Category Archives: Alumni Accomplishments

A musical thank-you to the Mead Witter Foundation; Shain Woodwind-Piano Duo Winners Announced; New Music Premieres & Papers at Musicology Consortium: “Jewish Archive” Project Continues Worldwide

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music
University of Wisconsin-Madison
March 8, 2017

Faculty Ensembles combine with Lincoln High students for a memorable concert

On February 9, two School of Music faculty ensembles – the Wisconsin Brass Quintet and the Wingra Wind Quintet – traveled to Wisconsin Rapids, the home of the Mead Witter Foundation, for a special concert to thank them for their support of the school of music. The two ensembles, plus the Wind Ensemble from Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, performed a side-by-side concert at the Performing Arts Center of Wisconsin Rapids after the students were coached by ensemble faculty and UW-Madison conductor Scott Teeple.

Afterwards, music engagement and outreach coordinator Beth Larson received this note from Jeanne Olson, director of bands at Lincoln High School: “Thank you so much for all of the time you spent organizing that event, my students loved it and learned so much! I had them write a reflection this week, and they were very positive and many listed countless things that they learned from the professors sitting in with them and then working with the small groups!! It was a very successful event!”
Photographs by Beth Larson.

Irving Shain Woodwind-Piano Duo Competition Winners to perform this Saturday

Irving Shain, former chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Photograph by Jeff Miller, university communications.

March 11, 4 PM, Morphy Hall.

This years’ duo winners are Rayna Slavova, piano with Chia-Yu Hsu, bassoon; and Kangwoo Jin, piano, with Eleni Katz, bassoon. The four will perform their winning selections at a free concert this Saturday.  Learn about the winning musicians and download the program.

Meet Yasha Hoffman, Russian Studies and composition double major

Yasha Hoffman.

Yasha Hoffman, a Minnesota native, grew up with parents of Soviet/Russian heritage and as a young child, fell in love with Russian folk songs. “One of my favorite activities was putting on ‘concerts’ for my parents where I’d loudly sing Soviet children’s songs and bang on the piano,” he says. He loves the breadth of opportunity offered by classes at UW-Madison. Read more about Yasha Hoffman.

“Performing the Jewish Archive” project continues worldwide

UW-Madison professor Teri Dobbs in Israel, Jordan, Michigan, and Vienna (upcoming)

This past January, Professor Teri Dobbs, a member of the Performing the Jewish Archive team, spent two weeks in Israel and Jordan. During her time there, she was a guest at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, together with colleagues from UW-Madison’s Mosse-Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies. In addition, she conducted research in the Yad Vashem Archives, met with musicology/music education colleagues to discuss the possibility of future projects within Israel, and met with the family of piano prodigy and composer, Josima Feldschuh (d. 1943).

Teri Dobbs
Professor Teryl Dobbs. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

Professor Dobbs will present several conference papers this coming semester, most of which pertain to her work with Performing the Jewish Archive. Her paper, “Music Education and the Holocaust: So What?” was heard at the New Directions in Music Education Conference: “Musicking Equity: Enacting Social Justice Through Music Education,” Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, February 17. Dobbs has been invited to present more two papers, one in collaboration with soprano and PtJA performer Elizabeth Hagedorn of Vienna, at the 25th European Association for Music in Schools/6th European International Society for Music Education regional conference, JOINT (AD)VENTURE MUSIC: Network as a Challenge for Music Educators, at the University Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria, April 18 – 22, 2017.
Learn more here.

Read about prior Performing the Jewish Archive events in Madison, 2015-2016.


Selected Upcoming Events

Anthony Georgeson. Photograph by Thomas Bruce.

March 12, 7:30 PM, Mills Hall.
UW Symphony with alumnus Anthony Georgeson, bassoon, conducted by James Smith. Georgeson is principal bassoon with The Florida Orchestra in St. Petersburg. Georgeson will play the Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, K. 191.  Other works will include Un Sourire pour Orchestre by Olivier Messiaen and Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.  This is the penultimate opportunity to see longtime conductor James Smith, who will retire this spring after 34 years at UW-Madison. His final appearance as conductor will be on April 9. 

James Smith, orchestra conductor.
James Smith, orchestra conductor.

March 14, 6:30 PM, Morphy Hall.
Emery Stephens, baritone, guest artist recital. Free concert.
Stephens is assistant professor of voice at Wayne State University in Detroit. Prof. Stephens will coach student singers and pianists in African-American songs and spirituals and perform with students in a recital, with Professor Martha Fischer as collaborative pianist.

Emery Stephens

The Midwest Graduate Music Consortium – Presenting Original Research and New Compositions

Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1, Memorial Union and Mead Witter School of Music. Free events.

