Sinquefield Charitable Foundation gifts $2.5 million to Mizzou New Music Initiative

This gift will help fund the New Music Initiative for a three-year cycle.
The MU School of Music. Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Mizzou New Music Initiative was gifted $2.5 million by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, a long-time benefactor of the New Music Initiative. UM officials announced the gift on Feb. 21.

The money will benefit the Mizzou International Composers Festival, a festival in July that features public concerts, presentations and workshops; guest composers’ and performance groups’ events on campus, such as vocal group Roomful of Teeth and bass clarinet and marimba duo Transient Canvas; the Sinquefield Composition Prize, and a competition for MU music students in which the winner has his or her music performed and recorded, according to the foundation’s website.

Jacob Gotlib, managing director for the New Music Initiative, said that the gift will also continue to fund all the K-12 and MU music student programs.

The gift will also support costs for faculty and staff, graduate student assistantships and two full-tuition scholarships per year for undergraduate composition majors.

“[The money] is going to continue funding all of our programs for another three-year cycle,” Gotlib said. “We’ve been thankful that Dr. Sinquefield and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation have been funding the New Music Initiative in series of three-year cycles over the last 10 years.”

The New Music Initiative has programs for K-12 students as well as programs for MU music students. These programs include the Creating Original Music Project, in which students submit original compositions to the competition. The winner has their music played by MU music students and their school receives prize money. Other programs include the Missouri Composers Project and summer camps for high school students.

“Our goal is to cultivate and promote the education of composers in the state,” Gotlib said. “That includes K-12 students, it includes our students at the university and it even includes composers who have just earned or are on the verge of earning their Ph.D. We cover the full spectrum of education for composition.”

The Sinquefield Charitable Foundation designated $300,000 for undergraduate student scholarships and MU matched that amount to equal $600,000 for scholarships, according to the foundation’s website.

Freshman Jack Snelling has been involved with the New Music Initiative programs since he was in middle school.

“When I was in sixth grade, my science teacher’s son had just won the competition and she showed us a video of his piece being played,” Snelling said. “I wanted to do that, so a couple of years later, I submitted to the [COMP] competition.”

Snelling earned an honorable mention in fine art music his freshman year in high school, a second place in jazz sophomore year, a first place in jazz junior year and a first place in fine art music during his senior year.

Snelling has continued composing since then and said he appreciates the guidance the New Music Initiative gave him.

“Once you join the program they give you the tools and everything else that you need and that makes you want to stay in the program,” Snelling said. “That’s one of the big reasons why I came to Mizzou, because it was all right here for me.”

Now he is a composition major at MU and said that the New Music Initiative allowed him to explore other possibilities of his music career.

“The most educational composition weeks that I have had in my life are those camps that I went to,” Snelling said. “I was mainly a jazz player before this. I wouldn’t have even been introduced to classical composition if I hadn’t gone to the camps. It is partially because of [the New Music Initiative] that I’m a classical composer today. I would not be anywhere near the musician I am if it weren’t for them.”

Edited by Emily Wolf | ewolf@themaneater.com

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