The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The third annual Madison New Music Festival features three world premieres and 25 composers, and takes place this weekend with three concerts

August 7, 2018
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By Jacob Stockinger

It has been a good year for new music in Madison, which has often seemed inhospitable to that music in the past.

Among major contributors have been the LunART Festival of contemporary women composers; programs by the UW Symphony Orchestra and other UW-Madison groups and individuals; the Madison Opera; the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society; the Willy Street Chamber Players; and the Oakwood Chamber Players. Plus, The Ear is sure there are many other contributors he is overlooking.

But the largest share of the credit has to go to a three-day annual festival of living composers that will take place for the third year this coming weekend. (Photos from last year’s well-attended festival are by Max Schmidt.)

Here is an announcement from the festival with the details:

The third annual Madison New Music Festival will take place this coming Friday, Aug. 10, Saturday, Aug. 11, and Sunday, Aug. 12.

The Madison New Music Festival is an annual weekend-long concert series dedicated to strengthening Madison’s cultural vitality through the celebration of fresh classical music from our lifetimes.

Founded by Madison native composer Zachary Green (below bottom), the festival presents new works by some of the world’s leading living composers, shines a spotlight on new music created in Wisconsin, and shares underplayed music of the 20th and 21st centuries with the Madison community.

Every concert will also have a world premiere of music that has never been heard before. On the opening night, Conduit is performing a new piece by Kyle Tieman-Strauss called Abject. The next day, organist Tyler Jameson Pimm premieres his new piece Psalm 22. Then on Sunday, listeners get to hear the premiere of They’re Still Here by BC Grimm, featuring music for nine different instruments (all of which will be played by Grimm himself).

Over the course of three concerts around town, we are featuring a total of 17 musicians playing the works of 25 composers, all of which were written in the last 50 years.

Though each concert has a different theme, every performance features music by Wisconsin composers, composers of color, and both men and women.

Fifteen of our musicians were born, raised or currently reside in Wisconsin, but we’re bringing several back to town just for the festival. They include members of the Madison, Milwaukee and Quad City symphonies; and graduates of Juilliard, the Manhattan School of Music, Mannes Conservatory, Northwestern University, and, of course, the UW-Madison.

We invite you to join us for the following three concerts:

CONCERT 1: Sounds of the ‘60s and Beyond – Friday, Aug. 10, at 7:30 p.m.

Hear sounds born out of the ’60s counterculture with works exploring minimalism, social and political engagement, and electronic experimentation, as well as the music they inspired for decades to come. There will be a cash bar, as well as opportunities to explore the exhibits.

Where: Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMOCA), 227 State Street

Who: Caitlin Mead, soprano; Heather Zinninger Yarmel, flute; Kristina Teuschler, clarinet; Jeremy Kienbaum, viola; Alex Norris, violin, and Zou Zou Robidoux, cello; and Conduit (below, Zach Manzi, clarinet and Evan Sadler, percussion).

Program: Music by Melissa Dunphy, Angelica Negron, Evan Williams, Steve Reich, Gilda Lyons, Anna Meadors, Kyle T. Strauss, David Lang and Andy Akiho

CONCERT 2: Sounds of Reflection – Saturday, Aug. 11, at 2 p.m.

The festival continues with an afternoon program invoking spirituality, morality and reflection. Organ interludes will be interspersed throughout the program of vocal and instrumental music.

Where: Bethel Lutheran Church, 312 Wisconsin Ave.

Who: Greg Zelek, Madison Symphony Orchestra organist (below); Jeremy Kienbaum, viola; Satoko Hayami, piano; Tyler Pimm; organ; Kristina Teuschler, clarinet; Alex Norris, violin; Micah Cheng, cello; Caitlin Mead, soprano; and Scott Gendel, piano.

Program: Music by Toru Takemitsu, Trevor Weston, Morton Feldman, Daniel Ficarri, John Weaver, Tyler Pimm, Tania Leon, John Musto and Scott Gendel

CONCERT 3: Festival Closing Party 2018 – Sunday, Aug. 12, at 7:30 p.m.

Kick back a drink as local musician BC Grimm plays his original works for instruments from cello to Chinese Guqin zither, followed by a set of music for solo strings. Then, the musicians from all three concerts come together for a performance of the 1973 piece “Stay On It” — heard in the YouTube video the bottom — by Julius Eastman (below).

