$15 public, available at the Memorial Union Box Officeand at the door. Free to students. Note: Seating is limited. We recommend patrons buy ahead of time or arrive early.
Yousif Sheronick, a native of Iowa, discovered the music of Arabian countries when his Lebanon-born mother sang tunes over the drone of the family vacuum cleaner. As a youth, he gravitated toward American rock and was a member of the local drum corps. His natural percussion skills landed him a full scholarship to the University of Iowa, but it wasn’t until he enrolled as a master’s student at Yale University that he really dug into the music of Eastern countries. He traveled to Brazil and studied music of India, Africa and the Middle East.
Kathryn Lockwood, a native of Australia, studied classical viola at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and came to the US in 1991, where she received a master’s degree at the University of Southern California. She then won several awards in succession: the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, Grand Prize at the Coleman Chamber Music Competition, Concert Artists Guild Management Award, and awards at solo competitions such as the Primrose Competition, Washington International Competition, and the Pasadena Instrumental Competition. She was an original member of the Pacifica Quartet and co-formed the Lark Quartet in 1985. Along the way she met Sheronick.
The two met, married and formed a new ensemble, duoJalal, that spanned cultures, genres and styles. “duoJalal started organically when a friend and composer offered to write us a piece,” says Sheronick. “We had so much fun we decided to keep going and commissioned more pieces which showcases our unique voice as an ensemble of melody & rhythm.”
Hear duoJalal on SoundCloud:
“duoJalal” was named to honor the cross-cultural poetry of the 13th-century Turkish poet, Jalal al-Din Rumi, whose work Sheronick discovered when he arrived in New York City.
Today, duoJalal performs music ranging from classical to Klezmer, jazz to Middle Eastern. Wrote Toronto Star reviewer John Terauds: “Sheronick applies impeccable technique to a wide range of percussion tools, from the bodhran in the opening piece to a goat-hoof shaker in Glass’s ‘Duo for Solo Viola and Percussion.’ Lockwood is all slow, sensuous allure with her bowing arm one moment, a tempest of notes the next. If this is what world music’s future holds, bring on the party.”
At the School of Music, duoJalal’s concert was suggested by percussion professor Anthony di Sanza and viola professor Sally Chisholm, the long-standing violist with the . “They sit halfway between the Western classical world and global music, and that’s a world I find interesting,” says Di Sanza. “Yousif plays a lot of Middle Eastern percussion music, and we have a good number of students who have been playing Middle Eastern instruments and studying this regularly. And I also like the idea of collaboration with the string area, and with Sally Chisholm.”
“I am certain she will give wonderful feedback to our violists on standard viola repertoire as well as offer her unique perspective on paths musicians can create for themselves,” says Chisholm.
String Master Class: Mon March 14, 12:05 PM, Room 2521- Free
Percussion Master Class: Mon March 14, 12:05 PM, Room 1629 -Free
Presentation/Discussion about Composing Global Chamber Music: Tuesday, March 15, 12PM, Room 2521 – Free
We hope you will join us for one or more events!
Here is the March 14 concert program:
David Krakauer (b. 1956): Klezmer a la Bechet (in the SoundCloud link above)
Evan Ziporyn (b.1959): Honey from Alast
Yousif Sheronick (b.1967): Jubb Jannin
Enzo Rao (b.1957): A Different World
Kenji Bunch (b.1973): Lost & Found (2010)
I. Lost in Time (Dumbek)
II. Found Objects (Djembe)
Somei Satoh (b.1947): Birds in warped time II (1983)
Giovanni Sollima (b.1962): Lamentatio
For more information, please contact the concert manager at 608. 263.5615.
We thank the University of Wisconsin Anonymous Fund for its support of this residency.
Our final issue of the 2014-2015 academic year contains news about a few new graduates and updates from some already out in the working world. We never fail to be inspired by all of the creative ways that music students both indulge their passions for the art form and their obligation to support themselves. Music may not be a sure ticket to fortune, but for most it is a ticket to personal growth and happiness, provided students are motivated and receive support from teachers, friends and family. We are proud to present these stories about graduates of the UW-Madison School of Music.
Valerie Clare Sanders (B.M., violin performance, 2015). Student of Felicia Moye (now at McGill University) and Leslie Shank.
In September, I will be moving to London, England to study with Simon Fischer at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in their postgraduate Orchestral Artistry program. This program is a partnership with Guildhall, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Barbican Centre, and it involves intensive side-by-side training with members of the London Symphony Orchestra.
I’ve been a member of the Madison Symphony Orchestra for three years, have served as acting concertmaster of the Middleton Community Orchestra and was also a member of the Perlman Piano Trio, which is sponsored by longtime School of Music supporter Kato Perlman.
As a violinist I maintain a strong love for performing and continuing to develop my interpretive facility but am also become very passionate about exploring classical music in the context of a larger cultural discourse, joining and starting new conversations about why musicians do what they do, how they can learn to do it in new ways, and exploring the psychological nature of what it means to be a classical musician today. UW has proved to be a great springboard for this sort of inquisitive energy.
Duangkamon Wattanasak (B.M., keyboards, 2015). Student of John Chappell Stowe.
