Tag Archives: New York Times

School of Music shares $2.5M grant to study Jewish Culture; Brass Fest in Pictures; A French Composer in the Spotlight, 250 years later

Teri Dobbs
Teri Dobbs

SCHOOL OF MUSIC TO SHARE $2.5M INTERNATIONAL GRANT TO EXPLORE JEWISH CULTURAL HERITAGE

As a girl in South Dakota, Teri Dobbs had no idea she had Jewish roots, until one day her mother took her aside and unveiled a long-kept secret. Now, the professor of music education has joined a team of international researchers dedicated to unearthing Jewish cultural treasures from the 1880s to the 1950s. Along the way, she’s developed a deeper kinship with her own past. “It’s a way for me to return to my roots by remembering actively those who went before me, maybe even to make things a bit better for those who come after me,”  Dobbs says. “In Judaism, this can be considered a type of ‘tikkun olam,’ or ‘healing the world.'”

Read the full School of Music news release here.

 

BRASS FEST SUCCESS!

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Hundreds of patrons of all ages turned out for our first brass festival in three decades, held October 8 – 13 at the School of Music. The festival featured two brass quintets: the Western and Wisconsin Brass Quintets, plus Norwegian guest solo tubist Øystein Baadsvik and alumna Jessica Valeri, now with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. It was an inspiring event and great fun; thanks to all who attended! For many more photos, click here.

 

AFTER 250 YEARS, A COMPOSER GETS HIS DUE

It’s not very often that one receives international recognition 250 years after being placed in the ground. But with help from scholars at UW-Madison and internationally, that’s exactly what’s happening for Jean-Philippe Rameau.

UW-Madison is embarking on a yearlong series of events to note the contributions made by Rameau to the world of music, courtly dance, and music theory. The series kicks off November 13 with a discussion of Rameau’s music by David Ronis, visiting director of opera, and Anne Vila, professor of French and Italian. The next night there will be a performance of Baroque works by bassoon professor Marc Vallon, accompanied by a rich assortment of faculty and students.

Charles Dill
Charles Dill

The series has been organized by Rameau scholar Charles Dill, a musicologist at UW-Madison who participated in many international Rameau-related events held this past year. Read a musicology Q&A about Rameau with Charles Dill.

 

VOICE FACULTY PERFORMS FIRST “SHOWCASE” CONCERT, SUNDAY, NOV. 2

The UW voice faculty present an evening of chamber music featuring the solo voice. Featuring a premiere, White Clouds, Yellow Leaves, written by composer and saxophone professor Les Thimmig. Featuring Mimmi Fulmer and Elizabeth Hagedorn, sopranos, and Paul Rowe, baritone. Tickets are $10.00 adults; students are free. Tickets will be sold at the door.  Learn more here.

 

THE BIG PAYBACK, A UW ALUMNI BAND, CELEBRATES A FIVE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY WITH A SHOW AT THE FREQUENCY

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Music not only attracted a group of musicians to Wisconsin from across the country, but also helped bring them together to form a band. Today, that band is the wildly successful jazz/funk/R&B orchestra The Big Payback, which is famous for playing ambitious compositions that incorporate rare musical elements (e.g. rhythms from around the world and a mashing of genres) that challenge even the most virtuosic instrumentalists. The band has won multiple Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs), including Jazz Song of the Year in 2012 for “Overture.” Its lineup constitutes a “who’s who” of the most acclaimed musicians in the Midwest.

On Thursday, Oct. 30th, The Big Payback will be celebrating their five-year anniversary with a star-studded reunion show at The Frequency, 121 West Main Street, Madison, where they played their very first gig and premiered a host of original hits like their crowd-pleasing single “Lookin’ at Me.” The show begins at 11PM and is preceded by a jazz jam at 7:30 PM followed by the band “Level Five” at 9:45 PM. Tickets are $5.00. The Big Payback

“This show means a lot to us,” Jamie Kember, the band’s trombone player and front man, said. “For five years, this band has been our big payback – the place where we could write original music, connect with the Madison community, and share our knowledge with music students all over Wisconsin. We owe a lot of our success to UW-Madison and the School of Music.”

The Big Payback ensemble includes:

Lead singer Leah Isabel Tirado, former Vocal Captain of UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Singers and member of UW Director of Choral Activities Beverly Taylor’s Concert Choir, UW professor Richard Davis’s Black Music Ensemble, and the UW Jazz Orchestra.

Front man Jamie Kember, member of the UW School of Music Alumni Association Board, former director of UW’s PEOPLE Program Jazz Ensemble, and past instructor at UW-Madison’s Summer Music Clinic. Kember earned his master’s degree in trombone performance at UW in 2007 and his K-12 instrumental music teaching certification in 2008.

Guitarist Kyle Rightley, who earned his master’s degree in euphonium performance at UW-Madison in 2009.

Saxophonist David Buss, who played with the UW Jazz Orchestra, the UW Little Big Band (a jazz combo), and the Wisconsin Singers during his undergraduate years. In 2006-2007, he served as Assistant Music Director for the Wisconsin Singers’ band.

2012 MAMA Bass Player of the Year Jeff Weiss, who graduated from UW-Madison’s School of Music in 2011.

Charley Wagner of Youngblood Brass Band fame, who will be traveling all the way from his home in Switzerland to play on trumpet, and who graduated in trumpet performance from UW-Madison in 1999.

Peter Baggenstoss, who graduated from UW-Madison with a double major in math and piano performance in 2009.

Grammy-nominated drummer and 2014 MAMA Drummer / Percussionist of the Year Joey B. Banks.

Former band members, including saxophone player Brad Carman, who graduated from UW-Madison with a Music Education degree in 2004.

 

PIANIST CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR TO PERFORM GOLDBERG VARIATIONS IN CALIFORNIA  AND AT NEW YORK’S METROPOLITAN MUSEUM

Christopher Taylor
Christopher Taylor

When J. S. Bach wrote The Goldberg Variations, he specified that they were to be played on an instrument with two manuals, or keyboards. On Nov. 16 in Penn Valley, California, UW-Madison pianist Christopher Taylor will play the Goldberg Variations on the School of Music’s unique double-keyboard Steinway–Moór Concert grand piano, transported to California specially for this concert. Tickets available here.

The Metropolitan Museum’s Musical Instruments collection is home to one of only 60 double manual pianos ever made. On Nov. 21 at the Met, Christopher Taylor  will perform the Goldberg Variations on a Bösendorfer double manual ca. 1940 piano—a new twist on what Bach had intended.  The performance will be held in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at 7PM; tickets are available here.

Read a review of Taylor’s performance in New York City’s Miller Theater, May 2013.

See Christopher Taylor perform solo at the School of Music on January 23! Included on the program: Liszt’s transcription of Beethoven Symphony #6. Tickets are only $10.00 for adults; students are free.  Ticketing information here.

Taylor will also perform with the Madison Symphony Orchestra in April. Learn more here.

FACULTY IN THE NEWS

Visiting Opera Director David Ronis profiled in the Capital Times

Chamber Music Conference Features Laura Schwendinger in its roster of new music composers – New York Times

Violinist David Perry Performs Chausson Solo with the Joffrey Ballet and the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra – Chicago Sun Times 

Albert Herring an Enjoyable Debut for Visiting Opera Director David Ronis – Isthmus

ALUMNI NEWS

Scott Roeder, Steven Morrison.  Read their news here.

Click here to send your alumni story.

Interested in an upcoming show? We offer large ensemble concerts, chamber concerts, jazz, student recitals, and more.  Click here for full SOM calendar.

To be placed on our mailing list, please send an email to join-musicdigest@lists.wisc.edu 

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UW alumna singer records with Grammy winner Roomful of Teeth; Brass and Woodwind Quintets to play at a town near you; Piano lovers’ heaven this Sat. at UW

UW alumna singer making a mark as vocalist

UW alumna Sarah Brailey after a recording session with the Grammy- winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. From left: Merrill's sound engineer, Cameron Beauchamp, Merrill Garbus, Brad Wells, Taylor Ward, Virginia Warnken, Esteli Gomez, Sarah Brailey, Caroline Shaw, Eric Dudley, Dashon Burton.
UW alumna Sarah Brailey after a recording session with the Grammy- winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth. From left: Merrill’s sound engineer (in blue), and singers Cameron Beauchamp, Merrill Garbus, Brad Wells, Taylor Ward, Virginia Warnken, Esteli Gomez, Sarah Brailey, Caroline Shaw, Eric Dudley and Dashon Burton.

A round of applause for Sarah Brailey, a 2007 master’s graduate who studied with vocal professor Paul Rowe and received the School’s prestigious Collins Fellowship, who has been lately appearing on stages from continent to continent, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Barbican in London, and Electric Lady in Greenwich Village. Sarah is a full-time member of the Choir of Trinity Church on Wall Street and has been a part-time writer for the Natural Resources Defense Council (“who are totally supportive of my singing and are willing to let me have a very flexible schedule”). Nowadays, though, singing is taking the biggest role in her life.

