The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Heading into Spring Break, the University of Wisconsin School of Music offers FREE concerts of percussion, vocal music from operas, piano quartets and orchestral music this week.

March 10, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

The headlong rush toward the end of the semester at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is about to begin with the Spring Break, which runs from March 15-23. After that is over, about six weeks or so of concerts remain, and the UW-Madison School of Music concert calendar will get even more jammed with conflicts.

So here are the events for this week before the break.

TUESDAY

At 7:30 p.m. in Music Hall, at the foot of Bascom Hill, an Opera Workshop will take place –probably the last one for University Opera to be done by its outgoing director Bill Farlow (below, in a photo by Kathy Esposito), who will retire at the end of the semester.

William Farlow by Kathy Esposito

The event usually features student singers in scenes from famous operas with piano accompaniment. Sorry, no word yet about the specific performers or works on the program. But the programs and performers usually get high marks from local opera fans.

MusicHall2

Also on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, guest marimba player Andy Harnsberger (below), will perform a FREE concert.

Andy Harnsberg with mallets

Harnberger will perform with members of the UW Western Percussion Ensemble (below), though The Ear has not received word of specific works on the program.

Western Percussion Ensemble

Andy Harnsberger (below) has performed as percussionist with numerous American orchestras, as well as the contemporary music ensemble “Currents”, and has toured extensively as percussionist and xylophone soloist with The Jack Daniel’s Silver Cornet Band. He has also made several guest appearances on NPR, both in interviews and in live performances, to bring public awareness to the marimba as a solo instrument.

andy harnsberger playing

Harnsberger is Assistant Professor of Music and Percussion Coordinator at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee and is active throughout the year as a freelance percussionist and recitalist. He is in demand as a clinician across the country and internationally, presenting clinics and master classes at many universities each year.

His compositions have been performed at PASIC and around the world and he is a recipient of the ASCAP PLUS award for his contributions to American Concert Music. Harnsberger earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he also received the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. Andy is a performing artist and clinician for Pearl Drums and Adams Musical Instruments, Innovative Percussion, Inc., Evans Drum Heads, Sabian Cymbals, Ltd., and Grover Pro Percussion.

Andy Harnsberger with instruments

Also on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. but in Morphy Recital Hall, cellist Mark Kosower and his pianist wife Jee-Won Oh (both below) will perform an evening of famous piano quartets: one in G minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (at the bottom you can hear a popular YouTube video the final movement of the Mozart quartet with an intriguing abstract animation or illustration); the other in C Minor by Johannes Brahms.

Mark Kosower and Jee-Won Oh

They will be joined by another wide-and-husband team: UW violin teacher and Madison violinist Eugene Purdue (below top) and Pro Arte Quartet violist Sally Chisholm (below bottom).

Eugene Purdue 1 Thomas C. Stringfellow

Sally Chisholm

Principal Cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Kosower will be at the UW School of Music March 10-12. He is on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music, and previously taught at the San Francisco Conservatory. He is from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and has performed in Madison on many previous occasions.

Kosower will also offer a cello master class on Wednesday, March 12, in the afternoon. The time and place are yet To Be Announced.

Learn more about Kosower at:

http://www.colbertartists.com/ArtistBio.asp?ID=62

mark kosower with bridge

WEDNESDAY

There is an afternoon master class with resident guest cellist Mark Kosower (below). SEE ABOVE.

Mark Kosower with cello

At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Chamber Orchestra (below), under director and conductor James Smith, will give a FREE concert.

The program includes the “Lucient” Variations by Milwaukee-born composer Michael Torke; “The Birds” by Ottorino Respighi; and
 the Serenade No. 2 by Johannes Brahms.

UW Chamber Orchestra entire

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Classical music: Mary Mackenzie, a former Madisonian now singing in New York City is seeking help to finance the first recording of composer John Harbison’s “Songs After Hours.”

January 6, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

Mary Mackenzie (below), a very accomplished singer, a friend of the blog and a former Madison resident, writes:

mary mackenzie

Dear Mr. Stockinger,

It has been quite a while since you saw me perform — I suspect it may have been “Brundibar” with Madison Opera in 2000! — but I always enjoy keeping up with your blog about all things musical in Madison.

I was last in Madison in August, and gave a recital at the Token Creek Music Festival (below, and art bottom in a YouTube video). Returning home to Madison to share my life-long love of song with family and friends is always a treat for me.

TokenCreekbarn interior

I was fortunate to have an extensive musical education in Madison. I was involved in the music programs at West High School, WYSO (Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra) and the Madison Opera, and I was able to see my mother play almost every week, either with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra or the Oakwood Chamber Players.

I went on to receive a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and later moved to New York City, where I received a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music.

I made my Carnegie Hall debut in the Stern Auditorium in November with the American Symphony Orchestra, singing “Warble for Lilac Time” by Elliott Carter (bel0w).

Elliott Carter

My eight years in New York City have been rich with a busy and varied singing career. I have made a name for myself as an interpreter of contemporary music – particularly art song and chamber music – and have worked with many prestigious living composers. (Below is Mary Mackenzie performing Harrison Birtwistle’s “Three Settings of Celan” with the Juilliard School’s Axiom Ensemble in a photo by The New York Times). It is one piece in particular, and the relationship I forged with the composer  John Harbison that has resonated with me.

Mary Mackenzie ii in Harrison Birtwistle's %22Thee Settings of Celan%22 with the Juilliard School's Axiom Ensemble NYT

I am writing to tell you a bit about the jazz songs, Songs After Hours, by John Harbison (below) and a unique new artistic endeavor of mine, which includes creating the first-ever recording of these works. It is my hope that you will see the value in this project, and consider supporting its production.

JohnHarbisonatpiano

Five years ago, I performed John’s Songs After Hours at the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival. Though scored only for piano and voice at the time, John mentioned his wish to see the music developed further for a jazz combo.

Fast forward to 2012, when I had an opportunity to work with some of the most exceptional jazz musicians in New York City. Through their artistry and creativity, I knew that I’d found the group to realize John’s vision. We created original arrangements of the songs for voice and combo and are going into the studio soon to make the debut recording in 2014. The album will ultimately be released by Albany Records.

There are many financial obligations involved in making a record, and while I am applying for grant funding and running a crowd-funding campaign through Kickstarter, I am looking for outside donors as well.  In particular, I would like to find donors to sponsor each of the five musicians involved in the project. (Below is a photo of Mary Mackenzie performing Hector Parra’s “Hypermusic — Ascension” at the Guggenheim Museum.)

Mary Mackenzie in Hector Parra %22Hypermusic -- Ascension%22 at the Guggenheim Museum

As for the Kickstarter, the deadline is January 17, so not that far away. The link for the page is:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1472615144/the-john-harbison-project-songs-after-hours-debut.

The goal of the Kickstarter is to raise $10,000, which would go towards studio costs, engineering, mixing, and mastering.  Of course, if we exceed our goal, then that’s more money towards the overall budget. I am hoping that I can find some donors that are separate from the Kickstarter to help sponsor the musicians.

I will be applying for a grant through the Aaron Copland Fund for the remainder of the funds.

I have some of the best jazz musicians accompanying me on this project, and I believe they deserve to be compensated with at least $1,500 for their work on this record. Ideally, I’d like to give them more if funding allows. This totals at least $7,500 for five musicians.

I am hoping Madisonians will consider supporting this record.  Of course, any amount anyone can give would be a great help, perhaps even a sponsorship of one of the musicians. You and others can contact me at mmackenzie981@gmail.com or at www.mary-mackenzie.com or call me at (608) 215-9261.

Sincerely,

Mary Mackenzie


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