By Jacob Stockinger
The UW Arts Institute and School of Music have forwarded the following:
On Aug 24, 2009, Mary Pautz ( email@example.com ) wrote:
“I am an alumna of Madison (PhD). I did my work when Eunice Boardman (formerly Eunice Meske) was director and I graduated in 1988. (She is pictured at right in a photo provided by the UW School of Music.)
“I am attempting to reach as many music people (past and present) as I can to let them know that Eunice Boardman died on May 5.
“I flew up from Florida (where I now live) to see her in hospice in February. It was a very touching visit and goodbye. I flew again for her funeral, but felt that a memorial celebration was needed in Wisconsin. So here is the invitation/notice that I am sending out today.
“Hope you can come. (Joan Wildman is playing “Amazing Grace” at the celebration.)”
— Mary Pautz
Here is a statement about Dr. Eunice Boardman (1926 – 2009):
Eunice Boardman was a great influence on music education in Wisconsin.
As chair of the School of Music at UW Madison, she welcomed those attending the annual state music conference each year. An active member of Wisconsin Music Educators Association, Eunice served as research chair on the board of directors and presented numerous sessions on elementary music at the state music conference. Eunice was a recipient of the WMEA Distinguished Service Award. In addition to her service to WMEA, Eunice served on countless commissions and committees for MENC. She also wrote and edited books published by MENC. She was inducted into the MENC Hall of Fame in 2004.
Eunice Boardman is well known nationally and internationally for the Holt music textbooks which she authored as well as for her countless music education workshops presented throughout the world.
Barbara Andress, Fred Willman, and Mary Pautz would like to invite all music educators to a celebration of Eunice’s life and legacy to be held at Marcy Elementary School (Hamilton School District, Sussex, Wis.), one of the locations of the long running and highly regarded workshop, “Retreat and Retread.”
The celebration will be Sunday, Sept. 20, at 2 p.m. with a reception to follow at 3:00 p.m. Marcy School is located just west of Milwaukee at W180N4851 Marcy Rd., in Menomonee Falls, Wis. If possible, please rsvp to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Eunice Boardman was one of the most influential music educators of the 20th century. She was a teacher of teachers and a leader of leaders. Her prolific writing, her years of preparing music teachers and her role in higher education earned her the greatest respect and highest accolades.
Eunice received the highest honor from MENC when she inducted into the MENC Hall of Fame in 2004. She received WI’s highest honor when she was given the WMEA Distinguished Service Award and she was honored by her alma mater, Cornell College, with an honorary doctorate.
Eunice was the senior author of the highly successful K-8 general music textbooks published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston: (“Exploring Music,” “The Music Book” and “Holt Music.”) Her books, “Musical Growth in the Elementary School,” “Dimensions of Musical Learning and Teaching: A Different Kind of Classroom” are widely used by teachers in the schools and in university classes.
Eunice Boardman was a much sought after clinician, presenting workshops, seminars and lectures at the local, state, national and international level. She was highly respected and revered by her colleagues for her vision, her passion and her energy. Eunice was tireless in promoting her vision of how children learn known as “The Generative Approach to Music Learning.”
Eunice Boardman shattered glass ceilings … challenged us to do more than we thought we could .. led by example…invited and opened doors.
She was a wonderful teacher, a superb mentor, a great adviser and a dear friend! There was only ONE Eunice!
Do you have memories of Eunice Boardman you would like to share?
Comments you would like to make?
Plans to attend her memorial?
By Jacob Stockinger
Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy – the liberal Democrat from Massachusetts — died Tuesday night at the age of 77, after battling brain cancer for a year.
Like Moses, he viewed the Promised Land — national health care — but was not allowed to enter it. Still, his impact on social legislation affecting children, women, minorities, the poor and workers is certain to be deep and enduring.
His funeral is set for Saturday in Boston, and he will be buried near his brothers John F. and Robert F., in Arlington National Cemetery.
One wonders: What music would you choose to best memorialize him?
