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Mizzou New Music Initiative awarded more than $2.5 million to continue support for student composers

Funds will be used for student scholarships and assistantships, music festivals and support for new music staff and faculty at MU

February 21st, 2019

Story Contact: Cailin Riley, 573-882-4870,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri officials announced today that members of the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, a long-time benefactor of the Mizzou New Music Initiative at the School of Music, are giving $2.5 million to help continue the program over the next three years. The funds will help support graduate student assistantships, provide two full-tuition scholarships annually, send student composers to the Missouri International Composers festival and also help support faculty and staff within the program. In addition, MU will match the $300,000 portion designated for undergraduate student scholarships, for a grand total of $600,000.

“It is amazing how passionate Jeanne Sinquefield is in her support of Mizzou students who wish to pursue both an education and a career as a musician,” MU Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright said. “We greatly admire her dedication to our students and her support of our university.”

This event marks a decade since the creation of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, which aims to support aspiring student composers who wish to pursue a career as a professional musician. Since its inception, the New Music Initiative has paved the way for student composers to succeed.

  • 70 students have received full scholarships and assistantships
  • 505 pieces of new music have been created or performed by Mizzou composers
  • 164 guest composers and performers of new music have visited campus, including three Pulitzer Prize winners and four Grammy Award winners

“The Mizzou New Music Initiative has deeply impacted my development as a composer. Even before I began school at Mizzou, I attended the Summer Composition camp and took part in the Creating Original Music Project,” said student composer Jack Snelling. “Every program I’ve been involved with here has helped prepare me for both a future postgrad education and a career as a musician. Without the generous support this gift provides to the New Music Initiative, I would not have had these opportunities.”

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is housed within the School of Music in the College of Arts and Science. The School of Music aims to prepare students to make meaningful contributions to the world as performers, composers, teachers and scholars.

“We are extremely proud of the Mizzou New Music Initiative here at the University of Missouri and the College of Arts and Science,” said Patricia Okker, dean of the College of Arts and Science. “Over the past decade, this program has transformed the School of Music. It encourages innovation in our music students, letting them experiment and discover, then share their creativity with the world.”

The Sinquefield Charitable Foundation has supported several School of Music initiatives over the years, including the Sinquefield Composition Prize, an annual competition for students where the winner is given the chance to write an original work for performance by the University Philharmonic. Opportunities like these have attracted strong student composers to the university.