Tag Archives: Mark Hetzler

Star violinist heads up George Crumb fest; Audio website showcases student solos; Wingra Woodwind Quintet plans 50th anniv. party/concert; more

For our concert calendar and much more, check the main School of Music website: http://www.music.wisc.edu/
STAR NEW YORK VIOLINIST MIRANDA CUCKSON TO HEADLINE A FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC
Cuckson
Miranda Cuckson

Highlighting the music of George Crumb

Four days, four events: Friday through Monday, March 20-23. Full details: http://www.music.wisc.edu/george-crumb/

The “economical and elegant” music of Grammy and Pulitzer winning avant-garde composer George Crumb will be on display at the School of Music when violinist Miranda Cuckson comes to town. The festival — a total of four concerts over four days — is sponsored by UW-Madison resident composer Laura Schwendinger, whose work “The Violinists in My Life” will be on Cuckson’s program.

“Crumb’s music, economical and elegant from the start, has mesmerized and enchanted broad audiences as well as fellow composers and musicians. He has made us think about time and sonority in new ways and has forged contemporary links between music, sentiment, and ideas…” — Leon Botstein, from his American Symphony Orchestra website.

Cuckson will also perform works by composers George Crumb, Augusta Read Thomas and Sebastian Currier.

Over the past five years, Miranda Cuckson has drawn rave reviews from music critics at the New York Times, including Anthony Tommasini, Allan Kozinn, and Zachary Woolf, who wrote only recently: “Her tonal luster and variety of touch enliven everything she plays.” She will perform on Sunday, March 22, 7:30 PM, in Mills Hall. Tickets: $20.00 adults, students free. Buy here.


Hear Miranda Cuckson perform a new work by composer Michael Hersch.

Other events include:

MONDAY, March 23, 8PM, Morphy Hall: Due East, a duo consisting of Erin Lesser on flute and Greg Beyer on percussion.  Due East will be joined by New York City-based harpist Jacqui Kerrod and musicians from Dal Niente, vocalist Amanda deBoer and bassist Mark Buchner, in a multi-media interpretation of George Crumb’s well-known Madrigals, Books 1-4. In Due East’s performance, a set of three video screens and projectors are set at odd-angles in and amongst the musicians and create a triptych video montage that becomes a magical and powerful “environment.” Tickets: $10.00 adults, students free. Buy here.

Click here to view a video and description of the Madrigals Project.

SATURDAY, March 21, 7:30 PM, Music Hall: UW’s Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, featuring cellist Parry Karp performing Crumb’s Sonata for Solo Cello.  Free concert.

FRIDAY, March 20, 8 PM, Music Hall.  Lakeshore Rush, a Chicago-based new music ensemble co-founded by music alumni Erin K. Murphy and Laura McLaughlin, will perform Crumb’s Vox Balaenae by contemporary composer George Crumb. Free concert.

NOTE: Watch for a preview of the George Crumb Festival in Isthmus, on newsstands and online this week.

STUDENT SOLOISTS NOW ON SOUNDCLOUD

Those wonderful performances you heard (or perhaps missed, to your regret!) back on February 8 can now be heard on our SoundCloud audio channel (a YouTube for audio).  They include Keisuke Yamamoto, violin; Adam Betz, composition; Ivana Ugrcic, flute; Anna Whiteway, voice; and Jason Kutz, piano. Audio provided by Lance Ketterer.  Click here to listen: https://soundcloud.com/uw-madisonsom/sets/student-soloists-and-concerto

One of those soloists, soprano Anna Whiteway, will appear in University Opera’s production of The Magic Flute, starting this weekend in Music Hall. Shows are Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. Learn more here: http://www.music.wisc.edu/2015/02/12/magic-flute/

And watch Anna here:

MUSIC THEORY, DEMONSTRATED

Our year-long analysis of the music of 18th-century composer Jean-Philippe Rameau continues with a discussion of his lasting influence on tonality, harmonic progression, and harmony. On Wednesday of this week (March 11), with chemist Rod Schreiner, music theorist Lee Blasius, and harpsichordist John Chappell Stowe. Meet them in the Chemistry Building, Room 1315,  at 7 PM. Free.

Says Charles Dill, lead organizer and Rameau expert: “If you hit a note loudly enough on a piano, with the dampers off, other, different notes will ring sympathetically. That’s because they share certain overtones in the harmonic series.”

http://www.music.wisc.edu/events/rameau-the-theorist-free/

Charles Dill
Charles Dill
STUDENTS IN THE NEWS
Bassist Ben Ferris on the Terrace with James Castaneda, Ty Peterson, Drew Schrieber and Luke Busch. Photo courtesy Ben Ferris.
Bassist Ben Ferris on the Terrace with James Castaneda, Ty Peterson, Drew Schrieber and Luke Busch. Photo courtesy Ben Ferris.
 Save the Date: WINGRA WOODWIND QUINTET COMMEMORATES 50 YEARS WITH A PARTY AND CONCERT
The Wingra Woodwind Quintet, 2013. From left: Kostas Tiliakos, oboe; Linda Kimball, horn; Linda Bartley, clarinet; Stephanie Jutt, flute; and Marc Vallon, bassoon. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.
The Wingra Woodwind Quintet, 2013. From left: Kostas Tiliakos, oboe; Linda Kimball, horn; Linda Bartley, clarinet; Stephanie Jutt, flute; and Marc Vallon, bassoon. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

Free and open to the public!

Mini-Concert & Party, April 25, 4 — 6 p.m. University Club, 803 State Street.

