UW-Madison alumni form 3/4 of new strings education quartet in Door County
Executive director also an alumna
The first time UW-Madison’s Hunt Quartet played in Door County for Midsummer’s Music, a Door County summer chamber music festival, it was in response to an emergency.
The renowned Pro Arte Quartet had long been booked to play, but the quartet had to cancel. Midsummer’s artistic director James Berkenstock scrambled to fill the void.
David Perry, violinist with the Pro Arte, had a solution: Hire the Hunt, the graduate string quartet at UW-Madison. “David said that this particular configuration of the Hunt Quartet was superb,” says Berkenstock. “He said they already had a program and would do a great job.”
Classical pianist Christopher Taylor continues his Liszt/Beethoven cycle
Franz Liszt was a superstar pianist. He was a virtuoso who invented the orchestral tone poem, taught 400 students for free, conducted and composed. Musicologist Alan Walker wrote three volumes about Liszt, shedding light on all of Liszt’s work but especially his genius for transcription. Writes Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times, “The best of these works are much more than virtuosic stunts. Liszt’s piano transcriptions of the nine Beethoven symphonies are works of genius. Vladimir Horowitz, in a 1988 interview, told me that he deeply regretted never having played Liszt’s arrangements of the Beethoven symphonies in public.”
Few pianists have tackled all nine Beethoven transcriptions. Christopher Tayloris one. On Saturday, February 9, at 8:00 PM in Mills Hall, Taylor will perform his sixth transcription – Beethoven’s 8th Symphony. Saturday’s concert will also include six preludes by Nikolai Kapustin, a whose works span both classical and jazz, and the Fantasy in C Major, D. 760 (“Der Wanderer”) of Franz Schubert.
In 2020, Christopher Taylor will celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with performances of the Franz Liszt transcriptions of Beethoven’s symphonies, in Madison and beyond. In Boston, Taylor will perform the entire set in five concerts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Tickets for Taylor’s Feb. 9 concert ($17 adults, $7 children) may be purchased online or in person.
February 2 @ 8:00 pm, Mills Concert Hall, 455 N. Park St.
Program: String Quartet D Major, Op. 50 No. 6 “The Frog”(1796) – Franz Joseph Haydn String Quartet No. 9 in Eb Major, Op. 117 (1964) – Dmitri Shostakovich String Quartet in A Major, Op. 41 No. 3 (1842) – Robert Schumann
“Schubertiade” charms audience once again
Isthmus’s John Barker wrote, “A carefully prepared program and a multi-page handout with the full German song texts, with English translations, allowed the audience to become fully immersed in the music.
Jazz Composers Group and Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble February 1 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Tandem Press, 1743 Commercial Avenue
Wingra Wind Quintet in Richland Center February 3 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 26625 Crestview Dr Richland Center, WI Members of the Wingra Wind Quintet in concert, presented by the Richland Concert Association at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Richland Center.
UW Jazz Orchestra & the Billy Childs Quartet February 9 @ 8:00 pm Memorial Union-Shannon Hall, 800 Langdon Street WI Jazz pianist Billy Childs, the 2018 Grammy Award winner for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, will join the UW Jazz Orchestra on stage for an exciting opening act prior to his appearance with the Billy Childs Quartet.
UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra, with composer Augusta Read Thomas February 14 @ 7:30 pm Mills Concert Hall. With Chad Hutchinson, conductor, and graduate conductors Michael Dolan and Ji Hyun Yim. Program: Jean Sibelius- Valse Triste; Augusta Read Thomas- Of Paradise and Light; Augusta Read Thomas- Prayer and Celebration; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart- Symphony No. 39 in Eb. Major, K. 543. Augusta Read Thomas will be in residence at UW-Madison for this concert. Join us for a master class with Ms. Thomas, Feb. 14, 2:00 to 5:00 PM, Music Hall.
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 the School of Music.
On the program:
Corigliano’s Fantasia on an Ostinato
Beethoven’s Symphony #7 (arr. Liszt)
Schubert’s Moments Musicaux
Rachmaninoff’s Moments Musicaux
Christopher Taylor’s conceptual program features Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, arranged by Franz Liszt. Over 175 years later, NYC-based composer John Corigliano would use Beethoven’s 7th to inspire his Fantasia on an Ostinato.
On the second half of the program, Taylor will feature two takes on the title “Moments Musicaux”: first, Schubert’s version, published in the last year of his life (1828), then he’ll perform Rachmaninoff’s version from the start of his career.
BRASS FEST IV: Concerts & master classes, Saturday, September 30 & Sunday, October 1, Mills Hall & classrooms
We invite students of all ages to discover the brass quintet genre and its myriad of musical styles, and offer a chance for young brass players to meet and mingle with other like-minded musicians.
This year’s guests will be the Beaumont Brass Quintet from Michigan State University. They, along with our own fabulous Wisconsin Brass Quintet, will perform a concert on Saturday, September 30 at 8 pm, featuring arrangements (such as a Bach Partita arranged for brass by our own trombone professor, Mark Hetzler) and original brass works. Those will include “Music for Lighthorses” by David Biedenbender; “Quintet for Brass” by Andrew Duncan; and “Night-Shining White” by Zhou Tian. Cost: Free.
