Mizzou New Music Initiative

  • Arts & Culture
  • 2005

Rex Sinquefield steered himself from a Missouri orphanage to leadership of a major investment firm 30 years later, in the process developing some of the first index funds. Today his company, Dimensional Fund Advisers, oversees more than $100 billion in assets. Sinquefield remains intensely loyal to, and interested in, the fate of his home state, where he retired in 2005. Active in state politics, he also maintains a strong interest in philanthropy—shaped particularly by his wife Jeanne’s passion for art and music. A distinguished demographer and a musician (string bass), Jeanne believes firmly in the value of the arts to education. Together the pair founded the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation and in 2005 began funding the University of Missouri’s School of Music.

An annual $50,000 in Sinquefield funding launched the Creating Original Music Project, a statewide program of camps and competitions for a variety of ages to promote composition of new music. In 2009, an additional $1 million gift started a spinoff project, the Mizzou New Music Initiative—an incubator for composition and performance of new music that added funding for scholarships, a summer music festival, and more. In 2013, the Sinquefields donated an additional $1.4 million to expand these two initiatives.

The New Music Initiative aims, in its own words, to “position the University of Missouri School of Music as a leading center in the areas of composition and new music.” The Sinquefields had found, as attentive philanthropists are wont to do, an underserved niche, then applied encouragement to help new cultural entrepreneurs fill it.