Choral Union Features Dvorak’s “Te Deum”; UW Annual Fund Underway; Jazz Fest Highlights High School Partnerships

CHORAL UNION CONCERTS FEATURE FIRST-EVER PERFORMANCE OF DVORAK’S “TE DEUM”

This weekend, the UW-community partnership that is the Choral Union will present its first concerts of the year. On the program: Antonin Dvorak‘s Te Deum; the Flos Campi of Ralph Vaughan Williams, with Pro Arte violist Sally Chisholm as soloist; and Giuseppe’s Verdi’s Te Deum.  “The two Te Deums are very different settings of an ancient liturgical song of praise,” says Beverly Taylor, Choral Union conductor.

The concerts are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 22 at 8 PM, Mills Hall, and Sunday, Nov. 23, 7:30 PM, Mills Hall. Both events are ticketed: $15 general public, $8 students and seniors. You can buy ahead of time and also at the door. Ticket information is here.  Parking information is here. (Free parking on Sundays at Grainger Hall!) (To view these on our events calendar, click here.)

The BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform Dvorak’s Te Deum at the BBC Proms in 1996.

CELEBRATING JAZZ THROUGH PARTNERING WITH THE MADISON SCHOOLS

On December 4-6, 2014, the UW School of Music will host the 4th Annual UW/MMSD Jazz Festival, an educational jazz festival featuring workshops and performances by high school big bands from Madison and Middleton, the UW Jazz Orchestra and UW Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, UW jazz faculty, and New York trumpet star Ingrid Jensen.

 

Ingrid Jensen
Ingrid Jensen

Highlights will include two master classes on jazz trumpet and improvisation, a Friday night concert with Jensen and the Johannes Wallmann quintet, and a Saturday concert with the UW orchestra, jazz bands from all four schools, UW faculty and Ingrid Jensen. There will also be clinics for the area high schools.

All events are free. For more information, contact Johannes Wallmann, professor of jazz studies.

GENEROUS LOCAL PHILANTHROPIST PLAYED DOWN HER DONATIONS– UNTIL RECENTLY

Margaret Winston, a UW-Madison scientist who gave generously to the arts, including the UW-Madison School of Music, finally entered the public eye after the new Madison Opera building at 335 West Main Street was re-named in her honor.  She had refused publicity all her life; her gifts to the School of Music included a graduate fellowship in voice. Recipients have included James Kryshak, Shannon Prickett, and J. Adam Shelton.
Read the full story in the Wisconsin State Journal.

SPEAKING OF DONATIONS…

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The UW-Madison Annual Fund is now underway. Gifts from alumni and friends are welcome, and will be directed toward university research, student scholarships, faculty retention and recruiting, and so much more. Only 16% of UW-Madison’s budget is funded by state support, so your support is valued more than ever before. Click here to donate!

APPLICATIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED FOR SUMMER CELLO INSTITUTE AT UW-MADISON

Announcing the 2015 “Your Body is Your Strad” Summer Programs

The National Summer Cello Institute (May 30 – June 12, 2015) is a unique program tailored for professional, graduate, and advanced undergraduate cellists.  The focus of the program is on the close relationship between effective use of the body and musical communication.  Twenty two cellists who are selected by audition submission delve deeply into the connection between body awareness and cellistic proficiency, musical expression, effective teaching, and injury prevention. All selected participants attend the full two week Your Body Is Your Strad program, which include the Feldenkrais for All Performers component.  They are exposed to a range of performance and pedagogical topics, represented by internationally acclaimed faculty. This year’s program will feature guest teachers Timothy Eddy of The Juilliard School, Paul Katz of New England Conservatory, as well as founders and returning faculty Uri Vardi, cello professor at UW-Madison, and Hagit Vardi, a UW-Health Feldenkrais practicitioner.

The Feldenkrais for All Performers program (May 30 – June 3, 2015) is for all instrumentalists, singers, actors, and dancers dedicated to exploring the intimate relationship between body awareness and artistic expression, while learning to prevent injuries. The program will feature musicians and Feldenkrais practitioners, Uri and Hagit Vardi, and presentations by specialists in Integrative Health, Authentic Performance, Mind-Eye Connection, Stage Anxiety, and Improvisation.

Learn about both programs here.

“Cellists move and groove”: 2014 Wisconsin State Journal

KLEZMER WORKSHOPS AND CONCERT THIS WEEK AT UW-MADISON

The Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture presents several events this week that continue its mission to study and preserve historical Yiddish music and culture. The events include a public workshop with founder Sherry Mayrent on Yiddish music performance on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 7:30 PM at the Pyle Center (702 Langdon St.) , and a second one for students, Friday, Nov. 21, at 2 PM at the School of Music, 2411 Humanities. Learn more here. Registration is requested; check link for details.

Mayrent and founding director Henry Sapoznik will also present a “Sound Salon,” an evening of Yiddish culture and concert, Thursday, Nov. 20, 7:30 at the University Club.

All events are free and open to the public.

STUDENT/ALUMNI NEWS

Music Theorists Present Papers: Ten current and former students of the graduate program in music theory recently spoke at the joint meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Society for Music Theory. Read more here. 

FACULTY NEWS

Laura Schwendinger receives residency grant from League of American Orchestras

“The program provides $7,500 grants, underwritten by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to cover weeklong residencies during which each participating orchestra will perform a work from the resident composer’s catalog, ” according to the New York Times. Schwendinger will be paired with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra.

To learn about many more events at the UW-Madison School of Music, check our full concert calendar.

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving-westmont-il

 

 

 

School of Music shares $2.5M grant to study Jewish Culture; Brass Fest in Pictures; A French Composer in the Spotlight, 250 years later

Teri Dobbs
Teri Dobbs

SCHOOL OF MUSIC TO SHARE $2.5M INTERNATIONAL GRANT TO EXPLORE JEWISH CULTURAL HERITAGE

As a girl in South Dakota, Teri Dobbs had no idea she had Jewish roots, until one day her mother took her aside and unveiled a long-kept secret. Now, the professor of music education has joined a team of international researchers dedicated to unearthing Jewish cultural treasures from the 1880s to the 1950s. Along the way, she’s developed a deeper kinship with her own past. “It’s a way for me to return to my roots by remembering actively those who went before me, maybe even to make things a bit better for those who come after me,”  Dobbs says. “In Judaism, this can be considered a type of ‘tikkun olam,’ or ‘healing the world.'”

