By Jacob Stockinger
The Ear’s friends at the Green Lake Festival of Music write to tell us about a program important to music education – which means a program important to the future of classical music:
Here is the press release:
On Sunday, July 5, at the Thrasher Opera House (below bottom) in Green Lake, The Green Lake Chamber Players open the 17th annual Green Lake Music Festival Chamber Music Camp, as string and piano students (below top) from nine states, ages 11 to 20, convene at Ripon College for two weeks of stimulating music-making along with just plain fun.
Part of the fun includes a trip to Larry Miller’s farm and a shopping scavenger hunt at K-Mart.
The daily schedule includes coaching sessions by Thomas Rosenberg (Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition Director, cellist and the Camp’s Artistic Director); Samantha George, Associate Professor of Violin at Lawrence Conservatory of Music; Karen Kim, Grammy Award winning violinist; David Perry, Professor of Violin at the UW-Madison and first violin of the Pro Arte String Quartet; Renee Skerik, Instructor of Viola at Interlochen Arts Academy; Andrew Armstrong from the Amelia Piano Trio; James Howsmon, Professor of Instrumental Accompanying at Oberlin College Conservatory; and guest artists, including Shen Lu, 2014 Hilton Head International Piano Competition Winner, the Jupiter Quartet (below top), and the Bergonzi String Quartet (below bottom).
Join us for the first of several Green Lake Chamber Players concerts on Sunday, July 5, at 3 p.m. This concert is a “BUY ONE, GET ONE” ticket concert. The Green Lake Chamber Players includes the Green Lake Festival Chamber Music Camp faculty and guest artists who will perform music by Alexander Scriabin, Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms. This is also the first concert in a series of matinees that offer a special package for bus pick up and ticket from Appleton, Oshkosh, and Beaver Dam. Call the Festival office for more details on this package.
The 2014 Hilton Head International Piano Competition Winner, Shen Lu (below) will perform Thursday, July 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the Thrasher Opera House, along with teaching a piano master class on Friday, July 10, at 10 a.m. John O’Conor, the Jury Chair from the 2014 Hilton Head International Piano Competition, says, “Shen Lu is a young Chinese pianist with an exciting future. His interpretations have great depth, his technique seems effortless and he communicates wonderfully with his audience.”
Students will attend master classes and five Festival concerts, and perform a variety of community service engagements in such facilities as nursing homes, service clubs, and libraries.
The program includes three public concerts – a Chamber Camp Student Recital on Saturday, July 11, and the popular “Circle of Sound” string orchestra concert at the Boston Barn on Tuesday, July 14, as part of the Boston Barn Concert package that includes appetizers and music by the Bergonzi String Quartet, and the final Chamber Music Celebration at Rodman Center for the Arts, Ripon College, on Saturday, July 18.
Please visit www.greenlakefestival.org for information about these and other artists performing throughout July at the Festival or to purchase tickets. Tickets are also available by calling the office at 920-748-9398. You can also stop by one of the following ticket outlets: Green Lake Bank (Green Lake) and Ripon Drug (Ripon).
The Green Lake Festival of Music is supported in part by the Arts Midwest Touring Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional funding from the Wisconsin Arts Board, the Crane Group, and General Mills Foundation. Additional support comes from the Horicon Bank, Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, Agnesian Healthcare, Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, and private and corporate donations.
Chamber Workshop FREE Public Events
Get the inside story on the rehearsal process as you watch these artists work with talented students. All master classes will be held at the Rodman Center for the Arts at Ripon College.
Chamber Workshop Concerts
By Jacob Stockinger
If you needed more proof about why you should take in one or both of the final two programs – “Crooked Business” and “Highway Robbery” — by the Madison-based Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, you should have been at one or both of the BDDS concerts last weekend.
For this coming weekend of the 24th season: “Crooked Business” features the Sonata for Flute and Keyboard in B Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach; the chamber music reduction of the Piano Concerto in C minor, K. 491, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; and a chamber music arrangement version of the Serenade in D Major, Op. 11, by Johannes Brahms.
For more information about programs and performers, venues and tickets, visit: http://www.bachdancinganddynamite.org
The Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society continues to be incapable of being boring, ordinary or mediocre. It’s just not in their genes or DNA.
Last Saturday night, The Ear took in the “Breaking and Entering” concert in The Playhouse of the Overture Center. The theme was meant to explore how composers broke new ground and violated boundaries.
The theme might seem a bit of a stretch — they often do — and when one of the two fake security guards frisked an audience member for a gun or weapon, it might have struck some audience members as uncomfortable or in questionable taste rather than amusing or funny, given the recent shootings in Charleston, South Carolina.
