News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music University of Wisconsin-Madison October 18, 2016
Music + Athletic Training double major a “huge opportunity” for SOM student
Robert Medina is now a graduate, but his UW-Madison legacy will live on in a new video that highlights his choice to major in both jazz trumpet and athletic training. “I saw this huge opportunity,” says Robert Medina. “I’ve been able to switch around the order in which I take classes to accommodate the athletic training program.” There are jobs for people with such skills, says Andrew P. Winterstein, athletic training program director. “There’s athletic trainers now who work with Cirque du Soleil, with ballet companies, touring Broadway shows.” Click to watch video.
Musicians Health Symposium will offer insight into common health disorders faced by musicians
On Friday, October 21, the School of Music will present a Musicians Health Symposium featuring a panel of doctors and therapists experienced in many kinds of common ailments faced by musicians. These include performance anxiety, disorders involving hearing, movement, and voice, and much more. Students and faculty are strongly encouraged to attend, and the public is welcome. 3650 Humanities, 12-4:45 PM. Learn more at this link. http://www.music.wisc.edu/event/musicians-health-symposium/
Upcoming guest artists at the School of Music in November – Free and Open to the Public
Steven Ebel, a tenor who discovered his vocal talents at UW-Madison and followed them with a successful international singing and composing career, will offer master classes and a concert on November 14, 15 and 16. He’ll teach classes on stage fright and breathing strategies, and offer lessons. http://www.music.wisc.edu/event/steven-ebel-tenorcomposer/
Brass Fest III popular with high school students, audience
High school students from twelve area schools were welcomed to the stage of Mills Hall for our third Brass Fest, where they performed a beautiful rendition of Giovanni Gabrieli’s Canzon duodecimi toni, written in 1597. The schools represented included Madison West High School; Madison East High School; Middleton High School; Kromrey Middle School; Edgewood High School; Pewaukee High School; Mount Horeb High School; Clark Street Community School; Sun Prairie High School; St. Ambrose School; Cedarburg High School; Madison Memorial High School; and a homeschooled student.
The two days of Brass Fest III featured the acclaimed Stockholm Chamber Brass (in its first-ever tour of the States), along with the Wisconsin Brass Quintet and advanced college musicians. The first concert featured Stockholm Chamber Brass (read this review by local blogger and critic Greg Hettsmanberger) and the second night offered the full complement of musicians performing works by Brian Balmages, Dmitri Shostakovich, Gustav Mahler, and Anthony Di Lorenzo, among others.
A master class with Annamia Larsson, hornist of the Stockholm Chamber Brass.
A master class with Jonas Bylund, trombonist with Stockholm Chamber Brass.
A stage full of musicians.
Comments from high schoolers ranged from “it made me more aware of higher level playing” to “it helped us grow as musicians.”
News & Events from the UW-Madison School of Music – September 29, 2015
Violist Nobuko Imai joins the Pro Arte Quartet for an evening of chamber music
Nobuko Imai is considered to be one of the most outstanding viola players of our time. She’ll join the Pro Arte on Wednesday, October 7 at 7:30 PM for a free evening of chamber music. On the program: Mozart’s String Quintet in C Minor,K. 406/516b and Mendelssohn String Quintet in B-Flat Major, Op. 87. There will also be a master class with Nobuko Imai on Tuesday, October 6, Morphy Hall, 7:30 PM. Click here for event info.
Brass Fest II features an eclectic mix of voice, jazz trumpet, and brass quintet: October 9-11
From October 9 to 11, the UW-Madison School of Music will present its second brass music festival, following a spirited event last year that was enthusiastically received by students and the community. See photos here.
All events will be held in Mills Hall.
This year, “Brass Fest II” has added a vocalist to the mix: Elisabeth Vik, a Norwegian singer who mixes jazz tunes with pop and folk music from the Middle East, Bulgaria, Spain and India. The three-day festival will also features two brass quintets and Adam Rapa, a solo trumpeter.
Friday: Chicago’s Axiom Brass Quintet. 8 PM. With Dorival Puccini, Jr., trumpet; Jacob DiEdwardo, horn; Kevin Harrison, tuba; Orin Larson, trombone; Kris Hammond, trumpet. The award-winning Axiom Brass Quintet has quickly established itself as one of the major art music groups in brass chamber music. Their repertoire ranges from jazz and Latin music to string quartet transcriptions, as well as original compositions for brass quintet. Tickets $15, students and children free admission.
Saturday: Festival Brass Choir Concert Brass Festival Concert. 8 PM. Guest artists Adam Rapa and Elisabeth Vik will be featured on a program that showcases the combined sounds of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet and their guests, the Axiom Brass Quintet, conducted by Scott Teeple of the School of Music. They’ll perform music of Anthony DiLorenzo, James Stephenson, Richard Strauss, and a tour de force performance by the expressive and technically agile Adam Rapa of Weber’s Clarinet Concerto, arranged with a twist. The program will also feature Daredevil by UW alumni composer and tubist Michael Forbes, and Vik/Rapa will join talents in a shimmering piece by Swedish composer Evert Taube arranged for brass choir by Rapa. Tickets $15, students and children free admission. Meet the performers at a reception following the concert!