This fall, Duangkamon will attend the State University of New York at Stony Brook to pursue a master’s degree in harpsichord performance. This past year, she received a Hilldale Undergraduate Faculty Research Fellowship this past academic year to work on a project editing German Baroque music with Prof. Jeanne Swack. She presented part of her research in the form of a performance of Sebastian Bodinus’s Sonata for Flute and Basso continuo in E minor at the Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 16 in Union South with Mi-Li Chang, Baroque flute and Andrew Briggs, Baroque cello.
Hinano Ishii (B.M., flute performance, 2015). Student of Stephanie Jutt.
Four years ago around this time, I was preparing for my concerto debut at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center and certain about pursuing a career in music. Now, I’m looking forward to my post-graduation plan: working in operations and education at Bravo! Vail, a summer music festival in Colorado featuring the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas Symphony and many other renowned musicians.
My enthusiasm for arts administration, sparked by an Arts Enterprise course taught by my flute professor Stephanie Jutt, quickly led to my election as president of Arts Enterprise at UW-Madison. I produced a series of workshops on topics including grant writing and arts law, and founded an Arts Career Resource Center on campus. From the connections I made through UW, I took on positions as the Programming and Community Engagement Intern at Overture Center and Marketing Assistant for PROJECT Trio. Eager to advance my skills, I also worked at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. as a National Symphony Orchestra Operations Intern. This gave me the opportunity to assist in planning rehearsals, concerts, and events including two nationally broadcasted performances at the U.S. Capitol. In my final year on campus, I was the assistant to Katherine Esposito, the School’s concert manager and publicist, helping to organize festivals and concerts, while also working at the Overture Center as the Development Intern.
Meanwhile, I’ve pursued my flute studies, performing with the symphony orchestra and in solo recitals. In my junior year, I was featured on UW-Madison’s homepage with an article highlighting my accomplishments and performed on a PBS annual science show hosted by UW-Madison’s chemistry professor, Bassam Shakashiri.
It is with mixed emotions to be leaving this wonderful university. I am extremely lucky to have found what I love doing best and having all the resources and connections available in Madison to create opportunities in arts administration. Although I am a music performance major, the environment allowed me to pursue my aspiration while also advancing my flute playing which makes UW-Madison an extraordinary educational experience. I am happy to have taken full advantage as a student and thankful for my mentors, parents and friends who have supported my work for the past four years! On Wisconsin!
Vince Mingils (M.M. 2015, percussion performance). Student of Anthony Di Sanza, Todd Hammes.
Mingils, a recipient of a Paul Collins Distinguished Graduate Fellowship at the School of Music, will move to Florida to serve as the Director of Percussion Studies and Assistant Director of Bands at Matanzas High School and Indian Trails Middle School in Palm Coast. Mingils also holds a bachelor of music education degree summa cum laude from Stetson University.
In addition to performing with the percussion ensembles at UW-Madison, Vince coached ensembles and occasionally joined UW-Madison’s resident/alumni percussion ensemble, Clocks in Motion. He also traveled with the UW Wind Ensemble to Carnegie Hall and Beijing and Shenyang, China for the studio’s first international tour (see story below). In addition to studying classical percussion, his UW teachers helped foster his burgeoning interests in composition, improvisation, Middle Eastern music, and hand drumming.
Tim Morris(B.M., music performance and political science). Student of Matthew Mireles, John Stevens (emeritus) and Tom Curry.
This fall, Tim will pursue a master’s degree in euphonium performance at the University of Georgia. While in Madison, he played in the Wind Ensemble, Low Brass Ensemble and competed in the Leonard Falcone Euphonium Student Competition and the International Tuba Euphonium Conference’s Young Artist Euphonium Competition. He also spent two years as a legislative intern in the Wisconsin State Senate, leading to a better understanding of the political process and the issues facing the State of Wisconsin.
“The School of Music has provided me with countless life-changing experiences,” Tim writes. “I have benefited tremendously from an extremely talented and supportive faculty who have helped me realize many of my musical goals. With their guidance I have been fortunate enough to participate in international music competitions, perform for many people and travel all over the world in the process. I have no doubt that I would not be the same musician I am today without the teachings of my mentors as well as the support of the musicians here that I have the distinct privilege of calling my friends and colleagues.”
Amanda Fry (B.M., music performance, horn). Student of Daniel Grabois.
Next fall, Amanda will attend the University of Maryland at College Park to work toward a master’s degree in horn performance, studying with Gregory Miller. At UW-Madison, she performed with the UW Symphony, the Wind Ensemble, and the UW Horn Choir. As a member of a student brass quintet, she completed a residential clinic at a middle and high school, performing and conducting master classes, and coached small chamber ensembles as they prepared for the state Solo and Ensemble competition. She also spent a semester in Vienna through the Study Abroad program, and feels “incredibly fortunate” to have played on stage this spring at Carnegie Hall with the UW Wind Ensemble.
“Studying in Vienna was incredibly valuable in many ways,” Amanda says. “Not only did I gain confidence from living on my own in a foreign country, but I also met a lot of amazing people and made some awesome friendships. I was incredibly fortunate to explore new places around the world and experience other cultures – albeit for a short amount of time. As for my experience at UW, I am very happy with my choice to study here. I’ve had opportunities here that have been invaluable to my growth as a global citizen. I couldn’t be happier about my decision to earn a degree from this university.”
