About Us

The Mizzou New Music Initiative brings together a diverse array of programs positioning the University of Missouri School of Music as a leading center for the creation and performance of new music. The Initiative is the direct result of the generous support of Dr. Jeanne and Mr. Rex Sinquefield and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. Read more about the Sinquefields’ support for the MU School of Music.

The Sinquefields’ involvement with the School of Music began with a $50,000 gift in 2005, launching the Creating Original Music Project (COMP), a program intended to identify and develop young Missouri composers through a competition and festival. The COMP Festival has been held every spring since 2006, bringing winners to campus to hear their works performed by MU performers.

Along with COMP, the Sinquefield Prize was founded in 2006 to recognize Mizzou’s most outstanding student composer. Each year, qualified judges from outside the University select one Mizzou student to write a piece for a Mizzou large ensemble (University Philharmonic, University Wind Ensemble, or University Singers) that is premiered at the annual Chancellor’s Arts Showcase. The winner is provided with a high-quality recording of their work.

The Sinquefields’ support grew in 2007 with the inaugural Mizzou Summer Composition Institute (Summer COMP). This weeklong workshop brings Missouri high school students to campus for a week to study contemporary repertoire, instrumentation, music notation software, and composition. Through the week, each student composer works closely with MU faculty and writes a piece that is premiered by professional performers on a final concert at the Sinquefield Music Center.

Due to the success of these programs, the Sinquefields gave $1 million to the MU School of Music to establish the Mizzou New Music Initiative in 2009. The Initiative funds a variety of programs including student scholarships, assistantships for members of the New Music Ensemble, guest performer and composer residencies, collaborations with community partners in St. Louis, and the Mizzou International Composers Festival. The Initiative has allowed Mizzou to attract top undergraduate composition students and elite performers to campus. Guest performers have included some of the most important artists in contemporary music, including JACK Quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Alarm Will Sound, Eighth Blackbird, Roomful of Teeth, and SO Percussion. Three Pulitzer Prize winners and two Chicago Symphony Orchestra Composers-in-Residence have been among the distinguished composers that have visited Mizzou.

The success of the Mizzou New Music Initiative has been demonstrated by the Sinquefields’ continued support of the School of Music. In 2013 the Sinquefields sustained the NMI with an additional gift of $1.4 million. In 2015 the Sinquefields gave $10 million, the largest gift ever to MU to support the fine arts, toward the construction of the Sinquefield Music Center. The next gift for the NMI, in excess of $2 million, was given in 2016. 

Beginning in 2017-18, the Sinquefields helped the Mizzou New Music Initiative establish a partnership with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. The result is an exciting collaborative project in which three Mizzou students are selected each year to write new works for the Symphony, who workshops and premieres the pieces in a public performance.

The Sinquefields committed additional gifts to the Mizzou New Music Initiative of $2.5 million in 2019 and $3.4 million in 2022, continuing their support of new music at the University of Missouri and furthering our vision to make Missouri a center for contemporary music.

MNMI by the Numbers (2006-2022):

  • Approximately 1,000 pieces of music performed by composers ages 6-92
  • 146 guest composers and performers of new music invited to campus, including 3 Pulitzer Prize winners and 4 Grammy Award winners
  • Over 100 students supported with full scholarships and assistantships
  • Creating Original Music Program (COMP) - since 2006
    • 345 pieces of music by K-12 Missouri composers performed
  • Missouri Summer Composition Institute (Summer COMP) - since 2007
    • 120 pieces by Missouri high school students premiered
  • Sinquefield Prize - since 2006
    • 17 pieces by Mizzou student composers premiered by MU Large Ensembles at the Chancellor's Arts Showcase
  • Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) - since 2010
    • 92 resident composer premieres by Alarm Will Sound
    • 30 works of guest composers performed by Alarm Will Sound
    • 75 works performed by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and guest ensembles
  • Sound of Art Concerts - since 2011
    • 42 premieres of Mizzou student works by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble at cultural institutions in St. Louis
  • Missouri Composers Project (MOCOP) - since 2012
    • 66 works performed by the Columbia Chamber Choir and the Columbia Civic Orchestra 
  • Sinquefield Commissions - since 2012
    • 40 works written by Mizzou student composers for MU Ensembles
  • Sheldon Commissions - since 2014 
    • 39 works written by Mizzou student composers and premiered at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis
  • Sinquefield Faculty Grants - since 2015
    • 12 works written by guest composers for Mizzou Faculty
  • St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) - since 2018 
    • 12 works by Mizzou student composers premiered
    • 4 works by Mizzou faculty and NMI alumni performed
  • Over 100 other compositions by students, faculty, staff, postdocs, and guest composers premiered




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