Read the full School of Music news release here.

 

BRASS FEST SUCCESS!

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Hundreds of patrons of all ages turned out for our first brass festival in three decades, held October 8 – 13 at the School of Music. The festival featured two brass quintets: the Western and Wisconsin Brass Quintets, plus Norwegian guest solo tubist Øystein Baadsvik and alumna Jessica Valeri, now with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. It was an inspiring event and great fun; thanks to all who attended! For many more photos, click here.

 

AFTER 250 YEARS, A COMPOSER GETS HIS DUE

It’s not very often that one receives international recognition 250 years after being placed in the ground. But with help from scholars at UW-Madison and internationally, that’s exactly what’s happening for Jean-Philippe Rameau.

UW-Madison is embarking on a yearlong series of events to note the contributions made by Rameau to the world of music, courtly dance, and music theory. The series kicks off November 13 with a discussion of Rameau’s music by David Ronis, visiting director of opera, and Anne Vila, professor of French and Italian. The next night there will be a performance of Baroque works by bassoon professor Marc Vallon, accompanied by a rich assortment of faculty and students.

Charles Dill
Charles Dill

The series has been organized by Rameau scholar Charles Dill, a musicologist at UW-Madison who participated in many international Rameau-related events held this past year. Read a musicology Q&A about Rameau with Charles Dill.

 

VOICE FACULTY PERFORMS FIRST “SHOWCASE” CONCERT, SUNDAY, NOV. 2

The UW voice faculty present an evening of chamber music featuring the solo voice. Featuring a premiere, White Clouds, Yellow Leaves, written by composer and saxophone professor Les Thimmig. Featuring Mimmi Fulmer and Elizabeth Hagedorn, sopranos, and Paul Rowe, baritone. Tickets are $10.00 adults; students are free. Tickets will be sold at the door.  Learn more here.

 

THE BIG PAYBACK, A UW ALUMNI BAND, CELEBRATES A FIVE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY WITH A SHOW AT THE FREQUENCY

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Music not only attracted a group of musicians to Wisconsin from across the country, but also helped bring them together to form a band. Today, that band is the wildly successful jazz/funk/R&B orchestra The Big Payback, which is famous for playing ambitious compositions that incorporate rare musical elements (e.g. rhythms from around the world and a mashing of genres) that challenge even the most virtuosic instrumentalists. The band has won multiple Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs), including Jazz Song of the Year in 2012 for “Overture.” Its lineup constitutes a “who’s who” of the most acclaimed musicians in the Midwest.

On Thursday, Oct. 30th, The Big Payback will be celebrating their five-year anniversary with a star-studded reunion show at The Frequency, 121 West Main Street, Madison, where they played their very first gig and premiered a host of original hits like their crowd-pleasing single “Lookin’ at Me.” The show begins at 11PM and is preceded by a jazz jam at 7:30 PM followed by the band “Level Five” at 9:45 PM. Tickets are $5.00. The Big Payback

“This show means a lot to us,” Jamie Kember, the band’s trombone player and front man, said. “For five years, this band has been our big payback – the place where we could write original music, connect with the Madison community, and share our knowledge with music students all over Wisconsin. We owe a lot of our success to UW-Madison and the School of Music.”

The Big Payback ensemble includes:

Lead singer Leah Isabel Tirado, former Vocal Captain of UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Singers and member of UW Director of Choral Activities Beverly Taylor’s Concert Choir, UW professor Richard Davis’s Black Music Ensemble, and the UW Jazz Orchestra.

Front man Jamie Kember, member of the UW School of Music Alumni Association Board, former director of UW’s PEOPLE Program Jazz Ensemble, and past instructor at UW-Madison’s Summer Music Clinic. Kember earned his master’s degree in trombone performance at UW in 2007 and his K-12 instrumental music teaching certification in 2008.

Guitarist Kyle Rightley, who earned his master’s degree in euphonium performance at UW-Madison in 2009.

Saxophonist David Buss, who played with the UW Jazz Orchestra, the UW Little Big Band (a jazz combo), and the Wisconsin Singers during his undergraduate years. In 2006-2007, he served as Assistant Music Director for the Wisconsin Singers’ band.

2012 MAMA Bass Player of the Year Jeff Weiss, who graduated from UW-Madison’s School of Music in 2011.

Charley Wagner of Youngblood Brass Band fame, who will be traveling all the way from his home in Switzerland to play on trumpet, and who graduated in trumpet performance from UW-Madison in 1999.

Peter Baggenstoss, who graduated from UW-Madison with a double major in math and piano performance in 2009.

Grammy-nominated drummer and 2014 MAMA Drummer / Percussionist of the Year Joey B. Banks.

Former band members, including saxophone player Brad Carman, who graduated from UW-Madison with a Music Education degree in 2004.

 

PIANIST CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR TO PERFORM GOLDBERG VARIATIONS IN CALIFORNIA  AND AT NEW YORK’S METROPOLITAN MUSEUM

Christopher Taylor
Christopher Taylor

When J. S. Bach wrote The Goldberg Variations, he specified that they were to be played on an instrument with two manuals, or keyboards. On Nov. 16 in Penn Valley, California, UW-Madison pianist Christopher Taylor will play the Goldberg Variations on the School of Music’s unique double-keyboard Steinway–Moór Concert grand piano, transported to California specially for this concert. Tickets available here.

The Metropolitan Museum’s Musical Instruments collection is home to one of only 60 double manual pianos ever made. On Nov. 21 at the Met, Christopher Taylor  will perform the Goldberg Variations on a Bösendorfer double manual ca. 1940 piano—a new twist on what Bach had intended.  The performance will be held in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at 7PM; tickets are available here.

Read a review of Taylor’s performance in New York City’s Miller Theater, May 2013.

See Christopher Taylor perform solo at the School of Music on January 23! Included on the program: Liszt’s transcription of Beethoven Symphony #6. Tickets are only $10.00 for adults; students are free.  Ticketing information here.

Taylor will also perform with the Madison Symphony Orchestra in April. Learn more here.