Jeremy Kienbaum (B.M., music performance, viola/violin.) Student of David Perry (violin) and Sally Chisholm (viola).
Starting in September, I will be attending The Juilliard School to study viola with Samuel Rhodes, the former violist of the Juilliard String Quartet and chair of the Juilliard Viola Department. I am very honored to work with him, and excited to learn from and be surrounded by exceptional musicians.
I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to have studied with two fantastic professors, Sally Chisholm and David Perry; my musicality and technical facility have developed immensely through their teaching and guidance. Studying chamber music with Pro Arte quartet cellist Parry Karp has also been a rare treat; the devotion and joy he brings to coaching students makes every lesson meaningful, not to mention the wealth of musical knowledge he has shared with me over the last four years. I am truly in debt to all of my professors and colleagues here, who have helped to deepen my love and passion for music. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to take in all the arts New York City has to offer, but I’ll miss all of my friends at UW and cheese curds at the Terrace.
Daniel Black (B.M., composition, 2002), received a 2015 Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S.. Former student of Joel Naumann (emeritus, composition); Stephen Dembski (composition) and David Becker (conducting, now at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas).
Sergio Acosta (BM, flute performance, 2011; MM, bassoon performance, 2013) now with The U.S. Army Field Band. Former student of Stephanie Jutt and Marc Vallon.
Jamie-Rose Guarrine (MM in vocal performance, 2002; DMA in vocal performance, 2005), will join the faculty of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst as Assistant Professor of Voice. Former student of James Doing.
Ben Davis (B.M., music education, 2014), now in a master’s composition program at DePaul University and will participate in the Summer Academy for Young Composers at Akademie Schloss Solitude. Former student of John Aley (trumpet); also studied composition with Stephen Dembski and Filippo Santoro, DMA 2014.
Paola Savvidou (MM in Piano Performance and Pedagogy, May 2008; DMA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy, May 2012) is Assistant Professor of Piano Pedagogy at the University of Missouri. Former student of Jessica Johnson.
Jonathan Kuuskoski (MM in piano performance & pedagogy, 2009), now Director of Entrepreneurship and Community Programs at the university of Missouri. Former student of Christopher Taylor and Jessica Johnson.
Julia Marion (BM, bassoon performance 2008), was a member of the inaugural class of The Juilliard School’s Historical Performance Program and now freelances extensively in Europe and the U.S. Former student of Marc Vallon.
Chris Van Hof (DMA, trombone performance, 2013), is the tenure-track Assistant Professor of Trombone and Euphonium at Colorado State University. Former student of Mark Hetzler.
Join us to wish bon voyage to our newest grads!
The School of Music Graduation & Awards Recognition Ceremonywill be held in Music Hall on Friday, May 15, 2015 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Please join us to recognize our generous donors and the fortunate and talented student recipients of scholarships and awards, as well as all the graduates of the School of Music who plan to walk at Camp Randall this May, in summer, or in winter of 2015. We’ll follow with a light reception of hors d’oeuvres and refreshments.
Parking on campus is free starting at noon on Friday until Sunday morning.
Click here for information about the official UW-Madison commencement ceremony at Camp Randall Stadium, Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May 16.
Cellist wins Yamaha Young Performing Artists Prize
Kyle Price, 22, a first year master’s cello student at UW-Madison and artistic director and founder of the Caroga Lake Music Festival, was recently announced as a prize winner of the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition. As a Yamaha Young Artist awardee, he will be invited to attend an all-expense paid weekend at the Music for All Summer Symposium and receive a once in a lifetime performance opportunity in front of thousands. Additional benefits include national press coverage, recording and photos of the live performance, and participation in workshops designed to launch a professional music career. Winners also enjoy many of the privileges of a Yamaha Artist, including services and communication with Yamaha’s Artist Relations department. Among other recent accomplishments, Kyle was also named a finalist in the G. Gershwin International Music Competition 2015 and semifinalist in the Maurice Ravel International Composition Competition (Italy). Kyle Price is a student of Prof. Uri Vardi and a Distinguished Paul Collins Fellow at the UW-Madison.
Percussion Ensemble makes new friends and plays music in China
by Anthony Di Sanza
Shenyang Conservatory and UW-Madison students enjoy a meal together.
UW and Shenyang students rehearse for a concert featuring the music of Chinese composers.
Members of the UW Percussion Ensemble (Megan Hobbs, DeLane Doyle and Jacob Bicknase) after a dinner with our new friends from Shenyang Conservatory.
Vince Mingils, Trevor Maliborski and Lucas Gutierrez trying on the local Manchurian head ware at the Shenyang palace.
Shenyang Conservatory students during Tony Di Sanza’s darabukka masterclass.
At the Shenyang Emperor’s Palace. This was the palace used by the first three Emperors of the Ching Dynasty before the seat of power was moved to the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Our host in Shenyang and Tony Di Sanza’s dear friend, Professor Qingshan Lu.
Selfies aplenty after our first concert in Shenyang!
