The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Even as the school year winds down, there are several noteworthy events and concerts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music this weekend.

April 23, 2015
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By Jacob Stockinger

Even as the school year winds down, there are several noteworthy events and concerts at the University of Wisconsin this weekend.

FRIDAY

At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Wind Ensemble will perform a FREE concert under director Scott Teeple.

The Wind Ensemble is the premier wind/percussion ensemble in the UW-Madison School of Music. Repertoire varies from classical wind compositions to contemporary works.

The Wind Ensemble actively commissions new works from world-renowned composers, often performing with internationally acclaimed soloists and guest conductors.

Jacob Klingbeil will assist as graduate student guest conductor.

YOUniversity Band will be side-by-side with community musicians

The program includes:

Gvorkna Fanfare by Jack Stamp

Baron Cimetieres Mambo by Donald Grantham

Irish Tune from County Derry by Percy Grainger

Starwars Trilogy, by John Williams/arr. Donald Hunsberger

UW Wind Ensemble performance

SATURDAY

At 1:30 p.m. in Morphy Recital Hall, a FREE Doctoral Recital: Russian Literature and the Music Salon. It is a multimedia concert with narration.

This doctoral project, organized by pianist Oxana Khramova, involves several students and faculty members from various departments.

It will be devoted to writers and composers who were connected to St. Petersburg in their lives and works: Nikolai V. Gogol, Anna A. Akhmatova, Joseph A. Brodsky, Sergei Prokofiev and Alfred Schnittke.

Listeners will experience their masterpieces through the prism of Russian music, language and visual images. By attempting to combine literature, music and art. participants hope to recreate the atmosphere of St. Petersburg’s culture (as recreated in the museum photo below).

Participants include:

Oxana Khramova, piano, DMA candidate, School of Music, where she is a student of Christopher Taylor

with

Yana Groves, piano, DMA candidate, School of Music

Nicole Heinen, soprano, MM candidate, School of Music

Ilona Sotnikova, visual images and literature, PhD candidate, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature

Conor Ryan, narrator, Undergraduate Student, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature

Russia salon in Saint Petersburg

At 4 p.m., in Mills Hall, the All-University String Orchestra will give a FREE concert under the baton of director Janet Jensen (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot). Sorry, no word on the program.

Janet Jensen Katrin Talbot

From 4 to 6 p.m. the Wingra Woodwind Quintet will hold its 50th Anniversary Party at the University Club (below), 803 State St., next to the Humanities Building.

university club uw in winter

Embodying the Wisconsin Idea and serving as role models to our students, the Wingra Quintet has a rich tradition and will honor current and former members.

Former members who plan to attend are Robert Cole, flute, Marc Fink, oboe, Glenn Bowen, clarinet, Richard Lottridge, bassoon, Douglas Hill, horn, and Nancy Becknell, horn. (Below are photos from 1990 and 2010.)

A short program of 20 minutes is planned and then we will celebrate with hors d’oeuvres and beverages catered by the University Club. Everyone is invited to enjoy the food, music, and good company of current and former members of the Wingra Quintet.

Please RSVP to news@music.wisc.edu

Learn about the rich history of the WWQ here: http://www.music.wisc.edu/wingra-woodwind-quintet/

Wingra 1990 2010

SUNDAY

At 1 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Women’s Chorus (below) and University Chorus will give a FREE concert. Anna Volodarskaya and Sarah Guttenberg will conduct.

This event is FREE.  Registration is encouraged, but not required.

No program has been announced.

UW Women's Chorus


Classical music: After the recent death of its namesake, the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is being held May 24-June 9 in Fort Worth, Texas. Here are links to many kinds of information, including live webcasts of performances, lists of competitors and repertoire, and blogs of the competition rounds. Plus, the Middleton Community Orchestra closes out its season Wednesday night.

May 28, 2013
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A REMINDER: Tomorrow night (Wednesday, May 29) at 7:30 p.m. in the Middle Performing Arts of Middleton High School, the Middleton Community Orchestra (below, performing under conductor Steve Kurr) will wrap up its third season with a performance of  “Romantic Favorites” that include Schumann’s “Julius Caesar” Overture, Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto No. 1 with UW-Madison student Mark Bridges as soloist, and Tchaikovsky’s famous and final Symphony No. 6 (“Pathetique”). Tickets are $10 for adults, free for students and young people. The box office opens at 6:30 p.m. and the doors open at 7 p.m. Here is a link to more information in a post I did late last week that also includes a review of last season’s closer: https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/classical-music-the-middleton-community-orchestra-wraps-up-its-third-season-this-wednesday-night-with-tchaikovskys-symphony-no-6-pathetique-schumanns-julius-c/

Middleton Community Orchestra Steve Kurr conducting

By Jacob Stockinger

The 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which takes place every four years, is underway. The playing started last Friday, May 24, and will run through Sunday, June 9.

The competition seems to be facing some challenges, including possible conflicts of interest between teacher-judges and contestants.