University Opera presents “The Marriage of Figaro” Oct. 23-27
After the unprecedented success of last spring’s sold-out run of The Magic Flute, this fall, University Opera will present four performances of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. This new production will be directed by returning interim opera director, David Ronis, and James Smith will conduct the UW Symphony Orchestra. The production will involve over 80 UW singers, instrumentalists, and stage crew. Read the full news release on the School of Music website.
The opera will be performed in Italian with projected English supertitles in Music Hall, 925 Bascom Mall, on Friday, October 23 at 7:00pm, Saturday, October 24 at 7:00pm, Sunday, October 25 at 3:00pm, and Tuesday, October 27 at 7:00pm. Tickets are $25.00 for the general public, $20.00 for senior citizens and $10.00 for UW-Madison students, available in advance through the Campus Arts Ticketing office at (608) 265-ARTS and online at http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/location.html
From the Archives: UW-Madison Archivist David Null uncovers band stories from 1915
Did you know…. that in 1915, the University First Regimental Band took a long train ride to California to help celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal?
The UW-Madison Archives at Steenbock Library houses thousands of memories from UW-Madison’s past. Over the summer, UW-Madison Archivist David Null dug down and found clippings, photos and letters documenting UW Bands’ concert at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco and 19 other cities, including Lewiston, Montana.
Composition/business undergrad double major wins national prize for best musical
Congratulations to Nicholas Connors, a composition student of Les Thimmig, Laura Schwendinger, and Stephen Dembski, who in August won the college division grand prize in Showsearch, the nationwide search for new musical theatre writers put on by Festival of New American Musicals. His new musical Here, In The Park will be premiered next summer in New York City by a professional cast and production team. He’ll also receive a financial award and professional mentoring.
While in Madison, Nick founded Intermission Theatre and produced his first musical, SPACE VOYAGE: THE MUSICAL FRONTIER. He also served as music director for Tony Award-winning Karen Olivo’s Madison debut at Overture Center. Nicholas is now in England finishing his business classes and will graduate this fall from UW-Madison with degrees in music composition and marketing.
On our website: News from John Aley, Laura Schwendinger, Tony Di Sanza, Wesley Warnhoff and Dan Grabois. Click here to read.
On our website: News about “Hill’s Angels”; MiLi Chang, flutist; Nebojsa Macura, composer, and more. Click here to read.
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.
At long last, the School of Music is moving forward with its plans to build a new performance center, a $22 million building composed of a 325-seat recital hall, a large rehearsal room, and state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment. The plans will be presented to the city of Madison’s Urban Design Commission on October 1. We thank our generous donors, as yet unnamed, who are funding the entire project.
UNIVERSITY OPERA STAGES BENJAMIN BRITTEN COMEDY, “ALBERT HERRING”
On October 24, 26, and 28, University Opera will present its first operatic production of the season, Albert Herring, composed in 1947 by Benjamin Britten. The libretto is based on Guy de Maupassant’s novella Le Rosier de Madame Husson, and was written by Eric Crozier. It will mark the first opera staged under the direction of David Ronis, visiting director of opera at UW-Madison.
MOSER FUND PROVIDES FREE STUDENT TICKETS TO PROFESSIONAL OPERAS- GET ‘EM WHILE THEY LAST!
Former University Opera Director Karlos Moser and his wife, Melinda, once again offer free opera tickets to Madison and Milwaukee opera and (new this year) the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The two created the fund in 2006 with $10,000 they raised by selling tickets to a concert. The fund has since grown to $30,000, enough to allow them to offer even more free tickets. Click here to see which shows are available.
The fund’s inception came from Melinda’s long-lasting love of opera since her school days, and Karlos’s memory from his college days at Princeton University, where he also benefited from a similar fund. “Between 1946 and 1950 I heard, at the old Met on Broadway, such memorable performances as Helen Traubel and Lauritz Melchoir in Tristan, Zinka Milanov in Trovatore, Ljuba Welitsch in Salome, Dorothy Kirsten in Louise, and Ezio Pinza in Boris Gudonov,” Moser says.
“These have had an indelible impact on my musical consciousness and have informed my approach to the glories of opera, and led me to wish to pass on the opportunity. In the past eight years, not only singers and drama students have asked for and received tickets, but also violinists, bassoonists, flutists, conductors. What influence this will make no one knows for sure. But it will probably make a difference.” To request tickets, email Karlos Moser.
BRASS FEST STARTS OCTOBER 8!
The School’s first all-brass music festival in decades begins in little more than a week, showcasing our own brass faculty and students as well as visiting guest artists Øystein Baadsvik, tubist extraordinaire
from Norway; the Western Brass Quintet from Michigan (including SOM alumna Lin Foulk on horn); hornist Jessica Valeri, also an alumna, now performing with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra; and brass composer Anthony Plog. Events will include a Q&A forum with Baadsvik and an all-school colloquium with Plog; master classes on brass instruments plus coachings on quintet playing and auditioning; and four concerts. Watch for lots of Norwegian flags at our gala “Brass Alchemy” concert and reception, where you can meet and greet all the performers as well as concert bands professor Scott Teeple, the evening’s conductor, and trumpet professor John Aley, the festival’s organizer. All events free for students!