Where: Robinia Courtyard, 829 East Washington Avenue

Who: BC Grimm, Jeremy Keinbaum, Aaron Yarmel, and All Festival Performers

Program: BC Grimm, Philip Glass, Ursula Mamlok, Aaron Yarmel, and Julius Eastman

All individual concerts are $15 for general admission, $5 for students. You can also subscribe to all three concerts for $35.

For more information, please visit our website http://madisonnewmusic.org or find us on Facebook (@Madison New Music Festival) or Instagram (@madisonnewmusic).


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Classical music: This will be a busy and historic week at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.

October 24, 2016
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By Jacob Stockinger

This week will be a busy one at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, which is now funded in large part by the Mead Witter Foundation.

The big event is the long-awaited groundbreaking for the new performance center. That, in turn, will be celebrated with three important and appealing concerts.

Here is the lineup:

FRIDAY

From 4 to 5:30 p.m., an official and public groundbreaking ceremony for the new Hamel Music Center will take place at the corner of Lake Street and University Avenue. (Below is an architect’s rendering of the completed building.)

uw hamel performance center exterior

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, pianist Christopher Taylor (below) will perform the “Goldberg” Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach on the two-keyboard “Hyperpiano” that he has invented and refined. (You can hear the opening aria theme of the “Goldberg” Variations played by Glenn Gould in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

For more information about the concert and the innovative piano, visit:

http://www.music.wisc.edu/2016/09/13/pianist-christopher-taylor-to-debut-new-piano/

Tickets are $18 and are available at the Wisconsin Union Theater box office. Last The Ear heard, the concert was close to a sell-out.

Christopher Taylor with double keyboard Steinway

SATURDAY

At 7 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW-Madison faculty bassoonist Marc Vallon (below, in a photo by James Gill), who studied and worked with the recently deceased French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, will lead a FREE “Breaking Ground” concert of pioneering music from the 17th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

Composers represented include Ludwig van Beethoven, Michelangelo Rossi, Alexander Scriabin, Iannis Xenakis, John Cage, Helmut Lachenmann and Morton Feldman.

For more information and the complete program, go to:

http://www.music.wisc.edu/event/breaking-ground-with-marc-vallon-and-sound-out-loud/

Marc Vallon 2011 James Gill (baroque & modern)[2]

SUNDAY

At 3 p.m. in Mills Hall, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet will give a FREE concert.

For more information about the group and the program, go to:

http://www.music.wisc.edu/event/the-wisconsin-brass-quintet/

Wisconsin Brass Quintet

Wisconsin Brass Quintet


Classical music: University of Wisconsin-Madison bassoonist Marc Vallon and saxophonist-clarinetist Les Thimmig will revive an homage to French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez in a FREE concert Friday evening that mixes Baroque and and new music.

March 31, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

Bassoonist Marc Vallon and saxophonist-clarinetist Les Thimmig, who both teach and perform at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, are emerging as two of the most interesting, eclectic faculty members, who display a variety of gifts and talents, at the UW School of Music.

Vallon (below, in a photo by James Gill) not only performs bassoon music from the Baroque and Classical eras, he is also a conductor who will lead two performances later this month of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Mass in B Minor” for the Madison Bach Musicians.

Marc Vallon 2011 James Gill (baroque & modern)[2]

Thimmig plays jazz as well as classics, and recently finished his three-concert exploration of trios by the American composer Morton Feldman.

Les Thimmig color

Here are the details that were sent by Marc Vallon to The Ear:

“Hi Jake,

“I thought I would let you know about my next musical adventure.

“In the 1960s, French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez (below) had a group, called Le Domaine Musical, that played contemporary music mixed with early music by Bach, Dufay and Guillaume de Machaut — unusual music for the time.

Pierre Boulez

“As an homage, Les Thimmig and I are reviving the concept in a FREE concert on this coming Friday, April 4, at 6:30 p.m. in Morphy Recital Hall.

“The program will feature music by Alban Berg, Luciano Berio, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Boulez, and includes Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 on period instruments.

