Category Archives: David Perry

2016-2017 Concerto Competition Winners Announced – Concert Feb. 12

Two violinists, one pianist, one trumpeter, and one vocalist will solo with UW Symphony Orchestra with conductor James Smith.

In addition, the music of composition student Nathan Froebe will be performed.

The concert is in Mills Hall at 7:30 PM. There will be a free public reception immediately following at the University Club, 803 State Street.

Ticketed: $10 adults; students & children free. Buy tickets here or at the door.

The winners are:

  • Violinist Shing Fung (Biffa) Kwok, a doctoral student of Prof. David Perry and recipient of a Collins Fellowship. He will perform Tzigane by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937).
  • Violinist Matthew Lee, an undergraduate senior who studies with Prof. Soh-Hyun Altino. He will perform the cadenza from the Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, opus 77 of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975).
  • Trumpeter Matthew Onstad, a master’s student of Prof. John Aley. He’ll perform the Trumpet Concerto in F Minor, Op. 18 by Oskar Böhme (1870-1938).
  • Soprano Anna Polum, who will sing “Amour, ranime mon courage,” written by Charles Gounod (1818-1893) for his opera adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Anna studies with voice professor James Doing.
  • Pianist Shuk-Ki Wong, to perform the first movement of the Piano Concerto in G Major by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). Shuk-ki studies with Professors Christopher Taylor and Jessica Johnson.
  • Composition student Nathan Froebe (not pictured) is the winner of this year’s composer’s contest. More information coming soon.
L-R: Shuk-Ki Wong; Matthew Lee; Anna Polum; Matthew Onstad; Biffa Kwok. Photograph by Hannah Olson.
L-R: Shuk-Ki Wong; Matthew Lee; Anna Polum; Matthew Onstad; Biffa Kwok. Photograph by Hannah Olson.

A native of Hong Kong, Biffa Kwok began his violin lessons at the age of ten, studying with Chu Tong Lo. In 2004, Kwok entered the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and graduated in 2013 with a bachelor of music degree in violin performance. Kwok also holds a master’s degree in violin performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Mikhail Kopelman, former leader of the Borodin and Tokyo String Quartets.

Kwok has received many awards, including the ExxonMobil Scholarship, Chan Ho Choi Enchanting Music Scholarship during his studies at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts; the Eastman Graduate Assistantship during his master program at the Eastman School of Music, and the James R. Smith Orchestral Leadership award during his studies at the Mead Witter School of Music.

Kwok has collaborated with many artists such as Trevor Pinnock, Uroš Lajovic, Perry So, Kokman Liu, Neil Varon, Brad Lubman, Zhu Dan, Nobuko Imai, and John Demain. A strong advocate of chamber music, Kwok actively participated in many chamber performances, including masterclasses with the Chilingirian; the Endellion; the Penderecki; the Ying, and the Dover string quartets. Kwok also actively performed in orchestral performances including participation in the Academy (Hong Kong) Symphony Orchestra; Eastman Philharmonia; Eastman Graduate Chamber Orchestra; Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes (Elmira, NY), the Dubuque (Iowa) Symphony Orchestra, and the Madison Symphony Orchestra. He is also a member of Sound Out Loud, an ensemble based in Madison that specializes in performing contemporary music.

At UW, Kwok studies violin performance and arts administration. The ten-minute work he will perform, “Tzigane” by Maurice Ravel, is a Hungarian-styled rhapsody written in the early 1920s and first played by the Hungarian-English violinist Jelly d’Aranyi—a great-niece of the violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim— in 1924. The name “Tzigane” is derived from the generic European term for gypsy, and it shows Ravel’s interest in violin showmanship in the manner of Paganini and Sarasota.

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Violinist Matthew Lee is a Madison native and former member of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra is is majoring in music performance and biology. Matthew began playing the violin at age 6 and studied with Hiram Pearcy for eleven years prior to entering college. He performed with WYSO orchestras for eight years, serving as concertmaster for the Youth Orchestra from 2011-12, including during their Eastern European Tour in 2012. He was a winner of the Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition in 2013, received honorable mentions in the Madison Symphony Orchestra Bolz concerto competition. At UW-Madison, his teachers have included Eugene Purdue and Prof. Altino.

“I chose this piece because I love Shostakovich’s work in general,” says Matthew. “His violin concerto is significant because it was written during a time when Shostakovich was scrutinized carefully by the Soviet government, in a time of increased arrests of people who wrote in an anti-Soviet manner. The violin concerto was therefore hidden from the public until after Stalin’s death. I love the whole concerto, but the cadenza and fourth movement stand out because of the desolate, barren quality of the cadenza transitioning into the exaggerated, frenzied movement of the burlesque.”

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Trumpeter Matthew Onstad, who hails from Beaver Dam, is pursuing a master’s degree in trumpet performance, studying with Prof. John Aley. He is a member of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet and recently won the post of principal trumpet with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, where he holds the Francis Neiswanger Memorial Principal Trumpet chair. Aside from his duties with the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, Matthew has been a member of the 132nd US Army National Guard Band since 2012, and has performed with the Madison and Oshkosh Symphony Orchestras. Matthew received his bachelor’s of music degree at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where he studied with Marty Robinson and Robert Levy.

“The Böhme is one of the very few well-known trumpet concerti that was written in the Romantic era of music,” Matt says.”Although it is not a ‘standard’ in the trumpet repertoire, it certainly deserves the title, with all of the different colors it offers to the audience. It’s outer movements demonstrate virtuosic and acrobatic technique, while the inner movement possesses such beauty and sensitivity, thus making it one of my favorite pieces of music to perform.”

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Soprano Anna Polum is a native of Kodiak, Alaska, and is pursuing a master’s degree in voice performance, studying with Prof. James Doing. She holds degrees in music education and voice performance from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Anna has won or placed in competitions offered by the National Organization of Teachers of Singing in both Alaska and Wisconsin. Recently, she sang Contessa Almaviva in University Opera’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro, and next spring will sing Miss Jessel in University Opera’s production of The Turn of the Screw. For the 2016-2017 season, Anna is the soprano studio artist for Madison Opera and covered the roles of Juliet in the company’s performances of Romeo and Juliet; Chan Parker in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird; and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). She will also sing the role of Papagena in the same production of Die Zauberflöte.

Gounod’s operatic adaption of Romeo & Juliet premiered in 1867 at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris. While Gounod is now better known for Faust, Romeo & Juliet was a bigger success at its premiere, and has stayed in the repertoire for 150 years due to its beautiful music, genuine passion mingled with wit, and exciting fight scenes.

