UW-Madison brings Virtuoso (and Maverick) Cellist to Town – April 28

UW CONCERT CHOIR WITH CELLIST MATT HAIMOVITZ

April 28, 8 PM, Mills Hall

Presenting “Après moi, le deluge” by composer Luna Pearl Woolf. With Matt Haimovitz, cello.
and “for Paris,” a world premiere for solo viola and choir by UW-Madison composer Laura Schwendinger. With Sally Chisholm, viola.
Beverly Taylor, Conductor

$15 adults/$5 students
Buy tickets online (on sale March 1) or in person at the Memorial Union Box Office.  Tickets will also be sold at the door.


“Ferociously talented” (New York Times) cellist Matt Haimovitz, known for his renditions of the Bach Cello Suites as well as contemporary works, will return to Madison on April 28 to perform a work that he premiered here 11 years ago with the UW Concert Choir, one of UW-Madison’s most advanced choirs.

Matt Haimovitz. Photo by Steph Mackinnon
Matt Haimovitz. Photo by Steph Mackinnon

“Après moi, le deluge,” a 22-minute composition for cello and choir, was written by his wife, composer Luna Pearl Woolf, to a text by poet Eleanor Wilner. Après Moi, le Déluge was written in the weeks and months after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the United States’ Gulf Coast in late August 2005.

“Après moi, le déluge” are reputed to be the last words of Louis XV, king of France from 1715-1774 and the heir of Louis XIV, the king for whom Louisiana was named. Louis XIV’s legacy to Louis XV was a nation bankrupted by war and imperial ambition, a debt levied on the peasantry while the nobility lived tax-free. Louis XV ruled ineffectively, lived luxuriously, and died the most unpopular king in French history. “The words ‘après moi le déluge’,” according to Paul Jay of Independent World Television News, “have come to epitomize the psychology of those who ruin people and the earth with no thought for tomorrow.”

Après Moi, le Déluge was commissioned by Haimovitz as part of his “Buck the Concerto” series of commissions for cello and unusual ensembles. It was premiered in 2006 by Haimovitz and the UW-Madison Concert Choir with Beverly Taylor and recorded live for Oxingale Records. Haimovitz and the choir later took Après Moi, le Déluge on tour, performing in New Orleans in November, 2006. Après Moi, le Déluge also forms half of a fine-press book entitled Waterlines, with woodcuts and etchings by Michael Kuch, from Oxingale Press and Double Elephant Press.

At Harvard University prior to 1995, Concert Choir conductor Beverly Taylor directed the international prize-winning Radcliffe Choral Society, where she met Woolf, then a student at Radcliffe.

Since the 2006 premiere at UW-Madison, “Après moi, le deluge” has been performed many times, including in New York’s Trinity Wall Street Church on June 3, 2012. That concert also featured one of Schwendinger’s works, “Six Choral Settings.”

New York Times reviewer Steve Smith called “Après moi, le deluge” a “strikingly allusive concerto for cello and chorus that movingly reflects on the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Somber, sardonic and bluesy, the episodic work received an impassioned account, with soulful solo work by Mr. Haimovitz, the soprano Martha Cluver and the bass-baritone Dashon Burton.”

Haimovitz, who is nominated for a Juno Award for Solo or Chamber Ensemble of the Year for his CD, “Overtures to Bach,” made his cello debut at age 13 with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic. His first recording was for Deutsche Grammophon at age 17 with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He is considered a musical pioneer, favoring innovative venues and approaches to music. He is professor of cello at McGill University in Montreal. The New Yorker calls Haimovitz a “maverick cello virtuoso, who has long marched to the beat of a different drummer.”

Another major work on the program will be a world premiere of a work for viola and choir, “for Paris,” written by UW-Madison composer Laura Schwendinger in response to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. Sally Chisholm, violist of the Pro Arte Quartet, will be featured.

Schwendinger says: “The viola starts this short work by referencing only for a moment the merest idea of a “musette song,” one that might be heard on an evening in a Paris cafe. The choir enters with a simple refrain that repeats as an unanswered question of sorts. And each time the viola reenters the texture, it asks its question in a more pressing and poignant manner, until it arrives in its highest register, only to resolve with the choir with a quiet acquiescence in the knowledge that the answer may not be known.”

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“Symphony Showcase” concerto winners Feb 12; UW Opera Announces Spring Show; Schwendinger’s “Artemisia” Premieres in NYC

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music – February 2, 2017

For Valentine’s Day: “Love Story, Steinway Version”

A treasured 1927 Steinway Baby Grand Piano, Model M, finds a new home at the Mead Witter School of Music. Click to read the story and view images behind the School’s newest donation, inspired by love.

