Support us with Kachingle!
July 19, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Some nights, Stephanie Berg dreams of orchestral music. It makes sense that musical notes follow her into sleep; she has a master’s degree in clarinet performance and music composition. Sometimes Berg takes advantage of these dreams by incorporating them into her daytime work as a composer. A tango theme idea that woke her at 3 a.m. became a musical piece performed a few years ago by the 9th Street Philharmonic.
Where: Fine Arts Building room 145, Loeb Hall room 201, Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts
When: July 23, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; July 24 and 25, 9 a.m.–9:30 p.m.; July 26, 8 p.m.; July 27, 9 a.m.–10 p.m.; July 28, 8 p.m.
Cost: Concerts: $8 for student tickets, $16 for adult tickets, $20 for a student pass, $40 for an adult pass, rehearsals and presentations: free
Berg, 26, is one of the eight resident composers of the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, which will take place July 23 through 28 at MU. These composers were chosen from a pool of more than 100 from across the world to come to Columbia and share their music. After being involved with the festival for the past two years as a member of the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, Berg says she is excited to take on a larger role. She is the only composer from Columbia at the festival.
“We were looking not only for composers with an original voice and interesting music but also composers that show an ability to write an acceptable piece to be performed by Alarm Will Sound,” McKenney says.
Alarm Will Sound is a 20-person group that showcases the best of new music and fuses classical and modern sounds. The group has been performing at the festival since 2010 and will premiere one of Berg’s compositions. As a resident composer, Berg will also give a presentation about her previous compositions.
The Kansas City native came to MU as an undergraduate and says she was impressed with Columbia’s music scene. She immediately became involved with as many ensembles as possible and has performed with the Mizzou New Music Ensemble, the Columbia Civic Orchestra, the 9th Street Philharmonic Orchestra and others. She won the 2009 Sinquefield Composition Prize, but it wasn’t until college that she began to focus seriously on being a composer.
According to Berg, the composition process differs from piece to piece. Whether an idea comes to her through a dream or on a long car ride, she says the toughest part is deciding where to begin.
“Ravish and Mayhem,” the 6 1/2-minute piece she composed for Alarm Will Sound to perform at the festival took an entire semester to write. The idea came to her on a road trip back home.
“An image popped in my head of a Middle Eastern street festival; I’m not sure why,” Berg says. “That was the image I kept in mind when writing the piece. It’s a very high-energy piece, very folk-like melodies.”
This sudden inspiration is typical for Berg. Many of her ideas come to her in moments of musical meditation.
“It’s really kind of inexplicable,” she says about her inspiration. “Usually it just comes when I’m in a relaxed state, idly thinking about music.”