“I covered Juliet with Madison Opera this past November, so this role is fresh for me,” Anna says. “The setting is quite dramatic, especially in the middle recitative section, where Juliet envisions Tybalt’s ghost coming for her and Romeo. Between her fear of losing Romeo and her love for Romeo, she decides to take the poison that Friar Lawrence gives her, claiming ‘je bois a toi!,’ meaning ‘I drink to thee (meaning Romeo).’ I love the dramatic flair to this piece, especially since the rest of the opera is quite mellow, flowing in and out of love duets and party scenes.”

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Hong Kong native Shuk-Ki Wong is a doctoral pianist who studies piano performance and pedagogy with Professors Christopher Taylor and Jessica Johnson. She was a winner of the 31st Annual Beethoven Piano Competition at UW-Madison as well as the Exhibition Award from Trinity College London, and has appeared as soloist at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Hong Kong City Hall and Verbrugghen Hall in Australia. During her studies, Shuk-Ki was invited to perform at the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival and the Asia-Pacific Music Summit, and she has participated in master classes with Colin Stone, Sa Chen, Stephen Savage, Murray McLachlan and Jack Winerock. Shuk-Ki is also on the piano faculty at the School of Professional and Continuing Education in Madison Technical College, where she teaches students with diverse interests and abilities.

Shuk-Ki obtained her bachelor of music degree and diploma of music from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with the support of the First Initiative Foundation Music Scholarship and Grantham Scholarship. She subsequently received the Molly McAulay Memorial Scholarship to fully support her graduate studies at the University of Sydney, Australia, under the tutelage of Mr. Clemens Leske.

“The brightness, energy, and the blend of ‘light-hearted and brilliant’ qualities and jazz music in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major have drawn my interest, and I am excited to perform this masterpiece with the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra,” she says.

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Violist Nobuko Imai joins Pro Arte Quartet Oct. 7; Brass Fest II features solo trumpet, Oct. 9-11; UW Opera presents “Figaro,” Oct. 23-27

News & Events from the UW-Madison School of Music – September 29, 2015

Violist Nobuko Imai joins the Pro Arte Quartet for an evening of chamber music
NobukoImai2
Nobuko Imai

Nobuko Imai is considered to be one of the most outstanding viola players of our time. She’ll join the Pro Arte on Wednesday, October 7 at 7:30 PM for a free evening of chamber music. On the program: Mozart’s String Quintet in C Minor, K. 406/516b and Mendelssohn String Quintet in B-Flat Major, Op. 87. There will also be a master class with Nobuko Imai on Tuesday, October 6, Morphy Hall, 7:30 PM. Click here for event info.

Brass Fest II features an eclectic mix of voice, jazz trumpet, and brass quintet: October 9-11

From October 9 to 11, the UW-Madison School of Music will present its second brass music festival, following a spirited event last year that was enthusiastically received by students and the community. See photos here.

BrassFest8x11Poster2015All events will be held in Mills Hall.

This year, “Brass Fest II” has added a vocalist to the mix: Elisabeth Vik, a Norwegian singer who mixes jazz tunes with pop and folk music from the Middle East, Bulgaria, Spain and India. The three-day festival will also features two brass quintets and Adam Rapa, a solo trumpeter.

Friday: Chicago’s Axiom Brass Quintet. 8 PM. With Dorival Puccini, Jr., trumpet; Jacob DiEdwardo, horn; Kevin Harrison, tuba; Orin Larson, trombone; Kris Hammond, trumpet. The award-winning Axiom Brass Quintet has quickly established itself as one of the major art music groups in brass chamber music. Their repertoire ranges from jazz and Latin music to string quartet transcriptions, as well as original compositions for brass quintet. Tickets $15, students and children free admission.

Saturday: Festival Brass Choir Concert Brass Festival Concert. 8 PM. Guest artists Adam Rapa and Elisabeth Vik will be featured on a program that showcases the combined sounds of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet and their guests, the Axiom Brass Quintet, conducted by Scott Teeple of the School of Music. They’ll perform music of Anthony DiLorenzo, James Stephenson, Richard Strauss, and a tour de force performance by the expressive and technically agile Adam Rapa of Weber’s Clarinet Concerto, arranged with a twist. The program will also feature Daredevil by UW alumni composer and tubist Michael Forbes, and Vik/Rapa will join talents in a shimmering piece by Swedish composer Evert Taube arranged for brass choir by Rapa. Tickets $15, students and children free admission. Meet the performers at a reception following the concert!

Sunday: Elisabeth Vik and Adam Rapa, duets on trumpet and voice.  7:30 PM. Rapa and Vik have perfected a creative blend of jazz and folk vocals with solo trumpet.  Free concert. Hear them here:

Buy tickets to both concerts and save!

University Opera presents “The Marriage of Figaro” Oct. 23-27

After the unprecedented success of last spring’s sold-out run of The Magic Flute, this fall, University Opera will present four performances of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.  This new production will be directed by returning interim opera director, David Ronis, and James Smith will conduct the UW Symphony Orchestra.  The production will involve over 80 UW singers, instrumentalists, and stage crew. Read the full news release on the School of Music website.

15-037 Figaro Pstr-Fnl_Hi-Res(1)

The opera will be performed in Italian with projected English supertitles in Music Hall, 925 Bascom Mall, on Friday, October 23 at 7:00pm, Saturday, October 24 at 7:00pm, Sunday, October 25 at 3:00pm, and Tuesday, October 27 at 7:00pm.  Tickets are $25.00 for the general public, $20.00 for senior citizens and $10.00 for UW-Madison students, available in advance through the Campus Arts Ticketing office at (608) 265-ARTS and online at http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/location.html

Please check our calendar for many other concerts in October, many free. All are held on campus unless indicated otherwise. Selected events are listed here:  UW Wind Ensemble, October 2; “An Evening of Opera Arias,” Capitol Lakes Retirement Community, October 10;  Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, October 14; Contemporary Jazz Ensemble & Jazz Composers Septet, October 15;  Javier Calderon, classical guitar, October 17; Choral Collage, October 18; and many more.

UW Wind Ensemble. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.
UW Wind Ensemble. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.
Opera Benefit Concert with Brenda Rae and UW-Symphony Orchestra delights all

On Sunday, Sept. 27, alumna soprano Brenda Rae and the UW Symphony wowed an audience of about 400 in Mills Hall with spectacular performances. Read a review by John Barker, professor emeritus of history.

On Friday, UW-Madison staff photographer also shot photos of Brenda’s master class. View all of them here.

