Tonight, the Mizzou Interational Composers Festival presents celestial-ambient music pioneer Laraaji headlining a 7:30 PM (CDT) concert at Studio 4 at McKee Gymnasium on the Mizzou campus. The July 29th concert is co-hosted by Dismal Niche Arts, and will also feature new media artist and Mizzou Assistant Professor Katina Bitsicas, and the Onishi-Beis Duo. The general admission concert is free to the public.
Laraaji, one of modern experimental music’s most distinctive, prolific and charismatic artists, has been creating radiant, luminous long-form compositions for electronically treated zither, kalimba, piano and more for over 40 years. He released his first album, Celestial Vibration, under his own name in 1978 and began busking in New York City parks. Famed ambient innovator Brian Eno produced Laraaji’s first widely available release, Ambient 3: Day of Radiance, in 1980. Laraaji has released over 50 albums, ranging from mantra-like, gospel-tinged synth-pop to expansive, extended drone works.
Katina Bitsicas is a new media artist who utilizes video, photography, and performance in her artworks to explore grief, loss, trauma and memory. Bitsicas is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Digital Storytelling at the University of Missouri, where she also conducts research with the MU School of Medicine on utilizing digital storytelling as a meaning-making intervention for bereaved family members.
Formed in November 2021 by composer-performers Yoshiaki Onishi (clarinets/electronics) and Ensemble. Santiago Beis (keyboard/saxophone/electronics), the Onishi-Beis Duo improvises electroacoustic music informed by Western and Eastern philosophies, concepts of music perception and cognition, and phenomenology of sound.
Onishi is a postdoctoral fellow at the Mizzou School of Music, and Director of the Mizzou New Music Ensemble. Beis completed work for his Master of Music in Composition at Mizzou this past semester, and will continue his studies through 2023 to complete an MM in Music Theory.