Category Archives: Sibelius Academy

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

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Meet winning “Showcase” composer; violist Goldstein to solo at Carnegie Hall

Meet the mystery composer behind “Poema for Saxophone and Orchestra,” to receive its premiere Feb. 8

We’re happy to finally present Daria Tennikova, the Russian-born composer at the School of Music whose new work will be premiered (with sax soloist Erika Anderson) on February 8, 7 pm in Mills Concert Hall, along with the other winners of the annual concerto competition. This year’s recital has a name, Symphony Showcase, and will be followed by a ticketed reception at at the Memorial Union’s Tripp Commons for all students, parents, faculty, alumni, board members, and the community. Please help us celebrate the fine work of our students and join us for both! Proceeds will help fund student scholarships. Buy your tickets here: http://www.arts.wisc.edu/

Daria Tennikova, the winning composer in this year's concerto competition. Photo by Katherine Esposito.
Daria Tennikova, the winning composer in this year’s concerto competition. Photo by Katherine Esposito.

“Daria’s an unusual woman,” says composition professor Stephen Dembski. “She came up through the Russian conservatory system, and has gradually adapted to the American system while keeping a fierce intensity in her work, which is quite striking.”

Here’s Daria’s bio, from an earlier announcement:

“Daria Mikhailovna Tennikova was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 1989. 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!”

March residency to feature singers and music from Finland

(L to R): Aulikki Eerola, Pertti Eerola, and Eija Jarvela.
(L to R): Aulikki Eerola, Pertti Eerola, and Eija Jarvela.

Three revered Finnish musicians from the faculty of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, will be in residency at the School of Music during the first week of March to present master classes, workshops, and discussions on Finnish music education. The week will be capped by a concert at Luther Memorial Church on Saturday, March 8th, at 1 pm. All events are free and open to the public. Read more here.

Clocks in Motion profiled in the Wisconsin State Journal

New work to be premiered this Saturday, Feb. 1

UW-Madison’s newest resident musical ensemble was profiled in last Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal. “The UW-Madison-based percussion ensemble is breaking ground by reviving rarely performed works, commissioning new music and even inventing its own instruments,” wrote reporter Gayle Worland. “Self-run, ambitious and highly talented, Clocks in Motion is also a group in motion, with a schedule that in the next four months includes seven performances in Madison and a Midwestern tour.  ‘What this group is doing is something that’s quite inspiring, and tremendously unique,’ said UW percussion professor Anthony Di Sanza, who is teaching or has taught each of the young musicians who make up Clocks in Motion.” Read the full story here.

On Sunday at 7:30 pm in Mills Hall, the group will present “Earth and the Great Weather,” a collaborative multi-media performance depicting the Arctic landscapes of Northern Alaska, to include percussion, strings, chorus, digital delay patterns, spoken texts, and pre-recorded nature sounds. The work was composed by John Luther Adams.  Performers will include Chelsie Propst, Sarah Richardson, Cheryl Rowe, and Paul Rowe will comprise the vocal chorus, and Carol Carlson, Max Fisher, Spencer Hobbs, and Mikko Utevsky will serve as the string quartet. Steve Gotcher, audio engineer for Audio for the Arts, will control the complex electronic component of the performance. Matthew Schlomer will conduct.

Alumnus Elias Goldstein to solo at Carnegie Hall

Elias Goldstein and Roxana Pavel
Elias Goldstein and Roxana Pavel

Viola professor Sally Chisholm informs us that her former student Elias Goldstein, a former Collins Fellow, will perform works of Haydn, Mozart, Boccherini, Paganini, and others at a recital on February 19 at Carnegie Hall. He will be accompanied by Ieva Jokubaviciute on piano and Roxana Pavel Goldstein on violin. Goldstein received his DMA in 2011 from the School of Music and is now professor of viola at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Pianist Christopher Taylor profiled in Madison Magazine

ChristopherTaylor
Christopher Taylor. Photo by Noah Willman, courtesy Madison Magazine.

Writer Greg Hettsmanberger interviewed UW’s globetrotting pianist Christopher Taylor in a story published in the January issue of Madison Magazine.

