Category Archives: Brittany Sperberg

JACK Quartet Premieres Schwendinger Work; Perlman Piano Trio & Beethoven Winners in Performance; Jazz Showcase April 29

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.”

The JACK Quartet. Photo by Henrik Olund.

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!

Jamie Wozniak
Principal trumpeter with the UW Wind Ensemble, Jamie Wozniak, warmed up in the hotel just before taking the stage at Valparaiso High School in Indiana. “I am very excited to perform this evening and share our music with these outstanding high school students and the community,” he said. Photo by Steve Carmichael.

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!

Read an article in the Wisconsin State Journal about the 50th Anniversary concert.

A beaming James Latimer enjoys a post concert reception in the Mills Hall lobby.
A beaming James Latimer enjoys a post concert reception in the Mills Hall lobby.

 

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

RSVP now for this unique anniversary celebration featuring past and present members of the Wingra Woodwind Quintet!
Wingra Woodwind 50th Anniversary Invitation

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 news@music.wisc.edu.

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
The Perlman Trio + Two. L-R: Keisuke Yamamoto; Valerie Sanders; Daniel Ma; Jeremy Kienbaum; Seungwha Baek. Photo by Tori Rogers.

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.

The High School Honors Jazz Band, Spring 2013. Photo by Mike Anderson.
The High School Honors Jazz Band, Spring 2013. Photo by Mike Anderson.

 

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.

HELPFUL LINKS

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Percussion Ensemble Celebrates 50 Years; UW Rallies to Help Stricken Student; Opera to Stage Magic Flute; Photo Gallery

 UW-MADISON PERCUSSION PROGRAM CELEBRATES 50 YEARS WITH A MARCH 20 CONCERT AND TRIP TO CHINA

“Fifty years is not a long time in the world of classical music, but it’s a very long time in the world of formal percussion studies. In the 1960s and before, the very notion of teaching percussion beyond the basic orchestral instruments caused music educators to simply shake their heads in disbelief.” So what happened? Read the full story on our main website here.


The University of Wisconsin Madison World Percussion Ensemble performs the Olodum classic A Visa La (May 2013). The arrangement was created by Nininho and A. Di Sanza.

Concert: March 20, 8 PM Mills Hall. Tickets sold at the Memorial Union Box office and in Mills on day of show. Adults $10, all-age students free. http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/location.html

HEAR THE MUSIC OF BRITISH COMPOSER CECILIA McDOWALL AND MEET THE COMPOSER, TOO

Heard any new choral music lately? You’ll get your chance this week when Cecilia McDowall, winner of the 2014 British Composer Award for her choral work, Night Flight, comes to Madison.

Please note: On Wednesday the 18th at noon, McDowall will be featured live on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Midday show with host Norman Gilliland (88.7 FM). On Thursday on WORT Radio (89.9 FM), host Rich Samuels plans a half-hour special on McDowall that he pre-recorded with organizer John Aley. At 7:15 AM.

Cecilia McDowall
Cecilia McDowall

Thursday, noon, Mills Hall: Colloquium with the composer. How does she impart those whispery Antarctic sounds into her music? Come to ask and find out how!

Friday, 8 PM, Mills Hall: We’ll feast on McDowall’s choral and instrumental music for ensembles and soloists, including her work about the ill-fated expedition of polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott. Selected faculty and student performers will include pianist Christopher Taylor, tenor James Doing, the UW Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers, and mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Hagedorn.  Mike Duvernois of UW-Madison’s IceCube Antarctic research project will update us on the state of polar research today (hint: they don’t need sled dogs anymore). Tickets sold at the Memorial Union Box office and in Mills on day of show. Adults $20, all-age students free. http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/location.html

Saturday, 8 PM, Mills Hall: A concert devoted to smaller ensembles, including a trio with violinist Eleanor Bartsch, cellist Kyle Price, and pianist SeungWha Baek. They’ll perform “The Colour of Blossoms,” a meditation by McDowall after a 13th century Japanese story. Free concert. Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/cecilia-mcdowall/colour-of-blossoms

Sunday, 9:15 and 10:30 AM, Luther Memorial Church, 1021 University Avenue. Forum (9:15) and Church Service (10:30) featuring McDowall’s music, with the composer present.

WINNERS OF SHAIN WOODWIND-PIANO DUO COMPETITION ANNOUNCED

Our 2015 winners are Kai-Ju Ho, clarinet and SeungWha Baek, piano, and Iva Ugrcic, flute and Thomas Kasdorf, piano. Pedro Garcia, clarinet and Chan Mi Jean, piano, received honorable mention.

The competition is sponsored by former UW-Madison Chancellor Irving Shain. The winners will perform this Sunday, Feb. 22, at 3:30 PM in Morphy Hall. A reception will follow.

