Columbia celebrates contemporary composers with four visionary events in March

For the past two years, the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival has brought visionary composers and musicians to Columbia in July for a week of concerts and workshops. Now the Mizzou New Music Initiative, will team up in March with the Columbia Civic Orchestra and Odyssey Chamber Music Series to present another week of performances focusing on the future of music.

“4C: Columbia Celebrates Contemporary Composers” will take place from Sunday, March 4 through Saturday, March 10. The week will feature concerts by four different ensembles, including the Columbia debut of the Grammy Award winning new music group eighth blackbird (pictured).

“4C” also will include the debut of this year’s Sinquefield Composition Prize commission, written by Mizzou student Michael E. Anderson and performed by the University Philharmonic Orchestra. The week will conclude with a special concert by the Columbia Civic Orchestra, playing four new works selected through the new Missouri Composers Orchestra Project. The schedule for the week is:

Sunday, March 4: The Mizzou New Music Ensemble performs a program including music by Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon and the world premiere of a new piece by MU professor W. Thomas McKenney.
* 8:00 p.m. at Whitmore Recital Hall on the MU campus.
* Admission is free to Mizzou students, $5 suggested donation at the door for the public.

Monday, March 5: The University of Missouri Chancellor’s Concert features the University Philharmonic Orchestra with the premiere of this year’s Sinquefield Composition Prize commission by Michael E. Anderson.
* 7:30 p.m. at the Missouri Theatre, 203 South 9th St..
* Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for Mizzou students.

Friday, March 9: The internationally acclaimed touring ensemble eighth blackbird makes its Columbia debut in a concert co-presented by the MU School of Music and Odyssey Chamber Music Series.
* 7:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1112 E. Broadway.
* Tickets are $20 for general admission, $10 for students, children under 12 free.

eighth blackbird is a Chicago-based sextet that “combines the finesse of a string quartet with the energy of a rock band and the riskiness of a storefront theater company. Its musical aerobatics delight, provoke and entertain audiences around the world.” They have collaborated with numerous contemporary composers and released four recordings, including strange imaginary animals (2006), which won two Grammy Awards. Their most recent CD Lonely Motel: Music from Slide is nominated for four Grammy Awards.

The Odyssey Chamber Music Series is “committed to presenting masterpieces of chamber music repertoire that span over four centuries, in mixed ensembles of all instruments. Odyssey hopes to cultivate interest in quality classical music performances through innovative programming involving professional local performers as well as guest artists from outside the community. The organization also hopes to educate audiences and the next generation of performers through program notes, pre-concert lectures, and student performances.”

Saturday, March 10: The Columbia Civic Orchestra plays works selected through the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project, including “Euphoria Overture” by Michael Blackwood, “This Is the Garden” by Joseph Eidson, “Menuet Macabre” by Warren Gooch; and “The Tragedy of the Hero” by Edward Crouse.
* 7:00 p.m. at Columbia College’s Launer Auditorium.
* Free and open to the public.

The Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) 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.

The Missouri Composers Orchestra Project is a joint venture of the CCO and the Mizzou New Music Initiative, sponsored by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation and intended to encourage the performance of contemporary orchestral works written by Missouri natives or composers living in the state.

Tickets for the Chancellor’s Concert may be purchased in advance from or at the door. Tickets for eighth blackbird are on sale now at and also will be on sale at the door.