Category Archives: The Well-Tempered Ear

University Opera presents spring show, “Transformations”; Clarinet Day debut; cellist Andrew Briggs impresses Middleton audience

News and Concert Highlights from the UW-Madison School of Music – Feb. 29, 2016

University Opera presents its spring 2016 show:”Transformations”

Transformations, a 1970s chamber opera that explores serious psychological themes through the re-telling of Grimm’s fairy tales, will be staged March 11, 13 and 15 by UW-Madison University Opera. The opera was written by Conrad Susa based on poetry by Pulitzer-Prize winner Anne Sexton, who suffered from mental illness and depression, and took her own life in 1974 at age 45.
‘It’s a challenging and compelling piece of music theater,” said David Ronis, director. “It’s a great vehicle to teach skills to young opera singers, and stimulating thought and dialog across the university and community.”  While the opera is dark at times, it contains much humor as well.

Anne Sexton
Anne Sexton

Sexton’s writing was often confessional and overtly feminist. Her champions included Maxine Kumin, Robert Lowell, and Sylvia Plath. Transformations was commissioned of Susa in 1972 by the Minnesota Opera, known for its interest in contemporary works. The libretto includes eight cast members who play multiple roles from the fairy tales; the plot involves a middle-aged witch who is transformed into a young beauty pulled into a nightmare.

Transformations is conducted by graduate assistant conductor Kyle Knox.

Click this link to read much more about this production, including the cast list and backstage personnel.

Performance dates, times and prices:
Friday, Mar 11 @ 7:30pm (Pre-show discussion, 6 PM)
Sunday, Mar 13 @ 3:00pm
Tuesday, Mar 15 @ 7:30pm
General Admission: $25; Seniors: $20; Students: $10
Tickets available at the Memorial Union Box Office. Also available at the door.

Transformations is a thought-provoking and complex opera that benefits from thought and discussion. Join us for a pre-show discussion at 6:00 PM in Music Hall, March 11, with noted University scholars:
Lynn Keller – Professor of Poetry, UW-Madison
Thomas DuBois – Professor of Scandinavian Studies, Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies,UW-Madison
Laura Schwendinger – Professor of Composition, School of Music, UW-Madison
Karlos Moser – Emeritus Director of Opera, UW-Madison
David Ronis
– Interim Director of Opera, UW-Madison
Moderator: Susan Cook, Director, UW-Madison School of Music


Selected Concert Highlights, March 2016

The Hunt Quartet. Sunday, March 6, 6:00 PM, Morphy Hall, free and open to all. The Hunt Quartet is the graduate string quartet at UW-Madison, comprised of Paran Amirinazari, violin; Clayton Tillotson, violin; Blakeley Menghini, viola; and Andrew Briggs, cello. The quartet will play music of Beethoven, Webern, and Schubert. Funding is provided by Dr. Kato Perlman and the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

The Hunt Quartet. L-R: Clayton Tillotson, violin; Blakeley Menghini, viola; Paran Amirinazari, violin; and cellist Andrew Briggs, cello. Photograph by Katrin Talbot.
The Hunt Quartet. L-R: Clayton Tillotson, violin; Blakeley Menghini, viola; Paran Amirinazari, violin; and cellist Andrew Briggs, cello. Photograph by Katrin Talbot.

UW Chamber Orchestra
Wednesday, March 16, Mills Hall, 7:30 PM. The UWCO, conducted by James Smith, will perform works of Bela Bartok, Elliott Carter, and Einojuhani Rautavaara, one of Finland’s most important composers. Rautavaara’s style has been influenced by Orthodox liturgical music and Finnish fiddlers and is both Romantic and mystical; read about him at this link.

“Le Domaine Musical”
Friday, March 18, Morphy Hall, 8:00 PM. Free concert. An homage to the late composer Pierre Boulez, featuring music of Pierre Boulez, Anton Webern, Claude Debussy and Johann Sebastian Bach. Performers drawn from School of Music faculty as well as students.

 

See much more on our complete calendar: recitals, jazz, classical, voice and percussion concerts, colloquia, and opera: http://www.music.wisc.edu/events/


UW-Madison hosts its first “Clarinet Day”

On Saturday, February 20th, the clarinet studio and Wesley Warnhoff, adjunct professor of clarinet, hosted its first “Clarinet Day,” including Warnhoff and students performing works by Francis Poulenc and Eric Mandat, master classes with high school students, and chamber music sessions with college and high school students working side by side. The day concluded with the group attending a stunning performance by the UW Wind Ensemble conducted by Professor Scott Teeple. Warnhoff plans to turn this into an annual event; check back next year!