Sarah, who received a bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, is originally from LaCrosse, Wisconsin. While in Madison, she played the role of Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with University Opera.

Here’s what Sarah says about her work these days: “I’ve been on tour with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and The English Concert, doing Handel’s Theodora. Among the incredible soloists are David Daniels, Dorothea Röschmann, and Sarah Connolly. We have been to Sonoma and Costa Mesa, California, Chapel Hill, and will have concerts at Carnegie Hall, the Barbican in London, Town Hall in Birmingham (England), and the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris.

“This season, I had the immense pleasure of performing Britten’s Les Illuminations for the first time with Novus NY. Read a review here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/09/arts/music/handels-messiah-at-trinity-church.html

“I have recently started working with legendary composer John Zorn. This past summer, we premiered his “Madrigals” at the Guggenheim Museum.” Wrote the New York Times’s Steve Smith: “Those singers and three more — the sopranos Lisa Bielawa and Sarah Brailey, and the mezzo-soprano Abby Fischer — brought the same exactitude and luster to “Madrigals,” for which Mr. Zorn assembled phrases inspired by reading Percy Bysshe Shelley. Harmonically consonant, often unambiguously melodic and rhythmically effervescent, these half-dozen songs could easily slip into standard repertory.”

(L to R): Aulikki Eerola, Pertti Eerola, and
Three revered musicians from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland will be in Madison and Milwaukee for a one-week residency March 2 – 8 to talk about Finland’s music education system, hold master classes, and perform a concert on March 8 at Luther Memorial Church. Click image to learn more.

“We also sang his piece, ‘Holy Visions,’ based on the writings of Hildegard von Bingen, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of an entire day dedicated to his works that were performed throughout the museum. We traveled to Huddersfield, England to perform both pieces in the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and will be recording Holy Visions this spring.

“I have also worked on and off this season with the Grammy-winning contemporary a cappella vocal group, Roomful of Teeth. The photograph is from a recording session we did in August with Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs at Electric Lady in Greenwich Village. Electric Lady was originally built by Jimi Hendrix and has been used by artists such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Kiss, Daft Punk, and AC/DC.

In March, Sarah will perform Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” down in Knoxville, Tennessee at the Big Ears Festival and also recording with the Grammy-nominated vocal octet, New York Polyphony. In May, she’ll perform with the Trinity Choir and Bang on a Can All-Stars for the New York premiere of Julia Wolfe’s “Anthracite Fields,” part of the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial Celebration.

National alumni, take note! Sarah’s other upcoming performances include:

Feb 26, 5pm, CUNY Grad Center: I’m performing a song cycle by André Brégégère with text by French-Carribean poet Édouard Glissant on CUNY’s Composers Now Festival.
March 4, 8pm, Alice Tully Hall: I’m soloing with The American Classical Orchestra in Handel’s Samson under the direction of Nicholas McGegan.
March 14 in Aiken, S. Carolina; March 16 in Morrow, GA; March 17 at Alice Tully in NYC: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Juilliard 415.
March 29-30: I’m performing Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN.
April 18: I’m performing Josep Sanz’s King Lear with Ekmeles at the MATA Festival in NYC.

Wingra Woodwind Quintet and Wisconsin Brass Quintet on tour to northern Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota


The Wisconsin Idea is alive and well in the School of Music. This week, two of our four ensembles-in-residence will be on the road, offering a wonderful opportunity for classical music aficionados who don’t live in Madison (and we know there are many!) to hear some beautiful music.

Wisconsin Brass Quintet:

  • Tuesday, February 25, UW-Barron County – Fine Arts Auditorium, Rice Lake, WI. 7:00 pm. Wisconsin Brass Quintet, with the UW-Madison Wind Ensemble. Free.
  • Thursday, February 27, Owatonna High School, Owatonna, Minnesota. 7:00 pm. Wisconsin Brass Quintet, with the UW-Madison Wind Ensemble. Free.
  • Future outstate concerts, please see http://artsoutreach.wisc.edu/wis_brass.html
  • In Madison, you can see the quintet perform on March 29, at 8 Pm in Mills Hall.