UW student Alaina Carlson (right) performs during a Brenda Rae opera master class held in Music Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Sept. 25, 2015. During the class, students performed for a public audience and received helpful critiques from UW School of Music alumna Brenda Rae (left). (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)
UW student Alaina Carlson (right) performs during a Brenda Rae opera master class held in Music Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Sept. 25, 2015. During the class, students performed for a public audience and received helpful critiques from UW School of Music alumna Brenda Rae (left). (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)
UW student Alaina Carlson (right) performs during a Brenda Rae opera master class held in Music Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Sept. 25, 2015. During the class, students performed for a public audience and received helpful critiques from UW School of Music alumna Brenda Rae (left). (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)
UW student Alaina Carlson (right) performs during a Brenda Rae opera master class held in Music Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Sept. 25, 2015. During the class, students performed for a public audience and received helpful critiques from UW School of Music alumna Brenda Rae (left). (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)
From the Archives: UW-Madison Archivist David Null uncovers band stories from 1915

Did you know…. that in 1915, the University First Regimental Band took a long train ride to California to help celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal?

FirstRegNullemblem

The UW-Madison Archives at Steenbock Library houses thousands of memories from UW-Madison’s past. Over the summer,  UW-Madison Archivist David Null dug down and found clippings, photos and letters documenting UW Bands’ concert at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco and 19 other cities, including Lewiston, Montana.

Read David’s full post on Tumblr.

Composition/business undergrad double major wins national prize for best musical

Congratulations to Nicholas Connors, a composition student of Les Thimmig, Laura Schwendinger, and Stephen Dembski, who in August won the college division grand prize in Showsearch, the nationwide search for new musical theatre writers put on by Festival of New American Musicals. His new musical Here, In The Park will be premiered next summer in New York City by a professional cast and production team. He’ll also receive a financial award and professional mentoring.

While in Madison, Nick founded Intermission Theatre and produced his first musical, SPACE VOYAGE: THE MUSICAL FRONTIER. He also served as music director  for Tony Award-winning Karen Olivo’s  Madison debut at Overture Center. Nicholas is now in England finishing his business classes and will graduate this fall from UW-Madison with degrees in music composition and marketing.

Nick Connors, center, with the cast for his musical, "Here, in the Park," about a struggling writer who meets an investment banker/painter in a big city.
Nick Connors, center, with the cast for his musical, “Here, in the Park,” about a struggling writer who meets an investment banker/painter in a big city.
Faculty News

On our website: News from John Aley, Laura Schwendinger, Tony Di Sanza, Wesley Warnhoff and Dan Grabois. Click here to read.

Alumni News

On our website: News about “Hill’s Angels”; MiLi Chang, flutist; Nebojsa Macura, composer, and more. Click here to read.

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.

Personalize your calendar view! Click on the “view as” link on the right of our calendar page.

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New Building Named for Hamels; Concerto Winners Solo Feb. 8; Christopher Taylor Recital; Did you know…

HappyNewYear2015

To Friends of the School of Music,

We thank you so much for all your support and enthusiasm in 2014 and look forward to 2015 — a year that will include a major groundbreaking for a new music hall! We hope you are just as excited as we, and that you will join us this spring for one of our many inspiring concerts.

 

NEW MUSIC BUILDING NAMED AFTER PAM AND GEORGE HAMEL

In early December,  UW-Madison announced that the new music performance center at the corner of Lake Street and University Avenue will be named in honor of Pamela Hamel and her husband, UW-Madison alumnus George Hamel (BA’80, Communication Arts). Pamela is a member of the School’s Board of Visitors. Read the full story here.

We thank the Hamels for their generosity! If you would like to join them with a gift of your own, you may do so at this website.

 

 

MEET JOHN WUNDERLIN: BACK IN SCHOOL AT 50

At the School of Music’s “Horn Choir” concert at the Chazen Museum of Art last month, one could easily discern John Wunderlin from the swarm of horn players on the stage.

John Wunderlin. Photo by Katherine Esposito.
John Wunderlin. Photo by Katherine Esposito.

He was the only one with gray hair.

Last fall, business owner Wunderlin, 50, returned for a master’s degree in horn, studying with Daniel Grabois, assistant professor of horn. We asked John to tell us what inspired him to study music after all these years. Read the interview here.

CONCERTO COMPETITION WINNERS IN CONCERT WITH UW SYMPHONY: FEB. 8

Five talented students are winners of our annual Concerto Competition and will perform with the UW Symphony Orchestra in our “Symphony Showcase” concert, Sunday, Feb. 8, in Mills Hall. The concert will begin at 7 pm and will conclude with a free reception. We hope you will join us for what is always a joyous and unique event! Tickets for adults are $10.00 and will be available at the door or in advance at the Union Theater Box Office. Students are free. Ticket info here.

L-R: Keisuke Yamamoto; Anna Whiteway; Ivana Ugrcic; and Jason Kutz.  Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.
L-R: Keisuke Yamamoto; Anna Whiteway; Ivana Ugrcic; and Jason Kutz. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

Our winners and the works they will perform are:

Jason Kutz, piano, a master’s candidate studying with collaborative pianist Martha Fischer. Kutz, who also performs and composes jazz music, is a native of Kiel, Wisconsin, and studied recording technology and piano at UW-Oshkosh. He will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43.

Ivana Ugrcic, flute, a doctoral student and Collins Fellow studying with flutist Stephanie Jutt. A native of Serbia,  Ugrcic has performed as a soloist and chamber musician all over Europe, and received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from University of Belgrade School of Music. She will perform Francois Borne’s  Fantasie Brillante (on Themes from Bizet’s Carmen).

Keisuke Yamamoto, violin, an undergraduate student of Pro Arte violinist David Perry, earning a double degree in music performance and microbiology. Keisuke, born in Japan but raised in Madison, received a tuition remission scholarship through UW-Madison’s Summer Music Clinic, and also won honors in Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Bolz Competition, among others. He will perform Ernest Chausson’s Poème Op. 25.

Anna Whiteway, an undergraduate voice student, studying with Elizabeth Hagedorn, visiting professor of voice. Whiteway is a recipient of a Stamps Family Charitable Foundation scholarship as well as the Harker Scholarship for opera. Whiteway, who was praised in 2013 for her singing in University Opera’s production of Ariodante, will star in the Magic Flute this spring. For this night’s performance, she will sing Charles Gounod’s Je veux vivre (Juliette’s Aria).

Our composition winner this year is graduate student Adam Betz, a Two Rivers native who wrote a work titled Obscuration. Betz received his undergraduate degree from UW-Oshkosh, where he was named Outstanding Senior Composer. He also holds a master’s degree from Butler University in Indianapolis.

CATCH CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR IN HIS ONLY SOLO MADISON APPEARANCE- JAN. 23

Pianist Christopher Taylor will take the Mills stage on Friday, January 23, 8 pm, in his only solo Madison appearance this year. He will perform Johannes Brahms’ Sonata no. 3 in f minor, op. 5; William Bolcom’s Twelve Etudes; and Beethoven’s Symphony #6 as arranged by Franz Liszt. Tickets for adults are $10.00 and will be available at the door or in advance at the Union Theater Box Office. Students are free. Ticket info here.