UW SYMPHONY PARTNERS WITH WISCONSIN ACADEMY OF ARTS, SCIENCES & LETTERS IN PASSENGER PIGEON PROJECT
On November 2, the UW Symphony Orchestra will present a little-known work for orchestra, The Columbiad, that was written in 1850 in honor of the then-prolific passenger pigeon. The pigeon, which was famous for blackening Wisconsin skies during its migrations, became extinct 100 years ago. The concert is part of a weekend of commemorative activities about the passenger pigeon: lectures, a screening of a new documentary film (see trailer below), and a staged reading of a play. Partners include the UW-Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters.
The November 2nd concert will include a short presentation by Stanley Temple, Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Senior Fellow, Aldo Leopold Foundation.
To learn more about the passenger pigeon and issues of extinction, click here.
LAURA SCHWENDINGER RECEIVES KOUSSEVITSKY COMMISSION FROM LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Faculty composer Laura Schwendinger has learned she is a recipient of a $12,500 chamber music commission from the Serge Koussevitsky Music Foundation at the Library of Congress and the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston. The commission is for a 15-minute work scored for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano.
Meanwhile, Schwendinger’s recent CD, “High Wire Acts: Chamber Music by Laura Elise Schwendinger” recently received a glowing review from the New York Times. “Musical short stories of somnambulant fragility and purpose,” writes reviewer Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim. Click to read more.
NEW FESTIVAL TO SHOWCASE LYRICISM AND POWER OF BRASS MUSIC
Audiences will be treated to some of the most beautiful and thrilling brass music ever written–including “Quidditch,” composed for the movie “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” by legendary composer John Williams– at a six-day all-brass festival October 8-13 at UW-Madison.
Watch “In Medias” Brass Quintet performing “Four Sketches” by Anthony Plog, to be performed by the Wisconsin Brass Quintet on Wednesday, October 8.
The festival will feature world-renowned brass musicians performing four concerts, and master classes on all the brass instruments—from trumpet to tuba and everything in between. Students and the general public are encouraged to attend. Guest musicians include virtuoso solo tubist Oystein Baadsvik of Norway; renowned trumpeter and brass composer Anthony Plog; the Western Michigan Brass Quintet; the UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Brass Quintet; and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra horn player Jessica Valeri (BM, UW-Madison, 1997). Click here for the full schedule. All events free to the public except “Brass Alchemy” headline concert, October 11, which is ticketed.
Featured concert: “Brass Alchemy,” October 11, 8 PM, Mills Hall. Click to learn more.A full contingent of our soloists, guests, and students presenting dramatic and inspired works of John Williams, Morten Lauridsen, Juan Colomer, Ennio Morricone, Scott Hiltzik, Kevin Puts, Anthony DiLorenzo, and an original work of Baadsvik’s, “Fnugg.” School of Music professorScott Teeplewill conduct. Tickets for the general public are $25; UW music majors with ID are free; other students, $10.00. Ticketing info here.
Says John Aley, lead organizer and longtime professor of trumpet as well as principal trumpet of the Madison Symphony Orchestra: “Brass instruments are so much more expressive than many people assume. While brass players take great delight in the excitement of filling a concert hall with grandeur and power, it is the lyrical quality of each these instruments that touch the heart of the listener.”
PRO ARTE QUARTET PRESENTS ITS FINAL CENTENNIAL WORLD PREMIERE
Composer Pierre Jalbert’s “Howl” for clarinet and string quartet will receive its world premiere by the Pro Arte Quartet on Friday, Sept. 26, at the Wisconsin Union Theater on the UW-Madison campus. The event, free and open to the public, will be the first classical music concert to take place in the historic theater’s newly refurbished Shannon Hall.
The 8 p.m. concert will be preceded by a 7 p.m. concert preview discussion with Jalbert in Shannon Hall. In addition to Jalbert’s composition, the evening’s program includes the String Quartet No. 2 in A Major (1824) by Juan Crisóstomo Arriga and the Clarinet Quintet in A Major (1791) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The concert will be repeated Sunday, Sept. 28, at 12:30 p.m. in Gallery III at the Chazen Museum of Art, also on the UW-Madison campus. Joining the Pro Arte for both concerts will be clarinetist Charles Neidich, a regular member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and noted guest performer with orchestras and string quartets worldwide. Read about the inspiration behind the commission here.
PROFESSOR STUDIES HOLOCAUST CHILDREN’S OPERA
Hans Krása’s operetta Brundibár became indelibly associated with the Holocaust when the score was smuggled into the Theresienstadt concentration camp, and a production was mounted that lasted for more than 55 performances. Sung and acted by children, Brundibár was held as an example of the cultural programming offered to Jews at the Terezín “show camp” during the 1944 International Red Cross visit and the subsequent propaganda film, The Führer Gives the Jews a City. Associate Professor of Music Education and Jewish Studies affiliate Teryl L. Dobbs recently returned from a sabbatical trip to Prague and Terezín (the Czech name of the garrison town where the Theresienstadt camp was located), where she studied the history of the operetta. Read the full story here.
“SHOWCASE SERIES” CONCERTS TO HIGHLIGHT STUDENT/FACULTY MUSICIANS
Each concert $10.00; season passes available for $60.00; students free. Proceeds to the School of Music. Please note: Only seven concerts are ticketed– Most concerts at the School of Music are still free!
