Category Archives: Madison Early Music Festival

Oct. 19: Tenor Jim Doing presents more of his favorites to sing–and to teach

Our School of Music is famous for its voice faculty, counting among them luminaries such as baritone Paul Rowe (an organizer of Madison’s nationally-known Early Music Festival); soprano Mimmi Fulmer (former teacher of Broadway star National Stampley); soprano Julia Faulkner (now on leave to Chicago’s Lyric Opera and replaced by Elizabeth Hagedorn, recently returned from many roles in Europe); and James Doing, a tenor who three years ago made a splash with a recital of “Teaching Songs for the Voice Studio,” a recital of songs that Doing assigns to his college students to sing, which taught those in the audience what it is like to be a voice student and would-be students what to expect in Doing’s studio. It also educated listeners about the classical and modern canon in the vocal repertoire.

James Doing
James Doing

Local writer Jacob Stockinger has this to say about Doing’s 2010 recital:  “It educated the audience. It was kind of like sitting in on Art Song 101. It let us listeners into the studio and allowed us to hear what makes for good repertoire, a good program and a good lesson. It was also great to see a professor sharing the recital stage with his students. To be sure, each will continue, and should continue, to perform his or her own individual solo recitals. But Doing is primarily an opera and oratorio singer so he was much like the students when it came to these first public performances of art songs.

“But sharing the stage lends credibility to the teaching process. It projects a certain solidarity and cohesion. It also projects cordiality, which is no small thing, even as we see different singing and performing styles. (Doing himself, to my ears, excelled especially in the songs by Italian, English and German Baroque composers such as Caccini, Conti, Purcell and Handel, and with French composers such as Ravel, Debussy, Faure and an exquisite song by Reynaldo Hahn.) And the results were highly successful — both enjoyable and instructive, the twin ideals of the Age of Enlightenment.”

This Saturday, October 19, at 8 pm in Mills Hall, Professor Doing will present another in what will not only be a series of “Teaching Favorites,” but will be a step toward a book on the same subject.  He will be joined by Professor Martha Fischer on piano and student singers CatieLeigh Laszewski, Jenny Marsland, Olivia Pogodzinski, Melanie Traeger, and Sheila Wilhelmi. Songs will include Strike the Viol (Henry Purcell)  from Come, ye Sons of Art; Và godendo (G.F. Handel from Serse, Melanie Traeger, soprano);  and Mozart’s Giùnse alfin il momento . . . Deh vieni, non tardar (from Le Nozze di Figaro, CatieLeigh Laszewski, soprano). And many more.             

Here, Prof. Doing explains the concept behind the next concert.

“Three years ago I presented a Teaching Favorites for the Voice Studio recital complete with program notes about vocal technique, diction, and so on, and it was well received.

“On Saturday, October 19th at 8:00 my students and I are going to be singing another Teaching Favorites for the Voice Studio in Mills Hall (free admission) and I would love to have many singers and teachers from the community come and share the evening with me and my students. I’ll be performing eighteen songs and five of my female voice students will assist by singing eight selections.

“Historical notes  are being provided by Chelsie Propst, a fine young soprano who completed her MM in Voice with Paul Rowe and is now a PhD candidate in Musicology. I add some Performance Notes/Suggestions and Diction pointers. For this concert of 26 songs we will provide the full notes on about 10 songs and I will provide my own translations and International Phonetic Alphabet transcriptions for all of them (except the final set of English songs). This concert is the second in a series of four with number three taking place April 3rd, 2014 in Mills Hall and number four taking place during the 2014-15 school year.

“The goal/plan at this point is to eventually complete a book tentatively entitled “100 Teaching Favorites for the Voice Studio.” The book will begin with some chapters on vocal pedagogy, diction, ornamentation, and other issues followed by information about performing each of the 100 songs. Each song will have historical  background written by Ms. Propst, followed by performance and diction pointers, translations and IPA.”