On Sunday, October 1, 2:30 PM, our concert will include both quintets and top college students. There will also be a reception afterwards, for all in attendance. On the program: Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” for brass and percussion. Cost: $15 adults, $5 students (MWSOM students free). Ticket information here.
For specific master class rooms & times, see posted hallway signs.
Brass Fest 2014- Current and former horn students
Brass Fest 2014 with tubist Oystein Baadsvik
Brass Fest 2014
Brass Fest master class with Stockholm Brass, 2016
Brass Fest 2016 – A trove of tubas
Brass Fest 2015 with Axiom Brass
Brass Fest 2015 – Mark Hetzler, trombone
Brass Fest with pianist Johannes Wallmann
Brass Fest with alumna Somali Wilson
Brass Fest with singer Elizabeth Vik
Trumpeter Adam Rapa
Past Brass Fest guests have included tubist Oystein Baadsvik from Norway, trumpeter Adam Rapa with vocalist Elizabeth Vik, the youthful Axiom Brass from Chicago and the internationally-known Stockholm Chamber Brass on their first United States tour.
Listen to “A Little Russian Circus,” movement 1, composed by Anthony DiLorenzo, performed by Stockholm Chamber Brass, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, and college students at Brass Fest III.
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.
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 diFigaro, 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.
October 2015’s Le nozze diFigaro, 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.
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.
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.
“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!”
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.
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.
From the Mead Witter School of Music
University of Wisconsin-Madison
September 13, 2016
In a marriage of the Baroque and the modern, celebrated UW-Madison pianist Christopher Taylor will debut his much-anticipated new electronic double-keyboard piano this October 28, performing J.S. Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.”
The “Variations” is an 80-minute work once dubbed a “Rubik’s Cube of invention and architecture” that Bach wrote for a double-keyboard harpsichord.
Not by coincidence, Taylor will play Bach’s “Rubik’s cube” on a brand-new piano that could be described in much the same way.
Named the “Hyperpiano” by Taylor, it is actually three instruments – two of them ordinary concert grands, the third a special double-keyboard console designed by Taylor – connected by a riot of sensors and wires, with a mechanism that feels nearly normal for the performer but offers sonic possibilities that are unique.
Taylor developed the piano over several years in a laboratory at the Morgridge Institutes for Research, assisted by many faculty and technicians who trained him to machine new parts using computers and guided him as he designed 60-odd circuit boards that make the instrument run. In addition, Taylor wrote several thousand lines of computer code that manage sensing and communications. In 2014, Taylor received United States patent # 8,664,497 B2 for the “Hyperpiano.”
His inspiration to develop it came from another unusual instrument that he inherited shortly after coming to UW-Madison in 2000, a double-keyboard piano made by Steinway in 1929.
Johann Sebastian Bach was known as a composer who welcomed new concepts in musical instruments. Accordingly, Taylor says, Bach designed the Goldberg Variations for the most deluxe instrument of his day, a double-keyboard harpsichord with a four-and-a-half octave range. Today, musicians often perform the work on a regular piano, but must generally “resort to tricks, compromises, fudging or outright studio chicanery to play all the notes as Bach wrote them,” as writer Tom Huizenga wrote in his blog, “Deceptive Cadence.”
The Hyperpiano will allow Taylor to overcome those obstacles. “I can recreate effects more like what Bach imagined, even while producing at the same time completely novel musical results,” Taylor says.
Taylor was a bronze medal winner in the 1993 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, at which he performed the Goldberg Variations, among other works, on a standard single-keyboard Steinway. He also holds a degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
The concert will take place on Friday, October 28, at 8 PM in Mills Hall, Humanities, 455 North Park Street. There will be one intermission.
Tickets for adults are $18; for students, $5. They may be purchased at Campus Arts Ticketingor in person at the Memorial Union Box Office.
Patrons are advised to arrive early. Seating is general admission.
Mills Hall seats 700, of which 100 seats will be reserved on a first-call basis for music students, staff and faculty.
Christopher Taylor’s “Hyperpiano” Creates New Musical Possibilities
By Michael Muckian
“I would never be content as a pianist to play the same half-dozen pieces the same way year in and year out,” Taylor explained. “In piano literature, we have a vast array of great compositions, but we are always questing for new variety.”
Christopher Taylor grew up in Boulder, Colorado, where his father taught physics at the University of Colorado and his mother was a high school English instructor. The family owned a piano and Taylor initially was taught to play by a neighbor down the street.
The casual lessons didn’t last long; by age 10, the young pianist was playing Beethoven. By high school he was composing music.
While music was his first love, Taylor also proved gifted in mathematics, a field that seemed to offer a more stable career path. The young pianist chose to follow that thread, graduating summa cum laude in mathematics from Harvard University in 1992.