Seven student/faculty concerts will be “showcased” this year, starting with a all-faculty voice recital on November 2. Professors Mimmi Fulmer and Elizabeth Hagedorn, sopranos; James Doing, tenor; and Paul Rowe, baritone, each will sing. The program will include a premiere of a new work by composer and UW professor Les Thimmig, “White Clouds, Yellow Leaves,” a cantata on poems of ninth-century China.
Later in January, pianists Martha Fischer and Bill Lutes will be joined by cellist Norman Fischer of Rice University plus students and faculty for a second “Schubertiade” of chamber music. In early February, join us for a captivating evening of solo student performances as we present our annual concerto winners concert (the “Symphony Showcase”). A reception will follow this concert. Learn about all these special events here.
Tickets for the general public are $10.00, and a seven-concert “pass” is available for $60.00. Students from all schools are free with identification. To save on service fees, buy in person at the box office or on the day of the show. Ticket info here.
INHORNS RECEIVE AWARD FROM MADISON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The inaugural DeMain Award for Outstanding Commitment to Music will be awarded to philanthropists Stan and Shirley Inhorn by the Madison Symphony Orchestra League at its fifth annual gala banquet at the Madison Concourse Hotel on Friday, Sept. 12. Named after music director John DeMain, the annual honor will go to an ardent supporter of the MSO and Madison-based music in general. The Inhorns are longtime and much-appreciated supporters of the UW-Madison School of Music. Read more here.
TANDEM PRESS ANNOUNCES NEW FRIDAY FALL JAZZ SERIES
Beginning this September, Tandem Press will host a concert series featuring several student ensembles from the UW-Madison School of Music’s Jazz Program under the leadership of Johannes Wallmann, Director of Jazz Studies at UW-Madison, and Les Thimmig, Professor of Saxophone.
UW Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, September 26, 5-7 pm
UW Jazz Composers’ Septet, October 24, 2014 – 5-7 pm
UW Blue Note Ensemble & the Latin Jazz Ensemble, November 21, 5-7 pm
Tandem Press is located at 1743 Commercial Avenue in Madison. Concerts are free and open to the public. Free parking is available, and refreshments will be served.
Tandem Press is one of only three professional fine art presses operating within a university in the United States. Founded in 1987, it is affiliated to the UW-Madison Art Department in the School of Education. Each year, a select number of internationally renowned artists are invited to participate in Tandem’s artist-in- residence program, where they collaborate with a team of master printers assisted by UW students to create exclusive editions of prints. Tandem prints hang in museums and corporations throughout the United States and Europe. This program is made possible with support from the Brittingham Fund.
ALUMNI PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE PRESENTS CONCERT AT GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Contemporary chamber ensemble Clocks in Motion brings new music, new instruments, and new sounds to the Grace Presents concert series Saturday, Sept. 20 at 12:00 p.m. with a program that highlights the power and diversity of percussion music. Their free program will include Marc Mellits’ new mallet quintet, “Gravity”; “Music for Pieces of Wood” minimalist pioneer Steve Reich; “Drumming Part 1”, also by Reich; “Four Miniatures,” an original composition by Clocks in Motion member Dave Alcorn; and “Third Construction”, by John Cage. Grace Church is located at 116 W. Washington Avenue, on the Capitol Square.
Formed in 2011, Clocks in Motion began as an extension of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Graduate Percussion Group, and now serves as the ensemble in residence with the UW-Madison percussion studio. In August, the group released its debut studio album, titled Escape Velocity, recorded in Madison, WI, at Audio for the Arts and available as both a digital download and hard copy. Links to purchase both digital and hard copies of the album can be found at Clocks in Motion’s website.
We invite you to explore and yes, feel free to send comments. We may not be able to accommodate all ideas, but we’ll try!
The new site is “responsive,” which means it is viewable on a smartphone. It contains dozens of brand-new photographs taken by Mike Anderson, father of Eric Anderson, a SOM alumnus and band teacher at Verona High School. We thank him for all his efforts.
We’ve also established a SoundCloud audio page, perfect for the dozens of audio files being routinely collected by our engineer Lance Ketterer.
Second: For the time being and for a variety of reasons, we have opted to continue publishing the newsletter in this format. However, we’ve updated and renamed it to better distinguish ourselves from a bevy of other publications called “Fanfare.” To join the mailing list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Third: And, in addition to a basketful of faculty concerts, student ensembles and solo guests, we’ve planned a series of multi-day festivals that we know will appeal to a very broad spectrum of the community. We hope to attract young and old, performers and non-performers. The festivals will include concerts, master classes, and colloquia. Click links below to learn more.
Celebrate Brass!Featuring Oystein Baadsvik, Norwegian tuba soloist; the Western Michigan and Wisconsin Brass Quintets; SOM alumna hornist Jessica Valeri, now with the San Francisco Symphony; and composer/blogger Anthony Plog. October 9-13, 2014
Rediscovering RameauA yearlong examination of the works and accomplishments of French baroque composerJean-Phillippe Rameau on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of his death. First concert: Marc Vallon, professor of bassoon, performs works of Rameau on Nov. 14. Many events yet to be scheduled; we’ll keep you updated.
