The famous German composer Robert Schumann once said, “In order to compose, all you need to do is remember a tune that nobody else has thought of.” While that may be true, getting that new composition performed and heard once it is written can be another matter entirely. For an emerging composer writing music inspired by the classical tradition, performance opportunities can be few and far between.
To give some of those composers a chance to be heard, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Sheldon Concert Hall and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation have joined forces to commission a series of new works to commemorate The Sheldon’s centennial. Five composers associated with the University of Missouri will create new short works to be performed at five different concerts at The Sheldon during the hall’s historic 100th year.
The first piece comes from Mizzou music professor Stefan Freund, who has written a string quartet to be performed by St. Louis Symphony concertmaster David Halen and three of his SLSO colleagues as part of The Sheldon’s centennial gala on Thursday, October 11. The piece will be accompanied by a slideshow of 100 photographs taken to celebrate the hall’s 100th anniversary.
“One of the goals of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation is to find and grow composers,” said Jeanne Sinquefield. “This new Sinquefield inititative of working with The Sheldon and Mizzou composers is a perfect musical storm.”
The other four commissioned compositions, which range in length from five to seven minutes, will be played during subsequent concerts during the 2012-13 season.
On Friday, November 9, the ArtSounds benefit featuring singer Sylvia McNair and pianist Kevin Cole will include a new work for piano and clarinet written by Stephanie Berg, a Kansas City native who earned her master’s in music from Mizzou earlier this year. Berg’s piece will underscore a slide show of 200 celebrity caricatures by Al Hirschfeld, the famed artist and St. Louis native whose work currently is the subject of a major exhibit in the Sheldon Art Galleries.
Then on Tuesday February 5 and Wednesday, February 6, 2013, pianist Peter Henderson will perform a new work by composer Patrick David Clark as part of The Sheldon Coffee Concerts “Piano Classics” program. Clark, who grew up in St. Louis, earned his undergraduate degree at Mizzou, and just received his master’s degree in conducting from the University earlier this year.
Next, Mizzou undergrad Grant Bradshaw will perform his new composition for piano as part of the “Pianopalooza” concert featuring Peter Henderson, Alla Voskoboynikova, Daniel Schene and Martin Kennedy on Wednesday, February 27. Bradshaw, a native of Columbia, currently is studying viola and composition at the University, and also is assistant conductor of the Missouri Symphony Society Conservatory.
The fifth and final work in the series is a composition for brass quintet by Michael Anderson, which will be performed by the Clarion Brass on April 10, 2013 as part of their “Springtime Brass Spectacular.” Anderson, who grew up in Platte City, MO, was the 2012 recipient of the University of Missouri’s Sinquefield Composition Prize and graduated from Mizzou in May with a degree in composition.
All five works will be recorded so they can be shared later online here on the Mizzou New Music Initiative website, as well as on the Sheldon’s website.