Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis Hosts New Music, New Works


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(St. Louis, MO) — Inspired by the Great Rivers Biennial 2012 exhibition, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (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. The event at CAM, 3750 Washington Blvd in St. Louis' Grand Center district, 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.”

Presented in partnership with Gateway Foundation, Great Rivers Biennial 2012 is organized by CAM and curated by Kelly Shindler, Assistant Curator. The exhibition will be on view May 11 – August 12, 2012. Opening Night for the exhibition is Friday, May 11, 2012, 7:00 – 9:00 pm.



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.


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.


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.


The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) promotes meaningful engagement with the most relevant and innovative art being made today. Founded as the Forum for Contemporary Art in 1980, CAM re-opened in its current location, 3750 Washington Blvd. St. Louis, Missouri 63108, with a new 27,000 square foot building in 2003. As a non-collecting institution, CAM focuses its efforts on featuring local, national and international, well-known and newly established artists from diverse backgrounds, working in all types of media. As St. Louis’ forum for interpreting culture through contemporary visual art, CAM connects visitors to the dynamic art and ideas of our times. As a gathering place for experiencing contemporary art and culture, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis pushes the boundaries of innovation, creativity, and expression.

Support for CAM’s exhibition program is provided by Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield; Nancy Reynolds and Dwyer Brown; William E. Weiss Foundation; Mary Ann and Andy Srenco; and Étant donnés, the French-American Fund for Contemporary Art. General operating support is provided by Whitaker Foundation; Regional Arts Commission; Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; Arts and Education Council; Bank of America Charitable Foundation; The Trio Foundation of St. Louis; and members of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

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