(Click photos for captions)
On April 4, after a solid year of planning, fundraising and marathon rehearsals, the fourteen members of the UW-Madison Percussion Program–celebrating its 50th year– and its three faculty members traveled to Beijing and Shenyang, China, for their first international concert tour. They were invited by percussion professor Lu Qingshan of the Shenyang Conservatory, whose former student, Zhang Yuqi, is now a master’s candidate at UW-Madison. Faculty members from UW-Madison included Prof. Anthony Di Sanza and instructors Todd Hammes and Tom Ross. Concerts included music of the United States, Brazil, El Salvador, and China, plus a collaboration with Shenyang students on two jazzy percussion works.
While in China, the students also visited Tiananmen Square and the Beijing Olympic Park, and even snuck in some Badgers basketball updates while walking the Great Wall. As they moved from one location to another, they received practical lessons in how to set up and dismantle bulky percussion equipment, how to rehearse in unfamiliar concert halls, and how to create a seamless performance on a tight schedule with musical strangers (who then became friends).
“The best thing was just watching our students interact with the Chinese students,” says Prof. Di Sanza. “They went to lunch together, shopped together, drank together, rehearsed together, gave each others nicknames, and a bunch of us went to a pool hall late one night.” They even took selfies with each other (see above photos).
“We will treasure the relationships we built along the way,” he adds. “None of this would have been possible without the support of our sponsors in the United States, including the UW China Initiative, The UW-Madison Division of International Studies, Dr. and Mrs. Robert W. Graebner and the UW-Madison School of Music. We are forever grateful for their support and confidence.”
UW’s Contemporary Jazz Ensemble wins a first prize in Eau Claire
On April 17, the CJE, directed by Assistant Professor Johannes Wallmann, won first place in the college combo category at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival. The group performed compositions by saxophonist Joshua Redman and trumpeter Dave Douglas, and “Bon Voyage – An Ode to Adventure,” a new composition by the ensemble’s saxophonist Geoff McConohy, a UW senior from Menomonie. Because the ensemble finished first in its category, the group performed on the festival’s evening concert for an audience of a thousand at Eau Claire’s State Theater that featured headline artists The New York Voices. Student performers in the ensemble include students from the School of Music, the College of Engineering, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and the School of Business. The Eau Claire Jazz Festival, now in its 48th year, is one of the oldest jazz competitions in the country, with participating middle school, high school, and college and university bands from around the Midwest.
University Opera secures Morgridge Grant and private bequests to create endowed directorship
Karen Bishop returned to school later in life to pursue her love of opera, earning a master’s and DMA from UW-Madison Opera. In January, she died of cancer. Her late husband, Charlie Bishop, has carried out her wish to support the program by providing funds which will be matched by the University’s Morgridge Fund. Donations are still being accepted. Read the full April 21, 2015 news release here.
Make Music this Summer with Summer Band!
Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the ending of the Civil War and historical Camp Randall with this free annual favorite, the UW–Madison Summer Band conducted by Prof. Scott Teeple. Community members, teachers, students alike can join in this music-making experience. Seven rehearsals and a single performance make this ensemble an exciting way to keep your musical chops in working order. The program will focus on music of the Revolutionary War and that time period to honor the anniversary. Click here to learn more.
We are pleased to announce a sneak peek at several guest artist/School of Music events planned for next year: please save these dates!
(Please note: Concerts may be ticketed. More information will be available in late summer.)
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 7:30 PM, MILLS HALL: Brenda Rae, alumna soprano, sings Reinhold Glière‘s Concerto for Coloratura Soprano (1943) with the UW Symphony Orchestra. Benefit for University Opera. Tickets $25, on sale in July at the Memorial Union Box Office.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 7:30 PM, MILLS HALL: Renowned violist Noboku Imai performs with the Pro Arte Quartet.
OCTOBER 8-11, MILLS HALL: Celebrate Brass 2015!Festival with Axiom Brass and UW faculty & students.Ticketing & event details to come.
JANUARY 19-24, MILLS & MORPHY HALLS: Student Recital Festival. A full week of free performances by our own talented students! Check back in fall for details.
MONDAY, MARCH 14, 7:30 PM, MORPHY HALL: duoJalalbrings its mix of classical, Middle Eastern, jazz and Klezmer music to Madison. With Kathryn Lockwood on viola and Yousif Sheronick on percussion. Ticketing & event details to come.
APRIL 26-29, MILLS & MORPHY HALLS: UW Jazz Festival with Bob Sheppard, LA-based multi-woodwind performer, recording artist, and jazz musician. Ticketing & event details to come.
AUGUST 30, 2015 & MAY 2-5, 2016: “Performing the Jewish Archive”:The U.S. component of a major international research project led by the University of Leeds, in England, will shine new light on forgotten works by Jewish artists. In Madison, partners include the UW-Madison School of Music (Prof. Teryl Dobbs, chair of music education, faculty lead) as well as the Center for Jewish Studies, the Mayrent Institute, and the Arts Institute at UW-Madison, and Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society. Click here for more information.