Kennedy, the third longest serving senator is U.S. history, was a devout Catholic and of Irish descent. He also loved music and especially singing.
Yet other kinds of music, with a different ethnic origin or religious affiliation, would be quite appropriate, no?
Brahms’ “German” Requiem would be ideal, especially the last movement, with its emphasis on “Blessed are the Dead, For their Works Live After Them.”
Alternatively, a man who knew such tragedy, scandal and turmoil might best be memorialized with the reassuring quietness of Faure’s Requiem.
Then there are Chopin’s famed Funeral March from his Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 35, and Beethoven’s Funeral Marches “for heroes” from the Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”) and the Piano Sonata in A-flat, Op. 26.
Perhaps there is just the right song, by Schubert or someone else. Or maybe someone knows just the right aria or chorus from a Bach cantata, Handel oratorio or Mozart Mass?
Anyway, send in your suggestions, as well as how they relate to your thoughts about Kennedy and his legacy.
Maybe no one will pay attention.
But, then again, maybe someone out there will.
And we can always listen, and mourn, in private.
By Jacob Stockinger
It’s Wednesday. That means it’s time for me to choose some best picks for classical music fans in the Madison area to attend during the next week.
Things are pretty slow here right now, so this week’s selection is easy: If you have the time, go check out the 20th annual Token Creek Chamber Music Festival, which runs Aug. 29 through Sept. 6. (The barn entrance and ticket office are pictured below right in a photo by Tom Artin.)
You can visit the festival’s well organized website and see details about performers and programs as well as tickets prices ($10-$35) and availability. Information can be found at www.tokencreekfestival.org or by calling 608 241-2525.
Here are driving directions: the Festival Barn is located northeast of Madison at 4037 Highway 19 in DeForest. The Barn is 0.6 miles east of Highway 51, just west of the hamlet of Token Creek.
Look for the Festival sign on the south side of the road, right after you see the striking Tidy Bowl-blue pond that stands out against the surrounding green fields. After turning at the Festival sign, bear to the left to reach the parking area, then walk the short distance to the Barn. Ample parking is available for all events. Dress for comfort. Doors open 30 minutes before the program begins.
Also, here is a quick run-down of an event that is unique and justly celebrated for the quality of the local and imported talent (both established and up-and-coming) as well as the often usual and inventive programming.
It all takes place in a comfortably refurbished and intimate setting of a real barn in nearby Token Creek. If you’ve been there, you know the charm of the woody music room (below right, in another photo by Tom Artin), the beautifully kept grounds and the friendly hospitality.
And if you haven’t been there, well you owe it to yourself to check it out.
The concert opens with Harvard pianist and Mozart scholar-reconstructor Robert Levin performing two Mozart piano concerts (in C Major, K. 413, and F Major , K. 415) with a pick-up orchestra. That will take place this Saturday, Aug. 29, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 30, at 4 p.m. (The Sunday performance is sold-out, but you can call and check for last-minute cancellations.)
Other highlights of the 20th annual season:
*The 70th birthday year of artistic director, the Pulitzer Prize-winning, MacArthur Fellowship winning composer John Harbison (below right, in a photo by Katrin Talbot), celebrated with two of his own works, and two of his favorite composers, Bach and Haydn, on the festival’s final concert. Harbison, whose brief but illuminating commentaries about the programs are alone with the price of admission, co-directs the festival with his violinist-wife Rose Mary Harbison.
*A recital on Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 8 p.m. by the iconoclast pianist Russell Sherman, of the New England Conservatory of Music. Sherman was the teacher of Madison’s own UW virtuoso Christopher Taylor and of Christopher O’Riley, who two seasons ago performed his solo piano transcriptions of Radiohead coupled to preludes and fugues by Shostakovich at the Wisconsin Union Theater. Sherman will perform Chopin’s 24 Preludes (op. 28) and Debussy’s Book 2 of Preludes.