FACULTY IN THE NEWS

Visiting Opera Director David Ronis profiled in the Capital Times

Chamber Music Conference Features Laura Schwendinger in its roster of new music composers – New York Times

Violinist David Perry Performs Chausson Solo with the Joffrey Ballet and the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra - Chicago Sun Times 

Albert Herring an Enjoyable Debut for Visiting Opera Director David Ronis – Isthmus

ALUMNI NEWS

Scott Roeder, Steven Morrison.  Read their news here.

Click here to send your alumni story.

Interested in an upcoming show? We offer large ensemble concerts, chamber concerts, jazz, student recitals, and more.  Click here for full SOM calendar.

To be placed on our mailing list, please send an email to join-musicdigest@lists.wisc.edu 

New Music Building Announced; New Opera Director Stages Britten Comedy; UW Symphony teams with Noted Wildlife Ecologist

PLANS FOR NEW PERFORMANCE CENTER UNVEILED

At long last, the School of Music is moving forward with its plans to build a new performance center, a $22 million building composed of a 325-seat recital hall, a large rehearsal room, and state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment. The plans will be presented to the city of Madison’s Urban Design Commission on October 1. We thank our generous donors, as yet unnamed, who are funding the entire project.

RENDERING-1-PHASE-I_WEB
An artist’s sketch of the new performance building, as viewed from the corner of Lake Street and University Avenue.

UW-Madison’s announcement.

Wisconsin State Journal story.

UNIVERSITY OPERA STAGES BENJAMIN BRITTEN COMEDY, “ALBERT HERRING”

On October 24, 26, and 28, University Opera will present its first operatic production of the season, Albert Herring, composed in 1947 by Benjamin Britten. The libretto is based on Guy de Maupassant’s novella Le Rosier de Madame Husson, and was written by Eric Crozier. It will mark the first opera staged under the direction of David Ronis, visiting director of opera at UW-Madison.

Read about the opera here.

What plans does David Ronis have for University Opera? Read an interview here.

MOSER FUND PROVIDES FREE STUDENT TICKETS TO PROFESSIONAL OPERAS- GET ‘EM WHILE THEY LAST!

Former University Opera Director Karlos Moser and his wife, Melinda, once again offer free opera tickets to Madison and Milwaukee opera and (new this year) the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The two created the fund in 2006 with $10,000 they raised by selling tickets to a concert. The fund has since grown to $30,000, enough to allow them to offer even more free tickets. Click here to see which shows are available.

The fund’s inception came from Melinda’s long-lasting love of opera since her school days, and Karlos’s memory from his college days at Princeton University, where he also benefited from a similar fund. “Between 1946 and 1950 I heard, at the old Met on Broadway, such memorable performances as Helen Traubel and Lauritz Melchoir in Tristan, Zinka Milanov in Trovatore, Ljuba Welitsch in Salome, Dorothy Kirsten in Louise, and Ezio Pinza in Boris Gudonov,” Moser says.

“These have had an indelible impact on my musical consciousness and have informed my approach to the glories of opera, and led me to wish to pass on the opportunity.  In the past eight years, not only singers and drama students have asked for and received tickets, but also violinists, bassoonists, flutists, conductors. What influence this will make no one knows for sure.  But it will probably make a difference.”  To request tickets, email Karlos Moser.

BRASS FEST STARTS OCTOBER 8!

The School’s first all-brass music festival in decades begins in little more than a week, showcasing our own brass faculty and students as well as visiting guest artists Øystein Baadsvik, tubist extraordinaire

Øystein Baadsvik
Øystein Baadsvik

from Norway; the Western Brass Quintet from Michigan (including SOM alumna Lin Foulk on horn); hornist Jessica Valeri, also an alumna, now performing with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra; and brass composer Anthony Plog. Events will include a Q&A forum with Baadsvik and an all-school colloquium with Plog; master classes on brass instruments plus coachings on quintet playing and auditioning; and four concerts. Watch for lots of Norwegian flags at our gala “Brass Alchemy” concert and reception, where you can meet and greet all the performers as well as concert bands professor Scott Teeple, the evening’s conductor, and trumpet professor John Aley, the festival’s organizer.  All events free for students!

UW SYMPHONY PARTNERS WITH WISCONSIN ACADEMY OF ARTS, SCIENCES & LETTERS IN PASSENGER PIGEON PROJECT

On November 2, the UW Symphony Orchestra will present a little-known work for orchestra, The Columbiad, that was written in 1850 in honor of the then-prolific passenger pigeon. The pigeon, which was famous for blackening Wisconsin skies during its migrations, became extinct 100 years ago.  The concert is part of a weekend of commemorative activities about the passenger pigeon:  lectures, a screening of a new documentary film (see trailer below), and a staged reading of a play.  Partners include the UW-Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters.

The November 2nd concert will include a short presentation by Stanley Temple, Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Senior Fellow, Aldo Leopold Foundation.

For concert information, click here.

To learn more about the passenger pigeon and issues of extinction, click here. 

LAURA SCHWENDINGER RECEIVES KOUSSEVITSKY COMMISSION FROM LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Faculty composer Laura Schwendinger has learned she is a recipient of a $12,500 chamber music commission from the Serge Koussevitsky Music Foundation at the Library of Congress and the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston. The commission is for a 15-minute work scored for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano.

Meanwhile, Schwendinger’s recent CD, “High Wire Acts: Chamber Music by Laura Elise Schwendinger” recently received a glowing review from the New York Times. “Musical short stories of somnambulant fragility and purpose,” writes reviewer Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim. Click to read more.

ALUMNI NEWS: Warren Gooch,  Paula Matthusen, Gina Rivera, Brad Carman, and Alexander Norris.  Read their stories here.

School of Music website

Concert Calendar

Learn about:

2014-2015 Festivals

2014-2015 Showcase Series

Brass Fest, Pro Arte World Premiere, “Showcase Series” launches with faculty voice recital

NEW FESTIVAL TO SHOWCASE LYRICISM AND POWER OF BRASS MUSIC

Audiences will be treated to some of the most beautiful and thrilling brass music ever written–including  “Quidditch,”  composed for the movie “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” by legendary composer John Williams– at a six-day all-brass festival October 8-13 at UW-Madison.

Other works to be performed include “Elegy,” by Pulitzer-Prize winner Kevin Puts, and “Four Sketches,” by trumpeter and composer Anthony Plog. Plog will also be in residence for two days of the festival.

Watch “In Medias” Brass Quintet performing “Four Sketches” by Anthony Plog, to be performed by the Wisconsin Brass Quintet on Wednesday, October 8.

