The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: A busy week at the UW spotlights choral and vocal music with some wind, brass and guitar music included

November 12, 2017
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By Jacob Stockinger

It’s going to be a busy week at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music.

And especially if you are a fan of choral music, there is much to attract you.

Here is run-down by the day:

TODAY

At 3 p.m. in Mills Hall is a FREE concert of Combined Choirs that features the Women’s Chorus (below), the University Chorus and the Masters Singers.

Sorry, no word about the program, but the groups’ past record suggests excellent programs are in store.

TUESDAY

From noon to 1:30 p.m. in Morphy Recital Hall, William Buchman (below), who is assistant principal bassoon of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a faculty member at DePaul University in Chicago, will give a master class that is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

At 7:30 p.m. in Music Hall on Bascom Hill, University Opera a FREE Fall Opera Scenes program with UW student singers (below form last year).

Featured are excerpts from four operas and one Broadway musical: “The Marriage of Figaro” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; “Orpheus in the Underworld” by Jacques Offenbach; “Der Freischuetz” (The Marksman or Freeshooter) by Carl Maria von Weber; and “Carousel” by Rodgers and Hammerstein,

WEDNESDAY

At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet (below, in a photo by Michael R. Anderson) will give a FREE concert.

Members of the faculty ensemble are Alex Noppe and Matthew Onstad, trumpets; Mark Hetzler, trombone; Tom Curry, tuba; and Daniel Grabois, horn.

The program includes: Johann Schein: Three Psalm Settings; Peter Maxwell Davies, arr. Matthew Onstad: “Farewell to Stromness” (1980), from The Yellow Cake Review; Jan Radzynski: Take Five (1984); Gunther Schuller’s Music for Brass Quintet (1961); and Alvin Etler’s Quintet for Brass Instruments (1966).

For more information, go to http://www.wisconsinbrassquintet.com

THURSDAY

From 10 a.m. until noon in Morphy Recital Hall, the acclaimed Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin (below), who will perform with the Madison Symphony Orchestra this coming weekend, will give a FREE master class that is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

FRIDAY

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the Madrigal Singers (below top), under conductor Bruce Gladstone (below bottom, in a photo by Katrin Talbot), will present Part 2 of “Israelsbrünnlein” (Fountains of Israel) by the Baroque composer Johann Hermann Schein.

According to program notes, “Johann Hermann Schein’s collection of 26 motets from 1623 has long been considered the most important set of motets in the early 17th century. Schein (below), frustrated that there wasn’t a true counterpart of the Italian madrigal to be found in German music, set out to marry the expressiveness of the madrigal to German texts.

“In this case, he chose to set sacred and mostly biblical texts, rather than the secular poetry found in most madrigals. His set of spiritual madrigals display both moments of pure joy and exultation as well as heartbreaking sadness and longing.

“Last fall, the Madrigal Singers presented the first 13 of these motets, and this fall, we finish out the collection with motets 14-26.

“This music is incredibly moving and remarkably fresh, revealing a marked sensitivity to the texts and a mastery of musical expression.” (You can hear a sample in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

SATURDAY

At 8 p.m., in Luther Memorial Church (below), 1021 University Avenue, the Low Brass Ensemble will give a FREE recital. No word on composers or pieces on the program.

At 8 p.m. in Mils Hall, the group Chorale, under conductor Bruce Gladstone will present “Songs to Live By.”

Programs notes read: “Music has always had a way to touch our souls the way other things cannot. When paired with poetry that speaks honestly to the human condition, it can lift us out of the merely abstract, touching our souls and offering insight on how we can be better at being human and humane.

“The Chorale offers a choral song-cycle by composer Gwyneth Walker (below) on autobiographical poems by Virginia Hamilton Adair, as well as three works by Elizabeth Alexander:  “How to Sing Like a Planet”; “If You Can Walk You Can Dance”; and “Finally On My Way To Yes.”

“Also on the program is Joshua Shank’s “Rules To Live By,” a heartfelt and moving piece whose text was written by the commissioning ensemble.

SUNDAY

At 5 p.m., in Mills Hall, the UW-Madison Wind Ensemble (below top) and Winds of Wisconsin will give a FREE joint concert.

Scott Teeple will conduct with guest violinist, Professor Soh-Hyun Altino (below bottom, in a photo by Caroline Bittencourt) soloing.

Here is the program:

UW-Madison Wind Ensemble:

“Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, #2,” by Joan Tower

Concerto for Violin and Wind Ensemble, by Robert Hutchinson with the violinist Park Altino

Winds of Wisconsin:

“Chester Overture for Band,” by William Schuman

“A Child’s Embrace” by Charles Rochester Young

“Vesuvius,” by Frank Ticheli

Combined UW Wind Ensemble and Winds of Wisconsin:

“Folk Dances,” by Dmitri Shostakovich

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Classical music: UW-Madison opera students are on display at a concert this Sunday afternoon along with guest professional and UW opera graduate Lindsay Metzger

September 15, 2016
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received the following announcement from UW Opera Props, the support organization for University Opera at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.

We invite you to attend a benefit concert showcasing the University of Wisconsin-Madison opera program’s talented students, along with special guest artist, distinguished alumna and mezzo-soprano, Lindsay Metzger (below top) who will be accompanied by pianist Daniel Fung (below bottom).

lindsay-metzger-1

daniel-fung

Please join us for a program of songs and arias, followed by a reception. Enjoy conversation with the singers, faculty and other musical friends, along with light refreshments including artisanal cheeses, fruit, wine, juices and chocolatier Gail Ambrosius’s delicious creations.

The concert is this Sunday, Sept. 18, at 3 p.m. followed by light refreshments and conversation. Sorry, no word about the composers or works to be sung.

The concert will take place in the Landmark Auditorium at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed First Unitarian Society of Madison Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison

Admission is a contribution of $25 in advance ($30 at the door), and $10 for students. All proceeds go to UW Opera student scholarships.

For more information, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1838139499750385

http://www.uwoperaprops.org/uw-opera-props-student-showcase-concert/

Lindsay Metzger (below) hails from Mundelein, Illinois. She spent two summers as an apprentice artist with Des Moines Metro Opera and was a studio artist in 2014-15 with Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera (Gannett in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore).

lindsay-metzger-2

Among her other recent portrayals have been Daphne/Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers (Chicago’s Haymarket Opera Company), Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy), Nella in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi (DuPage Opera Theatre), the title role in Handel’s Ariodante, Béatrice in Berlioz’ Béatrice et Bénédict, and Beppe in Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz (all at the University of Wisconsin-Madison).

With Lyric Unlimited’s community-engagement program “Opera in the Neighborhoods,” Metzger was heard in the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola.

A soloist featured frequently in numerous Chicago-area venues, Metzger debuted with the Grant Park Symphony singing the soprano solo in Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem.

She was awarded the Paul Collins Fellowship from University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Virginia Cooper Meier Award from the Musicians’ Club of Women, and an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions.

Metzger is an alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and DePaul University. Last season at Lyric she was featured in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (debut) and Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier. In the 2016-17 season the mezzo-soprano will perform in Massenet’s Don Quichotte and Bizet’s Carmen.


Classical music: the Madison Symphony Orchestra recognizes local musicians with awards

June 30, 2016
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received the following news:

Several local musicians received prestigious awards from the Board of Directors of the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) at the board’s recent June meeting in recognition of their musical contributions.

Margaret Rupp Cooper Award

The Margaret Rupp Cooper Award is presented in honor of the Symphony’s original harpist, who performed in the first concert in 1926 through the 50th anniversary season. The award is presented annually to two orchestra members based upon years of service, commitment to the orchestra, and musicianship. This year’s awardees were Naha Greenholtz, MSO Concertmaster, and Josh Biere, MSO Principal Tuba.

Naha Greenholtz (below, in a photo by Chris Hynes) has now completed her fifth season as concertmaster with the MSO. A graduate of the Juilliard School and winner of the prestigious Concertmaster Academy Fellowship at Cleveland State University, she has held numerous concertmaster positions and has participated in music festivals as both a performer and music director.

Naha Greenholtz 2014 CR Chris Hynes

Josh Biere (below) joined the Madison Symphony Orchestra as Principal Tuba in 2013. He also holds the principal tuba chair with the Kenosha (Wisconsin) Symphony and regularly performs with the Chicago Composers Orchestra. Mr. Biere holds degrees from Illinois Wesleyan University and Northwestern University.

Josh Biere tuba MSO

Marie Spec Award

The Marie Spec Award honors the Symphony’s long-time first violinist, who also played in the first performance in 1926. The award consists of a fund that provides both the concertmaster and Madison Symphony Chorus accompanist with an annual bonus. MSO Concertmaster Naha Greenholtz and Chorus Accompanist Dan Lyons received this year’s award.

A Chicago native, Dan Lyons (below) holds performance degrees from DePaul University and a doctoral performance degree from UW-Madison. He has performed solo, concerto and chamber recitals throughout the Midwest. In addition to serving as the accompanist and chorus manager for the Madison Symphony Chorus, he maintains a private teaching studio and continues to accompany throughout the Madison area.

Dan Lyons

Ann Stanke Award

The Ann Stanke Award is presented in honor of the former Madison Symphony Chorus accompanist and manager for her years of excellent service. This year’s award was presented to chorus member Bob Gentile.

Bob Gentile, a lifelong music educator, has sung in the bass section of the Madison Symphony Chorus for over 15 years, has served as President and Vice-President, and has shown valued leadership with his counsel, wisdom, good humor and kindness.

The Madison Symphony Orchestra engages audiences of all ages and backgrounds in live classical music through a full season of concerts with established and emerging soloists of international renown, an organ concert series, and diverse educational and community engagement programs. Learn more at: www.madisonsymphony.org

 


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.

FRIDAY

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.

FUS1jake

On Friday night, the Madison Chamber Choir will perform at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Presbyterian Church (http://www.madisonchamberchoir.com) . 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

 

SATURDAY

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: http://festivalchoirmadison.org/index.htm

festivalchoir

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

SUNDAY

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.

SALProArteMay2010

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.

leckrone

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: http://lincolnchamberbrass.wordpress.com/home/

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:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/classical-music-the-uw-chamber-orchestra-will-play-this-sunday-night-but-then-will-be-axed-and-fall-silent-next-season-is-this-au-revoir-or-adieu/

uw chamber orchestra USE

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Classical music: This weekend brings concerts of wind music; old and new music for Baroque flute; and early songs about money and poverty.

April 25, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

This weekend brings us three big events: two performances by the Madison Opera of Jake Heggie’s opera “Dead Man Walking” (Friday night at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.); a one-time performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s rarely heard a cappella “Vespers” by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Choral Union on Saturday night at 8 p.m.; and pianist Ryan McCullough in Ludwig Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas at Farley’s House of Pianos on Saturday night at 8 p.m.

But there are smaller concerts for you to consider too, some of which do not conflict with the others.

WIND MUSIC

Tonight, Friday night, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Wind Ensemble (below, in a photo by Katherine Esposito), under director and conductor Scott Teeple, will perform a FREE concert.

UW Wind Ensemble Katherine Esposito

The program include “Profanation” by Leonard Bernstein, arranged by Bencriscutto; 
”Concerto for Wind Percussion and Wind Ensemble” by Karel Husa; 
”Colonial Song” by Percy Grainger “Raise the Roof” by Michael Daugherty; and
”Symphony in Three Movements” by retiring UW tubist and composer John Stevens (below).

John Stevens

NEW MUSIC FOR BAROQUE FLUTES

On Saturday from noon to 1 p.m., the FREE concert series Grace Presents will present “New and Historic Music for Baroque Flute” with flutist Millie Chang (below) and others.

Millie Chang

The concert is designed to be a refreshing break, a parenthesis in time and task, from the Dane County Farmers’ Market, which has started up again. Audiences are invited to bring lunch or food.

dane county farmers' market

The venue is the lovely and acoustically resonant Grace Episcopal Church (below are exterior and interior views), at 116 West Washington Avenue, down on the Capitol Square.

grace episcopal church ext

Grace Episcopal harpsichord

Some of Madison’s most talented classical instrumentalists will perform the short but unique recital for baroque flute featuring compositions spanning three centuries.

Performers include Millie (Mi-Li) Chang and Danielle Breisach (below top), Baroque flute; UW-Madison professor Stephanie Jutt, modern flute; UW-Madison professor John Chappell Stowe, harpsichord; and Eric Miller (below bottom), viola da gamba. 

Danielle Breisach

Eric Miller viol

Here is the specific program: David MacBride: “Shadow” for two baroque flutes (1993); Robert Strizich: “Tombeau” for baroque flute and harpsichord (1982); François Couperin, “Concert Royal” No. 2 in D major (1722), which can be heard in a YouTube video at the bottom; University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music composer Stephen Dembski (below top), “Gits and Piths” for modern and baroque flutes (2014); UW-Madison bassoonist, conductor and composer Marc Vallon (below bottom), “Ami” (2014); and Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonata in B minor for baroque flute and harpsichord, BWV 1030 (1736-37).

For more information, visit www.gracepresents.org

Stephen Dembski

Vallon,M

WOODWIND QUINTET

The fourth concert of the Kat Trio Chamber Music Series features the Veldor Woodwind Quintet. The concert will take place in Memorial United Church of Christ, 5705 Lacy Road, Fitchburg on Saturday night, April 26, 2014 at 7 p.m.

There will be 30-minute Q&A session before the performance.

Suggested donation: $10 adults and $5 students.

Member of the Veldor Woodwind Quintet (below) are: Barbara Paziouros Roberts (flute), Andy Olson (oboe), Joe Kania (clarinet), Brad Sinner (horn), and Brian Ellingboe (bassoon). They combine educational backgrounds in music performance from the Eastman School of Music, DePaul University, Lawrence University, Luther College, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music with many years of performing experience both locally and abroad.

Now in their fifth year, the Veldor continues to entertain audiences with its dynamic performances of standard and non-traditional repertoire alike.

For additional information, visit www.thekattrio.net/chamberseries

Veldor Woodwind Quintet

EARLY MONEY SONGS

Then on Sunday, April 27, at 2 p.m., at the Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 110 North Whitney Way, the early music group Eliza’s Toyes (below) is performing a program titled “Toss The Pot: Songs About Money, or the Lack Thereof.”

