Composer | St. Louis Public Radio

Composer

Kyle Wernke conducts the Missouri S&T Orchestra.
John Francis

ROLLA — Kyle Wernke is an up-and-coming composer, but he doesn’t teach at a high-profile music school. 

There are no music majors in his orchestra, and the students spend more time on equations than they do on scales. Wernke teaches at Missouri University of Science and Technology, a school known much more for engineering than for performing arts.

St. Louis-based conductor and composer Darwin Aquino joined Tuesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When Darwin Aquino was a young boy growing up in the Dominican Republic, his father directed him to choose one instrument to learn to play. Aquino opted for the violin and, with that early decision, took his first steps along a musical journey that would eventually lead him to St. Louis.

Along the way, his musical accomplishments have expanded beyond his skills as a violinist. Aquino is now a conductor and a composer, with his current roles including positions at both Washington University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He was recently named the musical director of Gateway Festival Orchestra, which is partway through its 2019 season.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Aquino talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy D. Goodwin about his local musical endeavors and compositions.

"The Trial" will have its American Premiere with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis on Sunday, June 4.
Kelsey Nickerson | Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ 42nd season started last month with a production of “Madame Butterfly” and runs through the end of June. This Sunday, it adds the American premiere of famed minimalist composer Phillip Glass’ opera “The Trial.”

Detail from book cover

Composer Frank Loesser once explained that a great song is like a train: A locomotive starts it off, a caboose completes it, and different colors fill in the cars in the middle.

But for a lot of music lovers, after the middle of the 20th century, the train had jumped the track, and the era of the great American songbook was over. In his new book, “The B-Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song,” Ben Yagoda explores why and how popular music changed after World War II.

photo of David Robertson, Stephanie Berg and Jeanne Sinquefield
Courtesy of the St. Louis Symphony

How old do you have to be to compose music? A University of Missouri–Columbia program is proving that students of any age can do it.

The Creating Original Music Project, now in its 10th year, is a statewide composition festival that recognizes work from students, kindergarteners to high school seniors. This year, 70 students applied. Of the 18 winners, eight are from the St. Louis area.

Conference Draws Attention To Female Artists

Oct 31, 2014
Alice Guy-Blaché
Courtesy of Cinema St. Louis

As women strive to gain equal ground in the workplace, they’re also working to establish the same ground in the arts. The Women in the Arts Conference at the University of Missouri–St. Louis will feature lectures, demonstrations, papers, performances and workshops from 27 speakers on Nov. 6-8.

“Everyone thinks the playing field is level,” said Barbara Harbach, a composer and director of the Women in the Arts Conference. “It’s not quite as level as you might think.”