Composers Festival spotlight: Alex Mincek

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is pleased to welcome Alex Mincek as one of the two distinguished guest composers for this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

In addition to composing, New York-based Mincek also is the saxophonist, bass clarinetist, and artistic director of the Wet Ink Ensemble, a contemporary music group he founded in 1998.

Two of his works will be performed during the MICF. Thursday night’s concert by Alarm Will Sound will feature the world premiere of “Chimeras,” a newly commissioned work by Mincek. Then on Friday, the Mizzou New Music Ensemble will perform “Portraits and Repetitions,” which he wrote in 2007.

While he’s in Columbia, Mincek also will give a public presentation about his music; teach the seven resident composers in individual and group sessions; and consult with Alarm Will Sound and the Mizzou New Music Ensemble on the performances of his works.

Born and raised in Florida, Mincek moved to New York City in 1995 to study saxophone at the Manhattan School of Music. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he pursued a master’s degree in composition at the Manhattan School, followed by doctoral studies at Columbia University, where in 2011 he earned his DMA.

Mincek’s music has been programmed at major venues and festivals including Carnegie Hall, Miller Theatre, the Musica festival in Strasbourg, Festival Présences of Radio France, Festival Archipel in Geneve, Voix Nouvelles at the Abbaye de Royaumont in Paris, Festival des Musiques Démesurées in Clermont-Ferrand, the Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt (IMD), Unerhörte Musik in Berlin, the Contempuls Festival in Prague, and the Ostrava New Music Days.

He has collaborated with ensembles including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, the Janacek Philharmonic, Ensemble Cairn, Ensemble Le Balcon, Ensemble Linea, Ensemble XXI, SEM Ensemble, Present Music, Talea Ensemble, Dal Niente, Yarn/Wire, Mivos Quartet, and the JACK Quartet.

Mincek’s awards and commissions include an Alpert Award in the Arts in 2013, as well as recognition from institutions such as the Guggenheim Foundation, the French Ministry of Culture, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, ASCAP, the National Endowment for the Arts, MATA, Radio France, the Barlow Endowment, Meet The Composer, and the Issue Project Room.

Along with three albums by Wet Ink and several early recordings as a member of the band Zs, Mincek has put out two albums under his own name: an eponymous set in 2011 on Carrier Records, and Torrent, released in 2017 with deluxe packaging and a 28-page booklet to launch Sound American’s Young Composer Portrait (YCP) series.

For more about Alex Mincek, read music journalist and critic George Grella’s essay on his music, published in 2016 in Music & Literature magazine; watch an interview with Mincek after his Alpert Award win, and listen to his 2013 interview on NYC radio station WQXR. You can hear some samples of his music via the embedded players below.

Excerpt from “Color-Form-Line,” recorded December 15, 2015 at St. Peter’s Church in New York City by Wet Ink Ensemble, featuring Erin Lesser (flutes), Alex Mincek (saxophone), Ryan Muncy (saxophone), Eric Wubbels (piano), Ian Antonio (percussion), Josh Modney (violin), and Kate Soper (voice)

“String Quartet No. 3,” performed by Mivos Quartet on February 8th, 2013 at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York City