Category Archives: Kyle Knox

“Symphony Showcase” concerto winners Feb 12; UW Opera Announces Spring Show; Schwendinger’s “Artemisia” Premieres in NYC

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music – February 2, 2017

For Valentine’s Day: “Love Story, Steinway Version”

A treasured 1927 Steinway Baby Grand Piano, Model M, finds a new home at the Mead Witter School of Music. Click to read the story and view images behind the School’s newest donation, inspired by love.

mom_dadcrop


“Symphony Showcase” Concerto winners recital returns to delight and thrill

Watching a young musician solo on stage is always a treat, and every year we’re happy to show you some of our most talented, many already professionals. Please join us on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 PM in Mills Hall to hear and congratulate our students. Adult tickets are $10; children and all students are free. Tickets will be sold at the door. New this year: A reception at the University Club following the concert. The reception is included in the ticket price.

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. Not pictured: Nathan Froebe, composer. Photograph by Hannah Olson.

2016-2017 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). Biffa is from Hong Kong.
  • Violinist Matthew Lee is an undergraduate senior, graduate of the Madison Memorial High School and alumnus of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. Matthew 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 native of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Matt is a master’s student of Prof. John Aley. He’ll perform the Trumpet Concerto in F Minor, Op. 18 by Oskar Böhme (1870-1938). Read about Matt in the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen: Beaver Dam native soars as trumpet player in Madison.
  • Soprano Anna Polum will sing “Amour, ranime mon courage,” written by Charles Gounod (1818-1893) for his opera adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Anna studies with Professor James Doing and hails from Fairbanks, Alaska.
  • Pianist Shuk-Ki Wong, will perform the first movement of the Piano Concerto in G Major by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). Shuk-ki studies with Professors Jessica Johnson and Christopher Taylor.
  • Composer Nathan Froebe, a doctoral student of Prof. Laura Schwendinger. The orchestra will perform the premiere of his Portrait d’une Femme, written for his friend and colleague, mezzo-soprano Jessica Kasinski.

University Opera to stage Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw” in March

Fresh from winning two major awards in the 2015-16 National Opera Association Competition, University Opera will present Benjamin Britten’s gothic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw, to round out its season.  In this, Britten’s last chamber opera, based on the Henry James novella of the same title, terror takes unexpected forms.  Premiered in 1954, The Turn of the Screw tells of a young governess who is hired to care for two children in an isolated country house in late 19th century England.  She soon realizes that the children are haunted by secrets and spirits that harm them in very real ways and she takes it upon herself to defend them.  In so doing, she is forced to confront the demons she perceives as threats, as well as her own internal ones.

Benjamin Britten in the mid-1960s (photograph by Hans Wild).
Benjamin Britten in the mid-1960s (photograph by Hans Wild).

The Turn of the Screw will be presented in English for three performances, all with projected supertitles.  March 3 at 7:30 PM, March 5 at 3:00 PM, and March 7 at 7:30 PM at Music Hall on the UW-Madison campus.  David Ronis, inaugural Karen K. Bishop Director of University Opera, will direct and graduate conducting assistant Kyle Knox will conduct the 13-member chamber orchestra.  Musical preparation will be by University Opera’s new vocal coach, Daniel Fung.

Click to read full news release.

Schwendinger opera “Artemisia” receives New York premiere

Next performance: Spring 2018, in San Francisco with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble

On January 7, UW-Madison composer Laura Schwendinger unveiled Artemisia, a major new opera, at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City as part of its Time’s Arrow Festival.  The opera is a story of passion, betrayal and art in 17th century Italy based on the life of Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi. With a libretto by Ginger Strand, author of The Brothers Vonnegut, Artemisia is a recipient of a National Opera Center Discovery grant.

Real-life drama: Schwendinger’s “Artemisia” opera will premiere in New York City: Isthmus, 1.5.17

Preview in Broadway World, 1.7.17

Click to watch video of Artemisia’s premiere


Selected upcoming concerts and events:

Pro Arte Quartet, Saturday, Feb 4. With guest pianist Jee-Won Oh.

Wisconsin Brass Quintet, Final concert with retiring trumpeter John Aley, Sunday, Feb 26

Student Recitals: All semester.