During those same years, Taylor also studied piano under Russell Sherman at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he began to attract the attention of the East Coast classical music community. In 1990, at the end of his sophomore year, Taylor won the University of Maryland’s William Kapell International Piano Competition, and later that same year made his performance debut in Alice Tully Hall at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
However, Taylor’s watershed moment came in 1993 at the age of 23, when he earned a bronze medal at the quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, for his performances of works by Beethoven, Boulez and Brahms, as well as Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” now a standard part of his repertoire. For the young mathematician-slash-pianist, the competition win sealed his fate.
“I had sat on the fence between music and mathematics for many years, but the bronze medal made the decision for me,” Taylor said. But while his musical career had become ascendant, he kept up his math and computer studies. “I didn’t want to put the other parts of my brain on ice.”
The newly minted concert pianist, who would go on to earn critical accolades such as “frighteningly talented” (The New York Times) and “a great pianist” (The Los Angeles Times), knew that his mathematics training went far to inform and support his music.
Both disciplines draw on similar mental skill sets, Taylor explained, noting that hours of piano practice can provide the necessary rigor to solve a complex mathematical proof.
“Music performance is more visceral than math, but when I’m performing I am definitely using the logical part of my brain,” he added. “Mentally understanding a piece of music is essential to surviving a performance.”
Following the Van Cliburn competition win, Taylor became a touring musician. His new wife wanted to pursue her doctorate in musicology at the University of Michigan, so the couple moved to Ann Arbor while Taylor spent weeks on the road playing several dozen concerts per year across the U.S. and in Europe.
Life on the road proved strenuous for the young pianist, who became known for his intense, sweat-soaked, highly physical performances. Eventually, Taylor decided he might want to teach. When the University of Wisconsin offered Taylor a faculty position in 2000, his family moved to Madison.
At UW-Madison, Taylor came across a prototype that would prove the foundation for his new invention. And he can credit a little known Hungarian composer for the introduction.
Emánuel Moór, who during his life composed five operas, eight symphonies and other orchestral works, is best remembered today as the inventor of the Moór Pianoforte, a double-keyboard instrument that attempted to replicate the benefits of the harpsichord and organ in the piano format. It boasted a two-tiered keyboard, but space within the cabinet allowed for only 76 keys on the top tier instead of the usual 88. The layout of the 164 keys allowed one hand to stretch across a range of over two octaves at once, creating a richer and fuller sound.
Watch a video of Taylor describing his plan for a new piano.
Moór was a professional colleague of composer Maurice Ravel and cellist Pablo Casals, both of whom championed his work, including his pianoforte. Despite such celebrity support, many musicians considered Moór’s instrument more of a novelty and found it difficult, if not impossible, to play.
European manufacturers produced about 60 pianofortes during the 1920s, including one made in 1929 in Hamburg, Germany, by Steinway. Until very recently, that particular instrument occupied a corner of Taylor’s cramped office in the Mosse Humanities Building.
The Moór pianoforte found its way to UW-Madison after Danish pianist Gunnar Johansen became the university’s artist in residence in 1939. Enthralled with the strange instrument, Johansen lobbied university donors until they broke down and bought it for him on the condition that its ownership revert to the university upon the pianist’s death.
By the time Johansen died in 1991, interest in the pianoforte had waned. It lay in storage for 14 years until Taylor rediscovered it in 2005. He performed on the pianoforte in dozens of concerts across the country, eventually getting a feel for the instrument and gaining notoriety for his performances. In 2007, the New York Times interviewed Taylor and created a video about the piano. In 2010, while he was in Washington, D.C. for a performance, the Kennedy Center created its own version.
“It’s clever as a musical contrivance, but it’s a little unwieldy and feels strange under your fingers,” Taylor said, noting that corresponding keys on both keyboards end up striking the same string. “You have to work very hard to play the keys because of the Rube Goldberg mechanism that connects them with the hammers.”
Around 2009, having studied the levers, rods, and platforms lurking inside the Moór piano, Taylor decided there might be a better way, a way that would take advantage of 21st-century technology. He began to draw up blueprints, discussed his ideas with a number of experts, and eventually received a grant from the UW Arts Institute to pursue them further. In early 2012 he approached George Petry, a prototyping manager at the Morgridge Institute for Research, to talk about his idea, an idea that much later would be named the “Hyperpiano.” Petry thought Taylor was nuts.
“I thought Chris was crazy because I knew this was going to be so much work,” Petry said. “I have a lot of students coming in who have never built anything before who say they want to build a space shuttle. I thought this was Chris’s space shuttle.”
But Petry gave Taylor the benefit of the doubt, and also a corner in the Morgridge Institute’s Advanced Fabrication Laboratory – better known as the “fab lab” — inside the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery building on University Avenue, a home where engineers and inventors collaborate to build prototypes of their ideas. And Petry started to teach Taylor how to use all the computer-operated machines.
Another important teacher was Giri Venkataramanan, a professor in the UW-Madison Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering who served as a high-level consultant to the project. “His motivation was sky-high and it sounded like he knew what he was doing,” Venkataramanan said.