The Midwest Graduate Music Consortium (MGMC) is a joint venture organized by graduate students from Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. MGMC encourages the presentation of original research and the composition of new music by graduate students around the country. The 21st annual meeting will include paper sessions, a new music concert, and a keynote address. For the new music concert, seven composers’ works were chosen from a nationwide call for scores. The ensemble Sound Out Loud will perform the new works, each a world premiere. All of the composers will be in attendance.
Find the schedule and concert program at this link:
Midwest Graduate Music Consortium

Sound Out Loud

University Opera’s “Turn of the Screw” receives warm reviews

Katie Anderson (Governess) and Anna Polum (Miss Jessel) in ”The Turn of the Screw.” Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

“Much of the overall success of the show begins with decisions by Ronis (and executed by costume designers Sydney Krieger and Hyewon Park) to resist all temptation to make the specters of Quint (former valet of Bly’s master, who is far removed from the action of the story) and former governess Miss Jessel in any way ghoulish. Alec Brown and Anna Polum, in the roles on Friday night, looked fully human—and that’s just fine. The otherworldliness—and palpable evil—that they exude is in the music and the libretto itself,” wrote Greg Hettsmanberger in his blog, What Greg Says.

Doctoral cellist Andrew Briggs performs with Middleton Community Orchestra

At the March 1 concert of the Middleton Community Orchestra, cellist Andrew Briggs played two works by Antonin Dvorak: Silent Woods, Op. 68, No. 5,and Rondo in G minor for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 94. “Briggs played both of these with affectionate sensitivity. Currently finishing his doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, he is an artist with an already expanding reputation and a great future,” wrote reviewer John Barker.

Andrew Briggs

On Monday, March 27, Andrew will perform a lecture/recital on his dissertation project, “Piatti and the Body: An Integrative Approach to Learning and Performing the 12 Caprices, Op. 25.”

Morphy Hall, 6:30 PM. Free.


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.


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.

Two More Opera Awards; Jazz Program Highlighted; Student Spotlight; Opportunities for Community Members

Happy New Year from the Mead Witter School of Music! And welcome to the first issue of A Tempo! for 2017

Two More Awards for UW-Madison University Opera

University Opera scores again with national recognition

Awards for two shows in 2015-2016

UW-Madison’s University Opera is on a roll. Both shows from last year, Transformations and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, have won awards in the National Opera Association’s (NOA) Opera Production Competition for 2015-2016. It is the second year in a row that UW-Madison has garnered an award from NOA, and the first time that each production was separately recognized. University Opera produces only two operas each year.

William Ottow and Rebecca Buechel in Transformations. Image by Michael R. Anderson.
William Ottow and Rebecca Buechel in Transformations. Image by Michael R. Anderson.

October 2015’s Le nozze di Figaro, with orchestra conducted by James Smith, placed second in Division IV, and March 2016’s Transformations, conducted by graduate assistant conductor Kyle Knox, garnered a first place award in Division III.

Both productions were directed by David Ronis, inaugural Karen K. Bishop Director of Opera, who is now a six-time winner of the competition. His previous awards occurred while he worked at Queens College in New York.

Read the full news release.

UW-Madison Jazz Program highlighted- twice!

In December, Madison’s weekly newspaper Isthmus devoted a cover story to our burgeoning jazz program and its director, Johannes Wallmann

“By bringing more jazz to the university and beyond, Wallmann hopes to promote the notion that jazz isn’t just about the past, with its storied history and legendary names. It’s now also about highly trained musicians pushing the boundaries of the genre,” wrote author Jane Burns in her story, “Making a Scene.”

“ ‘Look up any end-of-the-year Top 10 list on NPR, Downbeat or The New York Times, and listen to what this generation of 20- and 30-somethings are up to, it’ll blow your mind,’ ” Wallmann says. “ ‘We want to prepare our students to be part of that.’ ”

…meanwhile, Wisconsin Public TV spotlights the jazz program as part of its “Young Performers” Initiative

For over a year, a dedicated crew from WPT – including alumna Megan Aley, who served as a producer – filmed Wallmann and his staff as they shepherded high school students through auditions for the UW High School Honors Jazz Band. The videos are intended to help aspiring musicians prepare for professional careers and college auditions.

New videos from Making Jazz web series will be released each Monday through Feb. 6. Learn more about the Young Performers Initiative and sign up for weekly releases of the jazz videos.

Meet our students: Juliana Mesa-Jaramillo, bassoonist

Juliana Mesa-Jaramillo came from the country of Colombia to study bassoon performance with Marc Vallon, professor of bassoon.  We asked her how she became involved in music, with the bassoon, and why she chose Wisconsin.