Music Master Classes: Opportunities to observe guest musicians as they instruct and engage with college students.

Our Full Concert Calendar

calendar

The School of Music offers a smorgasbord of performances each year; we invite you to visit our website and click on our events calendar. We also publish a season brochure that is mailed every August.


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

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

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

Two More Awards for UW-Madison University Opera

University Opera scores again with national recognition

Awards for two shows in 2015-2016

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

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

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

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

Read the full news release.

UW-Madison Jazz Program highlighted- twice!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet our students: Juliana Mesa-Jaramillo, bassoonist

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

Juliana Mesa-Jaramillo
Juliana Mesa-Jaramillo

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

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

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

Two Community Opportunities – Deadlines Included

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

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

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

pathways-to-artistry-graphic

Two Concerts – Seats Available

Sunday, January 22, 4 PM, Mills Hall

Sonatas for Violin and Piano

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

Sunday, January 29, 3 PM, Mills Hall

Our Annual Schubertiade: “Circle of Friends”

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

Emily Birsan
Emily Birsan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alumni News

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

Our Full Concert Calendar

calendar

The School of Music offers a smorgasbord of performances each year; we invite you to visit our website and click on our events calendar. We also publish a season brochure that is mailed every August.


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

University Opera presents spring show, “Transformations”; Clarinet Day debut; cellist Andrew Briggs impresses Middleton audience

News and Concert Highlights from the UW-Madison School of Music – Feb. 29, 2016

University Opera presents its spring 2016 show:”Transformations”

Transformations, a 1970s chamber opera that explores serious psychological themes through the re-telling of Grimm’s fairy tales, will be staged March 11, 13 and 15 by UW-Madison University Opera. The opera was written by Conrad Susa based on poetry by Pulitzer-Prize winner Anne Sexton, who suffered from mental illness and depression, and took her own life in 1974 at age 45.
‘It’s a challenging and compelling piece of music theater,” said David Ronis, director. “It’s a great vehicle to teach skills to young opera singers, and stimulating thought and dialog across the university and community.”  While the opera is dark at times, it contains much humor as well.

Anne Sexton
Anne Sexton

Sexton’s writing was often confessional and overtly feminist. Her champions included Maxine Kumin, Robert Lowell, and Sylvia Plath. Transformations was commissioned of Susa in 1972 by the Minnesota Opera, known for its interest in contemporary works. The libretto includes eight cast members who play multiple roles from the fairy tales; the plot involves a middle-aged witch who is transformed into a young beauty pulled into a nightmare.

Transformations is conducted by graduate assistant conductor Kyle Knox.

Click this link to read much more about this production, including the cast list and backstage personnel.

Performance dates, times and prices:
Friday, Mar 11 @ 7:30pm (Pre-show discussion, 6 PM)
Sunday, Mar 13 @ 3:00pm
Tuesday, Mar 15 @ 7:30pm
General Admission: $25; Seniors: $20; Students: $10
Tickets available at the Memorial Union Box Office. Also available at the door.

Transformations is a thought-provoking and complex opera that benefits from thought and discussion. Join us for a pre-show discussion at 6:00 PM in Music Hall, March 11, with noted University scholars:
Lynn Keller – Professor of Poetry, UW-Madison
Thomas DuBois – Professor of Scandinavian Studies, Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies,UW-Madison
Laura Schwendinger – Professor of Composition, School of Music, UW-Madison
Karlos Moser – Emeritus Director of Opera, UW-Madison
David Ronis
– Interim Director of Opera, UW-Madison
Moderator: Susan Cook, Director, UW-Madison School of Music


Selected Concert Highlights, March 2016

The Hunt Quartet. Sunday, March 6, 6:00 PM, Morphy Hall, free and open to all. The Hunt Quartet is the graduate string quartet at UW-Madison, comprised of Paran Amirinazari, violin; Clayton Tillotson, violin; Blakeley Menghini, viola; and Andrew Briggs, cello. The quartet will play music of Beethoven, Webern, and Schubert. Funding is provided by Dr. Kato Perlman and the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

The Hunt Quartet. L-R: Clayton Tillotson, violin; Blakeley Menghini, viola; Paran Amirinazari, violin; and cellist Andrew Briggs, cello. Photograph by Katrin Talbot.
The Hunt Quartet. L-R: Clayton Tillotson, violin; Blakeley Menghini, viola; Paran Amirinazari, violin; and cellist Andrew Briggs, cello. Photograph by Katrin Talbot.