Although they are not part of this week’s picks, others notable events — the last of which will surely be among next Wednesday’s picks — include:
*A popular jazz club on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, (Sept. 3, 4 and 5) featuring songs of Jimmy van Heusen, most with lyrics of Johnny Burke, one of the most important American lyricists of popular songs from the 1920s through the 1950s (works performed by the likes of Guy Lombardo, Paul Whiteman, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra) who was also a student at UW-Madison in the late 1920s. (I know, I know–it’s not classical. But it is deeply American and very popular and Madison-related.)
*John Harbison/Georgia O’Keeffe concerts and special event. Both worked in Santa Fe and are featured in an event that is co-sponsored by the Sun Prairie Historical Society. Harbison’s 1987 Piano Quintet. Other works (Harbison’s Microwaltzes, for piano; Bach’s Sonata in F minor, for violin and keyboard; and Haydn’s Trio in G minor, Hob. XV:19, for violin, cello and piano) on Saturday, Sept. 5, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 6, at 4 p.m.
In addition, a special program about O’Keeffe and Harbison who share Sante Fe ties, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 5, at 4 p.m. when University of Wisconsin Chazen Museum of Art curator Maria Saffiotti Dale, historian Joe Chase and others will join in a discussion and presentation of O’Keeffe and Harbison. Tickets are specially priced at $10. NOTE: For ticket and information, contact Joe Chase at 608 825-1164 of email@example.com. THE TOKEN CREEK FESTIVAL IS UNABLE TO SUPPLY TICKETS TO THIS EVENT.
If you go, be sure to say what you saw and heard, and what you think of what you saw and heard. You be the critic.
The Ear wants to hear.
By Jacob Stockinger
A brief news item today:
Riccardo Muti, the Italian maestro who will succeed Daniel Barenboim as the conductor and music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra starting in the 2010-11 season, has also just signed on as director of the Rome Opera, beginning in December 2010, which hopes to challenges the supremacy of La Scala in Milan.
Apparently the professional music world viewed Chicago’s snagging of the highly regarded Muti as a great coup that New York and others couldn’t bring off. This news just offers more proof of that.
It sure makes one want to make a trip to Chicago to take a listen and judge for oneself in Symphony Hall.
Hey, maybe the Madison Symphony Orchestra or some other local group, could offer a bus trip to a CSO concert the way the Madison Museum of Contemporary busses people down to the Art Institute or the Madison Opera arranges trips to the Chicago Lyric Opera.
In mid-October, Muti, now a principal guest conductor of the CSO, will come to Chicago to conduct Mozart’s “Haffner” Symphony, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 2 and Brahms’ “German” Requiem. (For more information, visit http://www.cso.org. The CSO is seen below in its home Orchestra Hall).
Personally, I would also like to see some local organization — may the UW School of Music or the Wisconsin Union Theater or the Madison Area Piano teachers Association – offer tickets and transportation to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Sunday afternoon piano recital series, which this season will feature Maurizio Pollini, Radu Lupu and Stephen Kovacevich, all of whom are unlikely to make it to a market like Madison very soon.
Does anybody else share that interest?
What do you think of Muti’s conducting?
Do you want or expect to go hear Muti in Chicago?
What is your favorite work on CD conducted by Muti?
The Ear wants to hear.
By Jacob Stockinger
Mark your calendars: The University of Wisconsin School of Music plans to mark the Chopin Year this spring when Piano Partners, a UW support organization, will host a Chopin Extravaganza weekend on March 12 and 13, 2010.
Say “piano,” and you might as well say Chopin (a photo taken late in his life can be seen at right).
And 2010 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Polish “poet of the piano” who spent most of his short life (he was born on March 1, 1810 in Warsaw and died on Oct. 11, 1849 at 39) in exile in Paris.
Chopin rarely gave public concerts, but he taught many students and composed his unique and deeply appealing and popular fusion
of classical and romantic styles (he adored Bach and Mozart) in a way that altered forever how the piano is played and appreciated. He was a meticulous crafter, as the marked up manuscript pictured at left shows.