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“Symphony Showcase” Concerto winners recital returns to delight and thrill

Watching a young musician solo on stage is always a treat, and every year we’re happy to show you some of our most talented, many already professionals. Please join us on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 PM in Mills Hall to hear and congratulate our students. Adult tickets are $10; children and all students are free. Tickets will be sold at the door. New this year: A reception at the University Club following the concert. The reception is included in the ticket price.

L-R: Shuk-Ki Wong; Matthew Lee; Anna Polum; Matthew Onstad; Biffa Kwok. Photograph by Hannah Olson.
L-R: Shuk-Ki Wong; Matthew Lee; Anna Polum; Matthew Onstad; Biffa Kwok. Not pictured: Nathan Froebe, composer. Photograph by Hannah Olson.

2016-2017 winners are:

  • Violinist Shing Fung (Biffa) Kwok, a doctoral student of Prof. David Perry and recipient of a Collins Fellowship. He will perform Tzigane by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). Biffa is from Hong Kong.
  • Violinist Matthew Lee is an undergraduate senior, graduate of the Madison Memorial High School and alumnus of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. Matthew studies with Prof. Soh-Hyun Altino. He will perform the cadenza from the Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, opus 77 of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975).
  • Trumpeter Matthew Onstad, a native of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Matt is a master’s student of Prof. John Aley. He’ll perform the Trumpet Concerto in F Minor, Op. 18 by Oskar Böhme (1870-1938). Read about Matt in the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen: Beaver Dam native soars as trumpet player in Madison.
  • Soprano Anna Polum will sing “Amour, ranime mon courage,” written by Charles Gounod (1818-1893) for his opera adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Anna studies with Professor James Doing and hails from Fairbanks, Alaska.
  • Pianist Shuk-Ki Wong, will perform the first movement of the Piano Concerto in G Major by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). Shuk-ki studies with Professors Jessica Johnson and Christopher Taylor.
  • Composer Nathan Froebe, a doctoral student of Prof. Laura Schwendinger. The orchestra will perform the premiere of his Portrait d’une Femme, written for his friend and colleague, mezzo-soprano Jessica Kasinski.

University Opera to stage Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw” in March

Fresh from winning two major awards in the 2015-16 National Opera Association Competition, University Opera will present Benjamin Britten’s gothic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw, to round out its season.  In this, Britten’s last chamber opera, based on the Henry James novella of the same title, terror takes unexpected forms.  Premiered in 1954, The Turn of the Screw tells of a young governess who is hired to care for two children in an isolated country house in late 19th century England.  She soon realizes that the children are haunted by secrets and spirits that harm them in very real ways and she takes it upon herself to defend them.  In so doing, she is forced to confront the demons she perceives as threats, as well as her own internal ones.

Benjamin Britten in the mid-1960s (photograph by Hans Wild).
Benjamin Britten in the mid-1960s (photograph by Hans Wild).

The Turn of the Screw will be presented in English for three performances, all with projected supertitles.  March 3 at 7:30 PM, March 5 at 3:00 PM, and March 7 at 7:30 PM at Music Hall on the UW-Madison campus.  David Ronis, inaugural Karen K. Bishop Director of University Opera, will direct and graduate conducting assistant Kyle Knox will conduct the 13-member chamber orchestra.  Musical preparation will be by University Opera’s new vocal coach, Daniel Fung.

Click to read full news release.

Schwendinger opera “Artemisia” receives New York premiere

Next performance: Spring 2018, in San Francisco with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble

On January 7, UW-Madison composer Laura Schwendinger unveiled Artemisia, a major new opera, at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City as part of its Time’s Arrow Festival.  The opera is a story of passion, betrayal and art in 17th century Italy based on the life of Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi. With a libretto by Ginger Strand, author of The Brothers Vonnegut, Artemisia is a recipient of a National Opera Center Discovery grant.

Real-life drama: Schwendinger’s “Artemisia” opera will premiere in New York City: Isthmus, 1.5.17

Preview in Broadway World, 1.7.17

Click to watch video of Artemisia’s premiere


Selected upcoming concerts and events:

Pro Arte Quartet, Saturday, Feb 4. With guest pianist Jee-Won Oh.

Wisconsin Brass Quintet, Final concert with retiring trumpeter John Aley, Sunday, Feb 26

Student Recitals: All semester.

Music Master Classes: Opportunities to observe guest musicians as they instruct and engage with college students.

Our Full Concert Calendar

calendar

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.


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