UW Chamber Orchestra
Wednesday, March 16, Mills Hall, 7:30 PM. The UWCO, conducted by James Smith, will perform works of Bela Bartok, Elliott Carter, and Einojuhani Rautavaara, one of Finland’s most important composers. Rautavaara’s style has been influenced by Orthodox liturgical music and Finnish fiddlers and is both Romantic and mystical; read about him at this link.

“Le Domaine Musical”
Friday, March 18, Morphy Hall, 8:00 PM. Free concert. An homage to the late composer Pierre Boulez, featuring music of Pierre Boulez, Anton Webern, Claude Debussy and Johann Sebastian Bach. Performers drawn from School of Music faculty as well as students.

 

See much more on our complete calendar: recitals, jazz, classical, voice and percussion concerts, colloquia, and opera: http://www.music.wisc.edu/events/


UW-Madison hosts its first “Clarinet Day”

On Saturday, February 20th, the clarinet studio and Wesley Warnhoff, adjunct professor of clarinet, hosted its first “Clarinet Day,” including Warnhoff and students performing works by Francis Poulenc and Eric Mandat, master classes with high school students, and chamber music sessions with college and high school students working side by side. The day concluded with the group attending a stunning performance by the UW Wind Ensemble conducted by Professor Scott Teeple. Warnhoff plans to turn this into an annual event; check back next year!

Clarinet Day 2016
Clarinet Day 2016

New on SoundCloud: Hear Martha Fischer, Wes Warnhoff and Jamie-Rose Guarrine perform “The Shepherd on the Rock” at last January’s annual “Schubertiade” concert. Fischer is prof. of piano and collaborative piano at UW-Madison. Guarrine received her DMA at UW-Madison and now teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


Cellist Andrew Briggs earns ovation from Middleton Community Orchestra audience

“I must say that he gave me about the most satisfying experience of it that I have ever heard.” Reviewer John Barker, in his review of the MCO’s Feb. 24 concert, in which Briggs, a UW-Madison graduate student studying with Prof. Uri Vardi, played Antonin Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. “The reason for that is not only his playing skill but also his natural rapport with an audience: He communicates.”
Click to read the full post at The Well-Tempered Ear.

Andrew Briggs
Andrew Briggs

Faculty News: James Doing, Laura Schwendinger
Alumni News: Danny Kim


 

The School of Music offers a smorgasbord of performances each year; we invite you to visit our website and click on our events calendar. We also publish a season brochure that is mailed every August.


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

Kyle Knox: The Accidental Conductor

by Katherine Esposito

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

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

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

Kyle Knox.
Kyle Knox. Photograph by Katherine Esposito.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring Performances with Kyle Knox, Conductor

Madison Opera’s Little Women

February 5 & 7, 2016

http://www.madisonopera.org/

 

University Opera, Transformations

March 11, 13, 15, 2016

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

 

Madison Savoyards, The Gondoliers

July & August, 2016

http://madisonsavoyards.org/

 

Middleton Players Theater, Sunday in the Park with George

June & July, 2016

http://www.middletonplayers.com/

 

Summer Music Clinic Honors Orchestra

June 26-July 1, 2016

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

 


About Focal Dystonia

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

Here’s how Kyle Knox describes it:

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

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

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

Hire a Musician!

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


The School of Music offers a smorgasbord of performances each year; we invite you to visit our website and click on our events calendar. We also publish a season brochure that is mailed every August.


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

UW Opera Wins National Award; 3rd “Schubertiade” coming on Jan. 30

Happy New Year from the UW-Madison School of Music!

University Opera’s Albert Herring wins award from the National Opera Association

Albert Herring, an opera composed by Benjamin Britten and produced by University Opera in October, 2014 at Music Hall, has won third place in Division III of the National Opera Association‘s annual opera production competition. The opera was directed by interim director David Ronis and conducted by Kyle Knox, a graduate student studying conducting with professor James Smith.

