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