The program includes Four Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op.5 (1920), by Alban Berg (below top); Twelve Notations (1945, in a piano version performed by Maurizio Pollini in a YouTube video at the bottom) by Pierre Boulez (born 1925); “D’un geste apprivoisé” for bassoon and tape (1997) by Jose-Luis Campana  (born 1949); and ) “Sequenza VII” for oboe (1969) by Luciano Berio (below bottom, 1925-2003).

alban berg

Luciano Berio

After intermission, we will perform “Kontra-punkte for 10 instruments” (1953) by Karlheinz Stockhausen (below top, 1928-2007); and the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (dedicated in 1721) by Johann Sebastian Bach (below bottom, 1685-1750).

karlheinz stockhausen knobs

 Bach1

There will be a presentation of the pieces and an introduction to “Kontra-Punkte” by Lee Blasius (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot), who teaches music theory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.

Lee Blasius Katrin Talbot

The performers include: Mi-Li Chang, flute; Kirstin Ihde, piano; Sung Yang Sara Giusti, piano; Kai-Ju Ho, clarinet; Les Thimmig, bass clarinet; Mary Perkinson, Baroque and modern violin; Eric Miller, baroque and modern cello; Joe Greer, trombone; Jessica Jensen, trumpet; Rosalie Gilbert, harp; Ross Duncan, bassoon; Kangwon Kim and Nate Giglierano, baroque violin; Sally Chisholm, Ilana Schroeder and Erin Brooks, baroque viola; Martha Vallon, Anton ten Wolde, Baroque cello; John Chappell Stowe; harpsichord; and Marc Vallon, bassoon.

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Classical music: There is a lot of FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC classical music for guitar, cello, trombone, flute and piano trio this week and weekend at the University of Wisconsin School of Music.

October 23, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

It is only Wednesday, and already twice this week I have already spotlighted two big and important upcoming music events at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

On Friday night is the second SoundWaves lecture-concert at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. Here is a link to that post:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/classical-music-qa-science-and-music-will-meet-again-this-friday-night-at-the-second-soundwaves-concert-at-the-wisconsin-institutes-for-discovery/

Also on Friday night is the first of three performances of George Frideric Handel’s opera “Ariodante.” The performance marks the opening production of this season at the University Opera. Here is a link to that post:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/classical-music-handel-is-hot-and-his-ariodante-opens-university-operas-fall-season-this-friday-and-sunday-and-next-tuesday/

But you know the semester is starting to wind towards its end when you start seeing the concerts pile up.

So consider what else in the way of smaller events is happening – what other FREE and PUBLIC concerts – at the UW-Madison during the rest of the week.

CLASSICAL GUITAR

Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW guitarist Javier Calderon (below) will give a FREE and PUBLIC recital on the UW Faculty Concert Series.

The program includes: “Ancien Lute Dances” by Abel Carlevaro;
 Variations, Op. 9, 
by Fernando Sor; 
Suite for Lute No. 1 BWV 996, by Johann Sebastian Bach;

”Cafe 1930” by Astor Piazzolla; “Three pieces” by Manuel Ponce; “Aire de Bolivia’ by Gaston Caba; “Torre Bermeja,” “Pavana Capriccio” and “Sevilla” by Isaac Albeniz.

Javier Calderon color

When Javier Calderon played his solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall, The New York Times called him “…a virtuoso with poetic sensibility.” Since then many composers, including the eminent American Alan Hovhaness and Lawrence Weiner, have been writing and dedicating guitar concertos and solo pieces to Calderon.

At age 17 Javier Calderon thrilled the audience of his native city of La Paz, Bolivia the evening he played with the Bolivian National Symphony Orchestra. Then he was invited to the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont.

Soon after, the legendary Andres Segovia awarded the young guitarist a scholarship to study under his tutelage in Spain. Calderon, who is also an accomplished cellist, studied interpretation with Janos Starker.
 Javier Calderon now tours extensively in the United States, Europe, South America and the Far East.

He appears regularly as concert soloist with orchestras including the St. Louis and Atlanta symphonies and the Minnesota Orchestra and in solo recitals throughout the world. Javier Calderon has performed chamber music concerts with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and has been featured at numerous international music festivals.

