Trouble in First Century Rome; Meet Katie Anderson, soprano; Livestreaming this fall; Faculty News

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music

University of Wisconsin-Madison
455 North Park Street, Madison Wisconsin 53706

Student Focus: Waupaca native Katie Anderson, master’s candidate, voice

Katie performed as Musetta in last spring’s production of Puccini’s La bohème,  as the Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (spring 2017), and sang the national anthem at spring 2018 commencement at Camp Randall Stadium.

What drew you to this area of study? I’ve always loved singing. My parents were singers, and my grandmother loved opera. I explored opera and art song in college and found there was nothing I loved more than singing and being on stage.

Katie Anderson at UW-Madison’s spring 2018 commencement, singing the National Anthem. Photograph by Bryce Richter.

What colleges did you previously attend, and what are your degrees?    University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, bachelor’s degree in vocal performance, now finishing my master’s degree in vocal performance at UW-Madison.

What classes are you enrolled in? Are you taking lessons, and with whom? I am taking one last music history course before I graduate. During my time here, I have studied voice under Professor Mimmi Fulmer.

Give us a fun fact or two about yourself. I played the clarinet from 6th grade and continued into my undergrad. I also teach private voice in the Madison area.

Why did you choose UW-Madison? I felt welcomed to this campus, and I knew I had found a great teacher when I met Prof. Fulmer. I was given many performance opportunities, as well as a teaching assistantship and scholarship. Everything made sense to choose UW-Madison.

Do you have a particular goal this year? My goal this year is to keep finding opportunities to perform, and to prepare auditions for Young Artist Programs.

Livestream Concert Alert!  UW-Madison Symphony and Concert Choir

Thursday, November 15, 7:30 PM: UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra with conductor Chad Hutchinson and graduate conductor Michael Dolan. On the program: Blue Cathedral by Jennifer Higdon and Symphony No. 5 in e minor by Tchaikovsky.

Saturday, November 17, 2018, 8:00 PM: UW Concert Choir, with conductor Beverly Taylor and graduate conductor Michael Johnson. On the program: Hymn to St. Cecilia (Benjamin Britten); The Lamentations of Jeremiah (Alberto Ginastera); and more.

Check back for livestreaming details. Watch earlier videos on our YouTube channel.

If you thought you had problems, try living in 1st century Rome

That’s the conclusion of Thomas Aláan, who shares the role of Nero in University Opera’s upcoming performance of The Coronation of Poppea, written by Claudio Monteverdi. The show is loosely based on the historical marriage of the brutal Roman emperor Nero to the manipulative Poppea, the banishment of his wife Ottavia, the forced suicide of Seneca, and the attempted murder of Nero by Poppea’s former lover, Ottone and his new partner in crime, Drusilla. Ouch.

Bust of Nero at the Capitoline Museum, Rome.

Both Thomas and Benjamin Hopkins, his alter-Nero, wrote a few words about the opera and the painstaking work that goes into their roles. Says Thomas: “Learning the music is like the kitchen prep before you actually start cooking the meal. First, I pull out my cutting boards (I print the music) and I break out my cookbook (translate the text from Italian to English). Then, I cut up all the vegetables and other ingredients (I break down the music into its basic components — rhythms, notes, and language — and practice those individually and in combination). Finally, I try to familiarize myself with the cooking instructions so I can start cooking (I memorize all the music).”  Read the full interview here.

Benjamin Hopkins
Thomas Aláan

Artemisia to receive five performances in 2019-2020

Faculty composer Laura Elise Schwendinger‘s opera Artemisia, about the life of the great baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, will receive five performances this year, three in New York and two in San Francisco. The opera tackles Gentileschi’s struggles and triumphs as she battles inequality and reveals hidden stories.

The first of these performances will occur Nov. 3, 2018 at Symphony Space, Thalia Theater in New York City, by the Center for Contemporary Opera, with an all-star cast featuring Augusta Caso, mezzo soprano, as Artemisia Gentileschi.

Then in March, the award-winning Trinity Wall Street Novus will present a partly staged production of Artemisia. Trinity’s Time’s Arrow Festival, taking place this season from March 5-9, 2019, is conceived as a unique combination of Baroque and contemporary works united by a common theme. The performances by Trinity Wall Street were featured in the New York Times Fall Preview.

In June, the award-winning Left Coast Ensemble will present the fully staged chamber music version of Artemisia. They will focus on the art and milieu of Gentileschi as well as Depression era photographer Dorothea Lange, in two chamber operas with projected images that come to life.
More at

Johannes Wallmann releases new quintet album, Day and Night

In November 2018, Mead Witter faculty pianist-composer Johannes Wallmann will release a new quintet album, Day and Night, on Shifting Paradigm Records. Grammy-award winning trumpeter Brian Lynch, saxophonist Dayna Stephens, bassist Matt Pavolka, and rising star drummer Colin Stranahan join Wallmann for a collection of original compositions and re-imagined jazz standards. The CD may be pre-ordered now.

With this quintet, Wallmann revisits musical connections established over more than two decades in the jazz world. Day and Night is Wallmann’s eighth album as a leader, but the first to focus as extensively on his interpretations of the standard jazz repertoire. Wallmann has previously recorded seven critically acclaimed albums as a leader, including The Johannes Wallmann Quartet (1997), Alphabeticity (2003), Minor Prophets (2007), The Coasts (2010) and Always Something (2015). His 2015 quintet album, The Town Musicians, was named an Editors’ Pick by DownBeat Magazine.

Read these and other stories on our Faculty News Page

Veteran jazz pianist and UW alumnus Ben Sidran donates personal archives to Mills Music Library

Talk about a sweet sound. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries are excited to announce the recent acquisition of Ben Sidran’s extensive personal archives. The nearly 100 boxes of materials include everything from personal and professional correspondence, music manuscripts and drafts of song lyrics, master tapes, unedited radio interviews, and photographs and posters. Sidran is a 1967 UW-Madison alumnus and longtime city resident.

“We are delighted to welcome Ben Sidran’s collection into the UW-Madison Libraries,” said Jeanette Casey, director of Mills Music Library. “This a fabulous addition to the Wisconsin Music Archive. Ben’s materials also open an amazing door of potential when it comes to research and performance studies. His success and dedication to music bring entertainment and educational power.” –
UW-Madison Libraries

Last but not least: The Mead Witter School of Music Board of Advisors met last week and received a tour of the Hamel Music Center. Front row, L-R: JoAnne Krause, Martha Casey, Jun Lee, Sandy Lee, Chun Lin, Pamela Hamel, and Diane Ballweg. Back row, L-R: Director Susan C. Cook, Kathy Harker, Linda Graebner, Bob Graebner, Peter Lundberg, and Assistant Director Benjamin Schultz-Burkel. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

Selected upcoming concerts:

UW Concert Band – Fall Concert
TONIGHT! October 24 @ 7:30 pm. Scott Teeple, Carrie Backman, Ross Wolf, and O’Shae Best, conductors.

ADDING A BEAT TO BRASS: Wisconsin Brass Quintet with Anthony DiSanza, professor of percussion
Thursday, October 25 @ 7:30 pm – $7 – $17. Click here to purchase tickets. Free to music majors, staff and faculty.

Guest Artist Residency and Recital: Clive Greensmith, cello
Friday, October 26, 3 – 6 PM: Cello and chamber music master class. Morphy Hall.
Saturday, Oct. 27, 2:30 – 4:30 PM: Presentation for strings: “The artistic use of vibrato,” Mills Hall.
Sunday, Oct. 28, 7:30 PM: Concert with Clive Greensmith and Christopher Taylor, piano; Uri Vardi, cello; and the UW-Madison Cello Choir.