Juliana Mesa-Jaramillo
Juliana Mesa-Jaramillo

“I did my undergrad in music performance in the University El Bosque in Bogotá. I studied with Leonardo Guevara, the principal bassoonist of the National Symphony Orchestra. I learned very much while at school and I was able to play with many chamber ensembles when I was still in school. My first job as a bassoonist was in the Symphonic Band of Cundinamarca, and I worked there for a year during my last year of school. It was challenging, but I learned very much from this experience.

“In 2010, I received a master’s in bassoon performance with Saxton Rose at the University of North Carolina-School of the Arts. As I started to look into going back to school, I talked him, and he recommended that I applied to study with Marc Vallon at UW-Madison. I think it is one of the best decisions I have made in my life!”

Read Juliana’s story here, and click the arrow to learn about more of our students.

Two Community Opportunities – Deadlines Included

Sing with Choral Union this spring! Drop-in auditions will be held on January 18 for community members interested in singing a rare work: Paul Hindemith’s When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d. A rarely done work because of its difficulty, this is an outstanding setting of Walt Whitman’s poem written about the death of Abraham Lincoln, and the train that carried his body to Springfield, Illinois.  The work was commissioned by Robert Shaw in memory of Franklin Roosevelt, whose funeral train carried his dead body from Georgia back to Washington.  The work is in memory of “those we loved.”  Two concerts, April 29 & 30. Learn more here. 

Inviting high school pianists to take part in Pathways to Artistry: From the Practice Room to the Stage. A free, day-long event featuring workshops, masterclasses and performances hosted by UW-Madison’s keyboard faculty. High school pianists are encouraged to participate in the master classes and an honors recital.  More information and registration is at the link below. The deadline to register is January 31.

http://www.music.wisc.edu/event/pathways-to-artistry-uw-madison-keyboard-day/

pathways-to-artistry-graphic

Two Concerts – Seats Available

Sunday, January 22, 4 PM, Mills Hall

Sonatas for Violin and Piano

Violinist Soh-Hyun Altino and pianist Christopher Taylor, both faculty artists, perform the Sonata for Violin and Piano by John Corigliano (1963) and the Sonata in A Major by Gabriel Fauré (1875-76). Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for non-UW music students.  Learn more here.

Sunday, January 29, 3 PM, Mills Hall

Our Annual Schubertiade: “Circle of Friends”

This year’s Schubertiade with pianists Martha Fischer and Bill Lutes will feature acclaimed alumna soprano Emily Birsan.  The concert will be followed by a reception (included in the ticket cost) at the University Club. Tickets are $15 per adult and $5 for non-UW music students. The concert is sponsored by Madison resident Ann Boyer, an admirer of Franz Schubert’s music and the musical talents of Fischer and Lutes. Learn more here.

Emily Birsan
Emily Birsan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alumni News

We want to hear from you- please click the link to read about our graduates and send your news!

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.


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.

38th Karp Family Concert; Music Hall shines with new paint; Brass Fest 3 opens up to area high schools

Scroll down to read about our 38th Karp Family Concert, Brass Fest 3 including audio of the Stockholm Chamber Brass, new pages on our website, and alumni news!
For a full calendar of events, see
http://www.music.wisc.edu/events/
August 30, 2016
Welcome to the beginning of a new year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music, and our first issue of A Tempo!
painters
Over the summer, the interior of Music Hall was spruced up with fresh paint. What a welcome improvement! The hall is used by University Opera as well as percussion and jazz groups. Many thanks to UW-Madison painters!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what happened over the summer:

  • Music Hall, the home of University Opera and many percussion and jazz concerts, was repainted. It looks terrific.
  • Our school was renamed, thanks to the Mead Witter Foundation of Wisconsin Rapids, who contributed $25 million to the new concert hall.
  • We remodeled the display cases in Mills Hall lobby. They now  contain stunning images of our students, taken by photographers Michael R. Anderson and Bryce Richter.

We bade farewell to faculty members Richard Davis, Stephen Dembski, and Janet Jensen. And we added faculty. Please help us welcome Leo Altino, classical bass instructor; Nick Moran, jazz bass instructor; Louka Patenaude, jazz guitar instructor; Eric Siereveld, jazz trumpet instructor; Aaron Hill, oboe;  Amy McCann, clarinet; Gino Deluca, Wisconsin Singers artistic director; Daniel Fung, vocal coach; Jeanette Thompson, voice; and Matthew Richardson, musicology. Learn about them on our faculty page.

On tap for early fall….

