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MU composer's bicentennial piece captures river life, music of voyageurs

MU composer Stefan Freund has no interest in camping anymore.

“I always say I don’t go camping because I work too hard to sleep on the ground,” he joked.

Roger Kaza and Stefan Freund discuss

Roger Kaza, center, and Stefan Freund discuss Freund’s composition “Voyageur Fantasy” on Oct. 20 at the Sinquefield Music Center in Columbia. Freund wrote the piece for Kaza, who will perform during its premiere Friday with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Roger Kaza grips the bell of his French horn

Roger Kaza rests his hand on the bell of his horn Oct. 20 at the Sinquefield Music Center in Columbia. Even after decades of playing, Kaza still finds himself delighted at what the horn can do.

Roger Kaza plays through 'Voyageur Fantasy' for the first time

Roger Kaza plays through Stefan Freund’s “Voyageur Fantasy” for the first time Oct. 20 at the Sinquefield Music Center in Columbia. Kaza has been the principal hornist of the St. Louis Symphony since 2009.

Roger Kaza reaches for a pencil (diptych)

LEFT: Roger Kaza reaches for a pencil clipped into the slide of his French horn on Oct. 20. Kaza pitched the idea of a horn-led piece celebrating the bicentennial after a suggestion from his girlfriend. RIGHT: Kaza notates his copy of “Voyageur Fantasy.” During this initial run-through, Kaza and Freund gave each other feedback and made rhythmic and dynamic changes to the composition.

Stefan Freund illustrates the intended energy

Stefan Freund illustrates the intended energy of a particular section of his composition “Voyageur Fantasy” on Oct. 20 at the Sinquefield Music Center. Freund, who grew up in Memphis along the Mississippi River, has expressed the impact of rivers on history and culture in many of his prior works.

Elizabeth Brixey is a city editor at the Columbia Missourian. She oversees coverage of education.

  • Elizabeth Brixey is the Columbia Missourian's education editor and an associate professor in the Missouri School of Journalism. She can be reached at (573) 882-2632 and brixeye@missouri.edu.

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