Category Archives: Stephanie Jutt

Star violinist heads up George Crumb fest; Audio website showcases student solos; Wingra Woodwind Quintet plans 50th anniv. party/concert; more

For our concert calendar and much more, check the main School of Music website: http://www.music.wisc.edu/
STAR NEW YORK VIOLINIST MIRANDA CUCKSON TO HEADLINE A FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC
Cuckson
Miranda Cuckson

Highlighting the music of George Crumb

Four days, four events: Friday through Monday, March 20-23. Full details: http://www.music.wisc.edu/george-crumb/

The “economical and elegant” music of Grammy and Pulitzer winning avant-garde composer George Crumb will be on display at the School of Music when violinist Miranda Cuckson comes to town. The festival — a total of four concerts over four days — is sponsored by UW-Madison resident composer Laura Schwendinger, whose work “The Violinists in My Life” will be on Cuckson’s program.

“Crumb’s music, economical and elegant from the start, has mesmerized and enchanted broad audiences as well as fellow composers and musicians. He has made us think about time and sonority in new ways and has forged contemporary links between music, sentiment, and ideas…” — Leon Botstein, from his American Symphony Orchestra website.

Cuckson will also perform works by composers George Crumb, Augusta Read Thomas and Sebastian Currier.

Over the past five years, Miranda Cuckson has drawn rave reviews from music critics at the New York Times, including Anthony Tommasini, Allan Kozinn, and Zachary Woolf, who wrote only recently: “Her tonal luster and variety of touch enliven everything she plays.” She will perform on Sunday, March 22, 7:30 PM, in Mills Hall. Tickets: $20.00 adults, students free. Buy here.


Hear Miranda Cuckson perform a new work by composer Michael Hersch.

Other events include:

MONDAY, March 23, 8PM, Morphy Hall: Due East, a duo consisting of Erin Lesser on flute and Greg Beyer on percussion.  Due East will be joined by New York City-based harpist Jacqui Kerrod and musicians from Dal Niente, vocalist Amanda deBoer and bassist Mark Buchner, in a multi-media interpretation of George Crumb’s well-known Madrigals, Books 1-4. In Due East’s performance, a set of three video screens and projectors are set at odd-angles in and amongst the musicians and create a triptych video montage that becomes a magical and powerful “environment.” Tickets: $10.00 adults, students free. Buy here.

Click here to view a video and description of the Madrigals Project.

SATURDAY, March 21, 7:30 PM, Music Hall: UW’s Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, featuring cellist Parry Karp performing Crumb’s Sonata for Solo Cello.  Free concert.

FRIDAY, March 20, 8 PM, Music Hall.  Lakeshore Rush, a Chicago-based new music ensemble co-founded by music alumni Erin K. Murphy and Laura McLaughlin, will perform Crumb’s Vox Balaenae by contemporary composer George Crumb. Free concert.

NOTE: Watch for a preview of the George Crumb Festival in Isthmus, on newsstands and online this week.

STUDENT SOLOISTS NOW ON SOUNDCLOUD

Those wonderful performances you heard (or perhaps missed, to your regret!) back on February 8 can now be heard on our SoundCloud audio channel (a YouTube for audio).  They include Keisuke Yamamoto, violin; Adam Betz, composition; Ivana Ugrcic, flute; Anna Whiteway, voice; and Jason Kutz, piano. Audio provided by Lance Ketterer.  Click here to listen: https://soundcloud.com/uw-madisonsom/sets/student-soloists-and-concerto

One of those soloists, soprano Anna Whiteway, will appear in University Opera’s production of The Magic Flute, starting this weekend in Music Hall. Shows are Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. Learn more here: http://www.music.wisc.edu/2015/02/12/magic-flute/

And watch Anna here:

MUSIC THEORY, DEMONSTRATED

Our year-long analysis of the music of 18th-century composer Jean-Philippe Rameau continues with a discussion of his lasting influence on tonality, harmonic progression, and harmony. On Wednesday of this week (March 11), with chemist Rod Schreiner, music theorist Lee Blasius, and harpsichordist John Chappell Stowe. Meet them in the Chemistry Building, Room 1315,  at 7 PM. Free.

Says Charles Dill, lead organizer and Rameau expert: “If you hit a note loudly enough on a piano, with the dampers off, other, different notes will ring sympathetically. That’s because they share certain overtones in the harmonic series.”

http://www.music.wisc.edu/events/rameau-the-theorist-free/

Charles Dill
Charles Dill
STUDENTS IN THE NEWS
Bassist Ben Ferris on the Terrace with James Castaneda, Ty Peterson, Drew Schrieber and Luke Busch. Photo courtesy Ben Ferris.
Bassist Ben Ferris on the Terrace with James Castaneda, Ty Peterson, Drew Schrieber and Luke Busch. Photo courtesy Ben Ferris.
 Save the Date: WINGRA WOODWIND QUINTET COMMEMORATES 50 YEARS WITH A PARTY AND CONCERT
The Wingra Woodwind Quintet, 2013. From left: Kostas Tiliakos, oboe; Linda Kimball, horn; Linda Bartley, clarinet; Stephanie Jutt, flute; and Marc Vallon, bassoon. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.
The Wingra Woodwind Quintet, 2013. From left: Kostas Tiliakos, oboe; Linda Kimball, horn; Linda Bartley, clarinet; Stephanie Jutt, flute; and Marc Vallon, bassoon. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

Free and open to the public!

Mini-Concert & Party, April 25, 4 — 6 p.m. University Club, 803 State Street.

Please RSVP to news@music.wisc.edu

The Wingra Woodwind Quintet [click here to read new bio] turns 50 this year and plans a party! Embodying the Wisconsin Idea and serving as role models to our students, the Wingra Quintet has a rich tradition and will honor current and former members. Former members who plan to attend are Robert Cole, flute, Marc Fink, oboe, Glenn Bowen, clarinet, Richard Lottridge, bassoon, Douglas Hill, horn, and Nancy Becknell, horn. A short program of 20 minutes is planned and then we will celebrate with hors d’oeuvres and beverages catered by the University Club. Everyone is invited to enjoy the food, music, and good company of current and former members of the Wingra Quintet. On the program:

Oodles of Noodles – Jimmy Dorsey, arr. Glenn Bowen
Ode to a Toad – Ray Pizzi. arr. Glenn Bowen
Suite Française – Francis Poulenc, arr. Richard Lottridge

UW’S WIND ENSEMBLE PLAYS CARNEGIE HALL

Photo by Steve Carmichael.

Last week, the UW Wind Ensemble trekked to the East Coast in a double-decker bus to play a series of concerts in several states and in Carnegie Hall as part of the New York Wind Band Festival.  “I am very excited to perform this evening and share our music with these outstanding high school students and the community,” said principal trumpeter Jamie Wozniak, warming up in the hotel as he prepared for a performance at Valparaiso High School in Indiana.