The 38th Annual Karp Family Labor Day concert Monday, Sept. 5, 7:30 PM, Mills Hall.  This annual treat will feature a tribute to the late UW-Madison pianist Howard Karp, commissioned from composer Joel Hoffman by Howard’s son, Christopher. Free concert.

Brass Fest3 Poster2016_HO

BRASS FEST III with Stockholm Chamber Brass, making their first United States tour. One of Europe’s greatest quintets, SCB will perform a solo concert on Friday, Sept. 30 and will be joined on Saturday, Oct. 1 by the Wisconsin Brass Quintet and selected college and area high school students in a “Festival Brass Concert.”  Both concerts will begin at 8 PM and are ticketed. Our third BRASS FEST will also feature displays from Wisconsin vendors of musical instruments and sheet music , T-shirts featuring our brand new logo, and a reception!

Concert, Fri,  Sept. 30, 8 PM, Mills Hall: The Stockholm Chamber Brass. Ticketed: $20 adults; $5 students & children.    Buy tickets here.

Concert Sat, Oct. 1, 8 PM, Mills Hall: Festival Concert with the Stockholm Chamber Brass, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet and college/high school students. Meet the musicians at a free reception following the concert. Ticketed: $15 adults; $5 students & children. Buy tickets here.

Hear Stockholm Chamber Brass perform one of the works to be played on September 30: Malcolm Arnold’s “Brass Quintet”:

Introducing our “Meet the Students” webpage

Here’s where newcomers to the School of Music can learn about the varied and fascinating people who call themselves students in our school. It’s not a page for awards (find that here) nor a page for graduates (that is here) but a place where ongoing students describe who they are and why they have chosen to study music. Let them tell us in their own words!

SRichardson_soprano.jpg
On Sept. 25, doctoral candidate Sarah Richardson will premiere a song cycle of letters from Nellie Kedzie Jones, a Wisconsin farm woman. Click the image to learn more.

Bookmark it! http://www.music.wisc.edu/student-profiles/


Alumni News: 

William Rhoads, Kimberly Dunn Adams, Merrin Guice, Christina Kay, Paul Bhasin, Matthew Mireles, Claire Hellweg.

 

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.

Courtyard Concerts Caught on Video, Commencement News, “Jewish Archive” review, Community Music Lessons spring recital

News and Events from the School of Music – May 4, 2016. Next issue: stories about our students!

Commencement Countdown

Please join us for Commencement 2016 on Friday, May 13, 2:30-4:30 PM at Music Hall! We’ll hold our commencement, awards and hooding ceremony for all degree recipients: bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral. Guests will include Susan Zaeske, Associate Academic Dean of the Arts and Humanities; alumna Dr. Yi-Lan Niu, DMA, voice professor at St. Norbert College in De Pere; and retiring associate director, Professor Janet Jensen, who will serve as master of ceremonies. We’ll feature live music from our students and a reception. New this year: Empire Photography will be on hand taking personal photographs of every graduate.

2015 commencement photographs by Michael R. Anderson.

General UW-Madison Commencement Information: https://commencement.wisc.edu/


Courtyard Concerts: Always a delight to passersby

Despite much-too-chilly weather, Sound Out Loud, a student-led contemporary music ensemble, played its inaugural concert on April 29, performing Steve Reich’s monumental “Music For 18 Musicians.” As of May 4, our post on Facebook had reached 2,240 viewers!

The UW Concert Band (Spring) with Mike Leckrone
Last year’s courtyard UW Concert Band performance was rained out, but this year’s was disrupted only by a few blowing sheets of music! Way to go, Band!


“Performing the Jewish Archive” concert earns respect from audience, reviewer

Madison Magazine’s “Classically Speaking” blogger Greg Hettsmanberger attended Monday’s concert of “Performing the Jewish Archive” at the First Unitarian Society, and writes: “An audience of significant size and extraordinary concentration experienced more than a concert. For as we absorbed—or in some cases were battered by, enraptured or flat-out awed—by the music of Schoenberg (as arranged by Webern), Korngold and Bloch, an overarching thought occurred to me: In focused festival events such as these, particularly in the context of artists who paid the price of exile or with their own lives, audience members come with heightened expectations. And the players come with an even sharper sense of purpose, layered onto, as it were, their own creative passion; when the synergy begins to work in the concert venue, the result transcends far beyond the usual ‘I liked that piece’ or ‘They sure played that one well.'”
Read the entire review: Madison Magazine “Classically Speaking” PJA Review
There’s two more days of events. Learn more here: http://www.music.wisc.edu/performing-the-jewish-archive-may-2016-events/


