UMKC Composition Faculty and Alumni Shine Brightly

The UMKC Conservatory’s Composition faculty and alumni shine brightly in the firmament of composers’ awards and commissions. Together they, along with their students, are changing the face of contemporary music here and abroad.

Composer Narong Prangcharoen (DMA, composition 2010) has been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, Creative Arts, 2013–14. Narong, who teaches at the Conservatory’s Academy, joins all four of UMKC’s Composition faculty, Narong’s mentors, as a Guggenheim Fellow: James Mobberley (1992), Zhou Long (1994), Chen Yi (1996), and Paul Rudy (2008).

Narong has an international reputation and has been called “absolutely captivating” by the Chicago Sun Times. His international prizes include the Alexander Zemlinsky International Composition Competition Prize, the Pacific Symphony’s American Composers Competition Prize, and the Annapolis Charter 300 International Composers Competition Prize, among many others. Recently, he won the 20th Annual American Composers Orchestra Underwood New Music Commission and the Audience Choice Award.

In 2007, the Thai government named Prangcharoen a Contemporary National Artist and awarded him the Silapathorn Award, one of Thailand’s most prestigious honors.

Narong’s works that helped to solidify his Guggenheim appointment include Illuminations (2012) for orchestra, premiered by China National Center for Performing Arts Orchestra, Lu Jia, conductor; Anatman (2012) for cello and wind ensemble, premiered by the UMKC Conservatory Wind Symphony, Steven Davis, conductor and Carter Enyeart, cello; and The Dawn of Darkness (2012) for saxophone and orchestra, premiered by Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, Dariusz Mikulski, conductor and Wisuwat Pruksavanich, saxophone.

One of Narong’s many accomplishments is as founder of the Thailand International Composition Festival, which is in its successful ninth year. It is the largest composition festival in Southeast Asia and especially important for promoting new music. Composers (including Conservatory faculty and students) and performers from around the world participate in this important festival.

Pulitzer Prize winning composer and faculty Zhou Long is awarded the 2012–13 Elise L. Stoeger Prize for composers by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The Stoeger Prize is a $25,000 cash award. The largest prize of its kind, it is given every two years in recognition of significant contributions to the field of chamber music composition.

Chamber Music Society Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han noted, “We are thrilled that Zhou Long has been named the 2012–13 Stoeger Prize Winner. With his rich and diverse catalogue of chamber music, we cannot think of a more deserving composer for this award. Not only is his voice original and exacting, but his ability to synthesize Western and Eastern sensibilities is unsurpassed in our estimation. He joins a truly stellar roster of contemporary composers who have been awarded the Stoeger Prize, adding luster to an already incandescent list of chamber music’s greatest living advocates.”

The Stoeger Prize for composers of chamber music was established by a generous gift from Milan Stoeger as a memorial to his wife, Elise, and in gratitude for the music that had been one of the principal joys of their lives. The Prize is awarded in recognition of achievement in the field of chamber music composition rather than for a specific work.

The Elise L. Stoeger Prize is the largest award given for chamber music composition, and is given to recognize composers who have made substantial contributions to the field of chamber music. Zhou Long joins a prestigious list of awardees since the prize was first given in 1987, including Conservatory faculty Chen Yi, and former Conservatory Barr Institute Laureate Stephen Hartke.

A new work by Zhou Long, co-commissioned by Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and London’s Wigmore Hall, for clarinet, violin, viola, and piano will receive its U.S. premiere May 6, 2014 at Alice Tully Hall.

UMKC Conservatory faculty, students, and alumni continue to enrich international, musical, and creative territories with their outstanding artistry.

Dana Self

Dana Self is an arts writer who was a contemporary art curator for more than 13 years at museums in Kansas, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Missouri, including Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. She has organized roughly 100 exhibitions of emerging and midcareer artists. She is also marketing director for UMKC Conservatory.

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