Professor Calderon (below) founded and heads the UW-Madison guitar program.

javier calderon informal color

TROMBONE AND PIANO

On Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. in Mills hall, UW-Madison trombonist Mark Hetzler (below top, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) and UW pianist Martha Fischer (below bottom) will present a special program – FREE and open to the PUBLIC — on the Faculty Concert Series.

It is called “Meditations and Visions: The Music of Anthony Plog and Anthony Barfield” and consists of two modern works that feature lyricism and technical virtuosity in a rich romantic language.

Mark Hetzler 2011 BIG COLOR Katrin Talbot

Martha Fischer color Katrin Talbot

FLUTE TRIOS

On Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW saxophonist Les Thimmig will perform the second of three installments presenting the late-period Trios of American composer Morton Feldman. It is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Also performing will be Jennifer Hedstrom, keyboards; and Sean Kleve, percussion. This performance will present Feldman’s “Crippled Symmetry” (1983). The next concert in the series is February 2, 2014.

Les Thimming

DUO-CELLISTS

On Sunday at 8 p.m. in Morphy Hall, duo-cellists German Marcano (a UW-Madison alumnus, below top) and Pablo Mahave-Veglia (below bottom), will present a FREE and PUBLIC program on the Guest Artist Series.

The program 

includes “Tonadas,” by Diaz and Galindez, arranged by German Marcano; 
Suite in C Major, BWV 1009 by Johann Sebastian Bach;
 “Sonsoneo” by Alvarez;
”Cello Tango” by Federico Ruiz; and Sonata for Two Cellos by Jose Maria Castro.

Marcano and Mahave-Veglia will also be giving a FREE and PUBLIC master class on Monday October 28 at 12:15 p.m. in Mills Hall.

German Marcano

Pablo Mahave-Veglia

PIANO TRIOS

On Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW cellist Parry Karp (below), who heads the chamber music program at the UW-Madison School of Music and who performs with the Pro Arte Quartet, will be featured in a FREE program of piano trios.

Parry Karp

Karp will perform violinist Suzanne Beia
 and pianist Thomas Kasdorf, who is also a UW alumnus.

The program includes:
 the Piano Trio in G Major, Op. 1 No. 2, by Ludwig van Beethoven;
 the Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 26, by Antonin Dvorak; and
 the Piano Trio in D Minor, Op. 32, by Anton Arensky. (Its gorgeously lyrical and Romantic slow movement — an elegy — is below in a YouTube video.)


Classical music: What classial music do you like to hear to commemorate 9/11? This Sunday promises a lot of UW-Madison opera and chamber music by both alumni as well as current students and faculty. Plus, Edgewood College singer Kathleen Otterson’s recital is SUNDAY at 2:30 p.m., NOT Saturday as was mistakenly stated yesterday.

September 11, 2013
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TODAY IS 9/11: WHAT PIECE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC DO YOU LIKE TO HEAR TO MEMORIALIZE THAT TRAGIC DAY IN 2001? LET THE EAR KNOW IN A COMMENT WITH A LINK TO A YOUTUBE VIDEO, IF POSSIBLE.

AN IMPORTANT CORRECTION: Yesterday The Ear mistakenly said that Edgewood College mezzo-soprano Kathleen Otterson will give a recital on this Saturday – which was WRONG. The concert is SUNDAY AFTERNOON AT 2:30 P.M. Otherwise the story and the details are correct. I apologize for the error.

Here is a link to the corrected story:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/classical-music-edgewood-college-mezzo-soprano-kathleen-otterson-will-perform-a-recital-of-songs-by-gustav-and-alma-mahler-berlioz-rossini-and-andre-previn-this-coming-saturday-afternoon/

Kathleen Otterson 2

By Jacob Stockinger

True, the new concert season at the University of Wisconsin School of Music officially opened up over a week ago with the 36th annual Labor Day Concert by the Karp Family.

But this is a reminder that this Sunday – really the first busy weekend of the academic year the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music – promises to have a lot of music.

Here are the various concerts, as described in press releases:

— Sunday, Sep. 15, 2013 at 1 p.m. in Mills Hall.

UW Professor Les Thimmig will give the first Faculty Concert

Thimmig (below) will present “The Feldman Trios,” Part One. Three lecture-performances of the late-period work of American composer Morton Feldman (below).  The other sessions are on October 27 and February 2, 2014.

