The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: A busy week at the UW-Madison includes FREE concerts of music for strings, winds, voice and brass

February 26, 2018
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By Jacob Stockinger

This week will be busy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music.

There is something just about every day and all of it is FREE and OPEN to the public.

For all events, including some interesting doctoral recitals and lectures, go to: https://www.music.wisc.edu/events/

Here is a schedule of the major events:

TUESDAY

NOTE: The concert by guest artists flutist Cristina Ballatori and guitarist Jonathan Dotson has been CANCELED.

At 7:30 in Mills Hall, a concert and discussion of Eastern European string music will be given by Maria Pomianowska (below top) and Seth Parker Woods (below bottom in a photo by Michael Yu).

For more information, go to:

https://www.music.wisc.edu/event/maria-pomianowska-seth-parker-woods-eastern-european-string-music/

WEDNESDAY

At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW trombonist Mark Hetzler (below top, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) and UW collaborative pianist Martha Fischer (below bottom) will perform music from their latest CD on Summit Records “Themes and Meditations.” Featured composers include Sandro Fuga, Jan Bach, Anthony Plog, Anthony Barfield and Frank Bridge.

For more information, go to: https://www.music.wisc.edu/event/faculty-duo-recital-mark-hetzler-trombone-martha-fischer-piano/

THURSDAY

At 7 p.m. at Oakwood Village West, 6209 Mineral Point Road, in Madison’s far west side near West Towne Mall, the UW Wingra Wind Quintet will perform a free concert. Sorry, no words on composers or pieces on the program. Members are (below, from left, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) bassoonist Marc Vallon, flutist Timothy Hagen, clarinetist Alicia Lee, oboist Aaron Hill, and hornist Joanna Schulz.

FRIDAY

At 5 p.m. in Morphy Hall, the voice students of UW professor Mimmi Fulmer (below) will perform a “Rush Hour Recital” of classical and popular songs. Sorry, no word on composers or pieces on the program.

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW cellist Parry Karp (below left), who plays with the Pro Arte Quartet, will perform a recital with longtime partner pianist Eli Kalman (below right), who did his graduate studies at UW-Madison and now teaches at UW-Oshkosh.

The program features the “Romance for Violin and Piano” by Polish composer Karl Szymanowski as transcribed by Karp; the Cello Sonata No. 2 in F major by Johannes Brahms; and the Sonata for Cello and Piano by French composer Charles-Valentin Alkan. (You can hear the original setting of the Szymanowski Romance in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

For more information, go to:

https://www.music.wisc.edu/event/faculty-recital-parry-karp-cello-and-eli-kalman-piano/

SUNDAY

At 3 p.m. in Morphy Hall the winners of the Irving Shain Woodwind and Piano Duo Competition will perform. The winners have not yet been named and there is no program yet posted. Stay tuned and go to here for an update: https://www.music.wisc.edu/event/irving-shain-woodwind-piano-duo-competition-winners-recital/


Classical music: The new “Met Live in HD” season opens this Saturday afternoon with an acclaimed performance by Anna Netrebko in Verdi’s “Macbeth.” Plus, the UW-Madison six-day brass festival opens tonight.

October 8, 2014
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ALERT: The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music’s brass festival, “Celebrate Brass,” starts TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall with the UW-Madison Wisconsin Brass Quintet and composer Anthony Plog. It runs through next Monday. All events and concert except the big one on this Saturday night — are FREE and open to the public.

Here is a link to a previous story about it:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/classical-music-education-an-impressive-and-long-overdue-brass-festival-celebrate-brass-will-be-held-at-the-uw-madison-school-of-music-it-opens-next-wednesday-oct/

And here is a link to a complete schedule of the festival:

http://www.music.wisc.edu/brass-festival/

Wisconsin Brass Quintet 2014 CR Megan Aley

By Jacob Stockinger

Recently, the famed Metropolitan Opera (below) in New York City had to weather some pretty severe turbulence –- labor strife that threatened to close down the Met and delay the opening of its season.

Metropolitan Opera outdoors use Victor J. Blue NYT

But general director Peter Gelb (bel0w) and his negotiators reached an agreement with several labor unions, and everything remains on schedule.

Peter Gelb

That means the new season of “Met Live in HD” will open this Saturday with the acclaimed production of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Macbeth” that features soprano Anna Netrebko in a major role that is unusually and unexpectedly dramatic for her. The conductor is Fabio Luisi.

Verdi Macbeth 2014 MET

That successful production should be very good news. The “MET Live in HD” program in seen in hundreds of cities around the world, and is one of the big moneymakers for the Met.

Main showings in Madison are this Saturday at 11:55 a.m. at the Point Cinemas on Madison’s far west side and the Eastgate Cinema on the city’s far east side. Running time is about 3-1/2 hours.

Admission is $24 for adults, $18 for children.

Encore showing are usually at 6:30 pm. on the following Wednesday and cost $18.

Here is some background including a review by New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini and a profile of Anna Netrebko  (below), who can be heard singing an aria from the same opera, in a different production with conductor Valery Gergiev in Russia, at the bottom in a YouTube video.