Jessica Valeri
Jessica Valeri , SOM alumna, now plays horn with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.

The festival will feature world-renowned brass musicians performing four concerts, and master classes on all the brass instruments—from trumpet to tuba and everything in between. Students and the general public are encouraged to attend. Guest musicians include virtuoso solo tubist Oystein Baadsvik of Norway; renowned trumpeter and brass composer Anthony Plog; the Western Michigan Brass Quintet; the UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Brass Quintet; and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra horn player  Jessica Valeri (BM, UW-Madison, 1997). Click here for the full schedule. All events free to the public except “Brass Alchemy” headline concert, October 11, which is ticketed.

Featured concert: “Brass Alchemy,” October 11, 8 PM, Mills Hall. Click to learn more. A full contingent of our soloists, guests, and students presenting dramatic and inspired works of John Williams, Morten Lauridsen, Juan Colomer, Ennio Morricone, Scott Hiltzik, Kevin Puts, Anthony DiLorenzo, and an original work of Baadsvik’s, “Fnugg.”  School of Music professor Scott Teeple will conduct.   Tickets for the general public are $25; UW music majors with ID are free; other students, $10.00.  Ticketing info here. 

Oystein Baadsvik
Oystein Baadsvik

Says John Aley, lead organizer and longtime professor of trumpet as well as principal trumpet of the Madison Symphony Orchestra: “Brass instruments are so much more expressive than many people assume. While brass players take great delight in the excitement of filling a concert hall with grandeur and power, it is the lyrical quality of each these instruments that touch the heart of the listener.”

For a full calendar of Celebrate Brass! events, click here. 

PRO ARTE QUARTET PRESENTS ITS FINAL CENTENNIAL WORLD PREMIERE

Composer Pierre Jalbert’s “Howl” for clarinet and string quartet will receive its world premiere by the Pro Arte Quartet on Friday, Sept. 26, at the Wisconsin Union Theater on the UW-Madison campus. The event, free and open to the public, will be the first classical music concert to take place in the historic theater’s newly refurbished Shannon Hall.

The 8 p.m. concert will be preceded by a 7 p.m. concert preview discussion with Jalbert in Shannon Hall. In addition to Jalbert’s composition, the evening’s program includes the String Quartet No. 2 in A Major (1824) by Juan Crisóstomo Arriga and the Clarinet Quintet in A Major (1791) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The concert will be repeated Sunday, Sept. 28, at 12:30 p.m. in Gallery III at the Chazen Museum of Art, also on the UW-Madison campus. Joining the Pro Arte for both concerts will be clarinetist Charles Neidich, a regular member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and noted guest performer with orchestras and string quartets worldwide. Read about the inspiration behind the commission here.

PROFESSOR STUDIES HOLOCAUST CHILDREN’S OPERA

Teri Dobbs
Teri Dobbs

Hans Krása’s operetta Brundibár became indelibly associated with the Holocaust when the score was smuggled into the Theresienstadt concentration camp, and a production was mounted that lasted for more than 55 performances. Sung and acted by children, Brundibár was held as an example of the cultural programming offered to Jews at the Terezín “show camp” during the 1944 International Red Cross visit and the subsequent propaganda film, The Führer Gives the Jews a City.  Associate Professor of Music Education and Jewish Studies affiliate Teryl L. Dobbs recently returned from a sabbatical trip to Prague and Terezín (the Czech name of the garrison town where the Theresienstadt camp was located), where she studied the history of the operetta. Read the full story here.

“SHOWCASE SERIES” CONCERTS TO HIGHLIGHT STUDENT/FACULTY MUSICIANS

Each concert $10.00;  season passes available for $60.00; students free. Proceeds to the School of Music. Please note:  Only seven concerts are ticketed– Most concerts at the School of Music are still free!

Seven student/faculty concerts will be “showcased” this year, starting with a all-faculty voice recital on November 2.  Professors Mimmi Fulmer and Elizabeth Hagedorn, sopranos; James Doing, tenor; and Paul Rowe, baritone, each will sing. The program will include a premiere of a new work by composer and UW professor Les Thimmig, “White Clouds, Yellow Leaves,” a cantata on poems of ninth-century China.

Christopher Taylor
Christopher Taylor

Other “Showcase” concerts will include a solo recital by pianist Christopher Taylor on January 23. (On Nov. 21, Taylor is also engaged to perform JS Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; in April, he will perform Liszt and Bach with the Madison Symphony Orchestra.)

Later in January, pianists Martha Fischer and Bill Lutes will be joined by cellist Norman Fischer of Rice University plus students and faculty for a second “Schubertiade”  of chamber music. In early February, join us for a captivating evening of solo student performances as we present our annual concerto winners concert (the “Symphony Showcase”). A reception will follow this concert. Learn about all these special events here.

Our concerto winners relaxed at last year's post-concert reception. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.
Our concerto winners relaxed at last year’s post-concert reception. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.

Tickets for the general public are $10.00, and a seven-concert “pass” is available for $60.00. Students from all schools are free with identification. To save on service fees, buy in person at the box office or on the day of the show. Ticket info here.

INHORNS RECEIVE AWARD FROM MADISON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

The inaugural DeMain Award for Outstanding Commitment to Music will be awarded to philanthropists Stan and Shirley Inhorn by the Madison Symphony Orchestra League at its fifth annual gala banquet at the Madison Concourse Hotel on Friday, Sept. 12. Named after music director John DeMain, the annual honor will go to an ardent supporter of the MSO and Madison-based music in general. The Inhorns are longtime and much-appreciated supporters of the UW-Madison School of Music. Read more here.

TANDEM PRESS ANNOUNCES NEW FRIDAY FALL JAZZ SERIES

Beginning this September, Tandem Press will host a concert series featuring several student ensembles from the UW-Madison School of Music’s Jazz Program under the leadership of Johannes Wallmann, Director of Jazz Studies at UW-Madison, and Les Thimmig, Professor of Saxophone.

