Composer Steven Snowden will visit the Mizzou campus next week for a residency starting Sunday, October 1 and culminating in a “Composer Portrait” concert of his works at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 3 at Whitmore Recital Hall.
The concert will include Mizzou faculty ensemble DRAX performing the world premieres of “Where are Our Mothers” and “We Don’t Have Enough Time,” two new works commissioned from Snowden with support from the Mizzou New Music Initiative and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.
While on campus, Snowden (pictured) also will give a presentation to composition students about his music, and will coach the Mizzou New Music Ensemble on the performance of his work “Matilda,” which they’ll play at their concert on October 16 at Whitmore.
A native Missourian, Snowden grew up in the Ozarks and earned his undergraduate degree in music at Missouri State University. After subsequently getting a master’s degree in music from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a doctorate from the University of Texas, he now is a freelance composer based in Boston.
This won’t be his first visit back to his home state in a professional capacity – he was one of the eight resident composers chosen for the 2011 Mizzou International Composers Festival – but he’ll be especially busy this trip, book-ending his residency in Columbia with stops on the campuses of his alma mater in Springfield and Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg.
Though he’s received extensive training as a composer, Snowden nevertheless cites vernacular music like bluegrass, folk, and rock as key influences. “It’s really important to me that someone who doesn’t come from a background of listening to classical music can still be intrigued and drawn into the music that I write,” Snowden told the Columbia Daily Tribune‘s Aarik Danielsen in 2011. “Because of that, I strive to incorporate many possible perspectives of listening that can appeal to the uninitiated as well as seasoned analytical listeners. Hopefully, that also makes for music that can endure multiple hearings in which new details and levels of understanding can continually be discovered.”
Snowden’s works have been performed at venues and festivals throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and he has earned honors and awards from the American Composers Forum’s national composition contest, ASCAP’s Morton Gould Awards, New Music USA, and many others.
Other notable accomplishments include helping to found and direct the Fast Forward Austin Music Festival in Texas (with another former MICF resident composer, Ian Dicke, from the 2014 fest), and serving in 2012 and 2013 as a Fulbright Scholar in Portugal, researching the implementation of motion tracking technology as a means to facilitate collaboration between music and dance. Snowden also was a visiting professor and composer in residence in 2013-14 at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
You can hear samples of Steven Snowden’s music in the embedded player below and on his SoundCloud page.