New Music in Mizzou (Missouri)

  • Local Projects
  • 2005

Rex Sinquefield had taken himself from a Missouri orphanage in 1951 to leadership of a major investment firm in 1981. He developed some of the first index funds, and his company, Dimensional Fund Advisors, managed $376 billion in assets as of 2015. Throughout his rise, Sinquefield remained intensely interested in his home state—where he retired in 2005. He became active in Missouri politics, and he and his wife, Jeanne, operated the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. With Jeanne being a musician (string bass) and a firm believer in the value of the arts to education, they began funding the University of Missouri’s School of Music.

An annual $50,000 in Sinquefield funding started a project called Creating Original Music. It was a program of camps and competitions for a variety of ages that promoted composition of new music statewide. In 2009, an additional $1 million gift started a spinoff project, the Mizzou New Music Initiative. This incubated the composition and performance of new music via scholarships, a summer music festival, an annual prize, a new-music ensemble, and more. And in 2015 the Sinquefields donated $10 million to construct a new building for the School of Music. The Mizzou New Music Initiative is “intended to position the University of Missouri School of Music as a leading center in the areas of composition and new music.”

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