At first blush, the Hyperpiano’s double-keyboard console – what Taylor calls the “input device” – looks like a contemporary upright piano that is thicker in girth than normal. It features a two-tiered keyboard with 176 keys total along with five pedals. Hidden inside the cabinet, behind the keys, are two sets of standard mass-produced piano hammers.
But that is where similarities to a regular piano end. There are no strings for these hammers to strike, and Taylor admits that their only function is to mimic the feel of playing a normal single-keyboard piano. In fact, in the absence of strings Taylor had to create special foam bars for the hammers to strike, designed to replicate an ordinary instrument’s behavior but create as little “banging” noise as possible.
“Even building a conventional piano that works is a very difficult process in itself,” says Robert Hohf, a professional piano technician who aided Taylor. “The keyboard orientation and the alignment of parts is unbelievably complicated.”
And with the Hyperpiano, the complications only increased.
Designing an instrument that contains twice the normal number of keys and twice as many hammers, aligning everything inside a single wooden frame, took a massive amount of re-engineering, Taylor says. Each of the 176 keys in the Hyperpiano has a unique shape that had to be specially carved by a router, which got its directions from multiple computer programs written by Taylor.
To actually make music, the double-keyboard console contains electronic sensors that read the movement of the keys during each stroke, then send coded electronic impulses via wires to two player-piano mechanisms called “Vorsetzers.” (First developed in the early twentieth century, Vorsetzers were mechanical key-pressing contraptions that could be attached to the keyboards of ordinary pianos.) The Vorsetzers are affixed to any pair of pianos one has handy, which, in theory, could be some distance away. Thus the motions of the pianist’s fingers on one part of the stage are transmitted instantaneously to produce music emanating from two other parts of the stage.
Taylor plays Prokofiev
Timing everything so that the music would sound like music—not a jangle of disparate noises – was another hurdle Taylor had to surmount. Taylor’s new technology solves that problem: it senses a fraction of a millimeter of motion as soon as a key is pressed. The sensors immediately send the data to the Vorsetzers, which move the corresponding key the same amount at exactly the same time.
“It involved a lot of software jujitsu to make this happen,” he said. But in the end, “everything is choreographed to deliver the final notes in real time,” he explained.
The Hyperpiano could afford some novel performance opportunities, says Taylor: “For starters, it will be capable of everything the Moór piano can produce: far-flung chords beyond the grasp of ordinary human hands on ordinary pianos, intricate counterpoint where the hands mingle in the same register (effects that would cause impossible traffic jams on a single keyboard), and, with the aid of an extra fourth pedal, sonorities reinforced by extra tones one octave higher than the keys the pianist is actually pressing.
“But it will offer customized behaviors beyond these,” he continues. “The ability to reinforce the pianist’s keypresses with any number of additional notes, so that the motion of a single finger produces an elaborate harmony; novel hybrid sonorities obtained by combining different pedaling patterns on the two subsidiary pianos; repeated notes faster than what ordinary pianos permit; and the interesting spatial effects that will result when the two subsidiary pianos get rolled to different parts of the stage.”
Taylor is eager to produce new arrangements and compositions that take advantage of these musical novelties. “I’m in discussions with a number of composers about the possibility of their contributing to a new chapter in the piano literature,” he says.
With the end of the project in sight, the pianist says he’s pleased with the outcome of his years of work, even as he adjusts to new variations in sound and performance.
“I’m delighted to find that the final product is matching my initial vision pretty closely,” Taylor says. “There is still some tweaking that needs to take place — software refinements mostly — in order to ensure that as a pianist I have the level of musical control that I need. This work may prove challenging, but as in the past I am very determined to overcome the remaining obstacles.”
Venkataramanan agrees and also is thinking ahead to the piano’s next iteration.
Scientists, unfortunately, are never satisfied.
“As a problem-solving exercise, this has been pretty impressive,” the engineering professor says. “But he still runs wires between his keyboards. The next phase would be to do this on a wireless basis and using Cloud technology.”
Mr. Taylor is eager to acknowledge the invaluable help he received from a large number of collaborators over the past five years. Apart from piano technician Robert Hohf, machinist George Petry, and EE Professor Giri Venkataramanan, these individuals include: Rock Mackie and Kevin Eliceiri, the former and current directors of the Morgridge Institute for Research, who were amazingly welcoming hosts during his four-plus years in the Fab Lab; UW-Madison piano technician Baoli Liu; Justin Anderson at WARF and Callie Bell of Bell Manning LLC, who shepherded the patent application process; Kevin Earley, who built the wooden housing for the input console; Convenience Electronics of Madison (in particular Betsy Vanden Wymelenberg), who custom assembled the instrument’s many wires and cables; Calvin Cherry, Nate Hess, Brian Urso, and Ryan Solberg, whom Taylor employed to solder together circuit boards and who contributed greatly to his EE education; UW-Madison’s Bill Sethares, along with Terence O’Laughlin and Alberto Rodriguez of Madison College, who put Taylor in contact with the aforementioned companies and employees; and the UW Arts Institute, former chancellor John Wiley, and Paul Collins, who provided moral as well as financial support.
