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New Music Ensemble

New Music Ensemble2014 - 2015 Mizzou New Music Ensemble
Photo credit: Tina Price

Mizzou New Music Initiative seeks talented performers dedicated to promoting new music. 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.

Over the last six 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, and World Chess Hall of Fame, 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, and others.


New Music Ensemble Members

Erin Spencer, flute
Erin Spencer
A native of Colorado, Erin Spencer is a Master's student at the University of Missouri where she studies Flute Performance with Professor Alice Dade. Mrs. Spencer is the owner of Spencer Studio, a private flute and piano studio in Columbia, Missouri. She is also an instructor with the Community Music Program. Erin is currently the flutist of the New Music Ensemble at the University of Missouri. Mrs. Spencer has performed as co-principal of the 9th Street Philharmonic Orchestra, principal of the University Wind Ensemble, and with the University Philharmonic. She helped form and performed with the University of Missouri Undergraduate Woodwind Quintet for two years. Erin has performed in the pit orchestra of various musicals including Fiddler on the Roof, Jesus Christ Superstar, Oliver!, and Little Women. Mrs. Spencer enjoys arranging music for flute choir and also currently assists with conducting the flute ensemble at the University of Missouri. After graduation, Erin plans to expand Spencer Studio and teach flute and piano privately with the long-term goal of becoming a college flute professor.

Jeremiah Rittel, clarinet Jeremiah Rittle

Jeremiah Rittel is a graduate student at the University of Missouri studying clarinet performance, ethnomusicology, and jazz improvisation.  He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Montana in clarinet performance where he studied with Dr. Maxine Ramey and Dr. Christopher Kirkpatrick.  He is currently in the studio of Dr. Bill Kalinkos. 

As a performer, Jeremiah thrives in a variety of genres and settings.  As a classical clarinetist he has performed with the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, Missoula Symphony Orchestra, String Orchestra of the Rockies, 9th Street Philharmonic, Columbia Civic Orchestra, and in the Odyssey Chamber series; and as a student of world music he has studied and performed in the West African, East Indian, Czech, and Balinese music traditions.

Focusing on New Music, he currently works under a Graduate Performance Assistantship in the New Music Ensemble at the University of Missouri where he has been a part of over a dozen premieres of new compositions for various instrumentations, worked with numerous established and up-and-coming composers, and collaborated on and off campus with other art forms such as dance, visual art, and film.  He is also currently working in the fields of Jazz and contemporary improvisation on clarinet, bass clarinet, and tenor saxophone.

Britney Stutz, violin
Britney Stutz
Britney Stutz is a graduate student at the University of Missouri studying violin with Professor Julie Rosenfeld.  After receiving her Bachelors in Music, Britney wanted to broaden her experience with new music and contemporary composers. Apart of her mission for outreach, it is important for Britney to expose music, and specifically new music, to people in and outside of the music community.

Apart from her classical training and performing at the University of Missouri, Britney has a strong passion for working as a studio violinist for the indie, pop, and rock music scene. Britney has worked with Columbia native Will Reeves and Nashville producer Dustin Burnett. In 2012 Britney signed with Tooth and Nail records to produce the album Echo Love and tour the nation with the band An Epic, No Less.

Korin Wahl, viola Korin Wahl

Violist Korin Wahl is passionate about connecting others through the power of chamber music. She is currently the violist for the New Music Ensemble at the University of Missouri and for two years was the violist of the Graduate String Quartet in-residence at Mizzou. She has performed at many venues in the area including the Missouri Theater and the Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City. Korin has attended festivals such as Killington Chamber Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Brevard Music Festival, and the Black Hills Chamber Festival with the Orlando Chamber Soloists. She has also had the opportunity to perform in venues throughout the United States and Europe such as Carnegie Hall, the Esterházy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria. This past summer Korin attended the Zodiac Chamber Music Festival in Valdeblore, France where she had the opportunity to perform in various historical venues throughout the South of France. Korin's musical inspiration began with private instruction from her first teacher William Goodwin and has flourished through her collaboration with numerous peers and mentors including former teacher William Goodwin, violinists Corinne Stillwell and Susan Jensen, cellist Ariana Macmillan, and pianists Ludwig Treviranus and Read Gainsford. Through her mentorship with the Orlando Chamber Soloists, she found a love of working with children from toddler to young adult in their Teddy Bear Concert Series. This past summer Korin was invited to an internship with the Education and Community Engagement Department of the Seattle Symphony, where she observed and participated in the Symphony's community events located throughout the Seattle metropolitan area. Korin continues to educate today's youth as the Assistant Director of the Missouri String Project and teaches privately through the Community Music Program. Ms. Wahl completed her Bachelor's degree at Florida State University where she studied with Pamela Ryan and Corrine Stillwell. She is currently completing her Master's in Viola Performance at Mizzou under the instruction of Leslie Perna.

