“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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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
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..
Jessica Johnson holds out hope for pianists with small hands
How big are your hands? If you aspire to be a professional pianist, that’s an important question. On average, women have smaller hands than men, and are frequently stymied when trying to stretch their fingers to reach the larger octaves written into many major concertos, such as those by Liszt and Rachmaninoff. That simple fact bears on another simple fact: There are fewer women in the top echelons of professional concert pianists. Injuries are also common.
On Sat., Feb. 20, Jessica Johnson, professor of piano and piano pedagogy, will hold a full day of all-free events to demonstrate what has been working for her: The adoption of a specially sized piano that is 7/8 of normal size. Made by Steinbuhler & Co., one of these is now owned by the School of Music, and Prof. Johnson has found that playing it has been a “life-changing” experience.
Join us on Feb. 20 at 2:30 for a workshop, master class, hands-on demonstrations, and concert, all featuring the Steinbuhler DS 5.5 7/8 piano. Learn more here. And watch for an article about this revolutionary new approach in an upcoming story by Gayle Worland, in the Wisconsin State Journal.
Trumpeter & Cuban Music Expert Mike Davison to perform with the UW Jazz Orchestra
Master class: Mon Feb 22, Mills Hall; Concert: Weds., Feb. 24, 7:30 PM, Music Hall. Read more here.
Even after a semester with Juan de Marcos, we’re still feeding on Cuban music! This month, we’re bringing Mike Davison (DMA, trumpet performance 1987) to campus from the University of Richmond, where he teaches and performs. He’ll join the UW Jazz Orchestra, the Waunakee High School Jazz Ensemble I and the UW Latin Jazz Ensemble in an evening of rousing Caribbean tunes. Davison’s bio includes concerts around the world, four recorded jazz CDs, and performances with well-known singers, musicians, and even for a pope.
UW Wind Ensemble travels to Verona and west Madison for concerts
Find the UW Wind Ensemble in your corner of Dane County! Last December, the Wind Ensemble made an appearance at the Sun Prairie High School and will continue its out of town concerts this spring. Find them at Verona High School on Feb. 19, at Oakwood Village – West (Mineral Point Road) on March 31, and of course at the School of Music as well (Feb. 20). Both February concerts will feature Tom Curry, adjunct professor of tuba, in a work titled “Heavy Weather,” by the composer Jess Turner.
Summer Music Clinic registration now underway
Registration is open through May 2 for UW-Madison’s legendary Summer Music Clinic, which offers dozens of classes in all kinds of musical skills for kids completing grades 6-8 (junior session) and 9-12 (senior session). For one week, students live in UW dorms and attend classes that they choose from a lengthy list, including band, orchestra and choir; sight-singing; jazz improvisation; opera; swing dance; yoga; and even specialized classes on subjects ranging from the music of film composer John Williams to Stephen Sondheim to rock’n roll. Instructors are all highly skilled; many are university professors or other working professionals. Taste the fun by visiting SMC’s Facebook page! For more information, email email@example.com.
Below: Summer Music Clinic photographs by Michael R. Anderson.
CHORAL UNION CONCERTS FEATURE FIRST-EVER PERFORMANCE OF DVORAK’S “TE DEUM”
This weekend, the UW-community partnership that is the Choral Union will present its first concerts of the year. On the program: Antonin Dvorak‘s Te Deum; the Flos Campi of Ralph Vaughan Williams, with Pro Arte violist Sally Chisholm as soloist; and Giuseppe’s Verdi’s Te Deum. “The two Te Deums are very different settings of an ancient liturgical song of praise,” says Beverly Taylor, Choral Union conductor.
The concerts are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 22 at 8 PM, Mills Hall, and Sunday, Nov. 23, 7:30 PM, Mills Hall. Both events are ticketed: $15 general public, $8 students and seniors. You can buy ahead of time and also at the door. Ticket information is here. Parking information is here. (Free parking on Sundays at Grainger Hall!) (To view these on our events calendar, click here.)
The BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform Dvorak’s Te Deum at the BBC Proms in 1996.
CELEBRATING JAZZ THROUGH PARTNERING WITH THE MADISON SCHOOLS
On December 4-6, 2014, the UW School of Music will host the 4th Annual UW/MMSD Jazz Festival, an educational jazz festival featuring workshops and performances by high school big bands from Madison and Middleton, the UW Jazz Orchestra and UW Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, UW jazz faculty, and New York trumpet star Ingrid Jensen.
