Composers Festival spotlight: Aaron Mencher

Resident composer Aaron Mencher is representing the University of Missouri at this year’s Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mencher (pictured) received his bachelor’s degree in music from Mizzou this year, and in the fall will begin studies for a master’s in music at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, MD.

For the MICF, he’s written a piece titled “Haworthia,” which will be performed by Alarm Will Sound along with new music from the seven other resident composers as part of the festival’s grand finale on Saturday, July 27 at the Missouri Theatre.

While at Mizzou, Mencher was the winner of the 2018 Sinquefield Composition Prize, the school’s top award for a student composer. He used the accompanying commission to write “Gravity” for the University Wind Ensemble, which premiered the work in April 2018 at the annual Chancellor’s Arts Showcase.

He was one of three student composers in the 2017-18 academic year selected to work with musicians from the St. Louis Symphony, who read his work “Antrios” and performed it at Powell Hall under the baton of resident conductor Gemma New. “Antrios” also was selected in 2018 to be performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra at the annual Missouri Composers Project concert.

Mencher’s works include contemporary classical music, film scores, and incidental music. His music has received honors and awards from organizations such as the American Modern Ensemble, ASCAP, the Boston New Music Initiative, National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the European-American Musical Alliance, the American Prize, and the Third Millennium Ensemble.

He has collaborated on performances of his music with a variety of ensembles and soloists, including Deviant Septet, Third Coast Percussion, International Counterpoint, the All-National Concert Band, DRAX, newEar, clarinetist Wesley Warnhoff, cellists Bjorn Ranheim and Dave Eggar, and more.

Other recent commissions include a clarinet concerto for Warnhoff and the University of Missouri Philharmonic, and a work for violin and piano for the classical music series at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Mencher’s dramatic projects include scoring a documentary directed by Katie Schnell, and writing music for the short film Maggephah, directed by Atlanta-based filmmaker Brad McGaughey. He also worked as the composer and sound designer for many shows at the now-closed Dancing Goat Theater in Atlanta, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Anne of Green Gables, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest.

For more about Aaron Mencher, listen to the interview he did last month on KMUC’s “Mizzou Music” program. You can hear some of his music via the embedded windows below.

“Rise” for solo cello, performed by Dave Eggar on November 1, 2017 at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY

“Perspectives” for clarinet, violin, and piano, performed by newEar on April 20, 2019