Eliza's Toyes 2012 2

Writes founder singer and conductor Jerry Hui (below): “Through songs from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque period, we sing about the age-old problem of money, people’s desire for it, as well as things that are even more precious. There’ll be a “sermon of money” from “Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”; selection from Palestrina’s “Canticum Canticorum”; a song by Orlandi di Lassus about hungry musicians stealing food; chansons by Josquin des Prez, Sermisy and Le Jeune; and many more.”

Tickets are $15.

Jerry Hui

 

 

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Classical music: The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music opens a very busy week with an FREE oboe recital and a PUBLIC opera master class on Monday. Plus, today is the last performance of the Mozart Requiem by the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and UW student pianist Hailey O’Neil will fill in for a Beethoven Sonata Competition winner at this afternoon’s FREE recital.

April 6, 2014
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ALERTS: University of Wisconsin-Madison piano student Hailey O’Neil, who won an Honorable Mention, will fill in for the injured winner Oxana Khramova at the Beethoven Sonata Competition winners’ FREE recital today at 3:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall. O’Neil will play the lovely “Pastoral Sonata, Op. 28, by Beethoven.

For more information, visit:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/classical-music-the-three-winners-of-the-29th-annual-beethoven-sonata-competition-at-the-university-of-wisconsin-madison-school-of-music-are-named-and-will-perform-a-free-concert-on-sunday-afternoon/

Of course the Beethoven Sonata concert unfortunately conflicts with the last performance (at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall at the Overture Center) by the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (below, in a photo by Greg Anderson) of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem and Joseph Jongen’s “Symphonie Concertante” with organ soloist Nathan Laube, all under the baton of guest conductor Julian Wachner. Here is a positive review by critic John W. Barker for Isthmus:

http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=42448&sid=16e141d4e100c8abeb61a0720e30e06d

MSO Chorus CR Greg Anderson

By Jacob Stockinger

Tomorrow, Monday, April 7, opens a busy week at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.

It starts with opera and chamber music for oboe, then expands to include contemporary music by guest artists from the University of Iowa’s acclaimed Center for New Music; piano and string music” the Adagio from Joseph Haydn’s Piano Trio No. 22; Franz Schubert’s Piano Trio No. 1 in Flat Major; and Antonin Dvorak’s Piano Quintet by the UW’s Perlman Piano Trio and guest performers (all below in a photo by Katherine Esposito) ; three performances by the University Opera of Hector Berlioz’ opera “Beatrice et Benedict”; and one performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St. John Passion”’ done by the UW Concert Choir and UW Chamber Orchestra under conductor Beverly Taylor.

For full details, go to www.musc.wisc.edu and click on Events Calendar.

perlman trio 2014 2 Esposito

Here is how the week starts out:

METROPOLITAN OPERA STAR SUSANNE MENTZER

On Monday from 1:15 to 3:15 p.m. in 1321 Humanities Building, opera star mezzo-soprano 
Susanne Mentzer (below) will be offering a master class to UW-Madison voice and opera students

Susanne Mentzer 1

This event is free and open to the public. Mentzer will be working one-on-one with students, performing a signature aria for the class, conducting a “Q&A session, and staying to meet and greet all attendees.

Mentzer is in Madison to perform as Mrs. Patrick DeRocher in Madison Opera‘s production of “Dead Man Walking,” conducted by Madison Symphony Orchestra and Madison Opera maestro John DeMain, April 25 and April 27 in Overture Hall. For more information, visit:

http://www.madisonopera.org/performances-2013-2014/dead_man_walking/

Internationally known mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer enjoys a significant opera, concert and recital career of over 30 years. She has appeared on four continents at nearly every great opera house and with every great orchestra. She has been a guest artist at the Metropolitan Opera (below) in leading roles since 1989.

metropolitan opera 1

Her extensive discography includes over 25 CDs of opera and oratorio. She has recorded two recitals she often performs in concert: “The Eternal Feminine,” a recital of music by women composers (Koch International Classics), which includes the premiere of Libby Larsen’s “Love After 1950” with her long-time pianist, Craig Rutenberg; and her personal favorite, “Wayfaring Stranger” (Erato), a collection of international folksongs arranged for voice and guitar with Grammy Award winning Sharon Isbin.

She also received a Grammy nomination for her work as Colombina in Busoni’s Arlecchino. She is on the recent releases of Jake Heggie’s “Dead Man Walking” and “Plump Jack” by Gordon Getty. Mentzer appears on DVDs of “The Tales of Hoffman” (Opéra de Paris), Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” (La Scala), and Grammy-nominated “The First Emperor” by Tan Dun (Metropolitan Opera), and Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos” (Metropolitan Opera).