But humor and silliness aside, there is no question that the music received the superb performances it deserved.
The San Francisco Trio, veteran BDDS guest artists, delivered two masterful readings of two Romantic masterpieces. The trio opened the concert perfectly with the lovely and short “Notturno” (1827) by Franz Schubert. Then it closed the concert with the revised version of the substantial and even epic Piano Trio No. 1 in B Major (1854, revised in 1889), Op. 8, by Johannes Brahms. The trio is made up of pianist Jeffrey Sykes (a co-founder and co-artistic director of BDDS), violinist Axel Strauss and cellist Jean-Michel Fonteneau.
Then came the somewhat eccentric Sonatina for Trio (1934) by the rarely performed French composer and eccentric music critic Florent Schmitt.
The players were an unusual combination of flutist Stephanie Jutt (the UW-Madison professor is a co-founder and co-artistic director of BDDS as well as principal flute of the Madison Symphony Orchestra); local pianist Thomas Kasdorf, who is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music; and the incredible clarinetist Alan Key from New York City who teaches at the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School, and who plays with the respected Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
Violinist Axel Strauss, who teaches at McGill University in Montreal, sure showed some impressive fiddling skills in two crossover pieces – “Pining for Betsy” and “Who Let the Cat Out Last Night?” — by Paul Schoenfield (b. 1947). It brought audible WOWs and cheers from the audience. (Listen for yourself to the virtuosic “Cat” piece in a YouTube video at the bottom.)
An unusual and rarely heard piece by the Venezuelan composer Paul Desenne (b. 1959) imagines Franz Joseph “Papa” Haydn and a South American composer discussing music at the Esterhazy estate where Haydn worked. The work was delivered with great panache by flutist Stephanie Jutt, clarinetist Alan Kay and cellist Jean-Michel Fonteneau.
Both the variety of the repertoire and the players and the quality of the performances recommend the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society to any serious classical music fan as well as to beginners. The Ear says: Go have some classical fun!
By Jacob Stockinger
Sunday is the summer solstice, which arrives at 11:39 a.m. CDT.
That means it is also time for the Make Music Madison festival – a day-long, citywide FREE event with live music taking place mostly outdoors.
Here is a link to the event’s website:
The map of events is impressive, which is why Madison’s Make Music event is second in size only to New York City’s.
One thing is the sheer number of events and the number of artists, which is close to 400.
But the website is good too, although it is hard to see programs and specific pieces to be performed.
Use the filter map to see the genre -– classical, pop, folk, jazz, choral, Celtic, whatever – and the location.
For classical fans, I single out a couple of events, although there are many more.
One noteworthy event is that Farley’s House of Pianos will place an upright piano in the Hilldale Mall outside Metcalf’s grocery store from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with chairs available for seating. A full schedule of individuals and groups will perform all kinds of music.
And here is an another unusual event planned and directed by the talented Jerry Hui (below), a UW-Madison graduate who is now a music professor at UW-Stout and who has come up with a project that involves singing choral music on the shore of Lake Mendota.
I will let Jerry Hui describe it:
“The official name of the event is called the Massed Choir, part of Make Music Madison 2015. Make Music Madison is modeled after a similar event in New York City called Make Music New York, which for the last few years have featured flash mob-style music-making — including a choir. Since Madison has a vibrant choral community, I think it’s about time that we come together and have fun making music as one big choir.
“We’ll be performing three pieces on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Edgewater Hotel Plaza. Two of the pieces were voted by the participants: “Dona Nobis Pacem” (in a Youtube video at the bottom) from the Mass in B minor by Johann Sebastian Bach; and the hymn “Joyful, Joyful.”
“The third piece is freshly composed by Scott Gendel (below). Gendel is an award-winning composer and pianist, who has strong ties with Madison and is a graduate of the UW-Madison School of Music.
Gendel has set to music a beautiful poem titled “In Summer” by late 19th-century African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (below).
There is still time to join the Massed Choir!
There’ll be two optional rehearsals, both at Christ Presbyterian Church: Friday, June 19, 7-8:15 p.m.; and Saturday, June 20, noon-1:30 p.m. To help with logistics planning, singers are encouraged to register at http://tinyurl.com/MadisonMassedChoir2015.
NOTE: Back to The Ear, who encourages other classical performers to list their event, time, program and place in the COMMENTS section and who says enjoy whatever you play or listen to!