 Wingra Woodwind Quintet:

  • This Wednesday in Madison, the  Wingra Woodwind Quintet will perform at a new location, Capital Lakes Retirement Community, 333 West Main Street, 7:30 pm. The quintet will also perform at a special dinner concert at the University Club on May 8.
  • In Ashland on February 28, United Presbyterian- Congregational Church, 7:30 pm. Tickets $15.00. http://www.ashlandchambermusic.org/concerts.html
  • In Three Lakes on March 1, at Three Lakes Elementary School, 6930 West School St. The concert begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets $10.00.
  • More information: http://artsoutreach.wisc.edu/wingra.html

Meanwhile, here in Madison we have a few special events on the docket for this weekend and next week….including the Pro Arte Quartet’s world premiere of String Quartet No. 3 by Belgian composer Benoit Mernier (read this week’s story by local blogger Jake Stockingerand a residency by three musicians of the Sibelius Academy, in Helsinki, Finland. That residency begins with a master class for singers and collaborative pianist on March 2. Read more, including the complete schedule, here.

Piano Extravaganza! to feature well-known pianists as well as rising stars

Hear the UW’s best collegiate pianists, faculty and high school talents at an all-day festival this Saturday at UW-Madison. Masterclasses, workshops and performances hosted by UW-Madison faculty and students. This year’s Piano Extravaganza will feature piano works influenced by jazz and blues. Here is the schedule of events:

Friday, February 28, 2014

8:00 PM: Mills Concert Hall: Christopher Taylor, Faculty Concert Series

Saturday, March 1, 2014

8:30-11:00 AM: Piano Extravaganza Competition

11:00 AM-12:00 PM: Professor Johannes Wallmann, Jazz Improvisation Workshop

1:30-3:30 PM: Masterclass and Q&A with UW Piano Faculty

3:45-6:30 PM: Jazz and Blues in Classical Music  (Performed by UW-Madison Piano Majors)

Download the full schedule here:  PIANO EXTRAVAGANZA

Remembering Janos Starker: Memorial Concert Sunday, June 9, Mills Hall

Written by Cathy Spann.

On Sunday, June 9, the National Summer Cello Institute (NSCI), a summer program affiliated with the UW-Madison School of Music, will present a free special tribute concert to Janos Starker, one of history’s greatest cellists and teachers, who died in Bloomington, Indiana on April 28, 2013.  Starker was professor of cello at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University from 1958 until recently.  He also had served as principal cellist of many major symphony orchestras: Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera, Dallas, Budapest, and the Budapest Philharmonic.

An obituary of Starker was published in the New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/30/arts/music/janos-starker-master-cellist-dies-at-88.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

The Wall Street Journal called Starker’s death “the end of cello’s golden age.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324266904578461103567260348.html

Uri Vardi, cello professor at the UW-Madison School of Music and the artistic director of the NSCI, who studied at Indiana with Starker from 1972-1975, said  Starker helped him to confront the gaps in his performance and cover the pedagogical topics required for mastery. “After three years, I had an amazingly clear view of how to continue to grow as a cellist and of what professional teaching meant,” he said. With Starker’s recommendation, Vardi then entered the Yale Masters program with Aldo Parisot.

Janos Starker at Eva Janzer conference Bloomington, IN 2004
Janos Starker at the Eva Janzer conference in Bloomington, Indiana, 2004.

Vardi maintained contact with Starker throughout his life and found him always supportive of former students and cellists everywhere.

In 1996, Starker came to Madison for a residency in which he conducted a cello master class and performed a duo recital with Vardi which included the Boccherini Sonata for two cellos. A recording of their Boccherini performance is available at this website:

https://uwmadison.box.com/s/1dwu4ihkjq6q99wi37o9

Starker also contributed to the formation of the Wisconsin Cello Society, founded in 2000.

To commemorate Starker’s life and mark his loss, participants in the National Summer Cello Institute will give a concert in his honor on Sunday, June 9th at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall.  Entitled “A Tribute to Janos Starker,” the program will feature two sarabands of Bach, duos by Bartok, David Popper’s Requiem for three cellos and piano (a cello choir version), Julius Klengel’s Hymnus for twelve cellos, and an arrangement by Laszlo Varga of Bach’s 5th Cello Suite for cello choir.  Additionally a video interview of Starker filmed in 2012 and excerpts of IU’s 75th Birthday Tribute will be shown. Performers will include Vardi, cellist and professor Timothy Eddy of the Juilliard School and the Orion Quartet, as well as about twenty cellists from this year’s cello institute.

Called the “King of Cellists” in Joyce Geeting’s 2008 biography, Starker was born on July 5, 1924 in Budapest, Hungary, the third son of Sandor and Margit Starker.  His older brothers were violinists so his parents gave him a cello.  Deemed a child prodigy at an early age, Starker gave his professional debut at age 14.

