It’s summer now, and the UW-Madison School of Music hasn’t slowed down one bit. That’s because it is a hothouse of creative people with tons of musical ideas and ambition.
For two weekends now, the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, co-founded by UW flute professor Stephanie Jutt and SOM doctoral alumnus Jeffrey Sykes, has presented concerts of spellbinding charm. (Fanfare ought to know-she attended the first one and will attend the last as well.) But for the second, we have a wonderful review by Jake Stockinger, whose blog The Well-Tempered Ear should be a must-read by any classical music aficionado in Dane County.
Jake called this concert “nothing short of a triumph” due to Sykes’ creation of an original story about the complex romances of Robert Schumann, his wife Clara Wieck Schumann, and Johannes Brahms by way of a “two-act mini-drama -– an experimental scissors-and-paste tapestry woven together with snippets of letters, diary entries and of course music -– proved successful on every count. It was greeted with cries of Bravo! and an enthusiastic, prolonged standing ovation.”
The concert also featured UW SOM vocal alumna Emily Birsan (now at The Lyric Opera of Chicago), Madison Symphony orchestra conductor/pianist John DeMain, UW SOM cellist Parry Karp, UW SOM/MSO violinist Suzanne Beia, and bass-baritone Timothy Jones. You can read Jake’s full review here. You can also attend their final weekend of concerts; click this link to learn more.
Meanwhile, last Friday night at Music Hall, UW SOM violist and aspiring conductor Mikko Utevsky presented the first of two concerts this year of the Madison Area Youth Chamber Orchestra, a three-year old ensemble created anew each summer of high school and college classical players. Utevsky, a graduate of Madison East High School, is an enterprising and sophisticated student of classical music who was profiled recently in a Q&A in Jake’s The Well-Tempered Ear. For the first concert, which featured local musicians Diedre Buckley on viola and Eugene Purdue on violin as well as WPR host Lori Skelton as narrator, featured Aaron Copland’s “Our Town,” Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” and Mozart’s “Sinfonia concertante.” It received a positive review from emeritus professor of history John Barker. “Utevsky has been able, in a short time with limited rehearsal opportunities, to forge them into a thoroughly credible, and creditable, ensemble,” he writes. Read Barker’s full review here.
MAYCO will present a second concert at Music Hall on Friday, August 9, featuring a work by local composer Jerry Hui and former East High School trumpeter and Wisconsin Youth Symphony alumnus Ansel Norris, now a junior at Northwestern University. That program will feature the Haydn Trumpet Concerto and music of Hui and Beethoven.
Of course, then there’s the ongoing festival in the Humanities Building known as the Summer Music Clinic. You can find photos of students at last week’s junior session below and on our Facebook page. And later this week, we’ll offer up another first-hand reflection by guest blogger, SOM percussionist, and SMC counselor, Jacob Wolbert.