CNM Concerts XVII-XX

Sixth Annual Exchange
Midwest Collegiate Composers

An annual spring festival of contemporary music
featuring new music from the composition programs of

The University of Colorado-Boulder,
The University of Missouri, Kansas City, and
The University of Iowa

Jonah Elrod, Nima Hamidi & Joshua Marquez, Student Committee

Concert IV

April 18, 2015 @ 7:30pm

|| download program ||


Daddy    Christine BURKE (IA)
  Wannapha Yannavut and Andrew Viet, percussion
Asami Hagiwara, piano
Archipelago    Luke KOTTEMANN (UI)
   Andrew Thierauf, percussion  
 GT Project 01    Arsid KETJUNTRA (UMKC)
   Fixed media  
 Six Enigmas for Viola
     I. Elysia
     III. Ijaat
   Kayla M. GOODISON (CU-B)
  Kayla M. Goodison, viola  
 Nine Coins    Scott STEELE (UMKC)
  Luiz Viquez, clarinet
Esther Seitz, violoncello
Scott Steele, percussion
 Winter's Summer (2014)
      for saxophone and laptop
  Ted King-Smith, saxophone  
 Compass Correction    Jacob SIMMONS (UI)
  Thiago Ancelmo de Souza, clarinet  
 Mind Crumbles Away    Aidan Patrick COOK (CU-B)
  Bryce Reiber, trombone
Jamey Morgan, trombone
Mason Jackson, trombone
Brandon Bird, trombone



Christine BURKE (IA)


explores various types of resonances, textures, and the spaces between them. Certain gestural and rhythmic material is based off of Sylvia Plath's poem of the same name.

Christine Burke recently graduated with a B.M. in Clarinet Performance from Duquesne University. A composer as well, her music has been performed by the NOW Ensemble, Reed III Trio, the Eclectic Laboratory Chamber Orchestra, and at the New Music on the Point and soundSCAPE festivals. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in clarinet with Dr. Maurita Murphy Marx.



While an archipelago is often considered to be a stretch of water containing many islands, it can also be thought of as a group or scattering of similar things, which is the main idea in this work for solo percussion. Small ideas are spread to create clusters of musical elements that contrast each other. The musical ideas are dispersed and collected in a way that is similar to a Pollock painting, where yellow spots could be sprinkled around clusters of blue, or vice versa. This becomes less apparent at the end of the piece, as the ideas begin to mix and influence each other and the defining properties of the musical elements begin to blur. This can be thought of as two colors on a painting being mixed - yellow and blue combined into green. Because of this blending, many phrases toward the end can be heard as a composite of two or more of the previously contrasting archipelagos.

Iowa City native Luke Kottemann is a composer and violinist who is currently pursuing a BM in Music Composition and a BSE in Electrical Engineering at the University of Iowa. Luke’s music has been performed throughout the Midwest. He has studied composition with David Gompper and Joshua Marquez.


GT Project 01

Arsid Ketjuntra was born in Bangkok, 1983. Earning his B.A. in Music Technology from Mahidol University, he was interested in digital sound synthesis and collaborated with Southeast Asian composers. After working as a music theory lecturer at Mahidol University, Ketjuntra decided to pursue his master degree in music composition and went to Brooklyn College working extensively with Tania León. He is currently a DMA student at the University of Missouri Kansas City studying under Zhou Long, James Mobberley, Paul Rudy, and Chen Yi. His academic interests lie in Psychoacoustic and Music Cognition.

Ketjuntra actively composes both electronic and acoustic music. His music have been chosen for National and international festival such as Composers Now 2012, IEAMF 2012, USF New Music Festival 2014, Asia-Europe New Music Festival 2014, Beijing Modern Music Festival 2013-2014, and Thailand International Composition Festival 2013-14. His successful collaboration with Jaeseong You also have been featured in important festivals and conferences like SEAMUS 2013, IEAMF 2013, NIME 2013, and Mise-En Music Festival 2014, and ICMC 2014.