She has appeared numerous times on PBS as part of the “Live from Lincoln Center” and “Live from the Met” programs and Live From the Met satellite cinema broadcast. Mentzer is a mentor to young singers. She recently relocated to the San Francisco area where she teaches privately after 12 years in academia as a Professor at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and DePaul University in Chicago. She has also served as faculty at the Aspen Music Festival and School and has been a guest teacher at the San Francisco Opera Merola program, the Castleton Festival and frequently gives master classes in conjunction with her engagements.

To read more about Susanne Mentzer, go to her website, www.susannementzer.com.

susanne Mentzer

OBOIST KOSTAS TILIAKOS

On Monday night, at 7:30 in Morphy Recital Hall, pianist Christopher Taylor and flutist Stephanie Jutt will accompany Kostas Tiliakos on oboe and English horn in his only solo recital on the Faculty Concert Series this year.

Admission is FREE and open to the public.

kostas tiliakos 2013

His program will consist of works by composers Minas Alexiadis, Anastassis Philippakopoulos, Theodore Antoniou, Jurgis Juozapaitis, and Thea Musgrave.

A native of Athens, Greece, Kostas Tiliakos (below in a photo by Katherine Esposito) has been principal oboist in the Greek National Opera Orchestra in Athens since 1997. Previous to that, he held the position of Solo English Horn for eight years.

An avid lover of contemporary music, Tiliakos has been a member of the Hellenic Ensemble for Contemporary Music since 1990 and has premiered and recorded works by contemporary composers, many of which he was a dedicatee.

He has also recorded solo and chamber music works on Wandelweiser (Germany), Lyra and Irida Classics (Greece) and has been broadcast on radio and television throughout Europe.

Internationally, he has appeared as soloist throughout Europe, Africa, Canada and the U.S. During his time in Greece, Kostas was a sought-after music journalist and editing consultant with Lambrakis Press SA and 4pi Special Editions, the two largest publishing organizations in Greece. Kostas studied Biology at Athens University and holds a BA in European Cultural Studies.

He received his Masters of Music from UW-Madison under Marc Fink where he was a Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Fellow. His principal teachers have included Marc Fink, Claude Chieulet, Didier Pateau. He has also studied with Paul Dombrecht and Hansjörg Schellenberger.

Most recently, Kostas was selected for the position of Visiting Associate Professor of Oboe at UW-Madison. The Ear understands that he has been renewed to do the same next academic year.

 

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Classical music: NEWS FLASH — Here are the winners of the Madison Early Music Festival’s first annual Handel Aria Competition. The Madison Symphony Orchestra bestows awards on several of its outstanding musician members.

July 9, 2013
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NEWS FLASH: On Monday night, the first FREE annual Handel Aria Competition was held in Mills Hall as part of the 14th annual Madison Early Music Festival. I will blog about the contest more on Wednesday. But here are the results as decided by the three judges (guest singers soprano Ellen Hargis and tenor William Hudson, plus local music critic and UW Emeritus Profess of Medieval History John W. Barker) and also by the audience. There were eight contestants (below top) and all acquitted themselves very well. First Prize went to mezzo-soprano Elisa Sutherland (third from the right); Second Prize went to soprano Alison Wahl (far left); and Third Prize went to soprano Winnie Nieh (second from the right) who also took home the Audience Prize. (An early version of this mistakenly reversed the second-place and third-place winners. I apologize for the error.)

Handel aria contestants MEMF 14

The festival continues tonight with a pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m. in Room L-160 of the Elvehjem Building of the nearby Chazen Museum of Art with a concert  at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall by The Dark Horse consort (below) joined by UW baritone Paul Rowe and soprano Cheryl Bensman Rowe, who are co-artistic directors of the festival. For more information, visit: http://continuingstudies.wisc.edu/lsa/memf/

Dark Horse Early Brass Consort CR  Tatiana Daubek

By Jacob Stockinger

We read, see and hear a lot about the turmoil that many American symphony orchestras are unfortunate;y going through right now – especially labor strife, growing debt and attendance problems.

So positive word about the internal affairs of a specific orchestra is all the more welcome. It is refreshing to hear news about the musicians as well as the maestro.

In that spirit, the Madison Symphony Orchestra last month recognized some of its own outstanding musician members, both paid and volunteer,  for their contributions to the ensemble. Some or even all of  them will no doubt be performing at the Madison Opera’s 12th annual FREE “Opera in the Park” (below) this Saturday night at 8 p.m. (Sunday is the rain date) in Garner Park on Madison’s far west side.

