Category Archives: John Aley

“Sounding Beckett” with Cygnus Ensemble; Jazz at UW 50th Birthday; Wind Ensemble Concert April 7 to be livestreamed

March 15, 2018

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music

University of Wisconsin-Madison
455 North Park Street, Madison Wisconsin 53706
http://www.music.wisc.edu/

“Sounding Beckett” – The Intersection of Music and Drama, featuring the Cygnus Ensemble

Friday, March 23, 7:30 PM, Mills Hall.

An event focused on music inspired by the Nobel Prize-winning playwright, Samuel Beckett. Featuring a concert by New York’s Cygnus Ensemble, instrumental master classes, a lecture and panel discussion with Patricia Boyette, UW-Madison professor of theatre & drama and Laura Schwendinger, UW-Madison faculty composer and professor of composition.

Samuel Beckett


With its pairs of plucked strings, bowed strings and woodwinds, Cygnus has a precedent in the Elizabethan “broken consort.”
  The members –Tara Helen O’Connor, flute; Robert Ingliss, oboe; William Anderson and Oren Fader, classical and electric guitars/mandolin/banjo; Calvin Wiersma, violin; Susannah Chapman, violoncello–are all virtuoso players with a great wealth of experience with some of our most cherished musical institutions, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Players.

Read more here.


Celebrating a milestone with students, faculty and special guest, trumpeter Marquis Hill

This April, UW-Madison’s annual Jazz Week will celebrate the 50th anniversary season of the UW Jazz Orchestra, the first jazz ensemble at UW-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music.

Jazz Week 2018 will feature performances by the UW Jazz Orchestra, the UW Jazz Composers Group, the UW Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, the UW High School Honors Jazz Band, and a faculty jazz quartet, all to be joined by special guest trumpet soloist Marquis Hill, the winner of the 2014 Thelonious Monk Competition.

Hill is a Chicago native who now makes his home in New York City. “His music crystallizes the hard-hitting, hard-swinging spirit of Chicago jazz,” writes Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune. “Hill commands a nimble technique, a fluid way of improvising and a pervasively lyrical manner.”


Marquis Hill

UW’s Jazz Week 2018 features three concerts:

  • Tuesday, April 24: Marquis Hill with the UW Jazz Composers Group and the UW Contemporary Jazz Ensemble. Morphy Hall, 7:30 PM. Free concert.
  • Thursday, April 26: Marquis Hill with a faculty jazz quartet led by pianist and Director of Jazz Studies Johannes Wallmann with Les Thimmig, saxophones; Nick Moran, bass; and Matt Endres, drums. Morphy Hall, 8:00 PM. Ticketed concert: $15 adults, $5 non-music majors.
  • Friday, April 27: Marquis Hill with the UW Jazz Orchestra and the UW High School Honors Jazz Band. Music Hall, 8:00 PM. Ticketed concert: $15 adults, $5 non-music majors.

The UW High School Honors Jazz Band is an auditioned 18-member big band for high school students from about a dozen Madison-region schools who are looking for an additional opportunity to perform advanced jazz repertoire.

To buy online, click this link.

You may also purchase in person or at the door. For more information about ticketing and parking options, click here.


“We don’t want THAT word uttered in OUR school”: Listen to our audio stories on SoundCloud about the history of jazz at UW-Madison and at American colleges. With university saxophonist and professor Les Thimmig, who arrived at UW-Madison in 1971, just as the jazz program was getting started. To listen, click the icon below.

Speaking of jazz:

Alumnus trumpeter Eric Siereveld releases debut CD

In 2015, trumpeter Eric Siereveld was wooed from New York City to become the instructor of jazz trumpet and director of the Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble at the School of Music. In 2017, with a brand-new DMA under his arm, he returned to New York City to pursue a multi-pronged career, including performing with his Organic Quintet, working as a private instructor at the United Nations International School in Manhattan, gigs on and off Broadway, and playing in many small groups and big bands.

He’s just released his debut CD, titled “Walk the Walk,” on Shifting Paradigm Records.

Eric writes: “As a DMA student at UW-Madison, I was provided the opportunity to pursue the musical endeavors that I felt a personal connection to. Under the guidance of tremendous professors like Johannes Wallmann and John Aley, they taught me to focus my energy toward musical pursuits that were both professionally and artistically fulfilling. It’s with that spirit that I approached this debut recording. This album reflects the creative spirit and artistic integrity at UW. The compositions on “Walk the Walk” are deeply rooted in the musical process I was going through while completing my DMA. I am particularly proud that this album was recorded, mixed and mastered in Madison and Milwaukee. Without the support of my professors and colleagues at UW and Madison, I do not believe this recording would have been as successful. I hope my teachers, mentors and colleagues at UW-Madison enjoy this recording and that the university shares this album with incoming DMA students. “Walk the Walk” is an example of the type of creative thinking that the DMA program at the Mead Witter School of Music allows its candidates to pursue.”


April 7 Wind Ensemble concert to be livestreamed on YouTube

The UW Wind Ensemble. Photograph by Megan Aley.

Livestreaming in the Humanities building has always been a challenge, but new technology has made this a bit easier. So, on April 7, set your dials (a/k/a your browser URLs) to the School of Music’s YouTube page. There, you’ll find the UW Wind Ensemble with conductor Scott Teeple overseeing a concert of music by emeritus composer John Stevens, Francis Poulenc, Cindy McTee, Gustav Holst and Gerard Schwartz.  Livestream Link Here

Click now, and set a reminder for April 7!


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. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to newsletter editor..


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.

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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.

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.

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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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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.

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

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 

Scholarships help out-of-state trumpeter make UW possible

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At Interlochen Arts Academy, summer 2013.
Left to right: Ben Davis with faculty Ken Larson, Michael Davison, Vincent DiMartino, and Rob Smith.

With out-of-state tuition a challenge for many students and families to afford, every contribution from the university makes it more possible that a student will attend. Here’s one more story in our series for Share the Wonderful, about Benjamin Davis, an undergraduate trumpeter in the studio of John Aley, who has taught at UW-Madison for 32 years and is also principal trumpet in the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Wisconsin Brass Quintet. For 16 years, John has also taught high school students at the Interlochen Arts Camp.

Ben, a native of Richmond, Virgina, is one of two recipients of the Raymond F. Dvorak Scholarship and also is receiving a four-year School of Music scholarship.

Thank you to all who have given Ben the support that allows him to pursue his dreams. We hope you will enjoy his story!

“My name is Ben Davis and I am a senior trumpeter and composer from Richmond, Virginia studying Music Education here at UW. Being at UW has allowed me to become involved in so many different musical experiences that have been invaluable to my growth as a musician, educator, and student. I have been able to put on so many different hats in my career here between teaching music in practicum, being the Associate Director of the Isthmus Jazz Series with the Wisconsin Union Theater last year, performing with large ensembles and in brass quintet, and working as an ensemble librarian. I have been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the great instrumental, composition, and music education faculty here and collaborate with graduate and undergraduate colleagues.

Aley_Jensen_Hetzler2013
Jessica Jensen, John Aley, and Mark Hetzler of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet.
Photograph by Jon Harlow.

“Recently, what I have been doing has been an eclectic mix of activities. This summer was the second time I had the pleasure to be a teaching assistant in the brass area at Interlochen Arts Camp where I got to coach chamber music with the high schoolers, conduct the Intermediate Brass Ensemble, play with the Faculty Brass Ensemble and Big Band, help teach the brass component of instrument exploration, and make connections to artists on faculty and staff from all over the country. At UW, I am finishing up my coursework in the final semester before I student teach next semester, so things are very busy in my life currently. Like most semesters, I have the privilege to work with and learn from esteemed trumpet guru John Aley, whose unbelievable sound and great teaching attracted me to UW as a high schooler. I am also enrolled in a number of general education courses. However, this semester’s work also happens to include learning flute, cello, bass, and percussion all of which have been very enjoyable!

“Outside of my courses for school, I study composition with Filippo Santoro, a current DMA candidate, who has been a great mentor and very important to my development as a composer. Over the last few months, I had the great opportunity to collaborate with current artist-in-residence at Kennesaw State University and trumpet extraordinaire Doug Lindsey (DMA ‘12). I wrote a new piece for trumpet and stacked percussion (vibraphone and marimba) for him called Impressions that will be played next semester. Next semester will also bring the premier of the quartet Dig. for Trombone, Vibraphone, Piano, and Cello, written for UW senior and trombonist Ty Peterson. It is influenced by ideas of rhythm and groove in free jazz and is structurally informed by the panels of visual artist Sol LeWitt’s All One-Two-Three and Four Part Combinations of Lines in Four Directions and in Four Colors (1976). I am currently working on a piece for orchestra in four movements called freezes, flows and am in the relatively early stages of analysis of Katharina Rosenberger’s octet parcours III.

“The scholarships I have received from the School of Music and the Raymond F. Dvorak Scholarship have been very important for my family. Because I am not from Wisconsin or Minnesota, I pay out of state tuition for my schooling which is expensive. The financial assistance provided through these scholarships really have been of much use in reducing the net cost of my schooling and that has allowed me to be able to continue experiencing all of these great things that I have been able to do up here at UW, so I am extremely thankful!”

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