What do you tell your students is the most important thing about being a pianist—especially not a professional performer? “I rarely try to boil this craft down to one overriding principle, but obviously I consider it a basic prerequisite for a student to be motivated by love of the art and curiosity about understanding its multifaceted glories. Provided those ingredients are present, then the student will thrive musically, regardless of his or her professional ambitions or prospects,” Taylor answered. Read the full story here. And catch Christopher Taylor in his only Madison appearance this year, performing Prokofieff’s Sonata No. 6 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E flat, as arranged by Franz Liszt, at Mills Hall on February 28, 8 pm.

Tuba prof John Stevens kicks off a pre-retirement semester of concerts

John Stevens
John Stevens

Read about the life of John Stevens in this story by writer Paul Baker, which includes an image of him sporting a tuba at the 1980 Tony Awards. Stevens presents a wide variety of concerts this spring, starting February 11 with a faculty recital. Download the complete schedule here: Spring2014_Stevens_concerts

March residency to feature musicians and songs of Finland

(L to R): Aulikki Eerola, Pertti Eerola, and
(L to R): Aulikki Eerola, Pertti Eerola, and Eija Jarvela.

Three revered Finnish musicians from the faculty of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, will be in residency at the School of Music during the first week of March to present master classes, workshops, and discussions on Finnish music education. The week will be capped by a concert at Luther Memorial Church on Saturday, March 8th, at 1 pm. All events are free and open to the public.

This residency is designed to provide American singers and educators with a connection to Nordic repertoire and to the world-renowned Finnish music education system. The musicians, two singers and one coach/pianist/organist/choral conductor/composer, will work with individual singers from around the state, giving presentations on Finnish diction at the language diction class, Finnish song literature at the graduate song repertoire seminar, and the music education in Finland at a music education class. They will also be in residency at UW-Milwaukee for three days, presenting similar classes.

SCHEDULE UPDATE FOR MADISON, posted Feb. 19:

Sunday, March 2   2:00-5:00 Master Class for singers and collaborative pianists (Music Hall)

Monday, March 3  11:00-11:50 Presentation on Finnish song repertoire  (2531 Humanities)

Tuesday, March 4  11:00-11:50 Presentation on Finnish diction (2451 Humanities)

1:10-2:25 Presentation on Finnish music education system (2411 Humanities)

Saturday, March 8    1:00 concert at Luther Memorial Church (1021 University Avenue), including a world premiere of a work for two voice and organ

followed by gathering in church basement to talk with audience

Aulikki Eerola is Professor of Voice at the Sibelius Academy, and has had a distinguished career in opera, concert, and recording, including singing Pamina at Savonlinna, and winning awards in the Robert Schumann Competition and the Hugo Wolf Competition in Salzburg. Her studies include two years at the Vienna Academy of Music and the Vienna Conservatory, where she worked with legendary pianist and coach Erik Werba. She has presented concerts of lieder in Europe, Canada, the United States and Russia. She has performed live and for radio recordings on the BBC as well as the Austrian, French, German, Danish, Polish and Swedish radios. Her discography includes thirty recordings (Finlandia, Fuga, APJH).

Pertti Eerola is music director of Johannes Church in Helsinki, where he serves as organist and conductor of the chamber choir and orchestra. He has performed in lieder recitals with artists including Martti Talvela and Jorma Hynninen. He has been the official competition pianist for the Lappeenranta Singing Competition, the Timothy Black Rock competition, and the Hugo Wolf Competition. He has performed in concert as a piano soloist, organist and chamber musician throughout Europe, the US, China and Singapore. Pertti Eerola is featured on more than 30 CD recordings with artists including Martti Talvela, Soile Isokoski, Jouko Heikkilä and Aulikki Eerola. He has worked in recordings as a pianist, organist and conductor. He has served as coach of the Finnish National Opera and the Savonlinna Opera Festival, and has been on the faculty of the Sibelius Academy since 1984.

Eija Jarvela is on the faculty in Vocal Arts and Vocal Pedagogy at the Sibelius Academy. She received her musical training at the Sibelius Academy, graduating with diplomas in Voice Performance and Vocal Pedagogy, Doctor of Music in Performing Arts. She studied German Lied in Vienna with Erik Werba, and completed her studies in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has appeared as soloist with the Finnish National Opera and other companies around Finland and also in recitals in Finland, many European countries, Brazil and México. Teaching engagements include master classes, lectures and workshops in Finland and also in Brazil, México and France. During her doctoral studies she broadened her knowledge to acoustical aspects of the singing voice leading to a paper, “Conveyed Intention, A study of some acoustic aspects as related to production and perception of certain sung vowels.” Her interest in pedagogical research has led her into collaborative work with colleagues representing various instruments and aspects of teaching.

The residency of three members of the Sibelius Academy faculty in March is the latest part of voice professor Mimmi Fulmer’s research and performance of Nordic song repertoire. The granddaughter of immigrants from Finland and Sweden, Professor Fulmer has received grants from the American-Scandinavian Foundation, the Finlandia Foundation, and the UW-Madison Graduate School to pursue her work on classical, sacred, traditional, folk, and children’s songs in Finnish, Swedish, and Norwegian. Her CD, “Voyage Home: Songs of Finland, Sweden and Norway” was released on Centaur Records earlier this year. She is editing a two-volume anthology of songs in Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish, including phonetics and recordings of the spoken texts, to be published by Subito Music in 2014.

The March 8th concert at Luther Memorial Church will be followed by a gathering in the church basement to talk with audience, organists, church music directors, singers, and others. The repertoire will feature Finnish music for voice, piano, and organ.

All events are free and open to the public; see details below or download them here.   Sponsors include the Finlandia Foundation, the Kemper-Knapp Bequest (UW-Madison), the Vilas Trust (UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee), the Department of Scandinavian Studies (UW-Madison), and the Association of Church Musicians (Madison).

Finnish music strongly reflects the seasons, as life is shaped by the long winter and the longing for spring. Quiet, loneliness, and isolation are frequent themes, and the deep tradition of folk music  is a beloved touchstone of cultural and musical identity.  Music has  also been shaped by history and wars, during which traditions, land and even the language has been taken over by other countries.  With the comprehensive music education and community involvement in music-making in Finland, the boundaries between classical and popular music are much more porous than in the United States.

The roots of Nordic music are found in folk music.  After centuries of political turbulence, music was  a key element in forging a strong national identity for Finland during the late 19th century.  Songs allowed music-lovers to enjoy music in their homes, and strengthen ties created by poetry and music that reflected national sensibilities.  Thus songs illuminate the hard-won cultural, language, and political identities for these countries. The Kalevala (a book and epic poem set to music) helped inspire the national awakening that let to Finland’s independence from Russia in 1917.  The composer Jean Sibelius’s “Finlandia” (1899) played a role in the drive for independence as well.

From around 1200 until 1809 Finland was a part of Sweden.  In the second half of the 19th century, Finnish was recognized as the official language in Finland and the Finnish-language secondary-school system was founded.   Today Swedish remains the second official language of Finland.

The Kalevala is a keystone to Finnish culture and identity.  Held to be the national epic of Finland, it consists of 22,795 verses.  It was usually sung to tunes built on 5 notes, with lines consisting of 5 beats.  Despite the vast geographical distances separating the individual singers, the poetry was always sung in the same meter, with 8 syllables per line (Kalevala meter).  The most famous example of the Kalevala’s influence upon another author is J.R.R. Tolkien, who claimed the Kalevala as a source for writings which became the Silmarillion. It has inspired many musicians, ranging from composer Jean Sibelius to Finnish rock and metal bands.

In contemporary Finland, there are strong traditions of historically significant music as well as rock music and the tango.  In fact, Finland is divided between the north (devoted to the tango) and south (producing numerous rock bands).   Hundreds of music and song festivals take place throughout the country, especially during the summer, when well-attended concerts take place in churches and other venues, from the smallest village to the largest cities.

We hope you will join us for this very special event! For more information, contact Mimmi Fulmermkfulmer@wisc.edu

Sibelius Academy Faculty Artist Residency, March 2014

ALL EVENTS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

 University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sunday, March 2   2:00-5:00 Master Class for singers and collaborative pianists (Music Hall)

Monday, March 3  11:00-11:50 Presentation on Finnish song repertoire  (2531 Humanities)

Tuesday, March 4  11:00-11:50 Presentation on Finnish diction (2451 Humanities)

1:10-2:25 Presentation on Finnish music education system (2411 Humanities)

(Wednesday March 5-Friday March 7: classes and recital at UW-Milwaukee)                                

Saturday, March 8    1:00 concert at Luther Memorial Church, followed by a church gathering with audience members, organists, church music directors, singers, and others.