Wingra Celebrates 50 Years
The Wingra Woodwind Quintet honored itself with a party and short concert on April 25 at the University Club. Many former members were in attendance. They also bid farewell to hornist Linda Kimball and clarinetist Linda Bartley. Stay tuned for the group’s roster next year!
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
Kyle Knox and composer competition winner, Adam Betz.
Ivana Ugrcic and Stephanie Jutt, professor of flute.
Susan C. Cook, director of the UW-Madison School of Music.
Kyle Knox, graduate assistant conductor.
Jason Kutz, with the UW Symphony Orchestra and conductor James Smith.
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.
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.
Percussion professor wins Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award
Nominated by one of his students
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 Choiris 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.
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
The semester is winding down: we’ve got snow on the ground, there’s a nip in the air, and students are stocking up on cans of Red Bull and 5-Hour energy shots. (Not something we recommend, but we acknowledge.) But before we say farewell to the fall concert season, we’d like to suggest a couple more that might be a nice alternative to usual holiday fare. Both are bold, brassy, sometimes even cacophonous, and altogether exciting.
The first is the School of Music’s resident percussion ensemble, Clocks in Motion, which concludes its fall season this Friday, December 13 with two world premieres at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St. (7:30 pm, tickets $15/$10 students). On the program: the Percussion Duo, a brand-new work composed by UW SOM alumnus Tom Lang (who now lives in Minneapolis as a professional composer), written for piano and one percussionist playing a stacked keyboard setup of marimba with vibraphone. “The music really treats the piano as a percussion instrument,” says percussionist Sean Kleve, a founder of Clocks in Motion. “Piercing attacked notes in extreme registers of the piano punctuate silence throughout the music. The first and last movement of this three movement piece are quite rhythmically complex and it challenges the two performers to line up unison attacks exactly together.”
The second premiere will be Allhallows, a major work in three movements for five performers composed by John Jeffrey Gibbens. According to Gibbens, the title “is an archaic synonym for the feast of All Saints on November 1, and evokes associations with the onset of winter in Wisconsin, including the commercial holiday of Halloween, the beginning of the new year in the Celtic calendar, the liturgical function of All Saints, elections, and Armistice, now Veterans’ Day. These occasions address our sense of the closeness of uncanny events to everyday life.” Clocks in Motion premiered the first movement of Allhallows in September 2012 and will now premiere the rest of the piece on this upcoming concert.
Their closer will be Iannis Xenakis’ surround sound percussion sextet, Persephassa (1969). “This is an unbelievable experience for audience and performers alike. As one of the foundational pieces in the percussion repertoire, Persephassa is just as shocking now as it was the day it was written,” says Kleve.
Next on our Christmas list is Isthmus Brass, an ensemble formed in 2009 under the direction of renowned tuba professor John Stevens (who retires in May but will continue to conduct this ensemble). The group, comprised of a who’s who from the UW brass faculty and alumni, includes professors of trumpet and trombone John Aley and Mark Hetzler, plus Dave Cooper (DMA), trumpet, Jon Schipper (BM), trumpet, Ricardo Ameida (BM), horn, Dylan Chmura-Moore (DMA), trombone, Mike Forbes (MM), tuba, Keith Lienert (DMA in progress), percussion, as well as Doug Lindsey (trumpet), Mike Dugan and Mark Hoelscher (trombone).
Next Tuesday, Dec. 17, the group will perform a benefit of holiday tunes for Porchlight, a charity for the homeless, at the First United Methodist Church, 203 West Wisconsin Ave., at 7:30 pm. The concert is free but donations to support the Porchlight mission are appreciated.
To most of us acclimated to the world of strings and symphonies, the concept of “percussion ensemble” is somewhat foreign. Percussionists play drums in rock’n roll bands and the timpani in an orchestra. Or, at least that’s what many have thought.
That’s slowly changing, however. In Madison, we have our own Clocks in Motion, an ensemble formed only in 2011 with its roots in UW-Madison. And in Chicago, the groupThird Coast Percussion, formed in 2005, has vaulted to the fore, with a brand-new residency at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and three CDs, including a retrospective of John Cage and the new “Unknown Symmetry,” which contains a work, “Common Patterns in Uncommon Time,” commissioned for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Taliesin.
Third Coast will visit Madison in October 9 and 10. Events include a seminar on commissioning new works and the business of chamber music: booking performances, writing grants and professionalism (Oct. 9, noon to 1:15 pm, Morphy Hall), followed by a free concert the same evening in Mills Hall at 7:30 pm. On the following day, they’ll offer a master class from 12:15 to 2:15 pm in Room 1321. All events are free and open to the public and are sponsored by the university’s Vilas Trust.
[Please note: Clocks in Motion will open its season this Saturday, Sept. 21, with a free interactive concert in Mills Hall at 3 pm. Bring your keys, cell phone and coin stash! ]
“Third Coast Percussion is one of the most exciting and successful young percussion groups in the United States,” says Tony Di Sanza, professor of percussion and sponsor of TCP’s visit. The members of Third Coast Percussion —Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore—hold degrees in music performance from Northwestern University, the Yale School of Music, the Eastman School of Music, the New England Conservatory, and Rutgers University.
We asked David Skidmore a few questions about TCP.
Can you tell me some history of percussion ensembles?