Here is a link to information about that event, from dates and times to performers and the program and even to  arrangements and rules for sitting outdoors in the park and eating:

http://www.madisonopera.org/performances-2012-2013/park/

Opera in Park 2012 crowd 2 James Gill

And here is a link to the Madison Symphony Orchestra and its next season, which will marks music director John DeMain’s 20th year with the MSO. You can also find biographies of the players, including those who are honored below:

http://madisonsymphony.org

Here is the MSO press release:

Madison Symphony Orchestra Recognizes Local Musicians

Local musicians received prestigious awards from the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s (MSO) Board of Directors at its June meeting in recognition of their musical contributions.

Margaret Rupp Cooper Award

The Margaret Rupp Cooper Award is presented in honor of the Symphony’s original harpist, who performed in the first concert in 1926 through the 50th anniversary season.  The award is presented annually to two orchestra members based upon years of service, commitment to the orchestra, and musicianship.  This year’s awardees were Stephanie Jutt, MSO principal flute, and Bill Muir, MSO fourth horn.

Stephanie Jutt (below) is an accomplished international flute performer, recording artist, and educator.  She is currently on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and co-produces the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society summer music festival each summer in which she performs. Jutt has received numerous awards and is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music.

StephanieJuttNoCredit

In addition to fourth horn duties with the MSO, Bill Muir is also a member of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Artemis Horn Quartet.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from St. Olaf College and a master of music degree in horn performance from the UW-Madison.

MSO Brass Bill Muir

Marie Spec Award

The Marie Spec Award honors the Symphony’s long-time first violinist, who also played in the first performance in 1926.  The award consists of a fund that provides both the concertmaster and Madison Symphony Chorus accompanist with an annual bonus.  MSO Concertmaster violinist Naha Greenholtz and Chorus Accompanist pianist Dan Lyons received this year’s award.

Naha Greenholtz (below) has now completed her second season as concertmaster with the MSO.  A graduate of Juilliard and winner of the prestigious Concertmaster Academy Fellowship at Cleveland State University, she has held numerous concertmaster positions and has participated in music festivals as both a performer and music director.

Naha Greenholtz profile

A Chicago native, Dan Lyons (below) holds performance degrees from DePaul University and a doctoral performance degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied with Howard Karp. He has performed solo, concerto and chamber recitals throughout the Midwest. In addition to serving as the accompanist and chorus manager for Madison Symphony Chorus, he maintains a private teaching studio and continues to accompany throughout the Madison area.

Dan Lyons

Ann Stanke Award

The Ann Stanke Award is presented in honor of the former Madison Symphony Chorus accompanist and manager for her years of excellent service.  This year’s award was presented to chorus member Bennette Harris.

Bennette Harris (below) has been singing with the Madison Symphony Chorus for five years, along with his wife, Susan, and daughter, Emily.  Bennette retired from UW-Whitewater in 2011 after 29 years on the faculty in the mathematical and computer sciences department.  He is currently working as a UNIX engineer with EPIC in Verona.

bennetteharris

The MSO will mark its 88th concert season in 2013-2014 by celebrating the 20th anniversary of John DeMain (below) as music director. The Madison Symphony Orchestra engages a wide range of audiences in classical music through a full season of concerts with established and emerging soloists of international renown, an organ concert series, and diverse educational and community outreach activities.

Find more information at www.madisonsymphony.org

John DeMain full face by Prasad


Classical music: This coming Sunday night brings a MUST-HEAR chamber music concert of Schubert and Brahms that is FREE and open to the public. It features faculty members and Collins Fellow at the UW-Madison.

April 3, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

This coming Sunday, April 7, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall there will be an extraordinary concert of Romantic chamber music that features both UW-Madison faculty members and Collins Fellows.

Unfortunately, it is on the same day as a Madison Symphony Orchestra’s afternoon performance. Still, this concert is a MUST-HEAR and I hope you can make it.

The concert will feature UW faculty members violinist David Perry, pianist Christopher Taylor (below top) and cellist Uri Vardi (below bottom, in a photo by Katrin Talbot).

ChristopherTaylorNoCredit

Vardi

Additionally, the concert will feature Collins Fellows violinist Roxana Pavel (below), violist Elias Goldstein  and cellist Philip Bergman.

roxana pavel

The program couldn’t be more appealing. It offers two of the greatest masterpieces of Romantic chamber music: Franz Schubert’s sublime String Quintet in C major (D. 956, or Opus posthumous 163) for two violins, viola and cello; and Johannes Brahms’ dramatic Piano Quintet in F minor,  Opus 34. (The Scherzo movement of the Brahms is in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

Here is some background about the Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowships, thanks to the UW School of Music and its new Concert Manager and Director of Public Relations Kathy Esposito:

The Collins fellowships have been established through the generosity of Paul J. Collins (below) in honor of his mother, Adele Stoppenbach Collins, a 1929 School of Music graduate. Students are nominated by faculty members.

The fellowships are awarded to outstanding graduate performance majors and are determined by a committee of performance faculty.

Paul J. Collins

Collins Awards guarantee two years of support at the master’s level and three years at the doctoral level, contingent upon full-time study and satisfactory progress in the degree program. These awards are sufficient to provide the financial support needed for a single international student to obtain a visa.

And here is more information about Elias Goldstein (below):

He won second prize at the Primrose International Viola Competition in 2011 and recently made his Russian debut with the Moscow Soloists and the New Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra under Alexander Slatkovsky. He took second prize at the Yuri Bashmet International Viola Competition, and was also a top prizewinner of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in 2010. He has also won top and special prizes at the Andrews University International String Competition, and the Watson Forbes International Viola Competition in 2009.

elias goldstein 2

He holds degrees from DePaul University (M.M.) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (D.M.A.) where he was a Collins Fellow. He has studied with Mark Zinger and with UW-Madison viola teacher and Pro Arte Quartet violist Sally Chisholm. While at the UW, he won Wisconsin Public Radio’s Neale-Silva Young Artists Competition in 2009.

Sally Chisholm

As a soloist with orchestras, Goldstein has appeared with the Moscow Soloists under the direction of Yuri Bashmet, New Moscow Philharmonic, New Mexico Chamber Orchestra, Advent Chamber Orchestra, the Ukrainian Chamber Orchestra, and the DePaul Symphony Orchestra, where he won the annual concerto competition twice.

Goldstein is currently assistant professor of viola at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Here is a link to his website:

http://eliasgoldstein.com/home


Classical music Q&A: Composer Jerry Hui talks about his new Internet opera “Wired For Love,” which adapts baroque identity games to the modern on-line world. The world premiere is in Madison this Friday and Saturday.

January 18, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

Few young musicians in Madison, or anywhere for that matter, are as talented or as diverse in their interests as Jerry Hui. He directs and sings in an early music vocal group Eliza’s Toyes and also sings with the Madison Bach Musicians. He is a founding member and director of New MUSE (New Music Everywhere), a University of Wisconsin-Madison student group that performs and promotes new music and stages flash mobs. And he is a composer who is pursuing his doctoral degree at the UW School of Music.

His ambitious doctoral thesis is composing and staging a new opera the plot of which is based on the Internet, but uses the comic an confusing identity games and masks we traditionally identify with Baroque and Classical comic operas. He also incorporates the  more modern aesthetic of using art to promote social progress. John Barker, a critic and colleague who often posts on this blog, wrote a brief introduction to Jerry and his new opera in last week’s Isthmus. Visit: http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=35686

For more about Hui, visit: http://www.musiquenouvelle.com/ or www.jerryhui.com

But Jerry (below) also agreed to a longer email interview with The Ear: 

What are the dates, times, location, duration and tickets of performances of the world premieres of “Wired For Love”?

Wired For Love” will have its world premiere production this week on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. in the Carol Rennebohm Auditorium of the UW Music Hall, located on North Park Street at the base of Bascom Hill (below).

Tickets are $15, sold at the door (cash and check only, no credit cards); RSVP is available on http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0549A8A928A75-tickets for guaranteed purchase.

The opera lasts about 65 minutes.

There will also be a free pre-concert lecture each night at 7 p.m. On Friday night, the lecture is in Morphy Recital Hall of the Humanities Building and will be “Fraud Awareness & Prevention” by Julie Walser, who is the Loss Prevention and BSA Manager of the UW Credit Union. The Saturday lecture is in Memorial Union (see Today in the Union for the location) and it will focus on “Protecting Your Identity” by Monica Bush, the Security Officer from the UW Campus Information Security Office.

To see more information about “Wired For Love,” visit http://wiredforlove.jerryhui.com.

Can you give readers a brief synopsis and description of the opera “Wired For Love”?

Looking for his next victim, Okoro the Nigerian scammer (countertenor Peter Gruett) goes about his daily business of sending out an e-mail message, under the alias of Bako Ndiovu (tenor Daniel O’Dear). His message reaches an Internet addict in Britain (hereby referred to as “British guy” (baritone James Held), who decides to respond under the guise of an attractive female model by the name of Ethel Wormvarnish (soprano Jennifer Sams). His goal was to keep Okoro from getting to a real victim, and to have a little fun by making a fool out of him.

Thus begins the correspondence between Okoro and the British guy, each trying to outfox the other. While their lies and excuses grow, so do the personalities of their fictional avatars, which gradually develop as they each become aware of both their own and the other’s existence in the cyberspace. (Below, clockwise from left, the cast members are James Held, Daniel O’Dea, Peter Gruett and Jennifer Sams.)

Bako, who began as only Okoro’s avatar, starts to realize on his own he has a desire to come clean about the deception. Ethel, who according to the British guy, is a sassy wild girl who would never settle for just one person, slowly succumbs to the purity of Bako’s heart and to the beauty of his entirely imaginary physique.