Jamie Wozniak, trumpeter with the UW WInd Ensemble. Photos by Steve Carmichael.
Jamie Wozniak, trumpeter with the UW WInd Ensemble. Photos by Steve Carmichael.
STUDENT CONCERTS AND RECITALS

Recitals: We encourage our students to list their recitals on our concert calendar: search “recital” in the upper right side spotlight box to find them. All are free and open to the public.

Coffee Houses: Many students also perform in coffee houses across Madison. The Jason Kutz Quintet plays at Ancora Coffee (112 King Street) each week in March – Friday 3/13, Friday 3/20, and Thursday 3/26. This group features Eric Siereveld (trumpet), Jeff Williams (bass), Ed Dewey (trombone), Nat Schwartz (drums), and Jason Kutz (piano).

The Hunt Quartet, a graduate string quartet funded by the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the School of Music, will perform on Thursday, March 26, at 6:30PM in Morphy Hall. The Hunt Quartet regularly plays music for elementary children in the public schools as part of the Up Close & Musical! program of the Madison Symphony Orchestra.  Click here for info; full program will be posted soon!

FACULTY MUSICIANS IN CONCERT

Trombonist Mark Hetzler and his group Sinister Resonance debut their newest CD at the High Noon Saloon, Monday, March 16, 8:30 PM. This recording features original compositions by Mark Hetzler and Todd Hammes, as well as arrangements of rock, classical and experimental electro-acoustic styles. Click here to learn more.

Flutist Stephanie Jutt presents “Flautistico!” at the Overture Center’s Promenade Hall, Friday, March 20, 8 PM.  A one-time-only performance including flute plus piano, voice, clarinet, three tango dancers, and beautiful visual installation and film. Click to learn more and buy tickets.

Mike Anderson
(Who’s that sneaky guy behind the camera?)
That would be Mike Anderson, who’s been shooting our students and faculty for two years. If you find yourself on Langdon Street this spring, step inside the Lowell Center to view his brand-new exhibit of School of Music photos.
HELPFUL LINKS

Main Website

Concert Calendar

Ticketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Percussion Ensemble Celebrates 50 Years; UW Rallies to Help Stricken Student; Opera to Stage Magic Flute; Photo Gallery

 UW-MADISON PERCUSSION PROGRAM CELEBRATES 50 YEARS WITH A MARCH 20 CONCERT AND TRIP TO CHINA

“Fifty years is not a long time in the world of classical music, but it’s a very long time in the world of formal percussion studies. In the 1960s and before, the very notion of teaching percussion beyond the basic orchestral instruments caused music educators to simply shake their heads in disbelief.” So what happened? Read the full story on our main website here.


The University of Wisconsin Madison World Percussion Ensemble performs the Olodum classic A Visa La (May 2013). The arrangement was created by Nininho and A. Di Sanza.

Concert: March 20, 8 PM Mills Hall. Tickets sold at the Memorial Union Box office and in Mills on day of show. Adults $10, all-age students free. http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/location.html

HEAR THE MUSIC OF BRITISH COMPOSER CECILIA McDOWALL AND MEET THE COMPOSER, TOO

Heard any new choral music lately? You’ll get your chance this week when Cecilia McDowall, winner of the 2014 British Composer Award for her choral work, Night Flight, comes to Madison.

Please note: On Wednesday the 18th at noon, McDowall will be featured live on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Midday show with host Norman Gilliland (88.7 FM). On Thursday on WORT Radio (89.9 FM), host Rich Samuels plans a half-hour special on McDowall that he pre-recorded with organizer John Aley. At 7:15 AM.

Cecilia McDowall
Cecilia McDowall

Thursday, noon, Mills Hall: Colloquium with the composer. How does she impart those whispery Antarctic sounds into her music? Come to ask and find out how!

Friday, 8 PM, Mills Hall: We’ll feast on McDowall’s choral and instrumental music for ensembles and soloists, including her work about the ill-fated expedition of polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott. Selected faculty and student performers will include pianist Christopher Taylor, tenor James Doing, the UW Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers, and mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Hagedorn.  Mike Duvernois of UW-Madison’s IceCube Antarctic research project will update us on the state of polar research today (hint: they don’t need sled dogs anymore). Tickets sold at the Memorial Union Box office and in Mills on day of show. Adults $20, all-age students free. http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/location.html

Saturday, 8 PM, Mills Hall: A concert devoted to smaller ensembles, including a trio with violinist Eleanor Bartsch, cellist Kyle Price, and pianist SeungWha Baek. They’ll perform “The Colour of Blossoms,” a meditation by McDowall after a 13th century Japanese story. Free concert. Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/cecilia-mcdowall/colour-of-blossoms

Sunday, 9:15 and 10:30 AM, Luther Memorial Church, 1021 University Avenue. Forum (9:15) and Church Service (10:30) featuring McDowall’s music, with the composer present.

WINNERS OF SHAIN WOODWIND-PIANO DUO COMPETITION ANNOUNCED

Our 2015 winners are Kai-Ju Ho, clarinet and SeungWha Baek, piano, and Iva Ugrcic, flute and Thomas Kasdorf, piano. Pedro Garcia, clarinet and Chan Mi Jean, piano, received honorable mention.

The competition is sponsored by former UW-Madison Chancellor Irving Shain. The winners will perform this Sunday, Feb. 22, at 3:30 PM in Morphy Hall. A reception will follow.

BENEFIT FOR STRICKEN TROMBONIST BRITTANY SPERBERG: MARCH 18


The Dairyland Jazz Band, with Sperberg on trombone, plays Ory’s Creole Trombone.

Undergraduate trombonist Brittany Sperberg, who performed in the UW’s Dairyland Jazz Band and many other ensembles, is now having serious medical problems and has withdrawn from school. Sperberg was featured in this blog in the fall of 2013.  Her teacher, trombonist Mark Hetzler, has organized a benefit concert on Wednesday, March 18, 7:30 PM to raise donations to assist her family with unmet expenses. Please join us to help wish Brittany a speedy recovery!  Donations may also be made at YouCaring.org. Learn much more at our website: http://www.music.wisc.edu/2015/02/07/sperberg_benefit/

STELLAR SINGING EXPECTED AT UNIVERSITY OPERA’S NEXT SHOW: MOZART’S THE MAGIC FLUTE
On Oct. 14, 2011, costume designers Sydney Krieger (right) and Hyewon Park (left) work on the fit of a costume worn by University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate Caitlin Miller (center) for the upcoming UW Opera performance of "La Boheme." Also pictured is undergraduate Katherine Peck (center left). (Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison)
In 2011, UW costume designers Sydney Krieger (right) and Hyewon Park (left) worked on a costume for La Boheme. Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison.