World War II intervened and by its end all of the family had been interned in Nazi concentration camps.  Starker and his parents survived.  Working his way to Paris as a tradesman after Liberation, Starker was able to resume a career as a professional cellist.  His breakthrough came in 1947 performing Zoltan Kodaly’s Sonata for Solo Cello.  His recording of the sonata, previously thought unplayable, won him the Grand Prix du Disque and international fame.

Soon after this success, Starker immigrated to the United States.  He held principal cellist positions with major symphony orchestras and in 1958 accepted the teaching position at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.  Along with teaching, Starker embarked on a career as a concert soloist performing solo with the world’s major symphonies and in chamber recitals world-wide.

Over the next 30 years, he recorded over 165 works for cello on labels such as Angel, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, London Mercury, and RCA Victor, among others.   His recorded works include the major cello repertoire.

Early in his teaching career, Starker published An Organized Method of String Playing and in 2004 a memoir, The World of Music According to Starker (Indiana University Press).

“Starker was the perfect combination of a great artist/performer and an extremely dedicated teacher who felt that his main mission in life was to teach,” says Vardi, adding that Starker understood what professional cello playing entailed.  With a surgeon’s ability to diagnose and cut to the core of a cellist’s problem, Starker was very direct in his remarks and instruction.  Though his comments could be painful to the recipient, they were the essential tools needed for improvement.

Video from Medicitv.com

Vardi’s path to Starker came through the recommendation of Gabriel Magyar, cellist of the Hungarian String Quartet. Vardi met Magyar in 1972 in a summer festival in Holland.  Magyar  described the crux of Starker’s teaching method and philosophy:  It is not enough to be an intuitive performer, the essential method of playing the instrument–the physical requirements, musicality, phrasing– must be consciously known and understood by the cellist.  It was this concept of the combined importance of performance and teaching  that resonated with Vardi.

In 1979 at Indiana University, Starker established the Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center to honor and promote comradeship among cellists internationally.

Starker’s lifetime achievements are numerous, and include performance, teaching and mentoring awards, including the Tracy M. Sonneborn Award for distinction in teaching at Indiana,  five honorary doctorates and the title of Honorary Professor of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest.  He is considered one of the greatest cellists and teachers of the cello in history.

For more information about the National Summer Cello Institute, see  http://www.yourbodyisyourstrad.com/main/2013_National_Summer_Cello_Institute.html

Pianist Kit Taylor Dazzles New York City

Reviews don’t get any better than this. No wonder students clamor to study with Christopher “Kit” Taylor, professor of piano at UW-Madison.

On May 11 at Columbia University’s Miller Theater in New York City, Taylor presented a concert of Bach’s “Clavier-­‐Übung” (“Keyboard Practice”) with Frederick Rzewski’s virtuosic and politically charged variations on “The People United Will Never Be Defeated!”

Christopher Taylor,
Christopher Taylor, UW professor of piano.

The program was designed to explore the music of Bach from different perspectives, 250 years apart. From the official news release:

“Whether tackling Bach’s Goldberg Variations on a dual-­‐manual piano or playing a Messiaen magnum opus from memory, Christopher Taylor has consistently wowed Miller Theatre audiences with his smart, bold performances.”

His concert was VERY well-received.

The New York Times, in a review by Zachary Woolfe, called him “a dazzlingly virtuosic and thoughtful musician,” adding “…the passionate precision of Mr. Taylor’s playing, its almost vibrating sheen, also unified the concert, from the glinting, pulsing energy of the fourth duet, in A Minor, to the lush overlapping lines of the French Overture’s opening and the almost violent quality of its Gigue.”

Read the full review here:

NYT review of Christopher Taylor

Meanwhile, one of Taylor’s graduate students, Yana Groves, will present a concert of Bach, Debussy, and Schubert this Saturday, May 18 at noon at Grace Episcopal Church, 116 West Washington Avenue, in a series called “Grace Presents.” The series is just perfect for Farmers’ Market strollers looking for a quiet interlude. Lunches are welcome!

Learn more here:

“Grace Presents” website

Also, read about Yana in Jake Stockinger’s blog, “The Well-Tempered Ear.”

The Well-Tempered Ear

This morning, Groves received some airplay from Rich Samuels of WORT radio, 89.9 FM, who makes a point of featuring many UW and other local musicians on his 7 am show. You can check out his radio show listings here: Rich Samuels”s page on WORT radio

When Yana was a senior at SUNY-Plattsburgh, she was videotaped rehearsing Mozart’s 23rd piano concerto. You can hear her here: