Posts Tagged ‘ W. Thomas McKenney

Mizzou New Music Ensemble to present works
by Freund, Haas, Visconti, McKenney, and Heruth
on Monday, February 27 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble’s first performance of 2017 will include music from a visiting guest composer, new works written by a longtime faculty member and a Mizzou student, and a sneak preview of this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, February 27 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus. General admission is $5 for the public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff.

Visiting the Mizzou campus for a guest composer residency that weekend will be Don Freund, professor of composition at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and the father of University of Missouri professor and Mizzou New Music Initiative artistic director Stefan Freund. The Ensemble will perform the elder Freund’s 2013 work “Mixed Blood,” which combines Latin rhythms and a tango tune with sounds and structures of American contemporary art music.

The program also will feature “Their Rest Too is Related to Motion,” a new composition from W. Thomas “Tom” McKenney, professor emeritus and co-artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. Inspired by a piece of music that his daughter wrote for him while she was in grade school, McKenney adapted and expanded the tune’s basic musical elements into three movements, evoking the motions of ladybugs, whirligigs, and fireflies.

Mizzou’s student composers will be represented by Hans Heruth, a sophomore composition major and Sinquefield Scholar whose new work “To Decipher the Art” is a musical setting of a poem by Lee K. Acton. The piece was written especially for baritone Patrick Graham, who will perform it as a guest with the Ensemble.

Music from the two distinguished guest composers for this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival will complete the program.

Georg Friedrich Haas’ composition “aus freier Lust…verbunden” (“Bound … of free will”) is one of a series of works from 1996 in which each of the seven instrumental parts is simultaneously a solo piece, so that it can be played by any combination from solo performer to full ensemble. (The Ensemble will perform it as a quintet, using bass flute, bass clarinet, cello, and two percussionists.) Haas is a native of Austria and a professor of composition at Columbia University who is considered to be one of the major European composers of his generation.

Dan Visconti’s “Fractured Jams” is a “high modernist” work for violin, cello, clarinet, and percussion that was composed in 2007 and features the use of extended techniques. Visconti is a Chicago-based composer and concert programmer who also is known as an advocate for the arts as a form of cultural and civic service.

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, professor of composition, and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. The Ensemble’s members for the 2016-17 season are Victoria Hargrove, clarinet; Daniel Keeler, cello; Kelariz Keshavarz, flute; Renan Leme, violin; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; and Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophone.

Composer Louis Goldford visiting Mizzou campus in February

Louis Goldford will be the first visiting composer on the Mizzou campus in 2017, coming to Columbia next month for a weekend residency that will include a presentation of works, a coaching session with the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, and a concert.

Two of his compositions – “Travertine Hybrid #3,” for violin and electronics, and “Giffen Good,” for trombone and electronics – will be featured in the Mizzou music faculty’s electroacoustic concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 11 at Whitmore Recital Hall.

The performance also will include music written by Mizzou New Music Initiative managing director Jacob Gotlib, retired composition professor and MNMI co-artistic director emeritus W. Thomas McKenney, and Phillip Sink, who is MNMI’s first post-doctoral fellow and curated the concert program.

Goldford (pictured) is a St. Louis native who currently is a doctoral fellow studying composition at Columbia University in New York City. Before enrolling there, he earned his bachelor’s degree in composition from Webster University in St. Louis and a master’s degree from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

His works have been performed by Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Modelo62, and the Meitar Ensemble, and featured at the International Computer Music Conference, the Northwestern University New Music Conference, and June in Buffalo, among others.

Goldford received an Honorable Mention from the 2015 American Composers Orchestra / Underwood New Music Readings, and in 2014 was the recipient of a Dean’s Prize in music composition from Indiana University.

More recently, he was named the winner of the 2017 Suzhou (Chou’s) International Commission Competition, and also was accepted into the Cursus program at IRCAM in Paris, where he previously completed the Computer Music Workshop (Atelier d’informatique musicale) while studying at the IRCAM Académie and festival ManiFESTE.

You can hear some of Louis Goldford’s music on his SoundCloud page.

Tom McKenney featured in Columbia Daily Tribune, on KBIA

W. Thomas “Tom” McKenney, who has taught composition and music theory at Mizzou for 47 years and has served as co-artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative since it began in 2010,  is retiring from full-time teaching after the Spring 2015 semester.

Although Professor McKenney (pictured) will still be around Columbia, teaching some classes, composing, and no doubt offering wise counsel to all who seek it (while being freed from those pesky meetings and administrative duties), it nevertheless seems very appropriate that the Columbia Daily Tribune paid tribute to him last week with an short feature about his teaching career, composing, and impending retirement, which you can read online here.

Noting that “What has been, and what will be, at MU bear the marks of McKenney’s hand and his measured, wise musical manner,” the article concludes, “These gains are, and will continue to be, gradual, but it is clear McKenney leaves the program on a high note.”

McKenney also talked about some of his recent compositions with KBIA host Trevor Harris last week for a feature story, which you can check out here.

Mizzou International Composers Festival gets
record number of resident composer applicants for 2015

With all the applications for 2015 submitted and logged, the Mizzou International Composers Festival has set another new record this year for the number of submissions from prospective resident composers.

The MICF got a total of 231 applications for the 2015 festival, including 82 returning applicants and 149 who applied for the first time.

Fifteen percent of the submissions came from outside the US, with applications arriving from composers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Last weekend, festival organizers met in St. Louis to review the submissions and decide which composers to invite for 2015. The working group included Mizzou New Music Initiative co-artistic directors Stefan Freund and W. Thomas McKenney and managing director William Lackey, as well as resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound‘s conductor/music director Alan Pierson and pianist John Orfe. They looked at applications, studied scores, listened to hours of music, and discussed it all extensively before compiling their final list.

The results of their deliberations will be revealed on Monday, January 5, when we announce publicly the names of the eight resident composers who will take part in the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

To stay current with all the latest news from the MICF and MNMI, keep watching this space. Also, please follow us on Twitter at @MizzouNewMusic, and “like” the Missouri New Music Facebook page.

Tom McKenney and Alan Pierson look at a score

MNMI managing director William Lackey coordinated the application process

John Orfe and Stefan Freund listen intently

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 New Music Ensemble to perform works
by Furrer, McKenney, and five student composers
on Sunday, April 27 at Whitmore Recital Hall

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will present their final on-campus concert of the 2013-14 academic year at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 27 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 new works from five Mizzou students, plus music from Mizzou professor W. Thomas McKenney and from Swiss composer Beat Furrer, who will be one of two guest composers at this summer’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Furrer’s “Aer,” written for clarinet, cello, and piano, is described as “an exploration of breathy sounds created through extended techniques on the instruments,” while McKenney’s “The Rising of the Moon” is based on the Irish ballad of the same name by John Keegan Casey and recounts the battle between the United Irishmen and the British Army during the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

“About the Others,” by graduate composition student José Martínez, was inspired by poet Octavio Paz’ “Sunstone” and incorporates lively percussion ostinatos surrounded by energetic rhythms in the instruments.

Completing the program will be four new works by Mizzou composition students that were commissioned for an upcoming Forest Park Forever member event in St. Louis: “Elysium” by Trey Makler; “Structural Symbiosis” by Matt Stiens; “A Leaf on the Wind” by Justin Pounds; and “Forest Park Rhapsody” by Benedetto Colagiovanni.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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

Mizzou International Composers Festival to include free events

In addition to the ticketed concerts at the Missouri Theatre, the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival includes 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 to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, July 22 and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 23.

Guest composer Augusta Read Thomas will discuss her work at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, followed at 8:30 p.m. by MU faculty composer W. Thomas McKenney.

Then on Wednesday, July 24, guest composer Daniel Kellogg will give his presentation at 7:00 p.m., with MU faculty composer Stefan Freund to follow at 8:30 p.m.

If you’d like to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the Festival’s eight world premieres and other new works are being prepared for performance, the Festival’s resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound will hold 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 Wednesday at the Missouri Theatre; and from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and then again from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, July 26 in Room 201 of Loeb Hall on the MU campus.

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