Catch School of Music talent at MAYCO & Four Seasons Theater this weekend

This weekend’s events showcase talent at the School of Music in two very different ways: One is a concert organized and conducted by an ambitious  undergraduate violist who has ventured into serious conducting. The other, a musical theater performance produced by veterans from the school who have created a remarkable company with deep community ties.

Mikko Utevsky
Mikko Utevsky
Photo by Steve Rankin

The first, the Madison Area Youth Chamber Orchestra (MAYCO), was founded in 2011 by Mikko Utevsky, then a junior at East High School. Mikko is now a viola student at the SOM, studying with Sally Chisholm, professor of viola and member of the Pro Arte Quartet.  Mikko played with the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra and is now a member of the UW Symphony Orchestra, and was long interested in conducting; you can read more about him in a previous post on Jake’s The Well-Tempered Ear. (Thanks, Jake!) Last winter, Mikko received the “1st Chair Award” are given by CBS affiliate WISC-TV Channel 3 and the Madison Area Music Association, awarded to a “a musician who used music to give back to their community, or used music to overcome an obstacle and is between 5 and 18 years old.”

MAYCO will present a single concert, “New Horizons,” on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Music Hall. Tickets are $5 for adults; students by donation. Mikko writes: “Its centerpieces are two masterworks of the Classical period, written only a few years apart – Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21 and Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E flat. These two pieces, alongside a fantastic new work from Jerry Hui commissioned for the orchestra, form the justification for the title “New Horizons” – each is a first in its own way. Rounding out the program is a short double concerto in B flat major by Antonio Vivaldi, transcribed for trumpet but written originally for oboe, violin, and string orchestra with basso continuo.”

Composer Jerry Hui received both his BA and DMA degree in music composition/choral conducting (AND computer science!) from the SOM, with a MS in between at the University of Oregon.  Some may remember Jerry as the composer of Wired for Love, a “comic chamber opera” that premiered last winter. For this performance, Jerry has written a piece he calls “Glacies.”

Jerry Hui
Jerry Hui
Photo by Ryan Brandenberg

Jerry writes:  “‘Glacies’ is an orchestral tone-poem is commissioned by Mikko Utevsky and written for MAYCO. Mikko was a former composition student of mine, studying counterpoint and harmony with the support of the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth (WCATY), and I’m glad to compose a piece for his wonderful ensemble. Glacies is the Latin word for ice, signifying my original inspiration for the work. As a Madisonite living near the lake for the past 5 years, I have become fascinated by the serene mystery of morning mist rising from the large frozen body of water, as well as the first spring day when the ice breaks–which sometimes can become an exciting and violent event known as an ice quake. Glacies does not attempt to tell a narrative; rather, I try to convey an impression of it through various sound and color of the orchestra.”

Performers on the program include Ansel Norris on the Haydn Trumpet Concerto. Ansel, also an East High School grad now at Northwestern University majoring in trumpet performance, was a finalist in the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Bolz “Final Forté” Competition in 2009,  is a two-time first prize winner at the National Trumpet Competition and was a gold award winner in the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts’ YoungArts competition.  Ansel will team up with brother Alex, a violinist and SOM graduate now in graduate school at Texas Tech, to perform the Vivaldi.  Other orchestral members of the SOM include Erika Andersen, Amanda Fry, Meirah Williamson (an incoming freshman), Sam Moon, Josh Rosing, Tiffany Yeh, and Dan Cross.

Alex and Ansel Norris Photo by Terry Talbot
Alex and Ansel Norris
Photo by Terry Talbot

August 9 will also feature the inaugural performance of a very special show,  “Le Miserables,” by local musical theater company Four Seasons Theatre. (Getting to this point was not a simple matter, apparently; it took the company seven years to be granted the rights  to produce the full length, adult cast version, which wound up replacing the show originally programmed!)

Four Seasons, which has mounted impressive shows in the past (witness West Side Story in 2006– wow!) was founded in 2005 by SOM alumni Sarah Marty, Jamie Pitt,  Amanda Poulson and  Andrew Abrams  (who is also the conductor for the current show) and two others not from the SOM, Erin Burke and Chris Lange.

Other SOM alumni in the current show include voice student and actor Alannah Spencer and Rachel Eve Holmes (Cosette) an incoming doctoral student in voice.  The orchestra includes School Music staff members Patrick Coughlin and Professor Les Thimmig. Current students and alums in the orchestra include Allison Maher, Christy Schwarz, Paul Litterio, Wes Luke, Matt Dahm, Carol Carlson, Michael Koszewski, and Julie Cao.

Les Miz postcard front

Here’s the official news release:

Four Seasons Theatre

August 9-18, 2013
The Mitby Theater at Madison College (MATC-Truax campus) Discover a nation in the grip of revolution, where convict Jean Valjean is on the run. Hunted relentlessly by the policeman Javert for breaking his parole, he must leave his past behind and keep his vow to raise the young orphaned Cosette. With revolution in the air and Javert closing in, Jean Valjean has no choice but to fight for his life and sacrifice everything to protect the people he loves.

Performances are Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm, August 9-18 at The Mitby Theater at Madison College (MATC, 3550 Anderson Street).  Event parking is free.

Tickets ($35, $30, $25 by location) are available now through the FST website at and The Mitby Box Office at (608) 243-4000. Handling fees are only $1 per ticket for all sales (phone, in person, and online). We recommend buying tickets online and printing them at home so you can avoid long lines at Will Call on the day of the show. 


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