Last November, Taylor performed Bach’s Goldberg Variations at New York’s Metropolitan Museum on their historic double-keyboard Bösendorfer piano designed by Emáuel Moór. In Madison, Taylor not only performs and tours with the world’s only Steinway double-keyboard piano (owned by UW, and also designed by Moór) but holds a patent on a third double-keyboard piano, this one with electronic components.

The Wall Street Journal published a story about Taylor and the Met Museum’s unique piano. Read it here.

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: A SECOND “SCHUBERTIADE” WITH FISCHER & LUTES- JAN. 30

The Music of Franz Schubert
Our first Schubertiade, January 2014. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

 

A Schubertiade is an intimate “house concert” featuring the songs (known as “lieder”) and chamber music of Franz Schubert. In the 19th century, Schubertiades became a popular form of informal entertainment among his friends and aficionados of his music, frequently with drink and food, and often with Schubert himself at the center. Nowadays, Schubertiades are often much larger multi-day affairs held in swank European locations.

Our Schubertiade, the brainchild of UW-Madison collaborative pianist Martha Fischer, will be presented on the Mills Hall stage festooned with chairs, rugs, and lamps. Join us! Friday, January 30, 8 pm, Mills Hall. Tickets for adults are $10.00 and will be available at the door or in advance at the Union Theater Box Office. Students are free. Ticket info here.

Performers will include Fischer; her husband, pianist Bill Lutes; her brother, cellist Norman Fischer of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music; singers Jennifer D’Agostino, Cheryl Bensman Rowe, Daniel O’Dea, Joshua Sanders, Michael Roemer and Paul Rowe; and violinist Leslie Shank. The program will include songs set to the poems of Friedrich Schiller, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Mayrhofer, and will be capped by two Polonaises for piano duet, played by Fischer and Lutes.

Read a review of last year’s Schubertiade on the local blog, The Well-Tempered Ear.

GRADUATE COMPOSITION STUDENT WINS FIRST PRIZE IN COMPETITION

Congratulations to Sin Young Park, whose composition “Three Preludes for Piano” was recently selected as the winner of the 2015 Delta Omicron Triennial Composition Competition.  Read more here.

GRADUATE FLUTIST ADVANCES TO FINAL ROUND OF ASTRAL ARTISTS COMPETITION

Mi Li Chang. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.
Mi Li Chang. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

2014 concerto competition winner Mi Li Chang has advanced to the final round of the national Astral Artists Competition and will play in the final round on January 8 in Philadelphia. The mission of Astral Artists, which was founded in 1992, is to “discover the most promising classical musicians residing in the United States, assist their early professional career development, and present their world-class artistry to the community through concerts and engagement programs.” Congratulations and best wishes, Mi Li!

Click here for Alumni News:  Scott Gendel

FACULTY TROMBONIST WINS $30,000 CREATIVE ARTS AWARD

And congratulations to Mark Hetzler, 2015 winner of the $30,000 UW-Madison Arts Institute Creative Arts Award, which recognizes and honors extraordinary artistic projects and endeavors of the highest quality carried out by tenured members of the UW-Madison arts faculty in the areas of Art, Communication Arts, Creative Writing, Dance, Environment, Textile and Design, Music Composition and Performance, and Theater and Drama.

DID YOU KNOW…that our new website has a page devoted just to PARKING?

We created a page just to make it a bit easier to visit the SOM. In a nutshell: Weekday parking is not free, but evening and weekend parking sometimes IS free and not that far away. It’s complicated, however, so your best bet is to click here and read!

(Editor’s note: For over six or seven years, the editor routinely visited the School of Music by car, attending concerts and WYSO rehearsals. She always paid for parking, but recently did some digging and learned that UW-Madison actually offers free parking at nights and on weekends. After realizing this, she sighed deeply at the thought of how much money she could have saved had she known…. but now she offers the same information to all our loyal readers as a reward for reading to the end of this newsletter post.)

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

This fall, our alumni percussion ensemble Clocks in Motion put its own spin on a famous holiday tune while demonstrating the [somewhat variable] dance skills of its members. Thanks for the laugh, Clocks!

 

 

HELPFUL LINKS

Main Website

Concert Calendar

Ticketing

School of Music shares $2.5M grant to study Jewish Culture; Brass Fest in Pictures; A French Composer in the Spotlight, 250 years later

Teri Dobbs
Teri Dobbs

SCHOOL OF MUSIC TO SHARE $2.5M INTERNATIONAL GRANT TO EXPLORE JEWISH CULTURAL HERITAGE

As a girl in South Dakota, Teri Dobbs had no idea she had Jewish roots, until one day her mother took her aside and unveiled a long-kept secret. Now, the professor of music education has joined a team of international researchers dedicated to unearthing Jewish cultural treasures from the 1880s to the 1950s. Along the way, she’s developed a deeper kinship with her own past. “It’s a way for me to return to my roots by remembering actively those who went before me, maybe even to make things a bit better for those who come after me,”  Dobbs says. “In Judaism, this can be considered a type of ‘tikkun olam,’ or ‘healing the world.'”

Read the full School of Music news release here.

 

BRASS FEST SUCCESS!

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Hundreds of patrons of all ages turned out for our first brass festival in three decades, held October 8 – 13 at the School of Music. The festival featured two brass quintets: the Western and Wisconsin Brass Quintets, plus Norwegian guest solo tubist Øystein Baadsvik and alumna Jessica Valeri, now with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. It was an inspiring event and great fun; thanks to all who attended! For many more photos, click here.

 

AFTER 250 YEARS, A COMPOSER GETS HIS DUE

It’s not very often that one receives international recognition 250 years after being placed in the ground. But with help from scholars at UW-Madison and internationally, that’s exactly what’s happening for Jean-Philippe Rameau.

UW-Madison is embarking on a yearlong series of events to note the contributions made by Rameau to the world of music, courtly dance, and music theory. The series kicks off November 13 with a discussion of Rameau’s music by David Ronis, visiting director of opera, and Anne Vila, professor of French and Italian. The next night there will be a performance of Baroque works by bassoon professor Marc Vallon, accompanied by a rich assortment of faculty and students.

Charles Dill
Charles Dill

The series has been organized by Rameau scholar Charles Dill, a musicologist at UW-Madison who participated in many international Rameau-related events held this past year. Read a musicology Q&A about Rameau with Charles Dill.

 

VOICE FACULTY PERFORMS FIRST “SHOWCASE” CONCERT, SUNDAY, NOV. 2

The UW voice faculty present an evening of chamber music featuring the solo voice. Featuring a premiere, White Clouds, Yellow Leaves, written by composer and saxophone professor Les Thimmig. Featuring Mimmi Fulmer and Elizabeth Hagedorn, sopranos, and Paul Rowe, baritone. Tickets are $10.00 adults; students are free. Tickets will be sold at the door.  Learn more here.

