The Mizzou New Music Ensemble (pictured) will play the final concert of their 2011-12 season at 8:00 p.m., Monday, April 16 in Whitmore Recital Hall, 135 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Admission to the concert is free for Mizzou students, $5 suggested donation for the general public.
Continuing the Ensemble’s practice of performing new works by composers associated with the University, the concert will feature world premieres of three pieces written by Mizzou students who are earning master’s degrees in composition.
Grant Fonda’s SHARK! BLIMP! GERSHWIN! draws inspiration from the simplicity and joy of the composer’s young piano students, with influences from jazz and commercial music.
Joe Hills’ Children with Smart Phones is a tongue-in-cheek piece about the negative effects of technology that includes syncopated rhythms contrasted with lyrical melodies and lush harmonies.
The third student piece, sifting through ashes, is the master’s thesis for composer Michael Strausbaugh. It’s a 10-minute-long work with solemn, slow sections bracketing an expansive middle of shifting meters and tonalities that seemingly are inspired by a folk or rock dance.
Completing the concert program is Donnacha Dennehy’s “As An Nós,” an epic soundscape filled with rich colors and rhythmic energy that originally was written for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and featured in 2009 on WNYC’s “New Sounds Live.” For this piece, the Ensemble will be augmented by guest musicians Michael Strausbaugh, guitar; and Grant Bradshaw, viola.
Dennehy, considered one of the leading new music innovators in Ireland, will be one of the guest composers for the 2012 Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, to be held July 23-28 in Columbia. The Ensemble is preparing As An Nós for the Festival, and will be coached that week by Dennehy for their performance on Friday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre.
The six-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble 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 2011-12 season are Stephanie Berg, clarinets; Ryan Borden, percussion; Young Kim, flutes; Matthew Pierce, cello; David Snow, violin; and Renata Tavernard, piano.
They serve as the repertory group for the Mizzou New Music Initiative, working with faculty, students and visiting composers, and giving public performances on campus and in the community.