UW virtuoso and Van Cliburn Competition bronze medalist Christopher Taylor (pictured below) will perform an all-Chopin program on Friday, March 12, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall. (There are no details yet on the program, but it seems likely it will include at least one or two big pieces like a ballade, a scherzo or a sonata. Several seasons ago, Taylor, a wizard at technique, performed both the Op. 10 and Op. 25 etudes in one concert.)
On Saturday, March 13, the UW will host a Chopin marathon that will feature UW undergraduate and graduate students performing the complete mazurkas, which many see, along with the etudes and preludes, as Chopin’s most radical and modern compositions.
There will also be workshops and master classes given by the UW keyboard faculty on March 13.
A similar celebration of Robert Schumann, who was also born in 1810, is planned for the fall of 2010.
And, one suspects, some kind of Liszt celebration will be in the offing during 2011, which is the bicentennial of his birth.
Stay tuned for more details on all fronts.
In related news, all three of Jeffrey Siegel’s Keyboard Conversations this season will also focus on Chopin: “Chopin for Lovers” on Nov. 10, “Chopin the Patriot” on March 16; and “Chopin and the Future” on April. All concerts are on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall. They are free for UW student, $32 and $35 for others. For information about tickets, call the Wisconsin Union Theater box office 262-2201 or visit the WUT homepage.
What do you think of the planned Chopin celebration by UW faculty and students?
Do you expect to attend one or more of the events?
What’s your favorite Chopin piece to play? To Listen to?
Who is your favorite Chopin pianist? What is your favorite Chopin recording?
The Ear wants to hear.
By Jacob Stockinger
Words and music, and the music of words.
I’m a big fan of Wisconsin Public Radio. I love listening to it. I wake up to it and drive to it. I read to it and do chores to it.
So I speak as a friend when I ask: What on earth is WPR thinking? What is it about to do?
The plan is, starting Monday, Aug. 31, to move Garrison Keillor’s 5-minute “The Writer’s Almanac” from its longtime weekday home at 8:51 a.m. (at the end of “Morning Edition” ) to a 1 p.m. slot on the FM network (tune to WERN 88.7 FM in the Madison area) and replace it in the morning with “Marketplace’s Morning Report.”
To my mind, the last time such an unfortunate schedule gaff was made was when they moved Terry Gross’ thoroughly engrossing hour-long interview program “Fresh Air” from mid-afternoon (3 p.m.) to 6 p.m.
That’s exactly dinnertime, when most of us are doing other things and can’t catch one of the most literate and informative programs on the airwaves, especially in this era of junky, bullying and stupid talk radio and cable TV.
Now, I’m sure many people want to know about the economy these days, even though Wall Street has barely opened by 8:51 a.m.
But poetry seems like such a great transition from “Morning Edition” to “Morning Classics.” After all, poetry highlights the music of words. The writer Lawrence Durrell (“The Alexandria Quartet”) once described poetry as words in search of music and the famed American poet Wallace Stevens said of his own poetry that if it came to a choice between the meaning and the music, the reader should choose the music.
Besides, there does seem to be a way to have it both ways.
How about airing “The Writer’s Almanac” (a much better way to greet a new morning than a new afternoon) at 8:51 (and again at 1 p.m., if they really want) and putting “Marketplace’s Morning Report” at, say, at 8:55 or 9:04, either right before or right after the 9 a.m. news headlines?
That would postpone classical music for just a couple minutes (out of the six hours of music that follow before “All Things Considered” starts) and you wouldn’t miss anything because they could adjust the schedule of music to be aired. (By the way, the full daily version “Marketplace” regularly airs Monday to Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is well worth listening to. So my protest has nothing to do with the quality of “Market Place.”)
In any case, music has more to do with poetry than with markets or money.
Besides, The Ear says WPR should remain an alternative to mainstream radio and TV, and not chase after the same audience demographics.
But what do you say?
Tell WPR what you think by going to http://wpr.org/forms/feedback.cfm and leaving a comment.
And don’t forget to leave a comment here about what you think, pro or con.
The Ear wants to hear.
By Jacob Stockinger
Well, it seems Mr. Well-Tempered has an Ear for news as well as beautiful sound.
