Trouble in First Century Rome; Meet Katie Anderson, soprano; Livestreaming this fall; Faculty News

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music

University of Wisconsin-Madison
455 North Park Street, Madison Wisconsin 53706

Student Focus: Waupaca native Katie Anderson, master’s candidate, voice

Katie performed as Musetta in last spring’s production of Puccini’s La bohème,  as the Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (spring 2017), and sang the national anthem at spring 2018 commencement at Camp Randall Stadium.

What drew you to this area of study? I’ve always loved singing. My parents were singers, and my grandmother loved opera. I explored opera and art song in college and found there was nothing I loved more than singing and being on stage.

Katie Anderson at UW-Madison’s spring 2018 commencement, singing the National Anthem. Photograph by Bryce Richter.

What colleges did you previously attend, and what are your degrees?    University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, bachelor’s degree in vocal performance, now finishing my master’s degree in vocal performance at UW-Madison.

What classes are you enrolled in? Are you taking lessons, and with whom? I am taking one last music history course before I graduate. During my time here, I have studied voice under Professor Mimmi Fulmer.

Give us a fun fact or two about yourself. I played the clarinet from 6th grade and continued into my undergrad. I also teach private voice in the Madison area.

Why did you choose UW-Madison? I felt welcomed to this campus, and I knew I had found a great teacher when I met Prof. Fulmer. I was given many performance opportunities, as well as a teaching assistantship and scholarship. Everything made sense to choose UW-Madison.

Do you have a particular goal this year? My goal this year is to keep finding opportunities to perform, and to prepare auditions for Young Artist Programs.

Livestream Concert Alert!  UW-Madison Symphony and Concert Choir

Thursday, November 15, 7:30 PM: UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra with conductor Chad Hutchinson and graduate conductor Michael Dolan. On the program: Blue Cathedral by Jennifer Higdon and Symphony No. 5 in e minor by Tchaikovsky.

Saturday, November 17, 2018, 8:00 PM: UW Concert Choir, with conductor Beverly Taylor and graduate conductor Michael Johnson. On the program: Hymn to St. Cecilia (Benjamin Britten); The Lamentations of Jeremiah (Alberto Ginastera); and more.

Check back for livestreaming details. Watch earlier videos on our YouTube channel.

If you thought you had problems, try living in 1st century Rome

That’s the conclusion of Thomas Aláan, who shares the role of Nero in University Opera’s upcoming performance of The Coronation of Poppea, written by Claudio Monteverdi. The show is loosely based on the historical marriage of the brutal Roman emperor Nero to the manipulative Poppea, the banishment of his wife Ottavia, the forced suicide of Seneca, and the attempted murder of Nero by Poppea’s former lover, Ottone and his new partner in crime, Drusilla. Ouch.

Bust of Nero at the Capitoline Museum, Rome.

Both Thomas and Benjamin Hopkins, his alter-Nero, wrote a few words about the opera and the painstaking work that goes into their roles. Says Thomas: “Learning the music is like the kitchen prep before you actually start cooking the meal. First, I pull out my cutting boards (I print the music) and I break out my cookbook (translate the text from Italian to English). Then, I cut up all the vegetables and other ingredients (I break down the music into its basic components — rhythms, notes, and language — and practice those individually and in combination). Finally, I try to familiarize myself with the cooking instructions so I can start cooking (I memorize all the music).”  Read the full interview here.

Benjamin Hopkins
Thomas Aláan

Artemisia to receive five performances in 2019-2020

Faculty composer Laura Elise Schwendinger‘s opera Artemisia, about the life of the great baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, will receive five performances this year, three in New York and two in San Francisco. The opera tackles Gentileschi’s struggles and triumphs as she battles inequality and reveals hidden stories.

The first of these performances will occur Nov. 3, 2018 at Symphony Space, Thalia Theater in New York City, by the Center for Contemporary Opera, with an all-star cast featuring Augusta Caso, mezzo soprano, as Artemisia Gentileschi.

Then in March, the award-winning Trinity Wall Street Novus will present a partly staged production of Artemisia. Trinity’s Time’s Arrow Festival, taking place this season from March 5-9, 2019, is conceived as a unique combination of Baroque and contemporary works united by a common theme. The performances by Trinity Wall Street were featured in the New York Times Fall Preview.

In June, the award-winning Left Coast Ensemble will present the fully staged chamber music version of Artemisia. They will focus on the art and milieu of Gentileschi as well as Depression era photographer Dorothea Lange, in two chamber operas with projected images that come to life.
More at

Johannes Wallmann releases new quintet album, Day and Night

In November 2018, Mead Witter faculty pianist-composer Johannes Wallmann will release a new quintet album, Day and Night, on Shifting Paradigm Records. Grammy-award winning trumpeter Brian Lynch, saxophonist Dayna Stephens, bassist Matt Pavolka, and rising star drummer Colin Stranahan join Wallmann for a collection of original compositions and re-imagined jazz standards. The CD may be pre-ordered now.