Here is the link to the review by Anthony Tommasini:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/26/arts/music/in-the-mets-macbeth-anna-netrebko-as-the-scheming-wife.html?_r=0

And here is the feature about diva Anna Netrebko:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/arts/after-anna-netrebkos-macbeth-triumph-norma-is-next.html

Anna Netrebko - Romy 2013

Want to know more about the Met’s HD season so you can plan?

Here is a link to see other information, including the entire season’s offering with dates, times, artist biographies, audio-video clips, synopses and program notes.

The season features lots of standards, including Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” and Jacques Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffmann” “Carmen,” and some unusual works by Peter Tchaikovsky and Bela Bartok:

http://www.metopera.org/metopera/liveinhd/live-in-hd-2014-15-season

MET LIve in HD poster 2014-15

 

 

 

 

 


Classical music Q&A: American composer Steven Bryant explains why wind and brass bands don’t get more respect as serious music ensembles, even as he prepares for a residency and a premiere this week at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

February 19, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

Starting this Wednesday, American composer Steven Bryant (below, b. 1972) will be in residence at the University of Wisconsin School of Music.

Steven Bryant 2

His residency, which organizers say should help attract the public’s attention to band music at the UW, will culminate in a FREE concert on Saturday night at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall. Bryant will be present.

That is also when the UW Wind Ensemble (below top, rehearsing) will be joined by the Wisconsin Brass Quintet  to perform several works by contemporary composers. They include “Firefly” by Ryan George (b. 1978); “Concerto 2010” for Wind Ensemble and Brass Quintet by Anthony Plog (b. 1947); “Hymn to a Blue Hour by John Mackey (b. 1973) ;” and the Wisconsin premiere of Bryant’s Concerto for Wind Ensemble (2010), conducted by Scott Teeple. The Wisconsin Brass Quintet (below bottom), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season as artists-in-residence at the UW, will join the UW Wind Ensemble.

UW Wind Ensemble rehearsal

Wisconsin Brass Quintet 2013

Even while Bryant (below) was doing another residency in Indianapolis, he agreed to an email Q&A with The Ear about his upcoming residency at the UW-Madison:

steven bryant

Could you briefly introduce yourself to the public?

I’m a freelance composer and occasional conductor, living in Durham, North Carolina, where my wife is on the faculty at Duke University. I am still in awe at my good fortune to be able to make my living doing exactly what I want to do.

Why do you think much of the classical music public doesn’t take bands – that is winds and brass – as seriously as say strings, piano, voice, etc.? What can be done about that and to heighten the profile of bands?

Historically, bands have been either military (playing only marches and ceremonial music) or community ensembles, with no set instrumentation or symphonic repertoire. Today, the most visible manifestation of bands, at least in the US, is marching bands at football games. (For information about the UW-Madison band program, visit: http://www.music.wisc.edu/bands)

Part of the problem is the lack of repertoire of music created expressly for the ensemble, and a lack of professional ensembles to present the music to the public.

However, the number of serious composers writing for band (or wind ensemble, or wind symphony, or wind orchestra -– whatever you want to call it!) has increased dramatically in the last 20 or 30 years, and the performance level of the top university ensembles now rivals professional playing, so I hope this view is changing. (Below is a photo of the UW Wind Ensemble performing.)

I view the band (and encourage composers who have never considered it as a potential medium to do the same) as a large new music ensemble with infrastructure behind it. The sheer number of ensembles in the US and around the world, and their eager interest in new music, means you have a much better chance at receiving multiple performances.

UW Wind Ensemble performance

What would you like to say about your new Concerto for Wind Ensemble that received its world premiere in 2010 by the Wind Ensemble at the University of Texas-Austin (below is a photo of rehearsals for that Texas performance, and at bottom Bryant introduces his YouTube videos about composing the concerto) and which will receive its Wisconsin premiere Saturday night ? What special things should the public listen for or pay attention to?

In my Concerto for Wind Ensemble I set out to create a lot of music from a very small amount of source material. Most of the music you’ll hear throughout all five movements is presented in the first half of Movement I.

The other material is introduced in Movement III, which is built entirely from a Trumpet solo my father played years ago, and which I transcribed from an old cassette tape a couple of years after he passed away. At one point, the Trumpet and the Sax (my instrument) play the nearly intact solo together.

If you want to know more about the work and its performance history, you can go to my website:

http://stevenbryant.com/concertoforwindensemble.php

Steve Bryant Conceto for Wind Ensemble at UT-Austin

What there an Aha! Moment – perhaps a piece or performer or composer – when you knew you wanted to become a professional composer and musician?

Music was always around the house, since my father was a gigging musician as well as a band director and music educator. I was fascinated from an early age with the act of writing music on a staff, even before I quite knew what the notes were.

One specific catalyst that pushed me into writing was Bruce Hornsby’s single, “The Way It Is.” I was in middle school, and decided I wanted to learn to play it, so I sat at the piano and figured it out. From there, I started writing my own (truly awful) pop songs, followed by pep band arrangements of early Chicago tunes, cheesy “new age” synth pieces in high school, and then a brass quartet and ultimately a piece for my high school band.

I made no distinction in my mind among these – they were all simply the fascinating act of creating and writing down music.

Want would you like to say about the UW-Madison and Madison – ties you have, things you have heard or know about?

I’ve never been on the campus of UW-Madison, and have only been in the city of Madison one time for about eight hours, so I’m very much looking forward to my visit!


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