You can learn more about Prof. Doing on his website and YouTube channel. And we look forward to seeing all of you at his recital, which looks to be a highlight of the fall semester. 8 pm in Mills Hall.

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Davis, Jutt receive awards; Early Music Fest inspires & entertains

Everyone says that summer is slower at the UW-Madison School of Music. Don’t believe them. June was the month of the two-week-long Summer Music Clinic. July is the Early Music Festival. Sandwiched in between them was a national award given to bassist Richard Davis, longtime professor of jazz here and director of the Black Music Ensemble, a student group that performs repertoire of black composers. Added to that is an award given just this week to Stephanie Jutt, UW-Madison professor of flute and co-founder of Bach Dancing & Dynamite, the three-week music festival that concluded two week ago. Jutt is also principal flute of the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

Richard Davis
Richard Davis
Stephanie Jutt
Stephanie Jutt

We’ve already featured the SMC and we’ll offer up a story about Prof. Davis sometime soon. Meanwhile, Prof. Jutt has received the Margaret Rupp Cooper Award from MSO, “presented annually to two orchestra members based upon years of service, commitment to the orchestra, and musicianship.” The other winner is MSO hornist Bill Muir. Congratulations to all!

Back on campus, the 14th edition of the Madison Early Music Festival (“A Festive Celebration of the German Renaissance”) is underway and continues until Friday night. The Festival is based at the UW-Madison School of Music, and orchestrated by our own Chelcy Bowles (recently featured in the Wisconsin State Journal’s Know Your Madisonian“), a harpist and Professor of Music and Director of Continuing Education in Music; Paul Rowe, baritone, Professor of Voice; and soprano and Grammy award winner Cheryl Bensman-Rowe. Each of the three bring impressive credentials, which you can read here. 

The festival has already received extensive press coverage and full houses for its many offerings, which include Piffaro, the Renaissance Band,  July 6; Parthenia: A Consort of Viols,  July 7; Handel Aria Competition, July 8; The Dark Horse Consort,  July 9; MEMF Participant Concert,  July 11, 1 pm; Calmus Ensemble Leipzig,  July 11, 7:30 pm; and All-Festival Concert,  July 12, 7:30 pm. There are also multiple workshops and lectures. Obviously, several have already taken place, but you can still catch the Calmus Ensemble on Thursday night and the All-Festival Concert on Friday.

One of the highlights of the fest was the Handel Aria Competition, the first ever held at MEMF, sponsored by local businessfolk Dean and Carol (“Orange”) Schroeder. The competition was designed to encourage vocalists to explore the music of George Frideric Handel, and offered prizes from $1000 to $500 for first, second, and third places, respectively. Both local newsweekly Isthmus and blogger Jake Stockinger put time into reviewing this event; you can read their thoughts below.

Review by Isthmus writer Marie Loeffler: Young talent abounds at Madison Early Music Festival’s first Handel Aria Competition

Review by Well-Tempered Ear blogger Jake Stockinger: Classical music: The Ear finds himself in Handel Himmel and enjoys the first Handel Aria Competition at the 14th annual Madison Early Music Festival.

In addition, WISC-TV Channel 3 produced a special segment about the festival for their “Live at Five” show. Click the link to watch. “Live at Five”

The SOM congratulates the organizers of and donors to the MEMF for all their efforts, and the competition winners and finalists as well.  While School of Music vocal alumna Saira Frank (MM, 2008) was not among the winners, she received a nice compliment from Isthmus reviewer Marie Loeffler, who wrote:  “One of the evening’s highlights was soprano Saria Frank’s precise technical work in “A Ruggiero crudel…Ombre Pallide” from Alcina, which featured beautiful intonation on the scales. Frank also commanded complex rhythmic passages, notably the measured dotted eighth notes that appear throughout “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth” from Handel’s famous Messiah.” Saira will next appear with the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee during Festa Italiana on the Summerfest grounds, July 19-21.

Saira Frank
Saira Frank in “Bella Rose,” Fresco Opera