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.
Choral Union presents Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation”
Beverly Taylor, conductor
Mills Hall, Sunday, April 24, 3:30 PM
Haydn’s “The Creation,” written between 1797 and 1798, is considered one of the great masterworks of western music and civilization. It has beautiful and exciting choral writing, demanding, intricate and soaring solos, and some of the most inventive orchestral writing of its time, both in the opening depiction of Chaos—the pre-creation state, and in the pictorial writing about animals, water, and light, all at their beginning stages. Part I depicts the stages of creation, Part II a celebration of that creation, and Part III the new love between Adam and Eve.
“The Creation” debuted in London and was sung in English. Our production uses the Robert Shaw version of the English text, which clears up some of the original strange grammar which resulted from the Haydn’s libretto going through a German translation and back to English. The libretto mixes Biblical language with new language for the soloists.
Our soloists include alumna Jamie-Rose Guarrine, as angels Gabriel and Eve; Voice Professor James Doing as angel Uriel; alumnus Benjamin Schultz as angel Raphael; and current student Benjamin Li as Adam.
Tickets: $15 general public, $8 students. Buy online here or in person at the Memorial Union Box Office or at the door.
UW Symphony Orchestra with Guest Conductor Andreas Stoehr
Mills Hall, Friday, April 22, 8:00 PM- Free concert
Vienna native Andreas Stoehr will lead the university orchestra in performances of Overture to Der Freischütz (Carl Maria von Weber), Wesendonck Lieder (Richard Wagner), and Symphony No. 6 (Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky). With soprano Elizabeth Hagedorn.
“At first glance our program appears to be a nice bouquet of romantic pieces, but as I believe that music and philosophy share the same spiritual source, one can see that each composer tries to answer the main question: ‘Where is the exit from the burden of life?’ ” says Prof. Stoehr.
“Carl Maria von Weber’s answer: ‘There is God, there is hope, therefore good wins over evil.’ Wagner leads us to ‘unbewusst, höchste Lust’ (unaware, sublime desire; the last lines of Tristan and Isolde ) expressing his belief in uncontrollable, germinating power of love. The poetry by Mathilde Wesendonck, Wagner’s muse, reflects their profound, but impossible relationship and inspired him to Tristan and Isolde as his unique philosophy of escaping the world through an idealized love. Tchaikovsky’s ‘Pathétique’ Symphony No. 6 does not try at all to answer the question. We sense in his music his personal struggle between good and evil, right and wrong, light and darkness. Like the most famous literary works of his time by Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky, Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece comes to us as a drama, but without words. When life is over – it’s over.”
Nine area high schools to participate in final concert
April 26, 28, 29 – Various times and locations
The Jazz Studies program, led by Professor Johannes Wallmann, will present a weeklong residency with LA-based Bob Sheppard, worldwide multi-woodwind performer, recording artist, and jazz musician.
The three-day event includes master classes and two concerts. It will feature the UW Jazz Ensembles, the UW Jazz Orchestra, the UW High School Honors Jazz Band, and the Johannes Wallmann Quartet. The 2016 Honors Jazz Band, directed by UW Director of Jazz Studies Johannes Wallmann and co-conductor Eric Siereveld, is a twenty-member big band that includes top jazz students from Edgewood, James Madison Memorial, Madison East, Madison West, Middleton, New Glarus, Portage, Sun Prairie, and Waunakee High Schools.
—Free Master Class/Concert Tue, April 26, 8 PM, Morphy Hall (with the Composers Septet & Contemporary Jazz Ensemble)
—Concert Thur, April 28, 8 PM, Morphy Hall (with the Johannes Wallmann Quartet) Ticketed $15 single
—Concert Fri, April 29, 8 PM, Music Hall (with the UW Jazz Orchestra & High School Honors Jazz Band) Ticketed $15 single
$25 both Thursday and Friday shows. Students of all ages free!
U.S. Air Force “Freedom Winds” percussion/wind quintet to perform April 21 – Free concert
Music Hall, Thursday, April 21, 7:30 PM
The School of Music is honored to present the Freedom Winds, a visiting ensemble from the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America. Composed of six virtuoso Airman Musicians, the group adds percussion to the traditional woodwind quintet instrumentation to enhance standard literature and increase their musical capabilities. Repertoire includes jazz and ragtime classics along with popular themes from Broadway’s hit shows to Hollywood’s greatest films. Please join us for what promises to be a fun and memorable concert!
“Out of the Shadows” Rediscovering Jewish Music, Literature and Theater
May 1-5, 2016, Madison, various locations and times
“Piecing together lost generations of creativity”: that’s how the Wisconsin State Journal’s Gayle Worland phrased it in her news story last summer. Generations of Jewish creativity lost due to the Holocaust and the diaspora, now placed front and center in a worldwide effort to discover those that were lost, reclaim those that are forgotten, and perform those that have been neglected.
From May 1 through May 5, that creativity will be on display in Madison as part of “Out of the Shadows,” coordinated by music education professor Teryl Dobbs and faculty at the University of Leeds, England. Over five days, events ranging from cabaret to ethnomusicology discussions to chamber music to theater will be presented at various locations in Madison. Ticket prices range from $5 to $10.00. Buy tickets here.