 

THE BIG PAYBACK, A UW ALUMNI BAND, CELEBRATES A FIVE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY WITH A SHOW AT THE FREQUENCY

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Music not only attracted a group of musicians to Wisconsin from across the country, but also helped bring them together to form a band. Today, that band is the wildly successful jazz/funk/R&B orchestra The Big Payback, which is famous for playing ambitious compositions that incorporate rare musical elements (e.g. rhythms from around the world and a mashing of genres) that challenge even the most virtuosic instrumentalists. The band has won multiple Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs), including Jazz Song of the Year in 2012 for “Overture.” Its lineup constitutes a “who’s who” of the most acclaimed musicians in the Midwest.

On Thursday, Oct. 30th, The Big Payback will be celebrating their five-year anniversary with a star-studded reunion show at The Frequency, 121 West Main Street, Madison, where they played their very first gig and premiered a host of original hits like their crowd-pleasing single “Lookin’ at Me.” The show begins at 11PM and is preceded by a jazz jam at 7:30 PM followed by the band “Level Five” at 9:45 PM. Tickets are $5.00. The Big Payback

“This show means a lot to us,” Jamie Kember, the band’s trombone player and front man, said. “For five years, this band has been our big payback – the place where we could write original music, connect with the Madison community, and share our knowledge with music students all over Wisconsin. We owe a lot of our success to UW-Madison and the School of Music.”

The Big Payback ensemble includes:

Lead singer Leah Isabel Tirado, former Vocal Captain of UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Singers and member of UW Director of Choral Activities Beverly Taylor’s Concert Choir, UW professor Richard Davis’s Black Music Ensemble, and the UW Jazz Orchestra.

Front man Jamie Kember, member of the UW School of Music Alumni Association Board, former director of UW’s PEOPLE Program Jazz Ensemble, and past instructor at UW-Madison’s Summer Music Clinic. Kember earned his master’s degree in trombone performance at UW in 2007 and his K-12 instrumental music teaching certification in 2008.

Guitarist Kyle Rightley, who earned his master’s degree in euphonium performance at UW-Madison in 2009.

Saxophonist David Buss, who played with the UW Jazz Orchestra, the UW Little Big Band (a jazz combo), and the Wisconsin Singers during his undergraduate years. In 2006-2007, he served as Assistant Music Director for the Wisconsin Singers’ band.

2012 MAMA Bass Player of the Year Jeff Weiss, who graduated from UW-Madison’s School of Music in 2011.

Charley Wagner of Youngblood Brass Band fame, who will be traveling all the way from his home in Switzerland to play on trumpet, and who graduated in trumpet performance from UW-Madison in 1999.

Peter Baggenstoss, who graduated from UW-Madison with a double major in math and piano performance in 2009.

Grammy-nominated drummer and 2014 MAMA Drummer / Percussionist of the Year Joey B. Banks.

Former band members, including saxophone player Brad Carman, who graduated from UW-Madison with a Music Education degree in 2004.

 

PIANIST CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR TO PERFORM GOLDBERG VARIATIONS IN CALIFORNIA  AND AT NEW YORK’S METROPOLITAN MUSEUM

Christopher Taylor
Christopher Taylor

When J. S. Bach wrote The Goldberg Variations, he specified that they were to be played on an instrument with two manuals, or keyboards. On Nov. 16 in Penn Valley, California, UW-Madison pianist Christopher Taylor will play the Goldberg Variations on the School of Music’s unique double-keyboard Steinway–Moór Concert grand piano, transported to California specially for this concert. Tickets available here.

The Metropolitan Museum’s Musical Instruments collection is home to one of only 60 double manual pianos ever made. On Nov. 21 at the Met, Christopher Taylor  will perform the Goldberg Variations on a Bösendorfer double manual ca. 1940 piano—a new twist on what Bach had intended.  The performance will be held in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at 7PM; tickets are available here.

Read a review of Taylor’s performance in New York City’s Miller Theater, May 2013.

See Christopher Taylor perform solo at the School of Music on January 23! Included on the program: Liszt’s transcription of Beethoven Symphony #6. Tickets are only $10.00 for adults; students are free.  Ticketing information here.

Taylor will also perform with the Madison Symphony Orchestra in April. Learn more here.

FACULTY IN THE NEWS

Visiting Opera Director David Ronis profiled in the Capital Times

Chamber Music Conference Features Laura Schwendinger in its roster of new music composers – New York Times

Violinist David Perry Performs Chausson Solo with the Joffrey Ballet and the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra – Chicago Sun Times 

Albert Herring an Enjoyable Debut for Visiting Opera Director David Ronis – Isthmus

ALUMNI NEWS

Scott Roeder, Steven Morrison.  Read their news here.

Click here to send your alumni story.

Interested in an upcoming show? We offer large ensemble concerts, chamber concerts, jazz, student recitals, and more.  Click here for full SOM calendar.

To be placed on our mailing list, please send an email to join-musicdigest@lists.wisc.edu 

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra violinist Leslie Shank to join UW

The School of Music welcomes violinist Leslie Shank as visiting assistant professor of violin next fall, replacing Felicia Moye who has taken a position at McGill University in Montreal. Shank is a longtime member of the 55-year-old Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, one of the world’s most renowned chamber ensembles, known for its adventurous programming, commissions and world premieres. This week, the orchestra will premiere a new viola concerto composed by Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis.

Leslie Shank
Leslie Shank

Leslie is well-known to the musicians of Madison’s Pro Arte Quartet, who recommended her appointment. “I couldn’t be happier to welcome Leslie Shank to the UW School of Music this coming fall,” says David Perry, Pro Arte violinist. “Her performance and master classes in recent years have been inspirational, and it will be great for our students to benefit from her broad range of experience on a more regular basis.” Pro Arte violist Sally Chisholm praises Shank’s “wonderful and boundless energy.”

For her part, Shank is thrilled to have the opportunity to work at UW-Madison. “Phenomenal musicians come out of UW,” says Shank, which is not true of all universities, she adds. “I’m honored to be invited to join such amazing faculty. People would give their eyeteeth to be able to work in that department.” Hear Leslie perform in this audio clip from Minnesota Public Radio.

Shank will commute to Madison while maintaining her role as a violinist in St. Paul. She hopes to bring UW’s violinists to the Twin Cities for concerts, she adds.