Pro Arte Quartet
Saturday, October 27 @ 8:00 pm.

UW Wind Ensemble
Sunday, October 28 @ 2:00 pm. Scott Teeple, Cole Hairston, and O’Shae Best, conductors.

Our Full Concert Calendar


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. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to the School of Music.

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

Student Focus; Leckrone Legacy; Brass Quintet adds percussion, Opera returns to 17th century

October 9, 2018

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music

University of Wisconsin-Madison
455 North Park Street, Madison Wisconsin 53706

Student Focus: O’Shae Best, Graduate Assistant Conductor

O’Shae Best

O’Shae Best hails from Laurinburg, North Carolina, and entered UW-Madison as a master’s student in the fall of 2017 to study wind conducting with Professor Scott Teeple. We asked him a few questions about his background and plans.

“I attended East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina and obtained a bachelor’s degree in music education with K-12 licensure. I spent three years teaching middle school band. Currently, I am studying wind conducting with Professor Scott Teeple as well as orchestral conducting with Dr. Chad Hutchinson, trombone with Professor Mark Hetzler and euphonium with Dr. Tom Curry.”
What drew you to this area of study? And why UW-Madison?
“The ability to connect with students and work collaboratively to express music.  And, there are opportunities presented through the Mead Witter School of Music that most other graduate programs couldn’t offer. Especially with such a world class mentor as Professor Teeple.”

“Being in Madison has increased my enjoyment of nature and being outside. I love the summers here!”

Community, dedication, music: Retiring UW Band director Michael Leckrone’s legacy lives on

After 50 years as the UW band director, Leckrone looks back on the defining moments of his music career
By Angela Peterson, Badger Herald

He incorporated rock’n roll into the classics, so the band would appeal to all generations. He shortened “On Wisconsin” so it could follow every touchdown. He finally got to the Rose Bowl after 25 years at UW. He was married for 62 years. Who are we talking about? Who else, but Mike LeckroneRead full story here.

Left: The combined UW-Madison and Nebraska marching bands, Camp Randall Stadium, October 6, 2018. It was the first time in 20 years that an entire visiting band has attended a game in Camp Randall. Photographs by Gary Smith.

Alumni News — Erin Murphy

Erin Kendall Murphy (DMA flute performance, music theory minor ’13) was recently appointed as assistant professor of flute at Oklahoma State University. In addition, she performs frequently across the country with her chamber music ensembles Lakeshore Rush and the Analogue Duo. Erin studied with now-retired Professor of Flute Stephanie Jutt and Conductor James Smith and with theory and composition Professors Lee Blasius, Brian Hyer, and Laura Schwendinger. Earlier, she studied flute with Walfrid Kujala at Northwestern University, Trevor Wye in England, and Lorna McGhee and Amy Porter at the University of Michigan.
More information:

We would like to hear from more alumni! Please send stories to the newsletter editor.

Teryl Dobbs appointed to College Music Society board

We congratulate Professor Teryl Dobbs, recently appointed to the board of the College Music Society as the national rep for music education. The College Music Society promotes music teaching and learning, musical creativity and expression, research and dialogue, and diversity and interdisciplinary interaction. A consortium of college, conservatory, university, and independent musicians and scholars interested in all disciplines of music, the Society provides leadership and serves as an agent of change by addressing concerns facing music in higher education.

Adding a Beat to Brass: Added percussion opens new vistas for Wisconsin Brass Quintet

Adding percussion allows a brass quintet to diversify its music both culturally and musically, says Daniel Grabois, horn professor at the School of Music. Grabois came to UW-Madison from the Meridian Arts Ensemble in New York City, and continues to perform with them. “Meridian’s idea was to continue to branch out into different styles: not just early music and contemporary music, but jazz, rock, various ethnic styles, and often new amalgams of all of these,” he says. “In this case, the percussionist becomes not an add-on but an actual sixth member of the group. Meridian has created a vast repertoire of music for quintet and percussion. Now, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet will start to experiment with these new styles of music.”

Concert: Thursday, October 25, 7:30 PM, Mills Hall. Tickets: $7/$17, music majors/music faculty & staff admitted free. Buy online here; also sold at the door.

Below: The Gaudete Brass Quintet plays Michael Tilson Thomas’s “Street Song.” The WBQ has added percussion to provide an extra dimension of sound.

Read a background Q&A on the history of the WBQ and the reasons to add percussion.

University Opera announces fall production, “The Coronation of Poppea”

This fall, University Opera immerses itself in the seventeenth century, presenting three performances of Claudio Monteverdi’s masterpiece, The Coronation of Poppea, written in 1643.  November 16 at 7:30 PM, November 18 at 2:00 PM, and November 20 at 7:30 PM.  David Ronis, director of University Opera, will direct, and Chad Hutchinson, interim director of orchestras, will conduct.  Musical preparation will be by UW-Madison vocal coach Daniel Fung.  Guest artist Christa Patton will lead the continuo and serve as Baroque style coach for the production.

Read full news release.
Buy tickets.

Pro Arte Quartet earns praise

“The Pro Arte Quartet opened its season with a superb concert at Mills Hall that included works from three different centuries, showing the ways composers have stretched and extended the quartet form.”

Hire a student musician

Need a musician or two or three for your party, or a wedding, or perhaps a teacher for your child or school? The Mead Witter School of Music provides a “gigs blog” where you can list your request. Our student musicians are more than happy to help!

Faculty Ronis and Hutchinson earns awards from The American Prize

Chad Hutchinson, interim director of orchestras, assistant professor of conducting and conductor of University Opera, won three awards from The American Prize.
First Place: The American Prize in Opera Conducting for 2017-2018, for “Suor Angelica,” by Puccini. University of Minnesota Opera Theatre.
Second Place: The American Prize in Orchestral Conducting for 2017-2018, for University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra.
Third Place: The American Prize/Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming for 2017-2018, South Dakota Symphony Youth Orchestras.
David Ronis, director of University Opera, won second place in The American Prize in Directing, the Charles Nelson Reilly Prize.

Awards were announced over the summer.

Selected upcoming concerts:

UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra
Friday, October 12 @ 8:00 pm, Mills Hall – Free
With Conductor Chad Hutchinson and Graduate Conductor Ji Hyun Yim.
Overture to ‘The School for Scandal’- Samuel Barber (1931)
Symphony No. 1-‘Afro American’- William Grant Still (1930)
Symphonic Suite from ‘On the Waterfront’- Leonard Bernstein (1954)

Wisconsin Science Festival: EARS (the Electro-Acoustic Research Space) Open House
Saturday, October 13 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. 2401 Humanities. – Free

Faculty Recital: Parry Karp, cello
Saturday, October 13 @ 8:00 pm Mills Hall – Free
Featuring Parry Karp, violoncello; Frances Karp, piano; Thomas Kasdorf, piano.
Granville Bantock, Hamabdi (Hebrew Melody) for Cello and Piano (1919)
Jesse Benjamin Jones, Phantasma for Solo Cello (2006)
Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonata in A Major for Piano and Violin, Op. 30 No. 1 (1801-2)
transcribed for piano and cello by Parry Karp
William Walton, Cello Concerto (1956)

University Bands
Sunday, October 14 @ 2:00 pm, Mills Hall – – Free
With Darin Olson, O’Shae Best and Cole Hairston, conductors. Click here for full program:

Our Full Concert Calendar


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. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to the School of Music.

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

Meet a Student; Faculty Music Coming Your Way; Brass Fest V announces schedule; more upcoming concerts

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music

University of Wisconsin-Madison
455 North Park Street, Madison Wisconsin 53706

Ellen Cook

Student Focus: Meet Ellen Cook, Music Ed Freshman

“My name is Ellen Cook, and I am a freshman studying music education. I am from Stoughton, where I was involved in the high school’s orchestra program, played bass in the jazz ensemble, and was a member of a variety of small ensembles.  I was also a member of Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras for three years, which helped me learn more about UW-Madison, and was an important factor in my decision to come here.

