The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: FREE percussion, brass and wind concerts are featured this week at the UW-Madison

March 9, 2020
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By Jacob Stockinger

In the week before Spring Break, the Mead Witter School of music at the UW-Madison will feature FREE concerts of percussion, brass and wind music.


At 7:30 p.m. in the Collins Recital Hall of the new Hamel Music Center, 740 University Ave., the percussion department will give a FREE recital. No program is listed.


At 7:30 p.m. in Collins Recital Hall, guest percussionist-composer Mark Stone (below) will give a FREE solo recital of original compositions for mbira and gyil.

The program will include music for the newly invented array mbira, an American-made 120 key lamellaphone. Stone will also share music composed for the Dagara gyil, a xylophone from Ghana as well as mbira traditions of South Africa and Uganda.

Also on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. in the Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall, the acclaimed Wisconsin Brass Quintet will give a FREE faculty recital.

The program is:

Johann Sebastian Bach – Contrapunctus IV from “Die Kunst Der Fuge” (The Art of Fugue). You can hear Canadian Brass perform it in the YouTube video at the bottom.

Andre Lafosse – “Suite Impromptu”

Werner Pirchner – “L’Homme au marteau dans la poche” (Man With a Hammer in His Pocket)

Rich Shemaria – “Pandora’s Magic Castle”

Per Nørgård – “Vision”

The 2019-2020 Wisconsin Brass Quintet (below) is: Jean Laurenz and Gilson Silva, trumpets; Daniel Grabois, horn; Mark Hetzler, trombone; and Tom Curry, tuba.

Please note: In spring 2020, Mark Hetzler will be on sabbatical. His replacement will be Will Porter (below), instructor of trombone at Eastern Illinois University . Read about Porter here


At 7:30 p.m. in the Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall, the UW Wind Ensemble will give a FREE concert.

The ensemble will perform under the batons of director Scott Teeple (below) and guest conductor Ross Wolf.

The program is:

Frank Ticheli: “Apollo Unleashed” from Symphony No. 2

Ching–chu Hu: In Memory Of…*

With special guest The Hunt Quartet
*World Premiere Performance/UW Band Commissioning Member

Morten Larudisen/Reynolds: “Contre Qui, Rose”
Beverly Taylor, guest conductor.

Jodie Blackshaw: Symphony, “Leunig’s Prayer Book”*
*Wisconsin Premiere


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Classical music: The popular and FREE Winter Concert by the UW-Madison choirs will be this Sunday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Also, two UW bands and the UW Chamber Orchestra will perform on Sunday. Plus, the UW School of Music has received a gift of $25 million from the Mead Witter Foundation.

December 4, 2015

NEWS ALERT: The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music has just received a major gift of $25 million from the Mead Witter Foundation. It will be used for the new performance center, which will open in 2018. Here is a link with details and background:

By Jacob Stockinger

It’s that time of the year.

It’s the end of the semester, and concerts are starting to stack up like planes over O’Hare.

Take this Sunday:


If you’re looking for a seasonal treat, the annual Winter Concerts of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music Choral Program will be this Sunday, Dec. 6, at Luther Memorial Church, 1021 University Ave.

There will be two performances: from 2-3 p.m. and then 4-5 p.m.

The performances are FREE and popular, so people are urged to arrive early.

The public will hear holiday pieces performed by the Madrigal Singers, Chorale, the Masters Singers, the Women’s Chorus, the University Chorus, Concert Choir and pieces sung by all the singers, as well as an organ prelude by UW-Madison Prof. John Chappell Stowe.

Sorry, no word yet on specific pieces or composers.

UW Winter Concert 2014

UW Winter Concert audience 2014


There will be two FREE band concerts on this Sunday.

At 2 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Concert Band will perform a FREE concert under director Scott Teeple. Sorry, no word about the works or composers on the program.

At 4 p.m. in Mills Hall, the University Bands, under several directors, will perform a FREE concert. Sorry, no word yet about the program.

UW concert band


At 7:30 p.m. the UW Chamber Orchestra (below), under director James Smith, will perform a FREE concert. The program features the hauntingNeo-Classical ballet score “Apollon Musagete” (Apollo Leader of the Muses, heard at bottom in a YouTube video) by Igor Stravinsky and the Suite, Op. 6, by the Czech composer Josef Suk.

uw chamber orchestra USE

Classical music education: The University of Wisconsin-Madison will have a chamber orchestra after all for this season.

September 9, 2015
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By Jacob Stockinger

In the on again-off again saga of having a chamber orchestra at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, there is good news to report.

That is heartening to hear, given that the music school has been ranked in the Top 10 of the nation and a chamber orchestra is important for student education because it offers a very different educational experience than a symphony orchestra. (The UW-Madison continues to have the UW Symphony Orchestra.)

This academic year and concert season, 2015-16, the UW-Madison will indeed once again have a chamber orchestra (below), which, if The Ear recalls correctly, had been threatened earlier with the lack of various instruments and players of high enough quality.

That lack was blamed on the lack of scholarships to lure top students away from competing music schools.

UW Chamber Orchestra entire

First, it was the lack of winds and brass that threatened the orchestra.

So the chamber ensemble was redesigned as a string orchestra.

But even a couple of weeks ago, the stumbling block appeared to be a lack of violists.

But now that problem has apparently been solved.

Conductor James Smith sent The Ear a tentative schedule of concert programs for the first semester. And the repertoire – subject to change — looks quite engaging.

Here it is:

SUNDAY, OCT. 4, AT 2 P.M. IN MILLS HALL: Serenade for Strings by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and “Death and the Maiden” by Franz Schubert as arranged by Gustav Mahler.

SUNDAY, NOV. 1, AT 2 P.M. IN MILLS HALL: Chamber Symphony for String Orchestra by Dmitri Shostakovich as arranged by Russian violist and conductor Rudolf Barshai; and the Serenade, Op. 22, by Antonin Dvorak

SUNDAY, DEC. 6, AT 7:30 P.M. IN MILLS HALL: the haunting beat score “Apollon Musagete (Apollo, Father of the Muses, heard at bottom in a YouTube video) by Igor Stravinsky; and the Serenade, Op. 6, by Czech composer Josef Suk.


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