The MU School of Music received a large monetary donation at the 10th annual Chancellor’s Concert Monday night in Missouri Theatre.
Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield of Westphalia gave $1.4 million to the school to develop its department of music composition. The money will be used to expand the Mizzou New Music Initiative, an effort to expand the funding and support of new music at MU, the Creating Original Music Project and the Sinquefield Prize, an annual competition for MU composers. The donation will support the commissioning of music, guest composers to MU, guest performances for the students of the school and the development of a film score laboratory for students.
“I have been overwhelmed by the success of the MNMI,” Jeanne Sinquefield said in an MU news release. “Since the program began, more than 300 new pieces of music have been written, performed and recorded — some more successful than others, but all providing valuable learning experiences for their composers. And when a composer succeeds, there is nothing better than listening to a beautiful piece of music that you have encouraged to be written.”
Alumnus Michael Anderson, a former Sinquefield Prize winner, attended the concert and spoke to the crowd. He described his win, which included a commission to compose a piece for the University Philharmonic, as a transformative experience.
The Chancellor’s Concert featured performances from the top ensembles from the School of Music, including the University Singers, Concert Jazz Band, University Wind Ensemble, Show-Me Opera and University Philharmonic.
Graduate student David Witter, a Sinquefield Prize winner, premiered the commissioned piece he wrote, “Missouri,” which featured solos by Witter on the trombone and Director of Jazz Studies Arthur White.
Witter said the art mural “A Social History of the State of Missouri,” in Missouri’s State Capitol served as his inspiration for the piece. The piece will be recorded as a part of the prize.
“The premiered piece was very interesting, almost chaotic, and seemed to weave all of the sections together beautifully,” junior Chris Chandler said.
In 2009 the Sinquefields donated $1 million to the School of Music to provide full tuition to select undergraduates, a distance-learning program, funding for faculty and staff, and funding for the Mizzou International Composers Festival. Jeanne Sinquefield said she wants to make Missouri a “Mecca for composition.”
Chancellor Brady Deaton and Michael O’Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Science, were present for the concert and announcement.
“Rarely do you see such a long-term commitment to a project like the Sinquefields have shown with their dedication to promoting the creation of new music,” O’Brien said in an MU news release. “Their gifts to MU have given the School of Music a tremendous advantage in attracting top-notch students and faculty. Students now know MU is the place to be if they want to study music composition.”