But perhaps the biggest challenge is maintaining its high public profile after the death in February at age 78 from bone cancer of its world-famous namesake, the virtuoso pianist Van Cliburn (below, performing in 1993.).

rememberingcliburn

Here is a fine background story about the challenges and problems facing the competition after the death of its namesake in The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/arts/music/in-texas-van-cliburn-piano-contest-goes-on-without-him.html?_r=0

And here is a link to a story by famed critic Norman Lebrecht (below) about why there are five Chinese competitors, but none from Britain, Germany or Austria and why all the names are unfamiliar to the general public or even most serious piano-philes:

http://www.artsjournal.com/slippeddisc/2013/03/five-chinese-no-brits-or-germans-in-van-cliburn-competition-finals.html

norman_lebrecht

Here is a link to the competitors:

http://www.cliburn.org/cliburn-competition/current-competitors/competitor-details/?ID=543

If you want to see the repertoire list of what all 30 competitors will perform, you have to take a roundabout way.

Go to the Competitors page at the foundation’s home website and click on their name. Then you have a choice of links to Biography and or to Competition Repertoire for each phase. I find the repertoire list valuable and fascinating for its psychology of building up to a win. A lot of the choices make sense, but some seem pretty far out and risky.

There are SEVEN American contestants – almost one-quarter of all the contestants. Check them out:

http://www.cliburn.org/cliburn-competition/

Here is a link to the performance schedule:

http://www.cliburn.org/cliburn-competition/performance-schedule/

2013 Van Cliburn competition 2013

Here is a link to the blog on the foundation’s website:

http://www.cliburn.org/cliburn-competition/competition-blog/

Here is a link to the live webcasts:

http://www.cliburn.org/cliburn-competition/live-webcast/ (Below is a YouTube video of Claire Huangci performing Kapustin’s Concert Etude, Op. 40, No.1, during the Preliminary Round).

Here is a link to story in the Fort Worth Star Telegram

http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/05/23/4880373/todays-competitors.html

And here is a link to the Dallas Morning News, which has both news stories and a daily blog about the compeititon

http://www.dallasnews.com/entertainment/columnists/scott-cantrell/20130522-your-guide-to-the-cliburn-competition-from-social-media-coverage-to-live-streams.ece

http://artsblog.dallasnews.com/2013/05/cliburn-competition-day-1-morning-and-afternoon-performances.html/

Both newspapers feature daily blogs of various rounds and contestants with some pretty informed judgments.


Classical music: American pianist Van Cliburn has been diagnosed with advanced cancer. The Ear dedicates Cliburn’s playing of the beautiful and touching Liszt-Schubert song “Dedication” to honor the pleasure, joy and inspiration he has given to so many.

August 29, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

Judging from news reports, an icon of American classical music is living out his final days.

American pianist Van Cliburn (below, in a photo taken by Ross Hailey for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram), now 78, has been diagnosed with advanced bone cancer . The very consistent stories, clearly taken form the same press release, do not say whether it is Stage III or Stage IV (there is no Stage V) but the word “advanced” suggests it is one of them and is probably beyond any hope of a cure or even a long survival.

As a young pianist, Cliburn was a superstar sensation with the public, the first classical musician to sell one million LPs (of his live recording of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1) and the first classical musician to get $10,000 a night. Sviatoslav Richter, one of the giants of 20th century Russian pianism also thought Cliburn so gifted that he handed Cliburn all his votes to seal Cliburn’s win in the first International Tchaikovsky Competition (below).

But Cliburn has also had his detractors, critics who found his performances uneven and lazy, especially as he aged and seemed to grow bored with his art. And some people including The Ear, also wish that he had come out publicly, despite his conservative politics and apparently deep religious beliefs.

For myself, in his prime I found most of his performances very good and several of his performances stupendous, including his Tchaikovsky First and Rachmaninoff Third concertos, but also his MacDowell Second Concerto.

Anyway, in an earlier post I asked: How good was Van Cliburn?

Here is a link:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/classical-music-how-good-was-pianist-van-cliburn/

And here are links to the latest story from The Associated Press about Cliburn and his diagnosis of cancer:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/08/28/arts/ap-us-cliburn-illness.html?_r=1&ref=arts

http://www.spinner.com/2012/08/28/van-cliburn-cancer/

http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/story/2012-08-27/van-cliburn-cancer-diagnosis/57355752/1

I don’t know if Cliburn reads The Well-Tempered Ear, but if he doesn’t now maybe he will if there are enough hits or somebody forwards it to him.

So leave a message in the COMMENTS column.

And tell us about your favorite Van Cliburn moments or performance.

One of mine is his playing of Franz Liszt’s transcription of Robert Schumann‘s song  “Widmung” (Dedication) — which was a favorite encore of Cliburn in his heyday and which is meant to honor the joy, the beauty and the inspiration he provided to so many young listeners and players, including me.. (Many more such moments, including Chopin, Brahms  and Debussy can be found for free on YouTube. Tear yourself and listen to a few).

 


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