, and was inspired by Freund’s trip to Russia that year. It was premiered in a performance by the Columbia Civic Orchestra on March 24, 2009 in Vienna’s Minoritenkirche with the composer conducting, and subsequently has been played by orchestras including the Tennessee Tech University Orchestra and the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, and at the Missouri River Festival of the Arts.

The St. Louis Symphony will play the work on a program that also includes popular favorites such as Bernstein’s “Candide Overture,” Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” and Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The concert is part of the St. Louis Symphony’s “Music You Know” series conducted by music director David Robertson, which aims to connect listeners to classical music by presenting “familiar tunes we’re certain you know, and others that you’ll long to hear again and again.”

“Cyrillic Dreams” also is one of just eight works by living composers on the orchestra’s schedule this season. It’s the second time they’ve played a work by a Mizzou composer, having performed “Ravish and Mayhem” by Mizzou alumna Stephanie Berg in January, 2014 at Powell Hall.

“When I wrote “Cyrillic Dreams,” I imagined the rich acoustic of the three huge churches in Austria where the piece was to be performed,” said Freund. “I think it will sound equally glorious in the majestic setting of Powell Hall.”

Tickets for the St. Louis Symphony’s concert featuring the performance of “Cyrillic Dreams” can be purchased in person at the Powell Hall box office or via their website at

MNMI alumni in the news

Several Mizzou composition alumni have been in the news this fall:

* Grant Fonda, who earned his master’s degree at Mizzou in 2012, was featured as a “composer to watch” as part of ASCAP’s “Composer Spotlight.”

Fonda (pictured) was selected earlier this year to take part in the the organization’s Film Scoring Workshop in Los Angeles.

* Michael Anderson, who graduated and won the Sinquefield Composition Prize in 2012, had a new work, “The Heart of A Land” premiered by the combined forces of the Parkville Symphonic Band and the Platte City Community Band at their joint concert on October 26. A native of Platte City, Anderson wrote the piece on commission for the concert celebrating the 175th anniversary of Platte County.

* Stephanie Berg, who’s originally from Parkville, also had a piece on the same concert, as the Parkville Symphonic Band played her work “Pick Up Your Sword and Follow Me!” The band also will play Berg’s “Summoning Fire” at their spring concert on April 12.

Berg, who earned her master’s degree in 2013, currently is finishing up an original score for a theatrical production of “A Christmas Carol!” that will run from December 12 through December 21 at  the Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock, MO. She also learned recently that the Quincy (IL) Symphony Orchestra Association will be performing her work “Ravish and Mayhem” as part of a concert on April 18.

And if all that weren’t enough, the DDG Trio has scheduled several performances of Berg’s woodwind trio “The Featherlight Ballet.”  They’ll play the work in Conway, AR on a concert series called “Under the Dome” on January 25; at Harding University on February 12; and as part of the Arkansas Symphony’s chamber series River Rhapsodies on March 3. You can hear their recording of the piece in the embedded SoundCloud player below.

MICF resident composers in the news

Here’s the latest news and updates from some of the resident composers at past Mizzou International Composers Festivals:

* Jeremy Podgursky, MICF 2010, is one of six winners this year of a Charles Ives scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The $7,500 scholarships are awarded to composition students of great promise, as selected by a committee of academy members including MICF 2010 guest composer Martin Bresnick, Joan Tower, Samuel Adler, Mario Davidovsky, John Harbison, Stephen Hartke, Tania León, and Tobias Picker. The Ives scholarships and the academy’s other awards in music will be presented at a ceremony in May.

* Asha Srinivasan, MICF 2012, (pictured) is having compositions performed at three major events this month.  She was the featured composer and her works “Dviraag” and “Bapu” were played at the Western Illinois University New Music Festival, March 4 in Macomb, IL.  Srinivasan’s “Keerthanata” will be played at the Region V conference of the Society of Composers, Inc., held March 27-29 at Ball State University in Muncie, IN, and  her tuba and fixed media work “Dyadic Affinities” will be played at the national conference of SEAMUS, aka the Society of Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States which takes place the same weekend  at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.

* A new oboe trio composed by Stephanie Berg, MICF 2012 and a Mizzou almuna who earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at MU, will be performed next year as part of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra‘s chamber music series.

* David Crowell, MICF 2012, was the subject of a recent profile in the Huffington Post. The accompanying audio samples include “Fallout,” which Crowell wrote for Alarm Will Sound and the MICF. His new percussion work “Celestial Sphere” will be performed by Ian David Rosenbaum and a consortium of percussionists on March 23 at the Philips Collection in Washington D.C., while Crowell and his band Empyrean Atlas will play March 24 at Roulette in Brooklyn.

* Speaking of Alarm Will Sound, they’ve been using David Biedenbender‘s “Schism,” composed for the 2011 MICF, as part of their work in St. Louis with students at Webster University’s Community Music School. AWS and the CMS students will perform the piece together on Friday, May 30 at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The video below shows them working side-by-side on “Schism,” while the audio player contains AWS’ recording of it from the MICF.