Youth musicians on stage at Community Music Lessons recital

CML ended its year with a joyous recital! We thank all our participants, our teachers, and coordinator Samantha Sinai for making this happen. Registration for summer classes starts at the end of May. Learn more here: http://www.music.wisc.edu/cml/

Community Music Lessons Recital, Spring 2016. Pictured (from left to right): Yunkyung Hong with piano student Shabnam Qader, violinist Bobby Henkelmann with teacher Isidora Miranda, violinist Andrew Ochoa with teacher Keisuke Yamamoto. Picture taken by Mr. Henkelmann.
Community Music Lessons Recital, Spring 2016. Pictured (from left to right): Yunkyung Hong with piano student Shabnam Qader, violinist Bobby Henkelmann with teacher Isidora Miranda, violinist Andrew Ochoa with teacher Keisuke Yamamoto. Picture taken by Mr. Henkelmann.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faculty News: Marc Vallon

Student News: Hayden Victor

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.

Perlman Trio holds annual concert; Recital showcases teaching talent and their youthful students

News and Events from the UW-Madison School of Music – March 30, 2016

Happy Spring from the School of Music! In this newsletter:

–The Perlman Trio’s annual performance
–UW Masters Singers add State Capitol concert
–Three student recitals illustrate breadth of school; many more scheduled this month
–Community Music Lessons Spring Recital showcases youthful students and their college teachers
–Fresco Opera’s Clara features alumni
–Pro Arte, Wingra Wind Quintet, UW Symphony, and UW Varsity Band in concert
–University Opera’s Transformations earns critical praise

For a complete listing of events, please click to see our April calendar.

Perlman Piano trio to perform April 9
The Perlman Piano Trio. L-R: Adam Dorn, violin; SeungWha Baek, piano; Micah Cheng, cello.
The Perlman Piano Trio. L-R: Adam Dorn, violin; SeungWha Baek, piano; Micah Cheng, cello.

The Perlman Piano Trio, a student ensemble funded by donor Kato Perlman, holds its only concert of the academic year on Saturday, April 9, 3:30 PM, in Morphy Hall. The trio consists of Adam Dorn, violin; SeungWha Baek, piano; Micah Cheng, cello. On the program is the Mozart Piano Trio in E major, K. 542; the Schumann Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op.44; and the Brahms Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 101. For the quintet, the trio will be joined by Keisuke Yamamoto on the violin and Luke Carmichael Valmadrid on the viola.

“It’s my first piano trio,” says violinist Adam Dorn, a Minneapolis native. “It’s very high caliber playing, very different from anything I’ve ever done. And being given a scholarship to do something that you love is amazing.” The trio is  coached by Martha Fischer, professor of collaborative piano, and Parry Karp, cellist of the Pro Arte Quartet.
A reception will follow the concert. To learn more about the backgrounds of our musicians, download this PDF of the program.
Perlman Piano Trio program

Catch Masters Singers at the State Capitol!

rotunda

This just in from graduate student and co-conductor Christopher Boveroux: The UW Masters Singers will entertain passersby in the State Capitol rotunda, Friday, April 8, 4:30 PM.  They’ll sing all a cappella in preparation for their spring concert on May 2.  

Recitals offer a peek into the world of our college musicians

April is jammed with college recitals of all sorts, many not even held in our halls. We encourage the community to hear our young musicians as they hone their skills for future careers in performance and education! A few examples:
–A graduate brass trio with Matt Onstad, trumpeter (also a member of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet); Melvin Cortez Jackson, a hornist, and Brett Keating, on the euphonium. They’ll play music of Poulenc, Beethoven, Hovhaness, and David Sampson’s “Duncan Trio.” Wednesday, April 6, 6:30 PM in Morphy Hall.
–Third year undergrad pianist Emili Earhart, a student of Christopher Taylor’s, will perform the Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano, by John Cage. Sunday, April 10, 5:00 PM, Morphy Hall.
–Soprano Yanzelmalee Rivera, a graduate student of Elizabeth Hagedorn’s who hails from Puerto Rico, will sing works of Robert Schumann, Joseph Marx and Debussy, accompanied by graduate collaborative piano student ChanMi Jean. ChanMi Jean studies with Prof. Martha Fischer. Saturday, April 16, 6:30 PM, Morphy Hall.
Many more recitals may be found on our calendar: http://www.music.wisc.edu/events/2016-04/

April recital also showcases youth in the school’s Community Music Lessons program

From Samantha Sinai, Community Music Lessons Coordinator
The UW-Madison School of Music is pleased to announce an upcoming recital on Sunday, April 17th from 11:00-12:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall. This is not your typical School of Music recital, as our students will not be the ones performing. Instead, they are excited for students of their own to perform.