      • UW Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, September 26,  5-7 pm
      • UW Jazz Composers’ Septet, October 24, 2014 – 5-7 pm
      • UW Blue Note Ensemble & the Latin Jazz Ensemble, November 21, 5-7 pm

Tandem Press is located at 1743 Commercial Avenue in Madison. Concerts are free and open to the public.  Free parking is available, and refreshments will be served.

invited

Tandem Press is one of only three professional fine art presses operating within a university in the United States. Founded in 1987, it is affiliated to the UW-Madison Art Department in the School of Education. Each year, a select number of internationally renowned artists are invited to participate in Tandem’s artist-in- residence program, where they collaborate with a team of master printers assisted by UW students to create exclusive editions of prints.  Tandem prints hang in museums and corporations throughout the United States and Europe. This program is made possible with support from the Brittingham Fund.

ALUMNI PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE PRESENTS CONCERT AT GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

Contemporary chamber ensemble Clocks in Motion brings new music, new instruments, and new sounds to the Grace Presents concert series Saturday, Sept. 20 at 12:00 p.m. with a program that highlights the power and diversity of percussion music. Their free program will include Marc Mellits’ new mallet quintet, “Gravity”; “Music for Pieces of Wood” minimalist pioneer Steve Reich; “Drumming Part 1”, also by Reich; “Four Miniatures,” an original composition by Clocks in Motion member Dave Alcorn; and “Third Construction”, by John Cage. Grace Church is located at 116 W. Washington Avenue, on the Capitol Square.

Formed in 2011, Clocks in Motion began as an extension of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Graduate Percussion Group, and now serves as the ensemble in residence with the UW-Madison percussion studio. In August, the group released its debut studio album, titled Escape Velocity,  recorded in Madison, WI, at Audio for the Arts and available as both a digital download and hard copy.  Links to purchase both digital and hard copies of the album can be found at Clocks in Motion’s website. 

Alumni Notes

1964 alumnus F. Gerard Errante releases new CD

For a complete rundown of events this year at the School of Music, click here.

For parking information, click here. 

 

New website; new festival series; farewell to Howard Karp

For the UW-Madison School of Music, it has been a summer filled with considerable anticipation but also one profound loss.

First: We’ve spent months working on a brand-new website. It offers a modern design and many new pages (and it still evolving!). It retains the same URL but offers a completely different look:

http://www.music.wisc.edu/

NewWebsite SS

We invite you to explore and yes, feel free to send comments. We may not be able to accommodate all ideas, but we’ll try!

The new site is “responsive,” which means it is viewable on a smartphone. It contains dozens of brand-new photographs taken by Mike Anderson, father of Eric Anderson, a SOM alumnus and band teacher at Verona High School. We thank him for all his efforts.

We’ve also established a SoundCloud audio page, perfect for the dozens of audio files being routinely collected by our engineer Lance Ketterer.

Second:  For the time being and for a variety of reasons, we have opted to continue publishing the newsletter in this format. However, we’ve updated and renamed it to better distinguish ourselves from a bevy of other publications called “Fanfare.” To join the mailing list, please send an email to join-musicdigest@lists.wisc.edu

Third: And, in addition to a basketful of faculty concerts, student ensembles and solo guests, we’ve planned a series of multi-day festivals that we know will appeal to a very broad spectrum of the community. We hope to attract young and old, performers and non-performers. The festivals will include concerts, master classes, and colloquia. Click links below to learn more.

Celebrate Brass! Featuring Oystein Baadsvik, Norwegian tuba soloist; the Western Michigan and Wisconsin Brass Quintets; SOM alumna hornist Jessica Valeri, now with the San Francisco Symphony; and composer/blogger Anthony Plog.  October 9-13, 2014

MMSD-UW-School of Music Jazz Fest Featuring Ingrid Jensen, trumpeter.   December 4-6, 2014

“Seventy Degrees Below Zero”: the Music of British Composer Cecilia McDowall (in residence) Featuring tenor soloist & UW professorJames Doing with the UW Chamber Orchestra and a multimedia show on polar exploration by UW-Madison scientist Michael DuVernois.  Feb. 19-23, 2015

Honoring George Crumb at 85  Featuring violinist Miranda Cuckson and Due East of Chicago. March 22-23, 2015

Rediscovering Rameau  A yearlong examination of the works and accomplishments of French baroque composerJean-Phillippe Rameau on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of his death. First concert: Marc Vallon, professor of bassoon, performs works of Rameau on Nov. 14. Many events yet to be scheduled; we’ll keep you updated.

Meanwhile, in June, we were saddened by the death of Howard Karp, professor of piano at UW-Madison from 1972 to 2000.  Prof. Karp was the father of Parry Karp, cellist in the Pro Arte quartet. His loss is felt nationwide.

For decades, the Karp family has been famous for its annual September concerts that often featured multiple members of the family, including Prof. Karp’s second son, Christopher; wife Frances; daughter-in-law Katrin Talbot; and granddaughters Isabel, Natasha and Ariana.

Left to right: Christopher Karp; Katrin Talbot; Howard Karp; Parry Karp; Frances Karp.
Left to right: Christopher Karp; Katrin Talbot; Howard Karp; Parry Karp; Frances Karp. 2009 photo.

This year’s concert, originally scheduled for September 1, has been replaced by a tribute event on August 31, in Mills Hall starting at 3 PM. The public is welcome; a reception will follow.

Click here for much more information about this event and Prof. Karp’s life and work.

Note: On Sunday, August 17,  Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times published a retrospective article about the careers of Howard Karp and Leonard Shure, another virtuoso pianist who chose to remain in academia instead of seeking the limelight as a concertizing pianist. Read it here.

Listen to selected Howard Karp works on SoundCloud.

We hope you will join us for this important commemoration, and as always, we hope to see you in the concert halls for many other events this season.First up: Flutist Stephanie Jutt, with pianists Elena Abend and Christopher Taylor on piano. The program will include works of Astor Piazzolla, Carlos Guastavino, Johannes Brahms, and Angel  Lasala. Morphy Hall, September 6, 8 pm.

Thank you for your support of the UW-Madison School of Music!

 

 

 

 

New graduates and a goodbye—(just for the summer)

Best wishes to all our graduates!

A message from Susan C. Cook, Director of the School of Music

On May 16, as part of the University’s entire Commencement weekend, the School of Music held its inaugural Graduation and Awards Recognition. It was a lively and celebratory event that provided the opportunity to recognize the achievements of our graduates, to honor award recipients and to recognize and, in some cases, to thank personally the many donors who have made those student awards possible. Thus, for many of us, the 2013-14 academic year has ended, and so this is the last Fanfare blog post you’ll receive from us until August.