Rachel Czech, cello
Rachel Czech
Student teaching in St. Louis in the spring of 2013 invigorated Rachel Czech to continue to discover, teach, and introduce others to create and experience classical and new music.  Rachel graduated in May 2013 from the University of Missouri and holds a Bachelor's of Science in Instrumental Music Education with Education Departmental Honors.  Applying her strong background in education and educational research, she wishes to instill her same eagerness to explore both old and new music styles to unfamiliar listeners through private lessons and educational performance programs.

Currently continuing her education at the University of Missouri, she is now pursuing her master's degree in cello performance while performing with the New Music Ensemble under the direction of Stefan Freund.  As a member of the New Music Ensemble, Rachel has the opportunities to promote and perform new music from University of Missouri faculty and composition students as well as work with some of the world's leading composers and interpreters of new music, such as Nico Muhly, Paul Steinback, and John Orfe from Alarm Will Sound.  Additionally, Rachel travels as a freelance cellist to perform and collaborate with musicians throughout the states of Missouri and Illinois.  After graduating with her MM in May 2015, Rachel wishes to pursue an Artist Diploma while maintaining her freelance performing schedule and her private studio.  For further information, please visit her website at

José G. Martínez R., percussion
Jose Martínez
José G. Martínez R. is a Colombian composer and percussionist born in 1983. He obtained his diploma at the Conservatory of Music at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá in 2009.  He studied percussion with Mario Sarmiento and Federico Demmer and composition with Harold Vásquez, Moisés Bertrán and Gustavo Parra.  Currently he is a first year graduate student in composition in the University of Missouri with W.Thomas McKenney, Stefan Freund and William Lackey.

In 2009 he received the National Composition Prize for Young composers from the National Ministry of Culture of Colombia for his piece Suamox. In 2011 he won the XIV National Composition Contest “Ciudad de Bogotá” for the piece Monologue III for solo flute and percussion quintet. Recently he received the IX National Cultural Prize from the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia for the piece Mutaciones I for orchestra and he is the last recipient of the Sinquefield Prize given to on of the composition students in the University of Missouri by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

As percussionist he won at 2004 the National Musical Performance Contest “Ciudad de Bogotá”. As Chamber musician he has been part of several percussion ensembles in Bogotá, Colombia and performed around the country. He was also co-founder of the Contemporary Music Ensemble of the National University of Colombia.

His music has been performed in Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, United States, Puerto Rico and England. Recently, the University Philharmonic of the University of Missouri premiered his piece Interferencias in the Chancellor’s Concert. Last year the Medellín Philharmonic Orchestra in Colombia will premier his Double Marimba Concerto and he participated in the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival where the ensemble Alarm Will Sound performed his piece Danzas Tórridas (Torrid Dances).

Taylor Burkhardt, piano
Taylor Burkhardt

Taylor Burkhardt collaborates with a number of vocalists and instrumentalists as a duo partner, chamber musician, rehearsal pianist, and coach. She has given solo and collaborative performances at the New York Summer Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, Wichita State University, Odyssey Chamber Music Series, and the University of Missouri-Columbia, and also performed Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" with the Jefferson City High School Symphonic Band in 2008. Currently, Ms. Burkhardt performs regularly with the MU New Music Ensemble and is a rehearsal pianist with the MU Show­-Me Opera. Her teachers include Dr. Peter Miyamoto and Karen Larvick, and she coached with Erika Eckert, Marianne Gedigian, and Benjamin Sung at Brevard Music Center in addition to studies with Elisabeth Pridonoff, Donna Lee, and Deloise Lima. In fall 2013 she placed runner-up in the graduate division of the Missouri Music Teachers Association Collegiate Honors Piano Auditions. In addition, Ms. Burkhardt serves as General Manager of the Odyssey Chamber Music Series in Columbia, MO, also helping to facilitate events during the biennial Plowman Chamber Music Competition.

The programs of the Mizzou New Music Initiative have been made possible
through the generous support of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

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Last modified: 12-Nov-2015