The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: University of Wisconsin-Madison and Edgewood College finish up their seasons this weekend with major choral and instrumental concerts.

April 28, 2015
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By Jacob Stockinger

Both the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Edgewood College finish up their seasons this weekend with major choral and instrumental concerts.

Here are details: 


This Saturday night, May 2, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Choral Union, UW Symphony Orchestra and soloists Mimmi Fulmer (below top), Elizabeth Hagedorn (below middle) and Thomas Leighton (below bottom), all under the baton of conductor James Smith, will perform.

mimmi fulmer COLOR

Elizabeth Hagedorn singing 2

Thomas Leighton

They will give ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY of the Symphony No. 2 in B-flat major (“Lobegesang” or Hymn of Praise) by Felix Mendelssohn (below). You can hear it in a YouTube video at the bottom.

Admission is $15 for the general public, $8 for students and senior.

For more information, here is a link:

For program notes, here is another link:

Missa Choral Union and UW Symphony Orchestra


Edgewood College (below) will host two concerts this weekend.

Edgewood College 1000

On FRIDAY NIGHT, May 1, at 7 p.m. will be a choral concert that features several groups.

For the Friday night concert, choral groups will perform, including the Women’s Choir, Chamber Singers (below), and Campus-Community Choir.

Edgewood Chamber Singers

Conductors include Kathleen Otterson (below top), Albert Pinsonneault (below bottom) and Sergei Pavlov.

Kathleen Otterson 2

Albert Pinsonneault 2

On SUNDAY AFTERNOON, May 3, at 2:30 p.m. is an instrumental concert.

Sunday afternoon’s concert features several instrumental ensembles, including the Saxophone Quartet, Guitar Ensemble, Concert Band (below top in a poster form a past concert), and Jazz Ensemble. Conductors include Daniel Wallach, Nathan Wysock (below bottom) and Walter Rich.

Walter Rich  Edgewood Concert Band 2013-3-22-Band


Sorry, The Ear has received no word about the specific program for either concert.

Both concerts will take place in the St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive.

Admission to each concert is $7, and will benefit music scholarships. Tickets will be available at the door.

Classical music: Here are some other concerts – featuring vocal, orchestral, band, wind and reed music – that are on tap this weekend.

February 18, 2015

By Jacob Stockinger

The big classical music events this week are the week-long residency at the UW-Madison of British composer Cecilia McDowall; the organ recital by Thomas Trotter in Overture Hall; and Friday night’s concert of Franz Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert and Vittorio Giannini by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra with pianist Shai Wosner under conductor Andrew Sewell.

But there are other important events on tap too, events that should attract audiences.


This week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale, which runs from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed First Unitarian Society of Madison at 900 University Bay Drive, features the Mad Reeds Trio. Members include Laura Medisky, oboe (below); Cynthia Cameron-Fix, bassoon; and Vincent Fuh, piano.

The trio will perform music by Madeline Dring, Dan Welcher and Jean Francaix.

Laura Medisky 1


At 8 p.m. in Shannon Hall of the Wisconsin Union Theater, the critically acclaimed and popular a cappella singing group Chanticleer will perform. The San Francisco-based group performs “Shenandoah” in a YouTube video at the bottom that has drawn more than 730,000 hits.)

Tickets are: General Public: $45, 25; Wisconsin Union Members and Non UW-Madison Students: $40; UW-Madison Faculty & Staff: $42; UW-Madison Student (with ID): $10. Prices do not include fees.

Here is a link with detail of the eclectic program that runs from early music and the Renaissance to jazz and Bossa Nova:

And here is a link to the concert announcement with video and audio clips:



At 1:30 p.m. in Morphy Recital Hall on the UW-Madison campus GUEST ARTIST Laura Loge, soprano (below), with pianist Kathryn Ananda-Owens, a graduate of Memorial High School in Madison who teaches piano at St. Olaf College, will perform a recital featuring Norwegian songs by Edvard Grieg, Grondahl, Frederick Delius, Kjerulf, Christian Sinding and Alnaes.

Admission is FREE.

The concert is supported by funding from the Ygdrasil Literary Society of Madison, Vennelag Lodge, Idun Lodge #74 Sons of Norway, the Madison Torske Klubben, and by the Anonymous Fund.

Laura Loge

At 2 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW-Madison Concert Band, under director Mike Leckrone (below), will give a FREE concert. Sorry, no word about the program.


At 2:30 p.m. in the St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive, the Edgewood Chamber Orchestra, under director Blake Walter (below in a photo by John Maniaci), will give its Winter Concert.

