Columbia performance series presents classical music of the Show-Me State

May 2, 2013

Odyssey Artistic Director Ayako Tsurata

  Missouri culture might be better known for glittering Branson shows, down home fiddle music and hip-hop from our state’s urban centers, but a local performance organization aims to add classical music to the list of artistic creations born in the Show-Me State.

This Friday evening at Columbia's First Baptist Church, the Odyssey Chamber Music Series concludes its ninth season with a set of performances from Missouri-based classical composers appropriately called Missouriana.

Ayako Tsuruta is the pianist and Artistic Director of the Odyssey Chamber Music Series. She explained what ties together the five performances on the bill at this Friday’s concert:

The theme of this concert is musically creative people living in Missouri. This particular live concert experience is guaranteed to surpass the music itself, because the present composers are physically involved...with the audiences from the stage and at the post-concert reception. It is fascinating to be able to connect music to composers in person; this connection makes the music more personable and emotionally more intimate. Ultimately, Missouriana reveals life and a story about all of us and our community.

Local Composers Take on Missouriana

The five composers represented at Friday’s Odyssey Concert include guitarist and MU School of Music faculty member Anthony Glise. His 2005 composition The Missouri Fables is a work for guitar that includes a spoken word performance imagining the experience of a 19th century French trapper working in the wild world of Missouri’s early years as a state.

The music strays even further from tradition with the Missouri premiere of William J. Lackey’s Screaming Electric Whispers for Alto Saxophone and Electronics. A recent Columbia Daily Tribune story said the piece “incorporate[s] sounds such as light bulbs breaking or rolling thunder — things indirectly related to electricity — in the electronic component of the work.”

Artistic Director Tsuruta continued:

There will be electronic whispers to sublime impression of colors in legato to jazz, rock and even some musical moos... For each of the five original compositions, the composer will introduce and speak a little about his work. More interest from the people in the audience is expected, because the living composers always have their own trail of fans and friends to support them and their works.

Next Season

Friday’s performance is the final concert of Odyssey’s ninth season.  Artistic Director Ayako Tsuruta gave us a sneak peek at their 2013-2014 season which features planned collaborations  with the Columbia Handbell Ensemble, Elan Singers of Columbia, the MU School of Music, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, and Memphis, Tennessee's PRIZM Ensemble.

Odyssey patrons next season can sample from works including Hanukkah Songs by David Ludwig in December and the February return of harpsichordist Enrico Baiano in Baroque Italiano in February. Later in the season, Odyssey will present an avant-garde dance production with the Missouri Contemporary Ballet and live music at the Missouri Theatre, and a program featuring powerful two pianos and percussion ensemble that includes a world premiere by William J Lackey in May.

There’s also a smaller series called Odyssey Music @ Lenoir Woods where Odyssey musicians will interact with residents and explore the classical repertoire.

The Odyssey Chamber Music Series 2012-2013 season finale Missouriana starts at 7:00pm Friday at Columbia’s First Baptist Church. Tickets are available for purchase at the door that evening with additional Information at