ALERT: A friend writes: TONIGHT at 7 p.m. at Capitol Lakes Retirement Community, 333 West Main Street, downtown off the Capitol Square, UW-Madison graduate student Kyle Knox (below with the Middleton Community Orchestra) will be conducting the Serenade No. 1 by Johannes Brahms (at bottom, you can hear the Berlin Philharmonic under conductor Claudio Abbado, in a YouTube video) performed by many members of the Middleton Community Orchestra, and past and future soloists. On the second half of the program, violist Vicki Powell, who is just in Madison for the week, will perform solo works.
The Brahms sounds great. We are lucky to be joined by Madison Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Naha Greenholtz; violinist Paran Amirinazari who will be Middleton Community Orchestra’s concertmaster in the fall; and violist Vicki Powell plus many other fine players.
THE CONCERT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
By Jacob Stockinger
It could sound like a professional wrestling match: “This Saturday the Über Steinway meets the Colossal Klais!”
The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s (MSO) German (Hamburg) Steinway piano will meet the colossal Klais Overture Concert Organ (below) in a free concert featuring guest pianist Stephen Nielson and organist Samuel Hutchison.
No tickets or reservations are needed for this 45-minute concert.
From familiar hymns to rousing patriotic medleys and stunning solos for piano and organ, this first and only Farmers’ Market organ concert of the summer promises to deliver thrills for all.
American pianist Stephen Nielson made his orchestral debut as a pianist at age 11. During a 30-year collaboration with his late colleague, Ovid Young, Nielson performed more than 3,500 concerts world-wide as part of the distinguished piano duo Nielson & Young.
His 2008 performance with Samuel Hutchison in Overture Hall garnered rave reviews from those in attendance. Nielson received his degree from Indiana University, where he also earned the Distinguished Performer and Phi Beta Kappa honors. Nielson was named a finalist in the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels and has performed throughout Europe and Asia.
Samuel Hutchison has served as Curator and Principal Organist for Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Overture Concert Organ since 2001. An honors graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, Hutchison has presented many recitals in the U.S and in Europe in locations that include the Riverside Church, New York City; St. Paul’s Cathedral, London; and Notre Dame, St. Sulpice and St. Étienne-du-Mont, Paris. He also performed the complete works of J.S. Bach in a series of 11 weekly recitals for the 300th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
Support for all Overture Concert Organ programs is provided by the Diane Endres Ballweg Fund. With a gift from Pleasant T. Rowland, the Madison Symphony Orchestra commissioned the Overture Concert Organ, which is the stunning backdrop of all MSO concerts.
To see the Overture Concert Organ series of concerts for 2015-16 or to subscribe at a 25% savings, visit: www.madisonsymphony.org/organseason15-16
By Jacob Stockinger
The Ear has received the following request for coverage from a very worthy project.
Writes Jeremy Kienbaum (below):
I served as the Principal Viola of the UW Symphony Orchestra, the UW Chamber Orchestra and the University Opera orchestra.
I graduated this May with distinction and in September will start my Masters of Music degree at the Juilliard School in New York City with Samuel Rhodes (below), the retired violist of the famed Juilliard String Quartet who has also often performed and recorded with the Pro Arte Quartet in Madison.
I am presenting a send-off concert on this Saturday night, June 13, at 7 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, before I leave for New York.
Admission is $20.
The program will feature the “Arpeggione” Sonata by Franz Schubert (with pianist SeungWha Baek, below, playing as a winner of the UW-Madison Concerto Competition); Figment IV for Solo Viola by Elliott Carter; the Eyeglasses Duo (with pianist Andrew Briggs) by Ludwig van Beethoven; and the Viola Sonata in E-flat Major by Johannes Brahms (with pianist SeungWha Baek).
Editor’s note: You can hear the beautiful Brahms sonata, played by violist Pinchas Zukerman and pianist Daniel Barenboim, in a YouTube video at the bottom.)
Proceeds from this concert will go towards paying tuition at Juilliard. I also have a GoFundMe page for donations.
You can find it at: http://www.gofundme.com/jeremykienbaum.
ALERT: This month’s “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen” concert will take place tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery III.
The concert features local violinist Kangwon Kim, violist Micah Behr and cellist Mark Bridges. The program includes a suite for solo viola by Quincy Porter and an arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous “Goldberg” Variations for string trio done by Russian violist Dmitry Sitkovetsky.
Admission is FREE. Since Wisconsin Public Radio ended live broadcasts of the concert after 36 years, you can stream it live starting at 12:30. Just go to the Chazen Museum of Art’s website where you will find the necessary link:
By Jacob Stockinger
Her expressive voice became as identifiable with the opera -– with the Metropolitan Opera -– as have some of the world’s great singers.
