We’re headed into the home stretch at the School of Music! Here are highlights from the next month; please check our full calendar for many more concerts (including the Pro Arte Quartet, the Low Brass Ensemble, student recitals, and many others). Next month’s newsletter will be devoted to short stories about students and alumni; keep watch for that!
Full concert calendar: http://www.music.wisc.edu/events/
Late-breaking news: The School of Music announces winners of the 30th annual Beethoven Piano Competition, sponsored by former university chancellor Irving Shain. The winners are Kangwoo Jin, SeungWha Baek, and Luis Alberto Peña. The all-Beethoven winners recital will take place this Sunday, April 19, at 3:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall, with a reception to follow.
JACK Quartet Premieres Work of Laura Schwendinger at Memorial Union-May 8
New York City’s JACK Quartet, stalwart champions of of contemporary music, will come to the Memorial Union’s Shannon Hall to present a new work written by UW-Madison composer Laura Schwendinger called “Creature Quartet.”
Schwendinger, a Guggenheim winner and the first composer recipient of the Berlin Prize, wrote the Creature Quartet, a one-movement work for string quartet, with “portraits in music” of extinct, mythological, or endangered creatures.
“Each of the quartet’s movements feature different creatures such as extinct birds, like the ivory billed woodpecker, the passenger pigeon, the marvelously funny looking dodo bird as depicted in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as mythological creatures like the Yeti, Chupacabra, and the famous ‘sea monster’ Nessy,” says Schwendinger. The music will be accompanied by an animated video created by Pauline Gagniarre.
The JACK Quartet has recorded the music of John Luther Adams, Huck Hodge, Amy Williams, György Ligeti, Iannis Xenakis, and Helmut Lachenmann, among others. The Washington Post’s Stephen Brooks recently described the quartet as the “go-to quartet for contemporary music, tying impeccable musicianship to intellectual ferocity and a take-no-prisoners sense of commitment.” The group had just performed music by composer Morton Feldman at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Click here to learn more about the concert and purchase tickets. Note: the JACK Quartet will offer a separate concert on May 7 at Shannon Hall.
UW Wind Ensemble Performs in Carnegie Hall
by Scott Teeple, Wind Ensemble Conductor
On Monday, March 9, the UW Wind Ensemble took the stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City to perform the closing concert for the New York Wind Band Festival. The UW–Madison Wind Ensemble is the first UW-Madison School of Music student ensemble to receive an invitation to perform in what is arguably the most recognized venue in the world and, what a debut!
Planning began a year before the trip. Students raised a portion of the funds needed; donors included Lau and Bea Christensen; Roger and Lynn White; the UW-Madison School of Music Alumni Association; Michael George; John Stevens; Michael Keller, and Heid Music. Many thanks to all who donated.
On the way to New York, the Wind Ensemble also performed at Valparaiso High School in Indiana and State College Area High School in State College, Pennsylvania. While in State College, Penn State University Director of Bands Dennis Glocke met with and guest conducted the ensemble. Mr. Glocke is a graduate of the UW–Madison School of Music, a former clarinet player with the UW Wind Ensemble and, early in his career, was a public school music teacher at Oconomowoc Middle School.
At the New York performance, we held a celebratory reception for UW alumni, School of Music donors, friends and family members. The program included Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovich, Blue Shades by Frank Ticheli, and The Frozen Cathedral by John Mackey. The ensemble performed magnificently, filling every corner of the hall with a beautiful, lush sound. “It was honor and a fantastic way to bring a close to my stay at Madison,” said Amanda Fry, a senior horn player.
Are you an adult musician in the area? Would you like to perform with the musicians who played on stage at Carnegie Hall? The ensemble will play its final concert this season on Friday, April 24th at 7:30. You are invited to perform with the UW Wind Ensemble for the second half. Please contact Barb Douglas in the UW-Madison band department for information. Space is limited.
Emeritus Percussion Professor James Latimer welcomed at 50th Anniversary Concert
On March 20, the UW Percussion program celebrated its 50th year of existence with a concert that returned its founder, emeritus professor James Latimer, to the stage. Latimer conducted an ensemble performing Carlos Chavez’s Toccata for Percussion, which was performed at the inaugural concert in 1965. The concert also included ensembles of varying sizes performing works by Fan Zheming, Steve Reich, Michael Camilo, and UW-Madison percussion instructor Todd Hammes, as well as several others. A week later, the ensemble departed on a tour of China to perform at two conservatories in Beijing and Shenyang. More about the China trip in our next issue!
