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.

 

Collins Fellow Philip Bergman earns spot in Japanese training orchestra

It is an annual ritual at the School of Music: sending our talented students off into the wider world to pursue their dreams as they are able.  We will begin with a story written by Philip Bergman, a cellist graduating with a master’s in music performance. We congratulate Philip and wish him many successes!

“I grew up in Iowa City, Iowa, which I describe to Madisonians as a kind of mini-Madison: a Big-Ten college town with an enormous culture-to-population ratio. Iowa City was a spectacular place to grow up, especially for someone with hopes of becoming a classical musician. I began studying cello at the age of five after seeing my pediatric dentist play acoustic bass with his bluegrass band (it’s a long story). I studied for several years with a local Suzuki teacher, and then with a neighbor, a talented cellist and teacher. Later I studied with Amos Yang, the cellist in the Maia String Quartet (who is now a member of the San Francisco Symphony), and then with his successor in that position, Hannah Holman, who is now a member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra.

Philip Bergman performs Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto, Op. 129, A minor, as a winner of the 2012-13 concerto competition.

“I began my bachelors degree in 2008 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I studied with Brandon Vamos of the Pacifica String Quartet (now in residence at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University-Bloomington). I am so grateful for the time I spent at Illinois working with Brandon and the many other incredible musicians on faculty, as well as the friends and colleagues I had there, and the many performing opportunities I had available to me. When I was assembling my list for grad schools, I had the opportunity to study with Professor Steven Doane from the Eastman School of Music for several weeks at a summer festival. I asked Professor Doane for some suggestions of schools to consider and he said, “You must look up my friend Uri Vardi at the University of Wisconsin.” With little more information than that, I took a lesson with Professor Vardi, and was immediately struck by his warmth, creativity, and musicianship.

“I applied to several other schools, but chose to come to UW to study with Professor Vardi in part because I was lucky enough to be offered a Paul Collins Distinguished Wisconsin Fellowship. 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. The last two years have been two of the best years of my life. Living in Madison is spectacular, and working with Professor Vardi has been a life-changing experience for me: truly some of the most inspirational work I have ever had the opportunity to do. I’ve found the whole faculty here to be incredibly supportive, seeking to create a nurturing environment in an effort to encourage students to become not only fine musicians, but fantastic human beings. I will take the lessons I’ve learned in Madison with me for the many years ahead.

“This September, I begin a new adventure. Following an application process, and a live audition in Chicago, I was offered a position as a Core Member of the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra (HPAC), a resident orchestra affiliated with Hyogo Performing Arts Center, which was built after the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995 (special note: cellist and SOM alumna Andrea Kleesattel (DMA, 2012) is currently performing with the orchestra). The position is offered on a year-by-year basis for up to three years. HPAC is located in Nishinomiya, Japan, just between Osaka and Kobe, about 300 miles west of Tokyo. The organization was founded in 2005, and in many ways resembles the New World Symphony in Miami. Members are paid a salary and housed by the orchestra. They perform a full season of subscription concerts, chamber orchestra concerts, and masterworks concerts with the orchestra, as they would with a professional symphony, but are also provided opportunities to work with guest artists and perform chamber music recitals, often with those guest artists. HPAC is also dedicated to community outreach, performing educational concerts, as well as a variety of concerts throughout the area. I currently speak no Japanese, but I am excited to begin learning useful phrases, and hopefully when my time in Nishinomiya is over I will have learned enough to do more than figure out where I am and how to eat (speaking of which, I have always loved seafood, especially sushi, so I think I’ll be fairly happy with the food in my new home).

“I’m certain that the freedom and inspiration I gained during my time in Madison was a large reason why I was able to gain such an exciting position. I am so thankful for my time here, and I’m ready to move forward and begin my journey as a professional cellist.”

Pro Arte goes on tour; new faculty hires; di Sanza receives award

Pro Arte Quartet Rehearsal with composer Benoit Mernier

Benoit Mernier rehearsed with the Pro Arte Quartet in March. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.

Pro Arte Quartet Plans Belgium Concert Tour

The UW Pro Arte Quartet will return to its roots in May with a concert tour of Belgium, where the group was first formed in 1912.

The trip is the capstone of the Pro Arte’s centennial season and is believed to be the quartet’s first return to its homeland since being stranded in the U.S. when Nazi forces invaded Belgium, and UW responded by creating a residency for the group. The tour will feature the European premiere of the quartet’s latest commission, String Quartet No. 3 by Belgian composer Benoît Mernier.

Mernier’s composition received its world premiere by the Pro Arte on March 1 at Mills Concert Hall in the Mosse Humanities Building on the UW-Madison campus. The European premiere is scheduled for May 26 at the Brussels Conservatory, where the Pro Arte itself originated. Read a review of the Madison concert here.

