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The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis have joined together to create the Contemporary-Pulitzer blog which, for the first time, combines the perspectives of two separate institutions with differing missions within the same blog.

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CAM Hosts New Music, New Works

Inspired by the Great Rivers Biennial 2012 exhibition, CAM, in collaboration with the Mizzou New Music Initiative, is pleased to present New Music, New Works at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, May 19. This event is free and open to the public.

The event will feature the world premiere of original compositions by University of Missouri students Grant Fonda, Joe Hills, and Joseph Weidinger, each of whom has created a new piece that attempts to capture the aural essence of one of the three Great Rivers Biennial artists’ projects. The Mizzou New Music Ensemble, directed by University of Missouri associate professor Stefan Freund, will perform all three compositions, along with Ad Parnassum, a piece by 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner Steven Stucky that was inspired by sketches by artist Paul Klee.

“There’s been a historic link between the visual and musical arts, and we’re glad to be able to continue that tradition,” said Freund. “Any time we have an off-campus performance, it’s an opportunity for our composers and performers to step out of the academic world and into the real world. That’s a valuable experience for them.”

“Collaborating with CAM provides an interesting challenge for these bright, young composers, while also introducing their talents to new audiences,” said Jeanne Sinquefield of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, which provides financial support for the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “Composers want their music to be performed in front of audiences. Forging alliances like this one is another way our new music programs in Missouri are helping them achieve their aspirations.”

grantfonda-largeB&WGRANT FONDA
Grant Fonda (b. 1985) was selected as a semi-finalist in the 2011 Transatlantyk Instant Composer Competition (a part of the Transatlantyk Film and Music Festival), and was one of just two Americans selected for this international competition. In 2010 and 2011, he was a finalist for the Sinquefield Composition Prize, and in 2006 his Of Shepherds, Angels and the Advent of a Miracle won honorable mention at the Fred Bock New Music review. His composition Out of Darkness, Light was commissioned by the Master’s College School of Music in 2007 and given nine consecutive performances in their Come ChristmasSing concerts. Fonda also received honorable mention for his string quintet Five Horses in the University of Aberdeen 2009 Music Prize competition, and has had several other works for choir, wind ensemble, and orchestra commissioned and premiered at colleges and churches in the U.S.

Fonda attended the Master’s College in Santa Clarita, CA, studying music composition with an emphasis in film scoring and percussion under Richard Pressley and Stephen Johnson. He and his wife Carley currently live in Columbia, Missouri, where he is completing work on an MM, Composition at the University of Missouri under the instruction of W. Thomas McKenney and Stefan Freund.

joehills-small-colorJOE HILLS
Joe Hills (b.1987) is a composer of many styles, genres, and instrumentations with a strong appreciation for music of all forms and tonalities. He has written for wind and chamber ensembles, full orchestra, solo and ensemble percussion, drum & bugle corps, and marching band. Prompted by his father, Terry Hills, bringing home the first version of Finale on floppy disk, Hills began his compositional career at a young age. He also enjoyed marching for six years with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps, which inspired his love for marching music and drill writing.

Born and raised in Colorado, Hills began his undergraduate studies at Colorado State University with an interest in music education, but soon transitioned to composition. He completed his degree in the spring of 2011, and was accepted into the University of Missouri graduate program in the fall of 2011. He is now pursuing a Master of Music in Composition, studying under Dr. W. Thomas McKenney, and serving as a graduate assistant for the theory department at Mizzou. Hills was a finalist for the 2012 Sinquefield Composition Prize.

josephweidinger-smallB&WJOSEPH WEIDINGER
Joseph Weidinger (b. 1990) is currently completing his coursework at the University of Missouri and in May 2012 will graduate with a B.M. in Music Composition. His composition teachers include Dr. W. Thomas McKenney and Dr. Stefan Freund. Over the course of four years, Weidinger has written more than 20 original compositions. In addition to writing original music, he also has done work in arranging and transcribing and as a copyist.

Weidinger also is active as a performer, primarily as a pianist and organist. As an organist, he has been playing regularly in Catholic church services since the age of 13. At the University of Missouri, Joseph studies piano under Dr. Peter Miyamoto. Aside from learning the traditional piano repertoire, he has performed in number of his own pieces and the works of others for churches, musicals, and wind ensembles.

The Mizzou New Music Initiative brings together a diverse array of programs intended to position the University of Missouri School of Music as a leading center in the areas of composition and new music. The Initiative is made possible by the generous support of Dr. Jeanne and Mr. Rex Sinquefield and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

The Mizzou New Music Ensemble is made up of University of Missouri graduate students under the direction of Stefan Freund, a cellist, composer and associate professor. They serve as the repertory group for the Mizzou New Music Initiative, working with faculty, students and visiting composers, and give public performances on campus and in the community. The Ensemble’s members for the 2011-12 season are Stephanie Berg, clarinets; Ryan Borden, percussion; Young Kim, flutes; Matthew Pierce, cello; David Snow, violin; and Renata Tavernard, piano. For this concert, Rachel AuBuchon also will perform on piano, and doctoral candidate Christopher Baumgartner will conduct the Steven Stucky composition Ad Parnassum.

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