Admission is $5 to benefit music scholarships; FREE with Edgewood College ID.

blake walter john maniaci

Included on the program is the aria “Come Scolio” from the opera “Cosi fan Tutte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, featuring soprano Angela Sheppard (below), winner of the Edgewood College Music Department’s Student Concerto Competition, as well as a three-time recipient of the Ken and Diane Ballweg Music Scholarship. Also on the program are the Overture to “L’isola Disabitata” by Franz Joseph Haydn and the Symphony No. 2 in B-flat Major, D. 125, by Franz Schubert.

Angela Sheppard

At 3:30 p.m. in Mills Recital Hall, a FREE recital will present this year’s winners of the annual Irving Shain Woodwind-Piano Duo Competition at the UW-Madison School of Music.

A reception will follow the performance.

The competition and concert are made possible by retired UW-Madison Chancellor and chemistry professor Irving Shain (below).

Irving Shain

The 2014-15 WINNERS are

Kai-Ju Ho, clarinet and SeungWha Baek, piano.

Iva Ugrcic, flute  (below top, playing recently in the UW Concerto Competition winners’ concert) and Thomas Kasdorf, piano (below bottom).

Iva Ugrcic

Thomas Kasdorf


Pedro Garcia, clarinet and Chan Mi Jean, piano.

Classical music: The 87th annual Christmas Concerts at Edgewood College are this Friday night and Saturday night. Plus, this week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale at FUS features music for double reeds.

December 3, 2014
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ALERT: This week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale, to be held from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium of the historic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, will feature “Music for Double Reeds and Piano” with Scott Ellington, Ruth Dahlke, Willy Walter, Rozan Anderson and Ann Aschbacher playing music by Johannes Brahms, George Frideric Handel, Alyssa Morris and more. Double reed instruments include the bassoon, the oboe, the oboe d’amore and the English horn.


By Jacob Stockinger

The Edgewood College Music Department will give the 87th annual Christmas concerts (below is a photo from last year’s concert) on this Friday night, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m., and again on this Saturday night, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m., in St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive.

Edgewood College 86th Christmas concert

The evening of seasonal music will feature the Guitar Ensemble, Chamber Singers (at bottom in a YouTube video), Women’s Choir, Men’s Choir, Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble.

Sorry, The Ear has received no word on the program or specific works or composers to be performed.

According to a press release: “This annual Christmas celebration is one of the College’s oldest traditions. A highlight each year is the invitation for audience members to join in singing traditional carols.”

Tickets are $10, and seating is limited for this very popular annual event. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.

Please visit

All proceeds for these concerts benefit Edgewood College music students through the Edward Walters Music Scholarship Fund.




Classical music: Choral music, wind music and brass music add to the season-ending events this super-busy weekend.

April 30, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

This weekend brings more season-closers. The groups concluding their concert seasons include the First Unitarian Society of Madison’s FREE Friday Noon Musicales; the Festival Choir of Madison; the UW Chamber Orchestra; and Edgewood College.

Here is a round-up of yet another busy weekend.


On Friday afternoon, from 12:15 to 1 p.m., the last FREE Friday Noon Musicale of the season at the first Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, will feature Driftless Winds, a University of Wisconsin-Platteville Faculty Reed Trio.

Members are Laura Medisky, oboe; Corey Mackey, clarinet; and Jacqueline Wilson, bassoon.

The program, performed in the historic Landmark Auditorium designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, includes music by Wolfgang Amadeus, Jacques Ibert, Erwin Schulhoff and Ludwig van Beethoven.

Bring your lunch; coffee and tea are provided.


On Friday night, the Madison Chamber Choir will perform at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Presbyterian Church ( . It will be directed by Adam Kluck.

On Friday night, May 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1609 University Avenue, the University of Wisconsin-Stout Choirs come to Madison on a mini-tour, with a program titled “An Ode To The Bard: Shakespeare in Music.”

The concert will feature musical settings of Shakespeare’s words, popular music of his time (including tunes that are referenced in his plays), and works inspired by the legacy of William Shakespeare (below).

shakespeare BW

Performers include the Stout Symphonic Singers (an open-seat choir of about 30 singers) and the Stout Chamber Choir (an auditioned choir of 20 singers), both directed by composer-conductor Jerry Hui (below), with pianist Michaela Gifford.

Admission is free with a free-will donation welcomed.

Jerry Hui



On Saturday at 11 a.m. at Oakwood Village West, 6209 Mineral Road, on Madison’s far west side, the UW-Stout Choirs will give a second performance of their Friday night program. See directly above.

On Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. in Mills Hall, the All-University String Orchestra will perform a FREE concert under conductor Janet Jensen (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot). Sorry, no word on a specific program.

