University Opera presents spring show, “Transformations”; Clarinet Day debut; cellist Andrew Briggs impresses Middleton audience

News and Concert Highlights from the UW-Madison School of Music – Feb. 29, 2016

University Opera presents its spring 2016 show:”Transformations”

Transformations, a 1970s chamber opera that explores serious psychological themes through the re-telling of Grimm’s fairy tales, will be staged March 11, 13 and 15 by UW-Madison University Opera. The opera was written by Conrad Susa based on poetry by Pulitzer-Prize winner Anne Sexton, who suffered from mental illness and depression, and took her own life in 1974 at age 45.
‘It’s a challenging and compelling piece of music theater,” said David Ronis, director. “It’s a great vehicle to teach skills to young opera singers, and stimulating thought and dialog across the university and community.”  While the opera is dark at times, it contains much humor as well.

Anne Sexton
Anne Sexton

Sexton’s writing was often confessional and overtly feminist. Her champions included Maxine Kumin, Robert Lowell, and Sylvia Plath. Transformations was commissioned of Susa in 1972 by the Minnesota Opera, known for its interest in contemporary works. The libretto includes eight cast members who play multiple roles from the fairy tales; the plot involves a middle-aged witch who is transformed into a young beauty pulled into a nightmare.

Transformations is conducted by graduate assistant conductor Kyle Knox.

Click this link to read much more about this production, including the cast list and backstage personnel.

Performance dates, times and prices:
Friday, Mar 11 @ 7:30pm (Pre-show discussion, 6 PM)
Sunday, Mar 13 @ 3:00pm
Tuesday, Mar 15 @ 7:30pm
General Admission: $25; Seniors: $20; Students: $10
Tickets available at the Memorial Union Box Office. Also available at the door.

Transformations is a thought-provoking and complex opera that benefits from thought and discussion. Join us for a pre-show discussion at 6:00 PM in Music Hall, March 11, with noted University scholars:
Lynn Keller – Professor of Poetry, UW-Madison
Thomas DuBois – Professor of Scandinavian Studies, Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies,UW-Madison
Laura Schwendinger – Professor of Composition, School of Music, UW-Madison
Karlos Moser – Emeritus Director of Opera, UW-Madison
David Ronis
– Interim Director of Opera, UW-Madison
Moderator: Susan Cook, Director, UW-Madison School of Music


Selected Concert Highlights, March 2016

The Hunt Quartet. Sunday, March 6, 6:00 PM, Morphy Hall, free and open to all. The Hunt Quartet is the graduate string quartet at UW-Madison, comprised of Paran Amirinazari, violin; Clayton Tillotson, violin; Blakeley Menghini, viola; and Andrew Briggs, cello. The quartet will play music of Beethoven, Webern, and Schubert. Funding is provided by Dr. Kato Perlman and the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

The Hunt Quartet. L-R: Clayton Tillotson, violin; Blakeley Menghini, viola; Paran Amirinazari, violin; and cellist Andrew Briggs, cello. Photograph by Katrin Talbot.
The Hunt Quartet. L-R: Clayton Tillotson, violin; Blakeley Menghini, viola; Paran Amirinazari, violin; and cellist Andrew Briggs, cello. Photograph by Katrin Talbot.

UW Chamber Orchestra
Wednesday, March 16, Mills Hall, 7:30 PM. The UWCO, conducted by James Smith, will perform works of Bela Bartok, Elliott Carter, and Einojuhani Rautavaara, one of Finland’s most important composers. Rautavaara’s style has been influenced by Orthodox liturgical music and Finnish fiddlers and is both Romantic and mystical; read about him at this link.

“Le Domaine Musical”
Friday, March 18, Morphy Hall, 8:00 PM. Free concert. An homage to the late composer Pierre Boulez, featuring music of Pierre Boulez, Anton Webern, Claude Debussy and Johann Sebastian Bach. Performers drawn from School of Music faculty as well as students.

 

See much more on our complete calendar: recitals, jazz, classical, voice and percussion concerts, colloquia, and opera: http://www.music.wisc.edu/events/


UW-Madison hosts its first “Clarinet Day”

On Saturday, February 20th, the clarinet studio and Wesley Warnhoff, adjunct professor of clarinet, hosted its first “Clarinet Day,” including Warnhoff and students performing works by Francis Poulenc and Eric Mandat, master classes with high school students, and chamber music sessions with college and high school students working side by side. The day concluded with the group attending a stunning performance by the UW Wind Ensemble conducted by Professor Scott Teeple. Warnhoff plans to turn this into an annual event; check back next year!

Clarinet Day 2016
Clarinet Day 2016

New on SoundCloud: Hear Martha Fischer, Wes Warnhoff and Jamie-Rose Guarrine perform “The Shepherd on the Rock” at last January’s annual “Schubertiade” concert. Fischer is prof. of piano and collaborative piano at UW-Madison. Guarrine received her DMA at UW-Madison and now teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


Cellist Andrew Briggs earns ovation from Middleton Community Orchestra audience

“I must say that he gave me about the most satisfying experience of it that I have ever heard.” Reviewer John Barker, in his review of the MCO’s Feb. 24 concert, in which Briggs, a UW-Madison graduate student studying with Prof. Uri Vardi, played Antonin Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. “The reason for that is not only his playing skill but also his natural rapport with an audience: He communicates.”
Click to read the full post at The Well-Tempered Ear.