Clarinet Day 2016
Clarinet Day 2016

New on SoundCloud: Hear Martha Fischer, Wes Warnhoff and Jamie-Rose Guarrine perform “The Shepherd on the Rock” at last January’s annual “Schubertiade” concert. Fischer is prof. of piano and collaborative piano at UW-Madison. Guarrine received her DMA at UW-Madison and now teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


Cellist Andrew Briggs earns ovation from Middleton Community Orchestra audience

“I must say that he gave me about the most satisfying experience of it that I have ever heard.” Reviewer John Barker, in his review of the MCO’s Feb. 24 concert, in which Briggs, a UW-Madison graduate student studying with Prof. Uri Vardi, played Antonin Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. “The reason for that is not only his playing skill but also his natural rapport with an audience: He communicates.”
Click to read the full post at The Well-Tempered Ear.

Andrew Briggs
Andrew Briggs

Faculty News: James Doing, Laura Schwendinger
Alumni News: Danny Kim


 

The School of Music offers a smorgasbord of performances each year; we invite you to visit our website and click on our events calendar. We also publish a season brochure that is mailed every August.


You received this newsletter because you either signed up at join-somnews@lists.wisc.edu or directly at this blog. You can also follow us on our very active Facebook page and hear our music on our SoundCloud page.

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UW Opera Wins National Award; 3rd “Schubertiade” coming on Jan. 30

Happy New Year from the UW-Madison School of Music!

University Opera’s Albert Herring wins award from the National Opera Association

Albert Herring, an opera composed by Benjamin Britten and produced by University Opera in October, 2014 at Music Hall, has won third place in Division III of the National Opera Association‘s annual opera production competition. The opera was directed by interim director David Ronis and conducted by Kyle Knox, a graduate student studying conducting with professor James Smith.

It is the first NOA award for UW-Madison and the fourth for Ronis, whose previous wins came while he taught at Queens College in New York City.

All photographs by Michael R. Anderson

This past weekend, Ronis collected the award at the association’s yearly meeting in Indianapolis. “When I arrived in Madison, I felt that the quality of the work being done by University Opera was of a very high caliber, certainly of the level of other college and university opera departments that I had seen win awards,” Ronis said in an email. “So I thought, ‘Why not? We’ve got nothing to lose.’ So I submitted both last year’s productions of Albert Herring and The Magic Flute and I guess it paid off.”

“Good opera has been produced by UW-Madison for years. It’s just very gratifying to have the recognition of a national organization,” he continued.

The competition is blind, meaning that performing companies are not identified to judges. Those eligible include small professional opera companies and opera training programs from academic institutions, music conservatories, summer opera training programs, and opera outreach programs. Entries are separated into seven divisions by the judges; the criteria include the size and scope of institution’s music and opera program and the level of vocal training of the singers in the cast.

Congratulations to University Opera!

Mark your calendars now for University Opera’s spring show, Transformations, Conrad Susa’s thought-provoking opera from 1973. Susa’s chamber opera for eight singers and eight players is an adult re-telling of ten classic fairy tales (among them, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel) as seen through the eyes of poet Anne Sexton. Sexton’s struggle with mental illness frames the darkly humorous and audaciously recounted tales, filled with mid-twentieth-century references, both literary and musical. Performance dates are March 11-15, 2016. Buy tickets here.


Third “Schubertiade” coming January 30 to Mills Hall!

(Please note ticketing and parking tips below!)

In homage to a beloved composer, the UW-Madison School of Music will present its third annual Schubertiade, an evening of songs, piano duets and chamber music by Franz Schubert, one day before the composer’s 219th birthday.

All photographs by Michael R. Anderson

The concert will take place on Saturday evening, January 30 at 8 p.m. in Mills Concert Hall. The concert is hosted by pianist Martha Fischer, who is professor of collaborative piano and piano at the School of Music, and her pianist husband Bill Lutes, emeritus artist-in-residence. Alumna soprano Jamie-Rose Guarrine, who has sung with many major opera companies including Wolftrap in Washington, D.C., the Santa Fe Opera, the Minnesota Opera, as well as Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera and Madison Opera, will be a guest soloist. Guarrine now teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The program will include a major work for piano duet, the Allegro in A minor, known as “Lebensstürme” or Life’s Storms, performed by Fischer and Lutes. Guarrine will sing one of Schubert’s final works, the delightful “Shepherd on the Rock,” along with Fischer and clarinet faculty Wesley Warnhoff.

Additional guests will include UW-Madison voice faculty Mimmi Fulmer and Paul Rowe; current University Opera director David Ronis; alumni singers Daniel O’Dea and Benjamin Schultz; current DMA candidate Sara Guttenberg; soprano Marie McManama; UW-Madison horn faculty Daniel Grabois; UW-Madison faculty violinist Soh-hyun Park Altino; UW-Madison faculty violist Sally Chisholm; adjunct professor of clarinet Wesley Warnhoff; alumnus cellist Ben Ferris; and Leo Altino, cellist, the husband of Park Altino.

Read more here.

Tickets are $15.00 for adults. Students of all ages are free.

Tickets are available through the Union Theater Box Office. Patrons may buy online ($4 fee) or save the fee and buy in person at Memorial Union or in Mills lobby day of show.