The three-year “Performing the Jewish Archive” project involves a large number of partners, exploring archives, delivering community and educational projects, holding at least two international conferences and a series of symposia at the British National Library, as well as mounting five international performance festivals––in the United States (Madison, WI), the Czech Republic, South Africa, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
News and Events from the UW-Madison School of Music – March 30, 2016
Happy Spring from the School of Music! In this newsletter:
–The Perlman Trio’s annual performance
–UW Masters Singers add State Capitol concert
–Three student recitals illustrate breadth of school; many more scheduled this month
–Community Music Lessons Spring Recital showcases youthful students and their college teachers
–Fresco Opera’s Clara features alumni
–Pro Arte, Wingra Wind Quintet, UW Symphony, and UW Varsity Band in concert
–University Opera’s Transformations earns critical praise
The Perlman Piano Trio, a student ensemble funded by donor Kato Perlman, holds its only concert of the academic year on Saturday, April 9, 3:30 PM, in Morphy Hall. The trio consists of Adam Dorn, violin; SeungWha Baek, piano; Micah Cheng, cello. On the program is the Mozart Piano Trio in E major, K. 542; the Schumann Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op.44; and the Brahms Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 101. For the quintet, the trio will be joined by Keisuke Yamamoto on the violin and Luke Carmichael Valmadrid on the viola.
“It’s my first piano trio,” says violinist Adam Dorn, a Minneapolis native. “It’s very high caliber playing, very different from anything I’ve ever done. And being given a scholarship to do something that you love is amazing.” The trio is coached by Martha Fischer, professor of collaborative piano, and Parry Karp, cellist of the Pro Arte Quartet.
A reception will follow the concert. To learn more about the backgrounds of our musicians, download this PDF of the program. Perlman Piano Trio program
Catch Masters Singers at the State Capitol!
This just in from graduate student and co-conductor Christopher Boveroux: The UW Masters Singers will entertain passersby in the State Capitol rotunda, Friday, April 8, 4:30 PM. They’ll sing all a cappella in preparation for their spring concert on May 2.
Recitals offer a peek into the world of our college musicians
April is jammed with college recitals of all sorts, many not even held in our halls. We encourage the community to hear our young musicians as they hone their skills for future careers in performance and education! A few examples:
–A graduate brass trio with Matt Onstad, trumpeter (also a member of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet); Melvin Cortez Jackson, a hornist, and Brett Keating, on the euphonium. They’ll play music of Poulenc, Beethoven, Hovhaness, and David Sampson’s “Duncan Trio.” Wednesday, April 6, 6:30 PM in Morphy Hall.
–Third year undergrad pianist Emili Earhart, a student of Christopher Taylor’s, will perform the Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano, by John Cage. Sunday, April 10, 5:00 PM, Morphy Hall.
–Soprano Yanzelmalee Rivera, a graduate student of Elizabeth Hagedorn’s who hails from Puerto Rico, will sing works of Robert Schumann, Joseph Marx and Debussy, accompanied by graduate collaborative piano student ChanMi Jean. ChanMi Jean studies with Prof. Martha Fischer. Saturday, April 16, 6:30 PM, Morphy Hall.
Many more recitals may be found on our calendar: http://www.music.wisc.edu/events/2016-04/
April recital also showcases youth in the school’s Community Music Lessons program
From Samantha Sinai, Community Music Lessons Coordinator
The UW-Madison School of Music is pleased to announce an upcoming recital on Sunday, April 17th from 11:00-12:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall. This is not your typical School of Music recital, as our students will not be the ones performing. Instead, they are excited for students of their own to perform.
The recital will feature students on a variety of instruments. For example, Ian, a 12-year-old guitar student of Erik Gibelyou, will perform a piece by Leo Brouwer. Bobby, a 10-year-old violin student of Isidora Miranda, will also perform. In the future, we hope to offer a recital at the end of each semester to allow students a chance to share with the community how they have grown musically throughout the semester. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the joy of music and the progress these students have made this semester. And please join us for a reception after the performances!
The Community Music Lessons program (CML) at UW-Madison provides music lessons on most instruments, from piano to trombone. This spring, CML enrolled 98 students, twice as many as last spring, and employed 33 School of Music students as the instructors. CML is very excited to have so many students this year; we look forward to attracting even more in the fall.
Pro Arte Quartet, Wingra Wind Quintet, the UW Varsity Band and UW Symphony also on tap this month
The Pro Arte Quartet performs music of Respighi and Korngold: Sunday, April 10, 4:00 PM, Mills Hall.
April 14, 15 and 16: Our own Varsity Band, conducted by Michael Leckrone, plays in the Kohl Center. Buy tickets here.
The UW Symphony Orchestra will play the Overture to Der Freischütz (Carl Maria von Weber); Wesendonck Lieder (Richard Wagner); and Symphony No. 6 (Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) with guest conductor Andreas Stohr. Friday, April 22, 8:00 PM, Mills Hall.
