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$1 Million Gift Supports New Music at MU

March 9, 2009

Story Contact:  Emily Smith, (573) 882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A donation of $1 million to the University of Missouri will enhance the School of Music's ability to support composers and performers of new music throughout Missouri and beyond. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield recently made the donation to expand the emphasis on new music in the School of Music.

"The Sinquefields believe that new music should be a part of everyone's life," said Robert Shay, director of the MU School of Music. "This gift will establish the School of Music as a center for new music, a destination for the best and brightest young composers, and a place where they can pursue their craft in a uniquely supportive environment."

The donation will provide funds for scholarships for student composers and a graduate-level new music ensemble, which will perform in non-traditional venues on campus, in the community, and throughout the state, to develop new audiences for new music. The donation also will fund a summer composition festival for college and graduate students that will feature distinguished guest composers and professional ensembles-in-residence that will perform new compositions.

"The MU School of Music is dedicated to advancing the future of musical composition, musicians and composers," MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said. "Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield's commitment and support are pivotal to the success of the performing arts at MU. Their support of MU is an important part of their commitment to Missouri's future."

The School of Music is home to the Creating Original Music Project (COMP), an initiative in its fourth year, funded by the Sinquefields and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. COMP is an incubator for new music and composers and consists of three programs: an annual competition for MU student composers, an annual competition for young composers in kindergarten through 12th grade throughout the state, and a summer camp for high school composers. "Genius Among Us: Young Composers in Missouri," a documentary about high school students at the composition summer camp, has won two film awards.

"There are so many talented young composers, but there is a lack of public funding for programs and scholarships to support them," Jeanne Sinquefield said. "I have heard young composers say that they actually hear their music before they write it. That kind of talent is incredible and should be encouraged and supported."

 "The Sinquefields have provided gifts to a variety of programs at MU, and this donation continues their commitment to the future of musical composition," said Michael O'Brien, dean of the MU College of Arts and Science. "This gift will help position the school as a resource for young composers and performers of new music."

The Sinquefields have three children, Randy, Katie and Luke. Randy and Katie earned bachelor's degrees from MU, and Katie also earned a master's degree from MU. The Sinquefields are Jefferson Club ambassadors, Chancellor's Society fellows and members of the Library Society.

Jeanne represented MU parents on the For All We Call Mizzou National Campaign Steering Committee. She plays the double bass in three area orchestras: the Columbia Civic Orchestra, Jefferson City Symphony Orchestra and the Ninth Street Philharmonic Orchestra.


Editor's note: MU Chancellor Brady Deaton and Anne Deaton invite the public to the 2009 Chancellor's Concert, tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Jesse Auditorium. Tickets are $10, with proceeds benefitting the Chancellor's Friends of Music Scholarship Endowment, and are available at the door. MU students with ID will be admitted free of charge. The concert includes the awarding of the Sinquefield Prize, given annually to an outstanding student composer in the School of Music, and the premiere of the prizewinning composition. This year, Stephanie Berg's winning piece will be played by the University Philharmonic.