News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music
University of Wisconsin-Madison
October 10, 2017
“From Prodigy to Professional – A Life in Music” Talk & Concert with David Kim
From oboist to organist, whether one performs pop or Prokofiev, every musician has a story of an intricate and sometimes unsettling pathway to a professional career.
Violinist David Kim, who will visit the School of Music on October 16 and 17, is no different. Since 1999, Kim has been the concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra.
On October 17 at 7: 30 PM in Mills Hall, Kim will offer a talk, “From Prodigy to Professionalism – A Life in Music.” He’ll describe his experiences and struggles to reach the pinnacle of his career. interspersed with performances of some of Mr. Kim’s favorite works. It will be a humorous, sometimes jarring, and often poignant story not to be missed.
Kim’s talk will be followed by a concert with UW-Madison strings and pianist Thomas Kasdorf. The program will include Sonatensatz by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897); Banjo and Fiddle by William Kroll (1901-1980); Meditation from Thais by Jules Massenet (1842-1912); and The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741).
“I’ve always shared anecdotes about my crazy upbringing,” Kim wrote in an email. “From the beginning, my story seemed to resonate, especially with parents. After all, who doesn’t have a story of an overzealous parent from some stage of life! Now I share my story numerous times each season and have been urged by many to write a book – a la the widely-read book, ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom.’ But that will probably never happen as I prefer speaking during my concerts and love seeing the audience react in person.”
Join us for our “Conversation & Concert” with David Kim, our strings players and pianist Thomas Kasdorf. Only $15 adults, $5 students, except Mead Witter music majors, who receive free admission. Buy tickets here.They will also be sold at the door, starting at 6:30 PM.
Additional Events: Violin Master Class: Monday, October 16, 7 PM, Morphy Hall Strings Orchestral Excerpts Master Class: Tuesday, October 17, 11 AM, Morphy Hall
Both classes are free and open to the public.
A group of five flutists who studied under Robert Cole performed in August at the 45th Annual National Flute Association Convention held in Minneapolis. Peggy Vagts (MM ’78), Kathy (Cook) Moss (MM ’82, DMA ’91), Cathy (Collinge) Herrera (MM ’84), Leslie Goldman Maaser (MM’85) and Wendy Mehne (DMA ’92) played as part of the annual Flutopia Initiative-NFA “Play It Forward” charitable concert.
Educator John Kuehn just can’t retire
John Kuehn earned both his bachelor’s of music education in 1964 and master’s of music in 1972 at UW, studying with Glenn Bowen. He has taught instrumental music at every level from kindergarten through master’s degrees and loves it all. John retired in 2014, but was wooed back onto the stage.
This month, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet embarks on a Big Ten Tour! If you live in Illinois, Michigan, or Indiana, you’ll have an opportunity to see the WBQ in concerts and master classes, starting Oct. 17. Additionally, at selected locations, trombonist Mark Hetzler will offer lectures & demos on electroacoustic music, and hornist Daniel Grabois will present horn technique master classes. They’ll return for a final concert in Madison on Nov. 15.
The School of Music offers a smorgasbord of performances each year; we invite you to visit our website and click on our events calendar. We also publish a season brochure that is mailed every August. To receive the brochure, please send your postal address to newsletter editor..
News and Events from the Mead Witter School of Music University of Wisconsin-Madison October 18, 2016
Music + Athletic Training double major a “huge opportunity” for SOM student
Robert Medina is now a graduate, but his UW-Madison legacy will live on in a new video that highlights his choice to major in both jazz trumpet and athletic training. “I saw this huge opportunity,” says Robert Medina. “I’ve been able to switch around the order in which I take classes to accommodate the athletic training program.” There are jobs for people with such skills, says Andrew P. Winterstein, athletic training program director. “There’s athletic trainers now who work with Cirque du Soleil, with ballet companies, touring Broadway shows.” Click to watch video.