Andrew Briggs
Andrew Briggs

Faculty News: James Doing, Laura Schwendinger
Alumni News: Danny Kim


 

The School of Music offers a smorgasbord of performances each year; we invite you to visit our website and click on our events calendar. We also publish a season brochure that is mailed every August.


You received this newsletter because you either signed up at join-somnews@lists.wisc.edu or directly at this blog. You can also follow us on our very active Facebook page and hear our music on our SoundCloud page.

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Help for Small-Handed Pianists, with Jessica Johnson; Pianist Christopher Taylor solo recital; Cuba Trumpet Expert performs with UW Jazz; and more!

News and Concert Highlights from the UW-Madison School of Music. February 9, 2016

Join us this Sunday for Symphony Showcase: UW Concerto Winners perform solo. Sunday, Feb 14, Mills Hall, 7:30 PM. $10 general public/all age students free. And see our complete calendar, including recitals, jazz, classical, voice and percussion concerts, colloquia, and opera, at this link: http://www.music.wisc.edu/events/


A Solo Recital with Pianist Christopher Taylor, Feb. 26, 8 PM, Mills Hall
Christopher Taylor
Christopher Taylor

On Feb. 26, acclaimed pianist Christopher Taylor will play music of Bach, Brahms, and Scriabin in his only solo Madison concert this academic year. On the program: J.S. Bach’s French Suite No. 1 in D Minor, Aleksandr Scriabin’s 12 Etudes, and the lovely Johannes Brahms’s Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 1.

Read Jessica Courtier’s review of Taylor’s 2015 performance with the Madison Symphony Orchestra. “We in Wisconsin are privileged to call Christopher Taylor one of our own,” she wrote. Tickets are $15 for the general public; free for students of all ages.


Jessica Johnson holds out hope for pianists with small hands

How big are your hands? If you aspire to be a professional pianist, that’s an important question. On average, women have smaller hands than men, and are frequently stymied when trying to stretch their fingers to reach the larger octaves written into many major concertos, such as those by Liszt and Rachmaninoff. That simple fact bears on another simple fact: There are fewer women in the top echelons of professional concert pianists. Injuries are also common.

Jessica Johnson
Jessica Johnson

On Sat., Feb. 20, Jessica Johnson, professor of piano and piano pedagogy, will hold a full day of all-free events to demonstrate what has been working for her: The adoption of a specially sized piano that is 7/8 of normal size. Made by Steinbuhler & Co., one of these is now owned by the School of Music, and Prof. Johnson has found that playing it has been a “life-changing” experience.

Join us on Feb. 20 at 2:30 for a workshop, master class, hands-on demonstrations, and concert, all featuring the Steinbuhler DS 5.5 7/8 piano. Learn more here. And watch for an article about this revolutionary new approach in an upcoming story by Gayle Worland, in the Wisconsin State Journal.

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Trumpeter & Cuban Music Expert Mike Davison to perform with the UW Jazz Orchestra

Master class: Mon Feb 22, Mills Hall; Concert: Weds., Feb. 24, 7:30 PM, Music Hall. Read more here.

Even after a semester with Juan de Marcos, we’re still feeding on Cuban music! This month, we’re bringing Mike Davison (DMA, trumpet performance 1987)  to campus from the University of Richmond, where he teaches and performs. He’ll join the UW Jazz Orchestra, the Waunakee High School Jazz Ensemble I and the UW Latin Jazz Ensemble in an evening of rousing Caribbean tunes. Davison’s bio includes concerts around the world, four recorded jazz CDs, and performances with well-known singers, musicians, and even for a pope.


UW Wind Ensemble travels to Verona and west Madison for concerts
Tom Curry
Tom Curry

Find the UW Wind Ensemble in your corner of Dane County! Last December, the Wind Ensemble made an appearance at the Sun Prairie High School and will continue its out of town concerts this spring. Find them at Verona High School on Feb. 19, at Oakwood Village – West (Mineral Point Road) on March 31, and of course at the School of Music as well (Feb. 20). Both February concerts will feature Tom Curry, adjunct professor of tuba, in a work titled “Heavy Weather,” by the composer Jess Turner.

 


Summer Music Clinic registration now underway

Registration is open through May 2 for UW-Madison’s legendary Summer Music Clinic, which offers dozens of classes in all kinds of musical skills for kids completing grades 6-8 (junior session) and 9-12 (senior session). For one week, students live in UW dorms and attend classes that they choose from a lengthy list, including band, orchestra and choir; sight-singing; jazz improvisation; opera; swing dance; yoga; and even specialized classes on subjects ranging from the music of film composer John Williams to Stephen Sondheim to rock’n roll. Instructors are all highly skilled; many are university professors or other working professionals. Taste the fun by visiting SMC’s Facebook page! For more information, email anne.aley@wisc.edu.

Below: Summer Music Clinic photographs by Michael R. Anderson.


Faculty News: Daniel Grabois, Laura Schwendinger.

Alumni News: Violist Elias Goldstein.


The School of Music offers a smorgasbord of performances each year; we invite you to visit our website and click on our events calendar. We also publish a season brochure that is mailed every August.


You received this newsletter because you either signed up at join-somnews@lists.wisc.edu or directly at this blog. You can also follow us on our very active Facebook page and hear our music on our SoundCloud page.