Janet Jensen Katrin Talbot

On Saturday, May 3, at 7 p.m. in the St. Joseph Chapel at 1000 Edgewood College Drive, the Edgewood Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble will perform under the direction of Walter Rich and Daniel Wallach.  Included will be works by Paul Dukas, Jenkins, Williams, Van der Roost and Franz von Suppe.

Admission is $7 to benefit music scholarships at the college.

Walter Rich  Edgewood Concert Band 2013-3-22-Band

On Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., the FESTIVAL CHOIR OF MADISON (below) will conclude its 40th season in the 
First Baptist Church, 
518 North Franklin Avenue, in Madison. It will perform with the Pecatonica String Quartet and winds, and under the baton of artistic director Bryson Mortensen, who is the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Wisconsin-Rock County.

The program is entitled “Gloria” and features two Glorias: the well-known one by Antonio Vivaldi and a rarely heard one by Luigi Boccherini. A pre-concert lecture, begins at 6:30 p.m. The Ear hears there will also be an encore performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart‘s “Ave Verum Corpus.”

Tickets are $18 general public, $14 for seniors and $8 for students if bought in advance – call (608) 274-7089; the day of the concert, tickets are $20, $15 and $10, respectively.

For more information, visit the link:


On Saturday night at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Women’s Chorus and the University Chorus will perform a FREE concert under the direction of Anna Volodarskaya and Adam Kluck (below), respectively. Sorry, no word yet on a specific program.

Adam Kluck conducting


On “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen” Museum of Art on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, from 12:30 to 2 p.m., members of the music faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will perform the second-to–last concert of that series this season. As always it will be broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio. The concert itself is FREE in the Brittingham Gallery No. 3. Sorry, no word on a program.


On Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., in Mills Hall, the UW Concert Band will perform a FREE concert under director Mike Leckrone (below). Sorry, no word on the program.


On Sunday, May 4, at 2:30 p.m. in the St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive, the Chamber Singers, Men’s Choir, Women’s Choir and Campus-Community Choir.

Kathleen Otterson (below) will conduct the Women’s Choir, while Albert Pinsonneault will lead the Chamber Singers, Campus-Community Choir, and Men’s Choir.

Kathleen Otterson 2

Pinsonneault (below) will also conduct the combined choirs and the Edgewood Chamber Orchestra in a performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Te Deum.”

Admission is $7 to benefit music scholarships at Edgewood.

Albert Pinsonneault 2

On Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. in Music Hall, at the foot of Bascom Hill, the Lincoln Chamber Brass of Chicago will perform a FREE concert, just a week before they compete at the prestigious Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.

All of them are members of Civic Orchestra of Chicago; at 21, the horn player already substitutes for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Four are students at Northwestern University, the fifth at DePaul. Four of the five, including Ansel Norris, who was born in Madison and in high school studied with UW-Madison trumpeter John Aley, will attend the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Festival this summer.

Musicians of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. 
The program includes Victor Ewald’s Brass Quintet No. 3; David Sampson’s “Morning Music”; Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria” (arranged by Barker); and Giles Farnaby’s Suite of Dances.

Members (below, from left) are Ansel Norris and William Cooper, trumpets;
 Kevin Haseltine, horn; 
Joseph Peterson, trombone; and Scott Hartman, bass trombone.

For more information, visit:

lincoln chamber brass  madison shot

At 7:30 in Mills Hall, the UW Chamber Orchestra (below) will perform its last concert of the season and its last concert before being either mothballed or terminated.

The performance is FREE and will be under the baton of director James Smith.

The program includes: Jacques Ibert’s “Hommage to Mozart”; Richard Strauss’ “Dance Suite After Francois Couperin”; and Mozart’s Symphony No. 39 in E Fat Major. (In a YouTube video at the bottom, you can hear the first movement performed by the legendary conductor Karl Bohm and the Vienna Philharmonic.)

For more about the news significance of the event, here is a link to yesterday’s blog post:

uw chamber orchestra USE

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Classical music: It will be a busy week with many FREE concerts of many different kinds of music at the University of Wisconsin School of Music. Plus, the Miro Quartet of Austin, Texas, will perform Haydn, Schubert and Philip Glass on Friday night.

February 17, 2014

By Jacob Stockinger

The next two weeks will be especially busy ones at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.

All save one of the concerts will be FREE, and they include orchestral music, percussion, strings, winds and even lectures linking science and music.

The one major non-free exception is a notable MUST-HEAR: The acclaimed Miro Quartet (below) as presented by the Wisconsin Union Theater, will perform on Friday night at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall. The Miro Quartet is in residence at the University of Texas-Austin. (You can hear it playing Beethoven in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

miro quartet informal

The program of Classical and contemporary masterpieces of features the “Lark” Quartet, Op. 64, No. 5, by Franz Joseph Haydn; Franz Schubert’s well-known and the String Quartet No. 14 “Death and the Maiden”; and Philip Glass’ Quartet No. 5 (1991).