It is the first NOA award for UW-Madison and the fourth for Ronis, whose previous wins came while he taught at Queens College in New York City.

All photographs by Michael R. Anderson

This past weekend, Ronis collected the award at the association’s yearly meeting in Indianapolis. “When I arrived in Madison, I felt that the quality of the work being done by University Opera was of a very high caliber, certainly of the level of other college and university opera departments that I had seen win awards,” Ronis said in an email. “So I thought, ‘Why not? We’ve got nothing to lose.’ So I submitted both last year’s productions of Albert Herring and The Magic Flute and I guess it paid off.”

“Good opera has been produced by UW-Madison for years. It’s just very gratifying to have the recognition of a national organization,” he continued.

The competition is blind, meaning that performing companies are not identified to judges. Those eligible include small professional opera companies and opera training programs from academic institutions, music conservatories, summer opera training programs, and opera outreach programs. Entries are separated into seven divisions by the judges; the criteria include the size and scope of institution’s music and opera program and the level of vocal training of the singers in the cast.

Congratulations to University Opera!

Mark your calendars now for University Opera’s spring show, Transformations, Conrad Susa’s thought-provoking opera from 1973. Susa’s chamber opera for eight singers and eight players is an adult re-telling of ten classic fairy tales (among them, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel) as seen through the eyes of poet Anne Sexton. Sexton’s struggle with mental illness frames the darkly humorous and audaciously recounted tales, filled with mid-twentieth-century references, both literary and musical. Performance dates are March 11-15, 2016. Buy tickets here.


Third “Schubertiade” coming January 30 to Mills Hall!

(Please note ticketing and parking tips below!)

In homage to a beloved composer, the UW-Madison School of Music will present its third annual Schubertiade, an evening of songs, piano duets and chamber music by Franz Schubert, one day before the composer’s 219th birthday.

All photographs by Michael R. Anderson

The concert will take place on Saturday evening, January 30 at 8 p.m. in Mills Concert Hall. The concert is hosted by pianist Martha Fischer, who is professor of collaborative piano and piano at the School of Music, and her pianist husband Bill Lutes, emeritus artist-in-residence. Alumna soprano Jamie-Rose Guarrine, who has sung with many major opera companies including Wolftrap in Washington, D.C., the Santa Fe Opera, the Minnesota Opera, as well as Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera and Madison Opera, will be a guest soloist. Guarrine now teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The program will include a major work for piano duet, the Allegro in A minor, known as “Lebensstürme” or Life’s Storms, performed by Fischer and Lutes. Guarrine will sing one of Schubert’s final works, the delightful “Shepherd on the Rock,” along with Fischer and clarinet faculty Wesley Warnhoff.

Additional guests will include UW-Madison voice faculty Mimmi Fulmer and Paul Rowe; current University Opera director David Ronis; alumni singers Daniel O’Dea and Benjamin Schultz; current DMA candidate Sara Guttenberg; soprano Marie McManama; UW-Madison horn faculty Daniel Grabois; UW-Madison faculty violinist Soh-hyun Park Altino; UW-Madison faculty violist Sally Chisholm; adjunct professor of clarinet Wesley Warnhoff; alumnus cellist Ben Ferris; and Leo Altino, cellist, the husband of Park Altino.

Read more here.

Tickets are $15.00 for adults. Students of all ages are free.

Tickets are available through the Union Theater Box Office. Patrons may buy online ($4 fee) or save the fee and buy in person at Memorial Union or in Mills lobby day of show.

Please note: We recommend that patrons arrive early, both to secure a parking spot and to buy a ticket (if you haven’t already). Parking will be tight due to UW hockey, but parking passes may be ordered two weeks in advance to guarantee a space.

To buy a parking spot, complete this online request form or call the Special Events Office at (608) 262-8683. Please allow two weeks for processing. In the box for “special instructions,” please indicate “Schubertiade.” [Note: This form may be used for any concert.]


Meanwhile, Martha Fischer has won “Musician of the Year” from local blogger and former Capital Times arts editor Jake Stockinger.