BENEFIT FOR STRICKEN TROMBONIST BRITTANY SPERBERG: MARCH 18


The Dairyland Jazz Band, with Sperberg on trombone, plays Ory’s Creole Trombone.

Undergraduate trombonist Brittany Sperberg, who performed in the UW’s Dairyland Jazz Band and many other ensembles, is now having serious medical problems and has withdrawn from school. Sperberg was featured in this blog in the fall of 2013.  Her teacher, trombonist Mark Hetzler, has organized a benefit concert on Wednesday, March 18, 7:30 PM to raise donations to assist her family with unmet expenses. Please join us to help wish Brittany a speedy recovery!  Donations may also be made at YouCaring.org. Learn much more at our website: http://www.music.wisc.edu/2015/02/07/sperberg_benefit/

STELLAR SINGING EXPECTED AT UNIVERSITY OPERA’S NEXT SHOW: MOZART’S THE MAGIC FLUTE
On Oct. 14, 2011, costume designers Sydney Krieger (right) and Hyewon Park (left) work on the fit of a costume worn by University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate Caitlin Miller (center) for the upcoming UW Opera performance of "La Boheme." Also pictured is undergraduate Katherine Peck (center left). (Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison)
In 2011, UW costume designers Sydney Krieger (right) and Hyewon Park (left) worked on a costume for La Boheme. Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison.

University costumers are already busy sewing Victorian bustle skirts and the classic South Asian attire known as the shalwar kameez for next month’s University Opera production of The Magic Flute.  It’s all a product of visiting opera director David Ronis‘s imagined East-west setting for the show. Read the complete news release on our website.

New this spring: four performances, not just three, allowing for even double casting of all lead roles. The show dates are Friday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 14, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 15, 3:00 p.m.; and Tuesday, March 17, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets sold at the Memorial Union Box office. Adults $22, seniors $18, $10 UW-Madison students. http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/location.html

PRICELESS MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPT NOW ACCESSIBLE AFTER A LAPSE OF 800 YEARS

For the first time in history, a formerly inaccessible manuscript of the medieval composer Guillaume de Machaut will become widely available for study, thanks to a new hardbound facsimile version just released by the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music (DIAMM) in Oxford, England. The publication of The Ferrell-Vogüé Machaut Manuscript, one of six such illuminated manuscripts and long unavailable to scholars, renders complete the source material for the 14th Century French composer many consider to be the greatest musical and poetic influence of his day, according to Lawrence Earp, professor of musicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music and the world’s foremost scholar of Machaut’s manuscripts. Read the complete story on our website. 

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SCHOOL OF MUSIC PHOTO EXHIBIT STARTS MARCH 1, LOWELL CENTER

Our friendly helpful photographer Mike Anderson has enlarged and framed about 25 images of student musicians to be placed on display in the Lowell Center Gallery, 610 Langdon Street. The exhibit runs from March 1 to April 30, and there will be a small reception on March 8. Read more here.

Below are a few of Mike’s images taken at our concerto winners concert (“Symphony Showcase”) that was held on February 8. (More information here.) Please check back this fall for our next winners recital date, and join us; it is always a joyous event!

HELPFUL LINKS

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Young trombonist finds community–and inspiration–at the UW-Madison School of Music

Hot on the heels of “Trombone Week” in Madison, which featured three famous trombonists performing in town (Trombone Shorty, Papo Vazquez and our own alum Chris Washburne), we now offer a story about a trombonist at the other end of the career spectrum: Brittany Sperberg, a junior from Shawano. Brittany is a recipient of several School of Music scholarships and has put them to good use, having formed her own Dixieland band which has played several concerts in Madison and around the state. She’s also played with the UW Jazz Orchestra (directed by Prof. Johannes Wallmann), the UW Wind Ensemble (directed by Prof. Scott Teeple), the Trombone Choir (directed by Prof. Mark Hetzler), among others.

Brittany Sperberg
Brittany Sperberg.
Photograph by Tori Rogers.

We asked Brittany to describe her time in Madison, and how scholarships have benefited her education.

“My name is Brittany Sperberg and I am a junior music education major.  One of the things that always inspired and guided my education has been my sense of community.  I am from Shawano, Wisconsin, which is a fairly small town and farming community near Green Bay.  In fact, one of my favorite things to do when I go home is to sit outside my house with a view of my barn and vast numbers of trees, and practice trombone. (Sometimes my grandma even sits in her house which is a farmer’s field apart from mine to listen!)   Because I have been so used to having a supportive and small community encouraging my entire grade school music experience, I knew that when I made the jump to college that it was important to go somewhere where I could recreate that atmosphere.  I truly feel that I have found this family here at UW-Madison!