University costumers are already busy sewing Victorian bustle skirts and the classic South Asian attire known as the shalwar kameez for next month’s University Opera production of The Magic Flute.  It’s all a product of visiting opera director David Ronis‘s imagined East-west setting for the show. Read the complete news release on our website.

New this spring: four performances, not just three, allowing for even double casting of all lead roles. The show dates are Friday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 14, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 15, 3:00 p.m.; and Tuesday, March 17, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets sold at the Memorial Union Box office. Adults $22, seniors $18, $10 UW-Madison students. http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/location.html

PRICELESS MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPT NOW ACCESSIBLE AFTER A LAPSE OF 800 YEARS

For the first time in history, a formerly inaccessible manuscript of the medieval composer Guillaume de Machaut will become widely available for study, thanks to a new hardbound facsimile version just released by the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music (DIAMM) in Oxford, England. The publication of The Ferrell-Vogüé Machaut Manuscript, one of six such illuminated manuscripts and long unavailable to scholars, renders complete the source material for the 14th Century French composer many consider to be the greatest musical and poetic influence of his day, according to Lawrence Earp, professor of musicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music and the world’s foremost scholar of Machaut’s manuscripts. Read the complete story on our website. 

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SCHOOL OF MUSIC PHOTO EXHIBIT STARTS MARCH 1, LOWELL CENTER

Our friendly helpful photographer Mike Anderson has enlarged and framed about 25 images of student musicians to be placed on display in the Lowell Center Gallery, 610 Langdon Street. The exhibit runs from March 1 to April 30, and there will be a small reception on March 8. Read more here.

Below are a few of Mike’s images taken at our concerto winners concert (“Symphony Showcase”) that was held on February 8. (More information here.) Please check back this fall for our next winners recital date, and join us; it is always a joyous event!

HELPFUL LINKS

Main Website

Concert Calendar

Ticketing

Student recitals in full swing; Thimmig & Friends present rarely-heard Morton Feldman work; Perlman Trio + 2 on April 12

Spring means recitals at the School of Music

For musicians in college music programs, spring often means a hectic gathering of resources to produce the ultimate in personal statements: the solo recital. In the next five weeks, we will present dozens of them, offering a smorgasbord ranging from Beethoven to Brazilian.  Most recitals are listed on our calendar; click on “show student recitals” to find them. Selected examples include:

MIKKO_uwmusic-mayco-080713-4542
Mikko Utevsky, conducting the Madison Area Youth Chamber Orchestra in summer 2013. Photograph by Mike Anderson.

Thursday, March 27, 7:30 PM, Capitol Lakes Retirement Community
Mikko Utevsky, viola
Haydn/Piatigorsky,  Divertimento in D major; Bloch, Suite Hebraïque; Milhaud, Viola Sonata No. 1 (“On anonymous, unpublished 18th-century themes”); Brahms, Sonata for Viola (Clarinet) and Piano in E flat major, Op. 120 No.2. Utevsky also directs the Madison Area Youth Chamber Orchestra, which is now preparing for summer concerts.

Nicole Tuma
Nicole Tuma. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.

Saturday, March 29, 1:30 PM, Morphy Hall
Nicole Tuma, flute, with Steve Radtke, piano, Rachel Bottner, cello, Allison Kelley, oboe, Rosemary Jones, clarinet, Ross Duncan, bassoon, and Sarah Gillespie, horn.
“Of Flutes and Fauna: Music Inspired by the Animal Kingdom”
Malagigi the Sorcerer, Efrain Amaya; “Goldfinch” Concerto, Antonio Vivaldi; Opus No. Zoo, Luciano Berio; Solo de Pajarillo, Omar Acosta; and Vox Balaenae, George Crumb.

Oxana Khramova.
Oxana Khramova.

Saturday, April 5, 3:30 PM, Morphy Hall.
Oxana Khramova, piano
A DMA solo recital featuring Beethoven’s Sonata op. 10, No. 3 in D Major and Ravel’s Miroirs.

Saturday, April 19, 3:30 PM, Morphy Hall.
Quadrivium Saxophone Quartet, performing transcriptions of works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Grieg, and more.

Jacob Wolbert
Jacob Wolbert
Photograph by Mike Anderson

Saturday, April 26, 1:30 PM, Morphy Hall.
Jacob Wolbert, percussion. Featuring marimba, multiple percussion and Brazilian music, with special guests!
Many more recitals to be found at this link! http://www.music.wisc.edu/calendar  [click “show student recitals]

Perlman Piano Trio (+ 2) presents annual concert

The Perlman Piano Trio + 2.
The 2013-14 Perlman Piano Trio (+ 2). L-R: Madlen Breckbill, violin; Alice Bartsch, violin; Daniel Ma, cello; SeungWha Baek, piano; Jeremy Kienbaum, viola. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.

The free annual performance of the student ensemble, the Perlman Piano Trio (+ 2) will take place on Saturday, April 12, at 3:30 PM in Morphy Hall in Humanities. The original ensemble, formed as a piano trio in 2007, is funded by Dr. Kato Perlman, a retired research scientist who was inspired by former UW-Madison Chancellor Irving Shain, who is also heavily involved with the school of music through his support of several competitions. (One of these, the Beethoven Piano Competition, will hold its annual winners’ recital on April 6 at 3:30 PM in Morphy Hall. Winners have not yet been announced.)

As students graduate, new musicians audition to replace them. This year’s ensemble consists of Madlen Breckbill, violin; Alice Bartsch, violin; Daniel Ma, cello; SeungWha Baek, piano; and Jeremy Kienbaum, viola. Both Madlen Breckbill and SeungWha Baek were previously featured this year as winners of the school’s annual concerto competition, the Symphony Showcase, while Alice Bartsch was a winner two years ago.

The April program will include the 40-minute long Trio No. 1 in B-flat major for piano, violin, and cello, D. 898, written by Franz Schubert (click here to hear audio) and finished in 1828, just before he died.  It will also include the adagio of the piano trio in E flat major, Hoboken XV:22, by Joseph Haydn, written in 1794, as well as the piano quintet op. 81 in A major by Antonín Dvořák, composed in 1887. A public reception will follow the performance.

Thimmig, Hedstrom and Kleve to perform final work in Morton Feldman trilogy

Russian-Jewish experimental composer (1926-1987) from New York City wrote music that was “glacially slow and snowily soft”

On March 30, at 5 PM in Mills Hall, UW professor Les Thimmig (on flute), pianist Jennifer Hedstrom, and percussionist Sean Kleve (the last two both members of Clocks in Motion, UW-Madison’s new resident percussion ensemble), will perform the final work of three trios, “For Philip Guston,” dedicated to Philip Guston, who was a painter and Feldman’s closest friend, who died in 1980. This final installment is a Wisconsin premiere, according to Thimmig, and is four hours long.