The Pro Arte will kick off the weeklong tour on May 22 with a performance in Studio 1 of the Flagey Building, home to Belgium’s broadcast industry. The program will include compositions by Mozart, César Franck and Randall Thompson. Studio 1 has historic significance for the Pro Arte, too. An earlier iteration of the quartet recorded a Beethoven cycle there in 1938.

On May 23, the Pro Arte will perform an afternoon concert in the Arthur de Greef Auditorium of the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels. The library series features works important to the library’s collections, and Pro Arte will present a program featuring works by Bartok and Haydn, since the library holds first editions of these composers. Know any Dutch? If so, you may read the announcement here: http://www.kbr.be/actualites/concerts/programme/23_05_nl.html

On May 24, the Pro Arte will travel to Dolhain Limburg, birthplace of the quartet’s founding violinist Alphonse Onnou for a reception, dinner and performance at Kursaal Dolhain. The evening program will include compositions by Mozart, Franck, Haydn and Alexander Glazunov. The Mernier European premiere at the Brussels Conservatory follows on May 26, along with compositions by Mozart, Thompson and Samuel Barber.

The final performance of the tour on May 27 will take place at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve. In addition to the Mernier work, the performance would include works by Mozart and Barber. In addition, the audience will view a 1975 documentary film about the Pro Arte by Pierre Bartholomée that includes interviews with composers Darius Milhaud, Igor Stravinsky and others.

Final arrangements for the trip are in the works pending the resolution of some current restrictions regarding international travel.

The Pro Arte Quartet issued a commemorative CD last year. Read about the CD here. To purchase it, click here.

Wisconsin Public Television filmed the quartet in concert last year. Watch the video here.

New faculty hired for next year

The School of Music will add three visiting professors next year. One, David Ronis of New York City, will replace retiring opera director William Farlow. A second, Tom Curry, will replace retiring tuba professor John Stevens, And a third, Leslie Shank, will replace violin professor Felicia Moye, who has accepted a position at McGill University in Montreal.

The School has issued separate news releases for all new faculty.

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra violinist Leslie Shank to join UW

School of Music appoints alumnus Tom Curry as visiting assistant professor of tuba

School of Music announces David Ronis as visiting director of opera

 

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Percussion professor wins Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award

Nominated by one of his students

Anthony Di Sanza

Percussion Professor Anthony Di Sanza working with students. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.

Anthony Di Sanza, professor of percussion in the School of Music, has received the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award, nominated by percussion student Jacob Wolbert (who was published in this space last summer), who was himself inducted into the society on April 12. Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society and honors undergraduates for outstanding scholarly achievement. Students elected into Phi Beta Kappa are asked to nominate a deserving faculty whose teaching is exemplary and who encouraged their love of learning. Wolbert nominated di Sanza.

“Professor DiSanza found a way to transfer my musical skills into my non-musical ones and has encouraged my endeavors, providing wisdom and guidance even when they are unrelated to music,” says Wolbert. “Overall, he recognizes the value of music in an interdisciplinary education, a crucial tenet of what it means to receive an undergraduate liberal arts education here at UW-Madison.”

“I am deeply honored by this award and even more so by the fact that Jacob Wolbert, this engaged, talented and thought-provoking student, would think highly enough of my efforts to nominate me,” says di Sanza. Read the full press release here.

Speaking of choral: Sing this Summer! Auditions are now open for Madison Summer Choir

The Madison Summer Choir is an approximately 80-voice, auditioned choir performing a cappella, piano-accompanied, and choral-orchestral works, conducted by alumnus Ben Luedcke. We are supported by singers, the larger Madison community, and UW-Madison School of Music. 2014 will be our sixth year keeping summer choral arts alive – please join us on stage or in the audience! Rehearsals start in room 1351 Humanities, Monday May 19th, 5:15-7:15 pm, and are open to all current UW choral singers, as well as the community. The final concert is June 27, 7:30 pm, at First Congregational United Church of Christ. On the program: Schicksalslied, Op. 54, of Johannes Brahms, and Te Deum, by Georges Bizet.

Graduate wins Elliott Carter Rome Prize for music composition

Paula Matthusen, a 2001 graduate in composition who studied with professor Stephen Dembski and is now Assistant Professor of Music at Wesleyan University has received the Elliot Carter Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. The prize is awarded annually to about thirty people “who represent the highest standard of excellence in the arts and humanities,” according to the academy’s website.  Winners receive a fellowship and are invited to live in Rome for up to two years. Read a 2009 review of Paula’s work here.

Selected upcoming concerts at the School of Music

(For a full list, please see http://www.music.wisc.edu/calendar )

Saturday, April 26: Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Vespers” or “All-Night Vigil” performed by Choral Union

Choralunion-111413-8082_WEB

The Choral Union in rehearsal. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.