Meanwhile, in June, we were saddened by the death of Howard Karp, professor of piano at UW-Madison from 1972 to 2000. Prof. Karp was the father of Parry Karp, cellist in the Pro Arte quartet. His loss is felt nationwide.
For decades, the Karp family has been famous for its annual September concerts that often featured multiple members of the family, including Prof. Karp’s second son, Christopher; wife Frances; daughter-in-law Katrin Talbot; and granddaughters Isabel, Natasha and Ariana.
This year’s concert, originally scheduled for September 1, has been replaced by a tribute event on August 31, in Mills Hall starting at 3 PM. The public is welcome; a reception will follow.
Note: On Sunday, August 17, Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times published a retrospective article about the careers of Howard Karp and Leonard Shure, another virtuoso pianist who chose to remain in academia instead of seeking the limelight as a concertizing pianist. Read it here.
We hope you will join us for this important commemoration, and as always, we hope to see you in the concert halls for many other events this season.First up: Flutist Stephanie Jutt, with pianists Elena Abend and Christopher Taylor on piano. The program will include works of Astor Piazzolla, Carlos Guastavino, Johannes Brahms, and Angel Lasala. Morphy Hall, September 6, 8 pm.
Thank you for your support of the UW-Madison School of Music!
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
UW-Madison alumnus studied with UW’s John Stevens and Northwestern’s Rex Martin
The UW-Madison School of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of Appleton native Tom Curryas Visiting Assistant Professor of Tuba, replacing Professor of Tuba John Stevens who will retire this spring after 29 years in the position.
Curry, a former student of John Stevens’, graduated from UW-Madison in 2009 with a degree in music performance and communication arts and was on the Dean’s List for eight semesters with a 4.00 GPA. He subsequently earned a master’s degree in music performance and literature from Northwestern University, studying with Rex Martin, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in music performance there. He is principal tubist of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra and the Evanston Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Joffrey Ballet, the Chicago Philharmonic, the Ars Viva Symphony, and many other orchestras.
Curry maintains a large studio of private low brass students at several Chicago-area high schools and also teaches supplemental tuba and euphonium lessons and master classes at Northwestern. He has served as a low brass instructor at the University of Wisconsin Summer Music Clinic and as a guest tuba and euphonium instructor at Lawrence University.
In addition to teaching the Tuba/Euphonium Studio, Curry will play in the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, a position he also held during his final semester at UW while John Stevens was on sabbatical.
In Chicago, Curry has regularly appeared with several local and national rock and popular acts, including performances with the Grammy-nominated group Foster the People and the local band, Mucca Pazza.
“We’re ecstatic,” says Mark Hetzler, professor of trombone. “There’s an energy about Tom which comes across in how he teaches and plays. And he understands the style of teaching here: the faculty connection with students is extremely important. He’s going to continue that tradition.”
“It’s quite an honor to come back to a place that had such a formative influence on me,” Curry says. “To be in that environment is an incredible opportunity.”
For more information, please contact Mark Hetzler, email@example.com, 608-628-5026.
18: the number of feet a note must travel from tuba mouthpiece to the bell
29: the number of years John Stevens has invested in the School of Music as teacher, composer, administrator, and conductor.
50: the number of compositions Stevens has written
1951: the year Stevens was born in Buffalo, NY.
2000: the year the Chicago Symphony Orchestra premiered Stevens’s concerto, “Journey”
A semester-long series of events marks the retirement of music professor John Stevens, a man known for his grace as a teacher, performer, administrator, and composer. (Scroll down for complete schedule, or download it here: Spring2014_Stevens_concerts )
Stevens the teacher enjoys getting to know his students over the period of years and watching them grow. They move on to perform in quartets, bands, and orchestras, and many have landed college level teaching gigs. Beyond learning about the craft of playing the instrument, he expects them to grow in their musical thinking and in their ability to conduct business as a professional.
Stevens the performer feeds his appetite for chamber music by performing with theWisconsin Brass Quintet. Playing in a professional ensemble of like-minded and excellent musicians is “as good as it gets,” he says.
Stevens the administrator has enjoyed representing the School of Music to the larger University community, and doing what he can to advance its mission.
And for the past 20 years Stevens the composer has written works for tuba, euphonium, trumpet, trombone, oboe, brass quintet, and woodwind quintet. On March 9 the University Orchestra will perform “Journey,” his concerto for tuba and orchestra, featuring Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal tubist Gene Pokorny, a concert co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Union Theater. (Read more here.)
From High School to The Big Time
Stevens’s parents were not musicians. His musical ambitions were whetted while playing in his high school’s nationally renowned band program. The director arranged for many inspiring guest musicians to perform with the award-winning ensemble, and before long Stevens realized music was the only career that interested him. He went on to attend the Eastman School of Music, graduating in 1973, and the Yale University School of Music, completing a master’s in 1975.
Then New York City called. For years Stevens made a reasonably good living as a free lancer, performing often with his Eastman colleague Chuck Mangione, riding on the popularity of the album “Chase The Clouds Away” and the pop hit “Feels So Good.” Stevens also performed in the New York Tuba Quartet and the American Brass Quintet, and under the batons of James Levine, Leonard Slatkin, and Zubin Mehta.