A youthful student takes lessons with a School of Music student. (File photo)
A youthful student takes lessons with a School of Music student. (File photo)

The recital will feature students on a variety of instruments. For example, Ian, a 12-year-old guitar student of Erik Gibelyou, will perform a piece by Leo Brouwer. Bobby, a 10-year-old violin student of Isidora Miranda, will also perform. In the future, we hope to offer a recital at the end of each semester to allow students a chance to share with the community how they have grown musically throughout the semester. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the joy of music and the progress these students have made this semester.  And please join us for a reception after the performances!

The Community Music Lessons program (CML) at UW-Madison provides music lessons on most instruments, from piano to trombone. This spring, CML enrolled 98 students, twice as many as last spring, and employed 33 School of Music students as the instructors. CML is very excited to have so many students this year; we look forward to attracting even more in the fall.

Pro Arte Quartet, Wingra Wind Quintet, the UW Varsity Band and UW Symphony also on tap this month

The Wingra Wind Quintet offers an all-French program, Sunday, April 3 at 7:00 PM in Morphy Hall.

The Pro Arte Quartet performs music of Respighi and Korngold: Sunday, April 10, 4:00 PM, Mills Hall.

April 14, 15 and 16: Our own Varsity Band, conducted by Michael Leckrone, plays in the Kohl Center. Buy tickets here.

The UW Symphony Orchestra will play the Overture to Der Freischütz (Carl Maria von Weber); Wesendonck Lieder (Richard Wagner); and Symphony No. 6 (Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) with guest conductor Andreas Stohr. Friday, April 22, 8:00 PM, Mills Hall.

Clara, Fresco Opera’s spring show, features singers from the School of Music

Alumna Christina Kay (MM 2014) is only one of several graduates to perform in this weekend’s Fresco Opera show, Clara (April 1-3, Overture Center). Others include Melanie Cain (MM 2003, DMA 2005), artistic director and founder of Fresco Opera Theatre, owner of Maven Vocal Arts, and vice president of the Wisconsin chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing; Chelsie Propst (MM, voice 2012, DMA minor in voice 2013); and Meghan Hilker, a current master’s voice student.

Fresco_Clara

The production features the music of Clara and Robert Schumann and Brahms, and centers around their alleged love triangle. Writes Christina: “For those of you unfamiliar with Fresco, they do ‘opera’ in a unique way, often incorporating dialogue and mashing together music from various operas and composers. This is the first time they’ll be using non-operatic songs to create their own story, and it should be really beautiful. A great intro to the genre of “art song,” for those unfamiliar.”

“Transformations” earns praise from area reviewers

For those who had not heard, last month’s opera, Transformations, was well-received by Madison’s critical community. “[David] Ronis’s direction (he also serves as visiting director of the opera program) is richly inventive, with snippets of choreography throughout, including a conga line and a parody of the Supremes. The staging is delightful, using the full height of the set to frame and reframe action,” Isthmus’s Jay Rath writes. “This entire production would easily compare well to any professional opera company.”   Read story here: http://isthmus.com/arts/stage/university-opera-transformations/


Alumni News: Eli Kalman releases new CD
Faculty News: Violist Sally Chisholm named Germain Prévost Professor of Music

New on SoundCloud: “Luminosity,” by Anthony DiLorenzo, as performed by the Festival Brass Choir at last fall’s Brass Fest II. Stay tuned for news of a third Brass Festival in late September!

Next issue: News about our upcoming Jazz Festival, Choral Union, “Performing the Jewish Archive,” and a guest concert with the U.S. Air Force’s “Freedom Winds” woodwind/percussion quintet

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.

Kyle Knox: The Accidental Conductor

by Katherine Esposito

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. – James Baldwin

It was the path he’d chosen, the direction he’d pursued, and Kyle Knox had finally tasted triumph in 2005, when he won, at age 23, the position of assistant principal clarinet of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

It was a plum trophy in a sometimes punishing profession, realized only after a decade of studious toil in the practice room and on the orchestra stage.

Kyle Knox.
Kyle Knox. Photograph by Katherine Esposito.

The young man who’d once won Most Valuable Player in Raritan, New Jersey as a 12-year-old Little Leaguer had bent his competitive edge toward music, and he’d won something akin to MVP there, too. He studied with the great clarinetists – Ricardo Morales and Yehuda Gilad – went on to Juilliard and Tanglewood, and bested hundreds of rivals for the Milwaukee job.

Then, three years later, almost imperceptibly, one neuron at a time, it all started to unravel.