Tickets are $25 for the general public; $21 for UW faculty and staff and for Memorial Union members; and $10 for UW students.

Here is a link to more information that includes tickets, sound samples and critical reviews:

miro quartet playing


At 7:30 Mills Hall, the accomplished UW Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of director James Smith, the Overture to “La scale di seta”  (The Silk Ladder) by Gioacchino Rossini;
 the Chamber Symphony by Franz Schreker; the
 “Classical” Symphony by Sergei Prokofiev; and the
 “Winter’s Tale” by Lars-Erik Larsson.

UW Chamber Orchestra entire


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, guest artist Todd Reynolds (below) will give a FREE recital. Reynolds is the violinist of choice for such well known individual and ensemble performers as composers as Steve Reich and Meredith Monk and the group Bang on a Can. He violinist, composer, educator and technologist is known as one of the founding fathers of the hybrid-musician movement.

Todd Reynolds will be performing compositions of his own from his critically acclaimed 2011 CD “Outerborough,” including music by Michael Gordon, David Little, Michael Lowenstern and Ingram Marshall, and a couple of pieces written and improvised  especially for the evening, right there, from the stage and in real time.

Todd Reynolds


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Western Percussion Ensemble (below) will perform a concert that features the monumental work “Strange and Sacred Noise” by the contemporary American composer John Luther Adams (below), whose work was also featured recently by Clocks in Motion. Directors of the Western Percussion Ensemble are Tom Ross and Anthony Di Sanza.

Western Percussion Ensemble


At 7 p.m. in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery (below), at 330 North Orchard Street, across from the Union South, the ongoing SoundWaves program, curated by UW hornist Daniel Grabois, program will explore the science and art of wood. Here is a summary that, unfortunately, offers no information about the music and specific topics and speakers:

Wood You Could You? The Science and Music of Wood

“SoundWaves combines scientific lectures about the world with live classical music performances. Each event revolves around a theme, exploring it first from many scientific angles and then through the lens of music. The program concludes with a live performance of music related to the evening’s theme.

“The science lectures are delivered using language that the curious layman can understand, with a minimum of jargon and formulas. The music lectures, while demanding careful listening, are likewise designed for the layman and not the specialist.

“Every SoundWaves event brings UW-Madison scientists from several departments together with UW-Madison School of Music faculty performers to explore a topic that is relevant to our world and our lives. SoundWaves is free and open to the public. This series generally is held in the evening at the Town Center of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.’

8 p.m. in Mills Hall: The Miro Quartet. (See above.)



At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Wind Ensemble (below) will give concert under director Scott Teeple that features the Wisconsin premiere of a work by composer Roger Zare

Works on the program include “Smetana Fanfare,” by Karol Husa; “Mar Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility),” by Roger Zare (Wisconsin premiere); and “Ecstatic Waters for Wind Ensemble and Electronics,” by Steven Bryant.

UW School of Music


At 2 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Concert Band will perform under Mike Leckrone (below). Sorry, no details about the program are available yet.


Then at at 3:30 p.m. in Morphy Recital Hall, the Hunt Quartet will perform a FREE concert. The program includes Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Sunrise” Quartet, Op. 76, No. 4, and Bela Bartok’s String Quartet No. 1.

The Hunt Quartet (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) is comprised of outstanding graduate students from the School of Music, and is sponsored by the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

This year’s members (from the left) include Ju Dee Ang, Elspeth Stalter-Clouse, Paran Amirinazari and Lindsey Crabb.

hunt quartet 2013-14


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Classical music: Edgewood College heads towards toward the semester’s end with two concerts –- one instrumental and one choral –- next weekend. Plus, piano concerts by Jeffrey Siegel and UW students are on Monday and Tuesday nights.

April 28, 2013
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ALERT: Piano fans, take note: At the UW-Madison School of Music, the FREE Piano Departmental Recital is Monday night at 6:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall. No words of performers or pieces. Then on Tuesday night, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the Wisconsin Union Theater presents pianist Jeffrey Siegel (below) in his last Keyboard Conversation of the season. Tickets are $32; free for UW students. The program is “Listen to the Dance: Waltzes, Marches, Polkas and Tangos!”  Again, no word on specific pieces. Get more information and buy tickets at these links:

Jeffrey Siegel

By Jacob Stockinger

It is getting crowded with concerts and music events as the spring semester winds down to a close. The University of Wisconsin -Madison School of Music has something just about every day this coming week, and some days more than one event.

But the same is true for other institutions that often exist in the shadow of the UW.

So get out and check your datebook to make some plans.

The Ear has received the following word from Edgewood College (below) about two concerts with multiple performing groups coming up next weekend.

