The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Wisconsin Brass Quintet marks 40 years with a FREE concert and a world premiere this Friday night at the University of Wisconsin. | October 18, 2012

REMINDER: On Saturday, Oct. 20, at 8 p.m. in Morphy Recital Hall, UW clarinetist Linda Bartley (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) will perform a FREE concert  with Jeannie Yu, piano; and Sally Chisholm, viola. The program includes “Sonata in D” by Nino Rota; “Liquid Ebony” by Dana Wilson; “Cantilene” by Louis Cahuzac and “Scarlattiana for ClarinetViola and Piano” by Walter Mays.

By Jacob Stockinger

The acclaimed Wisconsin Brass Quintet (below in a photo by Katrin Talbot from 2011) will mark its 40th anniversary as artists-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin School of Music with a FREE concert tomorrow night (Friday, Oct. 19) at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall.

This program is dedicated to the memory of tuba player Jeff Hodapp (1957-2009, below), a former student, colleague and friend of members of the quintet  (below, who are, from the left,  Daniel Grabois, horn; Jessica Jensen, trumpet (unpictured); John Stevens, tuba; John Aley, trumpet; and Mark Hetzler, trombone.)

The concert will feature “Concert in D” by Igor Stravinsky, arranged by the group’s trombonist Mark Hetzler (below top, in a photo by Katrin Talbot); “Four English Madrigals” transcribed for brass quintet by Stephanie Frye; “Brass Quintet” by Ira Taxin; the world premiere of “Hodesanna” by UW composer John Stevens (below bottom), composed in memory of Jeff Hodapp; and “Quintette Victoria” by Ivan Jevtic.

Here is a link to a history with biographies of the five members:

Founded in 1972, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet is a faculty ensemble-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. The quintet’s musical expertise has been acknowledged by Verne Reynolds, Jan Bach, Karel Husa, John Harbison (below), Daron Hagen and many other composers.

In addition to performing with the WBQ, the players have also been members of the American Brass Quintet, Empire Brass Quintet and Meridian Arts Ensemble.

Quintet members John Stevens and Daniel Grabois and former member Douglas Hill (below) have also composed many works for the group.

With extensive performances throughout the Midwest and nationally, including appearances at New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall and Merkin Concert Hall, the quintet’s educational programs and master classes have been presented in such prestigious settings as The Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music.

They perform annual live radio broadcast concerts on Wisconsin Public Radio. Their three CD recordings, on the Summit, Mark and Crystal labels, feature music by John Stevens, Douglas Hill, Verne Reynolds, Daron Hagen, John Harbison (below) and Enrique Crespo.

An earlier LP recording features the only recording of Jan Bach’s “Rounds and Dances” and Hilmar Luckhardt’s “Brass Quintet.” (A photo of Jan Bach is below.)

Each of these works was composed for the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, in keeping with the WBQ’s commitment to commissioning and performing new music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Barry Kilpatrick writes for the American Record Guide: “I’ve reviewed over 250 brass recordings in the past five years, and this is one of the very best. The WBQ is a remarkable ensemble that plays with more reckless abandon, warmth, stylistic variety and interpretive interest than almost any quintet in memory.”

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