I am beyond thankful to have the opportunity to be writing for my dear friend Patrick Graham and the University of Missouri's acclaimed New Music Ensemble. I've worked with Patrick many times before in opera scenes, Mizzou's University Singers, and in a full production of Le Nozze di Figaro, and every single time I've been blown away by his unmistakeable passion for music, his raw talent, and his stunningly beautiful voice. Knowing this, I went to him and asked if he would be interested in performing my work if I wrote him a piece for baritone and Pierrot ensemble. To my excitement, he eagerly agreed, expressing his great admiration for new music. I got right to work on searching for a text, but I couldn't find anything that quite fit the ideas already forming in my head. In the following days, I went to a local concert in Columbia, MO and heard an art song for soprano by one of my fantastic composer friends. I absolutely adored the piece, and the text was equally as enticing and gorgeous as the music. I looked at the program to see who wrote the text, and low and behold, it was a mutual friend of Patrick and mine, Lee K. Acton! I contacted Lee and told her about my project, and she generously agreed to write something brand new for my work. We've been in close contact ever since, shooting ideas back and forth about the exciting collaboration. I will have more news about this new composition soon, and I can't wait to begin writing!
Originally from Lee’s Summit, MO, baritone Patrick Graham is a senior at the University of Missouri pursuing a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance. He currently studies voice with Steven Tharp, having previously studied with Ann Harrell. Patrick’s operatic credits include Figaro in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Marco in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, in addition to scene work encompassing operas by Copland, Mozart, Strauss, and Verdi. He is a 3-year member of Mizzou’s University Singers, under the direction of Dr. R. Paul Crabb, having travelled internationally with the group to Austria and Hungary in 2014, and to China in 2016. Patrick’s previous theatrical credits include, Aldolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone and Sweeney Todd in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Patrick recently placed first in his division at the National Level of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) National Student Auditions, in addition to placing first in his division at the Central Region NATS competition in both 2015 and 2014.
The New Music Ensemble, under the direction of faculty composer and Alarm Will Sound member Stefan Freund, collaborates with MU’s faculty and student composers, performs frequently on and off campus, and works with some of the world’s leading composers and interpreters of new music. Seven Graduate Assistantships are available for New Music Ensemble members (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion, piano, and one rolling position).
Over the last five years, the ensemble has performed regularly in St. Louis, in such venues as the Sheldon Concert Hall, Shoenberg Theatre at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Contemporary Art Museum, World Chess Hall of Fame, and the Jewel Box at Forest Park, collaborating with visual artists in the Sound of Art series. The Ensemble has been coached by prestigious guest composers and performers, visiting the campus as a result of the New Music Initiative, including Steven Stucky, Tod Machover, Matt Haimovitz, eighth blackbird, the Verdehr Trio, Nico Muhly, Andrew List, and others.
ABOUT THE COMPOSER
Hans Bridger Heruth is an award winning composer pursuing a degree in musical composition and vocal performance at the University of Missouri, Columbia. His works have been performed by various ensembles, both educational and professional. In addition to composing, Heruth is an accomplished pianist, violinist, singer, and conductor.