On Saturday, April 26 at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW-Madison Choral Union will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Vespers” or “All-Night Vigil,” composed in 1915, consisting of settings of texts taken from the Russian Orthodox All-night vigil ceremony. Read about this work in Madison’s blog, The Well-Tempered Ear.

Tickets: $10/Adults & General Public, Free/Students and Seniors. Call (608) 265-ARTS (2787) for ticket info or buy online (surcharge applies; no surcharge if purchased at box office).

Thursday, May 1: Brian Lynch, the UW Jazz Orchestra and the High School Honors Jazz Band

Lynch to offer master classes on Wednesday, April 30 and Thursday, May 1 – see http://www.music.wisc.edu/calendar for details

Grammy-award winning jazz trumpeter Brian Lynch will perform May 1 as a guest of the UW Jazz Orchestra. Lynch, a native of Milwaukee who now makes his home in New York City, will appear in concert with the orchestra and the High School Honors Jazz Band, an auditioned ensemble comprised of the best jazz musicians that Madison-area schools have to offer.  Student tickets $5/general public $10. http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/Season13-14/Brian-Lynch.html

Read an earlier post here.

Read an interview with Brian Lynch in the blog, The Cultural Oyster.

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra violinist Leslie Shank to join UW

The School of Music welcomes violinist Leslie Shank as visiting assistant professor of violin next fall, replacing Felicia Moye who has taken a position at McGill University in Montreal. Shank is a longtime member of the 55-year-old Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, one of the world’s most renowned chamber ensembles, known for its adventurous programming, commissions and world premieres. This week, the orchestra will premiere a new viola concerto composed by Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis.

Leslie Shank

Leslie Shank

Leslie is well-known to the musicians of Madison’s Pro Arte Quartet, who recommended her appointment. “I couldn’t be happier to welcome Leslie Shank to the UW School of Music this coming fall,” says David Perry, Pro Arte violinist. “Her performance and master classes in recent years have been inspirational, and it will be great for our students to benefit from her broad range of experience on a more regular basis.” Pro Arte violist Sally Chisholm praises Shank’s “wonderful and boundless energy.”

For her part, Shank is thrilled to have the opportunity to work at UW-Madison. “Phenomenal musicians come out of UW,” says Shank, which is not true of all universities, she adds. “I’m honored to be invited to join such amazing faculty. People would give their eyeteeth to be able to work in that department.” Hear Leslie perform in this audio clip from Minnesota Public Radio.

Shank will commute to Madison while maintaining her role as a violinist in St. Paul. She hopes to bring UW’s violinists to the Twin Cities for concerts, she adds.

Ms.Shank has been a member of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra since 1984 and was assistant concertmaster for 24 years. She gave her New York recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Hall as a winner of the Artists International Competition, and was twice re-engaged to perform on its Special Presentation Series. Shank has also performed as soloist with many orchestras, including the Seattle Symphony, the National Orchestral Association (also serving as concertmaster), and the Racine Symphony. Her recital at the celebrated Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago was broadcast on WFMT radio. She has also appeared with the Baltimore Symphony as guest associate concertmaster, and with the Indianapolis Symphony as guest concertmaster.

Ms. Shank currently serves as concertmaster of the “Music in the Mountains” Festival in Colorado, and has performed at numerous other festivals including Aspen, Grand Teton, Mainly Mozart, Marlboro, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Orcas Island Festival, and the Britt Festival, where she served as concertmaster of the festival orchestra. As a member of the prestigious Musicians from Marlboro, she performed several concerts throughout the East Coast. Additionally, she plays both violin and viola as a member of the Hot Dish Trio with pianist, Susan Billmeyer, and clarinetist, Karrin Meffert-Nelson.

On disc, Leslie can be heard on two Centaur releases, Recital for Violin & Guitar, with her husband, classical guitarist Joseph Hagedorn, and the Bartok Violin Sonatas with pianist Heather MacLaughlin. Ms. Shank’s interest in Bartok’s Violin Sonatas resulted in a trip to Hungary with pianist Heather MacLaughlin to study those works and was supported by a grant from the General Mills, Dayton Hudson and Jerome Foundations. The Shank-MacLaughlin Duo also received the prestigious McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians.

Leslie received bachelor and master of music degrees from The Juilliard School. Her teachers were Shirley Givens, Felix Galimir, and Dorothy Delay.

School of Music appoints alumnus Tom Curry as visiting assistant professor of tuba

UW-Madison alumnus studied with UW’s John Stevens and Northwestern’s Rex Martin

The UW-Madison School of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of Appleton native Tom Curry as Visiting Assistant Professor of Tuba, replacing Professor of Tuba John Stevens who will retire this spring after 29 years in the position.

