The Well-Tempered Ear

Contemporary classical music: UW composer Laura Schwendinger’s following and reputation grow; her work will be performed Tuesday night | November 23, 2009

By Jacob Stockinger

With a few exceptions — John Adams, Philip Glass, Steve Reich — more attention is being paid these days to classical performers than to composers.

But there are some important composers at work who have ties to Madison.

The biggest one currently is, of course, is John Harbison, who has won a Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” and who co-directs the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival.

But a relative newcomer to the University of Wisconsin School of Music — Laura Schwendinger (above)  — is building a reputation and a following, as well as solid series of performances both here and, more importantly, elsewhere.

Schwendinger is particularly timely this week because this Tuesday, Nov. 24, her work “Equatorial Jungle” will be performed by Sole Nero (UW pianist Jessica Johnson and UW percussionist Anthony Di Sanza) at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Concert Hall. The concert is free and open to the public.

Here is a link to review of another recent performance of her work in Chicago by the well known  contemporary group eighth blackbird in a review by the well known Chicago critic John von Rhein:,0,6445847.column

Here is a link to her impressive resume or biography at Wikipedia:

And here is a link to her 2003 interview with the Radcliffe Institute where she was a fellow:

Some UW groups seem devoted to premiering and promoting the work of their colleague.

But one wonders when larger groups in Madison — the Madison Symphony Orchestra or the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, for example  — will program one of her works so that her music (and her name) gain wider recognition in her hometown.

Have you heard Schwendinger’s work?

What do you think of it?

The Era wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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