While Okoro and the British guy continue their correspondence via the personalities of Bako and Ethel, Bako and Ethel, both increasingly independent, begin struggling to express their yearning for one another. Finally, Bako devises a bold plan to escape: Pretending to complete the scam transaction through a payment, he and Ethyl would finally meet and run away.

How and why did you come up with the idea and how did you bring it to the performance stage?

I first came across the e-mail correspondence that  the opera is based on back in 2003, on the website whatsthebloodypoint.com. This particular story stood out because the fictional avatars are so colorful and improbable, with a dash of romance mixed in.

I was to make this a comic mono-drama for soprano Elaine Niu (below), who was a music doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and who now teaches at St. Norbert College. One aria was written and was recorded by Elaine and the UW Chamber Orchestra. But unsure what to do next, I shelved the project.

It was not until 2009, when I had to choose a Doctor of Musical Arts dissertation project, that I revisited this material again. At the time I was torn between composing a serious opera on the life of the Chinese poet Li Po from the Tang Dynasty, or a comic opera that would pick up where I left off six years before. My composition teacher, Stephen Dembski, strongly encouraged me to compose the latter. Not only is writing funny music a great challenge, there also haven’t been many new comic operas.

Soon I invited fellow student Lisa Kundrat (below) to be a collaborator. Lisa was in the UW’s MFA Creative Writing program, and a Day Fellow at the former Edenfred Artist Residency. We collaborated on an art song before, where I set her words to music. One May afternoon over coffee, we brainstormed on the story, whereby we added the sci-fi twist for the avatars to come alive, and strengthened the romance between them. “Wired For Love” was born.

The libretto was a collaboration that continued for the next year. We read and reviewed the original e-mails, as well as voice mail messages that were sent by the Nigerian scammer (also published online). Some of the numbers will set the original text directly, while others are newly written by us to advance the plot.

We decided to use fairly simple rhyme schemes, both for lyrical and comedic purposes. There are fixed poetic forms in the lyrics too, and a wide variety at that: simple villanelle, silly limerick, serious rondeau, even a somber sestina.

The music took another eight months to complete. It is scored for four singers–two characters live in the real world, two in cyberspace–and an ensemble of nine instrumentalists. The main instruments are flute, oboe, clarinet, trombone, percussion, piano, violin, viola and cello; however, many instrumentalists are also asked to play on their doubling instruments such as alto flute, English horn or bass clarinet.

I began planning for this production a year ago, starting with a search for the singers who can take on these roles, and instrumentalists who might be interested in such a venture. By summer of 2011, our cast was set, and a successful online fundraising effort to generate $6,500 through Kickstarter gave us the official green light! (Below, a rehearsal.)

How would you describe your style of writing vocal and instrumental music? Tonal? Accessible? Mixed genre? Are there contemporary or modern composers whose style you admire and emulate?

Parody of familiar and popular musical forms and materials is among the top three devices used by composers in musical comedy through the ages, according to the late musicologist Dr. Enrique Alberto Arias from DePaul University in his annotated bibliography “Comedy in Music.”

In “Wired For Love,” this is certainly the case. You will  hear some raucous polkas and fancy Viennese waltzes; the texture of what could have been an aria from a Bach cantata wrapped in new harmony; the fancy color of Saint-Säens; the vocal writing style of Monteverdi; the soaring sound of Broadway; and five-part fugues. (To The Ear, some of the score sounds similar to parts of a Brecht-Weill opera such as “The Three-Penny Opera.” Check out the YouTUBE clip at the bottom.)

No genres, time period or styles are left behind. But while the soundscape on the surface may shift rapidly, certain musical material remains through the drama, tying all the musical numbers together.

What about the opera will most appeal to the average listener or audience member?

The story! It is both a cautionary tale about the threat of Internet fraud and a timeless parable of people who struggle to become who they truly are. The music is accessible–there’s something for everyone–and I hope there’ll be a tune or two that the audience may find themselves humming as they leave!

What else would you like to say or like readers to know about you and the opera?

This production is also a strong collaboration among all the participating musicians and artists. Besides the music from the hard-working singers and instrumentalists conducted by UW alum Ching-Chun Lai, the audience will enjoy the set and lighting designed by Madisonian Greg Silver, and costumes by Hyewon Park. Some of the costumes are also generously provided by Hilton Hollis (below), a New York-based fashion designer, whose works have been featured in Oprah Magazine, Jezebel and The Atlantan.

 

I also hope that “Wired For Love” will further raise the awareness of Internet and identity fraud. Despite what we may think, such fraud is an ongoing nuisance that creates financial damage and hurts people in a real way. Our daily and increasing usage of technology may make  the digital world seem safe–even friendly, fuzzy and cute.

Yet we must stay vigilant, just like we would when we cook a meal, drive a car or enter a new place, lest we bring so much misfortune to ourselves that could have otherwise be avoided.


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