Ms.Shank has been a member of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra since 1984 and was assistant concertmaster for 24 years. She gave her New York recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Hall as a winner of the Artists International Competition, and was twice re-engaged to perform on its Special Presentation Series. Shank has also performed as soloist with many orchestras, including the Seattle Symphony, the National Orchestral Association (also serving as concertmaster), and the Racine Symphony. Her recital at the celebrated Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago was broadcast on WFMT radio. She has also appeared with the Baltimore Symphony as guest associate concertmaster, and with the Indianapolis Symphony as guest concertmaster.

Ms. Shank currently serves as concertmaster of the “Music in the Mountains” Festival in Colorado, and has performed at numerous other festivals including Aspen, Grand Teton, Mainly Mozart, Marlboro, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Orcas Island Festival, and the Britt Festival, where she served as concertmaster of the festival orchestra. As a member of the prestigious Musicians from Marlboro, she performed several concerts throughout the East Coast. Additionally, she plays both violin and viola as a member of the Hot Dish Trio with pianist, Susan Billmeyer, and clarinetist, Karrin Meffert-Nelson.

On disc, Leslie can be heard on two Centaur releases, Recital for Violin & Guitar, with her husband, classical guitarist Joseph Hagedorn, and the Bartok Violin Sonatas with pianist Heather MacLaughlin. Ms. Shank’s interest in Bartok’s Violin Sonatas resulted in a trip to Hungary with pianist Heather MacLaughlin to study those works and was supported by a grant from the General Mills, Dayton Hudson and Jerome Foundations. The Shank-MacLaughlin Duo also received the prestigious McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians.

Leslie received bachelor and master of music degrees from The Juilliard School. Her teachers were Shirley Givens, Felix Galimir, and Dorothy Delay.

UW concerto winners to strut their stuff at “Symphony Showcase” on Feb. 8

Join us for a post-concert reception at Tripp Commons! Seating limited: Tickets $10 per person. Buy them here. 

Written by Nicole Tuma, graduate flutist and concert assistant, UW-Madison School of Music

For most UW-Madison students, winter break is a time for new beginnings.  A time to put away that heavy textbook you’re so sick of lugging to the library and replacing it with another – hopefully lighter – one.  A time to take one last glance at the comments your professor made on your term paper and start gathering your energies before researching the next.  For pianists Sung Ho Yang and Seungwha Baek, flutist Mi-li Chang, clarinetist Kai-Ju Ho, and violinist Madlen Breckbill, however, this is not the case.  These five School of Music students will be spending part of their break preparing for the “Symphony Showcase,” a concert that presents some of UW’s finest young musicians in solo performances with the UW Symphony Orchestra. For most, this process began over the summer, when they chose their repertoire for October’s Concerto Competition preliminaries.

On Saturday, February 8th, at 7 pm in Mills Concert Hall (note: this concert was originally scheduled for 8 pm) all five winners will be featured in performances with maestro James Smith with graduate conductor Kyle Knox and the UW Symphony Orchestra in an exciting evening of stylistically diverse concertos propelled by these students’ talent and energy. A sixth winner, composition undergraduate student Daria Mikhailovna Tennikova, will have her winning work, Poema for Saxophone and Orchestra, performed by the symphony and saxophone soloist Erika Anderson.

The concert is free and will be followed by a celebratory ticketed reception at Tripp Commons at the Memorial Union, featuring hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Tickets will be $10 per person. (Space will be limited! Reserve your spot early at this site.)

 left to right:  Mi-Li Chang (flute), Madlen Breckbill (violin), SungHo Yang (piano), SeungWha Baek (piano), Kai-Ju Ho (clarinet)
left to right: Mi-Li Chang (flute), Madlen Breckbill (violin),
SungHo Yang (piano), SeungWha Baek (piano), Kai-Ju Ho (clarinet).
Not in photo: Composer Daria Tennikova.
Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

For Kai-Ju Ho, a clarinetist from Taiwan, performing with the symphony will be a dream come true, she says.  “I remember the first time I heard this concerto was on a recording when I was a freshman. I swore that one day I’d play it!”

Concertos, with their exhilarating combination of soloistic pyrotechnics and dedicated ensemble playing, are some of the jewels of the orchestral repertoire, and the opportunity to perform a concerto with an orchestra is an experience that musicians truly savor. For woodwind lovers, this year’s Symphony Showcase concert will be a real treat, as it will include two of the most popular woodwind concertos: Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto (1948) and Jacque Ibert’s Flute Concerto (1934).   The Copland was written for and premiered by Benny Goodman and has an irrepressibly jazzy second movement, while the Ibert is a crowd-pleasing work that alternates dreamy, languid passages with a bubbly, lighthearted finale infused with Spanish dance rhythms and a hint of jazz.  There will also be two piano concertos on February’s program, Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in Eb Major (mid-1800s) and Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major (1921).  Both are technically brilliant works that marry their composers’ mature styles with youthful themes composed years earlier, when Liszt and Prokofiev were students.  Finally, there will be a performance of the first movement of Samuel Barber’s beloved Violin Concerto, a lyrical masterpiece that violinists and audiences have loved since its 1941 premiere.

The concert will open with a performance of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s always exciting Russian Easter Festival Overture,  written in 1888-89.

All five solo pieces are incredibly beautiful but incredibly difficult; how will these performers prepare? All are experienced in performing many kinds of repertoire, in solo recitals, small chamber groups, large bands and orchestras, even jazz combos, but all agree that preparing a concerto—another beast altogether – requires a distinct approach.  In the first place, the sheer volume of sound needed to project over a large orchestra is daunting, compared with what’s needed to play with a single piano, according to Mi-li Chang, a doctoral candidate and UW Collins Fellow from Taiwan.

Merely playing louder isn’t enough to ensure that the soloist soars over the orchestra, however; clear musical ideas are needed as well. A cohesive performance happens only when the soloist, conductor, and orchestra hear the music in the same way, but there’s no time in rehearsal for a soloist to explain her thoughts. Therefore, says clarinetist Kai-Ju Ho, a fellow graduate of the Taipei National University of the Arts, she must perform so clearly and convincingly that the orchestra understands and can follow her interpretation.

Lastly, because of the sheer number of people and instruments in an orchestra–for this concert, about 85–and the vast array of pitches, sounds, and colors in a complicated piece of music, concerto soloists need to spend a great deal of time studying the full score, says Kai-Ju. They must know what’s happening in the orchestra at every moment in a piece so that he or she can adjust note lengths, volume, and phrasing to fit in with the orchestra’s sound.

For solo pianists, who more often perform unaccompanied, concertos pose a particular challenge.  Instead of simply playing and hoping the orchestra will catch them, soloists need to actively collaborate with the orchestra , says SeungWha Baek, who is currently a doctoral student in collaborative piano and a member of the Perlman Trio, a student string trio funded by UW benefactor Kato Perlman. Brilliant technique is not enough: “This piece won’t happen without respecting [the] ensemble,” she says.