Clara, Fresco Opera’s spring show, features singers from the School of Music
Alumna Christina Kay (MM 2014) is only one of several graduates to perform in this weekend’s Fresco Opera show, Clara (April 1-3, Overture Center). Others include Melanie Cain (MM 2003, DMA 2005), artistic director and founder of Fresco Opera Theatre, owner of Maven Vocal Arts, and vice president of the Wisconsin chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing; Chelsie Propst (MM, voice 2012, DMA minor in voice 2013); and Meghan Hilker, a current master’s voice student.
The production features the music of Clara and Robert Schumann and Brahms, and centers around their alleged love triangle. Writes Christina: “For those of you unfamiliar with Fresco, they do ‘opera’ in a unique way, often incorporating dialogue and mashing together music from various operas and composers. This is the first time they’ll be using non-operatic songs to create their own story, and it should be really beautiful. A great intro to the genre of “art song,” for those unfamiliar.”
“Transformations” earns praise from area reviewers
For those who had not heard, last month’s opera, Transformations, was well-received by Madison’s critical community. “[David] Ronis’s direction (he also serves as visiting director of the opera program) is richly inventive, with snippets of choreography throughout, including a conga line and a parody of the Supremes. The staging is delightful, using the full height of the set to frame and reframe action,” Isthmus’s Jay Rath writes. “This entire production would easily compare well to any professional opera company.” Read story here:http://isthmus.com/arts/stage/university-opera-transformations/
We’re headed into the home stretch at the School of Music! Here are highlights from the next month; please check our full calendar for many more concerts (including the Pro Arte Quartet, the Low Brass Ensemble, student recitals, and many others). Next month’s newsletter will be devoted to short stories about students and alumni; keep watch for that!
Late-breaking news: The School of Music announces winners of the 30th annual Beethoven Piano Competition, sponsored by former university chancellor Irving Shain. The winners are Kangwoo Jin, SeungWha Baek, and Luis Alberto Peña. The all-Beethoven winners recital will take place this Sunday, April 19, at 3:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall, with a reception to follow.
JACK Quartet Premieres Work of Laura Schwendinger at Memorial Union-May 8
New York City’s JACK Quartet, stalwart champions of of contemporary music, will come to the Memorial Union’s Shannon Hall to present a new work written by UW-Madison composer Laura Schwendingercalled “Creature Quartet.”
Schwendinger, a Guggenheim winner and the first composer recipient of the Berlin Prize, wrote the Creature Quartet, a one-movement work for string quartet, with “portraits in music” of extinct, mythological, or endangered creatures.
“Each of the quartet’s movements feature different creatures such as extinct birds, like the ivory billed woodpecker, the passenger pigeon, the marvelously funny looking dodo bird as depicted in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as mythological creatures like the Yeti, Chupacabra, and the famous ‘sea monster’ Nessy,” says Schwendinger. The music will be accompanied by an animated video created by Pauline Gagniarre.
On Monday, March 9, the UW Wind Ensemble took the stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City to perform the closing concert for the New York Wind Band Festival. The UW–Madison Wind Ensemble is the first UW-Madison School of Music student ensemble to receive an invitation to perform in what is arguably the most recognized venue in the world and, what a debut!
Planning began a year before the trip. Students raised a portion of the funds needed; donors included Lau and Bea Christensen; Roger and Lynn White; the UW-Madison School of Music Alumni Association; Michael George; John Stevens; Michael Keller, and Heid Music. Many thanks to all who donated.
On the way to New York, the Wind Ensemble also performed at Valparaiso High School in Indiana and State College Area High School in State College, Pennsylvania. While in State College, Penn State University Director of Bands Dennis Glocke met with and guest conducted the ensemble. Mr. Glocke is a graduate of the UW–Madison School of Music, a former clarinet player with the UW Wind Ensemble and, early in his career, was a public school music teacher at Oconomowoc Middle School.
At the New York performance, we held a celebratory reception for UW alumni, School of Music donors, friends and family members. The program included Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovich, Blue Shades by Frank Ticheli, and The Frozen Cathedral by John Mackey. The ensemble performed magnificently, filling every corner of the hall with a beautiful, lush sound. “It was honor and a fantastic way to bring a close to my stay at Madison,” said Amanda Fry, a senior horn player.
Are you an adult musician in the area? Would you like to perform with the musicians who played on stage at Carnegie Hall? The ensemble will play its final concert this season on Friday, April 24th at 7:30. You are invited to perform with the UW Wind Ensemble for the second half. Please contact Barb Douglas in the UW-Madison band department for information. Space is limited.
Emeritus Percussion Professor James Latimer welcomed at 50th Anniversary Concert
On March 20, the UW Percussion program celebrated its 50th year of existence with a concert that returned its founder, emeritus professor James Latimer, to the stage. Latimer conducted an ensemble performing Carlos Chavez’s Toccata for Percussion, which was performed at the inaugural concert in 1965. The concert also included ensembles of varying sizes performing works by Fan Zheming, Steve Reich, Michael Camilo, and UW-Madison percussion instructor Todd Hammes, as well as several others. A week later, the ensemble departed on a tour of China to perform at two conservatories in Beijing and Shenyang. More about the China trip in our next issue!