Her name is Margaret Juntwait (below in a photo by Jonathan Tichler) and she hosted the live radio broadcast from the Met that started in December and ran through May. Every Saturday, she reached more than one million fans worldwide with her commentaries and her outstanding interviews with singers and conductors.
This past Wednesday, Margaret Juntwait died at 58 of complications from ovarian cancer, which she had battled with for a decade.
Because today is Saturday, it seems like the perfect day for The Ear to post about her passing.
Here are three stories about Margaret Juntwait and her career plus a very short YouTube video about Puccini’s “La Boheme” that shows her quick wit.
From the Metropolitan Opera:
Feel free to leave your thoughts and feelings in the COMMENTS section of the blog.
The Ear wants to hear – and so do others.
By Jacob Stockinger
The Ear knows a lot of musicians.
And he considers them among the most privileged of people and workers.
That’s because he has never met a musician who regretted being a musician, even if they don’t get the job they want or earn as much as they need.
Musicians are happy, The Ear thinks, because they speak a higher language and never get tired of it.
We who listen are envious of those who play.
Krosnick is the longtime cellist of the legendary Juilliard String Quartet (below). He never thought he would retire, but now, after 42 years, he says he will indeed retire at the end of the 2015-16 season, although he will continue to teach at the Juilliard School.
Getting old, he explains, means that he can do one full-time career but no longer two. That should bring new respect to teacher-performers who are too often portrayed more as failed performers who have to teach by default.
Read or listen to the interview for yourself and see what I mean.
And here, in a YouTube video at the bottom, is a slow movement from one of the late “Prussian” Quartets that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed for the King of Prussia, who played the cello quite well. So Mozart gave the work a prominent role to the cello.
By Jacob Stockinger
Our friends at the National Summer Cello Institute have informed The Ear about the upcoming programs at the UW-Madison School of Music:
For complete information about “Your Body is Your Strad” Summer Program Events, under artistic director and UW cello professor Uri Vardi, visit www.yourbodyisyourstrad.com
Following the success of five previous seasons, the Your Body is Your Strad summer programs are open for auditors and concert-goers in 2015.
This includes events during the Feldenkrais for All Performers program (May 30-June 3) and the National Summer Cello Institute (May 30-June 12). The programs focus on the connection between body awareness and technical proficiency, artistic expression, effective teaching and injury prevention.
The workshops feature husband-and-wife musicians and Feldenkrais practitioners Uri Vardi and Hagit Vardi (below with a student), with other faculty including Paul Katz of the New England Conservatory and Tim Eddy of the Juilliard School and Mannes Conservatory.
There will also be featured presentations by specialists in Integrative Health, Authentic Performance, Mind-Eye Connection, Stage Anxiety and Improvisation.
All events will take place at the Humanities Building at 455 N. Park St. in Madison, Wisconsin unless noted otherwise.
The following presentations are open for auditors and audience members for a fee of $25:
Saturday, May 30, at 3:15 PM in Morphy Hall: “Master class: focused use of the body” presented by Artistic Director Uri Vardi (below), a performance-based class that focuses on enhancing body awareness through the Feldenkrais method
Sunday, May 31, at 4:30 PM in Morphy Hall: “Seminar with Dr. Deborah Zelinsky: ‘The mind-eye connection'” — presented by Dr. Zelinsky, a specialist of neuro-optometric rehabilitation and visual processing
Monday, June 1, at 2 PM in Morphy Hall: “Master class: focused use of the body” — the second presentation by Artistic Director Uri Vardi, a performance-based class that focuses on enhancing body awareness through the Feldenkrais method
Monday, June 1, at 4:30 PM in Mills Hall: “Seminar with Susan Sweeney: The Imaginative Voice” — presented by Susan Sweeney, Head Voice and Text Coach for the American Players Theatre with extensive coaching experience on an international scale
Tuesday, June 2, at 3:30 PM in Morphy Hall: “Presentation by Dr. Adam Rindfleisch, MD: The Art of Self Care” — presented by Dr. Adam Rindfleisch, MD in the Integrative Medicine Division of the UW Health system
Wednesday, June 3, at 3:30 PM in room 1321: “Seminar with Matt Turner on Improvisation” — presented by Matt Turner, one of the world’s leading improv cellists, who will lead participants in an improv session
Thursday, June 4, at 4 PM in Morphy Hall: “Master class with Paul Katz” — a performance-based master class for participants that will be led by Paul Katz, Professor of Cello at Boston’s New England Conservatory
Friday, June 5, at 2 PM at Capitol Lakes Retirement Center (FREE): “Outreach Concert” — a performance by the participants of the Your Body is Your Strad programs, selected on a national scale through audition