With this quintet, Wallmann revisits musical connections established over more than two decades in the jazz world. Day and Night is Wallmann’s eighth album as a leader, but the first to focus as extensively on his interpretations of the standard jazz repertoire. Wallmann has previously recorded seven critically acclaimed albums as a leader, including The Johannes Wallmann Quartet (1997), Alphabeticity (2003), Minor Prophets (2007), The Coasts (2010) and Always Something (2015). His 2015 quintet album, The Town Musicians, was named an Editors’ Pick by DownBeat Magazine.

Read these and other stories on our Faculty News Page

Veteran jazz pianist and UW alumnus Ben Sidran donates personal archives to Mills Music Library

Talk about a sweet sound. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries are excited to announce the recent acquisition of Ben Sidran’s extensive personal archives. The nearly 100 boxes of materials include everything from personal and professional correspondence, music manuscripts and drafts of song lyrics, master tapes, unedited radio interviews, and photographs and posters. Sidran is a 1967 UW-Madison alumnus and longtime city resident.

“We are delighted to welcome Ben Sidran’s collection into the UW-Madison Libraries,” said Jeanette Casey, director of Mills Music Library. “This a fabulous addition to the Wisconsin Music Archive. Ben’s materials also open an amazing door of potential when it comes to research and performance studies. His success and dedication to music bring entertainment and educational power.” –
UW-Madison Libraries

Last but not least: The Mead Witter School of Music Board of Advisors met last week and received a tour of the Hamel Music Center. Front row, L-R: JoAnne Krause, Martha Casey, Jun Lee, Sandy Lee, Chun Lin, Pamela Hamel, and Diane Ballweg. Back row, L-R: Director Susan C. Cook, Kathy Harker, Linda Graebner, Bob Graebner, Peter Lundberg, and Assistant Director Benjamin Schultz-Burkel. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

Selected upcoming concerts:

UW Concert Band – Fall Concert
TONIGHT! October 24 @ 7:30 pm. Scott Teeple, Carrie Backman, Ross Wolf, and O’Shae Best, conductors.

ADDING A BEAT TO BRASS: Wisconsin Brass Quintet with Anthony DiSanza, professor of percussion
Thursday, October 25 @ 7:30 pm – $7 – $17. Click here to purchase tickets. Free to music majors, staff and faculty.

Guest Artist Residency and Recital: Clive Greensmith, cello
Friday, October 26, 3 – 6 PM: Cello and chamber music master class. Morphy Hall.
Saturday, Oct. 27, 2:30 – 4:30 PM: Presentation for strings: “The artistic use of vibrato,” Mills Hall.
Sunday, Oct. 28, 7:30 PM: Concert with Clive Greensmith and Christopher Taylor, piano; Uri Vardi, cello; and the UW-Madison Cello Choir.

Pro Arte Quartet
Saturday, October 27 @ 8:00 pm.

UW Wind Ensemble
Sunday, October 28 @ 2:00 pm. Scott Teeple, Cole Hairston, and O’Shae Best, conductors.

Our Full Concert 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. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to the School of Music.

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

Student Focus; Leckrone Legacy; Brass Quintet adds percussion, Opera returns to 17th century

October 9, 2018

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music

University of Wisconsin-Madison
455 North Park Street, Madison Wisconsin 53706

Student Focus: O’Shae Best, Graduate Assistant Conductor

O’Shae Best

O’Shae Best hails from Laurinburg, North Carolina, and entered UW-Madison as a master’s student in the fall of 2017 to study wind conducting with Professor Scott Teeple. We asked him a few questions about his background and plans.

“I attended East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina and obtained a bachelor’s degree in music education with K-12 licensure. I spent three years teaching middle school band. Currently, I am studying wind conducting with Professor Scott Teeple as well as orchestral conducting with Dr. Chad Hutchinson, trombone with Professor Mark Hetzler and euphonium with Dr. Tom Curry.”
What drew you to this area of study? And why UW-Madison?
“The ability to connect with students and work collaboratively to express music.  And, there are opportunities presented through the Mead Witter School of Music that most other graduate programs couldn’t offer. Especially with such a world class mentor as Professor Teeple.”

“Being in Madison has increased my enjoyment of nature and being outside. I love the summers here!”

Community, dedication, music: Retiring UW Band director Michael Leckrone’s legacy lives on

After 50 years as the UW band director, Leckrone looks back on the defining moments of his music career
By Angela Peterson, Badger Herald

He incorporated rock’n roll into the classics, so the band would appeal to all generations. He shortened “On Wisconsin” so it could follow every touchdown. He finally got to the Rose Bowl after 25 years at UW. He was married for 62 years. Who are we talking about? Who else, but Mike LeckroneRead full story here.

Left: The combined UW-Madison and Nebraska marching bands, Camp Randall Stadium, October 6, 2018. It was the first time in 20 years that an entire visiting band has attended a game in Camp Randall. Photographs by Gary Smith.