A very good question! The concept of a group of musicians playing percussion instruments goes back hundreds, maybe thousands of years to African drum ensembles and countless other indigenous cultures for whom percussion was all-important. The idea of a percussion ensemble such as ours, which reads notated music and is more akin to a string quartet than a culturally-specific drum ensemble, is much more recent. The first music for our type of ensemble was written in the 1920s and 30s. John Cage formed a touring percussion ensemble in the 1930s and 40s that was short-lived. In 1962 the first full-time professional percussion ensemble was formed. This group, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, is still playing concerts. A wonderful ensemble called Nexus was formed in Canada in 1971, and they also still play concerts. More recently, So Percussion formed in 1999. To my knowledge, So Percussion and Third Coast Percussion are the only two percussion ensembles in the states who employ their musicians full-time, which is a big step towards continuing to raise the level of performance and visibility of this exciting art form.
“Percussionists-in-residence” seems like a new concept. Are there others like you at other universities?
Actually our title, technically, is “ensemble-in-residence.” While it goes without saying that our chosen instruments go a long way toward defining who we are as an ensemble, our relationship with the University of Notre Dame and their DeBartolo Performing Arts Center focuses more broadly on the relationship between the performing arts and the campus at large. We are not teaching a studio full of percussion students (Notre Dame already has a wonderful percussion instructor); instead we are performing around campus and in the surrounding community, creating collaborative projects that link the performing arts at ND to the college of engineering and college of arts and letters, and in general spreading the word about the amazing creative work being done in the performing arts at Notre Dame.
I imagine that being a percussionist in an orchestra is a bit like being a trumpeter (except when playing Mahler!); you can practically read a book while waiting for your next measure. Is this one of the reasons driving the formation of percussion ensembles?
Haha – yes. We have many friends, mentors, and colleagues who make a wonderful living playing in symphony orchestras as percussionists, but for the four of us in Third Coast, chamber music was a more natural fit. It’s true that you play “more notes” in a chamber ensemble than in a symphonic percussion section, and you get to be master of your own destiny both artistically and administratively. In other words, we have much more of a say about the music we play, the concerts we play, the projects that we undergo than the average symphonic percussionist. We also have to do all the work though!
Can you tell us a bit about the composers on your program?
Owen Clayton (Clay) Condon was a member of Third Coast Percussion for many years and writes beautiful and exciting music for percussion. Much of this music is inspired by his other passion: composing electronic music, which he has done in collaboration with video artists, sculpture, and architecture. Steve Reich is perhaps one of America’s best known living classical composers. He was stuck early on with the label of “minimalism,” but this doesn’t always do justice to the incredibly groovy, exciting, and powerful music that he writes, which happens to work very well on percussion instruments. John Cage was likewise one of the most important creative figures of the 20th century. Cage’s influence spread beyond just music to all of the arts, where he was part of a shift in how artists think about every aspect of creating a new work of art. Finally, Augusta Read Thomas is one of the most sought-after composers working today. She was composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for nearly 10 years, and has written music for most of the major orchestras of the world. But her chamber music is equally powerful, and the piece we are performing of hers entitled Resounding Earth was commissioned for us and premiered by us last September. It is her first piece of music for percussion ensemble, and features over 125 bells from all over the world.
And the master class?
We plan to frame it around the process of commissioning Augusta Read Thomas, as we will be featuring her piece Resounding Earth on the concert. We can hit on many important aspects of commissioning and one example of how a timeline of commissioning a work can unfold, from the initial idea to fund raising, discussing parameters of the piece (including what instruments can be used and other logistics), workshopping the piece with the composer during the composition process (a particular focus of ours now stemming directly from the project with Gusty), premiering the piece, recording it, continuing to perform the piece.
It’s a good time for jazz in Madison! The School of Music’s revitalized Jazz Studies program received a major boost this summer after Chicago-based Downbeat Magazine chose to feature it in their annual “Where to Study Jazz” issue, available in bookstores September 17.
Writer Aaron Cohen visited UW this summer to interview Jazz Studies director and assistant professor Johannes Wallmann, who says he is “absolutely thrilled” with the story. Says Frank Alkyer, the publisher of Downbeat: “We were thrilled to publish it. Susan Lipp, the chairman of Full Compass Systems (and also a board member of the UW-Madison School of Music), is a dear friend in the industry. She invited me up last fall for ‘Jazz Junction,’ a community event in honor of Johannes joining the faculty of UW and the plans for a jazz department. I attended and was blown away by the back story, by donor John Peterson’s generosity, by Johannes and by the local jazz community’s embrace of the new direction the school of music was taking.”
“I knew it would be the cover of our October ‘Where to Study Jazz Guide’ right there and then,” he continued.
An excerpt: “In 2014, Wisconsin will introduce its first Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies program—almost 100 years after the university began offering degrees in music. Meanwhile, the school has benefited from local support, such as a large donation from a local philanthropist earmarked for jazz, and equipment and scholarships provided by local companies like musical instrument retailer Full Compass. New facilities are on the horizon, too, including a $46 million music building to host the university’s concert halls, faculty studios and departmental offices. From all indications, it’s a good time for jazz in the state’s capital.”