Friday, June 5, at 4:30 PM in Morphy Hall: “Master class: focused use of the body” — the third presentation by Artistic Director Uri Vardi, a performance-based class that focuses on enhancing body awareness through the Feldenkrais method (below is student Micah Cheng, on left, with Uri Vardi)
Friday, June 5, at 8 PM in Mills Hall: “Seminar with Paul Katz” — led by Paul Katz, Professor of Cello at New England Conservatory, who will cover topics of musicianship and wellness
Saturday, June 6, at 9 AM in Morphy Hall: “Master class with Paul Katz” — the second performance-based master class for participants that will be led by Paul Katz, Professor of Cello at Boston’s New England Conservatory
Sunday, June 7, at 2 PM in Morphy Hall: “Master class: focused use of the body” — the fourth presentation by Artistic Director Uri Vardi, a performance-based class that focuses on enhancing body awareness through the Feldenkrais method
Monday, June 8, at 10:15 AM in Morphy Hall: “Master class: focused use of the body” — the fifth and final presentation by Artistic Director Uri Vardi, a performance-based class that focuses on enhancing body awareness through the Feldenkrais method
Tuesday, June 9, at 4:30 PM in Morphy Hall: “Master Class with Tim Eddy” — a performance-based master class for participants that will be led by Tim Eddy (below), Professor of Cello at the Juilliard School and Mannes Conservatory
Wednesday, June 10, at 8 PM in Morphy Hall: “Master Class with Tim Eddy” — the second performance-based master class for participants that will be led by Tim Eddy, Professor of Cello at the Juilliard School and Mannes Conservatory
Thursday, June 11 at 2 PM at Fair Trade Coffee (FREE): “Outreach Concert” — a performance of cello ensembles at the Fair Trade Coffee Shop on State Street
Thursday, June 11 at 8 PM in Mills Hall: “Seminar with Tim Eddy” — led by Tim Eddy, Professor of Cello at the Juilliard School and Mannes Conservatory, who will cover topics related to musicianship and wellness
Friday, June 12 at 8 PM in Mills Hall (FREE): “Final Concert” — the culminating concert of the National Summer Cello Institute, featuring solo performances of the Institute’s talented participants and the NSCI Cello Choir led by Kyle Knox (below).
The program for the final concert is partially set: the first half will be solo performances by participants of the National Summer Cello Institute, and the after intermission will be pieces for the NSCI Cello Choir. The solos will be decided through audition next week, but the rep for the Cello Choir is decided.
The pieces to be included in the public concert (which The Ear heard and loved last year) are:
Johann Sebastian Bach/arr. Akira: Adagio from the C major Sonata for Violin
Astor Piazzolla/arr. Villarejo: “Oblivion” (see the YouTube video at the bottom)
David Popper: Requiem
Kyle Price*: Requiem (movements 4 and 5)
Klengel: Hymnus for 12 cellos
*Kyle Price is the student composer and a Collins Fellow at the UW-Madison School of Music, studying cello as a Masters student with Uri Vardi. He is also an avid composer, and runs a music festival in upstate New York called Caroga Lake. The Requiem to be performed was written in memory of his aunt, a cellist who had attended NSCI in previous summers.
By Jacob Stockinger
Many people are starting to make their summer travel plans.
Those plans could include music festivals, many of which will include the American premiere or even world premiere of a new opera or new chamber music. (Below is Marin Alsop conducting the Cabrillo Festival in Santa Cruz, California, which champions new music.)
Many are well known, such as the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York City, the Bard Music Festival in the Hudson River Valley and the Aspen Festival in Colorado as well as the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina and the Wolf Trap Festival in Virginia, not far from Washington, D.C.
But there are many, many others you may not know.
By Jacob Stockinger
Not a lot of musicians write well. It’s probably because they prefer to let their music-making do their communicating.
But one notable exception is the “minimalist” composer Philip Glass (below), whose new volume of memoirs is being praised for its insights and for its engaging, articulate style. (A good sample of his speaking, composing and playing is in the YouTube video at the bottom.)
Recently, Glass did a 46-minute interview for Terry Gross and her “Fresh Air” program on NPR (National Public Radio.) He discussed his early days composing and performing as well his training with famed French teacher Nadia Boulanger.
The NPR story has the interview plus some highlights from the interview and also some excerpts from the book “Words Without Music.
The Ear thinks that Glass, now 78, emerges as a very thoughtful and perceptive man who is also droll and self-deprecating.
See what you think.
Here is a link to the NPR story:
And here is a highly positive review of the book that appeared in The New York Times:
What do you think of Philip Glass and his music? His memoirs?
The Ear wants to hear.