Please note: We recommend that patrons arrive early, both to secure a parking spot and to buy a ticket (if you haven’t already). Parking will be tight due to UW hockey, but parking passes may be ordered two weeks in advance to guarantee a space.

To buy a parking spot, complete this online request form or call the Special Events Office at (608) 262-8683. Please allow two weeks for processing. In the box for “special instructions,” please indicate “Schubertiade.” [Note: This form may be used for any concert.]


Meanwhile, Martha Fischer has won “Musician of the Year” from local blogger and former Capital Times arts editor Jake Stockinger.

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He writes: “Fischer is a first-rate collaborator who performs and records regularly with other faculty instrumentalists and singers. They include UW trombonist Mark Hetzler, trumpeter John Aley and singers, baritone Paul Rowe and soprano Julia Faulkner, who has since moved on to the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

“A model of the Wisconsin Idea in action, Fischer also serves as a juror for piano competitions, gives talks around the state and helps recruit talented students.

“As a researcher, Fischer – who trained at the Juilliard School, Oberlin College and the New England Conservatory of Music — traveled to England and interviewed famous collaborative pianists about playing Schubert’s art songs.”  Thanks, Jake! Read his full post here.


And one more: UW-Madison’s classical side was lauded in Isthmus’s “Best of 2015” list, via concert reviewer and emeritus history professor John Barker. Among his favorites were last year’s “Schubertiade” concert in January with pianist Martha Fischer, Bill Lutes and many friends; pianist Christopher Taylor at the Madison Symphony in Feb; David Ronis, James Smith and University Opera’s Marriage of Figaro in Sept; David Ronis and Marc Vallon with Madison Bach Musicians; and many alumni who performed with the brand-new Willy Street Chamber Players over the summer. Meanwhile, jazz studies prof Johannes Wallmann was complimented by writer Marc Eisen. “A jazz scene plus,” Eisen writes.

Christopher Taylor
Christopher Taylor

Mark your calendar! Pianist Christopher Taylor will perform solo at the School of Music on February 26. On the program: the French Suite No.1 in D minor, BWV 812 of Johann Sebastian Bach; 12 Etudes, Op.8   of Aleksandr Scriabin; and Piano Sonata No.1, Op.1 of Johannes Brahms. Read more here.

Buy tickets in advance.

NEXT ISSUE: We’ll announce the winners of our annual Concerto Competition and invite you to hear them perform solo at Symphony Showcase, Feb. 14.


 

Alumni News: Nathaniel Wolkstein, Jonathan Posthuma.

http://www.music.wisc.edu/alumni-news/


Hire a Musician!

Do you seek one or more musicians for your wedding, private party, corporate event, or church service? Our students routinely gig in the community and now there’s an updated place for you to advertise. See this website and send your request to the email listed. Note: All arrangements are made between the students and the employer.


The School of Music offers a smorgasbord of performances each year; we invite you to visit our website and click on our events calendar. We also publish a season brochure that is mailed every August.


Personalize your calendar view! Click on the “view as” link on the right of our calendar page.
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You received this newsletter because you either signed up at join-somnews@lists.wisc.edu or directly at this blog. You can also follow us on our very active Facebook page and hear our music on our SoundCloud page.

New graduates and a goodbye—(just for the summer)

Best wishes to all our graduates!

A message from Susan C. Cook, Director of the School of Music

On May 16, as part of the University’s entire Commencement weekend, the School of Music held its inaugural Graduation and Awards Recognition. It was a lively and celebratory event that provided the opportunity to recognize the achievements of our graduates, to honor award recipients and to recognize and, in some cases, to thank personally the many donors who have made those student awards possible. Thus, for many of us, the 2013-14 academic year has ended, and so this is the last Fanfare blog post you’ll receive from us until August.

Susan C. Cook
Susan C. Cook
Photograph by Michael R. Anderson

However, the School of Music, as I’ve learned, never truly goes silent. Our facilities in the Mosse Humanities Building and in Music Hall will continue to thrum with activity of all kinds—from summer classes, ensembles and Community Music Lessons to special events like the National Summer Cello Institute (now in session), the Summer Music Clinic and the Madison Early Music Festival. Over the summer, music study continues, both in more leisurely and more intensive ways. We’re also planning to carry out some much needed renovations, ones that will benefit both our classroom teaching and our on-stage performances.

Looking back over the year I continue to be struck by how much we do and how well we do it. Primary in my mind are the high quality performances by our students as they’ve worked alone and collaboratively in our libraries, practice rooms, offices, studios, classrooms and, on stage and off. The creativity, energy and commitment they display towards their creative work never ceases to amaze me; it makes my job as director enormously rewarding.

I look forward to welcoming you back to campus, even if only virtually, in August. We have a lot of exciting things planned for next year as we continue to be a music school on the move, living out the Wisconsin Idea within our state and the world.

Thank you for your support throughout the past year. I always welcome hearing from our alums and friends, so feel free to stop by my office or drop me an email message at director@music.wisc.edu

On, Wisconsin and the summer!