In July, even before it was publicly announced, I learned that the University of Wisconsin School of Music — which will open its 2009-10 season of 300-plus concerts, as it always does, with the Karp Family Labor Day Concert on Monday, Sept. 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, pictured at right — will not charge admission to its prestigious and deservedly praised Faculty Concert Series for this season.
That’s right: Concerts by the UW faculty members this season are free. (The UW Opera and Choral Union will still charge modest admission to cover costs, however.)
(By the way, this year’s 33rd annual Karp Family Concert program features Mendelssohn’s Piano Quartet in C Minor, Op. 1; Hans Huber’s Waltzes for piano-four hands, violin and cello; and Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio — the latter a tuneful, accessible and moving masterpiece of chamber music if there ever was one . Add that appealing program to the new no-admission policy, and the Karps (pianist-mom Frances and pianist-dad Howard, cellist son Parry, violinist son Christopher and violist daughter-in-law Katrin Talbot along with guest violinist Suzanne Beia) should see a packed or even full house, which, on the basis on past performances they certainly deserve.
The admission fee was instituted many years ago with the laudable goal of raising scholarship money for the school’s students. And for many, many seasons it seemed to work well.
But in a bad economy, admission fees and ticket handling costs ate into attendance and revenue. So Music School director John William Schaffer has wisely decided to drop admission for at least a year.
“We know that many of you are dealing with the consequences of a spiraling downturn in the economy,” Schaffer (above, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) writes in a letter in the season brochure. “We feel that great music is such a constant positive force in our society that we do not want anyone to miss an important musical experience due to the cost of a ticket.”
One also also expects, perhaps mistakenly, other things added to the decision.
The admission fee had risen to $9, with some small discounts for quantity and seniors. Bad move. That’s pretty high, especially in a bad economy or for people on a fixed or low income.
Add to that the increasing ticket processing costs and especially the escalating parking fees, up unreasonably in a few years from $1 several years ago to $5 now, and that too made what I have long called “the best deal in town” less financially attractive, less “deal-ish,” if you will.
Plus, of course, especially with the opening of the Overture Center, there are also more cultural events taking place in the small place at the same times, so competition takes its toll.
But won’t losing the scholarship money hurt the School of Music students during hard times?
One can wonder why they didn’t cut the baby in half, so to speak. How about a steep price cut to $3, or maybe $5 tops, with appropriate discounts and the prices guaranteed for, say, the next five years until the School of Music opens its new music halls (an 800-seat concert hall and a 350-seat recital hall) in 2013? Maybe free or reduced parking (how about a season-long “arts supporter” off-hours parking pass?) at Grainger Hall on concert nights could be thrown in. Most listeners, one suspects, are happy to contribute via admission to the school’s well-being and students’ welfare.
Schaffer responds in an open letter included in the season brochure. (To get a brochure or find out about concerts, call the school at 263-1900 or the concert hotline at 263-9485; go on-line and visit music.wisc.edu and go to the “Events Calendar”; or send your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org/edu for sign up for the electronic events digest.)
Schaffer says that the no-admission policy is a “gift” made by the UW School of Music in the hope that those listeners who can afford it will make a generous donation to the school’s scholarship fund and it will all come out awash, maybe even ahead, of ticket revenue.
The Ear hopes he is right—and will be checking periodically to see if he is.
In any case, however you look at it, “the best classical deal in town” just got better.
How can you beat hearing for free such outstanding artists as pianist Christopher Taylor; oboist Marc Fink and flutist Stephanie Jutt; soprano Julia Faulkner and tenor James Doing; violinists David Perry and Felicia Moye; trumpeter John Aley; the Pro Arte String Quartet, the Wingra Woodwind Quintet, the Wisconsin Brass Quartet; and so many other first-rate individuals and ensembles?
But what about you?
Will you attend the Karp Family Concert, which is usually the top attraction of the UW faculty series?
What do you think of UW Faculty Concert Series, which has brought listeners some very memorable moments?
And what do you think of the free admission policy and the effect it will have on the UW Faculty Recital Series and other local musical presenters? Will you go to more UW faculty concerts because they are free?
Finally, will you send in a donation to make up for free admission and help out the music student scholarship fund?
Let The Ear, whose donation check is already in the mail, know.
This is Jacob Stockinger.
Hello, and welcome to The Well-Tempered Ear, a new blog about classical music in the Madison area.
Several months ago, Ralph Russo, the cultural arts director at the Wisconsin Union Theater, approached me with the idea of starting the blog.
“It will be your blog but we’ll host it and other individuals and organizations can bookmark it or link to it,” Russo said, adding that he does not expect me to do public relations for him, even though, as I have often said before in print, I consider the Wisconsin Union Theater (which will celebrate the 90th anniversary of its Concert Series this season) the Carnegie Hall of Madison. It may not be the most glamorous or newest or biggest concert hall, but it is where the great ones perform, and it has a matchless record for presenting classical music.
The idea, Russo added, is simply to heighten the public’s awareness of
classical music around town by calling on my experience as an arts reporter, writer, critic and editor with almost 30 years of working at The Capital Times and writing a weekly column in the now-defunct Rhythm section that appeared in both The Capital Times and the Wisconsin State Journal.
The hope, according to Russo, is that more public awareness of the local classical music scene will translate into more public interest, and perhaps generate more ticket sales not only for the Wisconsin Union Theater but also for many of the other classical music presenters in the city and area. After all, given their modest size, Madison and Dane County (with a total population of around 550,00) are exceedingly rich in classical music, both quantity-wise and quality-wise.
Such a generous and cooperative outlook is a very smart strategy, I think, if competition and a bad economy are not to be the undoing of many local performers and presenters.
So just what will “The Well-Tempered Ear” be? (By the way, in case you didn’t already know it, the blog is named after the so-called “Old Testament” of classical music, Johann Sebastian Bach’s “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” his revolutionary two books of 48 preludes and fugues for the keyboard in all major and minor keys. And also FYI: Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas are referred to as “The New Testament.”)
Since The Ear, as I call it for short, is not a full-time job or even a part-time job, the blog will be selective rather than comprehensive. But I will try to touch on all kinds of concerts and organizations, big and small, well known and relatively obscure. I hope to provide something for everyone, but not everything for anyone.
Specifically, I hope to incorporate many different approaches and offer you some surprises, most of them pleasant.
I want to highlight art news in a competitive way. Money and politics play just as big a role in the arts as in other areas of public life, especially during these tough economic times.
I want to touch on social and artistic trends, and see how they apply locally.
I want to provoke controversy, reader responses and community participation.
I will review local concerts and give readers a chance to do the same.
I will review and recommend noteworthy new recordings and books about music.
I will critique local media coverage of the arts in newspapers and on radio and television.
I will offer some previews of concerts, most likely through interviews and question-and-answer profiles of performers or the other people involved in the complex collaborations that make up the performing arts.
I will offer what the late comedian George Carlin called “mind droppings,” just random thoughts about classical music as they come to me and might spark your agreement or disagreement.
And I hope to offer some helpful advice about which concerts to attend at a time and in a town where so many good choices can often leave listeners feeling left out or confused.
Sometime the postings will be short–just a couple of sentences – and sometimes they will be longer. Some may even be posted in installments.
I don’t know for sure how often I will add a posting, though right now my intent is to post several times a week, including a weekend guide on Wednesday — in time for audiences to make up their minds about where
to go and what to hear the following weekend.
It’s all pretty much experimental at this stage, a work-in-progress. But my hope is that you will find The Well-Tempered Ear both enjoyable and useful–perhaps even handy enough to make you add it as a “Favorite” on your PC or a “Bookmark” on your Mac.
Right now it feels good for me to be back.
I hope you feel the same way. But whether you do or you don’t, leave a comment and let me know what you think and what you want to read about.
You can even leave a story tip for me to pursue.
In the meantime, good listening to all.