Congratulations to Johannes and the UW jazz program!
Meanwhile, last month Tony Di Sanza, professor of percussion, mingled with top percussionists in South Korea as the guests of Akademie Percussion Ensemble (APE), now beginning its 20th year as an ensemble. We asked Tony to write a story about his trip:
Anthony Di Sanza Travels to South Korea to Eat Kimchi (and play a couple of concerts)
“I have been fortunate to be a member of the Galaxy Percussion Group for over ten years. The group was initially formed to accompany Japanese marimba virtuoso Keiko Abe in the early 2000’s. After that the ensemble recorded a CD of works featuring marimba solo with percussion trio with American marimbist Linda Maxey.
“Through the years the ensemble has changed shape, depending on the programs being performed and ensembles with which we were collaborating. At first, the ensemble members were Michael Udow, Roger Braun and myself. In 2010 the group began a relationship with the Akademie Percussion Ensemble (APE) from Seoul, South Korea. APE is the premier professional chamber percussion group in South Korea and they also run a tremendous prep program for developing percussionists. In August 2010, Galaxy traveled to Korea to share a concert tour with APE. Given the repertoire being discussed for the 2010 tour, we decided to add a 4th member to the ensemble. Galaxy welcomed Jamie Ryan as our 4th member for the 2010 tour and the group has been a quartet ever since.
“Galaxy Percussion represents three generations of percussionists. Michael Udow is retired Professor of Percussion at the University of Michigan where Roger and I both studied with him. Roger studied with Mike as an undergraduate and I as a masters and doctoral student. I have had the pleasure to learn from Professor Udow for over 20 years as a student and professional. His influence upon me runs very deep. Jamie Ryan studied with me at UW as an MM and DMA student and he now serves as Assistant Professor of Percussion at Eastern Illinois University. In essence, Mike is Jamie’s percussive grandfather. 🙂
“In 2011, Galaxy and APE toured the Midwest United States, including a performance at UW. During the 2011 tour, APE director Kang-Ku Lee invited Galaxy to perform in Seoul for a celebration of APE’s 20th year in 2013! We, of course, were happy to accept Kang-Ku’s kind invitation.
“Given that Galaxy Percussion members live in myriad parts of the country, rehearsals are done in the days prior to a particular event. We met in Seoul on Aug 6 and had three days to rehearse our program. Most of the repertoire we were performing was new to us, so we each needed to be ready for three intense days of rehearsal (with jet lag). A major portion of Galaxy’s repertoire is music composed by the ensemble members and this program reflected that ethos performing works by Mike, Roger and myself.
“One of the challenges for the ensemble in rehearsals is not getting lost in laughter. The group really gets along well (which is so important when traveling) and has fun making music and hanging out. Sharing the program with APE and Galaxy was a Swiss percussion quartet named QuaDrums. Working with Hans, Thomas, Chris and Rafi was complete blast! Lovely musicians and wonderful people.
“The first concert took place on Aug 9 and included each group performing about 20 minutes of repertoire and closing with two fun works combining all three ensembles. Despite it being a bit like a sauna in the hall, the concert went very well (with a full house attending) and we looked forward to having Saturday and Sunday off. Being that QuaDrums and Galaxy were staying in the same hotel it was easy for us to occasionally share meals and enjoy long conversations with libations.
“On Monday, we rehearsed most of the day and on Tuesday moved into the Seoul Arts Center for the evening concert. The Arts Center is the most high profile concert hall in South Korea and is a tremendous place in which to perform. This was the gala event celebrating APE’s 20th year and we were all excited to perform for the large audience. The concert came off without a hitch and after packing up the party began in a local pub. At 2:00am QuaDrum, having to head to the airport at 5:30am, decided to call it a night. Galaxy stayed until about 3:00am and bid goodnight to our Korean hosts, who, as it turns out, continued the celebration until dawn!
“Having had a wonderful time with our old friends (APE) and new friends (QuaDrums), Galaxy caught various flights from Seoul home. Amazingly, as I was boarding the plane, preparing for the 12-hour flight, I was told that the airline had oversold the flight and I was being bumped up to business class. What a tragedy! While I had a luxurious flight from Asia, Roger got stuck in Toronto and had to spend a night in a hotel after ten hours of waiting in the airport. I felt bad for Roger.”
Two more notable students from the School of Music.
Note from the editor: I first met Taylor Skiff when he was still in high school – (or maybe it was middle school). His teachers took note of him even then. It has been a real pleasure to watch him and many others from his group of friends grow both personally and professionally. Best wishes to Taylor and all those who leave us this year!
(From Uri Vardi)Taylor Skiff is one of the most outstanding cellists I have had in my cello studio at UW-Madison. He has a very strong passion for music, an impressive work ethic, and a strong motivation and drive to be the best cellist he can be.
While studying with me, Taylor has won several competitions and has had the opportunity to perform many concertos with orchestra. In 2008 he won Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Competition, and performed Bloch’s Schelomo with the Milwaukee Symphony. Later that year he performed Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. In 2010, Taylor won the UW-Madison Concerto Competition and performed Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with the UW Symphony Orchestra. In 2011, the Perlman Trio, of which Taylor was a member, performed the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Middleton Community Orchestra.