Then he found himself on Broadway, where he paid the bills with 500 performances as a tuba player in the musical “Barnum”. In 1980, the show made it all the way to the Tony Awards at the Mark Hellinger Theater in New York, where Stevens entertained the crowd in the audience with a uniformed march down the aisle, wrapped in a sousaphone. (Click here for the video; advance to 4:50 minutes to see Stevens.) (For the record, “Evita” won “Best Musical” that year; “Barnum” won in several other categories.)
Over the years, Stevens learned that being self-employed demands quick thinking, versatility, and the willingness to jump in to the hot seat. He recalls a Friday night when the New York City Opera called to ask him to substitute for a sick tubist. They wanted him to play Tosca on Saturday and La Boheme on Sunday. And they wanted him to play on a strange instrument, to boot: an E flat cimbasso. Without benefit of rehearsal.
Many musicians would have quailed. For his part, Stevens had never performed in either opera and had no experience with an E flat instrument, never mind a cimbasso. “I had never before done any aspect of that job,” he says. “But I said, ‘Yes absolutely. I’ll be there and do it.’”
So he got to the theatre early and introduced himself to the cimbasso, only to discover it was out of tune. Then he had to start figuring out transpositions. Then the conductor raised the baton. John wisely took advantage of the tacet sections (the places where he didn’t need to play) to decipher whatever was coming next. He realized that if he did even a passable job, they’d be happy. And if a did a really good job, they’ll be thrilled. He was right.
It was the kind of challenge he likes. “And all the time, you’re playing incredibly beautiful music with a fine orchestra.”
That was one of many freelance assignments he found satisfying and exciting, but too many were “just for the money,” he says. He imagined himself as a freelancer ten years in the future: having to accept any and every job offer, whether satisfying or forgettable. He was living in a studio apartment with his wife and considering a family. New York just wouldn’t do. So he began looking for more stability, a job with benefits. When a faculty position opened at the University of Miami, he applied.
He speaks fondly of his years at Miami. But one important thing was missing: the opportunity to play chamber music. After several years there a position opened at the UW-Madison, and it included a seat in the Wisconsin Brass Quintet.
That’s all it took. The WBQ, as it’s called, already had a national reputation for its musicianship and the quality of its repertoire. Stevens came, and he thrived. In the WBQ each player contributes 20 percent of the creativity. “You get good at presenting your ideas in a collegial manner. It’s like a marriage among five people,” he jokes.
Composing creates bonds
As much as he loves performing, Stevens considers composing equally important. He loves developing and nurturing the personal relationships that result from collaborating, and writes many of his pieces for people he knows. Far from being an isolating activity, composing creates bonds he finds intimate and satisfying.
Among others, Stevens has composed for tubist Roger Bobo, trumpeter John Aley, oboist Marc Fink, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, the Wingra Woodwind Quintet, the Oakwood Chamber Players, the International Trumpet Guild, the Wisconsin School Music Association (“Fanfare for an Uncommon Man,” in honor of the late Marvin Rabin), Germany’s Melton Tuba Quartett, and the New York Tuba Quartet. Many of his more than 50 original compositions and 22 arrangements are available on the CD labels Naxos, Albany, Mark, Centaur, and Summit. Perhaps his most notable composition is Journey, a concerto for tuba and orchestra.
In the late 1990s, Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal tubist Gene Pokorny asked Stevens to submit works for consideration in a new competition. Stevens was honored. The Chicago Symphony’s brass section has traditionally accounted for much of the orchestra’s worldwide fame, and concertos had already been commissioned for its trumpets and trombones, but not for a tuba. Because Stevens had not composed for a full orchestra, he submitted examples of his chamber music and tuba pieces. Then he forgot all about it, until several months later, when Pokorny called to tell Stevens he had won the commission.
“I had to sit down,” he says. “For a composer, this was the opportunity of a lifetime, to write for the Chicago Symphony.”
He began his homework, asking Pokorny about his favorite composers and about his hopes for the piece. He studied scores by Vaughan Williams, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and Richard Strauss. “I was trying to get a feel for what to do, given this huge palette, of having one of the world’s great symphony orchestras to work with.” The piece was premiered in 2000 and will be performed here March 9 with Pokorny as soloist.
Stevens is now writing a multi-movement piece for bass trombone, commissioned by a dozen players who perform in ensembles ranging from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra to the San Francisco Symphony. Trombonist and UW-Madison school of music doctoral student Alan Carr, who arranged for the commission, says he expects the piece will become a substantial contribution to the instrument’s repertory. Carr credits Stevens with writing music that’s accessible to an audience and also interesting for the performers, something relatively few composers can manage.
Teacher, Administrator, and Judge
Sitting in his studio in the Mosse Humanities Building on a cold winter morning, Stevens talks about his pride in his current and former students. Graduates of the UW-Madison tuba/euphonium program are known for excelling as musicians and as teachers. Stevens says that’s because they work hard at developing the craft of playing their instruments, the art of making music with that craft, the skills necessary to share those abilities with others in a productive way, and the necessary knowledge of the business of music.
