After a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic forced last-minute changes in programming, the Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) is back in 2021 in a more familiar form.
Presented Monday, July 26 through Saturday, July 31 by the Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) and the University of Missouri School of Music, the twelfth annual MICF will showcase the world premieres of new works from nine resident composers and more, with all four concerts streamed online for free. The schedule of performances is:
Tuesday, July 27: “World Premieres I,” featuring resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound performing new works by three of the festival’s resident composers, plus the premiere of an excerpt from distinguished guest composer David T. Little’s monodrama “What Belongs to You,” featuring singer Karim Sulayman.
Wednesday, July 28: “Mizzou New Music,” featuring the Mizzou New Music Ensemble playing music by David Little and Chen Yi, and Khemia Ensemble premiering new works by Stefan Freund, Phillip Sink, and Nina Shekhar.
Friday, July 30: “Entry Points of Empathy,” a world premiere multi-media event with music composed by inti figgis-vizueta, Carolina Heredia, Tanner Porter, Annika Socolofsky, and Nina Shekhar, performed by Mizzou faculty and guests, plus video interludes and live graphics by Xuan Zhang.
Saturday, July 31: “World Premieres II,” featuring Alarm Will Sound performing new works from six resident composers, plus the American premiere of Stefan Freund’s arrangement of “Sparkle” by distinguished guest composer Chen Yi.
All concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time, and can be viewed on the Mizzou New Music Facebook page and on the University of Missouri School of Music YouTube channel.
The concerts on Tuesday and Saturday will feature world premieres of new works written by each of the festival’s nine resident composers. Listed with their current places of residence, they are:
- Ana Paola Santillán Alcocer – Mexico City, Mexico
- Daniel Fitzpatrick – Columbia, MO
- Yu Kuwabara – Tokyo, Japan
- Shuying Li – Spokane, WA
- Paul Mortilla – Coral Gables, FL
- Celka Ojakangas – Los Angeles, CA (
- DM R (Diana M. Rodriguez) – New York, NY
- Nina Shekhar – Princeton, NJ
- Andrew Tholl – Los Angeles, CA
(Four of the composers – Alcocer, Fitzpatrick, Mortilla and Shekar – were newly selected this year to participate in the 2021 MICF; the other five originally were chosen for the 2020 MICF, but their works could not be premiered when COVID-related restrictions forced the festival to be reconfigured. Three more composers chosen in 2020 were unable to participate this year, but will be invited to be part of a future festival.)
The MICF’s distinguished guest composers for 2021 are Chen Yi and David T. Little. Chen is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition “Si Ji” (“Four Seasons”), she was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and is known as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries.
Little currently chairs the composition program at Mannes – The New School in New York City. He previously served as Executive Director of MATA and on the board of directors at Chamber Music America, and from 2014–2017 was composer-in-residence with Opera Philadelphia and Music-Theatre Group.
During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from Chen and Little and take part via Zoom in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. The resident composers also will give public presentations online about their music, and after the premiere performances, will receive professional live recordings of their new works.
For more information on the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival, including a complete schedule of events, times, and dates, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.