Taylor auditioned for graduate school at Juilliard, Mannes, Peabody, and Eastman and was accepted with scholarship to all of them. He will attend Juilliard for his MM degree
Taylor shared some thoughts:
“My time at the UW School of Music was one of the most significant periods in my life. Apart from my growth as a cellist and musician, the school has allowed me to grow a lot as a person. When I first arrived at UW-Madison, I had serious doubts as to whether or not I had made the right college choice. I had been homeschooled for all of my pre-college years and was a fairly independent person. While I was involved in youth groups at my church, played in numerous sports leagues, and was a five-year member of MYSO (Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra), having to transition to a school of over 40,000 students was a jarring notion. The UW School of Music made the transition manageable. Even though the University is enormous, the School of Music is quite small in comparison. From day one, the faculty made an effort to get to know me and was always willing to go out of their way to help me grow as a musician and as a person. The familial environment that the school offered also made it easy to interact with colleagues and eventually make new friends. I greatly cherish the relationships that I have built with my professors and fellow students over the past five years.
“Without question, the person who helped me the most during my time at the UW was Uri Vardi, my primary cello instructor. I had been taking lessons from Mr. Vardi since my junior year of high school—so, he knew me well even before I arrived on campus. In addition to providing technical and musical advice, Mr. Vardi and I would talk regularly about my personal concerns. He would constantly encourage me to push my limits and step outside of my comfort zone. Our conversations not only helped me grow as a person, but also as a cellist. Without his support, there is no way I would have ended up auditioning, much less enrolling at The Juilliard School.
“All in all, I feel that the UW School of Music has prepared me well for my future endeavors. If someone had asked me as a freshman that I would one day be going to school in New York, I would have thought they were crazy. The UW School of Music has helped me achieve goals that I never would have set for myself and challenged me to continue to raise the bar.”
(From Tony Di Sanza)Dave Alcorn, who just graduated with a master’s degree in percussion, is part of a contemporary percussion ensemble, Clocks in Motion, that serves as the ensemble-in-residence for the UW-Madison percussion studio.
A few thoughts from Dave:
“I grew up in Pittsburgh. In terms of choosing percussion, I think it was more that the instrument chose me. In third grade, the band teacher at my elementary school had me march down the hall while tapping my hands on my chest. She told me I had good rhythm and that I would make a good percussionist. I also looked up immensely to my older cousin who played the drums; I wanted to be like him. By sixth grade I was pretty sure playing percussion was what I wanted to do with my life.
“I chose UW for my masters degree because of Tony Di Sanza. I took a lesson with him before applying to the school and it was one of the best lessons I have ever had. Working with him has been very enjoyable over the past two years.
“I will be heading to Maine for the summer, where I am a percussion instructor at the New England Music Camp. At the end of the summer, I will be returning to Madison to continue working with Clocks in Motion, as well as teach private lessons and freelance.”
Later this summer, we’ll feature Clocks in Motion on our blog. Stay tuned!
Steven Laronga is returning to Madison next month from East Java, Indonesia, where, under the auspices of a Fulbright fellowship, he conducted nearly two years of intensive ethnographic field research for his dissertation in ethnomusicology. Steve completed a B.A. in Music at Wesleyan University, where he first was introduced to Javanese music, and then studied at STSI, a prestigious music college in Central Java with an Indonesian government Darmasiswa fellowship before entering the graduate program in ethnomusicology at UW-Madison. In preparation for writing his M.A. thesis on the “fusion aesthetic” of a new Javanese musical genre known as “Campur Sari,” he spent nearly two additional years in Java, at which time he also undertook exploratory work that led to his unique dissertation project, which looks at the musical lives and economic realities of gamelan musicians in the Javanese and Madurese cultural mix in and around the city of Surabaya in East Java. In addition to gathering data through interviews and observation, Steve actively participated as a performer with several groups and returns to Madison with an unparalleled depth of knowledge about the musical practices of East Java.
Mike Basak graduated with a bachelor’s degree in percussion performance. While here, he served as the acting principal percussionist of the Beloit Janesville Symphony and was a substitute percussionist for the Dubuque Symphony. This summer, he will attend the Pierre Monteux School for conductors and orchestra musicians in Hancock, Maine on a full scholarship, and then will move to Boston to study with members of the Boston Symphony as he begins a masters program in percussion.
Mike shared a few thoughts about the UW-Madison SOM and Tony Di Sanza, professor of percussion:
“UW has a music program that is all-encompassing. The UW music school does a good job of offering a curriculum where all of your classes and performance studies inform one another. It’s very easy to take what I learn in theory and history and use it in my performances and vice versa. [And] what I really like about Prof. Di Sanza is how much he cares for all of his students. He cares for us not as a studio, but as individuals. I hear a lot about, and have experienced, some other programs where the idea is to just do whatever your professor tells you, no matter what you think. Rather, Professor Di Sanza adjusts how he teaches to best suit each student individually. He encourages us to take a lot of risks and really push ourselves in a way that can be rare in the world of education. There are a lot of really major events in my undergrad that really shaped who I am as a person and as an artist that I could only have gotten from this studio.”