Please RSVP to news@music.wisc.edu

The Wingra Woodwind Quintet [click here to read new bio] turns 50 this year and plans a party! Embodying the Wisconsin Idea and serving as role models to our students, the Wingra Quintet has a rich tradition and will honor current and former members. Former members who plan to attend are Robert Cole, flute, Marc Fink, oboe, Glenn Bowen, clarinet, Richard Lottridge, bassoon, Douglas Hill, horn, and Nancy Becknell, horn. A short program of 20 minutes is planned and then we will celebrate with hors d’oeuvres and beverages catered by the University Club. Everyone is invited to enjoy the food, music, and good company of current and former members of the Wingra Quintet. On the program:

Oodles of Noodles – Jimmy Dorsey, arr. Glenn Bowen
Ode to a Toad – Ray Pizzi. arr. Glenn Bowen
Suite Française – Francis Poulenc, arr. Richard Lottridge

UW’S WIND ENSEMBLE PLAYS CARNEGIE HALL

Photo by Steve Carmichael.

Last week, the UW Wind Ensemble trekked to the East Coast in a double-decker bus to play a series of concerts in several states and in Carnegie Hall as part of the New York Wind Band Festival.  “I am very excited to perform this evening and share our music with these outstanding high school students and the community,” said principal trumpeter Jamie Wozniak, warming up in the hotel as he prepared for a performance at Valparaiso High School in Indiana.

Jamie Wozniak, trumpeter with the UW WInd Ensemble. Photos by Steve Carmichael.
Jamie Wozniak, trumpeter with the UW WInd Ensemble. Photos by Steve Carmichael.
STUDENT CONCERTS AND RECITALS

Recitals: We encourage our students to list their recitals on our concert calendar: search “recital” in the upper right side spotlight box to find them. All are free and open to the public.

Coffee Houses: Many students also perform in coffee houses across Madison. The Jason Kutz Quintet plays at Ancora Coffee (112 King Street) each week in March – Friday 3/13, Friday 3/20, and Thursday 3/26. This group features Eric Siereveld (trumpet), Jeff Williams (bass), Ed Dewey (trombone), Nat Schwartz (drums), and Jason Kutz (piano).

The Hunt Quartet, a graduate string quartet funded by the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the School of Music, will perform on Thursday, March 26, at 6:30PM in Morphy Hall. The Hunt Quartet regularly plays music for elementary children in the public schools as part of the Up Close & Musical! program of the Madison Symphony Orchestra.  Click here for info; full program will be posted soon!

FACULTY MUSICIANS IN CONCERT

Trombonist Mark Hetzler and his group Sinister Resonance debut their newest CD at the High Noon Saloon, Monday, March 16, 8:30 PM. This recording features original compositions by Mark Hetzler and Todd Hammes, as well as arrangements of rock, classical and experimental electro-acoustic styles. Click here to learn more.

Flutist Stephanie Jutt presents “Flautistico!” at the Overture Center’s Promenade Hall, Friday, March 20, 8 PM.  A one-time-only performance including flute plus piano, voice, clarinet, three tango dancers, and beautiful visual installation and film. Click to learn more and buy tickets.

Mike Anderson
(Who’s that sneaky guy behind the camera?)
That would be Mike Anderson, who’s been shooting our students and faculty for two years. If you find yourself on Langdon Street this spring, step inside the Lowell Center to view his brand-new exhibit of School of Music photos.
HELPFUL LINKS

Main Website

Concert Calendar

Ticketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Percussion Ensemble Celebrates 50 Years; UW Rallies to Help Stricken Student; Opera to Stage Magic Flute; Photo Gallery

 UW-MADISON PERCUSSION PROGRAM CELEBRATES 50 YEARS WITH A MARCH 20 CONCERT AND TRIP TO CHINA

“Fifty years is not a long time in the world of classical music, but it’s a very long time in the world of formal percussion studies. In the 1960s and before, the very notion of teaching percussion beyond the basic orchestral instruments caused music educators to simply shake their heads in disbelief.” So what happened? Read the full story on our main website here.


The University of Wisconsin Madison World Percussion Ensemble performs the Olodum classic A Visa La (May 2013). The arrangement was created by Nininho and A. Di Sanza.

Concert: March 20, 8 PM Mills Hall. Tickets sold at the Memorial Union Box office and in Mills on day of show. Adults $10, all-age students free. http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/location.html

HEAR THE MUSIC OF BRITISH COMPOSER CECILIA McDOWALL AND MEET THE COMPOSER, TOO

Heard any new choral music lately? You’ll get your chance this week when Cecilia McDowall, winner of the 2014 British Composer Award for her choral work, Night Flight, comes to Madison.

Please note: On Wednesday the 18th at noon, McDowall will be featured live on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Midday show with host Norman Gilliland (88.7 FM). On Thursday on WORT Radio (89.9 FM), host Rich Samuels plans a half-hour special on McDowall that he pre-recorded with organizer John Aley. At 7:15 AM.

Cecilia McDowall
Cecilia McDowall

Thursday, noon, Mills Hall: Colloquium with the composer. How does she impart those whispery Antarctic sounds into her music? Come to ask and find out how!

Friday, 8 PM, Mills Hall: We’ll feast on McDowall’s choral and instrumental music for ensembles and soloists, including her work about the ill-fated expedition of polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott. Selected faculty and student performers will include pianist Christopher Taylor, tenor James Doing, the UW Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers, and mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Hagedorn.  Mike Duvernois of UW-Madison’s IceCube Antarctic research project will update us on the state of polar research today (hint: they don’t need sled dogs anymore). Tickets sold at the Memorial Union Box office and in Mills on day of show. Adults $20, all-age students free. http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/location.html

Saturday, 8 PM, Mills Hall: A concert devoted to smaller ensembles, including a trio with violinist Eleanor Bartsch, cellist Kyle Price, and pianist SeungWha Baek. They’ll perform “The Colour of Blossoms,” a meditation by McDowall after a 13th century Japanese story. Free concert. Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/cecilia-mcdowall/colour-of-blossoms

Sunday, 9:15 and 10:30 AM, Luther Memorial Church, 1021 University Avenue. Forum (9:15) and Church Service (10:30) featuring McDowall’s music, with the composer present.

WINNERS OF SHAIN WOODWIND-PIANO DUO COMPETITION ANNOUNCED

Our 2015 winners are Kai-Ju Ho, clarinet and SeungWha Baek, piano, and Iva Ugrcic, flute and Thomas Kasdorf, piano. Pedro Garcia, clarinet and Chan Mi Jean, piano, received honorable mention.

The competition is sponsored by former UW-Madison Chancellor Irving Shain. The winners will perform this Sunday, Feb. 22, at 3:30 PM in Morphy Hall. A reception will follow.

BENEFIT FOR STRICKEN TROMBONIST BRITTANY SPERBERG: MARCH 18


The Dairyland Jazz Band, with Sperberg on trombone, plays Ory’s Creole Trombone.

Undergraduate trombonist Brittany Sperberg, who performed in the UW’s Dairyland Jazz Band and many other ensembles, is now having serious medical problems and has withdrawn from school. Sperberg was featured in this blog in the fall of 2013.  Her teacher, trombonist Mark Hetzler, has organized a benefit concert on Wednesday, March 18, 7:30 PM to raise donations to assist her family with unmet expenses. Please join us to help wish Brittany a speedy recovery!  Donations may also be made at YouCaring.org. Learn much more at our website: http://www.music.wisc.edu/2015/02/07/sperberg_benefit/

STELLAR SINGING EXPECTED AT UNIVERSITY OPERA’S NEXT SHOW: MOZART’S THE MAGIC FLUTE
On Oct. 14, 2011, costume designers Sydney Krieger (right) and Hyewon Park (left) work on the fit of a costume worn by University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate Caitlin Miller (center) for the upcoming UW Opera performance of "La Boheme." Also pictured is undergraduate Katherine Peck (center left). (Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison)
In 2011, UW costume designers Sydney Krieger (right) and Hyewon Park (left) worked on a costume for La Boheme. Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison.

University costumers are already busy sewing Victorian bustle skirts and the classic South Asian attire known as the shalwar kameez for next month’s University Opera production of The Magic Flute.  It’s all a product of visiting opera director David Ronis‘s imagined East-west setting for the show. Read the complete news release on our website.

New this spring: four performances, not just three, allowing for even double casting of all lead roles. The show dates are Friday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 14, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 15, 3:00 p.m.; and Tuesday, March 17, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets sold at the Memorial Union Box office. Adults $22, seniors $18, $10 UW-Madison students. http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/location.html

PRICELESS MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPT NOW ACCESSIBLE AFTER A LAPSE OF 800 YEARS

For the first time in history, a formerly inaccessible manuscript of the medieval composer Guillaume de Machaut will become widely available for study, thanks to a new hardbound facsimile version just released by the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music (DIAMM) in Oxford, England. The publication of The Ferrell-Vogüé Machaut Manuscript, one of six such illuminated manuscripts and long unavailable to scholars, renders complete the source material for the 14th Century French composer many consider to be the greatest musical and poetic influence of his day, according to Lawrence Earp, professor of musicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music and the world’s foremost scholar of Machaut’s manuscripts. Read the complete story on our website. 

WEB_179r-Darius-Daniel-Daniels-accusers-fed-to-lions-495x400

 

SCHOOL OF MUSIC PHOTO EXHIBIT STARTS MARCH 1, LOWELL CENTER

Our friendly helpful photographer Mike Anderson has enlarged and framed about 25 images of student musicians to be placed on display in the Lowell Center Gallery, 610 Langdon Street. The exhibit runs from March 1 to April 30, and there will be a small reception on March 8. Read more here.

Below are a few of Mike’s images taken at our concerto winners concert (“Symphony Showcase”) that was held on February 8. (More information here.) Please check back this fall for our next winners recital date, and join us; it is always a joyous event!

HELPFUL LINKS

Main Website

Concert Calendar

Ticketing

New Building Named for Hamels; Concerto Winners Solo Feb. 8; Christopher Taylor Recital; Did you know…

HappyNewYear2015

To Friends of the School of Music,

We thank you so much for all your support and enthusiasm in 2014 and look forward to 2015 — a year that will include a major groundbreaking for a new music hall! We hope you are just as excited as we, and that you will join us this spring for one of our many inspiring concerts.

 

NEW MUSIC BUILDING NAMED AFTER PAM AND GEORGE HAMEL

In early December,  UW-Madison announced that the new music performance center at the corner of Lake Street and University Avenue will be named in honor of Pamela Hamel and her husband, UW-Madison alumnus George Hamel (BA’80, Communication Arts). Pamela is a member of the School’s Board of Visitors. Read the full story here.

We thank the Hamels for their generosity! If you would like to join them with a gift of your own, you may do so at this website.

 

 

MEET JOHN WUNDERLIN: BACK IN SCHOOL AT 50

At the School of Music’s “Horn Choir” concert at the Chazen Museum of Art last month, one could easily discern John Wunderlin from the swarm of horn players on the stage.

John Wunderlin. Photo by Katherine Esposito.
John Wunderlin. Photo by Katherine Esposito.

He was the only one with gray hair.

Last fall, business owner Wunderlin, 50, returned for a master’s degree in horn, studying with Daniel Grabois, assistant professor of horn. We asked John to tell us what inspired him to study music after all these years. Read the interview here.

CONCERTO COMPETITION WINNERS IN CONCERT WITH UW SYMPHONY: FEB. 8

Five talented students are winners of our annual Concerto Competition and will perform with the UW Symphony Orchestra in our “Symphony Showcase” concert, Sunday, Feb. 8, in Mills Hall. The concert will begin at 7 pm and will conclude with a free reception. We hope you will join us for what is always a joyous and unique event! Tickets for adults are $10.00 and will be available at the door or in advance at the Union Theater Box Office. Students are free. Ticket info here.

L-R: Keisuke Yamamoto; Anna Whiteway; Ivana Ugrcic; and Jason Kutz.  Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.
L-R: Keisuke Yamamoto; Anna Whiteway; Ivana Ugrcic; and Jason Kutz. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

Our winners and the works they will perform are:

Jason Kutz, piano, a master’s candidate studying with collaborative pianist Martha Fischer. Kutz, who also performs and composes jazz music, is a native of Kiel, Wisconsin, and studied recording technology and piano at UW-Oshkosh. He will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43.

Ivana Ugrcic, flute, a doctoral student and Collins Fellow studying with flutist Stephanie Jutt. A native of Serbia,  Ugrcic has performed as a soloist and chamber musician all over Europe, and received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from University of Belgrade School of Music. She will perform Francois Borne’s  Fantasie Brillante (on Themes from Bizet’s Carmen).

Keisuke Yamamoto, violin, an undergraduate student of Pro Arte violinist David Perry, earning a double degree in music performance and microbiology. Keisuke, born in Japan but raised in Madison, received a tuition remission scholarship through UW-Madison’s Summer Music Clinic, and also won honors in Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Bolz Competition, among others. He will perform Ernest Chausson’s Poème Op. 25.

Anna Whiteway, an undergraduate voice student, studying with Elizabeth Hagedorn, visiting professor of voice. Whiteway is a recipient of a Stamps Family Charitable Foundation scholarship as well as the Harker Scholarship for opera. Whiteway, who was praised in 2013 for her singing in University Opera’s production of Ariodante, will star in the Magic Flute this spring. For this night’s performance, she will sing Charles Gounod’s Je veux vivre (Juliette’s Aria).

Our composition winner this year is graduate student Adam Betz, a Two Rivers native who wrote a work titled Obscuration. Betz received his undergraduate degree from UW-Oshkosh, where he was named Outstanding Senior Composer. He also holds a master’s degree from Butler University in Indianapolis.

CATCH CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR IN HIS ONLY SOLO MADISON APPEARANCE- JAN. 23

Pianist Christopher Taylor will take the Mills stage on Friday, January 23, 8 pm, in his only solo Madison appearance this year. He will perform Johannes Brahms’ Sonata no. 3 in f minor, op. 5; William Bolcom’s Twelve Etudes; and Beethoven’s Symphony #6 as arranged by Franz Liszt. Tickets for adults are $10.00 and will be available at the door or in advance at the Union Theater Box Office. Students are free. Ticket info here.

Last November, Taylor performed Bach’s Goldberg Variations at New York’s Metropolitan Museum on their historic double-keyboard Bösendorfer piano designed by Emáuel Moór. In Madison, Taylor not only performs and tours with the world’s only Steinway double-keyboard piano (owned by UW, and also designed by Moór) but holds a patent on a third double-keyboard piano, this one with electronic components.

The Wall Street Journal published a story about Taylor and the Met Museum’s unique piano. Read it here.

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: A SECOND “SCHUBERTIADE” WITH FISCHER & LUTES- JAN. 30

The Music of Franz Schubert
Our first Schubertiade, January 2014. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

 

A Schubertiade is an intimate “house concert” featuring the songs (known as “lieder”) and chamber music of Franz Schubert. In the 19th century, Schubertiades became a popular form of informal entertainment among his friends and aficionados of his music, frequently with drink and food, and often with Schubert himself at the center. Nowadays, Schubertiades are often much larger multi-day affairs held in swank European locations.

Our Schubertiade, the brainchild of UW-Madison collaborative pianist Martha Fischer, will be presented on the Mills Hall stage festooned with chairs, rugs, and lamps. Join us! Friday, January 30, 8 pm, Mills Hall. Tickets for adults are $10.00 and will be available at the door or in advance at the Union Theater Box Office. Students are free. Ticket info here.

Performers will include Fischer; her husband, pianist Bill Lutes; her brother, cellist Norman Fischer of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music; singers Jennifer D’Agostino, Cheryl Bensman Rowe, Daniel O’Dea, Joshua Sanders, Michael Roemer and Paul Rowe; and violinist Leslie Shank. The program will include songs set to the poems of Friedrich Schiller, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Mayrhofer, and will be capped by two Polonaises for piano duet, played by Fischer and Lutes.

Read a review of last year’s Schubertiade on the local blog, The Well-Tempered Ear.

GRADUATE COMPOSITION STUDENT WINS FIRST PRIZE IN COMPETITION

Congratulations to Sin Young Park, whose composition “Three Preludes for Piano” was recently selected as the winner of the 2015 Delta Omicron Triennial Composition Competition.  Read more here.

GRADUATE FLUTIST ADVANCES TO FINAL ROUND OF ASTRAL ARTISTS COMPETITION

Mi Li Chang. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.
Mi Li Chang. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

2014 concerto competition winner Mi Li Chang has advanced to the final round of the national Astral Artists Competition and will play in the final round on January 8 in Philadelphia. The mission of Astral Artists, which was founded in 1992, is to “discover the most promising classical musicians residing in the United States, assist their early professional career development, and present their world-class artistry to the community through concerts and engagement programs.” Congratulations and best wishes, Mi Li!

Click here for Alumni News:  Scott Gendel

FACULTY TROMBONIST WINS $30,000 CREATIVE ARTS AWARD

And congratulations to Mark Hetzler, 2015 winner of the $30,000 UW-Madison Arts Institute Creative Arts Award, which recognizes and honors extraordinary artistic projects and endeavors of the highest quality carried out by tenured members of the UW-Madison arts faculty in the areas of Art, Communication Arts, Creative Writing, Dance, Environment, Textile and Design, Music Composition and Performance, and Theater and Drama.

DID YOU KNOW…that our new website has a page devoted just to PARKING?

We created a page just to make it a bit easier to visit the SOM. In a nutshell: Weekday parking is not free, but evening and weekend parking sometimes IS free and not that far away. It’s complicated, however, so your best bet is to click here and read!

(Editor’s note: For over six or seven years, the editor routinely visited the School of Music by car, attending concerts and WYSO rehearsals. She always paid for parking, but recently did some digging and learned that UW-Madison actually offers free parking at nights and on weekends. After realizing this, she sighed deeply at the thought of how much money she could have saved had she known…. but now she offers the same information to all our loyal readers as a reward for reading to the end of this newsletter post.)

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

This fall, our alumni percussion ensemble Clocks in Motion put its own spin on a famous holiday tune while demonstrating the [somewhat variable] dance skills of its members. Thanks for the laugh, Clocks!

 

 

HELPFUL LINKS

Main Website

Concert Calendar

Ticketing

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

UW-Madison alumnus studied with UW’s John Stevens and Northwestern’s Rex Martin

The UW-Madison School of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of Appleton native Tom Curry as Visiting Assistant Professor of Tuba, replacing Professor of Tuba John Stevens who will retire this spring after 29 years in the position.

Tom Curry
Tom Curry

Curry, a former student of John Stevens’, graduated from UW-Madison in 2009 with a degree in music performance and communication arts and was on the Dean’s List for eight semesters with a 4.00 GPA. He subsequently earned a master’s degree in music performance and literature from Northwestern University, studying with Rex Martin, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in music performance there. He is principal tubist of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra and the Evanston Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Joffrey Ballet, the Chicago Philharmonic, the Ars Viva Symphony, and many other orchestras.

Curry maintains a large studio of private low brass students at several Chicago-area high schools and also teaches supplemental tuba and euphonium lessons and master classes at Northwestern. He has served as a low brass instructor at the University of Wisconsin Summer Music Clinic and as a guest tuba and euphonium instructor at Lawrence University.

In addition to teaching the Tuba/Euphonium Studio, Curry will play in the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, a position he also held during his final semester at UW while John Stevens was on sabbatical.

Tom Curry
Tom Curry

In Chicago, Curry has regularly appeared with several local and national rock and popular acts, including performances with the Grammy-nominated group Foster the People and the local band, Mucca Pazza.

“We’re ecstatic,” says Mark Hetzler, professor of trombone. “There’s an energy about Tom which comes across in how he teaches and plays. And he understands the style of teaching here: the faculty connection with students is extremely important. He’s going to continue that tradition.”

“It’s quite an honor to come back to a place that had such a formative influence on me,” Curry says. “To be in that environment is an incredible opportunity.”

For more information, please contact Mark Hetzler, hetzler@wisc.edu, 608-628-5026.

Faculty and alumni concerts send the semester out in style

The semester is winding down: we’ve got snow on the ground, there’s a nip in the air, and students are stocking up on cans of Red Bull and 5-Hour energy shots. (Not something we recommend, but we acknowledge.) But before we say farewell to the fall concert season, we’d like to  suggest a couple more that might be a nice alternative to usual holiday fare. Both are bold, brassy, sometimes even cacophonous, and altogether exciting.

The first is the School of Music’s resident percussion ensemble, Clocks in Motion, which concludes its fall season this Friday, December 13 with two world premieres at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St. (7:30 pm, tickets $15/$10 students). On the program:  the Percussion Duo, a brand-new work composed by UW SOM alumnus Tom Lang (who now lives in Minneapolis as a professional composer), written for piano and one percussionist playing a stacked keyboard setup of marimba with vibraphone.  “The music really treats the piano as a percussion instrument,” says percussionist Sean Kleve, a founder of Clocks in Motion. “Piercing attacked notes in extreme registers of the piano punctuate silence throughout the music. The first and last movement of this three movement piece are quite rhythmically complex and it challenges the two performers to line up unison attacks exactly together.”

The second premiere will be Allhallows, a major work in three movements for five performers composed by John Jeffrey Gibbens. According to Gibbens, the title “is an archaic synonym for the feast of All Saints on November 1, and evokes associations with the onset of winter in Wisconsin, including the commercial holiday of Halloween, the beginning of the new year in the Celtic calendar, the liturgical function of All Saints, elections, and Armistice, now Veterans’ Day. These occasions address our sense of the closeness of uncanny events to everyday life.” Clocks in Motion premiered the first movement of Allhallows in September 2012 and will now premiere the rest of the piece on this upcoming concert.

Their closer will be Iannis Xenakis’ surround sound percussion sextet, Persephassa (1969).  “This is an unbelievable experience for audience and performers alike. As one of the foundational pieces in the percussion repertoire, Persephassa is just as shocking now as it was the day it was written,” says Kleve.

The Isthmus Brass
Decked out for the season: The Isthmus Brass

Next on our Christmas list is Isthmus Brass, an ensemble formed in 2009 under the direction of renowned tuba professor John Stevens (who retires in May but will continue to conduct this ensemble). The group, comprised of a who’s who from the UW brass faculty and alumni, includes professors of trumpet and trombone John Aley and Mark Hetzler, plus Dave Cooper (DMA), trumpet, Jon Schipper (BM), trumpet, Ricardo Ameida (BM), horn, Dylan Chmura-Moore (DMA), trombone, Mike Forbes (MM), tuba, Keith Lienert (DMA in progress), percussion, as well as Doug Lindsey (trumpet), Mike Dugan and Mark Hoelscher (trombone).

Next Tuesday, Dec. 17, the group will perform a benefit of holiday tunes for Porchlight, a charity for the homeless, at the First United Methodist Church, 203 West Wisconsin Ave., at 7:30 pm. The concert is free but donations to support the Porchlight mission are appreciated.

Hear the Brass on their newly released CD, “An Isthmus Brass Christmas,” now available at Amazon and other music outlets.

Young trombonist finds community–and inspiration–at the UW-Madison School of Music

Hot on the heels of “Trombone Week” in Madison, which featured three famous trombonists performing in town (Trombone Shorty, Papo Vazquez and our own alum Chris Washburne), we now offer a story about a trombonist at the other end of the career spectrum: Brittany Sperberg, a junior from Shawano. Brittany is a recipient of several School of Music scholarships and has put them to good use, having formed her own Dixieland band which has played several concerts in Madison and around the state. She’s also played with the UW Jazz Orchestra (directed by Prof. Johannes Wallmann), the UW Wind Ensemble (directed by Prof. Scott Teeple), the Trombone Choir (directed by Prof. Mark Hetzler), among others.

Brittany Sperberg
Brittany Sperberg.
Photograph by Tori Rogers.

We asked Brittany to describe her time in Madison, and how scholarships have benefited her education.

“My name is Brittany Sperberg and I am a junior music education major.  One of the things that always inspired and guided my education has been my sense of community.  I am from Shawano, Wisconsin, which is a fairly small town and farming community near Green Bay.  In fact, one of my favorite things to do when I go home is to sit outside my house with a view of my barn and vast numbers of trees, and practice trombone. (Sometimes my grandma even sits in her house which is a farmer’s field apart from mine to listen!)   Because I have been so used to having a supportive and small community encouraging my entire grade school music experience, I knew that when I made the jump to college that it was important to go somewhere where I could recreate that atmosphere.  I truly feel that I have found this family here at UW-Madison!

IMG_3407_3
The Dairyland Jazz Band. Travis Worth, banjo; Jacob Bicknase, washboard; Gavin Garrett, sousaphone; Brittany Sperberg, trombone; Jacob Riederer, trumpet; and Alex Charland, clarinet.
Photograph by Erika Anderson. Missing: Pat Doty, piano.

“The thing that I am most proud of during my time so far at Madison is making my own Dixieland band, The Dairyland Jazz Band.  The Dairyland Jazz Band was created last semester in part of an independent study I did with my trombone professor, Mark Hetzler, as a way for me to learn more about jazz outside of my involvement with the UW Jazz Orchestra.  The independent study required me to write a research paper, put on a Dixieland recital, and present a lecture to my trombone studio.  I was incredibly lucky to find the six musicians that I did to play with me.  I have learned and been inspired by their incomparable talent, professionalism, and enthusiasm.  Leading and playing in this band has been nothing but a fun and challenging experience. Our recital last April was a huge hit and Morphy was nearly filled!  We also played at a cabaret at the bar  “Plan B” on Williamson Street, where we opened for some singer-dancers from the touring group of Mary Poppins. Because we all love working with each other and playing this kind of music, we have since stayed together. Besides myself, the members of my band  include Travis Worth, banjo; Pat Doty, piano; Gavin Garrett, sousaphone; Alex Charland,  clarinet; Jacob Bicknasse, washboard; and Jacob Riederer, trumpet.  Creating this band has taught me to become a better musician and strengthen my leadership and organizational skills.

“In September, my band traveled to Shawano to play two shows in two days.  Our first show was a concert that my former boss hosted at her reception hall, “The Gathering.” The concert went really well and we had nearly 90 people there to simply listen to our music–impressive for a small town!  I was really happy to have such a great turnout because I had been in charge of all the planning of the event from ticket sales, making posters, putting them up, finding repertoire, rehearsing the band, and playing myself.  The next day, my band played at my church’s annual Church in the Barn, which we host in my family’s barn.  Because this type of live music is not often heard there, some people were so strongly affected by the music that they had tears in their eyes.  One person even sent a letter to the Shawano newspaper about our gig and the personal connection he felt with the music.  Recently, the band also played at the Collage Concert.

“Last year I played trombone in the pit for “Space Voyage: The Musical Frontier” (a musical written and directed by School of Music students Nicholas Connors) and can be heard in the album that will be released soon!  I have also played in the touring group, Kids From Wisconsin, for the past two summers.  This group was an amazing opportunity and gave me the chance to perform for audiences as big as 4,000 people!  I also have been a guest college clinician at the Shawano Jazz Festival where this will be my third year performing with such musicians as Wayne Bergeron, Eric Marienthal, and Gordon Goodwin.  My current involvement includes: UWJO (3 years), Wind Ensemble (2 years), Trombone Choir (3 years), substitute trombonist with the Ladies Must Swing (3 years), Dairyland Jazz Band (1 year), and Brass Quintet (1 year), among others.

“I have received various scholarships from the School of Music and the awards ceremony.  At the 2012 awards convocation, I was awarded the Jeanette Ginzl Scholarship . In 2013, I received the Edda Valborg Ofstie Scholarship, Raymond F. Dvorak Music Education Award, and Full Compass Foundation Scholarship. I also receive another scholarship through the School of Music.   I have been truly, truly blessed to have such positive support and encouragement from my school.  If it were not for these scholarships, I am not sure I would have been able to stay at UW-Madison. These scholarships have not only helped me financially, but have also served as a tool to encourage me to follow my musical aspirations.  I am touched by the generosity others have shown me and want to impact others through my music, just as others have influenced me.

“My college experience has been incredible.  I have an endless amount of appreciation and respect for my studio professor, Mark Hetzler.  I think what is so amazing about the School of Music is that we have some of the best teachers and resources.  Professor Hetzler has been an incredible mentor and I am inspired by his dedication and creativity as a performer and teacher.  I really get excited about my lessons every week, and it is great that Professor Hetzler encourages me to explore a variety of genres and musical outlets in my studies with him.  Also, how many people can say that their studio teacher has his or her own metal band, “Sinister Resonance”?  Any prospective students should know how lucky they would be to study under the teachers found here at UW-Madison!

“I am not sure what the future holds for me, but I am excited to see the directions that music will continue to take me!   I would love to go to grad school and get my masters in trombone performance.  After that, I would like to have a career as both a music educator and performer, as I am very passionate about both aspects of music.”

We hope Brittany’s story will inspire others to contribute to scholarships at the UW-MadisonSchool of Music. Click the link to donate!

STW_email_ad_600x100

Seeking an open culture, New York trombonist Chris Washburne found it in Madison

Why did Columbia University jazz trombonist and professor Chris Washburne, here November 15 and 16 to perform with the UW Jazz Orchestra,  choose UW-Madison for his undergraduate education?

Chris Washburne.
Chris Washburne.

He was originally from the small town of Bath, Ohio (pop. 9,635), so it wasn’t because he called Madison home.

He didn’t know any students here.

He wasn’t offered a scholarship.

He attended UW-Madison because he could see it was a place that would allow him to grow. “I was looking for a school of music where I could expand my horizons,” Chris (BM 1986) said in a telephone interview last summer. “Madison had a good philosophy department, a good forestry department. The campus was beautiful, close to farmland and natural spaces. It was also real funky.”

“It didn’t hurt that the day I visited with my mother, there was a huge rally on the mall with a killer reggae band,” he added, chuckling.

That enterprising quality was also evident in the School of Music, where he found faculty who didn’t try to limit his pursuits to strictly classical or strictly jazz.  “Most music programs have a divide: you’re either jazz or you’re ‘legit.’ But (professor of bass) Richard Davis and (professor of composition and saxophone) Les Thimmig helped me. they said you can do both — just go for it.”

Such cross-training proved to be quite valuable. When he was needed for orchestra–as with the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, where he served as principal trombone for a time–he was able to read music with the best of them. But when Bjork called to ask him to play on her soundtrack, he was able to do that, too. And he got a paycheck for both.

“Not many people can do both on the same level. But if you can, you’ll get twice as many employment possibilities,” he added.

Next week at several events, Chris will offer a smorgasbord of ideas about artistry, improvisation, and careers, as well as perform with the UW Jazz Orchestra. Here’s the schedule: On Friday, Nov. 15, Chris will be available to talk to students about careers as part of an informal Arts Enterprise Initiative event from 3 to 4 pm at Coffee Bytes, 799 University Avenue, in University Square. That evening, from 6 to 9 pm, he’ll rehearse in Music Hall with the UW Jazz Orchestra. On Saturday, Nov. 16, he’ll head up a master class on Latin Jazz and Salsa from 1 to 3 pm in Morphy Hall, in the Humanities Building. That evening, Nov. 16, he’ll perform with the UW Jazz Orchestra and the Jazz Composers’ Septet, directed by professors Johannes Wallmann and Les Thimmig.

In 2008, Washburne delved into the history of salsa music in New York City to write “Sounding Salsa,” published by Temple University Press, “a pioneering study that offers detailed accounts of these musicians grappling with intercultural tensions and commercial pressures.” It was that book that brought him to Madison, said Mark Hetzler, trombone professor at the School of Music. “I offered an independent study course on Latin jazz and Salsa last year for one of my outstanding undergrad students, Ty Psterson,” Mark said in an email.  “We read Chris’s book, ‘Sounding Salsa’ as part of the course and I was hooked.”

“Chris has a wealth of knowledge and experience with one of the most energized forms of music ever,” Mark continued. “I wanted to get him here to Madison to hear his artistry in person. I’m very excited to see what expertise and inspiration he’ll bring to our students.”

Chris’s visit is sponsored by the university’s Vilas Trust. The events are free and open to the public.

Chris agreed to answer a few questions about his life and work. Here are his answers, and we hope to see you on Nov. 15 and 16!

I watched “The Inclusion Show” and heard you talk about growing up in Ohio, down the street from Chrissie Hynde. That’s pretty amazing. How did all those rock and rollers end up in Ohio? What’s the likelihood of that?

“Not really sure, must have been the water!  It is quite striking though, and there is a reason why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland.  When I was growing up, it seemed like every other house on my block had a garage band.  In fact, the first band I ever played in was a Led Zeppelin cover band, although it was a bit difficult to sound like Jimmy Paige on the trombone.  I’m still trying to sound like him today.”

You got into the trombone by accident. Please tell that story.

“When I was in 5th grade, I wanted to play the trumpet, because it was shiny and played high notes. There was a night at the local high school where you could go try out all the band instruments and rent them, and I immediately went to the table with the trumpet on it.  I tried to play, and no sound came out.  My mother asked me skeptically, ‘Do you still want to play trumpet?,’ and I said yes.  But she insisted that I try at least one other instrument before we left.  The trombone happened to be on the table next to the trumpet.  When I blew into it, a sound came out.  So the trombone picked me, I didn’t pick it.  I still have ambivalent feelings about that experience.” 

You got into salsa in grad school, so Madison didn’t do much for you there. What did you get from UW-Madison?

“What I got from UW-Madison was an open mind to all musical styles.  I was immediately able to start studying not only with (retired UW trombone professor) Bill Richardson, but also Richard Davis and Les Thimmig, and none of them ever told me that I had to make a choice between musical styles.  They allowed me to experiment and do exactly what I wanted to do, and that was truly a gift, because when I moved to NY, my dream was to become a studio musician, and the one thing you need to be able to do as a studio musician in NY is play all kinds of music.  That’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last 25 years.  I have been the principal trombone player for the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, a recording orchestra that has made over 50 Classical CD’s, played in jazz groups, recorded for pop bands, hip-hop bands, and all sorts of world music ensembles.  UW-Madison made that possible.”

You got your first salsa gig by accident. It must have taken guts to take on a gig in a genre you weren’t familiar with. Can you talk about that?

“I was practicing late one night at New England Conservatory and there was a knock on the door.  It was a trombonist I barely knew who said he desperately needed a sub that night.  When you’re in college, it doesn’t take guts to accept a gig; a gig is a gig and you accept it.  And as he was walking away, I asked, ‘What kind of music is it?’  He said ‘salsa.’  I said, ‘What’s that?’ He said, ‘Just play loud, and they’re going to love you,’ so that’s what I did.  I guess they did love me because I started working with them regularly.  I didn’t steal his gig, though – he ended up quitting the band and joining another one.”

Your first two records: Eddie Palmieri with Barry Rogers from Brooklyn, playing trombone. Was he your icon? What did you learn from him?

“Barry Rogers transformed Latin trombone playing by combining bluesy, gutbucket style playing with the sharp rhythms of Latin music.  Being someone from outside of Latino culture, he really forged the path for others of us to enter into Latin music and make real contributions.  Like me, his background was jazz, blues and rock, and he was able to fit that aesthetic into Latin music.  I was taken by the fact that he was able to lead an entire Latin band with his trombone sound.  He played the lead guitar role in those bands.  And that’s what I wanted to do.”

Richard Davis was recently chosen as a “jazz master” by the National Endowment for the Arts. Your thoughts about Prof. Davis?

“Richard Davis was a true gift to my musical education, and he has touched so many students at UW.  I was delighted when he won the most prestigious award any jazz musician can receive.  Well deserved.”

How important are improvisational skills to a musician? How do you train that?

“The best improvisers in the entire world are two-year-olds.  Improvisation is one of the most fundamental survival skills that all humans possess.  It is through our educational system that those natural abilities become squelched and unused, or taken advantage of.  I view my job as a music educator to try to tap into my students’ innate abilities and refine them, no matter what kind of music they play.  Sure, jazz uses improvisation a bit more than classical music does, but in performance classical musicians must be flexible and adaptable, and make micro-improvisational choices.  These skills are essential for a successful performing career. The teaching process involves a lot of un-learning and correcting the damage that’s been done in prior educational settings, allowing students to explore their improvisational potential.”

Chris Washburne and his band, SYOTOS.
Chris Washburne and his band, SYOTOS.

Your band “Syotos” means “see you on the other side.” What an amazing story. You made it back from a potentially devastating surgery. That’s crazy difficult. Congratulations to you, and tell us a bit about how you managed to recover.

“Six months post-surgery, I decided that I could not accept never playing trombone again, because it was such an essential part of my self-identity.  So I called my surgeon and told him I was going to try to play.  He told me that he didn’t think it was possible because he had removed all the nerves and muscles from one side of my face.  I told him that I didn’t care, that I was going to try.  On my first day, I played for about one minute and could play one of the lowest notes on the horn, and that was it.  I thought if I could play one note today in one minute, I could play two notes tomorrow for two minutes.  And that’s what I did.  Six months later, I played my first gig back from surgery, retraining myself how to play on one side of my face.  The muscles started to grow back, but the nerves don’t regenerate, so I can’t play by feel, I play by sound.  The human body is very resilient, and we need to remind ourselves how adaptable and strong we really are, because we can get through just about anything.”

STW_email_ad_600x100