American composer Morton Feldman (1926-1987) was first noted for his inclusion in the “Cage School”; in addition to John Cage, the group included Earle Brown and Christian Wolff. Their approach of “letting the sounds speak for themselves” stood in marked distinction to the structuralist side of the early 1950’s avant garde, a group including Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Milton Babbitt, among others. Feldman’s music served as an important influence and guide in the development of the minimalist school of the 1960’s, including Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley. A prominent influence on Feldman’s musical development was the work of the painters of the New York school of Abstract Expressionism: Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston, Franz Kline, and Mark Rothko, among others.

Thimmig3

Thimmig and Feldman were acquaintances in New York, Thimmig says. “We sat on bar stools together, we ate dinner together.” Feldman’s music is not often heard, he adds: “It’s important for this to get out. As the years go by, this kind of music goes into the music history dustbin.”

In 2006, writer Alex Ross of The New Yorker published a lengthy analysis of Feldman; you can read it here.

Ross wrote: “The often noted paradox is that this immense, verbose man wrote music that seldom rose above a whisper. In the noisiest century in history, Feldman chose to be glacially slow and snowily soft. Chords arrive one after another, in seemingly haphazard sequence, interspersed with silences. Harmonies hover in a no man’s land between consonance and dissonance, paradise and oblivion. Rhythms are irregular and overlapping, so that the music floats above the beat. Simple figures repeat for a long time, then disappear. There is no exposition or development of themes, no clear formal structure. Certain later works unfold over extraordinarily lengthy spans of time, straining the capabilities of performers to play them and audiences to hear them. More than a dozen pieces last between one and two hours, and “For Philip Guston” and “String Quartet (II)” go on for much longer. In its ritual stillness, this body of work abandons the syntax of Western music, and performers must set aside their training to do it justice.”

Percussionist Sean Kleve says the the trios “are unlike any performance experience I’ve ever had.”

“I’ve had to work on new ways to experience the music in which I allow myself to concentrate in the moment and not permit my mind to think about what is to come and what I have already played,” he added. “At a certain point in rehearsals, I don’t even feel like the music takes that long to play. Rather, it feels like a series of related or unrelated moments which are happening to me. My major role as the performer is to fit in and allow the music to unfold in its natural pace and patient manner.”

“The Annals of Accompanying”: UW pianist Martha Fischer describes the unique skills needed to be a collaborative pianist

Blogger Jake Stockinger presents a two-part series on his website, “The Well-Tempered Ear,” in which he interviewed UW pianist Martha Fischer and UW baritone Paul Rowe about their upcoming concerts (Hugo Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch, which they will perform with alumna Julia Foster, who earned a BA in 2003) as well as the qualities required to become a truly good collaborative pianist.

 

Paul Rowe, Martha Fischer, and alumna Julia Foster.
Paul Rowe, Martha Fischer, and alumna Julia Foster.

“No longer are they called ‘accompanists’; today these performances are understood to be much more,” Fischer says. “If we, as pianists, think of it as “just accompanying” — as a lesser experience — then we are perpetuating the stereotype that accompanists are good sight-readers who should stay in the background and be nothing more than pretty wallpaper to the soloist’s great artistry. If we as pianists bring all we have to offer to the table and are as prepared (or more so) than our partners, then we play in a way that demands respect. And that’s where it should all begin.”

Read Part One here.
Read Part Two here.

Concerts:

TONIGHT: Madison, Wisconsin, Wednesday, March 26, 7:30 PM, Mills Hall.

Vermilion, South Dakota, Friday, March 28, 9AM, University of South Dakota (as part of the National Association of Teachers of Singing regional meeting and competition. The three will then serve as judges the following day.) Click here for more info.

 

Musicologists to gather at UW for the Midwest Graduate Music Consortium, April 11 & 12

The Midwest Graduate Music Consortium (MGMC) is a joint venture organized by graduate students from Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. MGMC encourages the presentation of original research and the composition of new music by graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Conferences are held annually on a rotating basis, at Madison, Chicago, or Evanston.

The eighteenth annual MGMC meeting will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and will include paper sessions, a new music concert, and a keynote address delivered by Tamara Levitz. MGMC 2014 is generously funded by the UW-Madison School of Music and the UW-Madison Lectures Committee. For the full program, click here: https://sites.google.com/site/mgmc2014/program

Friday, April 11, 4PM, Room 2650 Humanities: “Riot at the Rite: Racial Exclusion and the Foundations of Musical Modernism,” a talk by Tamara Leivitz, UCLA. Abstract: “The premiere of Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Nijinsky’s ballet Rite of Spring in Paris on May 29, 1913 had received much attention in scholarly works for the infamous riot that confronted its first performance. The lecture aims to deconstruct the myth of the riot, with the goal of exposing the process of racial exclusion in modernist listening practices that emphasized the work’s newness over its strangeness. Through the proliferation of this myth, Prof. Levitz will show how concert organizers, musicologists, and journalists cemented the practices of racial exclusion that define listening cultures of modern music to the present day.”
Saturday, April 12, 1 PM. New Music Concert at Luther Memorial Church, 1021 University Ave, featuring new works for Clocks in Motion and the woodwind quintet, Black Marigold. 

Faculty oboist Kostas Tiliakos to perform Greece-inspired program with Christopher Taylor and Stephanie Jutt

Pianist Christopher Taylor and flutist Stephanie Jutt will accompany Kostas Tiliakos on oboe and English horn in his only solo recital this year, April 7 at 7:30 PM in Morphy Hall. His program will consist by composers Minas Alexiadis, Anastassis Philippakopoulos, Theodore Antoniou, Jurgis Juozapaitis, and Thea Musgrave. Tiliakos, a visiting assistant professor of oboe, replaced retiring faculty oboist Marc Fink last fall. “The idea was to play music either written by Greek composers or music inspired by Greece and its history and mythology,” Tiliakos says. Three of the pieces were written and premiered by Tiliakos: Alexiadis’ Folk Cadenza No.5 (premiered at the International Double Reed Conference 2013, at University of Redlands, California); and Philippakopoulos’ Syrna and Antoniou’s Trio Lyrico for oboe, flute, and piano. The last two were premiered by Tiliakos in Athens in 2000 and 2008, respectively.

 

Kostas Tiliakos.
Kostas Tiliakos.