Susan C. Cook
Susan C. Cook
Photograph by Michael R. Anderson

However, the School of Music, as I’ve learned, never truly goes silent. Our facilities in the Mosse Humanities Building and in Music Hall will continue to thrum with activity of all kinds—from summer classes, ensembles and Community Music Lessons to special events like the National Summer Cello Institute (now in session), the Summer Music Clinic and the Madison Early Music Festival. Over the summer, music study continues, both in more leisurely and more intensive ways. We’re also planning to carry out some much needed renovations, ones that will benefit both our classroom teaching and our on-stage performances.

Looking back over the year I continue to be struck by how much we do and how well we do it. Primary in my mind are the high quality performances by our students as they’ve worked alone and collaboratively in our libraries, practice rooms, offices, studios, classrooms and, on stage and off. The creativity, energy and commitment they display towards their creative work never ceases to amaze me; it makes my job as director enormously rewarding.

I look forward to welcoming you back to campus, even if only virtually, in August. We have a lot of exciting things planned for next year as we continue to be a music school on the move, living out the Wisconsin Idea within our state and the world.

Thank you for your support throughout the past year. I always welcome hearing from our alums and friends, so feel free to stop by my office or drop me an email message at director@music.wisc.edu

On, Wisconsin and the summer!

Susan C. Cook
Director

Scroll down for photos from the May 16 ceremony at Music Hall. For a list of all graduates, click here.

UW pianist Yeaji Kim profiled in Wisconsin State Journal

Yeaji Kim, a visually disabled pianist and brand-new DMA in piano performance and pedagogy, developed a dissertation project that has the potential to not only change the way blind musicians learn to play music, but help blind and sighted musicians and teachers to collaborate and learn more easily.

Kim ‘s story was featured in a May 18 front-page story by reporter Gayle Worland in the Wisconsin State Journal as well as in a four-minute video made by the university.

Jessica Johnson, professor of piano pedagogy, calls Kim’s work, which involves a three-dimensional staff and notes that both sighted and sight-impaired people can understand, “revolutionary.” Read the full (very interesting) story here.  More information is available at this blog. 

 

Composer Filippo Santoro uses architecture as metaphor to create new works

Santoro, a native of Italy who just received his DMA in composition from UW-Madison, describes his composing process in a recent blog post.  “A good architect will begin by observing the architectural style of the surrounding buildings, the nature of the soils at the building site, how the space is currently used and the building’s proposed purpose. Similarly, a piece of music always develops from a small idea, like a seed, that you may want to take care of even long before it becomes a piece,” he writes. Read more here.

Collins Fellow Philip Bergman earns spot in Japanese training orchestra

Bergman, who received his master’s degree this spring, studied with cello professor Uri Vardi and received a fellowship provided by longtime donor Paul Collins. “I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Collins this past fall when I performed with a quintet at a banquet. I thanked Mr. Collins not only for his support of my education, but for his role in creating some of the finest positions available to student musicians in this country,” he writes.  Read more here.

Photographs from 2014 Awards and Graduation Ceremony

All photos by Michael R. Anderson. Click for captions.

 

Doctoral trombonist wins the 2014 Esther Taylor Graduate Arts Fellowship

Alan Carr
Alan Carr

Alan Carr, a DMA candidate in bass trombone and a Paul Collins Distinguished Fellow at the School of Music, has received the Esther Taylor Graduate MFA Fellowship, designed to support and encourage graduate students in the visual and performing arts by supporting public presentation of their work in conjunction with their degree program. The fellowship carries a grant of $1,500.

The fellowship will help Carr to complete his dissertation that will culminate in a solo CD project called The Elephant in the Room. The CD will feature previously unrecorded works for bass trombone and also offers two new pieces, including a new sonata by UW-Madison tuba professor (retired as of this semester) John Stevens. Carr assembled a consortium of 12 leading bass trombone players from around the world to commission the Stevens sonata.The consortium includes bass trombonists from the Atlanta Symphony, Boston Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Malaysia Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, National Symphony, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, and several others.

This new work will be a substantial contribution to the bass trombone repertoire and will be dedicated to the late Edward Kleinhammer of the Chicago Symphony, who passed away in November 2013.

In addition to his graduate studies, Carr is also adjunct professor of low brass at Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon and an active performer, having appeared with the Baltimore, Dubuque, and Hartford Symphony Orchestras, and with Ensemble ACJW at Carnegie Hall in New York City. For seven years, he was the bass trombonist in the King’s Brass, performing nearly 1,000 concerts and recording six CDs during that time. Carr has performed throughout the world, including concerts in Austria, Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, China, Korea, and the US Virgin Islands, as well as all 48 continental US states. In March, Carr gave a solo performance at the 2014 Eastern Trombone Workshop in Washington, D.C. Carr received his Master of Music from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. He also holds an Artist Diploma from Yale University. Carr can be heard on Summit, Naxos, and Albany record labels, and is an Edwards Instrument performing artist.

Doctoral musicologist receives three fellowships to further her research

Isidora Miranda
Isidora Miranda

Isidora Miranda, a PhD candidate in historical musicology who studies with musicology professor Pamela Potter, has been awarded a Summer Fellowship at the Institute of Philippine Culture at the Ateneo de Manila University, a UW-Madison Center for Southeast Asian Studies Fellowship, and a UW-Madison Center for Southeast Asian Studies Field Research Award. Isidora earned her undergraduate degree in music at the University of the Philippines and her master’s degree in Violin Performance and Musicology at Western Illinois University. She writes: “The research work I am planning to do this summer is scour through the Raymundo Bañas Collection at the National Library in Manila. The collection comprises of original manuscripts, printed sheet music, prints, anthologies, silent movie scores, religious music for the local Roman Catholic churches, music programs from local concerts and musical events, and mimeographs of other music historical sources. In 1924, Raymundo Bañas (1894-1962) published The Music and Theater of the Filipino People, a compendium of music and musicians from the late-nineteenth century up to the time of his publication. As preliminary questions, I would like to know how much of Bañas’s musical archive informed his writing, and perhaps more importantly, what was the impetus for building a repository and authoring a narrative that sought to represent a “national” conception of music that is Filipino? This is particularly interesting in light of the growing push towards a Philippine self-government and a re-assertion of Spanish colonial identities in opposition to American influences at the time when Bañas was amassing his library.”