Tom Curry

Tom Curry

Curry, a former student of John Stevens’, graduated from UW-Madison in 2009 with a degree in music performance and communication arts and was on the Dean’s List for eight semesters with a 4.00 GPA. He subsequently earned a master’s degree in music performance and literature from Northwestern University, studying with Rex Martin, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in music performance there. He is principal tubist of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra and the Evanston Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Joffrey Ballet, the Chicago Philharmonic, the Ars Viva Symphony, and many other orchestras.

Curry maintains a large studio of private low brass students at several Chicago-area high schools and also teaches supplemental tuba and euphonium lessons and master classes at Northwestern. He has served as a low brass instructor at the University of Wisconsin Summer Music Clinic and as a guest tuba and euphonium instructor at Lawrence University.

In addition to teaching the Tuba/Euphonium Studio, Curry will play in the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, a position he also held during his final semester at UW while John Stevens was on sabbatical.

Tom Curry

Tom Curry

In Chicago, Curry has regularly appeared with several local and national rock and popular acts, including performances with the Grammy-nominated group Foster the People and the local band, Mucca Pazza.

“We’re ecstatic,” says Mark Hetzler, professor of trombone. “There’s an energy about Tom which comes across in how he teaches and plays. And he understands the style of teaching here: the faculty connection with students is extremely important. He’s going to continue that tradition.”

“It’s quite an honor to come back to a place that had such a formative influence on me,” Curry says. “To be in that environment is an incredible opportunity.”

For more information, please contact Mark Hetzler, hetzler@wisc.edu, 608-628-5026.

School of Music announces David Ronis as visiting director of opera

The UW-Madison School of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of opera director David Ronis to serve a one-year term as Visiting Assistant Professor, Director of University Opera, replacing William Farlow, who retires this year after 16 years in the position. His final production of Hector Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict will be staged Tuesday, April 15, in Music Hall.

David Ronis.

David Ronis.

Ronis, a tenor with many singing and acting roles to his credit, is currently on the faculties of the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College/City University of New York, and Hofstra University on Long Island, where he teaches voice, directs opera, and coaches singers on acting and auditioning skills.

“The voice and opera programs are delighted to welcome David Ronis,” says Mimmi Fulmer, professor of voice and opera at the School of Music. “Mr. Ronis will direct two full productions for University Opera during the 2014-15 season, as well as join me in teaching Opera Workshop. He brings a background of a distinguished singing career in both opera and musical theater as well as extensive credits as a director. We are fortunate to have him contribute his artistry and experience to our singers and our audiences. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work together to present another wonderful season of University Opera.”

Ronis’s resumé is impressive. His 2009 and 2011 productions of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Argento’s Postcard From Morocco won first and third place, respectively, in the National Opera Association Opera Production Competition. Other recent productions include L’incoronazione di Poppea, Suor Angelica, La Damoiselle Elue, The Magic Flute, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Dido and Aeneas at Queens College, Rigoletto for the Queens Symphony Orchestra, Cosî fan tutte for OSH Opera, From Berlin to Potsdam: A Kurt Weill Cabaret for the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, and a portion of Gregg Wramage’s Death in Summer at the Manhattan School of Music, part of their annual “From Page to Stage” series.

Mr. Ronis is also the co-director of the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College, a faculty member at the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute, and served as the local chair for the National Opera Association’s January 2014 convention in New York City.

Ronis visited UW-Madison in March and says he was “very impressed with the students.”

“Their skill level is very high, they were very engaged, interested and motivated. They asked really difficult questions. I just loved it,” he added.

David Ronis.

David Ronis as “Lumiere” in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

Mr. Ronis has sung over 50 operatic roles, including performances of the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, the Four Servants in Les Contes D’Hoffmann, Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Basilio and Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Goro in Madama Butterfly. He has appeared on stages from Milan’s La Scala to Vienna, New York to Hong Kong. He also has performed as a soloist in the world’s most famous halls and at summer music festivals and has acted in many musical theater productions, independent films and commercials. He is a member of the National Opera Association, National Association of Teachers of Singing, the College Music Society, Actors Equity Association, the American Guild of Musical Artists and the Screen Actors Guild.

Mr. Ronis received his B.F.A. degree from Purchase College of the State University of New York and the M.A.L.S. (Master of Arts in Liberal Studies) in Opera Studies, an interdisciplinary research degree, from Empire State College/SUNY. He also studied at the Conservatoire Americain in Fontainebleau, France, then under the direction of the legendary teacher, Nadia Boulanger. Additionally, he received the Anthony Gishford Award to attend the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, England, where he worked with the late Sir Peter Pears.

For more information, please email or call Mimmi Fulmer, fulmer.wisc@gmail.com. 608/263-1882.