Musicians Health Symposium will offer insight into common health disorders faced by musicians
On Friday, October 21, the School of Music will present a Musicians Health Symposium featuring a panel of doctors and therapists experienced in many kinds of common ailments faced by musicians. These include performance anxiety, disorders involving hearing, movement, and voice, and much more. Students and faculty are strongly encouraged to attend, and the public is welcome. 3650 Humanities, 12-4:45 PM. Learn more at this link. http://www.music.wisc.edu/event/musicians-health-symposium/
Upcoming guest artists at the School of Music in November – Free and Open to the Public
Steven Ebel, a tenor who discovered his vocal talents at UW-Madison and followed them with a successful international singing and composing career, will offer master classes and a concert on November 14, 15 and 16. He’ll teach classes on stage fright and breathing strategies, and offer lessons. http://www.music.wisc.edu/event/steven-ebel-tenorcomposer/
Brass Fest III popular with high school students, audience
High school students from twelve area schools were welcomed to the stage of Mills Hall for our third Brass Fest, where they performed a beautiful rendition of Giovanni Gabrieli’s Canzon duodecimi toni, written in 1597. The schools represented included Madison West High School; Madison East High School; Middleton High School; Kromrey Middle School; Edgewood High School; Pewaukee High School; Mount Horeb High School; Clark Street Community School; Sun Prairie High School; St. Ambrose School; Cedarburg High School; Madison Memorial High School; and a homeschooled student.
The two days of Brass Fest III featured the acclaimed Stockholm Chamber Brass (in its first-ever tour of the States), along with the Wisconsin Brass Quintet and advanced college musicians. The first concert featured Stockholm Chamber Brass (read this review by local blogger and critic Greg Hettsmanberger) and the second night offered the full complement of musicians performing works by Brian Balmages, Dmitri Shostakovich, Gustav Mahler, and Anthony Di Lorenzo, among others.
A master class with Annamia Larsson, hornist of the Stockholm Chamber Brass.
A master class with Jonas Bylund, trombonist with Stockholm Chamber Brass.
A stage full of musicians.
Comments from high schoolers ranged from “it made me more aware of higher level playing” to “it helped us grow as musicians.”
News and Events from the UW-Madison School of Music – November 9, 2015
Soh-Hyun Park Altino, new faculty violinist, performs first Madison concert Nov. 13
Hearing solo Bach in concert is a rare treat, and next Friday, at 8 PM in Mills Hall, Madison will get a chance to do just that when our new assistant professor of violin, Soh-Hyun Park Altino, performs for the first time in town. Her full program includes J.S. Bach’s Sonata No. 3 in C major for solo violin, Brahm’s second violin sonata, the Romance by Amy Beach, and the Sonata No. 2 by Charles Ives, accompanied by Martha Fischer, professor of piano. While she is a stellar violinist, Prof. Altino is a dedicated teacher, deeply committed to her students. “My greatest joy as a teacher is the up-close witness of the journey that each student takes throughout the course of his or her study,” she said in an interview last summer. “As we discuss and explore countless ways to communicate a story through the sound of a violin, sooner or later students face challenges that would push them beyond the familiar and the manageable. I love seeing my students grow to the point of taking steps of courage and giving generously from their hearts in spite of the difficulties presented in their pieces. The confidence gained by these experiences remains with them for the long haul.”
In an article in Isthmus, Prof. Altino’s former teachers commented on her teaching style. Read it here.
Adult tickets are $12; students of all ages are free. You can buy ahead of time or at the door the night of the show.
A “family reunion” feel to Alumni Composers Celebration, Nov. 5-6
Horn professor Daniel Grabois checking out the computer setting with alumnus Kevin Ernste.
Adjunct Prof. of Clarinet, Wes Warnhoff.
Music composition is not done just on paper anymore.
Alumnus William Rhoads with composition professor Stephen Dembski.
Violist Molly O’Brien and flutist Iva Ugrcic prepare to perform.
L-R: Alumna Paula Matthusen, Director of Music Susan Cook, and Roger Pierson, Cook’s husband.
Alumni, L-R: William Rhoads, Jeff Stadelman, and Andrew Rindfleisch.
