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COLUMBIA, MO — A festive evening featuring the world premiere performances of pieces by seven composers culminated a week of concerts, workshops and related activities at the inaugural Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, which was held July 12-18 in Columbia, Mo.
The Mizzou New Music Summer Festival is part of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, a diverse array of programs launched by the University of Missouri’s School of Music intended to position the school as a leading center for music composition and new music. The initiative is a direct result of a $1 million donation by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation led by Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, whose vision is to create an incubator for the composition and performance of new music, and to showcase Missouri as a center for the music of tomorrow.
More than a thousand aficionados of new music attended four concerts throughout the week. Four hundred and fifty people attended the festival finale, a concert on July 18 that featured original works written by seven composers that were performed by acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound. The selected composers represent a cross-section of the diverse landscape of music being created today. They were selected from 120 entrants from around the world who represented the People’s Republic of China, France, Spain, Turkey, Korea, Mexico and the United States who submitted composition portfolios to participate in the festival.
“The caliber of work composed for this event and the passion and excitement of its participants were a thrill to observe and met or exceeded all of our expectations,” said Dr. Robert Shay, Director of the University of Missouri’s School of Music. “To witness such first-class effort and enthusiasm on behalf of the participants, as well as the response of hundreds of concertgoers, truly was a gratifying experience for all of us involved in this initial endeavor. We are greatly excited about the possibilities for our second annual event in 2011.”
The Mizzou New Music Summer Festival featured compositions written expressly for the festival by seven composers in various stages of their professional careers. Chosen to participate were pianist/composer Francisco Cortés-Álvarez, a native of Mexico; Christopher Dietz; Paul Dooley; Moon Young Ha; Amy Beth Kirsten; Jeremy Podgursky; and Chinese native Zhou Juan.
During the week of activities they received private composition lessons from guest composers Martin Bresnick, recipient of the first Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Derek Bermel, composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Additionally, they took part in workshops with Alarm Will Sound, participated in music classes and received a professional, “live” recording.
“The talent of these bright new composers is breathtaking,” said Jeanne Sinquefield. “Hearing them perform original works written expressly for the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival was a richly rewarding experience, and demonstrated the caliber of artistic excellence on our musical landscape. I can’t wait to get started planning our encore in 2011!”
Composers were selected through a portfolio application process by Dr. Stefan Freund, associate professor of music theory and composition, and Dr. W. Thomas McKenney, professor of music theory and composition, both at the University of Missouri’s School of Music. Criteria included submission of three scores of original works with contrasting instrumentation, with one score written for chamber orchestra or large ensemble, as well as recordings of the same works, and a professional resume.
The programs of the Mizzou New Music Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. The City of Columbia Office of Cultural Affairs and the Missouri Arts Council also provided financial assistance for the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival.