Tag Archives: New Music

“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
http://www.music.wisc.edu/

“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

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 join-somnews@lists.wisc.edu or directly at this blog. You can also follow us on our very active Facebook page and hear our music on our SoundCloud page.

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A musical thank-you to the Mead Witter Foundation; Shain Woodwind-Piano Duo Winners Announced; New Music Premieres & Papers at Musicology Consortium: “Jewish Archive” Project Continues Worldwide

News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music
University of Wisconsin-Madison
March 8, 2017

Faculty Ensembles combine with Lincoln High students for a memorable concert

On February 9, two School of Music faculty ensembles – the Wisconsin Brass Quintet and the Wingra Wind Quintet – traveled to Wisconsin Rapids, the home of the Mead Witter Foundation, for a special concert to thank them for their support of the school of music. The two ensembles, plus the Wind Ensemble from Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, performed a side-by-side concert at the Performing Arts Center of Wisconsin Rapids after the students were coached by ensemble faculty and UW-Madison conductor Scott Teeple.

Afterwards, music engagement and outreach coordinator Beth Larson received this note from Jeanne Olson, director of bands at Lincoln High School: “Thank you so much for all of the time you spent organizing that event, my students loved it and learned so much! I had them write a reflection this week, and they were very positive and many listed countless things that they learned from the professors sitting in with them and then working with the small groups!! It was a very successful event!”
Photographs by Beth Larson.

Irving Shain Woodwind-Piano Duo Competition Winners to perform this Saturday

Irving Shain, former chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Photograph by Jeff Miller, university communications.

March 11, 4 PM, Morphy Hall.

This years’ duo winners are Rayna Slavova, piano with Chia-Yu Hsu, bassoon; and Kangwoo Jin, piano, with Eleni Katz, bassoon. The four will perform their winning selections at a free concert this Saturday.  Learn about the winning musicians and download the program.

Meet Yasha Hoffman, Russian Studies and composition double major

Yasha Hoffman.

Yasha Hoffman, a Minnesota native, grew up with parents of Soviet/Russian heritage and as a young child, fell in love with Russian folk songs. “One of my favorite activities was putting on ‘concerts’ for my parents where I’d loudly sing Soviet children’s songs and bang on the piano,” he says. He loves the breadth of opportunity offered by classes at UW-Madison. Read more about Yasha Hoffman.

“Performing the Jewish Archive” project continues worldwide

UW-Madison professor Teri Dobbs in Israel, Jordan, Michigan, and Vienna (upcoming)

This past January, Professor Teri Dobbs, a member of the Performing the Jewish Archive team, spent two weeks in Israel and Jordan. During her time there, she was a guest at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, together with colleagues from UW-Madison’s Mosse-Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies. In addition, she conducted research in the Yad Vashem Archives, met with musicology/music education colleagues to discuss the possibility of future projects within Israel, and met with the family of piano prodigy and composer, Josima Feldschuh (d. 1943).

Teri Dobbs
Professor Teryl Dobbs. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

Professor Dobbs will present several conference papers this coming semester, most of which pertain to her work with Performing the Jewish Archive. Her paper, “Music Education and the Holocaust: So What?” was heard at the New Directions in Music Education Conference: “Musicking Equity: Enacting Social Justice Through Music Education,” Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, February 17. Dobbs has been invited to present more two papers, one in collaboration with soprano and PtJA performer Elizabeth Hagedorn of Vienna, at the 25th European Association for Music in Schools/6th European International Society for Music Education regional conference, JOINT (AD)VENTURE MUSIC: Network as a Challenge for Music Educators, at the University Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria, April 18 – 22, 2017.
Learn more here.

Read about prior Performing the Jewish Archive events in Madison, 2015-2016.


Selected Upcoming Events

Anthony Georgeson. Photograph by Thomas Bruce.

March 12, 7:30 PM, Mills Hall.
UW Symphony with alumnus Anthony Georgeson, bassoon, conducted by James Smith. Georgeson is principal bassoon with The Florida Orchestra in St. Petersburg. Georgeson will play the Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, K. 191.  Other works will include Un Sourire pour Orchestre by Olivier Messiaen and Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.  This is the penultimate opportunity to see longtime conductor James Smith, who will retire this spring after 34 years at UW-Madison. His final appearance as conductor will be on April 9. 

James Smith, orchestra conductor.
James Smith, orchestra conductor.

March 14, 6:30 PM, Morphy Hall.
Emery Stephens, baritone, guest artist recital. Free concert.
Stephens is assistant professor of voice at Wayne State University in Detroit. Prof. Stephens will coach student singers and pianists in African-American songs and spirituals and perform with students in a recital, with Professor Martha Fischer as collaborative pianist.

Emery Stephens

The Midwest Graduate Music Consortium – Presenting Original Research and New Compositions

Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1, Memorial Union and Mead Witter School of Music. Free events.

The Midwest Graduate Music Consortium (MGMC) is a joint venture organized by graduate students from Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. MGMC encourages the presentation of original research and the composition of new music by graduate students around the country. The 21st annual meeting will include paper sessions, a new music concert, and a keynote address. For the new music concert, seven composers’ works were chosen from a nationwide call for scores. The ensemble Sound Out Loud will perform the new works, each a world premiere. All of the composers will be in attendance.
Find the schedule and concert program at this link:
Midwest Graduate Music Consortium

Sound Out Loud

University Opera’s “Turn of the Screw” receives warm reviews

Katie Anderson (Governess) and Anna Polum (Miss Jessel) in ”The Turn of the Screw.” Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

“Much of the overall success of the show begins with decisions by Ronis (and executed by costume designers Sydney Krieger and Hyewon Park) to resist all temptation to make the specters of Quint (former valet of Bly’s master, who is far removed from the action of the story) and former governess Miss Jessel in any way ghoulish. Alec Brown and Anna Polum, in the roles on Friday night, looked fully human—and that’s just fine. The otherworldliness—and palpable evil—that they exude is in the music and the libretto itself,” wrote Greg Hettsmanberger in his blog, What Greg Says.

Doctoral cellist Andrew Briggs performs with Middleton Community Orchestra

At the March 1 concert of the Middleton Community Orchestra, cellist Andrew Briggs played two works by Antonin Dvorak: Silent Woods, Op. 68, No. 5,and Rondo in G minor for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 94. “Briggs played both of these with affectionate sensitivity. Currently finishing his doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, he is an artist with an already expanding reputation and a great future,” wrote reviewer John Barker.

Andrew Briggs

On Monday, March 27, Andrew will perform a lecture/recital on his dissertation project, “Piatti and the Body: An Integrative Approach to Learning and Performing the 12 Caprices, Op. 25.”

Morphy Hall, 6:30 PM. Free.


Our Full Concert Calendar

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.


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

British Choral Composer to visit UW; Wind Ensemble travels to Carnegie; John Stevens trombone premiere; more!

AWARD-WINNING CHORAL COMPOSER TO VISIT UW-MADISON Feb. 19-21

British composer Cecilia McDowall, a recent winner of the British Composer Award for her work, Night Flight, for choir and solo cello, will jump the pond in late February for a three-day residency at the School of Music. The residency–McDowall’s first in the U.S.– will include two concerts, one featuring the U.S. premiere of her work, Seventy Degrees Below Zero, commissioned in 2012 to honor the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott.

McDowallWEB

The classical magazine Gramophone describes McDowall as having “a piquant musical vocabulary, underpinned by moments of pure lyricism.” In 2008, the Phoenix Chorale won a Grammy Award for “Best Small Ensemble Performance” for its Chandos CD, “Spotless Rose: Hymns to the Virgin Mary,” which included a work, Three Latin Motets, by Cecilia McDowall.

Visit our website to learn details of her residency: http://www.music.wisc.edu/cecilia-mcdowall/

Hear her music at this site: https://soundcloud.com/cecilia-mcdowall
Please join us for one or more of our events!

  • COLLOQUIUM Thursday Feb. 19, noon, Mills Hall: Meet the composer! McDowall will describes how she creates music based on real or imagined events. Free.
  • CONCERT Friday Feb. 20, 8PM, Mills Hall: Featuring the U.S. premiere of Seventy Degrees Below Zero. With UW Madrigal Singers and Concert Choir (Bruce Gladstone, conductor) and a faculty/student chamber orchestra conducted by James Smith.  Michael DuVernois of the IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center will offer a slideshow describing the past and the present in polar research.  Free reception to follow!
    Tickets: $20 adults, free for students. Buy online (click link) ; in person at the Memorial Union box office or at the door.
  • CONCERT Saturday, Feb 21, 8 PM, Mills Hall: The Chamber Music of Cecilia McDowall. Free.

Learn much more at our website: http://www.music.wisc.edu/cecilia-mcdowall/

News flash: Our Spring 2015 event brochure is now available in an interactive format! Click this link to view: http://www.music.wisc.edu/flipbook/

UW WIND ENSEMBLE TO PERFORM AT CARNEGIE HALL IN MARCH-Catch their send-off concert on Feb. 24
The UW Wind Ensemble. Photograph by Megan Aley.
The UW Wind Ensemble. Photograph by Megan Aley.

The Wind Ensemble and its conductor, Scott Teeple, plans a trip too, not across the ocean but across half the country: a performance on March 9 at Carnegie Hall. You can hear them perform prior to their New York concert on Feb. 24, a ticketed fundraiser and preview concert,  will include works by Vaughan Williams, Kathryn Salfelder, Percy Grainger, and others. Tickets: $10 adults, free for students. Buy online (click link); in person at the Memorial Union box office or at the door. Read more here.

Many thanks to Lau and Bea Christenson and the UW-Madison School of Music for supporting this trip.

DOCTORAL TROMBONIST COMMISSIONS AND PERFORMS A JOHN STEVENS PREMIERE

How do new classical works get funded these days? Sometimes, it’s the product of “consortia,” a group of universities and orchestras interested in new works. Such is the case with the Kleinhammer Sonata for bass trombone,  named for the former bass trombonist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and newly written by former tuba professor and composer John Stevens. As part of his doctoral dissertation, Alan Carr, a trombonist in the studio of Prof. Mark Hetzler, secured underwriting from UW-Madison and many others, including the Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco and Detroit symphonies and the Metropolitan Opera. The new sonata will be part of a new CD that features works for bass trombone, none previously recorded.  Come hear Carr will perform the new sonata on March 3 in Mills Hall at 7:30 PM, along with pianist Vincent Fuh. Composer John Stevens is expected to attend. Read more here.

ALUMNA SOPRANO EMILY BIRSAN PROFILED IN CLASSICAL SINGER MAGAZINE
Emily Birsan (3)
Emily Birsan

“[UW provided] a small hall and a safe environment,” Emily Birsan says of her experience at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “But that situation really boosted my confidence that I could take on these pretty big leading ladies and make them my own.” Birsan is featured on the front cover of February’s Classical Singer magazine. Read the full article here. 

MUSICOLOGY DISSERTATOR RECEIVES OPERA AWARD

Robert Torre, a PhD candidate in musicology studying with Professor Jeanne Swack, recently received the Leland Fox Scholarly Paper Award from the National Opera Association for his essay “Cultural Translatio and Arne’s Artaxerxes (1762).” The paper is part of a broader project that examines the role of translation in the composition and reception of Italian opera in eighteenth-century London. Robert is currently visiting faculty at Emory University in Atlanta.

HOMAGE TO RAMEAU CONTINUES THIS SPRING

Prof. Charles Dill‘s massive effort to pull together a series of events to commemorate the work of Baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau will continue this spring, with events on Feb. 5 (Chazen Museum); March 11 (Chemistry Building–yes, you read that right);  April 18 (Morphy Hall) and April 17 & 18 (performance of Pygmalion by the Madison Bach Musicians, at the First Unitarian Society Church). Why in Chemistry, you ask? Because chemistry professor Rod Schreiner knows a bit about the principles of string vibration and sound propagation that influenced Rameau. Even today, 250 years after his death, Rameau’s work is considered seminal, so please join us to learn more! Full information can be found here: http://www.music.wisc.edu/rameau/ All events are free.

WISCONSIN BRASS QUINTET COMING TO A TOWN NEAR YOU
The Wisconsin Brass Quintet. L-R: Mark Hetzler; Daniel Grabois; John Aley; Tom Curry; Jessica Jensen. Photograph by Megan Aley.
The Wisconsin Brass Quintet. L-R: Mark Hetzler; Daniel Grabois; John Aley; Tom Curry; Jessica Jensen. Photograph by Megan Aley.

The Wisconsin Brass Quintet will travel around Wisconsin this spring with an all-new program of works written or arranged for brass, including compositions by Cecilia McDowall (who will travel from England in late February for our residency), Malcolm Arnold, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Vladimir Cosma, and William Mathias. Towns will include Ashland, Richland Center, Kohler, and others. Check this website to find more locations and times.

Meanwhile, UW-Madison’s Pro Arte Quartet and the Wingra Woodwind Quartet will also travel this spring to perform, all in keeping with the Wisconsin Idea of outreach to the state. All their outstate concerts can be found on this website:  http://artsoutreach.wisc.edu/index.html

HEAR OUR CONCERTO WINNERS SOLO WITH ORCHESTRA THIS WEEKEND: SUNDAY, FEB. 8: 7 PM, MILLS HALL
L-R: Keisuke Yamamoto; Ivana Ugrcic; Jason Kutz; and Anna Whiteway. Missing: Composition winner Adam Betz. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.
L-R: Keisuke Yamamoto; Ivana Ugrcic; Jason Kutz; and Anna Whiteway. Missing: Composition winner Adam Betz. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.

Grab a spot this Sunday for our annual “Symphony Showcase” concert featuring our concerto competition winners. Tickets are $10.00 for adults, free to students, and include a reception in Mills lobby immediately following. This event is always joyous; we encourage all to attend! Read more here: http://www.music.wisc.edu/events/symphony-showcase/

Buy tickets online (click link) or in person at the Memorial Union box office or at the door.

RONIS AND TEAM WIN PRIZE AT NATIONAL OPERA ASSOCIATION

We congratulate visiting director of opera David Ronis, whose Queens College-CUNY production of “Dialogues of the Carmelites” recently won third place in Division 4 of the 2013-14 National Opera Association’s Production Competition. Ronis and his team have won twice before, in 2009 and 2011.

David Ronis.
David Ronis

 

 

 

 

 

 

With that in mind, you won’t want to miss this spring’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, also directed by Ronis. There will be four shows, one more than the usual number:  March 13 at 7:30pm; March 14 at 7:30pm; March 15 at 3:00pm; and March 17 at 7:30pm. Buy tickets online (click link) or in person at the Memorial Union box office or at the door. More info to come! http://www.music.wisc.edu/opera/

From the Gallery: Scenes from two recent concerts at the School of Music. All photographs by Michael R. Anderson.

HELPFUL LINKS

Main Website

Concert Calendar

Ticketing

Choral Union Features Dvorak’s “Te Deum”; UW Annual Fund Underway; Jazz Fest Highlights High School Partnerships

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.

 

Ingrid Jensen
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

Margaret Winston, a UW-Madison scientist who gave generously to the arts, including the UW-Madison School of Music, finally entered the public eye after the new Madison Opera building at 335 West Main Street was re-named in her honor.  She had refused publicity all her life; her gifts to the School of Music included a graduate fellowship in voice. Recipients have included James Kryshak, Shannon Prickett, and J. Adam Shelton.
Read the full story in the Wisconsin State Journal.

SPEAKING OF DONATIONS…

wac_logo

The UW-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 Katz of 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.

Learn about both programs here.

“Cellists move and groove”: 2014 Wisconsin State Journal

KLEZMER WORKSHOPS AND CONCERT THIS WEEK AT UW-MADISON

The Mayrent 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.

Mayrent and founding director Henry Sapoznik will also present a “Sound Salon,” an evening of Yiddish culture and concert, Thursday, Nov. 20, 7:30 at the University Club.

All events are free and open to the public.

STUDENT/ALUMNI NEWS

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. 

FACULTY NEWS

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.

To learn about many more events at the UW-Madison School of Music, check our full concert calendar.

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving-westmont-il

 

 

 

Rising star composer and UW violinist team for Wind Ensemble concert Dec. 6

Composer Joel Puckett, a writer of hauntingly beautiful new music, including “This Mourning,” dedicated to the memory of the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and “Shadow of Sirius,” a concerto for flute and wind ensemble, will bring his ideas and talents to UW-Madison in early December as part of a residency sponsored by the school’s concert band program.

Joel Puckett
Joel Puckett

On Friday, December 6 at 8 pm, the UW Wind Ensemble, conducted by Prof. Scott Teeple, will perform two of Puckett’s works: “Southern Comforts,” a work for solo violin and wind ensemble, and “Avelynn’s Lullaby,” written in honor of Puckett’s then-infant baby daughter. “Southern Comforts” recalls Puckett’s memories of his youth in Atlanta, Georgia (“Movement 1: Faulkner. Movement 2: Football and the Lord. Movement 3: Lamentation. Movement 4: Mint Julep) and will feature Felicia Moye, professor of violin, as soloist. The concert will also include the music of Gabrieli, Holst, and Skrowaczewski. Admission is free.

Joel Puckett is professor of music theory at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University. His three-day visit here is part of “Circa Now,” a concert and residency series within the concert band program that features the music of living composers.

Writing about a performance of “This Mourning,” a work for chorus, orchestra, tenor and 40 wine glasses, the Baltimore Sun’s Tim Smith wrote, “The third and final movement reaches profound heights. As the chorus intones Dickinson’s lines, “There must be guests in Eden, All the rooms are full,” a cathartic, almost ecstatic rise of melody and emotion unfolds. Throughout this movement is the otherworldly haze produced by 40 crystal glasses, tuned to different pitches — the composer’s most inspired touch. The effect of hearing those delicate tones dissipating one by one as the work ends is as subtle as it is touching.”

We asked Joel Puckett a few questions about his life and works. Enjoy, and please join us on December 6!

Felicia Moye
Felicia Moye

How did you get interested in composing?
“My father used to encourage me to make up my own versions of the pieces I was learning at the piano. Whatever it happened to be, he thought that if I had a better idea, I should change it. (This, by the way, was when I was very little and was playing Hot Cross Buns. He didn’t have me changing Beethoven!)”

What influences you as a composer?
“My life. I just try to look around me, see beautiful things and respond in the most honest way possible.”

Are there certain genres/styles/composers/artists to whom you gravitate and, who might have had influences on your compositional style?
“Sure, I listen to almost everything. With the two little ones (three years old and another who is thirteen months) we listen to lots and lots of folk music, activity songs and standard concert music of all periods.

“In my own professional listening, I try to listen to something brand new every day. Most of the time this will be something from the very recent past, say within the past year or two. This is usually something that would fall under the heading of concert music, but frequently I find myself digging into something outside that world. Right now, for example, I am devouring the last few Snarky Puppy discs.  And before that I was going through the recent music of William Bolcom.

“My teaching also keeps me exploring the concert rep for pieces that I don’t know but are worth digging into.

“And then on the way to work every day, I tend to listen to 70s funk or holiday music  (regardless of the season)! I find they are both excellent antidotes for the ridiculous morning commute traffic.

Your works are performed all over the globe; you teach at a prestigious institution (Peabody Conservatory), what makes you want to write for wind-band medium?
“Why wouldn’t I?!? I know that my music will be taken care of and rehearsed thoughtfully. I know that the players are enthusiastic and excited about new music! I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t make writing for wind-band a part of their output.”

Knowing that you have also written for strings and various other ensembles, are there benefits to writing for wind ensembles that you don’t experience in other areas?
“Well, every ensemble has inherent limitations. The goal is to turn those limitations into opportunities. With a wind ensemble the limitation is that everyone has to breathe. I feel like dealing with that issue inspires me to find creative solutions to make it seem as though they don’t have to breathe!”

One for the pieces programmed by the UWWE, “Southern Comforts,” is for solo violin with wind ensemble accompaniment.  The pairing of a wind ensemble and violin soloist is not common.  How did you come upon the idea of writing for two such disparate groupings?

“I have always thought that the most effective concerti were the ones where the solo instrument was absent from the backing ensemble. If let’s say you are listening to a trumpet concerto with four trumpets also in the ensemble, there is the distinct likelihood that there will be confusion as to which trumpet is in focus as the soloist.

“So, for that reason, I have always been attracted to putting strings up front in a concerto situation paired with a winds only ensemble. (I actually have a string quartet concerto, Short Stories, that is for winds only in the backing ensemble.) I found that this allowed me to keep the violin in focus.”

(Hear the world premiere of “Southern Comforts” by the Baylor University Wind Ensemble in 2009):

http://joelpuckett.com/comfortsbaylor.html

What were some of the challenges when approaching this combination?
“Balance issues are always in issue with a soloist against a wind group. But I worked hard to make sure the violin is always clear when it is intended to be soloistic.”

Tell us how “Avelynn’s Lullaby” came to fruition?
“My daughter was born in the spring of 2010 and it was the happiest day of my life. I had recently gotten a commission for an eight-minute piece for the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music in Long Beach, California and was riding high on fatherhood when I began work.

“Our nighttime routine has been set in stone for a long time. I give her a bath, put her in her pajamas, and we read a book or two. And then we come to my favorite portion of the routine: the lullabies. Doing my part, I sing her slow lullabies while rocking her, and she does her part, fighting the onset of sleep. By far her favorite lullaby is the one my mother used to sing to me: ‘Sail Far Away, Sail Across the Sea, Only don’t forget to Sail, back again to me.’ At least, I thought it was the one my mother used to sing to me. I got curious about the rest of the verses and found that the piece was written in 1898 by Alice Riley and Jesse Gaynor and has only a passing resemblance to the song I remember my mother singing to me. Better yet, it has virtually no resemblance to the lullaby I had been singing to Avelynn! So, Avelynn’s Lullaby is both a journey of daddy trying to coax daughter to sleep and a journey of daughter enjoying the song, fighting sleep, and eventually succumbing to slumber.

“And now that Avelynn is three and we have a new little guy, she sings him the lullaby every night before he goes to sleep. It has been fun to watch her take ownership of the song.”

Listen to more of Joel Puckett’s music on SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/joel-puckett

No “girly music” here: UW’s Schwendinger releases new CD on Centaur label

“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.

Centaur Cover 2 for mini cover

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.

Laura Schwendinger and Eleanor Bartsch, following Eleanor's performance of "The Violinists in My Life," composed by Laura, at Mills Hall last spring.
Laura Schwendinger and Eleanor Bartsch, following Eleanor’s performance of “The Violinists in My Life,” composed by Laura, at Mills Hall last spring. Photo by Katherine Esposito.

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.”

Learn more about Laura at her website:  http://www.lauraschwendinger.com/

Listen to clips of her music: https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/lschwendinge/web/soundfiles4.html

In 2008, a profile of Laura was published in Isthmus. “Composer at Work” by David Medaris, Isthmus, 2008.

In this YouTube video about the American Composers Orchestra, Schwendinger contributes her thoughts on new music and the “reinvention” of the orchestra.