Category Archives: Piano Extravaganza

UW alumna singer records with Grammy winner Roomful of Teeth; Brass and Woodwind Quintets to play at a town near you; Piano lovers’ heaven this Sat. at UW

UW alumna singer making a mark as vocalist

UW alumna Sarah Brailey after a recording session with the Grammy- winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. From left: Merrill's sound engineer, Cameron Beauchamp, Merrill Garbus, Brad Wells, Taylor Ward, Virginia Warnken, Esteli Gomez, Sarah Brailey, Caroline Shaw, Eric Dudley, Dashon Burton.
UW alumna Sarah Brailey after a recording session with the Grammy- winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. From left: Merrill’s sound engineer (in blue), and singers Cameron Beauchamp, Merrill Garbus, Brad Wells, Taylor Ward, Virginia Warnken, Esteli Gomez, Sarah Brailey, Caroline Shaw, Eric Dudley and Dashon Burton.

A round of applause for Sarah Brailey, a 2007 master’s graduate who studied with vocal professor Paul Rowe and received the School’s prestigious Collins Fellowship, who has been lately appearing on stages from continent to continent, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Barbican in London, and Electric Lady in Greenwich Village. Sarah is a full-time member of the Choir of Trinity Church on Wall Street and has been a part-time writer for the Natural Resources Defense Council (“who are totally supportive of my singing and are willing to let me have a very flexible schedule”). Nowadays, though, singing is taking the biggest role in her life.

Sarah, who received a bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, is originally from LaCrosse, Wisconsin. While in Madison, she played the role of Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with University Opera.

Here’s what Sarah says about her work these days: “I’ve been on tour with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and The English Concert, doing Handel’s Theodora. Among the incredible soloists are David Daniels, Dorothea Röschmann, and Sarah Connolly. We have been to Sonoma and Costa Mesa, California, Chapel Hill, and will have concerts at Carnegie Hall, the Barbican in London, Town Hall in Birmingham (England), and the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris.

“This season, I had the immense pleasure of performing Britten’s Les Illuminations for the first time with Novus NY. Read a review here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/09/arts/music/handels-messiah-at-trinity-church.html

“I have recently started working with legendary composer John Zorn. This past summer, we premiered his “Madrigals” at the Guggenheim Museum.” Wrote the New York Times’s Steve Smith: “Those singers and three more — the sopranos Lisa Bielawa and Sarah Brailey, and the mezzo-soprano Abby Fischer — brought the same exactitude and luster to “Madrigals,” for which Mr. Zorn assembled phrases inspired by reading Percy Bysshe Shelley. Harmonically consonant, often unambiguously melodic and rhythmically effervescent, these half-dozen songs could easily slip into standard repertory.”

(L to R): Aulikki Eerola, Pertti Eerola, and
Three revered musicians from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland will be in Madison and Milwaukee for a one-week residency March 2 – 8 to talk about Finland’s music education system, hold master classes, and perform a concert on March 8 at Luther Memorial Church. Click image to learn more.

“We also sang his piece, ‘Holy Visions,’ based on the writings of Hildegard von Bingen, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of an entire day dedicated to his works that were performed throughout the museum. We traveled to Huddersfield, England to perform both pieces in the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and will be recording Holy Visions this spring.

“I have also worked on and off this season with the Grammy-winning contemporary a cappella vocal group, Roomful of Teeth. The photograph is from a recording session we did in August with Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs at Electric Lady in Greenwich Village. Electric Lady was originally built by Jimi Hendrix and has been used by artists such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Kiss, Daft Punk, and AC/DC.

In March, Sarah will perform Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” down in Knoxville, Tennessee at the Big Ears Festival and also recording with the Grammy-nominated vocal octet, New York Polyphony. In May, she’ll perform with the Trinity Choir and Bang on a Can All-Stars for the New York premiere of Julia Wolfe’s “Anthracite Fields,” part of the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial Celebration.

National alumni, take note! Sarah’s other upcoming performances include:

Feb 26, 5pm, CUNY Grad Center: I’m performing a song cycle by André Brégégère with text by French-Carribean poet Édouard Glissant on CUNY’s Composers Now Festival.
March 4, 8pm, Alice Tully Hall: I’m soloing with The American Classical Orchestra in Handel’s Samson under the direction of Nicholas McGegan.
March 14 in Aiken, S. Carolina; March 16 in Morrow, GA; March 17 at Alice Tully in NYC: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Juilliard 415.
March 29-30: I’m performing Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN.
April 18: I’m performing Josep Sanz’s King Lear with Ekmeles at the MATA Festival in NYC.

Wingra Woodwind Quintet and Wisconsin Brass Quintet on tour to northern Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota


The Wisconsin Idea is alive and well in the School of Music. This week, two of our four ensembles-in-residence will be on the road, offering a wonderful opportunity for classical music aficionados who don’t live in Madison (and we know there are many!) to hear some beautiful music.

Wisconsin Brass Quintet:

  • Tuesday, February 25, UW-Barron County – Fine Arts Auditorium, Rice Lake, WI. 7:00 pm. Wisconsin Brass Quintet, with the UW-Madison Wind Ensemble. Free.
  • Thursday, February 27, Owatonna High School, Owatonna, Minnesota. 7:00 pm. Wisconsin Brass Quintet, with the UW-Madison Wind Ensemble. Free.
  • Future outstate concerts, please see http://artsoutreach.wisc.edu/wis_brass.html
  • In Madison, you can see the quintet perform on March 29, at 8 Pm in Mills Hall.