New trombone ensemble holds first concert; Mark Hetzler to solo

The Madison Area Trombone Ensemble will present its inaugural concert at 3pm on Sunday, March 30th, at First United Methodist Church, 203 Wisconsin Ave. Founded by School of Music alumnus and Madison freelance trombonist Kevan Feyzi (BM, 2012), MATE is an all-volunteer group is comprised of some of the top trombonists in the community. The program will feature Mark Hetzler, associate professor of trombone, performing David P. Jones’ Bone Moan, a composition for solo trombone with six-part trombone choir and the title track on Hetzler’s eponymous album, released in December on Summit Records. The program also includes compositions by local trombonist Rich Woolworth plus Randall Thompson, Haydn, Duke Ellington, and arrangements by members of the group.

Trombonist Mark Hetzler.
Trombonist Mark Hetzler. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.

Young pianists competition Feb. 28; Hornist to spend a semester in Vienna; TA wins major university award; more news

Welcome to the New Year! We hope you enjoy the new look of Fanfare!, our news blog. We plan to feature more news and shorter announcements, allowing room for much more information. We hope you like it!

UW-Madison piano studio sponsors Young Pianists Competition for high school students

The piano department at UW-Madison invites entries for its “Piano Extravaganza” competition for talented high school pianists aged 15-19, Feb 28 through March 1. The three-day event will feature masterclasses and performance by graduate students and faculty members, including Prof. Christopher Taylor (Feb. 28, 8 pm, Mills Concert Hall) and Prof. Johannes Wallmann (workshop and concert, Sat., March 1, noon (Morphy Hall).

The UW-Madison Piano Extravaganza Competition was established to encourage emerging regional pianists to participate in a competition and attend masterclasses, workshops and performances hosted by UW faculty and students. This year’s Piano Extravaganza will feature piano works influenced by jazz and blues. Full details are available here.

Application materials must be received no later than 5:00 pm Friday, January 31, 2014.  More information and the application can be downloaded here: Piano Extravaganza form

Hornist to spend a semester in Vienna

Amanda Fry
Amanda Fry
Photograph by Michael R. Anderson

Amanda Fry, a junior hornist studying with Prof. Daniel Grabois, will soak up Viennese culture this spring as part of the IES Abroad (Institute for the International Education of Students) program, a Chicago-based organization that facilitates study abroad. While there, she will take classes in music theory and history, lessons with a prominent hornist, attend concerts and operas, and travel around Europe. Two previous School of Music students have previously participated in IES Abroad, flutist Elspeth Hayden and trumpeter Louis Menchaca. “The level of horn playing in the city is incredibly high, and I am going to soak up as many new ideas as I can during my semester abroad,” Fry says. “The Vienna Philharmonic hornists play a different kind of instrument known, not surprisingly, as the Vienna horn. This horn produces the distinctly sylvan sound associated with the music of Brahms and Mahler. My task is to learn how to make that sound.  I can’t wait to plunge into this incredible experience!”

Voice grad student wins campuswide TA award

Jordan Wilson, a doctoral student in voice who studies with Prof. Mimmi Fulmer, has received the “Early Excellence in Teaching” award from UW-Madison. The $500 award “recognizes outstanding and inspirational performance on the part of TAs with fewer than four semesters of teaching experience.” Says Prof. Fulmer: “Jordan has been an outstanding TA for the voice program since fall 2012, when he began his DMA at UW-Madison. There was a surge of interest in the 143 voice class for non-majors for both spring and fall 2013, reflecting the reputation among students about Jordan’s teaching. The students from his class who have chosen to continue with individual voice lessons show high levels of motivation, comprehension of basic musical skills, and sensitivity to musical phrasing and interpretation.” Congratulations, Jordan!

Fischer and Lutes to celebrate the music of Franz Schubert with a “Shubertiade,” January 31

The husband-and-wife team of pianists Prof. Martha Fischer and Bill Lutes, emeritus professor of piano, have planned an all-Schubert program for January 31, 8 pm, using the stage of Mills Hall as a makeshift living room adorned with rugs, lamps and period furniture. The program will include songs, vocal ensembles, and instrumental works, featuring the Fantasie in F Minor for piano four-hands and the gorgeous piano trio Notturno. Fischer and Lutes will be joined by faculty members Mimmi Fulmer, Elizabeth Hagedorn, James Doing, Paul Rowe, and Parry Karp, as well as graduate students Jordan Wilson, Tom Leighton, and Sarah Richardson, and undergrad violinist Alice Bartsch. 

Martha Fischer & Bill Lutes
Martha Fischer & Bill Lutes

Stephanie Jutt to perform concert of Spanish and Latin American music

On February 1 at 8 pm in Morphy Concert Hall, flute professor Stephanie Jutt and pianist Thomas Kasdorf  will perform works of Carlos Guastavino, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Salvador Brotons, Jesús Guridi, and Astor Piazzolla.  Download the concert program and notes here

This concert is part of a recording project of Latin American and Spanish masterpieces for flute and piano, works that Prof. Jutt researched during a 2010 sabbatical to Argentina. The recording will take place in New York next August with pianists Elena Abend of Venezuela, on faculty at UW-Milwaukee, and Pablo Zinger, a Grammy award-winning pianist and arranger from Uruguay. The project is funded by a grant from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

Prof. Jutt is the co-founder of the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, a summer chamber music festival in Wisconsin. Kasdorf graduated from UW-Madison in piano performance, studying with Prof. Christopher Taylor.

“Symphony Showcase” on Feb. 8 presents solo performances by School of Music concerto winners, as well as the premiere of Poema for Saxophone and Orchestra by composition winner Daria Mikhailovna Tennikova

We hope to see you at our special concert and reception honoring the winners of our annual Concerto Competition, which also will feature pianists Sung Ho Yang and Seungwha Baek, flutist Mi-li Chang, clarinetist Kai-Ju Ho, and violinist Madlen Breckbill. To read our recent post, click here.

Works on the program include Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto; Jacque Ibert’s Flute Concerto, movements 2 & 3; Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in Eb Major and Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major (movement 1) as well as the first movement of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto.

left to right: Mi-Li Chang (flute), Madlen Breckbill (violin), SungHo Yang (piano), SeungWha Baek (piano), Kai-Ju Ho (clarinet)
left to right: Mi-Li Chang (flute), Madlen Breckbill (violin), SungHo Yang (piano), SeungWha Baek (piano), Kai-Ju Ho (clarinet).
Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

The post-concert reception will include a cash bar and appetizers. Tickets are $10, and must be purchased in advance. You can buy them here (click “box office”).

The concert begins at 7 pm at Mills Concert Hall, in the Humanities Building. The reception will be in Tripp Commons at the Memorial Union, following the concert.

For a UW parking map, click here.

Trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth to offer a master class at the School of Music

Trumpeter Tine (pronounced “Tina”) Thing Helseth, in town in mid-February to perform with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, will share her talents with School of Music students and the community in a master class on February 13, at 1:30 pm in Mills Concert Hall. Read more here.

The Norwegian native is a seasoned soloist with dozens of orchestral engagements under her belt from around the world.  This eclectic musician is also a jazz trumpeter and leader of an all-female brass band.

UW concerto winners to strut their stuff at “Symphony Showcase” on Feb. 8

Join us for a post-concert reception at Tripp Commons! Seating limited: Tickets $10 per person. Buy them here. 

Written by Nicole Tuma, graduate flutist and concert assistant, UW-Madison School of Music

For most UW-Madison students, winter break is a time for new beginnings.  A time to put away that heavy textbook you’re so sick of lugging to the library and replacing it with another – hopefully lighter – one.  A time to take one last glance at the comments your professor made on your term paper and start gathering your energies before researching the next.  For pianists Sung Ho Yang and Seungwha Baek, flutist Mi-li Chang, clarinetist Kai-Ju Ho, and violinist Madlen Breckbill, however, this is not the case.  These five School of Music students will be spending part of their break preparing for the “Symphony Showcase,” a concert that presents some of UW’s finest young musicians in solo performances with the UW Symphony Orchestra. For most, this process began over the summer, when they chose their repertoire for October’s Concerto Competition preliminaries.

On Saturday, February 8th, at 7 pm in Mills Concert Hall (note: this concert was originally scheduled for 8 pm) all five winners will be featured in performances with maestro James Smith with graduate conductor Kyle Knox and the UW Symphony Orchestra in an exciting evening of stylistically diverse concertos propelled by these students’ talent and energy. A sixth winner, composition undergraduate student Daria Mikhailovna Tennikova, will have her winning work, Poema for Saxophone and Orchestra, performed by the symphony and saxophone soloist Erika Anderson.

The concert is free and will be followed by a celebratory ticketed reception at Tripp Commons at the Memorial Union, featuring hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Tickets will be $10 per person. (Space will be limited! Reserve your spot early at this site.)

 left to right:  Mi-Li Chang (flute), Madlen Breckbill (violin), SungHo Yang (piano), SeungWha Baek (piano), Kai-Ju Ho (clarinet)
left to right: Mi-Li Chang (flute), Madlen Breckbill (violin),
SungHo Yang (piano), SeungWha Baek (piano), Kai-Ju Ho (clarinet).
Not in photo: Composer Daria Tennikova.
Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

For Kai-Ju Ho, a clarinetist from Taiwan, performing with the symphony will be a dream come true, she says.  “I remember the first time I heard this concerto was on a recording when I was a freshman. I swore that one day I’d play it!”

Concertos, with their exhilarating combination of soloistic pyrotechnics and dedicated ensemble playing, are some of the jewels of the orchestral repertoire, and the opportunity to perform a concerto with an orchestra is an experience that musicians truly savor. For woodwind lovers, this year’s Symphony Showcase concert will be a real treat, as it will include two of the most popular woodwind concertos: Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto (1948) and Jacque Ibert’s Flute Concerto (1934).   The Copland was written for and premiered by Benny Goodman and has an irrepressibly jazzy second movement, while the Ibert is a crowd-pleasing work that alternates dreamy, languid passages with a bubbly, lighthearted finale infused with Spanish dance rhythms and a hint of jazz.  There will also be two piano concertos on February’s program, Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in Eb Major (mid-1800s) and Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major (1921).  Both are technically brilliant works that marry their composers’ mature styles with youthful themes composed years earlier, when Liszt and Prokofiev were students.  Finally, there will be a performance of the first movement of Samuel Barber’s beloved Violin Concerto, a lyrical masterpiece that violinists and audiences have loved since its 1941 premiere.

The concert will open with a performance of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s always exciting Russian Easter Festival Overture,  written in 1888-89.

All five solo pieces are incredibly beautiful but incredibly difficult; how will these performers prepare? All are experienced in performing many kinds of repertoire, in solo recitals, small chamber groups, large bands and orchestras, even jazz combos, but all agree that preparing a concerto—another beast altogether – requires a distinct approach.  In the first place, the sheer volume of sound needed to project over a large orchestra is daunting, compared with what’s needed to play with a single piano, according to Mi-li Chang, a doctoral candidate and UW Collins Fellow from Taiwan.

Merely playing louder isn’t enough to ensure that the soloist soars over the orchestra, however; clear musical ideas are needed as well. A cohesive performance happens only when the soloist, conductor, and orchestra hear the music in the same way, but there’s no time in rehearsal for a soloist to explain her thoughts. Therefore, says clarinetist Kai-Ju Ho, a fellow graduate of the Taipei National University of the Arts, she must perform so clearly and convincingly that the orchestra understands and can follow her interpretation.

Lastly, because of the sheer number of people and instruments in an orchestra–for this concert, about 85–and the vast array of pitches, sounds, and colors in a complicated piece of music, concerto soloists need to spend a great deal of time studying the full score, says Kai-Ju. They must know what’s happening in the orchestra at every moment in a piece so that he or she can adjust note lengths, volume, and phrasing to fit in with the orchestra’s sound.

For solo pianists, who more often perform unaccompanied, concertos pose a particular challenge.  Instead of simply playing and hoping the orchestra will catch them, soloists need to actively collaborate with the orchestra , says SeungWha Baek, who is currently a doctoral student in collaborative piano and a member of the Perlman Trio, a student string trio funded by UW benefactor Kato Perlman. Brilliant technique is not enough: “This piece won’t happen without respecting [the] ensemble,” she says.

Preparing a concerto for performance requires a great deal of energy, which for these performers is not acquired in the practice room, but outside of it. And each has his or her own style. Madlen Breckbill, an undergraduate violinist from Madison, derives hers from interesting conversations, eating delicious food, seeing beautiful sights, and watching theater. Meanwhile, Kai-Ju enjoys cooking food from Taiwan and hiking in national parks (she has visited nine of them in the three years she’s been in the United States). “I like the peaceful moments and the amazing scenery,” she says. Mi-li  spends time running or walking around Madison’s lakes, and Sung Ho, who formerly practiced piano eight hours a day, is now a member of the Hoofers Sailing Club and the UW cycling team. The extra hours once spent at the piano are now taken up reading scores, running and bicycling, windsurfing. He thinks all this has helped him to avoid injury. “My life has changed because of it.  I lost twenty pounds; in every day, I feel more happiness.”

The students know they’ll forever treasure their time on stage as soloists with the UW Symphony; many musicians are never fortunate enough to experience it.  And if the audience responds with smiles or tears, as happened once as Sung Ho rehearsed with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, the hard work of preparation is fully compensated.

About the Performers:

A native of Seoul, Korea, pianist SeungWha Baek is currently in the doctoral program in collaborative piano at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studies with Martha Fischer and is a teaching assistant. As of this fall, SuengWha is the pianist in the advanced student ensemble, the Perlman Trio, at UW-Madison.

Ms. Baek has a masters degree in accompaniment from Northern Illinois University where she studied with William Goldenberg and also received a certificate in performance. Prior to that, she earned a bachelor’s degree in music from SookMyung Women’s University in Seoul and a master’s in piano performance at the same university, where she studied with MiJeung Park. While at Northern Illinois University, she performed in many recitals for instrument and voice and served as accompanist for a production of “Little Women” with the NIU Opera Workshop. In 2007, SeungWha was a winner of the Northern Illinois University concerto competition and was an accompanist at the 2007 V.O.I.C. Experience program (led by Mr. Sherrill Milnes in Orlando, Florida) and the 2009 Quartet Program (directed by Charles Castleman at SUNY-Fridonia).

Pianist Sung Ho Yang was born in Seoul, Korea and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in the School of Music with Christopher Taylor.  Mr. Yang graduated from Sun-Hwa Arts School in Seoul and attended Seoul National University. In 2004, he transferred to New England Conservatory of Music in Boston with his professor, Wha Kyung Byun, and later earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as a graduate diploma, from NEC. Mr. Yang has performed in master classes for Russell Sherman, Klaus Hellwig, Sergei Dorensky, and Vladimir Feltsman. He has also attended the Contemporary Music Festival in New Paltz, New York: New Music Mannes at New York, and the International Summer Academy at the Mozarteum, Salzburg.

Sung Ho Yang has won top prizes at the Florestano Rossomandi International Competition in Italy and at the Johann Nepomuk Hummel International Piano Competition in Slovakia.  He is also a winner of the Beethoven Piano Competition at the UW-Madison School of Music, sponsored by former UW-Madison Chancellor Irving Shain.  In his native Korea, he won the Segye-Times Piano Competition and the Eum Youn Competition, and was sponsored by the Kum Ho Cultural Foundation for two solo recitals in Seoul in 2002 and 2003. As a concerto soloist, Mr. Yang debuted with the St. Petersburg Radio Symphony Orchestra in St. Petersburg, Russia, performing Liszt’s Totentanz and with the Slovak Philharmonic orchestra in Bratislava, Slovakia, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3. Mr. Yang’s repertoire ranges from Rachmaninoff’s Six Moments Musicaux to  Boulez’s Second Piano Sonata, and includes all of Liszt’s piano concerti.  Mr. Yang currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin, where he has joined the UW cycling team and the Hoofer Sailing Club.

Madlen Breckbill, a senior at UW Madison, began playing the violin at age four with Suzuki Strings of Madison. In her early years, Madlen participated in Sonora Strings of Madison, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra, WYSO chamber ensembles and the WYSO Ambassadors. In middle school, Madlen studied with School of Music artist-in-residence and Pro Arte Quartet violinist Suzanne Beia; in high school she studied with Gene Purdue (now School of Music visiting assistant professor of violin).  In 2011, Madlen attended the Madeline Island Music Camp, leading to an invitation to perform with her quartet at the Landmark Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the summer of 2012, Madlen and her quartet members were winners of the Meadowmount School of Music quartet competition. This past summer, Madlen served as concertmaster for the Kent/Blossom Music Festival chamber orchestra, under the baton of James Feddeck, for a performance at the Blossom Music Center, followed by a side-by-side performance with the Cleveland Orchestra.

At UW-Madison, Madlen performs with different chamber groups each year, including the Perlman Trio in spring 2013 for a performance of the Brahms Piano Quintet. Madlen studies with Pro Arte violinist David Perry and receives coachings and lessons from the many talented and kind music professors at UW-Madison.

Mili Chang is a doctoral student in flute performance and a Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Fellow, studying with Stephanie Jutt. She has won a number of competitions, including the Irving Shain Woodwind/Piano Duo Competition with pianist Kirstin Ihde in 2012 and the Taipei National University of the Arts Soloist Competition Concert in 2010 at Taipei, Taiwan. In Madison, Mili performs in many ensembles, including UW’s Collegium Musicum, the Helios Quintet and the UW orchestras. A committed music educator, Mili is a frequent coach with the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra chamber program, and has coached band and orchestra sectionals and a wind quintet at Daan Junior High School in Taipei. A native of Taiwan, Mili holds a master’s degree from Taipei National University of the Arts and a bachelor’s from National Taiwan Normal University. Mili’s flute teachers have included Jinny Hwei-Jin Liu from the Manhattan School of Music and Li-Man Sung from the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Brussels.

Kai-Ju Ho is a native of Taipei, Taiwan and holds a bachelor’s degree from Taipei National University of the Arts in Taipei, Taiwan, where she studied with Wei-Leng Chen, principal clarinetist of the Taipei Symphony Orchestra. She then received a master’s degree in clarinet performance from the University of Texas-Austin where she studied with Nathan Williams. She is now pursuing her doctoral degree in clarinet performance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying with Linda Bartley.

Kai-Ju Ho is an avid performer in recital and solo appearances, orchestra playing and chamber music. She has received numerous awards, including first prize in the 2012 International Clarinet Association Young Artist competition, the 2007 Taiwan Clarinet Competition, and the 2006 Taipei Symphony Orchestra Young Artist concerto Competition.   In 2010, Kai-Ju Ho joined the Chimei Philharmonic Orchestra and performed in China (Beijing, Ningbo, Shanghai, Nanjing, and Guangzhou). In 2006, she  was a member of the Taipei Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.  Kai-Ju Ho has played in many master classes, including those with Florent Heau, Lei Fan, Paul Meyer, Kenneth Grant, Hakan Rosengren and Mark Nuccio.

Daria Mikhailovna Tennikova was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She began taking composition lessons from Natalia Karsh of the Composers Union of Saint Petersburg, but initially chose to focus on piano rather than pursuing a career in composition, receiving an associate degree in piano performance and pedagogy from St. Petersburg’s Mussorgsky College of Music in 2008.  Her work received its first public performance at the college when her “Three Lilies” for soprano and piano was played as part of a final accompaniment exam. Daria moved to the United States in 2009 and began devoting more time to composition. In 2010 she began pursuing a bachelor’s degree in composition at UW-Madison, studying with professors Laura Schwendinger and Stephen Dembski.
Poema for Saxophone and Orchestra is Ms. Tennikova’s most recent composition, and her very first work for orchestra. She says, “I began thinking
about writing a piece for soloist and orchestra last spring. Originally I wanted it to be for a piano soloist, and I wrote the main theme with something “Russian” in mind. Later in the spring of 2013, I heard Erika Anderson play Anthony Caulkins’ saxophone piece at a concert. I was moved by her wonderful performance to write my piece for saxophone soloist. I wanted Erika to play it, so I asked her if she would be interested in collaborating and, being both a wonderful person and a great musician, she agreed to play without even hearing the music! I am very grateful to her for giving my piece a beautiful performance!”