Susan C. Cook
Director

Scroll down for photos from the May 16 ceremony at Music Hall. For a list of all graduates, click here.

UW pianist Yeaji Kim profiled in Wisconsin State Journal

Yeaji Kim, a visually disabled pianist and brand-new DMA in piano performance and pedagogy, developed a dissertation project that has the potential to not only change the way blind musicians learn to play music, but help blind and sighted musicians and teachers to collaborate and learn more easily.

Kim ‘s story was featured in a May 18 front-page story by reporter Gayle Worland in the Wisconsin State Journal as well as in a four-minute video made by the university.

Jessica Johnson, professor of piano pedagogy, calls Kim’s work, which involves a three-dimensional staff and notes that both sighted and sight-impaired people can understand, “revolutionary.” Read the full (very interesting) story here.  More information is available at this blog. 

 

Composer Filippo Santoro uses architecture as metaphor to create new works

Santoro, a native of Italy who just received his DMA in composition from UW-Madison, describes his composing process in a recent blog post.  “A good architect will begin by observing the architectural style of the surrounding buildings, the nature of the soils at the building site, how the space is currently used and the building’s proposed purpose. Similarly, a piece of music always develops from a small idea, like a seed, that you may want to take care of even long before it becomes a piece,” he writes. Read more here.

Collins Fellow Philip Bergman earns spot in Japanese training orchestra

Bergman, who received his master’s degree this spring, studied with cello professor Uri Vardi and received a fellowship provided by longtime donor Paul Collins. “I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Collins this past fall when I performed with a quintet at a banquet. I thanked Mr. Collins not only for his support of my education, but for his role in creating some of the finest positions available to student musicians in this country,” he writes.  Read more here.

Photographs from 2014 Awards and Graduation Ceremony

All photos by Michael R. Anderson. Click for captions.

 

Doctoral trombonist wins the 2014 Esther Taylor Graduate Arts Fellowship

Alan Carr
Alan Carr

Alan Carr, a DMA candidate in bass trombone and a Paul Collins Distinguished Fellow at the School of Music, has received the Esther Taylor Graduate MFA Fellowship, designed to support and encourage graduate students in the visual and performing arts by supporting public presentation of their work in conjunction with their degree program. The fellowship carries a grant of $1,500.

The fellowship will help Carr to complete his dissertation that will culminate in a solo CD project called The Elephant in the Room. The CD will feature previously unrecorded works for bass trombone and also offers two new pieces, including a new sonata by UW-Madison tuba professor (retired as of this semester) John Stevens. Carr assembled a consortium of 12 leading bass trombone players from around the world to commission the Stevens sonata.The consortium includes bass trombonists from the Atlanta Symphony, Boston Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Malaysia Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, National Symphony, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, and several others.

This new work will be a substantial contribution to the bass trombone repertoire and will be dedicated to the late Edward Kleinhammer of the Chicago Symphony, who passed away in November 2013.

In addition to his graduate studies, Carr is also adjunct professor of low brass at Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon and an active performer, having appeared with the Baltimore, Dubuque, and Hartford Symphony Orchestras, and with Ensemble ACJW at Carnegie Hall in New York City. For seven years, he was the bass trombonist in the King’s Brass, performing nearly 1,000 concerts and recording six CDs during that time. Carr has performed throughout the world, including concerts in Austria, Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, China, Korea, and the US Virgin Islands, as well as all 48 continental US states. In March, Carr gave a solo performance at the 2014 Eastern Trombone Workshop in Washington, D.C. Carr received his Master of Music from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. He also holds an Artist Diploma from Yale University. Carr can be heard on Summit, Naxos, and Albany record labels, and is an Edwards Instrument performing artist.

Doctoral musicologist receives three fellowships to further her research

Isidora Miranda
Isidora Miranda

Isidora Miranda, a PhD candidate in historical musicology who studies with musicology professor Pamela Potter, has been awarded a Summer Fellowship at the Institute of Philippine Culture at the Ateneo de Manila University, a UW-Madison Center for Southeast Asian Studies Fellowship, and a UW-Madison Center for Southeast Asian Studies Field Research Award. Isidora earned her undergraduate degree in music at the University of the Philippines and her master’s degree in Violin Performance and Musicology at Western Illinois University. She writes: “The research work I am planning to do this summer is scour through the Raymundo Bañas Collection at the National Library in Manila. The collection comprises of original manuscripts, printed sheet music, prints, anthologies, silent movie scores, religious music for the local Roman Catholic churches, music programs from local concerts and musical events, and mimeographs of other music historical sources. In 1924, Raymundo Bañas (1894-1962) published The Music and Theater of the Filipino People, a compendium of music and musicians from the late-nineteenth century up to the time of his publication. As preliminary questions, I would like to know how much of Bañas’s musical archive informed his writing, and perhaps more importantly, what was the impetus for building a repository and authoring a narrative that sought to represent a “national” conception of music that is Filipino? This is particularly interesting in light of the growing push towards a Philippine self-government and a re-assertion of Spanish colonial identities in opposition to American influences at the time when Bañas was amassing his library.”