Benefit Concert for Brittany Sperberg raises money and her spirits
The School’s March 18 mostly-brass concert for ailing trombone student Brittany Sperberg not only raised nearly $3,000 in donations, but boosted her spirits as well, says her teacher, trombone professor Mark Hetzler. Combined with an online donation website, about $6,000 has been contributed to help her family defray medical expenses.
Sperberg was stricken last fall with an as-yet-undiagnosed illness that caused her to withdraw from school. Writes Hetzler: “She and her family were absolutely overjoyed by the event. Her aunt was telling me that the greatest thing about the concert was getting to see Brittany smile again. I am so proud to be a part of a School of Music with folks who care so deeply for each other.”
Pianist Christopher Taylor solos with Madison Symphony, earns accolades
UW-Madison’s Christopher Taylor captivated the crowd this past weekend with his performances of J.S. Bach’s Clavier Sonata No. 4 and Franz Liszt’s Concerto No. 1 for Piano. “Taylor’s intellectual and expressive approach to the music was as supple as his technique. The resulting performance was intense yet intimate, deeply emotional but never stagey,” wrote Capital Times reviewer Jessica M. Courtier. Click here to read the review.
Wingra Woodwind Quintet celebrates 50 years with a short concert and party: April 25
The event will feature a short concert of works written or arranged by former members of the quintet, plus appetizers and drinks. Former members who have already responded include Glenn Bowen, Marc Fink, Richard Lottridge, and Douglas Hill. Students are welcome! The party will be held at the University Club, 803 State Street, in Madison, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 25. If your name isn’t yet on this list, send your RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chorale, Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers Combine Forces – April 17
On April 17 at 7:30 PM, three UW-Madison choirs, under the direction of conductor Bruce Gladstone with assistance from graduate conductor Sara Guttenberg and harpsichordist John Chappell Stowe, will sing a joint concert at Luther Memorial Church, 1021 University Avenue. The program is called “Transfixed, Transported, Transformed: The Consequence of Beauty,” and will feature a wide range of works, including the traditional song Shenandoah; Lady, When I Beheld, written by 16th century composer John Wilbye; and Missa “O Pulchritudo” by Gian Carlo Menotti, taken from the Roman Catholic Mass. Download the full program here.
Writes Bruce Gladstone: “As artists and specifically, musicians, we at times are so focused on the work we do – the perfecting our craft, the research and rehearsals, the programming and the public relations – that we sometimes lose sight and connection with the beauty of our art. Beauty surprises, enchants, shocks, tempts, disconcerts, soothes, awakens, haunts, entices, lifts, and sends us; this concert seeks to offer in word and music, a glimpse of those moments when beauty has done just that.”
Perlman Piano Trio (+Two) in Concert- April 18
Mark Saturday, April 18 for the annual concert of the Perlman Piano Trio, a classical ensemble supported by retired scientist Kato Perlman. This year’s free concert and reception is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, at 3:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall. The members include SeungWha Baek, piano, Valerie Sanders, violin, and Daniel Ma, violoncello, with violinist Keisuke Yamamoto and violist Jeremy Kienbaum performing with the trio on two works. The program will include Haydn’s Piano Trio in Eb Major, Hoboken XV: 29; Arensky’s Piano Quintet in D Major, Op. 51; and Brahms’ Piano Trio in B Major, Op. 8 (original version).
UW Jazz Hosts the High School Honors Jazz Band- April 29
The third annual High School Honors Jazz Band, an auditioned big band ensemble comprised of 18 students from the greater Madison and southcentral Wisconsin, will join the UW Jazz Orchestra in what has evolved into a very festive annual concert. This year’s concert (click here for info) will be held Wednesday, April 29, at 7:30 PM in Music Hall. This is our only ticketed jazz event of the year and promises to be a festive event for high school musicians, their families and the School of Music. Tickets are $10.00 for adults, free to students of all ages. You can buy tickets here or at Music Hall the day of the show.
This year’s featured soloist will be trumpeter Greg Bush, a freelance jazz trumpet player, arranger and composer. Greg has performed with his own band in jazz clubs, concert halls and jazz festivals across Canada, Australia, Fiji, Germany and in Switzerland at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival. Bush is currently professor of music at Vancouver Island University (British Columbia, Canada), where in addition to conducting the VIU Wind Ensemble he heads the trumpet studio, teaches Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Composition, Instrumental Conducting and Pedagogy. Learn more about the Honors Band at this link: http://www.wisconsinjazz.org/
Speaking of jazz, retired jazz professor, pianist and music theorist Joan Wildman reminisced recently about the “sorry state” of jazz back in 1985, which led to the founding of the Madison Music Collective. The MMC held a reunion concert on April 12 at the Brink Lounge. Both Isthmus and the Wisconsin State Journal carried stories about Wildman and jazz’s early days in Madison.