Six Enigmas for Viola

is a set of character pieces in the spirit of Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Each movement is built around an idea created by taking the different letters of the alphabet and assigning them to notes. These ideas are based on the names of the characters and are sculpted to reflect their individual personalities. Each movement also comes with a short phrase to better define the tone.

Kayla M. Goodison is a new composer in the “classical” tradition. Through her growing education and broadening horizons (such as experimenting with different types of tonal and modal music), she brings intriguing and new musical pieces to both concert audiences and moviegoers alike. She has had two premieres and one reading in the past three years, and is gearing up for two more premieres in the next semester.


Nine Coins

Literature is one of my main, nonmusical influences. The foundation of my approach to musical form is rooted books like Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse V. It was Jorge Luis Borges who first initiated my fascination with time. After all, form is just the relationships between musical ideas within time as well as their durations. Borges also inspired Nine Coins.

The nation of Uqbar has never existed except in the dreams and writings of that beloved Argentine author and librarian. Borges’ Labyrinths, a collection of short stories and essays, is one of the most influential works I’ve read. The first story, “Uqbar, Tlön, Orbus Tertius” tells of the discovery of a nonexistent country and the roots of a massive, intellectual conspiracy to invent a world.

My imagination ran wild, and I decided to pretend to be taking part in the conspiracy of Orbus Tertius. The two folksongs from Uqbar are thus fictitious. They were written as though the two tunes were artifacts from Tlön. Measures 1-14 introduce the first folksong, "Upward behind the onstreaming it mooned." The second folksong, "The Parable of the Nine Coins," is first heard in measures 17-25. Both are presented by a solo cello. The rest of the piece is a development of these tunes.

In Paul McCartney’s approach to writing the Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper, he imagined he was a member of a different band, the Lonely Hearts Club Band. Adopting this new persona, he was free to write songs that Paul McCartney ordinarily wouldn’t. Likewise, with Nine Coins, I was similarly liberated from old habits. Composing thus became a fun, role-play exercise as I daydreamed the music of Uqbar.

Nine Coins is satisfying as a purely musical work. Nevertheless, the act of presenting the folksongs as being authentically from Uqbar adds a new dimension its experience. Composing it, I had hoped that listeners would either recognize the allusion or be curious enough to look up Uqbar. The piece is an invitation to participate in the music of a fantastic place.

Scott Steele As a composer, Scott has worked with diverse ensembles and artists such as Trillium Ensemble, Music From China, Duo Scordatura, the Alia Musica Chamber Players, Hamiruge, Made of Win, clarinetist Jun Qian, the Duquesne University Wind Ensemble, the Kutztown University Percussion Ensemble, the Duquesne University Percussion Ensemble, percussionist Brett Dietz, cellist Alvin Wong, cellist Carter Enyert, percussionist Frank Kumor, percussionist and cimbalom player A.J. Merlino, artist Caroline Record, Plug, Panta Rhei New Music, and The Pillow Project.

His music has been selected for the 2007 Pennsylvania Award for Achievement in the Creative Arts for Composition, the 2011 Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Student Readings, and the Duquesne Contemporary Ensemble Call for Scores. Scott has been featured on the 2014 Pittsburgh Festival of New Music, 2014 Ion Project, 2012 Host Skull Festival, 5th International Percussion Festival in Argentina, and he has been a guest artist with The Pillow Project, a dance troupe based in Pittsburgh, PA.

Scott has studied composition with David Stock, Jim Mobberley, Chen Yi, Paul Rudy, and Zhou Long.

In addition to being a composer, Scott is a conductor, educator, percussionist, and new music advocate. Currently, he is the assistant director of Musica Nova, UMKC’s new music ensemble. He has been on faculty as a music theory and ear training instructor at the UMKC Academy of Music and Dance. He is a founding member of Fusebox, a Kansas City based composers collective. Since 2011, he has been a member of Alia Musica Pittsburgh.


Winter's Summer
Written for Duke Sullivan in April 2014, Winter’s Summer is inspired by his poem Re-Blooming:

In the depth of winter
I had an invincible summer
to feed the buds
            a chance to bloom again

This piece emulates various aspects of the poem, but specifically the last phrase. It shifts between a winter soundscape, still and quiet; and summer one, bright and active. The Alto Saxophone and fixed media are often intertwined with each other, as the fixed media was written almost entirely with filtered sounds and techniques on saxophone. Winter’s Summer begins with a winter soundscape of melancholic phrases in the Alto while being accompanied by a cold, empty wind in the fixed media. Several interruptions in the fixed media foreshadow the arrival of summer, which contrasts winter with fast, rhythmic, and jazz-like gestures. Summer gradually fades away and returns following the climax of the piece. However, at winter’s return the Alto is no longer melancholic. Having had the opportunity to “bloom” in the brief summer of this piece, the Alto waits once more for winter to fade away, and is given one final reminder of it in the fixed media before the winds of winter finally let go.

Ted King-Smith is a composer, educator, performer, and arranger currently based in Kansas City, Missouri. As a composer he strives to synthesize aural, visual, kinesthetic, and/or conceptual influences into engaging musical works that emphasize variety and virtuosity. Recent awards for his music include 3rd place in the 2014 American Prize and the 2012 Washington-Idaho Symphony Young Artist Award. He holds degrees from the Hartt School of Music, Washington State University, and is currently attending the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Notable performers include several college wind ensembles, saxophone ensembles, the Saxophilia Quartet, and others. His music has been performed at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, several College Music Society and Society of Composers Inc. conferences, the Root Signals Electronic Music Festival, the New Horizons Music Festival, the New York City Electroacoustic Festival, and the Florida State University New Music Festival.


Compass Correction

Compass Correction, for solo clarinet, was written in the fall of 2014. The piece largely explores distorted palindromic pitch materials through rows that are related to scales or harmonic structures found in tonal and modal music. In the latter portion of the piece, a collection of dyads are used as focal points, which are connected through serialized rows. The number of pitches found between each set of dyads are systematically decreased and then increased in even amounts. The result of this method is then distorted by the displacement and expansion of selected moments.

Jacob Simmons is a first year PhD student of composition at the University of Iowa. He is currently studying with Lawrence Fritts. He holds a Bachelors degree in composition from Cornerstone University (Grand Rapids, MI), and a Masters in composition from Belmont University (Nashville, TN). His former teachers include Bill Pursell, Mark Volker, and David Culross.

Aidan Patrick COOK (CU-B)

Mind Crumbles Away
The inspiration for this piece first came from the desire to write a piece for a dear friend of mine and an extraordinary trombone player, Jamey Morgan. The sound of several trombones together has always enthralled me, exemplified for me by Bruckner on many occasions, most notably his Aequali for trombones. I decided to really find out what the ensemble, which most people have never really thought about, is truly capable of.

There are two narrative ideas I was really drawn to while I was writing this piece. The first is this moment in a story when catharsis seems so close at hand, and just as we reach out to grab it, it dissolves in our hand. The second is the idea that something, which at first may seem to be joyful or innocent, is later revealed to be grotesque. I wanted to explore these ideas, and especially how the first might lead to the second.

“Mind Crumbles Away” imagines a psyche in the aftermath of some inconceivable tragedy. I was attracted to the idea that after such a trauma the mind might revert to an almost childlike state incapable or unwilling to grasp the gravity of transpiring events. This is the idea behind the names and structures of the movements: a dance, a lullaby, and a game. However, the protagonist of this story is not a child, and the music is a constant struggle between these two aspects of its mind. The first movement embodies the symptoms of physical shock. It is intense, exhaustive, and, in the end, overwhelming. In the second movement, things have calmed down, and our character to begins to process their trauma. For a brief moment, hope pierces through the fog, but we soon realize that it is not to be. From the eery quiet, the third movement leaps forward without pause, a sardonic romp imaging the total departure of sanity, the destruction of the mind.

Aidan Patrick Cook grew up in Boulder, Colorado, in the shadow of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, whose timeless and colossal presence makes life for those beneath them a constant meditation on the utter futility of all of human existence. Thus liberated from the utilitarian pull towards the mad race of resource production and consumption, his music is an exploration of what, if anything, lies waiting for humanity past the curtain we have collectively pulled over our eyes.