The Mizzou New Music Ensemble will present four world premieres and more in the second concert of their 2016-17 season at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 4 at Whitmore Recital Hall on the University of Missouri campus. General admission is $5 for the public, free for Mizzou faculty, students and staff.
Three of those premieres were written by Mizzou students, including “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Adam Cohen, a freshman composition major and Sinquefield Scholar. Inspired by Heironymous Bosch’s famous triptych painting, the piece juxtaposes surrealistic sounds against each other both rhythmically and melodically to evoke an aural whimsy.
“Foresight” is a new work by Luke Henderson that’s based on ideas found in Benjamin Franklin’s essay “The Morals of Chess.” A senior composition major at Mizzou, Henderson also has had his music performed by the University of Missouri Studio Jazz Band and the Columbia Civic Orchestra.
Kay Cypret’s “Trials and Tribulations” is a four-movement work representing “struggles of the mind, feet, heart, and spirit.” Cypret is a master’s composition student at Mizzou who also has written music for the Golden Spectra String Quartet, clarinetist Dr. Cheryl Cifeli, flautist Camden Beavers, and the Mizzou Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble.
The concert’s fourth premiere is “Passacaglia” by John Orfe, a faculty member at Bradley University and pianist for Alarm Will Sound, the group that serves as resident ensemble for the annual Mizzou International Composers Festival. Orfe’s work is a set of virtuosic variations over a line that is repeated throughout the duration of the piece.
In addition to the four world premieres, the ensemble (pictured) will be joined by a guest artist, mezzo-soprano and Mizzou professor of voice Julia Bentley, for performances of two more contemporary compositions.
“No Fire Gives Light” by Henry Breneman Stewart is an explosive work for mezzo-soprano, saxophone, percussion, and piano that is based on the biblical story “Terror Strikes the Egyptians at Night” from the Book of Wisdom, Chapter 17. Stewart is a second-year master’s student in composition at Mizzou, and was the winner of the 2016 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the university’s highest honor for a student composer.
The ensemble and Bentley will complete the program with Hans Abrahamsen’s “Efteraarslied,” which was written for mezzo-soprano, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, and incorporates text from German poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Autumn.” Abrahamsen, a Swiss composer who is the winner of the 2016 Grawemeyer Prize, was a distinguished guest composer for the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival.
The seven-member Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer, professor of composition, and artistic director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. The Ensemble’s members for the 2016-17 season are Victoria Hargrove, clarinet; Daniel Keeler, cello; Kelariz Keshavarz, flute; Renan Leme, violin; Rebecca McDaniel, percussion; Gyumi Rha, piano; and Panagiotis Skyftas, saxophone.