Benefit Concert for Brittany Sperberg raises money and her spirits
The School’s March 18 mostly-brass concert for ailing trombone student Brittany Sperberg not only raised nearly $3,000 in donations, but boosted her spirits as well, says her teacher, trombone professor Mark Hetzler. Combined with an online donation website, about $6,000 has been contributed to help her family defray medical expenses.
Sperberg was stricken last fall with an as-yet-undiagnosed illness that caused her to withdraw from school. Writes Hetzler: “She and her family were absolutely overjoyed by the event. Her aunt was telling me that the greatest thing about the concert was getting to see Brittany smile again. I am so proud to be a part of a School of Music with folks who care so deeply for each other.”
Pianist Christopher Taylor solos with Madison Symphony, earns accolades
UW-Madison’s Christopher Taylor captivated the crowd this past weekend with his performances of J.S. Bach’s Clavier Sonata No. 4 and Franz Liszt’s Concerto No. 1 for Piano. “Taylor’s intellectual and expressive approach to the music was as supple as his technique. The resulting performance was intense yet intimate, deeply emotional but never stagey,” wrote Capital Times reviewer Jessica M. Courtier. Click here to read the review.
Wingra Woodwind Quintet celebrates 50 years with a short concert and party: April 25
The event will feature a short concert of works written or arranged by former members of the quintet, plus appetizers and drinks. Former members who have already responded include Glenn Bowen, Marc Fink, Richard Lottridge, and Douglas Hill. Students are welcome! The party will be held at the University Club, 803 State Street, in Madison, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 25. If your name isn’t yet on this list, send your RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chorale, Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers Combine Forces – April 17
On April 17 at 7:30 PM, three UW-Madison choirs, under the direction of conductor Bruce Gladstone with assistance from graduate conductor Sara Guttenberg and harpsichordist John Chappell Stowe, will sing a joint concert at Luther Memorial Church, 1021 University Avenue. The program is called “Transfixed, Transported, Transformed: The Consequence of Beauty,” and will feature a wide range of works, including the traditional song Shenandoah;Lady, When I Beheld, written by 16th century composer John Wilbye; and Missa “O Pulchritudo” by Gian Carlo Menotti, taken from the Roman Catholic Mass. Download the full program here.
Writes Bruce Gladstone: “As artists and specifically, musicians, we at times are so focused on the work we do – the perfecting our craft, the research and rehearsals, the programming and the public relations – that we sometimes lose sight and connection with the beauty of our art. Beauty surprises, enchants, shocks, tempts, disconcerts, soothes, awakens, haunts, entices, lifts, and sends us; this concert seeks to offer in word and music, a glimpse of those moments when beauty has done just that.”
Perlman Piano Trio (+Two) in Concert- April 18
Mark Saturday, April 18 for the annual concert of the Perlman Piano Trio, a classical ensemble supported by retired scientist Kato Perlman. This year’s free concert and reception is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, at 3:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall. The members include SeungWha Baek, piano, Valerie Sanders, violin, and Daniel Ma, violoncello, with violinist Keisuke Yamamoto and violist Jeremy Kienbaum performing with the trio on two works. The program will include Haydn’s Piano Trio in Eb Major, Hoboken XV: 29; Arensky’s Piano Quintet in D Major, Op. 51; and Brahms’ Piano Trio in B Major, Op. 8 (original version).
UW Jazz Hosts the High School Honors Jazz Band- April 29
The third annual High School Honors Jazz Band, an auditioned big band ensemble comprised of 18 students from the greater Madison and southcentral Wisconsin, will join the UW Jazz Orchestra in what has evolved into a very festive annual concert. This year’s concert (click here for info) will be held Wednesday, April 29, at 7:30 PM in Music Hall. This is our only ticketed jazz event of the year and promises to be a festive event for high school musicians, their families and the School of Music. Tickets are $10.00 for adults, free to students of all ages. You can buy tickets here or at Music Hall the day of the show.
This year’s featured soloist will be trumpeter Greg Bush, a freelance jazz trumpet player, arranger and composer. Greg has performed with his own band in jazz clubs, concert halls and jazz festivals across Canada, Australia, Fiji, Germany and in Switzerland at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival. Bush is currently professor of music at Vancouver Island University (British Columbia, Canada), where in addition to conducting the VIU Wind Ensemble he heads the trumpet studio, teaches Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Composition, Instrumental Conducting and Pedagogy. Learn more about the Honors Band at this link: http://www.wisconsinjazz.org/
Speaking of jazz, retired jazz professor, pianist and music theorist Joan Wildman reminisced recently about the “sorry state” of jazz back in 1985, which led to the founding of the Madison Music Collective. The MMC held a reunion concert on April 12 at the Brink Lounge. Both Isthmus and the Wisconsin State Journal carried stories about Wildman and jazz’s early days in Madison.