Senior composition major wins University Bookstore’s Academic Excellence Award

Daria Tennikova, the winning composer in this year's concerto competition. Photo by Katherine Esposito.
Daria Tennikova, the winning composer in this year’s concerto competition. Photo by Katherine Esposito.

Daria Tennikova, whose work, “Poema for Saxophone and Orchestra” was a winner of the school’s annual concerto competition, has been awarded a 2014 University Book Store Academic Excellence Award in the amount of $1,000. The awards are made to undergraduate students who best exemplify the principle that excellence can be achieved through independent study. This summer, Daria will attend the summer music festival, New Music on the Point. based in Lake Dunmore, Vermont.

 

 

Horn alumnus wins Lawrence University’s “Outstanding Teacher” Award

Eric Anderson (B.M. Music Education, 1998), music department chairman and band director at Verona Area High School, was honored Sunday, May 4 with Lawrence University’s 2014 Outstanding Teaching in Wisconsin Award, along with Lynette Schultz, an English teacher at Williams Bay Jr./Sr. High School. Eric is now band director at Verona Area High School and also sits on the board of directors of the UW-Madison School of Music Alumni Association. He also frequently conducts the orchestras for Children’s Theater of Madison and Four Seasons Theater.

Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson

The recipients are nominated by Lawrence seniors and selected on their abilities to communicate effectively, create a sense of excitement in the classroom, motivate their students to pursue academic excellence while showing a genuine concern for them in and outside the classroom. Since launching the award program in 1985, Lawrence has recognized 62 high school teachers.

Anderson has directed the concert band, wind ensemble and symphonic band while also teaching AP music theory at Verona High School since 2006. Additionally, he directs pep band, oversees rehearsals for school musicals and organizes tours around the country for all of the band students.

Note: Eric is the son of the School’s very generous volunteer photographer, Mike Anderson!

UW’s Pro Arte Quartet surmounts travel difficulties to successfully complete its planned tour of Belgium

The Pro Arte Quartet. L-R: Cellist Parry Karp; Violinist Suzanne Beia; Violist Sally Chisholm; Violinist David Perry.
The Pro Arte Quartet. L-R: Cellist Parry Karp; Violinist Suzanne Beia; Violist Sally Chisholm; Violinist David Perry.

String quartet members aren’t generally known as lawbreakers, but due to new federal regulations about international shipments of ivory (intended to protect endangered African elephants), the Pro Arte’s Sally Chisholm and Parry Karp, who each own old instruments with tiny amounts of ivory in them from long-deceased elephants, found themselves briefly detained at the Brussels airport at the beginning of their Belgium tour in late May. The tour was intended to commemorate the quartet’s 100th birthday and origination in Belgium. (Read earlier Fanfare post here.)

Tour manager Sarah Schaffer explained to Belgian authorities that the quartet had received special permission to travel with their instruments, obtained through the intervention of Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, but it took a few hours before Chisholm and Karp were allowed to leave, instruments in hand.

They had a concert scheduled for that very night, so their release was just in time.

Prior to their departure, Madison music blogger Jake Stockinger (“The Well-Tempered Ear”) asked Schaffer and the musicians to write blog posts about every step of the tour, which was well-received. The tour is now over, but the stories live on and can be found here:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 4.5 Day 5 Day 6

To learn more about the ivory ban, read here: League of American Orchestras

Faculty win awards

Chelcy Bowles, professor of music, Van Hise Outreach Teaching Award

Bowles is one of ten to receive this year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards, an honor given since 1953 to recognize the university’s finest educators. Chancellor Rebecca Blank will present the awards at a ceremony to be held in conjunction with the Teaching and Learning Symposium from 4:30 to 6 p.m. May 19 at Union South in Varsity Hall. The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Association in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty.

Bowles is nationally and internationally renowned as one of the foremost experts on lifelong learning and engagement in music and the arts. She has developed and taught a variety of non-credit courses for adult learners and has been instrumental in the founding of music outreach programs at the state, national and international levels. Among the many initiatives she has spearheaded is the Madison Early Music Festival, now in its 15th year, which is approaching its 15th year and draws artists from around the world to showcase medieval and Renaissance music.

Professor Anthony Di Sanza, School of Music, Kellett Mid-Career Award

This award is intended to recognize and support mid-career faculty, seven to twenty years past their first promotion to a tenured position. The Kellett Mid-Career Awards were created to provide needed support and encouragement to faculty at a critical stage of their careers and are made possible by the research efforts of UW-Madison faculty and staff. Technology arising from faculty and staff research is licensed to industry by the patent management organization, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Fund (WARF). Income from successful licenses is returned to the Graduate School to fund a variety of research activities throughout the divisions on campus.

Professor Laura Schwendinger, School of Music, Vilas Associate Award

The Vilas Associate Award Program is made possible by the generosity of the Vilas Trustees. The award provides summer salary support and a flexible research fund for two years to non-tenured and tenured faculty.

Schwendinger will also be in residence at three festivals this summer, at Yaddo Artists Retreat in Saratoga Springs NY,  the Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus in Schwandorf, Bavaria and at Moulin à Nef Studio Center in Auvillar, France. In addition she will be a faculty composer at the Bennington Chamber Music Conference.  Alumnus composer Thomas Lang (MM ’07, DMA ’11) will be the composer fellow.

Professor Jessica Johnson wins American Music Teacher Article of the Year Award

MTNA’s American Music Teacher Article of the Year Award is presented to the author of an outstanding feature article written expressly for the AMT. This year’s award is presented to Jessica Johnson, NCTM, for her article “Feeling The Sound: Reflections On Claiming One’s Own Musical Voice.” The article was published in the August/September 2013 issue of American Music Teacher magazine, the official journal of the Music Teachers National Association.

This article investigates how multi-sensory learning and use of whole-brain processes may enhance our practicing and teaching, leading us to a more artistic, authentic experience. It explores how the use of imagery, metaphor, fantasy, intuition, imagination and instinct nurtures the discovery of one’s own musical voice.  Read the article: “Feeling the Sound.”

 

Last April, a unique concert, “Fusions,” devoted to an amalgam of Jewish and Arab art music with musicians and collaborators Uri Vardi (cello), Taiseer Elias (oud) and Menachem Wiesenberg (piano) was held in Mills Hall. The concert was recorded; a video is below.  Videography and editing by Robert Lughai.