Edgewood College 1000

Sorry to say, though, I have no details about the programs or the performers and conductors.

Here is a somewhat edited version of the Press Release:

“Shake off the last of a winter many of us would like to forget, and celebrate spring with these two concerts!”

On Friday, May 3, the Edgewood College Music Department will present the Guitar Ensemble, Concert Band (below, in a poster for another concert) and the Jazz Ensemble in concert. The performance on Friday evening begins at 7 p.m.

Walter Rich  Edgewood Concert Band 2013-3-22-Band

Then, on Sunday, May 5, the college will host a concert by the Chamber Singers (below), Men’s Choir, Women’s Choir and Campus-Community Choir. The performance on Sunday begins at 2:30 p.m.

Edgewood Chamber Singers

Both concerts will be held in St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive.

Admission is $7 and will go to support music scholarships for Edgewood College students.

This event is presented as part of the Year of the Arts at Edgewood College, a celebration of music, theatre and art for 2012-2013. Supporters of our Year of the Arts programming include the Kohler Foundation, BMO Harris Bank, the Madison Arts Commission, with additional funds from the Wisconsin Arts Board, DANE Arts with additional funds from the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, Native Capital Investment, and the Ahrens-Washburn Community Fellows Program.

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:

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:

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!

Classical music: Edgewood College performs its 85th annual Christmas Concerts on Friday and Saturday nights in Madison. Plus, Con Vivo previews its concert at Carnegie Hall.

December 7, 2012
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ALERT: This Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Capitol Lakes Retirement Center’s Great Hall, 333 West Henry Street in downtown Madison, the Madison-based chamber music group Con Vivo! (“With Life,” below) will offer a preview of its upcoming Carnegie Hall Concert. Admission is a free will offering. The concert features Prokofiev’s “Overture on a Hebrew Themes”; Haydn’s “Gypsy Rondo” Piano Trio; selections from Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Viola and Piano by Max Bruch; and Mozart’s sublime Clarinet Quintet. It is the same program that Con Vivo! Performed in September and will perform at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York City at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, 2012. For more information, visit or call (608) 277-8087.

Con Vivo group

By Jacob Stockinger

Edgewood College (below) will perform its 85th annual Christmas Concerts tonight and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. in the St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive, in Madison.

Edgewood College 1000

The Edgewood College Guitar Ensemble, Concert Band, Chamber Singers (below), Women’s Choir and Jazz Ensemble will perform a variety of holiday works. A highlight each year is the invitation for audience members to join in singing traditional carols.

Edgewood Chamber Singers

Tickets are $7, and seating is limited for this very popular annual event

Tickets can be reserved in advance at

This event is presented as part of the Year of the Arts at Edgewood College, a celebration of music, theater and art for 2012-2013.

Supporters of our Year of the Arts programming include the Kohler Foundation, BMO Harris Bank, the Madison Arts Commission, with additional funds from the Wisconsin Arts Board, DANE Arts with additional funds from the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, Native Capital Investment, and the Ahrens-Washburn Community Fellows Program.

About Edgewood College: Located in Madison, Wisconsin, Edgewood College is a liberal arts Catholic college in the Dominican tradition, with 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers more than 40 academic and professional programs, including master’s degrees in business, education, nursing, and other fields, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership. For more information about Edgewood College, please visit, or call Ed Taylor in Marketing & Communications at 608-663-2333.



Classical music review: British soprano Amy Haworth brings her outstanding voice to Madison in Baroque arias and Schubert songs.

October 12, 2012
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REMINDER: This Sunday in Mills Hall, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Concert Band and the University Bands — the first directed by  Scott Teeple  (below) and the second by Justin Stolarik and Matthew Mireles — will perform FREE concerts at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively. The Concert Band  will perform works by Del Borgo, Jacob, Chance, Holst and Nixon. Sorry, no word about the program for the University Bands.

By Jacob Stockinger

Here is a special posting, a review written by frequent guest critic and writer for this blog, John W. Barker. Barker (below) is an emeritus professor of Medieval history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also is a well-known classical music critic who writes for Isthmus and the American Record Guide, and who hosts an early music show every other Sunday morning on WORT 88.9 FM. He serves on the Board of Advisors for the MadisonEarly Music Festival and frequently gives pre-concert lectures in Madison.

By John W. Barker

Save for the astute scrutiny of Jake Stockinger and his Ear, a striking young artist has stolen into town, otherwise under most everyone’s radar, for a pair of exciting concerts.

The artist is the British soprano Amy Haworth (below), brought to the upper Midwest through the auspices of Trevor Stephenson, founder and director of the Madison Bach Musicians.