Today, Knox is best known in Madison as a promising young conductor, a graduate student at UW-Madison who recently made his Madison Opera debut in its production of Little Women. In 2014 and 2015, he conducted University Opera’s award-winning Albert Herring and also two concerts with the Middleton Community Orchestra. (He is also the husband of the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster, Naha Greenholtz.)

Kyle Knox with his wife, Naha Greenholtz, hiking in Santa Fe, 2009.
Kyle Knox with his wife, Naha Greenholtz, hiking in Santa Fe, 2009. Family photograph.

He has impressed many observers, including Madison Symphony Orchestra conductor John DeMain, who has watched Knox conduct several times, including Albert Herring, in which DeMain’s daughter Jennifer was cast. “[Kyle] worked uncompromisingly to achieve as close to perfection as possible,” says DeMain.

Until a few years ago, however, Kyle had never considered becoming a conductor leading an orchestra. He was exhilarated to be playing in one.

His emergence as a conductor has almost been an accident, one that may now be resolving in his favor. But he faced many bleak days before he got there.


 

It was almost imperceptible at first, just odd coordination problems with his right hand. It was the spring of 2009. “I remember I was playing principal on Peter and the Wolf, and there’s this one passage with fast 16th notes and C-major arpeggios, and I remember having a hard time with this particular passage, repeating 16th notes, a very specific sequence of finger motions, and thinking, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ It was very strange” Kyle says.

For that concert, he wound up transposing it into a different key, and playing on an A clarinet instead of the usual one. “I didn’t think anything of it at the time,” he continues. “I just thought, oh, for some reason, my pointer finger is a little slow.”

“But maybe a month later, I was playing E-flat clarinet on Shostakovich’s 6th Symphony, and there’s a huge E-flat solo in the beginning of the second movement, very fast, and it had a very similar sequence of fingerings in the middle of the solo, and I practiced it obsessively, and I recorded it at home, and drove my wife crazy. But no matter how much I practiced, I never felt comfortable with the fingerwork.”

Classical orchestral musicians, at the highest levels, achieve mastery through one main thing: practice. It is not enough to be talented and musical; one must constantly revisit passage after passage to precisely engrave notes in the mind. Largely due to this kind of preparation, Kyle had always been assured and confident while performing. But now he began to feel unmoored.

The symphony schedule was intense: much music, many solos, multiple performances. In concert after concert, the strange sensations recurred. At first, Kyle thought it was just a matter of working harder, to fix those notes even more firmly in his brain. “When something’s difficult, you want to feel secure on it. When I do these octaves, I know the distances, [so that] even if I miss the note, I know it was a fluke. It has to feel right in your head,” he says.

But it wasn’t feeling right anymore. He began to lose confidence in his playing. A rigorous orchestra schedule gave him little respite.

His fellow musicians and the symphony patrons did not detect anything awry. But Kyle felt it was getting worse.

After six months he consulted neurological specialists at the Cleveland Clinic and Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, who studied his movements as played his clarinet in their offices. They asked him questions and ruled out a few possibilities. Then they gave him a diagnosis: focal dystonia. He had never heard of it before.

His response was to practice even harder. He describes the chain of events that unfolded. “I started obsessively practicing, to make it feel right. In an effort to make it feel right, you start playing wrong, because you start compensating. You start doing strange things, which eventually start to show in your actual playing, and then you start hearing mistakes, which confirms your initial fear that there was something wrong. And then it becomes a feedback loop.”

For three years, Kyle continued to play with the MSO. He was managing, but the amount of music to learn and crush of performances — 150 per year — became overwhelming. “I just couldn’t rehab in a way that gave me confidence about playing in orchestra full time,” he says. “Wind players can’t hide. Everything you do is a solo, so you feel exposed. It was a really rough time.”

He remembers his final concert, in October 2010, Mozart’s Requiem with conductor Edo de Waart, on which he played the basset horn. “I hadn’t told anyone anything about what I was dealing with,” he says. “I remember thinking about the routines of orchestra life, how accustomed to the whole ritual I had become and reflecting on how some day soon I just wouldn’t be doing it anymore. It was heavy. After that Requiem performance I talked to the personnel manager and started my injury leave. That was it.”


 

Since the age 13, Kyle had known he wanted to work with music. He remembers hearing Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” on the radio, and watching a documentary about Leonard Bernstein and the music of Gustav Mahler. “I was mesmerized,” he says. “I was interested innately. I had to figure out a way to access it, and access came through the clarinet.”

Now, that access was cut short. He was adrift. He immediately dove into conducting after cobbling together a volunteer orchestra in Milwaukee, trying out conducting studies at Northwestern University, and ultimately attending graduate school at UW-Madison.