Meet Filippo Santoro, composer and new music DMA

Before coming to UW-Madison in 2009 as a recipient of a University Fellowship to study composition with Prof. Stephen Dembski, Filippo Santoro studied with renowned Italian composers Luciano Pelosi and Boris Porena and was inspired by teachers Franco Donatoni and Bruno Maderna. A native of Rome, Santoro received a master’s in composition as well as diplomas in piano performance and chamber music from the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome in 1998 and 2007; holds a master’s degree  in music and semiotics from the University of Bologna (2002); and a master’s degree in composition from the State University of New York, Binghamton (2009).  His work Arioso Mistico for soprano and orchestra was a winner of the 2010 UW-Madison Concerto Competition.

Filippo Santoro
Filippo Santoro

Last week, Filippo received his DMA from UW-Madison, with a dissertation project that included writing a collection of new chamber works that engage nearly every corner of the School of Music.  We asked him to talk a bit about his life, his work, and his plans for the future.

Tell us about your dissertation project.
My dissertation is a collection of five works, one hour of music, that I call Modules. They can be seen as a whole or as independent works.

In these works I explore four different notions of modularity that I refer as “dynamic modularity,” “static modularity,” “interactive modularity,” and “on-stage modularity.” The concept of “dynamic modularity” appears in Per Quattro, my work for flute, clarinet, bassoon and double bass, comprised of sections that performers arrange in a different order each time they perform it. In my two pieces entitled Duplum for two cellos and two percussionists (see video below), I use “static modularity” in that there are also unique sections but these sections are performed in a fixed order that creates the overall form of the piece. “Interactive modularity” appears in Re-mote for solo bassoon and applied technology, in which the order of the sections of the piece is determined by the audience in real time through the aid of interactive web-based technology. Finally, I engage “on-stage modularity” in Cleave, a work for two percussionists, flute, bass clarinet, viola, double bass, trumpet, tuba, harp, mandolin, which combines the concepts of static and dynamic modularity.

What inspired you to become a composer?
Becoming a composer was a slow but natural process for me. I started as a performing pianist and I played a lot of chamber music in Italy. I think I became interested in writing music while I was playing with other musicians.

Tell us about a piece or project you have worked on recently.
I have been fortunate to collaborate with several fantastic performers here in Madison. I have been collaborating with Clocks in Motion, the School of Music alumni percussion ensemble and was one of the first composers to be commissioned by the group. It is beautiful to see how truly devoted they are to performing new music and to promoting new works. The commissioned piece is named Duplum and will be featured on their debut album “Escape Velocity” to be released in June. I also had a terrific experience working with Marc Vallon, professor of bassoon here at UW-Madison. I wrote him a long piece in which the audience participates in the performance through the aid of live technology. I am also writing a work for Kostas Tiliakos, visiting professor of oboe, and I am particularly excited since four other faculty professors will participate in this project.

How do you approach the process of starting or writing a piece?
I like to use a metaphor to describe it: imagine that an architect is commissioned to design a building. A good architect will begin by observing the architectural style of the surrounding buildings, the nature of the soils at the building site, how the space is currently used and the building’s proposed purpose. Similarly, a piece of music always develops from a small idea, like a seed, that you may want to take care of even long before it becomes a piece. I strongly believe that the music I write now reflects a biological process and that it somehow resembles the way plants grow. Sometimes I wait until I feel an urgency to write the piece I have in mind. After that, the most interesting part is the collaboration with the performer in which we determine how to convey musically complicated ideas within the score.

Who have been your influences as a composer and why?
Initially everybody! In my years in Rome at Santa Cecilia Conservatory, I had multiple interests. Of course, late Italian music played a role in my understanding of new music such as that of Berio, Sciarrino, Nono and Maderna. I was lucky to study with teachers who believed that there was no understanding of new music without an understanding of composers like Ravel, Bach and even Monteverdi.

How has your work as a composer influenced other parts of your life or vice versa?
Writing music is what I do and therefore I may have the tendency of seeing and finding music in other parts of my life. I think it is called “professional deformation.”

You are not only a composer but also a composition teacher. What is your approach to teaching composition?
I tailor my approach to the needs of the particular student I’m working with. Regardless of who the student is, however, I believe that clarity and transparency are critical components to teaching composition. This is particularly true for the teaching of young students who are looking for models to begin with. With students who are more advanced, I always think of myself as an active observer, who helps the student to find what he/she is looking for. A renowned Italian teacher, Franco Donatoni, said once that composition cannot be taught and that therefore one should strive only to stimulate in the student an attitude of inventiveness. I embrace this fully and I think that stimulation for a composer often means to search for ideas within the scores of other composers.

What do you see as the most important skills for a composer to have?
I’d say the ability to nurture curiosity in the listener. The role of a composer/artist is always to reveal something beyond what we already know.

What do you want your students to take away?
I want my students to understand, first and foremost, that what they do as composers should express something of who they are as individuals. All the rest should come naturally.

What do you hope to achieve through your music?
Basically, my music reflects the way I see the world, but I hope that it can also reflect and/or enhance the way others see their own.

Why do you think people have difficulty in understanding contemporary music?
This is something that has always sounded paradoxical to me. Understanding contemporary music shouldn’t be more difficult than understanding contemporary painting or architecture. The question for me is how to make new music available to be “explained” in the same way other form of arts are. If more so-called “classical” concerts programmed contemporary works alongside other less recent works, the audience would begin to see contemporary music as the product of a natural musical evolution. Doesn’t that happen to anybody who goes to a museum and walks from one historical island to another? Naturally, this person will begin thinking about connections and relationships between different artistic eras. I think performers and composers have a moral responsibility to encourage such an approach in their audiences. I believe new music should be “by definition” more interesting than any other music since it depicts where we are coming from, who we are in the moment and where we are possibly going in the future.

What are your plans now?
I intend to continue to work with ensembles and performers who are engaged in my music language and I am keen to explore and promote new avenues for composer and audience interaction through technology. Based on the concepts described in my dissertation, I plan to start working on a book that describes the integration of compositional methods and theories of natural systems. I also plan to publish analyses of the late works of Franco Donatoni to further explore the concepts of figura and growth.

 

News and Events from the UW-Madison School of Music

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