Senior composition major wins University Bookstore’s Academic Excellence Award

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 Tennikova, whose work, “Poema for Saxophone and Orchestra” was a winner of the school’s annual concerto competition, has been awarded a 2014 University Book Store Academic Excellence Award in the amount of $1,000. The awards are made to undergraduate students who best exemplify the principle that excellence can be achieved through independent study. This summer, Daria will attend the summer music festival, New Music on the Point. based in Lake Dunmore, Vermont.

 

 

Horn alumnus wins Lawrence University’s “Outstanding Teacher” Award

Eric Anderson (B.M. Music Education, 1998), music department chairman and band director at Verona Area High School, was honored Sunday, May 4 with Lawrence University’s 2014 Outstanding Teaching in Wisconsin Award, along with Lynette Schultz, an English teacher at Williams Bay Jr./Sr. High School. Eric is now band director at Verona Area High School and also sits on the board of directors of the UW-Madison School of Music Alumni Association. He also frequently conducts the orchestras for Children’s Theater of Madison and Four Seasons Theater.

Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson

The recipients are nominated by Lawrence seniors and selected on their abilities to communicate effectively, create a sense of excitement in the classroom, motivate their students to pursue academic excellence while showing a genuine concern for them in and outside the classroom. Since launching the award program in 1985, Lawrence has recognized 62 high school teachers.

Anderson has directed the concert band, wind ensemble and symphonic band while also teaching AP music theory at Verona High School since 2006. Additionally, he directs pep band, oversees rehearsals for school musicals and organizes tours around the country for all of the band students.

Note: Eric is the son of the School’s very generous volunteer photographer, Mike Anderson!

UW’s Pro Arte Quartet surmounts travel difficulties to successfully complete its planned tour of Belgium

The Pro Arte Quartet. L-R: Cellist Parry Karp; Violinist Suzanne Beia; Violist Sally Chisholm; Violinist David Perry.
The Pro Arte Quartet. L-R: Cellist Parry Karp; Violinist Suzanne Beia; Violist Sally Chisholm; Violinist David Perry.

String quartet members aren’t generally known as lawbreakers, but due to new federal regulations about international shipments of ivory (intended to protect endangered African elephants), the Pro Arte’s Sally Chisholm and Parry Karp, who each own old instruments with tiny amounts of ivory in them from long-deceased elephants, found themselves briefly detained at the Brussels airport at the beginning of their Belgium tour in late May. The tour was intended to commemorate the quartet’s 100th birthday and origination in Belgium. (Read earlier Fanfare post here.)

Tour manager Sarah Schaffer explained to Belgian authorities that the quartet had received special permission to travel with their instruments, obtained through the intervention of Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, but it took a few hours before Chisholm and Karp were allowed to leave, instruments in hand.

They had a concert scheduled for that very night, so their release was just in time.

Prior to their departure, Madison music blogger Jake Stockinger (“The Well-Tempered Ear”) asked Schaffer and the musicians to write blog posts about every step of the tour, which was well-received. The tour is now over, but the stories live on and can be found here:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 4.5 Day 5 Day 6

To learn more about the ivory ban, read here: League of American Orchestras

Faculty win awards

Chelcy Bowles, professor of music, Van Hise Outreach Teaching Award

Bowles is one of ten to receive this year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards, an honor given since 1953 to recognize the university’s finest educators. Chancellor Rebecca Blank will present the awards at a ceremony to be held in conjunction with the Teaching and Learning Symposium from 4:30 to 6 p.m. May 19 at Union South in Varsity Hall. The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Association in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty.

Bowles is nationally and internationally renowned as one of the foremost experts on lifelong learning and engagement in music and the arts. She has developed and taught a variety of non-credit courses for adult learners and has been instrumental in the founding of music outreach programs at the state, national and international levels. Among the many initiatives she has spearheaded is the Madison Early Music Festival, now in its 15th year, which is approaching its 15th year and draws artists from around the world to showcase medieval and Renaissance music.

Professor Anthony Di Sanza, School of Music, Kellett Mid-Career Award

This award is intended to recognize and support mid-career faculty, seven to twenty years past their first promotion to a tenured position. The Kellett Mid-Career Awards were created to provide needed support and encouragement to faculty at a critical stage of their careers and are made possible by the research efforts of UW-Madison faculty and staff. Technology arising from faculty and staff research is licensed to industry by the patent management organization, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Fund (WARF). Income from successful licenses is returned to the Graduate School to fund a variety of research activities throughout the divisions on campus.

Professor Laura Schwendinger, School of Music, Vilas Associate Award

The Vilas Associate Award Program is made possible by the generosity of the Vilas Trustees. The award provides summer salary support and a flexible research fund for two years to non-tenured and tenured faculty.

Schwendinger will also be in residence at three festivals this summer, at Yaddo Artists Retreat in Saratoga Springs NY,  the Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus in Schwandorf, Bavaria and at Moulin à Nef Studio Center in Auvillar, France. In addition she will be a faculty composer at the Bennington Chamber Music Conference.  Alumnus composer Thomas Lang (MM ’07, DMA ’11) will be the composer fellow.

Professor Jessica Johnson wins American Music Teacher Article of the Year Award

MTNA’s American Music Teacher Article of the Year Award is presented to the author of an outstanding feature article written expressly for the AMT. This year’s award is presented to Jessica Johnson, NCTM, for her article “Feeling The Sound: Reflections On Claiming One’s Own Musical Voice.” The article was published in the August/September 2013 issue of American Music Teacher magazine, the official journal of the Music Teachers National Association.

This article investigates how multi-sensory learning and use of whole-brain processes may enhance our practicing and teaching, leading us to a more artistic, authentic experience. It explores how the use of imagery, metaphor, fantasy, intuition, imagination and instinct nurtures the discovery of one’s own musical voice.  Read the article: “Feeling the Sound.”

 

Last April, a unique concert, “Fusions,” devoted to an amalgam of Jewish and Arab art music with musicians and collaborators Uri Vardi (cello), Taiseer Elias (oud) and Menachem Wiesenberg (piano) was held in Mills Hall. The concert was recorded; a video is below.  Videography and editing by Robert Lughai.

Pro Arte goes on tour; new faculty hires; di Sanza receives award

Pro Arte Quartet Rehearsal with composer Benoit Mernier
Benoit Mernier rehearsed with the Pro Arte Quartet in March. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.

Pro Arte Quartet Plans Belgium Concert Tour

The UW Pro Arte Quartet will return to its roots in May with a concert tour of Belgium, where the group was first formed in 1912.

The trip is the capstone of the Pro Arte’s centennial season and is believed to be the quartet’s first return to its homeland since being stranded in the U.S. when Nazi forces invaded Belgium, and UW responded by creating a residency for the group. The tour will feature the European premiere of the quartet’s latest commission, String Quartet No. 3 by Belgian composer Benoît Mernier.

Mernier’s composition received its world premiere by the Pro Arte on March 1 at Mills Concert Hall in the Mosse Humanities Building on the UW-Madison campus. The European premiere is scheduled for May 26 at the Brussels Conservatory, where the Pro Arte itself originated. Read a review of the Madison concert here.

The Pro Arte will kick off the weeklong tour on May 22 with a performance in Studio 1 of the Flagey Building, home to Belgium’s broadcast industry. The program will include compositions by Mozart, César Franck and Randall Thompson. Studio 1 has historic significance for the Pro Arte, too. An earlier iteration of the quartet recorded a Beethoven cycle there in 1938.

On May 23, the Pro Arte will perform an afternoon concert in the Arthur de Greef Auditorium of the Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels. The library series features works important to the library’s collections, and Pro Arte will present a program featuring works by Bartok and Haydn, since the library holds first editions of these composers. Know any Dutch? If so, you may read the announcement here: http://www.kbr.be/actualites/concerts/programme/23_05_nl.html

On May 24, the Pro Arte will travel to Dolhain Limburg, birthplace of the quartet’s founding violinist Alphonse Onnou for a reception, dinner and performance at Kursaal Dolhain. The evening program will include compositions by Mozart, Franck, Haydn and Alexander Glazunov. The Mernier European premiere at the Brussels Conservatory follows on May 26, along with compositions by Mozart, Thompson and Samuel Barber.

The final performance of the tour on May 27 will take place at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve. In addition to the Mernier work, the performance would include works by Mozart and Barber. In addition, the audience will view a 1975 documentary film about the Pro Arte by Pierre Bartholomée that includes interviews with composers Darius Milhaud, Igor Stravinsky and others.

Final arrangements for the trip are in the works pending the resolution of some current restrictions regarding international travel.

The Pro Arte Quartet issued a commemorative CD last year. Read about the CD here. To purchase it, click here.

Wisconsin Public Television filmed the quartet in concert last year. Watch the video here.

New faculty hired for next year

The School of Music will add three visiting professors next year. One, David Ronis of New York City, will replace retiring opera director William Farlow. A second, Tom Curry, will replace retiring tuba professor John Stevens, And a third, Leslie Shank, will replace violin professor Felicia Moye, who has accepted a position at McGill University in Montreal.

The School has issued separate news releases for all new faculty.

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra violinist Leslie Shank to join UW

School of Music appoints alumnus Tom Curry as visiting assistant professor of tuba

School of Music announces David Ronis as visiting director of opera

 

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Percussion professor wins Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award

Nominated by one of his students

Anthony Di Sanza
Percussion Professor Anthony Di Sanza working with students. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.

Anthony Di Sanza, professor of percussion in the School of Music, has received the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award, nominated by percussion student Jacob Wolbert (who was published in this space last summer), who was himself inducted into the society on April 12. Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society and honors undergraduates for outstanding scholarly achievement. Students elected into Phi Beta Kappa are asked to nominate a deserving faculty whose teaching is exemplary and who encouraged their love of learning. Wolbert nominated di Sanza.

“Professor DiSanza found a way to transfer my musical skills into my non-musical ones and has encouraged my endeavors, providing wisdom and guidance even when they are unrelated to music,” says Wolbert. “Overall, he recognizes the value of music in an interdisciplinary education, a crucial tenet of what it means to receive an undergraduate liberal arts education here at UW-Madison.”

“I am deeply honored by this award and even more so by the fact that Jacob Wolbert, this engaged, talented and thought-provoking student, would think highly enough of my efforts to nominate me,” says di Sanza. Read the full press release here.

Speaking of choral: Sing this Summer! Auditions are now open for Madison Summer Choir

The Madison Summer Choir is an approximately 80-voice, auditioned choir performing a cappella, piano-accompanied, and choral-orchestral works, conducted by alumnus Ben Luedcke. We are supported by singers, the larger Madison community, and UW-Madison School of Music. 2014 will be our sixth year keeping summer choral arts alive – please join us on stage or in the audience! Rehearsals start in room 1351 Humanities, Monday May 19th, 5:15-7:15 pm, and are open to all current UW choral singers, as well as the community. The final concert is June 27, 7:30 pm, at First Congregational United Church of Christ. On the program: Schicksalslied, Op. 54, of Johannes Brahms, and Te Deum, by Georges Bizet.

Graduate wins Elliott Carter Rome Prize for music composition

Paula Matthusen, a 2001 graduate in composition who studied with professor Stephen Dembski and is now Assistant Professor of Music at Wesleyan University has received the Elliot Carter Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. The prize is awarded annually to about thirty people “who represent the highest standard of excellence in the arts and humanities,” according to the academy’s website.  Winners receive a fellowship and are invited to live in Rome for up to two years. Read a 2009 review of Paula’s work here.

Selected upcoming concerts at the School of Music

(For a full list, please see http://www.music.wisc.edu/calendar )

Saturday, April 26: Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Vespers” or “All-Night Vigil” performed by Choral Union

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The Choral Union in rehearsal. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.

On Saturday, April 26 at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW-Madison Choral Union will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Vespers” or “All-Night Vigil,” composed in 1915, consisting of settings of texts taken from the Russian Orthodox All-night vigil ceremony. Read about this work in Madison’s blog, The Well-Tempered Ear.

Tickets: $10/Adults & General Public, Free/Students and Seniors. Call (608) 265-ARTS (2787) for ticket info or buy online (surcharge applies; no surcharge if purchased at box office).

Thursday, May 1: Brian Lynch, the UW Jazz Orchestra and the High School Honors Jazz Band

Lynch to offer master classes on Wednesday, April 30 and Thursday, May 1 – see http://www.music.wisc.edu/calendar for details

Grammy-award winning jazz trumpeter Brian Lynch will perform May 1 as a guest of the UW Jazz Orchestra. Lynch, a native of Milwaukee who now makes his home in New York City, will appear in concert with the orchestra and the High School Honors Jazz Band, an auditioned ensemble comprised of the best jazz musicians that Madison-area schools have to offer.  Student tickets $5/general public $10. http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/Season13-14/Brian-Lynch.html

Read an earlier post here.

Read an interview with Brian Lynch in the blog, The Cultural Oyster.

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:

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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.

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

Susan Cook on the Beatles; Classical Revolution & Christopher Taylor in concert; Violin grad interviewed about audition plans; and more

Classical Revolution presents UW students performing at a pub…

class_rev2011

Tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 20, Classical Revolution Madison will be back with a jam-packed show of classical and contemporary favorites at Brocach Irish Pub on the Square (7 W Main St.) on Thursday, February 20th at 7 pm.  From 7-8 pm, CRM will present a dynamic program featuring works by Brahms, Shostakovich, Haydn, and more. Then, from 8-9 pm, they will open up the floor for anyone who wants to sight read or jam, so come with your fiddle or the sheet music of your favorite chamber work if you would like to join in on some casual music making.

Performers will include Kai-Ju Ho, clarinet (who recently soloed in our Symphony Showcase; see note below); and Thalia Coombs, Teddy Wiggins, Tony Oliva, Keisuke Yamamoto and Nathan Giglierano, violins; Marissa Reinholz, Mikko Utevsky and Mara Rogers, violas; Zou Zou Robidoux, Chris Peck, Tori Rogers and Rachel Bottner, cellos.

…meanwhile, pianist Christopher Taylor reveals his program for February 28 in Mills Concert Hall

On Friday, February 28 at 8 pm, in his only Madison appearance this year, celebrated pianist Christopher Taylor will perform the Sonata no. 6, op. 82 (1939) by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) and the Symphony no. 3 in E♭ Major, op. 55 (“Eroica”) by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), as transcribed by Franz Liszt (1811-1886). The concert will take place in Mills Concert Hall and is free.