 Wingra Woodwind Quintet:

  • This Wednesday in Madison, the  Wingra Woodwind Quintet will perform at a new location, Capital Lakes Retirement Community, 333 West Main Street, 7:30 pm. The quintet will also perform at a special dinner concert at the University Club on May 8.
  • In Ashland on February 28, United Presbyterian- Congregational Church, 7:30 pm. Tickets $15.00. http://www.ashlandchambermusic.org/concerts.html
  • In Three Lakes on March 1, at Three Lakes Elementary School, 6930 West School St. The concert begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets $10.00.
  • More information: http://artsoutreach.wisc.edu/wingra.html

Meanwhile, here in Madison we have a few special events on the docket for this weekend and next week….including the Pro Arte Quartet’s world premiere of String Quartet No. 3 by Belgian composer Benoit Mernier (read this week’s story by local blogger Jake Stockingerand a residency by three musicians of the Sibelius Academy, in Helsinki, Finland. That residency begins with a master class for singers and collaborative pianist on March 2. Read more, including the complete schedule, here.

Piano Extravaganza! to feature well-known pianists as well as rising stars

Hear the UW’s best collegiate pianists, faculty and high school talents at an all-day festival this Saturday at UW-Madison. Masterclasses, workshops and performances hosted by UW-Madison faculty and students. This year’s Piano Extravaganza will feature piano works influenced by jazz and blues. Here is the schedule of events:

Friday, February 28, 2014

8:00 PM: Mills Concert Hall: Christopher Taylor, Faculty Concert Series

Saturday, March 1, 2014

8:30-11:00 AM: Piano Extravaganza Competition

11:00 AM-12:00 PM: Professor Johannes Wallmann, Jazz Improvisation Workshop

1:30-3:30 PM: Masterclass and Q&A with UW Piano Faculty

3:45-6:30 PM: Jazz and Blues in Classical Music  (Performed by UW-Madison Piano Majors)

Download the full schedule here:  PIANO EXTRAVAGANZA

UW-Madison School of Music Sponsors High School Piano Competition

Piano Extravaganza!

UW School of Music
Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

The UW-Madison Piano Program announces a piano competition for emerging regional pianists, to be held at the School of Music, Feb. 28 to March 1, 2014.  In addition to a competition, the event will include masterclasses, workshops and performances hosted by UW faculty and students. This year’s Piano Extravaganza will feature piano works influenced by jazz and blues.

On Friday, Feb 28 at 8 pm, the school will present a free concert in Mills Hall with Prof. Christopher Taylor. Click here to read a recent concert review.

Competition Information:

Prizes: First prize: $1500. Second prize: $1000. Third prize: $500.

Eligibility: Auditions are open to pianists from Wisconsin and Minnesota between the ages of 15-19 who are not yet in college at the time of the competition.

Entrance Requirements: Application materials must be received at the following address no later than 5:00 pm Friday, January 31, 2014.

Professor Jess Johnson/Piano Extravaganza Competition
UW-Madison School of Music
455 N. Park Street, 5418 Mosse Humanities
Madison, WI 53706-1483

 All applications for the preliminary round must include:

1. Completed application form (download PDF) Piano Extravaganza form

2. Recording of two memorized, contrasting pieces from different historical/style periods.

3. A biographical paragraph.

Recording Guidelines for Preliminary Round

The preliminary round audition recording may be submitted in two ways:

1. Mail a CD (not a DVD) OR mp3s

2. Email your mp3s as attachments to Sara Giusti

Sara Giusti <giusti@wisc.edu>

Include your name and the tag #Piano Extravaganza in the subject line.

Technically poor recordings will be rejected. The submission should consist of an unedited recording of two contrasting works from different historical/style periods. Please label recording with your name and titles of compositions/composer/estimated timing.

Preliminary Round

Each pianist will submit an unedited recording of two memorized, contrasting pieces from different historical/style periods. Four judges will evaluate the recordings and choose 10 finalists. Competitors will be notified by e-mail and letter no later than February 14, 2014.

Final Stage

Each pianist will perform two memorized, contrasting works from different historical/style periods. Each contestant will be allotted a maximum of 10 minutes of performance time.  The final round of the competition will be open to the public and take place on Saturday, March 1, 2014, 8:00 -11:00 a.m., at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, Morphy Recital Hall, during the UW-Madison Piano Extravaganza, (George Mosse Humanities Building, 455 N. Park St.) before a panel of four judges.

All finalists must provide two copies of the works to be performed at the competition finals. Photocopies are not acceptable.

The prizes will be presented at the end of Prof. Johannes Wallmann’s Jazz Improvisation Workshop, 12:00 p.m. in Morphy Recital Hall. Winners of the competition will be invited to perform in a masterclass led by UW Piano Faculty. All students are invited to attend all Piano Extravaganza Events.

Travel/Lodging/Food

Contestants will be responsible for their own travel and food expenses.

All finalists are invited to attend all other Piano Extravaganza Events.

For more information, contact Sara Giusti at giusti@wisc.edu.

UW School of Music Piano Faculty:

Collaborative Piano and Piano Pedagogy:  Prof. Martha Fischer

Professor of Piano and Collaborative Piano: Prof. Jessica Johnson

Professor of Piano: Christopher Taylor

Director of Jazz Studies: Assistant Professor Johannes Wallmann

Professor of Piano, Director of Graduate Studies, Keyboard Area Chair: Prof. Todd Welbourne.