“I chose to major in music education because I want to share the joy and relationships I’ve found through music with generations to come. I decided to come to UW Madison because it offered me a variety of top-notch performance and educational opportunities, both of which are extremely valuable in preparing me for my future as a teacher and musician.

“I am studying with Professor Uri Vardi, and am a member of the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra. I’m also enrolled in Musica Practica (our music theory course), Cello Pedagogy, Spanish, and Ancient Mediterranean History. One thing I appreciate about the School of Music is the opportunity to get involved beyond the classroom and rehearsals. I’m getting involved by working as an usher and as a member of the stage crew. All these experiences, and the people I share them with, will prepare me for a successful future in the classroom, and a fulfilling life.” Welcome, Ellen!

New Hamel Music Center construction images

Our website photography gallery, begun in March of 2017, is now updated with fresh images taken on a recent tour of the under-construction Hamel Music Center. On hand was the architect Malcolm Holzman, founding partner of the architectural design firm Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture of New York, and architects from Strang and engineers from JP Cullen. Images by Michael R. Anderson.
Click to view full gallery; newest images are at bottom

More images can be found here:   Images by Jeff Miller; story by Käri Knutson.

Wisconsin Brass Quintet, the Pro Arte Quartet, and the Wingra Wind Quintet coming to your neighborhood this fall

We like to call this “the Wisconsin Idea at its most audible.” Our three faculty quintets travel all over Wisconsin and frequently beyond, to both entertain and inform. A sample of upcoming dates include Fond du Lac, Rhinelander, and Baraboo (click here for full schedule). If you’d like to bring them to your community at some future date, contact

An addendum to our note about LunART, the all-women’s art festival held last July, founded by Iva Ugrcic (SOM DMA). Co-organizer Laura Medisky (SOM DMA) was inadvertently omitted from our publications.

“Dr. Laura Medisky and I joined forces back in October 2017, at the very early stage of LunART Festival planning. I have known Laura for couple of months at that moment and had a huge respect for her. She is a strong and independent woman with an amazing work ethic, and is extremely passionate about LunART’s mission. Her contribution to the festival was immense, and I could have not imagined a better ally with whom to undertake this journey. I am more than grateful to have found someone that I enjoy working with and who became my very close friend.”—Iva Urgcic.

Read about LunART in the Wisconsin State Journal

Elliott & Fry [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Edvard Grieg Society of Great Lakes to hold concert

Professor Mimmi Fulmer on its board
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was the first Norwegian composer to achieve international stature. A consummate master of both melody and harmony, intimately familiar with the idiosyncrasies of Norwegian folk music, he created works that struck his hearers as fresh, charming, even exotic, music that was strangely and interestingly different from anything they had heard before.

Join us in Morphy Hall on Saturday, September 22 at 4:00 PM for a free concert of Grieg music, with performers Gregory Martin and Luke and Mary Rose Norell  on piano; with Mimmi Fulmer and Anna Hersey, sopranos; and Alan Dunbar, baritone.

Download program and information here

Brass Fest V ready to rock

The School’s fifth BRASS FEST offers two days of free master classes, open rehearsals, and concerts with distinguished alumni: Amy Schendel, associate professor of trumpet at the University of Iowa; Adam Unsworth, professor of horn at the University of Michigan; Patrick Pfister, principal trombone of the Omaha Symphony; and Kent Eshelman, associate professor of tuba and euphonium at Baylor University. Brass alumni are especially encouraged to attend!


Friday, Sept. 28
10 – Noon:  Brass Ensemble rehearsal — Room 1321
2:25-4 PM: Trumpet, trombone, horn and tuba master classes with alumni–  Rooms 1321, 2411, 2441 and Music Hall
8 PM Alumni Concert — Mills Concert Hall

Saturday, Sept. 29
10 – Noon: Brass Ensemble rehearsal — Mills Concert Hall
4-5 PM: Master Class/Open Rehearsal — Mills Concert Hall
8 PM Brass Ensemble Concert — Mills Concert Hall
Read about our guests, and download program and schedule

New Yorkers, take note

Professor of Viola, Sally Chisholm, in New York premiere of John Harbison trio
On Saturday, September 29, at 7:30 PM, Professor Sally Chisholm, violist with the Pro Arte Quartet, will perform “Nine Rasas” with clarinetist Charles Neidich and pianist Mohamed Shams, as part of a birthday celebration of composers John Harbison and Joan Tower. The performance will take place at the Tenri Cultural Institute as part of the WA Concert Series.  The Institute is located at 43A West 13th Street, New York City.   Click for ticket information.

Selected upcoming concerts

Pro Arte Quartet
Friday, September 21,8:00 PM, Mills Hall. Free admission. Featuring David Perry and Suzanne Beia, violin; Sally Chisholm, viola; and Parry Karp, cello. Works of Haydn, Shostakovich, and Beethoven.

Guest Artist Recital: Violist Elias Goldstein and pianist Angela Draghicescu
Tuesday, September 25, 7:30 PM, Morphy hall. Free. Violist Elias Goldstein (DMA 2011) and pianist Angela Draghicescu will perform works from their upcoming CD, including a transcription of the Enescu Third Sonata, which will be released in fall 2018.

For many more events, please see our full calendar.

Our Full Concert Calendar


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. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to the School of Music.

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

Name a Seat Campaign in Full Swing; Leckrone to step down after 50th year; New Faculty; Bernstein Tribute Concert

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music

University of Wisconsin-Madison
455 North Park Street, Madison Wisconsin 53706


New opportunity, ending December, 2018: Name a seat in the new Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall!

From individual chairs and sections of chairs to educational venues and prominent gathering spaces, opportunities remain to support the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music’s Hamel Music Center, pictured above. Join us as we usher in a new era of music at UW-Madison.
Click here to learn more!

Please note: Our annual print brochure was mailed mid-August. If you are not already on our mailing list and you’d like to receive a copy, click here to send your snail mail address.

Special announcement: UW Band Director Mike Leckrone announces upcoming season will be his last

Mike Leckrone.

Michael Leckrone, 82, longtime marching band director has announced that he will step down at the end of the 2018-19 academic year, which will be his 50th season. Leckrone made his decision several weeks ago but delayed sharing it publicly until he could meet with students. “I wanted the band to know first,” he says. “Any other talk, any other planning — that came second.” The university will conduct a national search for a new director.
Read the full story here.


Nadia Chana

In January, after serving as the inaugural winner of the Robert Walser and Susan McClary Fellowship, Nadia Chana will join the school of music as assistant professor of ethnomusicology.  The award is given to Ph.D. candidates, seeking to diversify the field of scholars working in American music. She writes: “I grew up in Edmonton/Amiskwaciwâskahikan singing in choirs (and everywhere else), a context that directly shapes my work, however invisibly. My current research focuses on climate crisis and relations among Indigenous activists, non-Indigenous settlers, and nonhuman actors in Northern Alberta and the California Bay Area. Fuelled by the urgency of climate crisis, I ask: what can healthy relationships between humans and the more-than-human world – plants, animals, water, land – look and feel like? And what role do practices like listening, walking, and even singing play in transforming these relationships?” Read about Nadia.

Margaret Butler joins the school of music as visiting associate professor of musicology. Most recently, she was associate professor of musicology at the University of Florida. Her research on eighteenth-century opera explores a range of top including theatrical production practices and administrative models, stylistic fusion and reform,exoticism, and iconography.
Read about Margaret.

