$1.4 million donation to MU School of Music will fund scholarships, programs

Monday, March 11, 2013 | 9:11 p.m. CDT; updated 10:19 p.m. CDT, Monday, March 11, 2013

COLUMBIA — The 10th annual MU Chancellor’s Concert started on a high note.

Before the concert, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton announced a $1.4 million contribution  from longtime supporters Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield to the MU School of Music.

“They have truly made the University of Missouri an incubator for new music,” Deaton said while introducing Jeanne Sinquefield.

Their contribution will help fund new programs including a recording program and a lab for students to work on film scoring. The money will also contribute to the students' education by commissioning more compositions and bringing in more guest composers and performers to speak to the students.

“My goal is to make Missouri a mecca for composition,” Jeanne Sinquefield said. 

These additions will help expand the Mizzou New Music Initiative and Creating Original Music Project. The Sinquefields have supported these programs in the past.

“It was my first year as the director when Jeanne came in to my office and said, ‘What can we do with $1 million?’” said Robert Shay, director of the MU School of Music. “Since then, hundreds of pieces have been composed, and so many people have been touched.”

In the four years since the Sinquefields' original $1 million donation, the MU School of Music has been able to fund full-ride undergraduate scholarships, six graduate student assistantships, faculty and staff positions, the Mizzou International Composers Festival and a distance-learning program where people can send in pieces to be critiqued by graduate students studying composition.

After the announcement, the MU Chancellor’s Concert began, including the world premiere performance of the 2013 Sinquefield Prizewinning composition, “Missouri.” The piece was composed by MU graduate student David Witter and was performed by the MU Philharmonic Orchestra. 

“I hope you enjoy as much as I do listening to a piece of music that would have never been written or performed,” Jeanne Sinquefield said. “Even if I don’t like it, I’m still happy.”

Supervising editor is Karen Miller.

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