Les Thimmig color

The First concert is: “Why Patterns?” It features Prof. Les Thimmig on flutes; Jennifer Hedstrom on keyboards; and Sean Kleve on percussion. (See the YouTube video at the bottom.)

American composer Morton Feldman (1926-1987, below in a New York Times photo from 1985) was first noted for his inclusion in the “Cage School,” a group of four composers, the others being Earle Brown and Christian Wolff, associated with the composer John Cage. The three trios for flute, piano, and percussion included in this series were written for the members of this group during the last nine years of Feldman’s life. During this period, his works radically increased in length, lasting from 30 minutes to multiple hours of single-movement, very slowly unfolding development. At issue were the distinction of “form” and “scale.”

Morton Feldman NYT 1985

— Also on Sunday, Sept. 15, at 3:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall is the Second Annual “School of Music Alumni Association Showcase.” For more information, go to http://uwsomaa.org/and click “alumni recital.”

The program features:

Hornist Alex Weaver playing: Concert Etude for Solo Horn by Esa-Pekka Salonen (b. 1958) and Suite for Horn and Piano by Alec Wilder (1907-1980).

Alex Weaver

Flutist Kristine Rominski (below) playing: “Tenderness of Cranes” by Shirish Korde

Kristine Rominski

Percussionist Michael Mixtacki (below) playing: “Uma Mulher” by Seu Jorge, arr. Mixtacki and “Obbatalá,” Traditional Afro-Cuban, arr. Mixtacki.

Michael Mixtacki

Kristine Rominski and Michael Mixtacki playing duets: “Piedra en la Piedra” by Ricardo Lorenz and “Kembang Suling” by Gareth Farr

Singer Sam Handley (below, in a performance of Benjamin Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago) performing:  “L’air de Sancho” from “Don Quichotte” by Jules Massenet  (1842-1912); “Bin ich nun frei?” from  “Das Rheingold” by Richard Wagner  (1813-1883); “Her Face” from “Carnival!” by Bob Merrill (1921-1998); and “La Calunnia” from “The Barber of Seville” by Gioachino Rossini  (1792-1868).

Sam Handley in Britten A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Lyric Opera of Chicago

— The third concert, the Opera Props Showcase, on this Sunday will held at 3 p.m. NOT on the UW campus but instead at the historic landmark and Frank Lloyd Wright Unitarian Meeting House (below), 900 University Bay Drive. For information, visit:

http://cpanel101.mulehill.com/~uwoperap/

FUS exterior  madison

Opera Props annual fall Showcase Concert will introduce University Opera’s extraordinary singers in a program of celebrated arias. This benefit event includes several new singers who will be featured in the upcoming season’s productions. 

University Opera Director William Farlow has selected eight young singers and a program of favorite arias for Opera Props’ fall Showcase Concert this year.

It includes several new singers who will be featured in the upcoming season’s productions. Opera Props is a booster group for the UW School of Music’s opera program, and acts as liaison between the program and the local community. So a valued part of this annual event is the reception, which follows the concert:  Singers and their teachers enjoy sharing discussion with the audience, along with lavish chocolate and other treats.

Tickets are $25 per person ($10 for students) and may be purchased at the door.  Proceeds will help recruit and fund young artists for the University Opera program.

Here is more information: The student singers (below is a photo of Opera Propos singers in 2011) will sing arias by George Frideric Handel, Jules Massenet, Giocchino Rossini, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, accompanied by pianist Thomas Kasdorf.

Opera Props 2011

One of the singers is mezzo-soprano Lindsay Metzger (below), who will sing the aria “Parto, ma tu ben mio” from Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito.”

Metzger hails from Chicago, where she studied with Jane Bunnell at DePaul University. Last year she was an Apprentice Artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera, and this past summer she sang the role of Cherubino in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” with Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy.

Mezzo Lindsay Metzger

Metzger is now completing the second year of a Master’s degree at the UW-Madison where she holds a Paul Collins Fellowship. She already is rehearsing the title role of “Ariodante” for this semester’s production on campus of George Frideric Handel’s opera.  Next semester she is scheduled to sing Béatrice in Hector Berlioz’s opera “Béatrice et Bénédict.” 

For more information about Opera Props and University Opera productions and events, visit:

http://cpanel101.mulehill.com/~uwoperap/


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