Alumni News — Erin Murphy

Erin Kendall Murphy (DMA flute performance, music theory minor ’13) was recently appointed as assistant professor of flute at Oklahoma State University. In addition, she performs frequently across the country with her chamber music ensembles Lakeshore Rush and the Analogue Duo. Erin studied with now-retired Professor of Flute Stephanie Jutt and Conductor James Smith and with theory and composition Professors Lee Blasius, Brian Hyer, and Laura Schwendinger. Earlier, she studied flute with Walfrid Kujala at Northwestern University, Trevor Wye in England, and Lorna McGhee and Amy Porter at the University of Michigan.
More information:

We would like to hear from more alumni! Please send stories to the newsletter editor.

Teryl Dobbs appointed to College Music Society board

We congratulate Professor Teryl Dobbs, recently appointed to the board of the College Music Society as the national rep for music education. The College Music Society promotes music teaching and learning, musical creativity and expression, research and dialogue, and diversity and interdisciplinary interaction. A consortium of college, conservatory, university, and independent musicians and scholars interested in all disciplines of music, the Society provides leadership and serves as an agent of change by addressing concerns facing music in higher education.

Adding a Beat to Brass: Added percussion opens new vistas for Wisconsin Brass Quintet

Adding percussion allows a brass quintet to diversify its music both culturally and musically, says Daniel Grabois, horn professor at the School of Music. Grabois came to UW-Madison from the Meridian Arts Ensemble in New York City, and continues to perform with them. “Meridian’s idea was to continue to branch out into different styles: not just early music and contemporary music, but jazz, rock, various ethnic styles, and often new amalgams of all of these,” he says. “In this case, the percussionist becomes not an add-on but an actual sixth member of the group. Meridian has created a vast repertoire of music for quintet and percussion. Now, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet will start to experiment with these new styles of music.”

Concert: Thursday, October 25, 7:30 PM, Mills Hall. Tickets: $7/$17, music majors/music faculty & staff admitted free. Buy online here; also sold at the door.

Below: The Gaudete Brass Quintet plays Michael Tilson Thomas’s “Street Song.” The WBQ has added percussion to provide an extra dimension of sound.

Read a background Q&A on the history of the WBQ and the reasons to add percussion.

University Opera announces fall production, “The Coronation of Poppea”

This fall, University Opera immerses itself in the seventeenth century, presenting three performances of Claudio Monteverdi’s masterpiece, The Coronation of Poppea, written in 1643.  November 16 at 7:30 PM, November 18 at 2:00 PM, and November 20 at 7:30 PM.  David Ronis, director of University Opera, will direct, and Chad Hutchinson, interim director of orchestras, will conduct.  Musical preparation will be by UW-Madison vocal coach Daniel Fung.  Guest artist Christa Patton will lead the continuo and serve as Baroque style coach for the production.

Read full news release.
Buy tickets.

Pro Arte Quartet earns praise

“The Pro Arte Quartet opened its season with a superb concert at Mills Hall that included works from three different centuries, showing the ways composers have stretched and extended the quartet form.”

Hire a student musician

Need a musician or two or three for your party, or a wedding, or perhaps a teacher for your child or school? The Mead Witter School of Music provides a “gigs blog” where you can list your request. Our student musicians are more than happy to help!

Faculty Ronis and Hutchinson earns awards from The American Prize

Chad Hutchinson, interim director of orchestras, assistant professor of conducting and conductor of University Opera, won three awards from The American Prize.
First Place: The American Prize in Opera Conducting for 2017-2018, for “Suor Angelica,” by Puccini. University of Minnesota Opera Theatre.
Second Place: The American Prize in Orchestral Conducting for 2017-2018, for University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra.
Third Place: The American Prize/Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming for 2017-2018, South Dakota Symphony Youth Orchestras.
David Ronis, director of University Opera, won second place in The American Prize in Directing, the Charles Nelson Reilly Prize.

Awards were announced over the summer.

Selected upcoming concerts:

UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra
Friday, October 12 @ 8:00 pm, Mills Hall – Free
With Conductor Chad Hutchinson and Graduate Conductor Ji Hyun Yim.
Overture to ‘The School for Scandal’- Samuel Barber (1931)
Symphony No. 1-‘Afro American’- William Grant Still (1930)
Symphonic Suite from ‘On the Waterfront’- Leonard Bernstein (1954)

Wisconsin Science Festival: EARS (the Electro-Acoustic Research Space) Open House
Saturday, October 13 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. 2401 Humanities. – Free

Faculty Recital: Parry Karp, cello
Saturday, October 13 @ 8:00 pm Mills Hall – Free
Featuring Parry Karp, violoncello; Frances Karp, piano; Thomas Kasdorf, piano.
Granville Bantock, Hamabdi (Hebrew Melody) for Cello and Piano (1919)
Jesse Benjamin Jones, Phantasma for Solo Cello (2006)
Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonata in A Major for Piano and Violin, Op. 30 No. 1 (1801-2)
transcribed for piano and cello by Parry Karp
William Walton, Cello Concerto (1956)

University Bands
Sunday, October 14 @ 2:00 pm, Mills Hall – – Free
With Darin Olson, O’Shae Best and Cole Hairston, conductors. Click here for full program:

Our Full Concert 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. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to the School of Music.

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