Mizzou alumna Stephanie Berg‘s composition “Ravish and Mayhem” was performed by the St. Louis Symphony on January 10 and 11 at Powell Hall in St. Louis to standing ovations from the audiences and rave reviews from local critics.
Writing for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, classical music critic Sarah Bryan Miller found “Ravish and Mayhem” to be “a really delightful work…It’s a fun, creative piece, and (guest conductor Andrey) Boreyko and the orchestra rendered it with accuracy and elan.” Miller also called Berg “a promising new compositional voice,” concluding, “We can trust that this won’t be the last we hear from Berg.”
Meanwhile, in his review on the website of KDHX (88.7 FM), critic Chuck Lavazzi noted that the performance “drew enthusiastic ovations for both the orchestra and—when Mr. Boreyko persuaded her to appear on stage—Ms. Berg as well.”
“This unabashedly cinematic and vivid piece was a delight from the opening Coplandesque fanfares and melismatic woodwind figures to the brass glissandi near the end that conjured up images of trumpeting elephants,” said Lavazzi.
Berg (pictured), who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mizzou and won the 2009 Sinquefield Composition Prize, wrote “Ravish and Mayhem” to be performed by Alarm Will Sound at the 2012 Mizzou International Composers Festival. It’s the first work created under the auspices of the Mizzou New Music Initiative to be performed by a major symphony orchestra.
(It’s also one of two pieces the St. Louis Symphony played this season from composers involved with the 2012 MICF; in September, they performed “Rapture” by Patrick Harlin of the University of Michigan, who also was a resident composer for the festival that year.)
The reviews culminated a week of media attention for Berg, in which she was interviewed on Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis’ “Friday With the Arts” and St. Louis Public Radio/KWMU’s “Cityscape”; appeared on KSDK’s “Show Me St. Louis” and the mid-day news broadcasts on KTVI and KPLR; and was the subject of articles in St. Louis magazine, Alive magazine and the weekly South County Times and Webster-Kirkwood Times newspapers.
Berg also was interviewed during the intermission of KWMU’s broadcast of the Symphony’s concert on January 11. You can listen to that interview, and see the SLSO program notes for the entire concert, here.