St. Louis Symphony performs Stephanie Berg’s “Ravish and Mayhem”

Mizzou alumna Stephanie Berg‘s composition “Ravish and Mayhem” was performed by the St. Louis Symphony on January 10 and 11 at Powell Hall in St. Louis to standing ovations from the audiences and rave reviews from local critics.

Writing for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, classical music critic Sarah Bryan Miller found “Ravish and Mayhem” to be “a really delightful work…It’s a fun, creative piece, and (guest conductor Andrey) Boreyko and the orchestra rendered it with accuracy and elan.” Miller also called Berg “a promising new compositional voice,” concluding, “We can trust that this won’t be the last we hear from Berg.”

Meanwhile, in his review on the website of KDHX (88.7 FM), critic Chuck Lavazzi noted that the performance “drew enthusiastic ovations for both the orchestra and—when Mr. Boreyko persuaded her to appear on stage—Ms. Berg as well.”

“This unabashedly cinematic and vivid piece was a delight from the opening Coplandesque fanfares and melismatic woodwind figures to the brass glissandi near the end that conjured up images of trumpeting elephants,” said Lavazzi.

Berg (pictured), who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mizzou and won the 2009 Sinquefield Composition Prize, wrote “Ravish and Mayhem” to be performed by Alarm Will Sound at the 2012 Mizzou International Composers Festival. It’s the first work created under the auspices of the Mizzou New Music Initiative to be performed by a major symphony orchestra.

(It’s also one of two pieces the St. Louis Symphony played this season from composers involved with the 2012 MICF; in September, they performed “Rapture” by Patrick Harlin of the University of Michigan, who also was a resident composer for the festival that year.)

The reviews culminated a week of media attention for Berg, in which she was interviewed on Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis’ “Friday With the Arts” and St. Louis Public Radio/KWMU’s “Cityscape”; appeared on KSDK’s “Show Me St. Louis” and the mid-day news broadcasts on KTVI and KPLR; and was the subject of articles in St. Louis magazine, Alive magazine and the weekly South County Times and Webster-Kirkwood Times newspapers.

Berg also was interviewed during the intermission of KWMU’s broadcast of the Symphony’s concert on January 11. You can listen to that interview, and see the SLSO program notes for the entire concert, here.

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


This week, a TV commercial promoting the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival began airing in Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis and Kansas City. The commercial is part of an extensive campaign that also includes ads in daily newspapers and on radio in central Missouri; in Missouri Life, Inside Columbia and the St. Louis Business Journal; and online, as well as posters, social media, a direct mailing of the Festival brochure to music lovers across the state, and more.

Astute listeners may recognize the music in the :30 TV spot as an excerpt from Stephanie Berg’s “Ravish and Mayhem,” written when Berg was a resident composer for the 2012 MICF. The script was written by Jeff Goetz and voiced by L. Harvey Gold. Production was handled by Sean Treni of Pelopidas Media, using photos shot by Pure Exposure.

Mizzou New Music Initiative in the news

In addition to the outstanding feature article about the Mizzou New Music Initiative in the May issue of St. Louis magazine linked here a few days ago, the MNMI and affiliated composers and musicians also have been the subjects of various other recent items in the media.

* Composer, clarinetist and Mizzou alumna Stephanie Berg was profiled in the Columbia Missourian after the announcement that the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra would play her work Ravish and Mayhem during their 2013-14 season.

Patrick Harlin, who attends the University of Michigan and, like Berg, was a resident composer at the 2012 Mizzou International Composers Festival, also will have a work played next season by the SLSO.

* The recent awarding of prizes in this year’s Creating Original Music Project (C.O.M.P.) and the culminating C.O.M.P. Festival also got some media attention, including photo coverage from the Columbia Daily Tribune and stories about individual winners from local editions of, the Suburban Journals in St. Louis, and the Ladue School District, home to three-time C.O.M.P. winners Ande Siegel and Menea Kefalov.

* And in more C.O.M.P. related news, the singing-songwriting sisters and former C.O.M.P. winners Bella and Lily Ibur have just successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to record their first CD of original music, which they hope to release later this year.

Mizzou New Music Initiative in the news

The Mizzou New Music Initiative has been in the news for several reasons in recent weeks. Here’s a recap of some recent coverage:

Last week’s announcement of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation’s $1.4 million gift to the Initiative was a featured story on the University’s news service, and in Mizzou magazine and Mizzou Weekly.  Local coverage included stories in the Daily Tribune, Missourian and Maneater, and on KBIA and KOMU.

The gift also was covered in other publications around the state, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and St. Louis Business Journal, and the Associated Press story about it was picked up by dozens of media outlets around the country.

The previous week, the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) concert on March 9 was spotlighted in an article by Aarik Danielsen for the Columbia Daily Tribune, and this year’s MOCOP High School division winner Dustin Dunn was featured in his hometown paper in Ironton.

In other news, if you missed the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s recent town hall meeting,  at which the SLSO announced that they’ll perform new works next season by Mizzou’s Stephanie Berg and former Mizzou International Composers Festival resident composer Patrick Harlin,  you can watch it online at the website of cable network HEC-TV.

Finally, our congratulations also go out to Patrick Harlin for being awarded a 2013 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.