Former students play professionally, in the Jacksonville Symphony, the U.S. Marine Band, the Sotto Voce Tuba Quartet, and the Youngblood Brass Band. Some teach in public schools and in college, includng the University of Alabama, Baylor, Arkansas, Southern Mississippi, Northern Colorado, Illinois State, Emporia State, UW-Whitewater, UW-Platteville, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
Stevens has also served as a judge or panelist at many competitions: Michigan’s annual Leonard Falcone solo competition, International Tuba and Euphonium Association competitions, and Finland’s Lieksa Brass Festival. He serves on the music panel of the National YoungArts Foundation, a national competition for America’s most talented high school young artists. Over the years, he says, one develops a reputation for not only having the musical expertise to judge such competitions, but the sort of personality and approach to the task that makes one a desirable member of competition juries.
He has enjoyed those experiences, as well as his two stints as director of the School of Music. The job requires juggling a lot of balls in the air, he says, and one gets pulled in a lot of directions. But you just try to do what’s best for the school, operating within the way the university works. Colleague and pianist Martha Fischer has accompanied Stevens for countless concerts, recording sessions, and road trips. She says Stevens was an effective director “because he’s a sane human being. He’s good at seeing the big picture. He sees the world in an incredibly positive way.”
As Stevens reflects on his three decades at Madison he notes the quality and nature of the students and faculty. He appreciates the institutional encouragement and support to engage in meaningful and rewarding work. For him, that means performance, composition, and conducting.
Retirement will offer a little more time to enjoy his personal CD collection. Most often, he expects to pull out something by Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, Diana Krall, or Edith Piaf. “They sing with such passion and such commitment,” he says. “And I’m a singer at heart.”
Spring 2014 concerts featuring John Stevens, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet,
current and former tuba/euphonium students, School of Music faculty, and the UW Symphony Orchestra
Tuesday February 11: Faculty Concert Series
Mozart, Horn Quintet. Horn Quintet in E-flat major, K. 407 (386c)
(composed c. 1782 and scored for violin, 2 violas, cello and horn)
III. Rondo. Allegro
Mahler, Songs of a Wayfarer, 1883–1885
Brahms, Horn Trio in E-flat major, Op. 40, 1865
II. Scherzo (Allegro)
III. Adagio mesto
IV. Allegro con brio
Notes. John Stevens presents arrangements for tuba. Guest artists include David Perry, Sally Chisholm, Katrin Talbot, Parry Karp, Martha Fischer.
Notes: A chamber music concert featuring six Stevens compositions.
Performers include a tuba/euphonium quartet of former students, members of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, and the Sotto Voce Quartet. Sotto Voce is one of the world’s foremost brass chamber ensembles. Its members are former UW-Madison students.
Viva Voce! (2003) was composed for the Sotto Voce Quartet (Demondrae Thurman and Mark Carlson – Euphoniums, Nat McIntosh and Michael Forbes – Tubas).
Diversions (1978) Sotto Voce Quartet. (Thurman and Forbes go their MMs here, Carlson got his MM and DMA and McIntosh was an undergraduate here). Diversions was composed for the New York Tuba Quartet, of which Stevens was a member.
Tournament (1999) John Aley and Jessica Jensen – Trumpets
Triangles (1978) Dan Grabois – Horn, Mark Hetzler – Trombone, John Stevens – Tuba
Music 4 Tubas (1974) Performed by four former students. Donald Deal and Griffin James – Euphoniums, John Bottomley and David Spies – Tubas. Whitewater native Griffin James is Stevens’s son-in-law; Don Deal, Griffin’s former high school band director, received his DMA in Trombone at UW-Madison. Deal’s son, Robert Wiley-Deal, is a current member of the tuba/euphonium ensemble.
Hodesanna (2012) The Wisconsin Brass Quintet. This work was composed in memory of former MM and DMA student Jeff Hodapp, who died of a heart attack at age 52 in 2009. The WBQ premiered the work in the fall of 2012.
Fanfare for a Friend (1991)
Five Dances (1988) Tylman Susato, composer; arr. John Stevens
Anna Magdalena Suite. J.S. Bach, composer, arr. John Stevens
Dances (1975) Performed by the Sotto Voce Quartet
A large tuba/euphonium ensemble made up of current group members and alumni, including Stevens’s older daughter Katie and son-in-law Griffin James). Stevens conducts a program of his own compositions and arrangements.
Distant Voices (David Sampson)
The Gershwins and Harold (J. Stevens)
The Brass Calendar (Peter Schickele)
Contrapunctus 1 (J.S. Bach)
Notes: This marks Stevens’s final on-campus concert with the WBQ .
Distant Voices is a 4-movement, contemporary work inspired by people who were big influences on the composer as a person and musician.
The Gershwins and Harold features 4 songs by the Gershwins (3 composed by George and one by Harold Arlen, but all lyrics by Ira). The “accompaniment” is arranged for brass quintet. Guest vocalist Abby Nichols is a leading lady of Madison’s musical theater scene and is Stevens’s younger daughter.
Stevens calls The Brass Calendar “a delightful trip through the 12 months of the year by America’s foremost composer/music humorist.”
About J.S. Bach’s Contrapunctus Stevens says, “I can think of no composer more appropriate to end my brass quintet career performing.”
Saturday April 19: Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble.
Notes: This brass chamber music extravaganza will feature several student brass ensembles, trumpets and horns.