Taylor writes: “I find altogether exhilarating the opportunity to re-experience works that inspired me even before taking my first piano lesson. Although, needless to say, a pianist cannot hope to duplicate the precise effect of Beethoven’s orchestrations, the attempt to simulate a few of them gives rise to endlessly fascinating pianistic possibilities. Virtually every technical resource of fingering, voicing, articulation, and pedaling (even the middle pedal, a device that Liszt himself lacked till late in his career) proves useful in these mighty transcriptions. While tonight’s version of the Eroica can obviously never displace the original form, I do hope that the pairing of a single musician with one versatile instrument can produce a fresh view of this immortal work, whose turbulent historical genesis and juxtaposition of heroism, tragedy, and redemption complement the Prokofiev so aptly.” Read full program notes here.

That Special Something: Susan C. Cook on what made the Beatles so legendary

In case you missed it, February 9 was the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Beatles in America, a day that went down in history as either the best or the worst example of popular music at the time. “Visually they are a nightmare, tight, dandified Edwardian-Beatnik suits and great pudding bowls of hair. Musically they are a near disaster…”– Newsweek. (William F. Buckley called them “god awful.” Read more quotations in the LA Times.)

beatlesWell, those pudding bowls of hair caught on, didn’t they?  In a session with “Live at Five’s” Mark Koehn and Susan Siman at NBC’s Channel 3, our director and music historian Susan C. Cook talked about how the Beatles finally won us over. Click the link to watch.

http://www.channel3000.com/entertainment/-/1628/24339670/-/130bb5tz/-/index.html

Violin grad on how he’s preparing for master’s auditions

After graduating in 2011, Clayton Tillotson spent a year in Toronto at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory in Toronto, where he received an artist diploma. Then he took a year off.

“I’m currently a first violinist with Orchestra Iowa and The Quad City Symphony,” he writes.

Clayton Tillotson
Clayton Tillotson

“I was originally reluctant to take this year away from school, but ultimately thought it would be better than the massive debt I would have accumulated had I accepted offers from Master’s programs last year. It’s turned out to be a fantastically productive and empowering year though. Realizing that I can actually solve problems and make progress on my own has been one of the best discoveries I’ve ever had.”

Now he’s back on the audition circuit, and recently sat down with Minnesota Public Radio to talk about how he prepares. “He recently Googled teachers from the universities where he would like to get a master’s degree in violin performance, and taped their photos up in his practice room,” writes the author. ”  ‘I just wanted to see what their faces look like,’ he said. ‘I’m really glad that I did, because some of them are pretty scary-looking people.’ ” (Perish the thought!) Read the story here.

Schwendinger’s “High Wire Act”  receives critical acclaim in San Francisco

Faculty composer Laura Schwendinger’s work “High Wire Act” was included in a recent program of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, a program that intentionally included works devoted to “serious fun,” as they called them. “The circus that the Wonder Pets were saving was the one imagined up by Laura Schwendinger for the composition that preceded Horowitz’. Interpreted by the same performers on their same instruments, the piece was a five-movement suite entitled High Wire Act. All but one of the movements were inspired by wire depictions of circus scenes designed by Alexander Calder. The other remaining movement recalled the composer’s own memory of a bird caught under a circus tent that could not find a way to escape,” wrote critic Stephen Smoliar. Read the full story here.

Symphony Showcase “reimagined” proves popular

uwmusic-symphonyshowcase-020814-0380
Pianist SeungWha Baek, enjoying applause after her performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, movement 1. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.
uwmusic-symphonyshowcase-020814-0522
At the reception, from left: composer Daria Tennikova; saxophonist Erika Anderson; violinist Madlen Breckbill; pianist Sung-Ho Yang; flutist Mi-Li Chang; and clarinetist Kai-Ju Ho. Photo by Michael R. Anderson.

On February 8, the annual concert of the UW Symphony Orchestra featuring concerto competition winners was held in Mills Hall, to a packed crowd and ovations for every performer. Rechristened the “Symphony Showcase,” it was favorably received by many, including local blogger Jacob Stockinger, who wrote: “If you weren’t there -– well, you probably should regret it. You missed out on a lot of fun and a lot of beautiful music-making by a very impressive group of talented students.” Read the full story here. 

Pro Arte’s Sally Chisholm to perform February 23 in a 90th birthday tribute to former Minnesota Orchestra conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski

The Chamber Music Society of Minnesota plans a night of premieres and favorites to honor legendary maestro Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, who conducted the Minnesota Orchestra from 1960 to 1979 and did so again recently after the end of their bitter lockout. “I will be principal viola for the orchestral works on the second half of the program, and violist in the string quartet premieres by Gunther Schuller, John Harbison, and Steven Stucky, ” Sally writes. Read the news release here.

For the full calendar of concerts and events at the school, click here.

Sally Chisholm
Sally Chisholm. Photo by Jim Gill.