Got nerves on stage? Meet Noa Kageyama, performance psychologist

Are you one of those performers whose teeth start chattering just prior to taking the stage? Or maybe your hands just get clammy and you find it hard not to add a little shake to that Schubert?  On Wednesday and Thursday, October 9 and 10, Dr. Noa Kageyama, a Juilliard-based performance psychologist, will visit the School of Music to offer his insights into how to conquer–or at least quell–those anxieties, not only found among musicians but all people who find themselves in front of a crowd.

Calling his talks “The Psychological Skills of Top Performers,” Kageyama will offer two evening workshops and a colloquium. Workshops will be from 7 to 9 pm in Morphy Hall, and the colloquium will be October 10 from noon to 1 pm in Mills Hall. The events, which are sponsored by the university’s Vilas trust, are fee and open to the public. For students interested in a more personal conversation, Dr. Kageyama will also be available for individual coaching sessions.

On Thursday, October 10 at 8:40 am, Dr. Kageyama will also appear on WORT radio as a guest of Tony Casteneda, a host of the “8 O’Clock Buzz.”

In Japan, Kageyama started as a violin student, studying with the legendary Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, founder of the Suzuki Method of instruction, and took his studies through college with considerable success. But he also experienced considerable frustration.

“Along the way, I learned all about discipline, sacrifice, and what it takes to be successful,” he writes on his blog, The Bulletproof Musician. “But I also came to see that this wasn’t quite enough. Despite my successes, I struggled with inconsistency and felt that my playing often fell short of what I knew I was capable of. It was frustrating to play so well in rehearsals and then sound like a different person in performances and auditions.” At Juilliard, he attended a class taught by a sports psychologist, Dr. Don Greene, who helped Kageyama to consider a new way to think about performance. Kageyama wound up with a master’s degree in performance from Juilliard and a doctorate in psychology, and opened up a practice with the goal to answer the question:  “Why do some people thrive under pressure while others choke?”

We asked Dr. Kageyama a few questions about what’s he’s learned along with way, and what he might present here at UW-Madison.

So you are a “performance psychologist.” Was there even a field of PP when you were just starting out?
Well, the field of sport psychology has been around for quite some time, but for most of its history has been centered around athletes. In the last 20 years or so, there has been increased interest in the application of sport psychology principles and techniques to other “performers” like musicians, public speakers, even Wall Street traders. So as the field has expanded, some have taken to referring to it as “performance psychology” as opposed to sport psychology, but it’s really the same thing.

Noa Kageyama
Noa Kageyama

On your blog, you mention a man at Juilliard named Don Greene who taught the PEM class. You said it was illuminating. Were there a lot of Juilliard students who actually needed that class?
To be honest – and this is not at all a knock on Juilliard students by any means – we all did. We all want to play our best all the time, and so few of us do on a consistent basis. I used to assume that this was just how things were, that performances would always be somewhat hit or miss. I didn’t realize that there were specific physical, mental, and emotional skills that consistently great performers had learned and mastered. We all took away different things from the class, but the coolest thing was to walk off stage one day, and just realize that you totally “get it.” As in, you totally understand exactly what you have to do physically, what you have to think about, and focus on that leads to great, memorable (and even enjoyable) performances.

Did you ever arrive at an answer to your question: “Why do some people thrive under pressure while others choke?” Does an answer exist?
I could get into more complex, in-depth explanations, but the simple answer is that there are certain mental, physical, and emotional states that are conducive to peak performance. The athlete (or musician) who can get into those states on demand maximizes the likelihood of thriving under pressure. The performer who doesn’t know what these states are, or how to get into them at will, and is dependent on chance and circumstance, is going to be more likely to fall short of their abilities when the pressure is on.

Are there some principles that apply to all people on stage?
Absolutely. Sport psychologists tend to focus on a common set of key skills that are pretty universal to all folks in a performance setting – whether it’s a solo, a presentation, or a monologue.

These include skills like anxiety regulation, confidence, focus, resilience, and understanding how to prepare the right way for the specific demands of a performance.

I knew friends way back in the early ’80s who enrolled in Toastmasters as a way to become more comfortable on stage, not usually performing arts people, however.  Is this the same idea?
Toastmasters can be a very helpful experience. What’s most helpful is the regular exposure to performance-like conditions. Having to get up in front of people and perform (or speak, in this case) on a regular basis gives you an opportunity to develop stronger performance skills, and also helps you become more comfortable with performance situations. Like any other skill, we get better at performing, by practicing performing.

What is your thought on the use of beta-blockers as a way to diminish nerves prior to critical performances? This has apparently become very common in the world of music.
I don’t take as hard-line a stance as some others do, and don’t get into the ethics or morality of it, but I have never recommended beta blockers, and at the end of the day, beta blockers will probably hold people back from performing their absolute best.

Why? Well, beta blockers will generally address the physiological response, but in most studies, the cognitive aspect of anxiety – i.e. the worries, doubts, fears, second-guessing, the analysis, judgment, etc. is more predictive of performance than the physical aspect. So even if you negate the physiological response, many will still be sabotaged by the mental response.

Furthermore, there’s a common misconception that we perform our best when we’re calm. We might be more comfortable when we’re calm, but most performers (and athletes – even in really high-precision sports like pistol shooting), actually have their best performances at a moderate to high level of activation.

When you coach a student individually, how do you first start? Do you evaluate first, or observe? Are you able to glean an understanding of a student’s performance problems simply by observation? Are students even truly self-aware at such an early stage?
We always start with a mental skills assessment to figure out what their mental strengths and weaknesses are. Like how do they recover from mistakes? Do they have trouble staying in the present? Do they get distracted easily? Do they get tentative and overly careful under pressure?

Then it’s a matter of developing their weaker areas just as they would in a regular music lesson, through a combination of observation and Q&A and experimenting with with different strategies and techniques.

What are your plans for your workshops and colloquium in Madison? Are your workshops similar to master classes, in which students are pre-selected to appear on stage and perform, then are evaluated by the teacher?
That might be interesting!
The plan is to hold a couple larger workshops, where we will work on these skills as a group. Some students will volunteer and be “guinea pigs” whose mental skills will be tested in a good-natured sort of way, but ultimately almost all of the students will play and learn a few key mental skills they can take away and put to use immediately (or at least with a little practice).

I also believe I will be working individually with some folks to do a little more in-depth personalized coaching.

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