The School of Music congratulates Katie Johnson, 2012 DMA graduate of the horn program, who will begin this fall as assistant professor of horn at the University-of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Katie writes: “I began my MM work in the fall of 2008. I came to UW to study horn with Douglas Hill. From the beginning, he was incredible. The opportunity to study with him literally changed the course of my career. I came to him in 2008 wanting to be an orchestral performer and I left his studio having truly found my calling as an educator. Observing Doug teach during those first months all the way to the time of his retirement was a remarkable opportunity. We developed a great friendship over the years and I am happy to say that I am still learning about the horn, teaching and life from him.
“I had such an extraordinary experience with Doug during my MM work that I decided to stay at UW to complete the DMA degree. I began that degree in the fall of 2010. It was shortly after I began my DMA work that Doug announced his retirement. Although it took my studies on a different trajectory that I expected, I had the opportunity to study with Doug and our new horn professor, Dan Grabois. They are quite different teachers but I learned a great deal from both of them. The situation worked out quite well for me. I completed my DMA in the spring of 2012 and I have taught horn lessons and freelanced in the Chicago area for the past year. Now I am thrilled to be moving to Knoxville to fill the position of Assistant Professor of horn at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.”
We also are happy to announce the fabulous performance of the UW Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble at the 2013 International Tuba Euphonium Association Midwest Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference at Illinois State University. Here are the results:
Jacob Grewe, 1st place Tuba Artist Competition.
Tim Morris, 1st place Euphonium Young Artist Competition.
Aaron Hynds, 1st place Mock Orchestra Tuba Audition.
Matthew Mireles performed a recital as a featured guest artist.
The UW Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble performed a concert as a featured ensemble.
Says Matt Mireles, UW undergrad euphonium instructor: “We had a blast over there, and it was great to see all of our hard work pay off. Congratulations to everyone. UW swept all of the competitions we competed in, and the tuba ensemble was the talk of the conference!”
Dr. Matthew Mireles
Instructor, Undergraduate Euphonium
Conductor, University Band and Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble
University of Wisconsin-Madison
President, Andy Mireles Charitable Foundation
After calling for stories about notable students graduating this spring, Fanfare received many stories about notable students–period! So we’ve decided to include them all. All were suggested by faculty, though some were written by students themselves. We included photos when available. If we missed yours, send it on to firstname.lastname@example.org! Note, however, that we received a surfeit of news about men–and we all know that women are just as successful. So, ladies, raise your voices!
(From John Stevens) Aaron Hynds is a Collins Fellow who is graduating with his masters degree in tuba performance. Although Aaron has distinguished himself as an outstanding performer in the UW Symphony Orchestra, Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble, solo recitals and a number of ad hoc performance situations, his real love is contemporary music – especially the newest, avant garde, experimental stuff. Aaron, who comes from Decatur, Illinois and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Iowa, will be pursuing his Doctorate in Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
(From Janet Jensen)Annie Melconian, a Fulbright Scholar from Baghdad, Iraq, just received her master’s degree in string development. Annie was born into a family that valued both education and music, but nevertheless had only sporadic access to a musical education. An undergraduate major in music was not an option; instead she earned a BS in Biology and began her career working in a lab in the morning and playing in the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra in the afternoon. When security measures required that rehearsals take place in the morning, Annie faced a choice: music or laboratory work. “This was a crossroads for me… Playing with the orchestra took me away from the daily terror and tension in to a world of peace, love and hope. So I chose music,” she says.
Annie sought professional development in music and violin in workshops and summer courses, including several months at the Guildhall School in London. She was appointed to teach violin at the Baghdad Music and Ballet School, and was an active volunteer teacher of violin and choir in church settings and through Armenian General Benevolent Union, but she knew she needed to attain new skills. As she was interested in every aspect of string pedagogy and music education, she was a perfect candidate for UW’s Master of Music in String Development. Now she returns to Iraq with full dedication and devotion to serve her community and Iraq.
“Iraqi schools are in need of music education. I believe music will give [children] positive energy, raise spirits up, teach patience and creativity, and take them away from everyday terror and noise of gunshots, sirens, and the sound of generators,” Annie says. We wish her and her country healing and peace.
(From Pam Potter)Jeremy Zima, a Ph.D. candidate in musicology working under the direction of Pamela Potter, has been awarded the Ora Frischberg Salamon Fund Award of the American Musicological Society. This award will allow him to travel to Germany to conduct research for his dissertation, “Aesthetics and Economics of the German Artist-Oper, 1912-1934.” Previously, Jeremy received the Wisconsin Musicology Fellowship (2011) and a Vilas Travel Grant (2012) in support of his research. He has conducted archival research at Yale University and is planning a research trip to Berlin later this year. His paper, “Strauss’s Intermezzo: A New Look at the German Artist-Opera” was presented at the Spring 2013 meeting of the American Musicological Society-Midwest Chapter.
Jeremy received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music magna cum laude from Wisconsin Lutheran College, studying with virtuoso jazz guitarist Jack Grassel. He received the Master of Music degree in Jazz Performance and Musicology from Western Illinois University, completing his thesis, “Race, Authenticity, and Trans-Atlantic Identity in Jazz Guitar before 1942,” with Dr. Brian Locke. He has presented conference papers on a variety of topics, including Argentinian guitarist Oscar Aléman and the practice of “relicking” guitars. Jeremy serves as Visiting Lecturer in the department of music at Wisconsin Lutheran College.