Stephenson first heard Haworth a few years ago when, at the Boston Early Music Festival, he singled her out among members of the famous Tallis Scholars chamber choir. Excited by her talents, he negotiated for her to work with him in what has become now a complex of activities. This is built around a series of their appearances in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois during the month of October, offering a pair of concert programs.

These programs were showcased in Madison in recent days. Last Saturday night at the First Unitarian Society, Haworth presented one of these programs, with the backing of Stephenson on harpsichords and Chicago gamba-player Anna Steinhoff (below).

The two instrumentalists each had their solo moments, but the concentration was on Haworth’s singing of short selections by Baroque composers ranging from Luzzasco Luzzaschi and Giulio Caccini of the late 16th century, through Monteverdi, Caldara, Cesti, the two Scarlattis, and Purcell, of the 17th and early 18th centuries, culminating in examples from J. S. Bach and Handel.

Then, on this past Wednesday evening, Haworth and Stephenson gave their second program, devoted entirely to Lieder of Schubert, and held at his home.

Haworth (below) is an example of the singers generated by early music-making in England — with Emma Kirkby as prime specimen of the type. Haworth’s experience in working with chamber choirs and vocal concerts has carried over into solo singing of a wide literature extending through the 19th century.

Her background experience is shown in her cultivation of the clear and “white,” vibrato-less singing now common in early music performance. But she has developed a technique, used variably, of attacking a note with a “straight,” almost piercing tone and then letting it blossom into carefully controlled vibrato.

Her sense of pitch is invariably spot-on, her diction is refined in any language, and her projection can be fitted to venues either small or large. Though successful in singing a Handel aria, she professes no interest in opera performance, Baroque or otherwise, preferring concert work.

Particularly endearing was her singing of Schubert with Stephenson. He has experimented before with accompanying that composer’s Lieder on the fortepiano, the early keyboard model expanded eventually into the modern concert grand.

But the lighter, more deft and delicate sound-world of the fortepiano (below) gives a whole meaning to such music. The singer no longer has to fight the power of the later instrument and can enjoy the intimate balance and more silvery tone of the earlier one. With Haworth Stephenson has found a perfect partner for the kind of music-making that Schubert himself relished in his “Schubertiad” evenings with his friends.

But there is more.

In addition to giving these two performances in Madison, and to the carrying them on tour this month, the ever-resourceful Stephenson has used the opportunity to add two new recordings to his Light and Shadow label. The 24 vocal items of the Baroque Songs and Arias program has already been recorded and just now released. And the program of 17 Schubert songs heard at the house concert are about to be recorded, for imminent release.

Finally, a word should be said about the house concert idea itself. House concerts have become quite common in our musical life these days, many of them designed for promotional and fund-raising purposes. But, for some years now, Stephenson has been presenting a season of offerings in his home, parallel to his season with the Madison Bach Musicians.

For these domestic concerts, Stephenson has sometimes brought other musicians to join him, but mostly he gives programs by himself on harpsichord or piano, regularly on some theme or on the music of a given composer.

Stephenson (below, explaining the action of the fortepiano) has developed a practice of giving pre-concert talks at the MBM events, and he extends the idea for the house concerts, filling them with both insightful commentary and witty charm.

These programs are open to the public by reservation, since space is limited to about 40 people each time. For those who have become habituated to them, they are among the special delights of Madison’s variegated musical life.

Stephenson’s MBM has two public appearances ahead, on Dec. 14-15 and April 20-21, while dates for further house concerts are pending. Information on events, and on recordings, may be had at

Classical music datebook: This is New Music Week in Madison. Plus, pianists Peter Serkin and Jeffrey Siegel perform; the Portland Cello Project comes to town; NEW MUSE holds its first-ever, one-day free festival of new music that includes dance and spoken word; and the University of Wisconsin School of Music and Edgewood College close out their spring semesters.

May 2, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

After two very busy weeks, we have a third very busy week – but a week that winds up before the semester pretty much comes to an end while we wait for the summer concert season to start with the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, the Madison Early Music Festival, Opera in the Park and the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival and other groups or performers.

Do you think that too little new music gets performed?

Not this week.

In fact, a great deal of new music will be performed in town this week. Pianist Peter Serkin will play contemporary composers plus Big Beethoven at the Wisconsin Union Theater; NEW MUSE will hold a one-day FREE festival on Saturday with many works by new composers. And even the UW Wind Ensemble and Madrigal Singers will feature the work of local composers John Stevens and Jerry Hui.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the season’s last Keyboard Conversation with Jeffrey Siegel (below) will be held.

The program is titled “A Musical Love Triangle” and will feature music of Clara Wieck inspired by Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, as well as music by Brahms and Schumann inspired by Clara.

Tickets are $14-$34 and can be purchased through Campus Arts Ticketing online; by phone at (608) 265-ARTS; or in person at the Union Theater Box Office or the Vilas Hall Box Office.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Wind Ensemble will perform a free concert under conductor Scott Teeple (below).

The program includes the Symphonic Dance Suite from “West Side Story” by Bernstein and “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky. Performances from members of the UW Dance and Theater and Drama departments will accompany the Mussorgsky and pianist Dorothy Hui will perform some of the movements from the original piano solo versions. The premiere of “Concerto for Euphonium” by School of Music faculty John Stevens in its orchestration for wind ensemble will feature soloist Matthew Mireles.

At 8:30 p.m. at the Majestic Theater (doors open at 7:30 p.m.) the Portland Cello Project (below) will perform. The acclaimed ensemble has over 800 pieces in its repertoire and mixes classical music with other kinds including jazz and folk. Tickets are $13 and $15 with $1 going to benefit the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. For more information, visit:


Friday’s FREE Noon Musicale, from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium of the First Unitarian Society Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive, Harper Tasche plays original music for lever and cross-strung harps. For information, call 608 233-9774 or visit

At 7 p.m. in Edgewood College’s St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive, the Edgewood College Chamber Singers (below), the Concert Band, and the Women’s Choir perform to benefit the music scholarship fund. Admission is $7 at the door.

At 7:30 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (below, 227 State St. in the Overture Center), as part of MMoCA’s reception for the closing of their Houdini exhibit and their Design at MMoCA exhibit, Classical Revolution will be playing a program of small orchestral works, assisted by the wonderful Kyle Knox.  Here’s the program for the evening, with is also Gallery Night:

7:30 in lobby- Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 by Bach
7:55 in 2nd floor gallery-  Falling by Stephen Dembski (world premier)
8:10 in lobby and outside 2nd floor gallery The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives
8:30 in 2nd floor gallery Serenade for Tenor Horn and Strings by Benjamin Britten, featuring Daniel O’Dea and Laura Weiner
At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Madrigal Singers, conducted by Bruce Gladstone (below) will perform a FREE concert.

The program is entitled “Let Him Kiss Me,” with texts from the “Song of Songs” set by Schuetz, Palestrina, Edward Bairstow, Melchior Franck and Leonhard Lechner.  Other works include “Three Facets of Love” by Jerry Hui and “Columba mea” (1979) by Kenneth Leighton, scored for strings, harpsichord, celesta and alto and tenor soloists as the bride and bridegroom, performed by Sarah Leuwerke and James Doing.


At noon in Music Hall, the UW World Percussion Ensemble will perform a free concert conducted Neil Sisauyhoat.

From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. the UW-based group New Music Everywhere (NEW MUSE) will hold its first-ever Madison Muse Fest — a festival of contemporary classical music to be held in various State Street locations. All events are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Four non-traditional venues on State Street will be transformed into inviting performance spaces for Muse Fest.

The one-day festival will include mini concert-installations at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Sunroom Cafe, Fair Trade Coffee House, and Nick’s Pub respectively, culminating in a concert at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) at 5 p.m.

The festival will feature the NEW MUSE ensemble and special guests including dancer Janelle Bentley (Ephemeral Art), spoken word artist Gabriel De Los Reyes (UW-Madison First Wave Program), and piano/percussion duo Sole Nero (UW-Madison faculty Jessica Johnson and Anthony Di Sanza).

The music – most of which was composed within the last decade – will include works selected from a national call for scores that resulted in more than 30 submissions from across the U.S.

This includes pieces by Robert Honstein (co-­founder of the “Sleeping Giant” collective) and John C. Griffin (Western Michigan University), the winners of the call for scores contest, as well as music by Wisconsin‐based composers Jeff Herriott (UW-Whitewater) and Guggenheim Fellowship winner Laura Schwendinger (below, UW-Madison).

This event is made possible by a grant from the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission, with additional funds from the Overture Foundation and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, and generous support from the UW-Madison New Arts Venture Challenge, the UW-Madison School of Music, and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

Here is a full schedule for Muse Fest:

1 p.m. – Sunroom Cafe: Intimate Dialogues – Chamber Solos and Duets. Works by Robert Honstein, Greg Steinke, and Hans Werner Henze.

2 p.m. – Fair Trade Coffeehouse: Caffeinated Move – Music and Dance. Works by Laura Schwendinger, Jerry Hui and Payton MacDonald, with dancer Janelle Bentley.

3 p.m. – Nick’s Pub: Electric Jam – Spoken Poetry and Electroacoustic Music. Works by Patrick Chan, Jeff Herriott, with a spoken word performance by Gabriel De Los Reyes.