Highlights will include two master classes on jazz trumpet and improvisation, a Friday night concert with Jensen and the Johannes Wallmann quintet, and a Saturday concert with the UW orchestra, jazz bands from all four schools, UW faculty and Ingrid Jensen. There will also be clinics for the area high schools.
All events are free. For more information, contact Johannes Wallmann, professor of jazz studies.
GENEROUS LOCAL PHILANTHROPIST PLAYED DOWN HER DONATIONS– UNTIL RECENTLY
TheUW-Madison Annual Fund is now underway. Gifts from alumni and friends are welcome, and will be directed toward university research, student scholarships, faculty retention and recruiting, and so much more. Only 16% of UW-Madison’s budget is funded by state support, so your support is valued more than ever before. Click here to donate!
APPLICATIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED FOR SUMMER CELLO INSTITUTE AT UW-MADISON
Announcing the 2015 “Your Body is Your Strad” Summer Programs
The National Summer Cello Institute (May 30 – June 12, 2015) is a unique program tailored for professional, graduate, and advanced undergraduate cellists. The focus of the program is on the close relationship between effective use of the body and musical communication. Twenty two cellists who are selected by audition submission delve deeply into the connection between body awareness and cellistic proficiency, musical expression, effective teaching, and injury prevention. All selected participants attend the full two week Your Body Is Your Strad program, which include the Feldenkrais for All Performers component. They are exposed to a range of performance and pedagogical topics, represented by internationally acclaimed faculty. This year’s program will feature guest teachers Timothy Eddy of The Juilliard School, Paul Katzof New England Conservatory, as well as founders and returning faculty Uri Vardi,cello professor at UW-Madison, and Hagit Vardi, a UW-Health Feldenkrais practicitioner.
The Feldenkrais for All Performers program (May 30 – June 3, 2015) is for all instrumentalists, singers, actors, and dancers dedicated to exploring the intimate relationship between body awareness and artistic expression, while learning to prevent injuries. The program will feature musicians and Feldenkrais practitioners, Uri and Hagit Vardi, and presentations by specialists in Integrative Health, Authentic Performance, Mind-Eye Connection, Stage Anxiety, and Improvisation.
KLEZMER WORKSHOPS AND CONCERT THIS WEEK AT UW-MADISON
TheMayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture presents several events this week that continue its mission to study and preserve historical Yiddish music and culture. The events include a public workshop with founder Sherry Mayrent on Yiddish music performance on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 7:30 PM at the Pyle Center (702 Langdon St.) , and a second one for students, Friday, Nov. 21, at 2 PM at the School of Music, 2411 Humanities. Learn more here. Registration is requested; check link for details.
Music Theorists Present Papers: Ten current and former students of the graduate program in music theory recently spoke at the joint meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Society for Music Theory. Read more here.
Laura Schwendinger receives residency grant from League of American Orchestras
“The program provides $7,500 grants, underwritten by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to cover weeklong residencies during which each participating orchestra will perform a work from the resident composer’s catalog, ” according to the New York Times. Schwendinger will be paired with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra.
UW Contemporary Jazz ensemble wins first place in UW-Eau Claire Jazz Festival
Jazz Orchestra is runner-up in separate category
Two School of Music jazz ensembles directed by Assistant Professor Johannes Wallmann were recognized at the 47th Annual Eau Claire Jazz Festival this past weekend: The UW Contemporary Jazz Ensemble won first place in the college combo category (out of ten participating bands), and the UW Jazz Orchestra was the runner-up in the college big band category (out of seven bands). As a result of their first- and second-place finishes, both groups were invited to perform at the festival’s evening concert for an audience of several hundred festival participants and community members.
The UW Contemporary Jazz Ensemble is a sextet consisting of trumpet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, piano, bass, and drums, that performs pieces composed in the last couple of decades by significant jazz artists, UW visiting guest artists, ensemble students, and its director. The ensemble’s winning set included London-based trumpeter Kenny Wheeler’s “Foxy Trot,” Wallmann’s “Arbutus,” and the ballad “Jurre” by Chicago guitarist Zvonimir Tot, who had performed as a guest artist with the ensemble in March at UW. The ensemble was founded in 2012 by Prof. Wallmann when he joined the faculty of the School of Music.
The UW Jazz Orchestra was first established in 1968 in the classic big band format. Its present incarnation focuses on repertoire from the 1950s to today, with an emphasis on the music of guest composers and performers. The UWJO’s festival set included New York trombonist Pete McGuinness’s “The Swagger,” Thad Jones’s “Cherry Juice,” and Wallmann’s “Your Silence Will Not Protect You.”
Alex Charland (tenor sax), Peter Garofalo (piano), Ben Knox (alto sax), and Erik Olsen (trombone) all received outstanding soloist awards at the festival. This marks the second year that UW jazz ensembles have participated in the Eau Claire jazz festival. Last year’s ensemble came in second and third in their respective categories. Congratulations to all!
Noted jazz trumpeter to perform with college and high school students on May 1
Meanwhile, in Mills Hall at 7:30 PM on May 1, Grammy-award winning jazz trumpeter Brian Lynch will cap off the jazz season 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. Scroll to the bottom of this page for a list of every high school student who will perform in the orchestra.
Lynch went to Nicolet High School, and learned from local artists first hand. After graduating from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Lynch moved to New York, where he performed with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and the Horace Silver Quintet, and collaborated with greats such as Hector Lavoe, Eddie Palmieri, Benny Golson, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Lila Downs, and Prince. Click herefor a 2007 New York Times story about Lynch and Eddie Palmieri performing at the 92nd Street Y.
Going on to produce 15 albums and teach as Professor of Jazz Trumpet at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, Lynch has made a name due to his ability to draw from a wide range of jazz styles and inspirations. “I think that to be a jazz musician now means drawing on a wider variety of things than 30 or 40 years ago,” Lynch says. “Not to play a little bit of this or a little bit of that, but to blend everything together into something that has integrity and sounds good.” This concert is presented by Wisconsin Union Directorate’s Performing Arts Committee and Isthmus Weekly and supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. WORT 89.9 FM is the media sponsor. This event is ticketed: prices range from $5 for students to $15 for adults. For tickets, click here.
Please note: Lynch will offer a master class on May 1 at 1:30 PM, Mills Hall.The public is welcome.
World premiere of new Schwendinger work to be broadcast live on WFMT radio
The Grammy-nominated Lincoln Trio will premiere Laura Elise Schwendinger’s Arc of Fire, commissioned in 2012 by Chamber Music America, on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at Gottlieb Hall at the Merit School of Music in Chicago. It will also be broadcast live on WFMT’s show, “Relevant Tones.” The Lincoln Trio will also be playing Stacy Garrop’s Sanctuary. in 2012, Schwendinger won the extremely competitive award with the Lincoln Trio, hailed in FANFARE Magazine as “one of the hottest young trios in the business.” Arc of Fire, composed in August, 2013, is dedicated to the memory of Gene Chinn, Schwendinger’s father-in-law. It is an intense and virtuosic 22 minute work that follows the stages of fire:
I. incipient… spark II. smoldering III. flames… IV. inferno V. false ebbing… VI. flare up VII. ebbing… (decay) and VIII. memento mori (melancholy waltz) for what has been lost, IX. decay…embers.
Meanwhile…save the date! The world premiere of Laura Schwendinger’s “Creature Quartet,” performed by the JACK Quartet, will be held on Friday, May 8, 2015, 8 pm at the renovated Shannon Hall, Wisconsin Union Theater, as part of the theater’s celebratory 75th anniversary.
New professor Jerome Camal augments growing “global music studies” program
With the appointment of Professor Jerome Camal, a faculty appointment in the Department of Anthropology, this semester marked a new beginning for ethnomusicology at UW-Madison’s School of Music. The new initiative, a “global music studies” program, examines music’s constitution as a cultural force woven into the social and political fabric. The university will offer courses and certificates at both the undergraduate and graduate levels with the expectation of initiating formal degrees in the future. It is made possible through support from the Mellon Foundation. Click here to read more.
“Grace presents” Baroque music for a Saturday at noon
At the Square on Saturday for the just-opened Farmers’ Market? Stop in to Grace Episcopal Church, 116 W. Washington Avenue, for an hour of free R&R. On April 26, the church will offer a concert of new plus historic music for baroque flute, featuring Mi-Li Chang and Danielle Breisach on baroque flute; John Chappell Stowe on harpsichord; Stephanie Jutt on modern flute; and Eric Miller on viola da gamba. The program will include compositions by David MacBride, Robert Strizich, François Couperin, and Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as UW-Madison composers Stephen Dembski and Marc Vallon.
Javanese music and dance in Mills Hall, April 26
On Saturday, April 26 at 3:00 pm in Mills Hall, the University of Wisconsin School of Music, Department of Dance, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and Indonesian Students’ Association present “Across Regional Boundaries: A Javanese Music and Dance Concert. The program is a collaboration between the UW Javanese Gamelan Ensemble in its first year under the direction of Steve Laronga and the UW Javanese Dance troupe, directed by Prof. Peggy Choy. The concert will present the closely related but sharply contrasting repertories and performance styles of the Central Javanese court music tradition of Yogyakarta and the lively popular traditions of East Java. Joining the UW Javanese Gamelan will be guest artists Prof. Christina Sunardi (University of Washington), an expert on East Javanese dance, and Yogyanese music and dance experts Prof. Roger Vetter (Grinnell College) and Val Vetter (Grinnell College). For more information, please contact Steve Laronga at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more.
School of Music to hold a combo awards & graduation celebration
The School of Music will be honoring and celebrating the achievements of the Class of 2014 as well as recipients of student awards on Friday, May 16, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. in Music Hall.
All graduates and award recipients are encouraged to attend this special recognition along with their family, friends and guests. Members of the School of Music administration, faculty, and staff will be hosting the event. Other guests of honor are the School’s generous scholarship and award donors, the School of Music Board of Visitors, members of the School of Music Alumni Association, representatives from the UW Foundation, and the School’s Academic Associate Dean from the College of Letters & Science. A catered reception of hors d’oeuvres and light refreshments will follow the ceremony.
Parking on campus will be free and open to the public starting at 12 p.m. on Friday afternoon. Guests are welcome to park in any UW-Madison parking ramp and surface lot. To view a map of parking options, please click here.
Music Hall offers accessible seating. Please call 263-1900 to specify your needs for accessible seating so we are able to accommodate you.
The College of Letters & Science will host a pre-commencement reception in the Field House at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday, May 17, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Please click here for more details.
Hyperion Fox Trot Orchestra to hold reunion concert May 19
A benefit for the Karlos and Melinda Moser Opera Ticket Fund
The original Hyperion Oriental Fox Trot Orchestra was a “hot dance” revival orchestra, complete with strings, which performed an eclectic survey of early Twentieth Century popular American music. From Ragtime classics, through the transitional Tin Pan Alley idiom which names the orchestra, to masterpieces of the Jazz Age, the repertoire is sourced from collections of original published scores and manuscripts and includes a few transcriptions from famous recordings of the times.
The orchestra was very popular in Madison gigs in the 1970’s. Spearheaded by former University Opera director Karlos Moser and Madison Symphony Orchestra executive director Rick Mackie (who will both reprise their original roles in this 15-person orchestra) the May 19 concert will celebrate the Hyperion’s original debut at the Grand Benefit Ball for the Wisconsin Ballet on April 4, 1974. The program will be a mélange of New Orleans music and some famous derivatives, featuring music of Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, and Duke Ellington. Karlos Moser will open the concert with Magnetic Rag, Scott Joplin’s last, a poignant end to the era of ragtime as jazz kicked-in the door. Special Guest Jacqueline Colbert will perform several vocals expressing the influence of the blues which was and is so pervasive in jazz. Hyperion will have audience dancing in the aisles with a playlist including Joplin’s “Magnetic Rag”; Jelly Roll Morten’s “New Orleans Blues,” “Jungle Blues,” and “I Wish I Could Shimmy like My Sister Kate”; Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’ “; and Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing.”
This concert will reunite artists who have played with the orchestra over the decades, including six of the original members present at its debut performance. Violinists Karen Smith (now with the Milwaukee Symphony), Wendy Buehl (Madison Symphony) and Leyla Sanyer (formerly Madison Symphony) were there from the beginning, with Buehl taking on the special task of cataloguing the unique collection of rarities in the orchestra’s library. Originals Melinda Moser, piano, Rick Mackie, drums and Pete Deakman, bass, also join Moser for this performance. The reed section will include tenor saxophonist Dick Lottridge, another UW School of Music faculty veteran best known as professor of bassoon and former principle bassoonist of the Madison Symphony. Lottridge has been a member since 1980, the year in which violinist Diane Mackie made her first Hyperion appearance. UW Professor of Trumpet John Aley has been in the first chair since 1982. Download press release: Hyperion Press release
Below: Watch Karlos and Melinda Moser perform in a “Music in Performance” class at the School of Music, Spring 2013, a one-credit class popular with non-majors and the community that seeks to introduce newcomers to the varied genres of music. To learn more about this class, see http://music.wisc.edu/mip.
Former percussion professor and studio to hold summer reunion
Students of Professor Emeritus Jim Latimer have planned an all-percussion reunion of former students (and their families) and are trying to spread the word to reach as many former students as possible. This includes students of the applied area, percussion ensemble and techniques classes.
Jim Latimer was professor of music, head of the percussion area and director of the UW Percussion Ensemble at UW-Madison from 1968 until his retirement in June 1999. He was also timpanist with the Madison Symphony for the same 31 years. From 1972 to 1978, he was Music Director of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras and took the orchestras on the first out-of-state tours, including representing Wisconsin at the Bicentennial Parade of American Music and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in 1976. He has conducted one of Wisconsin’s finest concert bands, the Capitol City Band, since 1981 and continues to play concerts in the park with CCB each summer. He also conducts the volunteer community band, the VFW Band, is the founding member of the Madison Marimba Quartet and plays percussion with his own dance ensemble. He can be reached at email@example.com
Saturday, June 28, 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm (open mic at 4 pm). Rennebohm Park, 115 N Eau Claire Ave, Madison, WI
RSVP by May 1 to one of the following alums:
MaryJo Biechler firstname.lastname@example.org
Connie Coghlan email@example.com
Nancy (Kath) Riesch-Flannery firstname.lastname@example.org
David Pedracine at email@example.com
Did you know that the School of Music Alumni Association has its own website? Here’s where you can read and contribute news of alumni, become a member, find out about special events, and contribute money toward much-needed student scholarships at the School of Music. http://uwsomaa.org/
The 2014 High School Honors Jazz Band
Performing Thursday, May 1, Mills HAll, with Brian Lynch and the UW Jazz Orchestra.
Edgewood High School – teacher: Carrie Backman
-Benjamin Drummond, alto saxophone (alumnus of UW Summer Music Clinic) Madison Memorial High School – teachers: Ben Jaeger (bands) & Ben Ferris (jazz, SoM UW ’13 Music Ed alumnus)
-Gabriel Guglielmina, trombone
-Lindsey Kermgard, trumpet
-Kameron Kudick, drums/percussion
-Sam Szotkowski, trumpet Madison West High School – teacher: Dr. Scott Eckel
-Marie Kaczmarek, trumpet (alumna of UW Summer Music Clinic) McFarland High School – teachers: Joe Hartson and Benjamin Petersen
-Maria Hilgers, baritone saxophone Middleton High School – teacher: Brad Schneider
-Eli Bucheit, piano
-Burton Copeland, trumpet
-Tanner Tanyeri, drums/percussion Sun Prairie High School – teacher: Steve Sveum
-Ryan Kruger, bass trombone
-Sam Olson, bass
-Xavier Payne, tenor saxophone
-Alexander Valigura, trombone Stoughton High School – teacher: Dan Schmidt
-Lucas Myers, guitar Verona Area High School – teachers: Paul Heinecke (jazz) and Eric Anderson (band)
-Philip Rudnitzky, tenor saxophone Waunakee High School – teachers: Sam Robinson and Ryan Gill (UW SoM music ed alum)
-Andrew Maxfield, alto saxophone
“Talent to burn.” That’s how Barnaby Rayfield referred to UW’s Laura Schwendinger, composer of contemporary classical music, in his January 2013 feature story about her in Fanfare, the classical music magazine. And that was before her new CD had come out.
Now, with its debut on Centaur Records, the advance reviews are in, and very positive. While Rayfield had referred to Schwendinger’s music as “not girly music” (meant as a compliment), Fanfare’s Colin Clarke said: “I would go further and add an emphatic this is ‘so not girly music.’ Punchy, imaginative, subtle, stirring, evocative … all these terms apply. She studied with John Adams, which doesn’t seem to have harmed her much. Schwendinger’s music is worth more than anything Adams has churned out so far.”
Schwendinger’s CD, “High Wire Acts,” is comprised of a five-movement chamber work of the same name performed by the Oklahoma-based ensemble Brightmusic, as well as “Nonet,” performed by the Chicago Chamber Musicians;“Sonata for Solo Violin,” played by Katie Wolfe; and “Two Little Whos,” performed by husband and wife team Beth Ilana Schneider-Gould and Matt Gould. “High Wire Acts” was composed in 2002, and also has been performed by eighth blackbird, the Grammy-winning new music ensemble, among many other groups.
In his Fanfare review, Rayfield offered his views of why “High Wire Acts” works so well. “…It is her unusual pairing of instruments that intrigues; flute and cello, violin and guitar. Poise, structure, lyricism. ‘Nonet’ is a riot of colorful trills, with Schwendinger’s demonstrating a wonderful ear for clarity of texture and balance. The second movement (suitably tagged ‘Tenderly’) is an assured and poised work of beauty and color that really ought to be better known.”
In a review of eighth blackbird’s performance, Chicago Tribune music critic JohnVon Rhein wrote: ” ‘High Wire Acts’ achieved more by attempting less. Inspired by the wire circus figures of sculptor Alexander Calder, the four character portraits, with their high twitterings, undulating arpeggios and rippling figurations, evinced an acute sonic imagination and sure command of craft. The piece was beautifully played by eighth blackbird.”
The Washington Post’s Joe Banno also enjoyed “High Wire Acts,” performed in Washington D.C. at a Kennedy Center concert of the Left Bank Concert Society. He wrote, “[Schwendinger’s] harmonically free-ranging, tintinnabulary scoring — with its canny use of violin harmonics and flute phrases played directly into the open piano, to suggest aerialists in flight — evokes Stravinsky’s early ballets.”
Schwendinger, who came to UW from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2005, is savoring this moment, which dates to 2002 when she first wrote High Wire Act. “It’s taken ten long years but it has left me with a sense of accomplishment. I’m proud and honored to be in such company.” she says. Over the years, she’s won many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy in Berlin Prize (she was the first composer ever awarded the prize), and a Romnes Faculty Fellowship from UW-Madison. In 2010, her music colleagues nominated her for a Pulitzer Prize in composition.
Many iconoclastic chamber groups have performed Schwendinger’s music, including the Europe-based Arditti Quartet, which premiered a string quartet in 2003, and now the “alt-classical” JACK Quartet out of New York City, frequent performers at (Le) Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village. With JACK, she’s now recording two quartets, financed by two grants from NewMusicUsA and Ditson.
At UW, Schwendinger directs the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, which offers UW musicians opportunities to play newer music; at last spring’s concert, the program included a performance of Schwendinger’s “The Violinists in My Life” by Eleanor Bartsch, a 2011 SOM grad and current member of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, to whom the first movement was dedicated. Bartsch will return to UW this fall as a Collins Fellow, working toward her master’s degree.
It’s not the first time UW-Madison has been featured prominently. Last year, Albany Records released “Three Works,” a CD of three concertos for, separately, cello, violin, and flute, performed by a student and faculty Sinfonietta and the UW-Madison Chamber Orchestra conducted by James Smith. The soloists were Matt Haimovitz on cello, Curtis Macomber on violin, and Christina Jennings on flute.
Future UW collaborations include a recording of “Song for Andrew” (a quartet performed in 2010 by the New Juilliard Ensemble and premiered by UW’s Sally Chisholm and Young Nam Kim in Minnesota) with professor/pianist Christopher Taylor, plus a recording of the song “Sudden Light” with the JACK quartet and soprano alumna Jamie Van Eyck.
Schwendinger also sponsors visits by other notable performers of contemporary classical music; for this next year, those will include two appearances by musicians from the Center for New Music at the University of Iowa as well as Michael Norsworthy, clarinet professor at the Boston Conservatory and another champion of new music. (The CNM is scheduled to perform at Mills on September 21 and April 11; Norsworthy on October 20.)
Working on “The Violinists in My Life” was an “amazing experience,” says Eleanor Bartsch. “I feel a special connection to the piece, not only because the first movement was written for me, but also because through Laura’s unique musical language, I feel I am easily able to express my own personal voice.”