For many young composers, writing for orchestra or chorus represents a significant pinnacle of achievement, offering artistic satisfaction and enhancing credibility and career opportunities.
Reaching that pinnacle, however, also requires getting that new, large ensemble work played in public, which is not always an easy task when resources are scarce and many music directors tend to rely on familiar favorites.
Now, six up-and-coming composers are getting a boost from the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP), as their orchestral and choral works will be performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) and the Columbia Chamber Choir at a concert on Sunday, March 20 in Columbia.
The compositions were chosen in the fifth annual competition conducted under the auspices of MOCOP, a collaborative effort involving the CCO, Chamber Choir, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.
The 2016 MOCOP competition included for the first time both choral and orchestral works in five categories – three for Missouri composers, and two added this year specifically for composers currently studying at schools in the Southeastern Conference.
All the winners will receive a $500 honorarium from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, and the composers selected from SEC schools also will receive travel expenses so they can attend the final rehearsal and concert. This year’s selected works and their composers are:
Missouri Open – Orchestral: “Wafting Mists” by Daniel Morel, a doctoral student at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. Morel also holds degrees from Bucknell University (BA) and The Hartt School, University of Hartford (MM, AD).
Missouri High School – Orchestral: “Nightmare Waltz” by Emily Shaw, a sophomore at Gloria Deo Academy in Springfield, MO.
Missouri High School – Choral: “Solar Flare” by Ethan Forte, a senior at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, MO.
SEC Student – Orchestral: “A Cypress Prelude” by Christopher Lowry, a DMA student at Louisiana State University (LSU). Lowry, who plays viola with several regional orchestras, also has a bachelor of music degree from Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and a master of music degree from LSU.
SEC Student – Choral: “When I am Dead, My Dearest” by Ryan Stennes, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in composition at the University of Tennessee.
The concert also will include a performance of “Routine Android,” an orchestral work by University of Missouri senior composition major Luke Henderson that was recognized with an Honorable Mention in the 2016 MOCOP competition.
The CCO and the Columbia Chamber Choir will perform all the selected works in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 20 at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia. Admission is free and open to the public.
The 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.
The Columbia Chamber Choir in a subset of the Columbia Chorale, which works to promote choral music of the highest artistic quality and to stimulate a greater community understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of choral music by presenting programs appealing to a wide cross-section of Missouri residents and visitors.
The Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) is a collaborative effort by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra, and the Columbia Chamber Choir to bring attention to new large ensemble works written in the state of Missouri and by SEC student composers. By identifying composers and providing opportunities for the performance of their work, MOCOP intends to showcase emerging talent from Missouri and SEC schools and share it with the world.