Preparing a concerto for performance requires a great deal of energy, which for these performers is not acquired in the practice room, but outside of it. And each has his or her own style. Madlen Breckbill, an undergraduate violinist from Madison, derives hers from interesting conversations, eating delicious food, seeing beautiful sights, and watching theater. Meanwhile, Kai-Ju enjoys cooking food from Taiwan and hiking in national parks (she has visited nine of them in the three years she’s been in the United States). “I like the peaceful moments and the amazing scenery,” she says. Mi-li  spends time running or walking around Madison’s lakes, and Sung Ho, who formerly practiced piano eight hours a day, is now a member of the Hoofers Sailing Club and the UW cycling team. The extra hours once spent at the piano are now taken up reading scores, running and bicycling, windsurfing. He thinks all this has helped him to avoid injury. “My life has changed because of it.  I lost twenty pounds; in every day, I feel more happiness.”

The students know they’ll forever treasure their time on stage as soloists with the UW Symphony; many musicians are never fortunate enough to experience it.  And if the audience responds with smiles or tears, as happened once as Sung Ho rehearsed with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, the hard work of preparation is fully compensated.

About the Performers:

A native of Seoul, Korea, pianist SeungWha Baek is currently in the doctoral program in collaborative piano at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studies with Martha Fischer and is a teaching assistant. As of this fall, SuengWha is the pianist in the advanced student ensemble, the Perlman Trio, at UW-Madison.

Ms. Baek has a masters degree in accompaniment from Northern Illinois University where she studied with William Goldenberg and also received a certificate in performance. Prior to that, she earned a bachelor’s degree in music from SookMyung Women’s University in Seoul and a master’s in piano performance at the same university, where she studied with MiJeung Park. While at Northern Illinois University, she performed in many recitals for instrument and voice and served as accompanist for a production of “Little Women” with the NIU Opera Workshop. In 2007, SeungWha was a winner of the Northern Illinois University concerto competition and was an accompanist at the 2007 V.O.I.C. Experience program (led by Mr. Sherrill Milnes in Orlando, Florida) and the 2009 Quartet Program (directed by Charles Castleman at SUNY-Fridonia).

Pianist Sung Ho Yang was born in Seoul, Korea and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in the School of Music with Christopher Taylor.  Mr. Yang graduated from Sun-Hwa Arts School in Seoul and attended Seoul National University. In 2004, he transferred to New England Conservatory of Music in Boston with his professor, Wha Kyung Byun, and later earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as a graduate diploma, from NEC. Mr. Yang has performed in master classes for Russell Sherman, Klaus Hellwig, Sergei Dorensky, and Vladimir Feltsman. He has also attended the Contemporary Music Festival in New Paltz, New York: New Music Mannes at New York, and the International Summer Academy at the Mozarteum, Salzburg.

Sung Ho Yang has won top prizes at the Florestano Rossomandi International Competition in Italy and at the Johann Nepomuk Hummel International Piano Competition in Slovakia.  He is also a winner of the Beethoven Piano Competition at the UW-Madison School of Music, sponsored by former UW-Madison Chancellor Irving Shain.  In his native Korea, he won the Segye-Times Piano Competition and the Eum Youn Competition, and was sponsored by the Kum Ho Cultural Foundation for two solo recitals in Seoul in 2002 and 2003. As a concerto soloist, Mr. Yang debuted with the St. Petersburg Radio Symphony Orchestra in St. Petersburg, Russia, performing Liszt’s Totentanz and with the Slovak Philharmonic orchestra in Bratislava, Slovakia, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3. Mr. Yang’s repertoire ranges from Rachmaninoff’s Six Moments Musicaux to  Boulez’s Second Piano Sonata, and includes all of Liszt’s piano concerti.  Mr. Yang currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin, where he has joined the UW cycling team and the Hoofer Sailing Club.

Madlen Breckbill, a senior at UW Madison, began playing the violin at age four with Suzuki Strings of Madison. In her early years, Madlen participated in Sonora Strings of Madison, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra, WYSO chamber ensembles and the WYSO Ambassadors. In middle school, Madlen studied with School of Music artist-in-residence and Pro Arte Quartet violinist Suzanne Beia; in high school she studied with Gene Purdue (now School of Music visiting assistant professor of violin).  In 2011, Madlen attended the Madeline Island Music Camp, leading to an invitation to perform with her quartet at the Landmark Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the summer of 2012, Madlen and her quartet members were winners of the Meadowmount School of Music quartet competition. This past summer, Madlen served as concertmaster for the Kent/Blossom Music Festival chamber orchestra, under the baton of James Feddeck, for a performance at the Blossom Music Center, followed by a side-by-side performance with the Cleveland Orchestra.

At UW-Madison, Madlen performs with different chamber groups each year, including the Perlman Trio in spring 2013 for a performance of the Brahms Piano Quintet. Madlen studies with Pro Arte violinist David Perry and receives coachings and lessons from the many talented and kind music professors at UW-Madison.

Mili Chang is a doctoral student in flute performance and a Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Fellow, studying with Stephanie Jutt. She has won a number of competitions, including the Irving Shain Woodwind/Piano Duo Competition with pianist Kirstin Ihde in 2012 and the Taipei National University of the Arts Soloist Competition Concert in 2010 at Taipei, Taiwan. In Madison, Mili performs in many ensembles, including UW’s Collegium Musicum, the Helios Quintet and the UW orchestras. A committed music educator, Mili is a frequent coach with the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra chamber program, and has coached band and orchestra sectionals and a wind quintet at Daan Junior High School in Taipei. A native of Taiwan, Mili holds a master’s degree from Taipei National University of the Arts and a bachelor’s from National Taiwan Normal University. Mili’s flute teachers have included Jinny Hwei-Jin Liu from the Manhattan School of Music and Li-Man Sung from the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Brussels.

Kai-Ju Ho is a native of Taipei, Taiwan and holds a bachelor’s degree from Taipei National University of the Arts in Taipei, Taiwan, where she studied with Wei-Leng Chen, principal clarinetist of the Taipei Symphony Orchestra. She then received a master’s degree in clarinet performance from the University of Texas-Austin where she studied with Nathan Williams. She is now pursuing her doctoral degree in clarinet performance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying with Linda Bartley.

Kai-Ju Ho is an avid performer in recital and solo appearances, orchestra playing and chamber music. She has received numerous awards, including first prize in the 2012 International Clarinet Association Young Artist competition, the 2007 Taiwan Clarinet Competition, and the 2006 Taipei Symphony Orchestra Young Artist concerto Competition.   In 2010, Kai-Ju Ho joined the Chimei Philharmonic Orchestra and performed in China (Beijing, Ningbo, Shanghai, Nanjing, and Guangzhou). In 2006, she  was a member of the Taipei Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.  Kai-Ju Ho has played in many master classes, including those with Florent Heau, Lei Fan, Paul Meyer, Kenneth Grant, Hakan Rosengren and Mark Nuccio.

Daria Mikhailovna Tennikova was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She began taking composition lessons from Natalia Karsh of the Composers Union of Saint Petersburg, but initially chose to focus on piano rather than pursuing a career in composition, receiving an associate degree in piano performance and pedagogy from St. Petersburg’s Mussorgsky College of Music in 2008.  Her work received its first public performance at the college when her “Three Lilies” for soprano and piano was played as part of a final accompaniment exam. Daria moved to the United States in 2009 and began devoting more time to composition. In 2010 she began pursuing a bachelor’s degree in composition at UW-Madison, studying with professors Laura Schwendinger and Stephen Dembski.
Poema for Saxophone and Orchestra is Ms. Tennikova’s most recent composition, and her very first work for orchestra. She says, “I began thinking
about writing a piece for soloist and orchestra last spring. Originally I wanted it to be for a piano soloist, and I wrote the main theme with something “Russian” in mind. Later in the spring of 2013, I heard Erika Anderson play Anthony Caulkins’ saxophone piece at a concert. I was moved by her wonderful performance to write my piece for saxophone soloist. I wanted Erika to play it, so I asked her if she would be interested in collaborating and, being both a wonderful person and a great musician, she agreed to play without even hearing the music! I am very grateful to her for giving my piece a beautiful performance!”

New Pro Arte CD featuring centennial commissions now for sale

Pro Arte Quartet Release Centennial CD

New recording features four commissioned works

by Mike Muckian

MADISON, Wis. – The Pro Arte Quartet, the string ensemble-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin, has released The Pro Arte Quartet Centennial Anniversary Commissions on the Albany Records label. The double-CD, which contains the first four compositions commissioned to celebrate the Pro Arte’s 2011-2012 100th anniversary season, is now available. 

The four new compositions recorded by the Pro Arte, considered the world’s oldest continuously performing string quartet, will soon be joined by a fifth commissioned work, the String Quartet No. 3 by Belgian composer Benoît Mernier. The world premiere of Mernier’s work is scheduled to take place March 1, 2014, in Mills Concert Hall in the Mosse Humanities Building on the UW-Madison campus, and will bring the Pro Arte full-circle to its Belgian roots.

ProArte CD

The Quatuor Pro Arte of Brussels, founded in 1911, was performing at the Wisconsin Union Theatre on the UW campus on May 10, 1940, when Belgium was overrun and occupied by Nazi forces, turning three of its original four musicians into war orphans. By October of that year, the group had officially become the UW Pro Arte Quartet, making it the first artist ensemble-in-residence at any university in the world.

Current members of the Pro Arte who perform on the new CD include David Perry and Suzanne Beia on violin, Sally Chisholm on viola and Parry Karp on cello.

The recording, produced by multiple Grammy Award-winning classical producer Judith Sherman, contains commissioned work by American composers Walter Mays, Paul Schoenfield, William Bolcom and John Harbison. The Mays and Schoenfield string quartets were recorded in December 2011 in Mills Hall, where each received its world premiere, and the Bolcom and Harbison piano quintets were recorded in May 2012, also in Mills Hall.

Mays’ String Quartet No. 2 “Dreaming Butterfly” is based on writings in the second chapter of the Zhuangzi, the ancient book of Chinese Taoist philosophy. The work is a follow-up to Mays’ String Quartet in G Minor, written for the Pro Arte during the summer of 1998. The new work takes as its inspiration Master Zhuang’s dream of being a butterfly, floating free of worldly cares, then awakening to wonder if he wasn’t really a butterfly dreaming that it was the Taoist philosopher. 

“’Dreaming Butterfly’ is laid out in five connected sections, three scherzo adventures surrounded by two ‘sleep music’ episodes,” says Mays, a member of Kansas’s Wichita State University composition faculty. “There is also a brief codetta, inspired by Zhuang’s idea that he might still be a butterfly. An important feature is the virtuosity of the first violin part, which represents the spirit of the butterfly.”

Schoenfield’s Three Rhapsodies for Piano Quintet combines three very different influences to comprise a 25-minute work inspired by literature, Yiddish ceremony and even 1950s pop music.

“Every time I sit down to compose a piece of music, a little voice in my head asks, ‘When are you going to get a real job?’” says Schoenfiled, a Detroit native and professor of music composition at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “So that became the first movement of my work.”

The composition’s first rhapsody is based on the 1957 Silhouettes doo-wop hit “Get A job.” The second rhapsody takes both its title and tone from “The Beach of Desolation,” an elliptical Henry James story about unrequited love, a threatened breach-of-promise suit, and a surprise solution. The third rhapsody, “Klezmorim,” is “joyfully” composed and performed in Hasidic fashion, the composer says.

Brian (Keng-Lun) Hsu, a former University of Michigan doctoral student in piano studies and now assistant professor at Loyola University in New Orleans, performs with the Pro Arte on the Schoenfield composition.

Bolcom’s Piano Quintet No. 2 fulfills the composer’s mission to mirror society. “It’s a very broad and passionate piece,” says Bolcom, a Pulitzer Prize- and Grammy Award-winning composer who retired as musical composition teacher at the University of Michigan in 2008. “It’s kind of a warning, even a lament, perhaps, of what we’ve become in our world today.”

Bolcom’s four-movement composition features UW School of Music Professor Christopher Taylor on piano. Taylor, the recipient of numerous honors and accolades including the Van Cliburn Bronze Medal, had previously recorded Bolcom’s 12 New Etudes in 2000.

Harbison’s String Quartet No. 5, which completes the CD’s lineup, is comprised of 10 short movements. It’s an approach that Harbison, winner of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation genius award, the Pulitzer Prize and the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, had never before taken in his string quartets.

“Many of these movements were longer when they started out,” says Harbison. “I retained the parts of each that were closest to the central theme.”

The composition replicates in structure the Leonard Stein Anagrams, a piano work Harbison composed in honor of the late Leonard Stein, composer Arnold Schoenberg’s personal assistant and former head of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute in Los Angeles. Stein’s predilection to turn names of friends and acquaintances into anagrams inspired Harbison’s short-movements approach to both the piano work and string quartet.

Copies may be purchased through Albany Records or at the School of Music.  Call 608.263.1900 to order from the School of Music, or check this site: http://apps.music.wisc.edu/cdstore/all.asp 

Review copies of The Pro Arte Quartet Centennial Anniversary Commissions are available to critics and journalists upon request. Please contact Sarah Schaffer at the UW School of Music, 608-217-6786 or slschaffer@wisc.edu for more information.

Older releases (dating back to 1931) by the Pro Arte Quartet can be found here.