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The Dairyland Jazz Band. Travis Worth, banjo; Jacob Bicknase, washboard; Gavin Garrett, sousaphone; Brittany Sperberg, trombone; Jacob Riederer, trumpet; and Alex Charland, clarinet.
Photograph by Erika Anderson. Missing: Pat Doty, piano.

“The thing that I am most proud of during my time so far at Madison is making my own Dixieland band, The Dairyland Jazz Band.  The Dairyland Jazz Band was created last semester in part of an independent study I did with my trombone professor, Mark Hetzler, as a way for me to learn more about jazz outside of my involvement with the UW Jazz Orchestra.  The independent study required me to write a research paper, put on a Dixieland recital, and present a lecture to my trombone studio.  I was incredibly lucky to find the six musicians that I did to play with me.  I have learned and been inspired by their incomparable talent, professionalism, and enthusiasm.  Leading and playing in this band has been nothing but a fun and challenging experience. Our recital last April was a huge hit and Morphy was nearly filled!  We also played at a cabaret at the bar  “Plan B” on Williamson Street, where we opened for some singer-dancers from the touring group of Mary Poppins. Because we all love working with each other and playing this kind of music, we have since stayed together. Besides myself, the members of my band  include Travis Worth, banjo; Pat Doty, piano; Gavin Garrett, sousaphone; Alex Charland,  clarinet; Jacob Bicknasse, washboard; and Jacob Riederer, trumpet.  Creating this band has taught me to become a better musician and strengthen my leadership and organizational skills.

“In September, my band traveled to Shawano to play two shows in two days.  Our first show was a concert that my former boss hosted at her reception hall, “The Gathering.” The concert went really well and we had nearly 90 people there to simply listen to our music–impressive for a small town!  I was really happy to have such a great turnout because I had been in charge of all the planning of the event from ticket sales, making posters, putting them up, finding repertoire, rehearsing the band, and playing myself.  The next day, my band played at my church’s annual Church in the Barn, which we host in my family’s barn.  Because this type of live music is not often heard there, some people were so strongly affected by the music that they had tears in their eyes.  One person even sent a letter to the Shawano newspaper about our gig and the personal connection he felt with the music.  Recently, the band also played at the Collage Concert.

“Last year I played trombone in the pit for “Space Voyage: The Musical Frontier” (a musical written and directed by School of Music students Nicholas Connors) and can be heard in the album that will be released soon!  I have also played in the touring group, Kids From Wisconsin, for the past two summers.  This group was an amazing opportunity and gave me the chance to perform for audiences as big as 4,000 people!  I also have been a guest college clinician at the Shawano Jazz Festival where this will be my third year performing with such musicians as Wayne Bergeron, Eric Marienthal, and Gordon Goodwin.  My current involvement includes: UWJO (3 years), Wind Ensemble (2 years), Trombone Choir (3 years), substitute trombonist with the Ladies Must Swing (3 years), Dairyland Jazz Band (1 year), and Brass Quintet (1 year), among others.

“I have received various scholarships from the School of Music and the awards ceremony.  At the 2012 awards convocation, I was awarded the Jeanette Ginzl Scholarship . In 2013, I received the Edda Valborg Ofstie Scholarship, Raymond F. Dvorak Music Education Award, and Full Compass Foundation Scholarship. I also receive another scholarship through the School of Music.   I have been truly, truly blessed to have such positive support and encouragement from my school.  If it were not for these scholarships, I am not sure I would have been able to stay at UW-Madison. These scholarships have not only helped me financially, but have also served as a tool to encourage me to follow my musical aspirations.  I am touched by the generosity others have shown me and want to impact others through my music, just as others have influenced me.

“My college experience has been incredible.  I have an endless amount of appreciation and respect for my studio professor, Mark Hetzler.  I think what is so amazing about the School of Music is that we have some of the best teachers and resources.  Professor Hetzler has been an incredible mentor and I am inspired by his dedication and creativity as a performer and teacher.  I really get excited about my lessons every week, and it is great that Professor Hetzler encourages me to explore a variety of genres and musical outlets in my studies with him.  Also, how many people can say that their studio teacher has his or her own metal band, “Sinister Resonance”?  Any prospective students should know how lucky they would be to study under the teachers found here at UW-Madison!

“I am not sure what the future holds for me, but I am excited to see the directions that music will continue to take me!   I would love to go to grad school and get my masters in trombone performance.  After that, I would like to have a career as both a music educator and performer, as I am very passionate about both aspects of music.”

We hope Brittany’s story will inspire others to contribute to scholarships at the UW-MadisonSchool of Music. Click the link to donate!

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