5 p.m. – MMoCA: Muse Fest Gala Concert. Featuring special guests Sole Nero, and works by Robert Honstein, John C. Griffin, Elizabeth Nonemaker, and Lansing McLoskey

Here is some background about NEW MUSE:

New Music Everywhere (NEW MUSE) is Madison’s only professional music ensemble specializing in the performance of new works in unconventional venues. Jerry Hui, Jonathan Kuuskoski and Paola Savvidou (below) formed the ensemble in August 2010 through generous support from the College Music Society Yamaha In-Residence Fellowship and the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission. Projects thus far have taken the group to such diverse venues as museums (MMoCA, Madison Children’s Museum), public spaces (a flash mob performance at the Dane County Farmer’s Market) and nightclubs (Plan B).

Each of these performances has presented a wide range of musical selections as well as interdisciplinary collaborations with dancers, spoken-word artists, and actors.

For more information and video samples of NEW MUSE’s work, see:

Starting at 6 p.m., the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras’ Board of Directors invites all members of our community to celebrate youth music education at the “Art of Note” Gala, WYSO’s annual fundraising event that recycles violins into art objects for sale. The gala will feature an evening of live music, delicious gourmet cuisine, wine, locally brewed beer, and live and silent auctions.

The Art of Note Gala will be held at Full Compass Systems, 9770 Silicon Prairie Parkway in Madison. Tickets are $100 per person in advance, $110 at the door. $70 of each ticket is tax-deductible. Guests may also purchase a table for 8 for $750.

There will be a Cinco de Mayo-themed dinner and bid on fine dining, event tickets, travel packages and many other items at the live or silent auctions. You can preview many of these auction items at

The gala will include performances by the young musicians of WYSO’s Percussion Ensemble and Chamber Music Ensembles.

Proceeds of the gala will help support all aspects of the WYSO program for young people, including high quality orchestral training, performance opportunities, student scholarships, orchestra tours, and master classes with professional musicians.

The Art of Note Gala is sponsored by Boardman Clark Law Firm, The Century House, C.K. Chang, CUNA Mutual Group, EnRich Financial Partners, Full Compass Systems, Goldstein & Associates, Goodman’s Jewelers, Lynn’s of Madison, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP, Tetrad, Inc., Wallman Investment Counsel, and Wegner CPAs.

Call (608) 263-3320 x 11 for more information or to purchase tickets.

At 7 p.m. in the First Unitarian Society Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive, Harper Tasche will perform a solo harp recital. For more information, call (608) 347-9912.

At 7:30 p.m. in the Wisconsin Union Theater, pianist Peter Serkin will perform works by Oliver Knussen, Toru Takemitsu and Charles Wuorinen. The program will conclude with Beethoven’s epic “Thirty-Three Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli,” Op. 120.

Tickets cost $10-$42 and can be purchased through Campus Arts Ticketing by phone at (608) 265-ARTS or in person at the Union Theater Box Office or the Vilas Hall Box Office, and online at:,

For more information and  videos, visit:


From 12:30 to 2 p.m. “Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” offers the Lawrence Chamber Players in Brittingham Gallery Number III at the Chazen Museum of Art. The program includes works of Shostakovich and Brahms. The concert will be broadcast live by Wisconsin Public Radio.

The Lawrence Chamber Players, the string ensemble in residence at the Lawrence University Conservatory in Appleton, Wis., is made up of Samantha George, Wen-Lei Gu, Alenka Donovan and Claire Gerhardt, violins; Matthew Michelic, viola; Janet Anthony, cello; Mark Urness, bass; and Michael Mizrahi, piano.

Members of the Chazen Museum of Art or Wisconsin Public Radio can call ahead and reserve seats for Sunday Afternoon Live performances. Seating is limited. All reservations must be made Monday through Friday before the concert and claimed by 12:20 p.m. on the day of the performance. For more information or to learn how to become a museum member, contact the Chazen Museum at (608) 263-2246.

A reception will follow the performance with treats, coffee, and tea donated by local businesses. We would like to thank our generous donors, Fresh Madison Market, Steep & Brew, and Coffee Bytes. A free docent-led tour in the Chazen galleries begins every Sunday at 2 p.m.

At 1 p.m. in Mill Hall, the UW Concert Band, directed by Michael Leckrone (below), will perform a FREE concert.

At 2:30 p.m. in Edgewood College’s St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood Drive, the Campus-Community Choir will perform to benefit music scholarships. Admission is $7 at the door.

At 4 p.m. in Mills Hall the UW Chamber Orchestra (below), conducted by James Smith, with horn soloist Daniel Grabois, will perform a FREE concert.  The program includes “Radiant Mind” by Christopher Theofanidis (b. 1967); “Horn Concerto No. 2” by R. Strauss; and “Symphony No. 3” by Schubert.

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