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He writes: “Fischer is a first-rate collaborator who performs and records regularly with other faculty instrumentalists and singers. They include UW trombonist Mark Hetzler, trumpeter John Aley and singers, baritone Paul Rowe and soprano Julia Faulkner, who has since moved on to the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

“A model of the Wisconsin Idea in action, Fischer also serves as a juror for piano competitions, gives talks around the state and helps recruit talented students.

“As a researcher, Fischer – who trained at the Juilliard School, Oberlin College and the New England Conservatory of Music — traveled to England and interviewed famous collaborative pianists about playing Schubert’s art songs.”  Thanks, Jake! Read his full post here.


And one more: UW-Madison’s classical side was lauded in Isthmus’s “Best of 2015” list, via concert reviewer and emeritus history professor John Barker. Among his favorites were last year’s “Schubertiade” concert in January with pianist Martha Fischer, Bill Lutes and many friends; pianist Christopher Taylor at the Madison Symphony in Feb; David Ronis, James Smith and University Opera’s Marriage of Figaro in Sept; David Ronis and Marc Vallon with Madison Bach Musicians; and many alumni who performed with the brand-new Willy Street Chamber Players over the summer. Meanwhile, jazz studies prof Johannes Wallmann was complimented by writer Marc Eisen. “A jazz scene plus,” Eisen writes.

Christopher Taylor
Christopher Taylor

Mark your calendar! Pianist Christopher Taylor will perform solo at the School of Music on February 26. On the program: the French Suite No.1 in D minor, BWV 812 of Johann Sebastian Bach; 12 Etudes, Op.8   of Aleksandr Scriabin; and Piano Sonata No.1, Op.1 of Johannes Brahms. Read more here.

Buy tickets in advance.

NEXT ISSUE: We’ll announce the winners of our annual Concerto Competition and invite you to hear them perform solo at Symphony Showcase, Feb. 14.


 

Alumni News: Nathaniel Wolkstein, Jonathan Posthuma.

http://www.music.wisc.edu/alumni-news/


Hire a Musician!

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


The School of Music offers a smorgasbord of performances each year; we invite you to visit our website and click on our events calendar. We also publish a season brochure that is mailed every August.


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.

Susan Cook on the Beatles; Classical Revolution & Christopher Taylor in concert; Violin grad interviewed about audition plans; and more

Classical Revolution presents UW students performing at a pub…

class_rev2011

Tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 20, Classical Revolution Madison will be back with a jam-packed show of classical and contemporary favorites at Brocach Irish Pub on the Square (7 W Main St.) on Thursday, February 20th at 7 pm.  From 7-8 pm, CRM will present a dynamic program featuring works by Brahms, Shostakovich, Haydn, and more. Then, from 8-9 pm, they will open up the floor for anyone who wants to sight read or jam, so come with your fiddle or the sheet music of your favorite chamber work if you would like to join in on some casual music making.

Performers will include Kai-Ju Ho, clarinet (who recently soloed in our Symphony Showcase; see note below); and Thalia Coombs, Teddy Wiggins, Tony Oliva, Keisuke Yamamoto and Nathan Giglierano, violins; Marissa Reinholz, Mikko Utevsky and Mara Rogers, violas; Zou Zou Robidoux, Chris Peck, Tori Rogers and Rachel Bottner, cellos.

…meanwhile, pianist Christopher Taylor reveals his program for February 28 in Mills Concert Hall

On Friday, February 28 at 8 pm, in his only Madison appearance this year, celebrated pianist Christopher Taylor will perform the Sonata no. 6, op. 82 (1939) by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) and the Symphony no. 3 in E♭ Major, op. 55 (“Eroica”) by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), as transcribed by Franz Liszt (1811-1886). The concert will take place in Mills Concert Hall and is free.

Taylor writes: “I find altogether exhilarating the opportunity to re-experience works that inspired me even before taking my first piano lesson. Although, needless to say, a pianist cannot hope to duplicate the precise effect of Beethoven’s orchestrations, the attempt to simulate a few of them gives rise to endlessly fascinating pianistic possibilities. Virtually every technical resource of fingering, voicing, articulation, and pedaling (even the middle pedal, a device that Liszt himself lacked till late in his career) proves useful in these mighty transcriptions. While tonight’s version of the Eroica can obviously never displace the original form, I do hope that the pairing of a single musician with one versatile instrument can produce a fresh view of this immortal work, whose turbulent historical genesis and juxtaposition of heroism, tragedy, and redemption complement the Prokofiev so aptly.” Read full program notes here.

That Special Something: Susan C. Cook on what made the Beatles so legendary

In case you missed it, February 9 was the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Beatles in America, a day that went down in history as either the best or the worst example of popular music at the time. “Visually they are a nightmare, tight, dandified Edwardian-Beatnik suits and great pudding bowls of hair. Musically they are a near disaster…”– Newsweek. (William F. Buckley called them “god awful.” Read more quotations in the LA Times.)

beatlesWell, those pudding bowls of hair caught on, didn’t they?  In a session with “Live at Five’s” Mark Koehn and Susan Siman at NBC’s Channel 3, our director and music historian Susan C. Cook talked about how the Beatles finally won us over. Click the link to watch.

http://www.channel3000.com/entertainment/-/1628/24339670/-/130bb5tz/-/index.html

Violin grad on how he’s preparing for master’s auditions

After graduating in 2011, Clayton Tillotson spent a year in Toronto at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory in Toronto, where he received an artist diploma. Then he took a year off.

“I’m currently a first violinist with Orchestra Iowa and The Quad City Symphony,” he writes.

Clayton Tillotson
Clayton Tillotson

“I was originally reluctant to take this year away from school, but ultimately thought it would be better than the massive debt I would have accumulated had I accepted offers from Master’s programs last year. It’s turned out to be a fantastically productive and empowering year though. Realizing that I can actually solve problems and make progress on my own has been one of the best discoveries I’ve ever had.”

Now he’s back on the audition circuit, and recently sat down with Minnesota Public Radio to talk about how he prepares. “He recently Googled teachers from the universities where he would like to get a master’s degree in violin performance, and taped their photos up in his practice room,” writes the author. ”  ‘I just wanted to see what their faces look like,’ he said. ‘I’m really glad that I did, because some of them are pretty scary-looking people.’ ” (Perish the thought!) Read the story here.

Schwendinger’s “High Wire Act”  receives critical acclaim in San Francisco

Faculty composer Laura Schwendinger’s work “High Wire Act” was included in a recent program of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, a program that intentionally included works devoted to “serious fun,” as they called them. “The circus that the Wonder Pets were saving was the one imagined up by Laura Schwendinger for the composition that preceded Horowitz’. Interpreted by the same performers on their same instruments, the piece was a five-movement suite entitled High Wire Act. All but one of the movements were inspired by wire depictions of circus scenes designed by Alexander Calder. The other remaining movement recalled the composer’s own memory of a bird caught under a circus tent that could not find a way to escape,” wrote critic Stephen Smoliar. Read the full story here.

Symphony Showcase “reimagined” proves popular

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Pianist SeungWha Baek, enjoying applause after her performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, movement 1. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.
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At the reception, from left: composer Daria Tennikova; saxophonist Erika Anderson; violinist Madlen Breckbill; pianist Sung-Ho Yang; flutist Mi-Li Chang; and clarinetist Kai-Ju Ho. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.

On February 8, the annual concert of the UW Symphony Orchestra featuring concerto competition winners was held in Mills Hall, to a packed crowd and ovations for every performer. Rechristened the “Symphony Showcase,” it was favorably received by many, including local blogger Jacob Stockinger, who wrote: “If you weren’t there -– well, you probably should regret it. You missed out on a lot of fun and a lot of beautiful music-making by a very impressive group of talented students.” Read the full story here. 

Pro Arte’s Sally Chisholm to perform February 23 in a 90th birthday tribute to former Minnesota Orchestra conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski

The Chamber Music Society of Minnesota plans a night of premieres and favorites to honor legendary maestro Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, who conducted the Minnesota Orchestra from 1960 to 1979 and did so again recently after the end of their bitter lockout. “I will be principal viola for the orchestral works on the second half of the program, and violist in the string quartet premieres by Gunther Schuller, John Harbison, and Steven Stucky, ” Sally writes. Read the news release here.

For the full calendar of concerts and events at the school, click here.

Sally Chisholm
Sally Chisholm. Photo by Jim Gill.

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!”