Composers Festival spotlight: Oren Boneh

Originally from Denver, CO, resident composer Oren Boneh comes to the 2018 Mizzou International Composers Festival via California, where he currently is working on a PhD in composition at the University of California, Berkeley.

He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Denver, and subsequently has studied at McGill University in Montreal, the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, and, with support from a Fulbright fellowship, in Germany at the Dresden Music Cognition Lab.

For the MICF, Boneh has written a new work for Alarm Will Sound called “Unseen Beneath the Ice,” which will be premiered along with new works from all of the 2018 resident composers as part of the grand finale concert on Saturday, July 28.

Boneh’s music has been presented at concerts and festivals in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Israel, Canada, and all over the USA, with performances from groups such as Ensemble Divertimento, Quatuor Tana, Vertixe Sonora, Meitar Ensemble, Ensemble Proton Bern, Music From Copland House, Architek Percussion, and many others. A trumpet player as well as a composer, he also has performed with various ensembles and written works for trumpet and electronics.

In April of this year, he was a recipient of a Morton Gould Young Composer Award from the ASCAP Foundation. Other honors include winning first prize in the 2017 Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award Competition, as well as recognition from Concorso Internazionale Franco Donatoni, the Loadbang Commission Competition, Protonwerk No. 8, Random Access Music, Ensemble Reconsil, and more.

Boneh also has done artist residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts  in New York, the Visby International Centre for Composers in Sweden, and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska.

He’s especially interested in music cognition and perception, particularly the expectations that listeners bring to a piece of music, and how these expectations guide the listening experience. As he told UC-Berkeley’s Daily Californian in an interview last year, “I’m very fascinated by the idea of stripping someone of the knowledge of what’s creating the sound. I think that’s really interesting — I think it really changes the way we hear the sound.”  His 2017 work “To form a more perfect human” specifically explores that notion, placing two of its seven performers – a trumpeter and a percussionist – behind a screen out of sight from the audience.

For more about Oren Boneh, check out his interview with KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program, and listen to some of his music in the embedded players below.

“Lug,” recorded October 17, 2017 at the Galicia Contemporary Art Center in Santiago, Spain by Vertixe Sonora, featuring Clara Saleiro (flute), Pablo Coello (saxophone), Roberto Alonso (violin), Lorena García (viola), Thomas Piel (cello), David Durán (piano), and Diego Ventoso (percussion).

“To form a more perfect human,” performed in 2017 by Nebula Ensemble