Alumna Paula Matthusen checks computer settings.
Last week’s two-day Alumni Composers Celebration shined a light of our long-standing composition program, reuniting alumni who hadn’t seen each other in decades. It also gave our audience a taste of their unique compositional styles and introduced a lot of contemporary music. Not only did alumni meet with current composition students, they also met with high school students at Memorial and East in Madison. Separate sessions on marketing and publishing music were held by an alumnus, Bill Rhoads, who is now the vice president of marketing and communications at the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York City.
The Thursday concert featured alumna Paula Matthusen‘s of whole movements and migrations, a work for oboe, percussion, clarinet, piano, and computer that was premiered in 2013 by the Glass Farm Ensemble at Symphony Space in New York City. Paula writes: “of whole movements and migrations explores the resonance of instruments and how they may be manipulated to create variances in the perception of an acoustic space. Two tam-tams located at the front of stage create reverberations of the acoustical sounds, which are then amplified and fed back into the piano.”
“Numina” by alumnus Kevin Ernste also featured electronics, with flute, viola and harp, and “is an allegory for the authoritative abuses of Rome’s current divine authority, the Vatican,” Ernste writes. Nothing Personal was a premiere, a five-movement work of duos paying homage to composer Bill Rhoads‘ mentors at UW-Madison and elsewhere. In the Zone is a two-movement work, written by alumnus Andrew Rindfleisch, for brass quintet that recalls Renaissance counterpoint, imitation, and polyphony found in early canzones. Lastly, Enticements (Canons), by alumnus Jeff Stadelman, is a “pre-atonal song for voice and piano from Arnold Schoenberg’s decadent period, featuring a cartoonish cat-and-mouse tale.”
Musicians included the Wisconsin Brass Quintet and many faculty, friends and students. A second concert of new music took place on Friday night with the UW Wind Ensemble.
A “Musical Homecoming” – Review in Isthmus
New music is best heard in person, to more fully appreciate the unusual pairings of instruments and creative sounds emanating from them. In a review of the first night’s concert for the weekly paper Isthmus, Jay Rath wrote: “Music — live music — is always performance art. That’s why we go to concerts, after all. The performers’ movements, their manners —in many ways they satisfy as much as the music. When we go to concerts, we bring our eyes as well as our ears. The UW’s professor Stephen Dembski should be congratulated for helping to organize the composers’ visits. Hopefully, we can look forward to similar events in the future.” Read the review here.
Says Bill Rhoads, of his experience last week: “Returning to Madison… gave me an opportunity to reflect on individuals here at the University who played an important role in my personal and professional development, and who helped chart my trajectory over the past two decades through their support, teaching, and inspiration. Equally inspiring was experiencing the compelling, beautiful, and extremely diverse work of fellow alumni, working with the current music students and faculty at UW, and sharing my music with kids at Memorial High School. It was an experience I will cherish and I hope my presence and contributions during my residency in some small way allowed me to give back to those individuals who were (and are still) responsible in many ways for defining who I am and how I view the world around me.” Photographs by Katherine Esposito.
Upcoming “Light in the Piazza” play peppered with School of Music student/alumni performers and artistic staff
Alumna Sarah Marty writes: “Four Seasons Theatre is excited to collaborate with Director David Ronis (our visiting opera director, who recently directed UW-Madison’s Marriage of Figaro) on our upcoming production of The Light in the Piazza at The Playhouse at Overture. The show runs from Dec. 4-13.
“Featured in the cast are current UW-Madison School of Music voice students Kenneth Lyons (Fabrizio Naccarelli) and Dennis Gotkowski (ensemble), voice professor Paul Rowe & Cheryl Bensman Rowe (co-artistic directors of the Madison Early Music Festival), and School of Music graduates Tamara Brognano (Margaret Johnson) and Christina Kay (ensemble). School of Music alums Sarah Marty (Producer, FST Producing Artistic Director) and Thomas Kasdorf (Music Director) join David Ronis in leading the production.”
‘Tis the Season for Student Recitals!
