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SCI Mixtape: Region VI, 2015

Wafting Mists by Daniel Morel

Daniel Morel is a Kansas City-based composer who energizes his music with spectral lyricism and microtonal expression. Garnering commissions and performances across the United States, his music reflects myriad literary and natural interests. His works are permeated with the Western sensibilities of his Colorado upbringing, drawing on influences ranging from prairie thunderstorms to classic American poetry.

Mr. Morel has received awards and honors from the Byrdcliffe Guild, the City of Hartford, the Hartt School, the Longfellow Chorus, and the Colorado State Music Teacher’s Association, among others. Recent premieres include the Cherry Creek Chorale, Hartford Opera Theater, and Seasons Festival Orchestra. Upcoming commissions include works for the Soundscape Trio, La’Ventus Quartet, and Cuatro Puntos.

Mr. Morel serves as director for the much acclaimed Women Composers Festival of Hartford and Executive Director for the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra. He holds degrees from Bucknell University (BA) and The Hartt School, University of Hartford (MM, AD), and is currently working on a DMA at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Performance details and further information are available at www.danmorel.com.

School Info
Institution: University of Missouri - Kansas City Program: DMA in Music Composition
Wafting Mists 4' 00"
written for the Seasons Festival Orchestra
premiered October 21, 2012, by the Seasons Festival Orchestra

Program Notes

Wafting Mists draws much of its inspiration from a recent stay in the Catskills. I had the good fortune to spend many a morning watching fog lift off the mountainside. It would fill the meadows with languid swirls percolating upward. This same imagery is captured in the piece with meandering pitches that rise and fall over a bed of ever-changing timbre.

In 2013 the piece was reduced to this thirteen player, chamber orchestration for performance by the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra. While the reduction has thinned out certain textures, it moves just as nimbly through a shifting bed of changing colors.

Many thanks to the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild for providing the time and space to write this work, in addition to providing much needed inspiration. Thanks as well to the many performer friends who helped clarify this gestural language.

A Magic Like Thee by AJ Harbison

School: University of Missouri-Kansas City
Degree Program: Master of Music in Composition
Bio (186 words):

AJ is currently pursuing a graduate degree in composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he studies with Chen Yi, Zhou Long, and James Mobberley.

AJ Harbison (born 1985) is a composer and singer/songwriter living with his lovely wife and baby daughter in Kansas City. He graduated in May 2007 with a Bachelor of Music degree in composition from California State University, Fullerton, where his principal teachers were Pamela Madsen, Lloyd Rodgers, and Ken Walicki. He received his first paid commission in 2009, for the Hutchins Consort, a Newport Beach, California-based string ensemble. In December of that year, he became a published composer when Kallisti Music Press in Philadelphia published his art song New Hope. In December 2010, he released a CD of original pop music entitled Songs From My Shelf, which he wrote, recorded and produced himself. Among his most recent concert music works are Lent for chamber orchestra and drum set, composed in 2013 during private studies with Ken Walicki; Voices Rising United for SSAA chorus and piano, composed for Michael Patch and the Kansas City Women's Chorus; and Shards for string orchestra.

Program Notes for A Magic Like Thee (115 words): A Magic Like Thee is a setting of two poems by Lord Byron, “She Walks In Beauty” and “Stanzas For Music (There Be None of Beauty’s Daughters).” It employs word painting throughout to bring to life the vivid imagery in both poems. The first movement is slower and explores the contrast of light and darkness in the text, while the second movement is more driving and uses energetic rhythms idiomatic in pop and rock music. The piece was chosen by The Singers, a Minneapolis-based choral ensemble, out of nearly 400 submissions to be one of four pieces to receive its world premiere on their New Horizons concert in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on May 31, 2014.

L’appel du Vide by Michael Smith

University of North Texas PhD Music Composition

Michael Sterling Smith is a composer and guitarist based in Denton, Texas. He holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Delaware and a Master of Music from the University of Florida. His works have recently been performed by the Quanta Quartet on their Australian tour, at the SCI conference at EKU, the NASA conference, the International Saxophone Symposium, the Westfield New Music Festival, and by the Dissonart ensemble in Greece. In 2010 he was awarded with an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts. Michael also maintains an active performing career, consisting heavily of contemporary music. Michael has studied composition under Jennifer Barker, Paul Richards, James Sain, and Paul Koonce. He is currently pursuing his doctoral degree at the University of North Texas.

L'appel du Vide is a French expression that literally translates to "Call of the Void", but is more commonly used to describe the instinctive urge to jump from high places. L'appel du Vide was commissioned in 2012 by saxophonist Don-Paul Kahl.

A Dream Within a Dream by Ian Guthrie

Texas Christian University, pursuing M. M. in Composition (estimated graduation: May 2016)


Ian Guthrie began piano at age seven and composing at age nine. He has received winning awards from several competitions, including the WSMTA Young Composers Project, the Webster University Young Composer's Competition, the ASCAP Morton Gould Awards. Many of his works have been performed publicly around the United States from groups such as fEARnoMUSIC, Portland’s Metropolitan Youth Symphony, the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, the Moore Philharmonic Orchestra, March Music Moderne, and Portland's 2014 Pierrot Lunaire Project. Guthrie's style is truly unique and influenced by classical composers and indigenous music. He studied composition with Dr. Robert Priest in Portland from 2006 to 2009. He received his B. Mus. in Composition from Marylhurst University in Spring 2014 after studying composition with Dr. John Paul. He is currently attending Texas Christian University for his master’s under a teaching assistantship and studies under Dr. Till Meyn. He has participated in master classes given by Dr. Stephen Hartke and Gabriel Prokofiev. He has also attended the Oregon Bach Festival and Clear Creek Music Festival.

“A Dream Within a Dream” program notes:

This song faithfully sets Edgar Allan Poe's poem of the same title by retaining a structure akin to the poem. The poem, typical of Poe's writings, begins rather enlightening and transcendental before it evolves into a relentlessly tumultuous one. The song, therefore, attempts to capture this emotional syntax, beginning light and calm before it grows into a grotesque, dissonant work.

Concertino by Matthew Briggs

Texas Christian University MM - Music Composition SCI Region VI Mixtape Submission

Concertino for Bassoon, Celesta, and String Quartet - 8'08"


Matthew Briggs is a current graduate student at Texas Christian University pursuing a Masters in Music Composition; he received his Bachelor of Music Theory and Composition degree from the same institution. He will continue his studies at the doctoral level next Fall. Matthew has enjoyed performances of his works around the TCU campus and the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. His Quintet for Winds, No. 1 will be performed at the SCI Region VI Conference in March 2015.

Matthew began playing piano at the age of six, and it still remains a large part of his life; since then he has also picked up guitar, trumpet, and voice (including Tuvan throat singing). In his undergraduate career Matthew endeavored to write for as many different ensembles as possible in order to attain experience working with all different mediums. Now in his graduate career, he puts no restrictions on the instrumentation of his works. His compositional style is constantly evolving as he matures and learns, although Medieval and Renaissance influences can generally be seen throughout much of his music. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Matthew enjoys fishing and collecting old books in his spare time.

Program notes: This Concertino is intended as a small-scale double concerto for Bassoon and Celesta. For my Master's Thesis I am writing a Double Concerto for Bassoon and Celesta with Chamber Orchestra; this piece will be orchestrated to become the first movement. I derived the pitch content for the piece by superimposing two triads a tritone away; therefore, there exist only six pitches at any point in the piece. And despite the moving pitch centers, the piece is bookended by centricity on C and F#. For much of the piece the focus lies on the two soloists, with quick interactions between the two. But the latter half of the piece features the ensemble as a whole, with much more conversation coming from the strings as well. The piece contains many different sections delineated by texture, but the overall form is ternary, each large section tied together by its own motif.

Erik López, bassoon; Ian Guthrie, celesta; Jiazhi Zhang, Catherine Beck, violin; Elitsa Atansova, viola; Foster Baird, cello

Excursus by Cody Kauhl

University of Missouri – Kansas City Degree: Master of Music


Cody Kauhl is an composer/multimedia artist that investigates the hidden musical potential of urban noise pollution while utilizing new methods of human and computer interaction. His work has been performed at international and national festivals and conferences including the International Computer Music Conference and Society of Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States. Cody graduated in 2011 with a B.M. in Music Theory/Composition at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and recently completed his M.M. thesis in Music Composition at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

Cody regularly collaborates with choreographers and visual artists and has had his work played at the Center of Cypriot Composers, MUSLAB, Festival of New American Music, New Horizons Music Festival, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Electronic Music Midwest, Electroacoustic Barn Dance, Animation Block Party, Great Plains Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference, Kansas City Electronic Music and Arts Alliance, and Kansas City Fringe Festival. Cody recently acted as composer-in-residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in February 2014 and will act as composer-in-residence at the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in February 2015. His work can be found on Ablaze Records.

For more information, please visit: codykauhl.com.

Program Notes

Commissioned by soprano Mikaela Sullivan for performance in April 2014, Excursus explores the methods in which modern television broadcasting attempts to fulfill different facets of human desire, thus propagating the continued use of the medium. The composition consists of three songs, each of which focuses on instinctive desires, quick fixes that palliate, or intellectual satisfaction. Current television programming attempts to satisfy these desires and fabricated need with sitcoms, pharmaceutical ads, and political slander, respectively.

Instead of communicating this message traditionally via voice and piano, prerecorded media serves as accompaniment to the soprano. I make the distinction in the title that the work calls for “soprano and flexible media”. This word choice stems from the desire for the media to truly act as an accompaniment; therefore, I constructed a set of twenty advancing electronic tracks, each of which have head room to quickly crossfade into the following clip. While utilizing Max 6 in performance, an “accompanist” advances these tracks upon careful observation of the vocalist and knowledge of the score.