At the School of Music, he studies with orchestra conductor James Smith, an “accidental conductor” himself who also once played clarinet. “Jim is enormously accomplished,” Kyle says. “I’ve been very lucky to play some of America’s greatest orchestras in my career. I’ve played for a lot a famous conductors, and I can legitimately say that Jim is as good as anyone I’ve ever played for.”

Kyle Knox with the UW Symphony Orchestra, 2013.
Kyle Knox with the UW Symphony Orchestra, 2013.
Scott Gendel (MM & DMA, School of Music) and Kyle Knox, preparing Little Women. Gendel is coach & accompanist for the show. Photograph by Steffanie Berg.
Scott Gendel (MM & DMA, School of Music) and Kyle Knox, preparing Little Women. Gendel is coach & accompanist for the show. Photograph by Steffanie Berg.

Madison got to know Kyle three years later, after several notable turns as a promising young conductor. Early on, he caught the eye of John DeMain, who knew about Kyle’s focal dystonia, and who saw real promise, and wanted to give him a chance.

Telling Kyle’s story on paper makes it all sound so simple. One career ended, another one started. He did it the only way he knows, urgently, intently, almost desperately, uncomfortable with any lack of movement in his life. The truth, however, is that he really had very little control over what was happening. And that was the main thing he needed to accept.

“Being a clarinetist was a thing that defined me,” he says. “It was part of my sense of self, and you can’t underestimate that.” He knows better now. “The things that made me able to accomplish anything on the clarinet are intrinsic qualities. The clarinet doesn’t define me. I define myself.”

If he had to enter that valley once more, he’d hope to approach it differently. He’d take time to grieve, to try to discern underlying meaning, to try to figure out the nature of the problem. Rushing doesn’t help anyway, he says.

“Sometimes, in a effort to redefine yourself too quickly, you can slow your process down of ending up where you’re going to end up anyway,” he continues. “Maybe you’ve been pushing too hard, maybe you’re been working too hard. Your body is telling you things, and you need to use it as an opportunity to reflect.”

“You have to be sympathetic with yourself. I think that is hugely important. And to have as much an eye on the long term as possible-that life is long, that your career is long, that there are lots of things in the future that will happen that are potentially good. But you have to let them unfold.”

Ten years ago, he wouldn’t have listened to these words. It wasn’t who he was. But it is who he is now.

“It’s possible to have great aspirations, but also to be patient and to be sane. It is possible to be of both minds. And I think the most successful people are that way.”

Katherine Esposito is the publicist and concert manager at the UW-Madison School of Music

Spring Performances with Kyle Knox, Conductor

Madison Opera’s Little Women

February 5 & 7, 2016

http://www.madisonopera.org/

 

University Opera, Transformations

March 11, 13, 15, 2016

http://www.music.wisc.edu/opera/

 

Madison Savoyards, The Gondoliers

July & August, 2016

http://madisonsavoyards.org/

 

Middleton Players Theater, Sunday in the Park with George

June & July, 2016

http://www.middletonplayers.com/

 

Summer Music Clinic Honors Orchestra

June 26-July 1, 2016

http://continuingstudies.wisc.edu/smc/index.html

 


About Focal Dystonia

Kyle Knox is only one of many musicians who was diagnosed with focal dystonia, many of them very famous. Glenn Gould, the pianist, and Robert Schumann, the 19th century composer, both are now believed to have suffered from it. Pianist Leon Fleischer used only his left hand for several decades while searching for a solution. A New York Times story in 2012 sheds light on this little-understood and seldom discussed condition. Another Times story recounts the story of pianist Fleischer.

Here’s how Kyle Knox describes it:

“Focal dystonia is far too complicated for me to paraphrase easily. That said, I’ll try: Basically it is a neurological condition where the brain’s ability to rewire itself, called plasticity (normally a good thing as it enables the acquisition of new skills and information), becomes overactive. In the case of musicians, it becomes overactive in a very specific way that involves otherwise familiar gestures that have been long perfected through years of practice. To put it simply, music that was once effortless suddenly starts to ‘feel’ wrong. It doesn’t sound wrong to outside listeners, but the neurological experience of playing, for example, a certain finger combination, becomes distorted in the player’s mind. As my neurologist told me, ‘all initial symptoms of musician’s focal dystonia are imperceptible to the outside observer.'”

A link from the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation provides more information.

Please note: This story was simultaneously published on the website of the UW-Madison School of Music.

Hire a Musician!

Do you seek one or more musicians for your wedding, private party, corporate event, or church service? Our students routinely gig in the community and now there’s an updated place for you to advertise. See this website and send your request to the email listed. Note: All arrangements are made between the students and the employer.


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.