More new faculty

Andreas Oeste, assistant adjunct professor of oboe
Julia Rottmayer, adjunct professor of voice
Trevor Baca, visiting assistant professor of musicology
Read about all our current and new faculty here.

Meet Brian Heller, new facilities director
L-R: Brian Heller, new School of Music facilities director; Ben Sonnentag, JPCullen project engineer; and Tim Bizjak, JPCullen project manager.

In February, Brian Heller joined the Mead-Witter School of Music as facilities director.  Most recently, he was director of the Clemens Fine Arts Center at a college in Paducah, Kentucky, and has held a number of positions in non-profit theaters and arts centers in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Washington D.C. and Minnesota. He is a 1998 graduate of the Bolz Center at the Wisconsin School of Business.



(Right: A horn quartet performed at the Mead Witter Graduation, Hooding & Awards Celebration in Mills Hall, May 11, 2018. L-R; Rachel Feit, Spencer Koscik, Patrick Hines, Dayfdd Bevil.)


“Music despite pain”: Doctoral pianist perseveres through tough odds
Kangwoo Jin, a student of Professors Jessica Johnson and  Christopher Taylor, was diagnosed with hemophilia when a child in South Korea, and must inject himself with blood-clotting protein several times a week. He’s managed to win ten piano competitions nonetheless. Read full story in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Alumnus winner
Matthew Lee, a 2017 graduate from the studio of violinist Associate Professor Soh-Hyun Park Altino, was a winner of the 2018 Jan and Beattie Wood Concerto Competition at Brevard Music Center. Matthew was the only violinist winner in this year’s competition, which included a performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto, first movement, with the Brevard Music Center Orchestra on July 29. Matthew is currently pursuing a masters degree of music in violin performance at University of Texas at Austin.

Women Took Center Stage
LunART, an arts festival centered on women, was held in Madison in late June to great success. The founder was Iva Ugrćič (above), a DMA graduate in flute. Both the Wisconsin State Journal and Isthmus weekly ran preview stories about the event, which drew hundreds of patrons and featured composers, musicians, dancers, actors, and more.


The Chicago Composers’ Consortium offers a fresh selection of compositions at a concert on September 23, 3 PM, at North Shore Baptist Church, 5244 N. Lakewood Avenue, Chicago.
(Suggested donation: $15 accepted at the door.) One of these, The Violinists in my Life, was written by faculty composer Laura Schwendinger and will be performed by alumna Eleanor Bartsch.


Please note: to buy tickets at the door, day of show, please arrive early to prevent long lines!

Music of Leonard Bernstein – A 100th Birthday Tribute

Saturday, September 15 @ 8:00 pm – $7 – $17
Celebrating the music of Leonard Bernstein in this 100th anniversary year of his birth. With Martha Fischer and Bill Lutes, piano and voice; Paul Rowe, baritone; and Cheryl Bensman-Rowe, soprano. Featuring the Arias and Barcarolles for two singers and pianists as well as songs from the Broadway and art song repertoires.
Learn More/Buy Tickets

39th Karp Family Opening Concert
Tuesday, September 4 @ 7:30 pm – Free
Featuring Parry Karp, violoncello; Christopher Karp, piano; Frances Karp, piano; Alicia Lee, clarinet; Suzanne Beia, violin; Katrin Talbot, viola.

Faculty Jazz Sextet
Thursday, September 6 @ 7:30 pm – Free
Featuring Alex Noppe, trumpet; Les Thimmig, saxophones; Louka Patenaude, guitar; Johannes Wallmann, piano; Nick Moran, bass; Matt Endres, drums.

Faculty Recital: Soh-Hyun Altino, violin
Sunday, September 9 @ 3:00 pm – Free
This concert will feature works for violin and piano by women composers, including Beach, Chaminade, Clarke, and L. Boulanger. With pianist Jeannie Yu.

Our Full Concert Calendar


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. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to the School of Music.

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

Awards Ceremony May 11; Hunt and Pro Arte Quartets team for final concert; An Inside Look at the Hamel Music Center

Thursday, May 3, 2018

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music
University of Wisconsin-Madison
455 North Park Street, Madison Wisconsin 53706

Graduation Ceremony; Students Win Awards; Pro Arte and Hunt Quartets team up at Chazen; Community Music Lessons to be featured on 1550 AM; New Hamel Music Center Photos

More acoustic circles, a defining feature of the new hall.

School of Music to celebrate graduates on Friday, May 11

You are invited to help us honor our 28 undergraduate and 54 graduate students receiving diplomas this spring, summer and next fall and to thank the donors who support our students.  And, of course, we recognize the many additional undergraduate and graduate students chosen to receive awards given throughout the years by our generous donors.

We’ll also feature music from a talented horn quartet.

Friday, May 11, 2:00-4:00 PM, Mills Hall. A reception will follow in the Humanities Courtyard; in case of inclement weather, we will hold it in Mills Lobby.

Congratulations to graduate cellist Kyle Price, undergraduate vocalists Claire Powling and Miranda Kettlewell, and graduate pianist Eric Tran

At the annual Schubert Club Student Scholarship Competition, held at Augsburg University in St. Paul this spring, graduate cellist Kyle Price won first place in the strings Level 4 category (ages 24 through 28); Claire Powling won first place in the voice category, level 1 (ages 18 throuhh 21); and Miranda Kettlewell won honorable mention in the same category. The competition awards a total of over $50,000 annually to young musicians to be used for further musical education. As a first prize winner, Price performed with other winners at the Ordway Concert Hall in St. Paul in March. Price has studied with Professor Uri Vardi and will receive his DMA this summer. Powling and Kettlewell study with Professor Mimmi Fulmer.

In March, at the inaugural Music Teachers National Association–Stecher and Horowitz Two Piano Competition in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, pianist Eric Tran and his piano partner Nathan Cheung won first place, earning a prize of $5000 and a recording for New York City’s WQXR radio station, to be aired in July. The pair, who have performed for years as the Happy Dog Duo, also won both first prize and the Abild American Music Award at the 2017 Ellis Duo-Piano Competition, hosted by the National Federation of Music Clubs. Tran studies with Professor Christopher Taylor.

Pro Arte and Hunt Quartets team for Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet

On May 6 at 12:30 PM, the Pro Arte Quartet and the Hunt Quartet, the graduate string quartet of UW-Madison, will join at the Chazen Museum of Art to perform one of the best-loved works in the classical repertoire: Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-flat Major, op. 20.
The Pro Arte will also perform Franz Schubert’s String Quartet No. 15 in G major, D. 887, op. 161. The Pro Arte Quartet is comprised of David Perry and Suzanne Beia, violins; Sally Chisholm, viola; and Parry Karp, cello.

The Hunt Quartet, 2017-2018. L-R: Kyle Price, cello.; Vinicius “Vinny” Sant’Ana, violin; Blakeley Menghini, viola; Chang-En Lu, violin. Photograph by Katrin Talbot.
The Pro Arte Quartet. L-R: Cellist Parry Karp; Violinist Suzanne Beia; Violist Sally Chisholm; VIolinist David Perry.

The Hunt Quartet is the graduate string quartet for the Mead Witter School of Music. As project assistants within the School of Music, the Quartet performs concerts at the School of Music, University events, as well as community outreach. Members work closely with faculty, including the Pro Arte Quartet, and with Professor Uri Vardi as their principal coach. The Quartet is also the integral part of the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s “Up Close and Musical” program, visiting area schools to teach students about fundamentals of music and the string quartet. The Hunt Quartet is generously sponsored by Dr. Kato Perlman and the Madison Symphony Orchestra.
This year’s members have been Kyle Price, cello; Vinicius “Vinny” Sant’Ana, violin; Blakeley Menghini, viola; and Chang-En Lu, violin. This marks the final appearance for Kyle, Vinny, and Blakeley, as they will receive their doctoral degrees.

Audio of the concert will be broadcast live over the Internet in cooperation with Audio for the Arts, and also supported by Dr. Kato Perlman. The concert is free and open to the public; Chazen Museum of Art members may call 608-263-2246 to reserve seating. Click here to access the live audio broadcast.

Sunday Afternoon Live at the Chazen is a monthly music concert performed in the museum’s Brittingham Gallery III on the first Sunday of every month excepting January. Performances begin at 12:30. The gallery seats approximately 100 people; admission is free and first-come, first-served. Please note that Gallery III and the adjacent Gallery II are closed on Sunday before the performances for setup and rehearsal.

Community Music Lessons holds recital of all-age students

On April 29, students taking private music lessons through the Community Music Lessons program joined together to give a one-hour recital showcasing their growth and achievement throughout the semester. Having a performance to work toward is so important as a growing musician because it gives the student a feeling of accomplishment and purpose. Eighteen students performed before a supportive and encouraging audience of over 50 people. — Cayla Rosché, coordinator, Community Music Lessons.

Community Music Lessons will be on the radio! On May 26, talk show host Carol Koby will host retired doctor and budding violinist Tim Shaw, his teacher Paula Su, and CML coordinator Cayla Rosché on her show, All About Living, a weekly interview program which airs Saturdays at 10 AM on AM 1550 and 97.7 FM (also streamlined online here).  Carol Koby is a former women’s director and reporter for WITI-TV Channel 6 in Milwaukee and consumer advocate for WKOW-TV in Madison. She also moderated the Picture of Health cable television series for University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics.

The Community Music Lessons (CML) program, founded in 1968 under the auspices of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, provides college students with valuable experience teaching applied music lessons for children and adults. Lessons are provided by undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the School of Music who are overseen by individual faculty members, an experienced graduate coordinator, and a staff supervisor. Lessons are taught on campus, in the Mosse Humanities Building.

The Hamel Music Center – on the INSIDE!

On April 25, Mead Witter facilities director Brian Heller, publicist Katherine Esposito and photographer Michael R. Anderson were ushered around the Hamel Music Center by project manager Tim Bizjak and project engineer Ben Sonnentag, both UW-Madison engineering graduates. (Sonnentag also played trumpet in several UW Jazz ensembles.) We hope you enjoy our gallery of brand-new photographs, which will also be uploaded to this site.  Many thanks to Tim and Ben for the tour, and to Brian for the precise captions.

Our Full Concert Calendar


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. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to newsletter editor..

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

Music Lessons after 55; Remembering Irv Shain; Perlman Concert April 14; Student Creates & Conducts

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music

University of Wisconsin-Madison
455 North Park Street, Madison Wisconsin 53706

Reminder: The UW Wind Ensemble concert this Saturday, April 7, will be streamed live. The start time is 7:30 PM. Click here for the link.
A panoramic view of the Hamel Music Center under construction, March 2018
The Hamel Music Center, March 18, 2018. Photograph by Katherine Esposito.






Music Lessons after 55!

Retired physician Tim Shaw has a new hobby: taking violin lessons from UW-Madison doctoral student Paula Su. “I’m lucky to have found Paula as a violin teacher,” he says. “She inspires me.” Shaw, who’s currently practicing the well-known tune, “Danny Boy,” says he discovered the Community Music Lessons program via an online search.

Tim Shaw and Paula Su. Photograph by Katherine Esposito.

Paula writes: “I was born in Taiwan, and I completed most of my education in Taiwan. After my master’s degree in violin performance and chamber music at University of Michigan, I played in Civic Orchestra of Chicago and also taught in the String Preparatory Academy in University of Michigan. Knowing that I enjoy teaching and also have some experience, Professor David Perry recommended that I join the CML program. The students in this program are very diverse. Some of them are undergraduate college students, some are PhD students, some are Epic employees, Tim is a retired doctor.”

“It is really fun to interact with different ages of people from different backgrounds. I draw much inspiration from my students and can also view myself through the teaching process.”

The Community Music Lessons program was founded in 1968 to help college students acquire experience teaching applied music lessons for children and adults. Lessons are provided by undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the School of Music who are overseen by individual faculty members, an experienced graduate coordinator, and a staff supervisor. Lessons are taught on campus, in the Mosse Humanities Building.

The program plans an informal recital on Sunday, April 29 in Morphy Hall from 3:00 to 5:00 PM.

Farewell and thank you to Irving Shain

Chancellor Irving Shain with the UW Symphony Orchestra, undated photograph.

Last month, we bade farewell to former Chancellor Irving Shain, who passed away on March 6 at the age of 92. Chancellor Shain was a champion of the piano, founding both the Shain Piano/Woodwind Duo Competition (recent concert on March 4) and the Beethoven Piano Competition, now in its 33rd year with a winners’ recital concert scheduled for April 15 at 3:30 PM in Morphy Hall. His contributions to the School of Music were significant. We have missed his presence at these concerts and we remember him with fondness.

Read more about Chancellor Shain at this link

Annual Perlman Trio concert April 14

With Kangwoo Jin, piano; Luke Valmadrid, violin and viola; Micah Cheng, violoncello; Suzanne Beia, violin; and Chang En Lu, violin.

Saturday, April 14, 3:30 PM, Morphy Hall.

The Perlman Piano Trio is comprised of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is generously supported by Kato Perlman who loves the magnificent piano chamber music repertoire. Members of the group are chosen on the basis of their outstanding work in the chamber music program at the University.

The program will include Haydn’s Piano Trio in C Major, Hob. XV:27; Schumann’s Piano Trio no.1 Op. 63; and Brahms’s Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25.

Student recitals in abundance

Morphy and Mills Hall and other venues (many off-campus) are now packed with student recitals.  Upcoming performers include pianist Eric Tran, a recent winner of our concerto competition; Zachary Pulse, an oboist incorporating electro-acoustic methods into his music; and singer Talia Engstrom, performing music by Grieg, Mozart, Rossini, and others. See events calendar here.

Student at the podium

Flutist Anna Fisher-Roberts was inspired to create her own orchestra, and will present her first concert on Sunday, April 15 at 3:30 PM in Mills Hall. The program consists of one work: Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring.

Anna Fisher-Roberts (left, with flute) and members of the Milwaukee High School of the Arts in an outreach concert, Spring 2017. Photograph by Katherine Esposito.

“This project has been an exciting and enlightening journey,” writes Anna. “I came to music school intending to become a conductor, but since there are no undergraduate conducting programs, it’s difficult to get podium experience. I decided to put this project together mainly to get some time in front of an ensemble, but also for the opportunity to conduct Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, one of my favorite pieces in the orchestral repertoire. This 13-piece orchestra is entirely Mead Witter students, and is run solely by me and the members of the ensemble.

“I have been soaking up as much conducting as I possibly can; I’ve been taking a conducting class since the beginning of the school year and took over conducting the flute ensemble in January. It’s very different being on the podium than sitting within the orchestra! I am looking at the music in a very different way than I do as a flutist, thinking about how to communicate gesturally and soundlessly to convey musical ideas. Throughout this process, I have had the privilege to work with conductors at the university: Scott Teeple, Chad Hutchinson, and Beverly Taylor. All have generously set aside time to help me to learn the score, and Dr. Hutchinson and Professor Teeple have even reviewed my video footage of my rehearsals and helped me to improve my rehearsal strategies and baton technique. I have also requested and welcomed suggestions from the musicians about how I can be more helpful to them as a conductor, and they always have excellent advice. As I continue in my career, I want to stay in touch with the musicians in my ensembles, to make the music as evocative as it can be.

“I plan to continue my conducting ventures this summer, starting with the Vienna Summer Music Festival Conducting Institute. This is a three-week program where I will work with conductors in front of a live orchestra, as well as take classes and have private lessons. In August, I will attend the Lyceum Music Festival in Utah as a conducting student of Kayson Brown, a conductor with whom I’ve worked in festivals before and who I greatly respect. For next year at UW-Madison, I would also like to create and conduct another student ensemble. I hope that this will be a continuing tradition, as it’s a wonderful opportunity for students interested in conducting to learn and receive feedback.”

Our Full Concert Calendar


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. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to newsletter editor..

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

“Sounding Beckett” with Cygnus Ensemble; Jazz at UW 50th Birthday; Wind Ensemble Concert April 7 to be livestreamed

March 15, 2018

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music

University of Wisconsin-Madison
455 North Park Street, Madison Wisconsin 53706

“Sounding Beckett” – The Intersection of Music and Drama, featuring the Cygnus Ensemble

Friday, March 23, 7:30 PM, Mills Hall.

An event focused on music inspired by the Nobel Prize-winning playwright, Samuel Beckett. Featuring a concert by New York’s Cygnus Ensemble, instrumental master classes, a lecture and panel discussion with Patricia Boyette, UW-Madison professor of theatre & drama and Laura Schwendinger, UW-Madison faculty composer and professor of composition.

Samuel Beckett

With its pairs of plucked strings, bowed strings and woodwinds, Cygnus has a precedent in the Elizabethan “broken consort.”
  The members –Tara Helen O’Connor, flute; Robert Ingliss, oboe; William Anderson and Oren Fader, classical and electric guitars/mandolin/banjo; Calvin Wiersma, violin; Susannah Chapman, violoncello–are all virtuoso players with a great wealth of experience with some of our most cherished musical institutions, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Players.

Read more here.

Celebrating a milestone with students, faculty and special guest, trumpeter Marquis Hill

This April, UW-Madison’s annual Jazz Week will celebrate the 50th anniversary season of the UW Jazz Orchestra, the first jazz ensemble at UW-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music.

Jazz Week 2018 will feature performances by the UW Jazz Orchestra, the UW Jazz Composers Group, the UW Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, the UW High School Honors Jazz Band, and a faculty jazz quartet, all to be joined by special guest trumpet soloist Marquis Hill, the winner of the 2014 Thelonious Monk Competition.

Hill is a Chicago native who now makes his home in New York City. “His music crystallizes the hard-hitting, hard-swinging spirit of Chicago jazz,” writes Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune. “Hill commands a nimble technique, a fluid way of improvising and a pervasively lyrical manner.”

Marquis Hill

UW’s Jazz Week 2018 features three concerts:

  • Tuesday, April 24: Marquis Hill with the UW Jazz Composers Group and the UW Contemporary Jazz Ensemble. Morphy Hall, 7:30 PM. Free concert.
  • Thursday, April 26: Marquis Hill with a faculty jazz quartet led by pianist and Director of Jazz Studies Johannes Wallmann with Les Thimmig, saxophones; Nick Moran, bass; and Matt Endres, drums. Morphy Hall, 8:00 PM. Ticketed concert: $15 adults, $5 non-music majors.
  • Friday, April 27: Marquis Hill with the UW Jazz Orchestra and the UW High School Honors Jazz Band. Music Hall, 8:00 PM. Ticketed concert: $15 adults, $5 non-music majors.

The UW High School Honors Jazz Band is an auditioned 18-member big band for high school students from about a dozen Madison-region schools who are looking for an additional opportunity to perform advanced jazz repertoire.

To buy online, click this link.

You may also purchase in person or at the door. For more information about ticketing and parking options, click here.

“We don’t want THAT word uttered in OUR school”: Listen to our audio stories on SoundCloud about the history of jazz at UW-Madison and at American colleges. With university saxophonist and professor Les Thimmig, who arrived at UW-Madison in 1971, just as the jazz program was getting started. To listen, click the icon below.

Speaking of jazz:

Alumnus trumpeter Eric Siereveld releases debut CD

In 2015, trumpeter Eric Siereveld was wooed from New York City to become the instructor of jazz trumpet and director of the Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble at the School of Music. In 2017, with a brand-new DMA under his arm, he returned to New York City to pursue a multi-pronged career, including performing with his Organic Quintet, working as a private instructor at the United Nations International School in Manhattan, gigs on and off Broadway, and playing in many small groups and big bands.

He’s just released his debut CD, titled “Walk the Walk,” on Shifting Paradigm Records.

Eric writes: “As a DMA student at UW-Madison, I was provided the opportunity to pursue the musical endeavors that I felt a personal connection to. Under the guidance of tremendous professors like Johannes Wallmann and John Aley, they taught me to focus my energy toward musical pursuits that were both professionally and artistically fulfilling. It’s with that spirit that I approached this debut recording. This album reflects the creative spirit and artistic integrity at UW. The compositions on “Walk the Walk” are deeply rooted in the musical process I was going through while completing my DMA. I am particularly proud that this album was recorded, mixed and mastered in Madison and Milwaukee. Without the support of my professors and colleagues at UW and Madison, I do not believe this recording would have been as successful. I hope my teachers, mentors and colleagues at UW-Madison enjoy this recording and that the university shares this album with incoming DMA students. “Walk the Walk” is an example of the type of creative thinking that the DMA program at the Mead Witter School of Music allows its candidates to pursue.”

April 7 Wind Ensemble concert to be livestreamed on YouTube

The UW Wind Ensemble. Photograph by Megan Aley.

Livestreaming in the Humanities building has always been a challenge, but new technology has made this a bit easier. So, on April 7, set your dials (a/k/a your browser URLs) to the School of Music’s YouTube page. There, you’ll find the UW Wind Ensemble with conductor Scott Teeple overseeing a concert of music by emeritus composer John Stevens, Francis Poulenc, Cindy McTee, Gustav Holst and Gerard Schwartz.  Livestream Link Here

Click now, and set a reminder for April 7!

Our Full Concert Calendar


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. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to newsletter editor..

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

Concerto Winners on stage March 18; Meet Satoko Hayami from “Sound Out Loud”; Jazz Orchestra 50th anniversary podcast

March 2, 2018

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music

University of Wisconsin-Madison
455 North Park Street, Madison Wisconsin 53706

“Symphony Showcase” Coming Soon!

Sunday,  March 18, 7:30 PM, Mills Hall

We’ve announced this before, but here’s a reminder: Our annual concerto winners solo recital (a/k/a Symphony Showcase”) takes place at 7:30 PM on March 18 in Mills Hall.

Our 2018 winners are Kaleigh Acord, violin (Beethoven, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major, first movement); Aaron Gochberg, percussion (Keiko Abe, Prism Rhapsody); Eleni Katz, bassoon (Mozart, Bassoon Concerto in B flat major); Eric Tran, piano (Bach, Concerto No. 4 in A Major); and Mengmeng Wang, composer (premiere: “Blooming”).

Tickets are only $10 for adults, free to students, and there’s a free reception after the show in Mills Hall. Buy tickets here or at the door.

Meet Satoko Hayami, graduate pianist

Satoko, a doctoral student in Professor Martha Fischer‘s studio,  is a member of Sound Out Loud, a recent winner of The American Prize.  Here’s an excerpt from our recent Q&A with Satoko:
“The idea of starting a contemporary chamber music ensemble came to me in searching for ways to better connect with more diverse audiences. I felt that the diverse musical language in contemporary repertoire might have as much or even more potential to be relevant to the different kinds of audiences including young people and non-classical music fans than older repertoire, if presented in appropriate ways. I wanted to team up with people who are open to different, sometimes unconventional ways to present music, and was lucky to find people who share the similar interests, openness and enthusiasm right away.”

Read more here.
Satoko Hayami

James Latimer wins award

Emeritus Professor of Percussion James Latimer won a Lifetime Achievement Award at annual Wisconsin Days of Percussion event, January 27, 2018 in Milwaukee. While at UW-Madison, Latimer spearheaded a Duke Ellington Festival, started the Madison Marimba Quartet, initiated the first of 300 Young Audience Concerts held in public schools from 1969 to 1984, and hosted the Wisconsin Percussive Arts Society “Days of Percussion.”

Shain Woodwind/Piano Duo winners concert

3:30 pm, Sunday, March 4,  Morphy Hall

A competition and recital sponsored by former UW-Madison Chancellor Irving Shain
Winners were announced on Tuesday, February 27. They include: Juliana Mesa-Jaramillo, bassoon and Satoko Hayami, piano;
Anna Fisher-Roberts, flute and Eric Tran, piano.

Read more here.

Local arts reviewers loved “La Boheme”

University Opera’s production of LA BOHEME. Foreground, left to right: Claire Powling (Musetta), Michael Kelley (Waiter), Jake Elfner (Alcindoro) Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.
“University Opera’s “La Bohème” proves a complete success on all counts – from the staging and the costumes to the singing and the orchestra”
Larry Wells, The Well-Tempered Ear, Feb. 27.

“Ronis’ able hand was evident in the players’ acting. The cast was consistently believable, and consequently I was drawn into their world and suffered along with their despair over love’s inconsistencies and death’s sting. Using my acid test for a performance’s success, I never glanced at my watch either night. I was fully engaged.

“The orchestra was a marvel. Conductor Chad Hutchinson let it soar when it was appropriate, but the orchestra never overshadowed the singers. In fact, the key term that kept occurring to me both evenings was balance. The acting, the back-and-forth between the singers, and the interplay between the orchestra and the singers were consistently evenhanded.

“As for the singers, the primary roles were double cast. Friday’s Mimi was Shaddai Solidum whose first aria “Mi chiamano Mimi” was a lesson in the mastery of legato. Saturday’s Mimi was Yanzelmalee Rivera who possesses a bell-like voice of remarkable agility.”

Read the entire review here.
Yanzelmalee Rivera as Mimi in University Opera’s production of LA BOHEME. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.
University Opera Offers a Gem in a Bejewelled Setting
Greg Hettsmanberger, What Greg Says, 2.27.18

“Again we have been given much to look forward to; certainly it is unrealistic to see University Opera in Shannon Hall every season, but we can hope that it becomes a semi-regular occurrence. The greater lesson from Sunday’s performance however is this: wherever Ronis and his “kids” show up, the audience is in store for some memorable opera. The national awards and recognition that the program are consistently earning are richly deserved, and our town is clearly the richer for what these folks are giving us.”

Read the full review here.

Johannes Wallmann and Jazz at UW-Madison

“Bucky’s Jazz Savior,”  Madison Magazine, February 2018

“It was that combination of vision, leadership and expertise as a pianist and composer that quickly pushed him to the top of UW–Madison’s list of candidates for director of jazz studies. During [Director of Jazz Studies Johannes] Wallmann’s first year of teaching here, in 2012-2013, he sought out and performed with many local jazz musicians as a means of building relationships and moving the music program forward.

“In less than five years, Wallmann took the Jazz Studies undergraduate program from zero enrollees to 17. It’s an important part of the efforts to revitalize Madison’s jazz community.”

Read the story here.

Announcement: The UW Jazz Orchestra is turning 50! April’s annual Jazz Fest will celebrate this anniversary with three concerts featuring guest trumpeter Marquis Hill, winner of the 2014 Thelonious Monk Competition. Learn about the history of the Jazz Orchestra with our new six-episode podcasts with Les Thimmig, longtime composer and saxophonist. Listen to Episode 1 on our SoundCloud channel.

The American Prize first-place vocal winner coming to Madison on March 19 & 20

Vocalist Kristina Bachrach, recent winner of The American Prize in Vocal Performance and the Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award, will perform a concert on March 20 at 7:00 PM in Music Hall. Accompanied by faculty pianist Daniel Fung, she’ll sing selections from “The Recovered Voices Initiative,” started by James Conlon and Los Angeles Opera, which focuses on musical works and musicians that were either suppressed or killed by the Nazi regime in World War II.

Kristina Bachrach
Read about Kristina, the Initiative, and The American Prize at this link.

Our Full Concert Calendar


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. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to newsletter editor..

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

Hamel Music Center gets attention; Student News; “La Bohème” Feb 23-25; Flute & Keyboard Days

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music

University of Wisconsin-Madison
455 North Park Street, Madison Wisconsin 53706

“What are those crazy round windows in the Hamel Music Center? It’s a question Gary Brown has gotten a lot lately.”

To answer it, UW-Madison’s Käri Knutson wrote a story for Inside UW, the weekly e-newsletter of UW-Madison.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“…They’re not windows, explains [Brown], the director of campus planning and landscape architecture. They’re sound chambers. And it’s just one of the features that will help the Hamel Music Center hit all the right notes. ‘It’s going to be amazing,’ Brown says. ‘The architecture and design is something we haven’t seen on this campus. It will really create a major gateway feature to campus.’ “

Read the full story here
View our ongoing construction photograph blog

Three-day “La Bohème” run at the Union’s Shannon Hall only three weeks away

The first University Opera production staged at the Union in 15 years, “La Bohème” features 56 cast members and a set designed by Madison’s dean of theater design, Joseph Varga.
In the Union’s “Green Room” blog, read Director David Ronis‘s description of his role as director: “What really interests me [in La Bohème] is seeing how the characters are changed from the beginning of the piece to the end,” Ronis writes. “They are forced to grow up; they become less self-involved; they learn about the fragility of life. Their sense of time changes – they won’t live forever – they learn the hard way how precious life and love are. For me, that’s the fundamental story we’re telling.”

The opera will be staged Friday, February 23, 7:30 PM start time; Saturday, February 24, 7:30 PM start time; and Sunday, February 24, 3:00 PM start time.

Buy tickets here

Fellowship string quartet and pianist heads to Florida

Once a year, a quartet or quintet comprised of graduate fellowship recipients travels to Florida to perform a private concert for  longtime School of Music donor Paul Collins. This year, they will perform works of Haydn, Beethoven, Manos Hadjidakis, Debussy, Liszt, Dvorak, and a passacaglia by Handel-Halvorsen.  Collins not only supports ten graduate students at the school, but also contributed $5 million toward the new Hamel Music Center. The new recital hall will be named for him.

Fellowship quartet
The 2017-2018 Fellowship String Quartet, L-R:
Ariel Garcia, viola; Kaleigh Acord, violin; James Waldo, cello; Richard Silvers, violin.
Pianist Anna Siampani

Harmony in performance: Violin Prof. Soh-Hyun Altino and cellist husband Leonardo Altino interviewed by the Wisconsin State Journal

“The Altinos, married in 2002, were born on opposite sides of the world. They had successful, growing, separate careers when they met and discovered two common languages between them: English and music.

Leo and Soh-Hyun Altino

“The couple came to Madison in 2015 when Soh-Hyun Park Altino was hired as assistant professor of violin at UW-Madison. Leo Altino now commutes from their West Side Madison home to Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, near Chicago, to teach three days a week.”

The Altinos were profiled by reporter Gayle Worland prior to their joint concert debut on January 26 with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.

Read the full story

Synching science and music

Luke Valmadrid. Photograph by Sarah Morton.

Double degrees are hard, but a triple degree?  “Luke Valmadrid has forged a rigorous path pursuing degrees in chemistry, biochemistry and violin performance — and the dedicated senior wouldn’t have it any other way.”  Luke studies music with Prof. Altino, above. Written by UW-Madison’s Katie Vaughn.

Read the full story

Polish your playing skills at our annual Flute or Keyboard Days

Flute Day,  Sunday, February 11, includes performances by guest artist, flutist George Pope, as well as by UW-Madison flute faculty Timothy Hagen and the UW-Madison Flute Ensemble. In addition, participants will be offered a brief seminar on making practicing more effective and enjoyable. Most importantly, there are opportunities for younger participants to perform in master classes and mock auditions in preparation for WSMA Solo and Ensemble Festivals and other solo performances.

Keyboard Day, Saturday, February 17, will include workshops by UW-Madison piano faculty, including Artistic Pedaling Techniques for the Developing Pianist and Poems at the Piano: How Songs and Poetry Help Us Understand  a Composer’s Mind, Heart and Fingers. Guest pianist Marina Lomazov (Friday, Februrary 16 concert in Mills Hall) will offer a master class.

Music TA wins campuswide teaching award

We congratulate choral conducting graduate student Chris Boveroux, one of only 15 UW-Madison teaching assistants (out of 2,000 total) to win a Graduate School CampusWide Teaching Award. Not only has Chris TA’d in music, but also in mathematics, political science, and integrated liberal studies.

Chris Boveroux

Hire a (Student) Musician!

Not sure where to look for that wedding string quartet, an Easter trumpeter, a church pianist, or maybe you need an arts intern? Post your request on our Hire a Musician blog, about two to four months prior to your event. Recent listings include a request for a quartet for a 50th anniversary party, summer internships available at Bravo! Vail music festival, and a jazz vocalist.

Selected Upcoming Events

  • Guest artists: Anna Hersey, soprano & Alan Johnson, piano. February 11, 1:30 pm, Morphy Hall.
  • Guest artist: Blaise Magniere, violin. February 11, 7:30 pm, Morphy Hall.
  • Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, contemporary classical works. February 15, 8:00 pm, Mills Hall.
  • Master class with Alban Gerhardt, cello. February 16, 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm, Morphy Hall.
  • Guest artist: Marina Lomazov, piano. February 16, 8:00 pm, Mills Hall. Part of UW-Madison Keyboard Day.
    View full calendar for more events.
  • Graduate composer Nathan Froebe, composer winner of the 2016-2017 concerto competition, offers two performances in the next month. February 19: Lecture recital on Pierre Jalbert’s “The Invention of the Saxophone,’ based on the poem of the same name by Billy Collins. Nathan Froebe, narrator; Patrick Specht, alto saxophone; and Kyle Johnson, piano. March 3: “Addiction’s Actuality,” for trombone, piano, and pre-recorded sounds. “Addiction’s Actuality” explores the topic of alcohol and drug addictions, from a person’s descent into addiction, through recovery, and life after. Disclaimer: This piece contains mature themes and content. Nathan Froebe, composer/electronics; Thomas Macaluso, trombone; and Vincent Fuh, piano.

Our Full Concert Calendar


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. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to newsletter editor..

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“La Bohème” in Shannon Hall – “Sound Out Loud” wins first prize – “Schubertiade” on Jan. 28

January 11, 2018

Welcome to 2018!!!!

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music
University of Wisconsin-Madison
455 North Park Street, Madison Wisconsin 53706

University Opera to stage “La Bohème” at Memorial Union’s Shannon Hall

University Opera takes over the Wisconsin Union Theater for a three-day run of Puccini’s masterpiece

Read full news release here.

On February 23, 24 and 25, University Opera, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Union Theater, will present a special production of Giacomo Puccini’s timeless masterpiece, La Bohème, at the Wisconsin Union Theater’s Shannon Hall. This marks the first time in over 15 years that University Opera has staged a production at the Union Theater and the first bona fide opera production in the space since the theater’s renovation in 2014. Conducted by interim UW-Madison Director of Orchestras, Chad Hutchinson, and directed by Karen K. Bishop Director of Opera, David Ronis, the production will be performed in Italian with English supertitles. It will take full advantage of the many upgrades to Shannon Hall, in particular, the expanded orchestra pit which will accommodate the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra.

Friday, Feb. 23 @ 7:30 PM
Saturday, Feb. 24 @ 7:30 PM
Sunday, Feb. 25 @3:00 PM

Tickets are $38 for premium seating, $30 general admission, $25 senior tickets, $15 non-UW-Madison students and $10 UW-Madison students and are available in advance through the Campus Arts Ticketing office at (608) 265-ARTS and online at Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Wisconsin Union Theater Box Office Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 12:00-5:00 p.m.

Because shows often sell out, advance purchase is recommended. If unsold tickets remain, they may be purchased at the door beginning one hour before the performance.

Says longtime University Opera supporter Kathleen Harker: “I am excited to see opera return to Shannon Hall at the Union with the University Opera’s lavish production of Puccini’s La Bohème. I have fond memories of seeing my first opera, a touring Metropolitan Opera production of ‘Madama Butterfly,’ at the Memorial Union in 1965.”

Above: Maria Callas sings “Quando me’n vo” from La Bohème, 1958

Sound Out Loud Ensemble wins first prize in national competition

The School of Music congratulates the Sound Out Loud Ensemble for its first place award from The American Prize in chamber music performance, university division. Sound Out Loud! is a new music ensemble currently comprised of pianists Kyle Dee Johnson and Satoko Hayami, violinist Biffa Kwok, flutist Iva Ugrčić, clarinetist Pedro Garcia III, and composer/cellist Brian Grimm. All but Grimm are either former or current graduate students at UW-Madison.

Sound Out Loud. L-R: Biffa Kwok, Iva Ugrčić, Satoko Hayami, Brian Grimm, Kyle Johnson and Pedro Garcia III.

The group specializes in contemporary music from the early 20th century to the present, as well as commissions new works to be written for it. Having drawn inspiration from numerous performance ensembles (such as Eighth Blackbird, Silk Road, and the International Contemporary Ensemble), the group seeks to expand the realm of possibilities within the chamber ensemble repertoire through the implementation of experimental techniques, the incorporation of a variety of instruments and musical styles from the Middle East and Asia, innovative performance practice, and the use of live electronics.

The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit national competitions in the performing arts providing cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition for the best recorded performances by ensembles and individuals each year in the United States at the professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels. Administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Danbury, Connecticut, The American Prize was founded in 2009 and is awarded annually. The competitions of The American Prize are open to all U.S. citizens, whether living in this country or abroad, and to others currently living, working and/or studying in the United States of America, its protectorates and territories.

Our Annual “Schubertiade” only three weeks off!

This year’s Schubertiade will present at least one work from each year of Schubert’s all-too-brief but brilliant career. Beginning with one of his earliest piano duets, written when he was 14 years old, and ending with songs from his final year, this 5th Annual Schubertiade at the Mead-Witter School of Music will take place on Sunday afternoon, January 28, 2018 at 3pm in Mills Concert Hall.  All are invited for a post-concert reception in the University Club.

Once again, pianists Martha Fischer and Bill Lutes will be joined by School of Music faculty, students, and guest mezzo-soprano Rachel Wood, professor of voice at UW-Whitewater. Ms. Wood is a mezzo soprano whose performance credits include opera roles in Europe with Accademia Europea dell’Opera in Lucca, Italy and with Opera Studio Nederland, as well as numerous appearances in opera and recital in the US and Canada.

Rachel Wood

Tickets: $15/$5 students. Free to Mead Witter music majors, staff and faculty.

Ticket information here.

Please check our concert calendar for many other noteworthy upcoming events!

Our Full Concert Calendar


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. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to newsletter editor..

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music

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