Cello, trombone, piano, saxophone, percussion, horn, and many more. Please check our calendar for times and dates. Free concerts.
“It’s a Jolly Holiday” Concert ushers in an-all holiday spirit
On November 21, at 8 PM in Mills Hall, the UW Chorale will present a concert of holiday music. All kinds! They’ll celebrate President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Earth Day and so on, with a variety of great music that will leave you wondering why you only think about hearing a choir sing at Christmas. Free concert. Read more.
James H. Latimer, Emeritus Professor of Music (1968-1999) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will be granted the distinction of honorary doctor of Humane Letters from Florida A & M University, to be awarded at their December 11, 2015 fall commencement. Read more here.
The School of Music offers a smorgasbord of performances each year; we invite you to visit our website and click on our events calendar. We also publish a season brochure that is mailed every August.
Personalize your calendar view! Click on the “view as” link on the right of our calendar page.
News & Events from the UW-Madison School of Music – September 29, 2015
Violist Nobuko Imai joins the Pro Arte Quartet for an evening of chamber music
Nobuko Imai is considered to be one of the most outstanding viola players of our time. She’ll join the Pro Arte on Wednesday, October 7 at 7:30 PM for a free evening of chamber music. On the program: Mozart’s String Quintet in C Minor,K. 406/516b and Mendelssohn String Quintet in B-Flat Major, Op. 87. There will also be a master class with Nobuko Imai on Tuesday, October 6, Morphy Hall, 7:30 PM. Click here for event info.
Brass Fest II features an eclectic mix of voice, jazz trumpet, and brass quintet: October 9-11
From October 9 to 11, the UW-Madison School of Music will present its second brass music festival, following a spirited event last year that was enthusiastically received by students and the community. See photos here.
All events will be held in Mills Hall.
This year, “Brass Fest II” has added a vocalist to the mix: Elisabeth Vik, a Norwegian singer who mixes jazz tunes with pop and folk music from the Middle East, Bulgaria, Spain and India. The three-day festival will also features two brass quintets and Adam Rapa, a solo trumpeter.
Friday: Chicago’s Axiom Brass Quintet. 8 PM. With Dorival Puccini, Jr., trumpet; Jacob DiEdwardo, horn; Kevin Harrison, tuba; Orin Larson, trombone; Kris Hammond, trumpet. The award-winning Axiom Brass Quintet has quickly established itself as one of the major art music groups in brass chamber music. Their repertoire ranges from jazz and Latin music to string quartet transcriptions, as well as original compositions for brass quintet. Tickets $15, students and children free admission.
Saturday: Festival Brass Choir Concert Brass Festival Concert. 8 PM. Guest artists Adam Rapa and Elisabeth Vik will be featured on a program that showcases the combined sounds of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet and their guests, the Axiom Brass Quintet, conducted by Scott Teeple of the School of Music. They’ll perform music of Anthony DiLorenzo, James Stephenson, Richard Strauss, and a tour de force performance by the expressive and technically agile Adam Rapa of Weber’s Clarinet Concerto, arranged with a twist. The program will also feature Daredevil by UW alumni composer and tubist Michael Forbes, and Vik/Rapa will join talents in a shimmering piece by Swedish composer Evert Taube arranged for brass choir by Rapa. Tickets $15, students and children free admission. Meet the performers at a reception following the concert!
University Opera presents “The Marriage of Figaro” Oct. 23-27
After the unprecedented success of last spring’s sold-out run of The Magic Flute, this fall, University Opera will present four performances of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. This new production will be directed by returning interim opera director, David Ronis, and James Smith will conduct the UW Symphony Orchestra. The production will involve over 80 UW singers, instrumentalists, and stage crew. Read the full news release on the School of Music website.
The opera will be performed in Italian with projected English supertitles in Music Hall, 925 Bascom Mall, on Friday, October 23 at 7:00pm, Saturday, October 24 at 7:00pm, Sunday, October 25 at 3:00pm, and Tuesday, October 27 at 7:00pm. Tickets are $25.00 for the general public, $20.00 for senior citizens and $10.00 for UW-Madison students, available in advance through the Campus Arts Ticketing office at (608) 265-ARTS and online at http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu/location.html
From the Archives: UW-Madison Archivist David Null uncovers band stories from 1915
Did you know…. that in 1915, the University First Regimental Band took a long train ride to California to help celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal?
