From the time that Dismal Niche Arts, a non-profit organization in Columbia, Missouri, started the Columbia Experimental Music Festival in 2015, a partnership between them and the Mizzou New Music Initiative at the University of Missouri seemed inevitable.
Now that the 2022 MICF is returning to in-person concert performances, the relationship between MICF and Dismal Niche that began in 2019 is set to continue — and a co-production is once again part of the Festival. On Friday, July 29th, Dismal Niche will welcome William Basinski, experimental composer, sound sculptor, and video artist globally renowned for his 9/11 elegy The Disintegration Loops.
Also appearing will be; new media artist and Mizzou Assistant Professor Katina Bitsicas, and the Onishi-Beis Duo. Yoshiaki Onishi is a clarinetist, a postdoctoral fellow at the Mizzou School of Music, and Director of the Mizzou New Music Ensemble. Santiago Beis completed his coursework for his Master of Music in Composition at Mizzou this past semester and will continue his studies in 2023 to complete an MM in Music Theory.
MNMI News will spotlight Bazinski, Bitsicas, the Onishi-Beis Duo in an upcoming blog.
In 2019, Dismal Nichefirst teamed with the Mizzou International Composers Festival to present two free late night concerts at Cafe Berlin; the first featuring Bels Lontano curating a program of electronic music including works from MICF resident composers on the first night, and a performance by percussionist and composer Eli Keszler on the second evening.
Jacob Gotlib, who served as Managing Director for the Mizzou New Music Initiative from 2016 through early 2022, from recalled the beginnings of that collaboration, when he first met Matthew Crook, Executive Director of Dismal Niche.
“I met Matt shortly after moving to Columbia in 2016, around that year’s Columbia Experimental Music Festival,” said Gotlib. “I knew I’d found a kindred spirit, as we were both dedicated to making Columbia a home for forward-thinking, exploratory music. After several years of searching for ways to work together, our first official collaboration came during the 2019 Mizzou International Composers Festival. We designed a Dismal Niche-curated concert, which featured experimental percussionist Eli Keszler in the Firestone Baars chapel. It was a tremendous success: wonderful music in a gorgeous space, with audience members from both local community and traveling from throughout the state.
“While COVID, unfortunately, put a damper on our plans for the next two years, we were thrilled to work together again in November 2021, when Dismal Niche and MNMI co-presented composer, sitarist, and vocalist Ami Dang. It was the 2021 Columbia Experimental Music Festival’s kickoff event, and we had a packed house! I was thrilled to see so many of our students and Columbia community members in attendance.”
“Our brief collaborative history has already resulted in a couple of stunning performances,” stated Matt Crook. “Dismal Niche Arts is extremely honored and excited to be collaborating with the Mizzou New Music Initiative once again this summer for the MICF. “
“I hope that this partnership continues to deepen and flourish between two of the most important institutions for experimental music in Columbia and beyond,” said Gotlib.