The UW-Madison Archives at Steenbock Library houses thousands of memories from UW-Madison’s past. Over the summer, UW-Madison Archivist David Null dug down and found clippings, photos and letters documenting UW Bands’ concert at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco and 19 other cities, including Lewiston, Montana.
Composition/business undergrad double major wins national prize for best musical
Congratulations to Nicholas Connors, a composition student of Les Thimmig, Laura Schwendinger, and Stephen Dembski, who in August won the college division grand prize in Showsearch, the nationwide search for new musical theatre writers put on by Festival of New American Musicals. His new musical Here, In The Park will be premiered next summer in New York City by a professional cast and production team. He’ll also receive a financial award and professional mentoring.
While in Madison, Nick founded Intermission Theatre and produced his first musical, SPACE VOYAGE: THE MUSICAL FRONTIER. He also served as music director for Tony Award-winning Karen Olivo’s Madison debut at Overture Center. Nicholas is now in England finishing his business classes and will graduate this fall from UW-Madison with degrees in music composition and marketing.
On our website: News from John Aley, Laura Schwendinger, Tony Di Sanza, Wesley Warnhoff and Dan Grabois. Click here to read.
On our website: News about “Hill’s Angels”; MiLi Chang, flutist; Nebojsa Macura, composer, and more. Click here to read.
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.
Personalize your calendar view! Click on the “view as” link on the right of our calendar page.
The fall semester begins next week: Wednesday, September 2. We hope all our readers enjoyed a wonderful summer with just enough activities to allow you to feel rested, but not exhausted. We have much to tell you and many invitations to enjoy performances and events at Mills, Morphy, and Music Halls this year.
Students travel the world during summer
We asked our students to tell us what they did during the summer — and now we all wish we could have joined them! Here are a few stories.
Joshua Junig, a tenor and a student of Elizabeth Hagedorn, spent the last few weeks in Rock River Repertory‘s production of “Miss Saigon,” portraying the role of Thuy. Directed by Jim Tropp, the show ran for two weekends at the Edgerton Performing Arts Center in Edgerton, Wisconsin. This year, Joshua plans to take music theory, vocal instruction and piano, and graduate in 2018 with degree in choral music education.
For eight weeks, Elliot Stalter, a violin performance major in the studio of Professor David Perry, attended the Aspen Music Festival and School. He enjoyed studying privately with Paul Kantor and playing in weekly orchestral concerts as well as attending masterclasses and concerts. This year he looks forward to taking classes in world music and conducting and will graduate in 2017.
DMA cellist Andrew Briggs, student of Uri Vardi, spent the summer performing music and traveling in Europe. In late June, he worked with cellist Lluis Caret at the Master Classes at Fontfroide (download 2 MB PDF) (Narbonne, France) and attended the Holland Music Sessions (Bergen, Netherlands) in July and August. Between the courses, he traveled to Paris and Berlin, and played chamber music with his musical relatives in Amsterdam.
Timothy Young, an instrumental/general music education major and bassoonist, spent a week on a production crew assembling, operating, and tearing down staging, audio, and lighting for the inaugural Eaux Claires Music Festival. The rest of his time was spent practicing, working as a sound and lighting technician for the Wisconsin Union, counseling at UW-Madison’s Summer Music Clinic, and visiting family and friends.
In July, voice performance major Alannah Spencer, a student of Paul Rowe, attended the Illinois-based young artist program, the Midwest Institute of Opera. Here she worked with coaches and teachers from around the U.S. and performed the role of La Bergere/La Chouette in Ravel’s opera “L’enfant est les sortileges.” This year Alannah will be wrapping up both her music and her anthropology degrees while serving as the concert office assistant for the School of Music.
Recent alumna and flutist Hinano Ishii (B.M., 2015), who plans a career in arts administration, enjoyed her summer working as an operations and education intern at Bravo! Vail Music Festival in Colorado. Her responsibilities included coordinating logistics and assisting on-site production for the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and various quartets. In addition, she worked closely with guest artists and conductors including Alan Gilbert, Midori, Augustin Hadelich, Alisa Weilerstein and Christopher O’Riley.
This summer pianist Ian Tomaz, a student of Martha Fischer, spent six weeks at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina as a participant in the 79th Annual BMC Summer Music Festival, where he studied with Elisabeth Pridonoff and Donna Lee, working on new repertoire in addition to participating in recitals and masterclasses. This semester he will be taking classes in piano and vocal repertoire, “Survey of the Classical Era” with musicology professor Charles Dill, and a philosophy course entitled “The Meaning of Life”, in addition to chamber music and lessons. He will graduate with a BM in piano performance in 2017.
Isidora Miranda, a PhD candidate in Historical Musicology and a student of Pamela Potter, recently concluded a six-month research trip to the Philippines. Her research took her to various archives in Manila, looking at zarzuela and operetta scores from the first two decades of the 20th century, and perusing rare documents from the early American colonial period. Before heading back to the Midwest, Isi gave a presentation on the 1904 zarzuela Minda Mora at the European Association for Southeast Asian Studies held on August 12, 2015 at the University of Vienna.
In June, DMA saxophone student Steve Carmichael, a student of Les Thimmig, attended the James Houlik Saxophone Retreat and the Wild Acres Flute Retreat in Little Switzerland, North Carolina, where he studied with classical saxophone virtuoso James Houlik and baroque flute expert Stephen Preston. He performed new works for saxophone, as well as the music of Toru Takemitsu. Steve also performed recitals through out the Midwest and southern states. This year he plans to present four recitals and take Music of the Romantic Period, saxophone instruction, and perform in the Wind Ensemble and Contemporary Composers Ensemble.
We also placed the following photo and paragraph on our Facebook page, which is steadily acquiring new fans! (are you one?)
Junior trombonist Tom Kelly won the concerto competition at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival. DMA horn candidate Sarah Gillespie traveled to the Max Planck institute in Germany to take real-time MRI video of the vocal folds of horn players as a pilot study for her dissertation. Master’s student and baritone Gavin Waid learned the role of the Count for UW-Madison University Opera’s upcoming production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.
Meet our new faculty: Violinist Soh-Hyun Park Altino and Clarinetist Wesley Warnhoff
A warm welcome to our new assistant professor of violin, Soh-Hyun Park Altino, who moved here in July to take the tenure-track position previously held by Prof. Felicia Moye, who now teaches at McGill University in Toronto. In Memphis, where she served on the faculty of the University of Memphis for fourteen years, Prof. Altino performed with the Ceruti Quartet and also in the Dúnamis Trio with pianist Victor Asunción and cellist husband Leonardo Altino. Prof. Altino has traveled worldwide to give master classes and participate in educational programs. Read about Prof. Altino on our website.
And reserve November 13, 8 PM in Mills Hall, for your first chance to hear Prof. Altino in concert. She will perform works of Bach, Brahms, and Ives, accompanied by Martha Fischer, professor of piano. Tickets $12 adults/students free. Buy here or at the hall day of show.
We also welcome Dr. Wesley Warnhoff, new adjunct professor of clarinet, who replaces the now-retired Linda Bartley, former professor of clarinet. Dr. Warnhoff is a founding member of the VCP International Trio, a violin, clarinet, piano trio that advocates new music performance, and he is also the principal clarinet of the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra in Michigan. In Madison, he will perform with the Wingra Woodwind Quintet. Read about Dr. Warnhoff here.
The world rediscovers long-lost works of Jewish performance, literature and visual art – starting this weekend in Madison
Researchers from the University of Leeds in England fly into Madison this week to participate in the first event of a yearlong foray to explore and discover previously unknown works of Jewish art from the early part of the 20th century, including works created during the Holocaust. School of Music music education professor Teryl Dobbsis the Madison link to the worldwide project, which continues in Minneapolis in September and then back to Madison in May, plus many performances and discussions in England and Ireland next spring and summer.
The August 30 events consist of a brunch with researchers ($12); a “Sound Salon” with the Mayrent Institute; a concert with the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society; and a two-act cabaret evening. Please note: Some venues may have reached capacity. Check link here.
37th Annual Karp Family Concert this Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7
7:30 PM, Mills Hall. Free
Family patriarch and emeritus piano professor Howard Karp passed away last summer, and pianist Frances Karp is injured, but the family will carry on with its end-of-summer tradition of family concerts. Performers will include Isabel Karp, narrating a Shakespeare poem to the music of viola (Katrin Talbot) and cello (Parry Karp). Pianist Christopher Karp and Parry Karp will perform Beethoven’s Sonata in A Major for Piano and Cello, and Parry Karp will present several solo works for cello.
The School of Music welcomes violinist Leslie Shankas visiting assistant professor of violin next fall, replacing Felicia Moye who has taken a position at McGill University in Montreal. Shank is a longtime member of the 55-year-old Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, one of the world’s most renowned chamber ensembles, known for its adventurous programming, commissions and world premieres. This week, the orchestra will premiere a new viola concerto composed by Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis.
Leslie is well-known to the musicians of Madison’s Pro Arte Quartet, who recommended her appointment. “I couldn’t be happier to welcome Leslie Shank to the UW School of Music this coming fall,” says David Perry, Pro Arte violinist. “Her performance and master classes in recent years have been inspirational, and it will be great for our students to benefit from her broad range of experience on a more regular basis.” Pro Arte violist Sally Chisholm praises Shank’s “wonderful and boundless energy.”
For her part, Shank is thrilled to have the opportunity to work at UW-Madison. “Phenomenal musicians come out of UW,” says Shank, which is not true of all universities, she adds. “I’m honored to be invited to join such amazing faculty. People would give their eyeteeth to be able to work in that department.” Hear Leslie perform in this audio clip from Minnesota Public Radio.
Shank will commute to Madison while maintaining her role as a violinist in St. Paul. She hopes to bring UW’s violinists to the Twin Cities for concerts, she adds.
Ms.Shank has been a member of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra since 1984 and was assistant concertmaster for 24 years. She gave her New York recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Hall as a winner of the Artists International Competition, and was twice re-engaged to perform on its Special Presentation Series. Shank has also performed as soloist with many orchestras, including the Seattle Symphony, the National Orchestral Association (also serving as concertmaster), and the Racine Symphony. Her recital at the celebrated Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago was broadcast on WFMT radio. She has also appeared with the Baltimore Symphony as guest associate concertmaster, and with the Indianapolis Symphony as guest concertmaster.
Ms. Shank currently serves as concertmaster of the “Music in the Mountains” Festival in Colorado, and has performed at numerous other festivals including Aspen, Grand Teton, Mainly Mozart, Marlboro, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Orcas Island Festival, and the Britt Festival, where she served as concertmaster of the festival orchestra. As a member of the prestigious Musicians from Marlboro, she performed several concerts throughout the East Coast. Additionally, she plays both violin and viola as a member of the Hot Dish Trio with pianist, Susan Billmeyer, and clarinetist, Karrin Meffert-Nelson.
On disc, Leslie can be heard on two Centaur releases, Recital for Violin & Guitar, with her husband, classical guitarist Joseph Hagedorn, and the Bartok Violin Sonatas with pianist Heather MacLaughlin. Ms. Shank’s interest in Bartok’s Violin Sonatas resulted in a trip to Hungary with pianist Heather MacLaughlin to study those works and was supported by a grant from the General Mills, Dayton Hudson and Jerome Foundations. The Shank-MacLaughlin Duo also received the prestigious McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians.
Leslie received bachelor and master of music degrees from The Juilliard School. Her teachers were Shirley Givens, Felix Galimir, and Dorothy Delay.
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.
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!
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):
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: