The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: A FREE organ and violin concert is this Saturday at noon at Grace Episcopal Church

November 16, 2016
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By Jacob Stockinger

Grace Presents, now entering its seventh year offering FREE public concerts at Grace Episcopal Church (below), located at 116 West Washington Avenue on the Capitol Square, will host resident organist Mark Brampton Smith with violinist Maureen McCarty on this Saturday, Nov. 19.

grace episcopal church ext

Grace Episcopal harpsichord

The concert begins at noon and ends at 1 p.m. Audience members are invited to bring their lunch.

The program — an asterisk indicates that both the violin and organ will play — includes:

Psalm 19: “The Heavens Declare the Glory of God” by Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739)

*”Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). (You can hear an organ version of the popular work in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

Partita on “Werde munter, mein Gemüte” (Sing not yet, my soul, to slumber) by Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)

*”Ornament of Grace” by Bernard Wayne Sanders (b. 1957)

Variations on ‘Cwm Rhondda’ by Mark Brampton Smith (b. 1954) Introduction – Allegro – Duo – Reflection – Finale

*Meditation from “Thaïs” by Jules Massenet (1842-1912)

Concerto in a minor, after Vivaldi (BWV 593) – Johann Sebastian Bach Allegro

Toccata and Fugue in d minor (BWV 565) – Johann Sebastian Bach

The final concert of 2016 will feature the widely renowned Russian Folk Orchestra on Dec. 10.

Mark Brampton Smith Biography:

Mark Brampton Smith (below) serves as the current organist at Grace Episcopal Church. Mark began his church music career as a boy soprano at St. Paul’s Parish on K Street in Washington, D.C., eventually serving on the music staff of churches in seven states. He holds degrees in organ performance from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan.

As an organist, Mark won prizes in the Fort Wayne, Ann Arbor, and American Guild of Organists National Competitions, and he’s performed solo recitals at venues such as Overture Hall. As a collaborative pianist, Mark has worked with numerous singers, instrumentalists, and ensembles, including the Ann Arbor Cantata Singers, University of Michigan choirs, Colgate University Chorus, and currently the Wisconsin Chamber Choir.

Mark Brampton Smith

Maureen McCarty Biography:

Maureen McCarty (below) began the violin in the Madison public schools, and played in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras for many years. She received a BA in violin performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

While working on her degree, she performed as a musician with American Players Theatre for five seasons. She has extensive orchestral experience playing in such local ensembles as the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, as well as various orchestras in five Midwestern states, the Barcelona City Orchestra and the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria in Spain.

Maureen returned to UW-Madison for a teaching certificate in music education in 1999, and taught strings and general music for students in grades 3-12 in Monona Grove during her fifteen years in the district. Recently retired from public school teaching, she now teaches privately, performs with the Camerata String Quartet, tutors Spanish, and takes photographs for her local newspaper. Formative violin teachers include Eva Szekely, Sharan Leventhal, Thomas Moore and Vartan Manoogian.

maureen-mccarty

For more information, visit www.GracePresents.org


Classical music: Percussion quartet Clocks in Motion gives world premieres of two works by UW-Madison composers Laura Schwendinger and Joseph Koykkar this Friday night

November 10, 2016
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By Jacob Stockinger

Performing world premieres of new compositions by Laura Schwendinger and Joseph Koykkar, Madison’s premiere percussion quartet, Clocks in Motion (below, in a photo by Strom Strandell) will present an evening of experimental new music at the First Unitarian Society of Madison on this Friday, Nov. 11, at 7:30 p.m.

Clocks in Motion 2016 BW CR Strom Strandell

The Atrium Auditorium at 900 University Bay Drive is a stunning piece of architecture (below in a photo by Zane Williams) attached to the historic Meeting House designed by the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright and will provide a wonderful setting for this concert.

FUS Atrium, Auditorium Zane Williams

Included in this program is the first-ever performance of a new composition, Aviary, by UW-Madison composer Laura Schwendinger (below). Schwendinger’s composition, written for the members of Clocks in Motion plus piano, is a sound tapestry of imaginary bird songs.

Laura Schwendinger 2

Clocks in Motion will also premiere a new composition by composer Joseph Koykkar (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) entitled Time in Transcendence. Written specifically for Clocks in Motion, Koykkar makes use of the group’s hand-made microtonal percussion instruments and a myriad of drums and keyboard instruments.

joseph-koykkar-use-cr-katrin-talbot

Clocks in Motion will also perform “Workers Union” by Louis Andriessen, Mallet Quartet by Steve Reich and “Gravity” by Marc Mellitus. (You can hear Clocks in Motion perform “Gravity” in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

This event is supported by Dane Arts.

Admission is $15 for the general public, $5 for Students with valid ID. Cash or credit cards are accepted.

BACKGROUND

Hailed as “nothing short of remarkable” (ClevelandClassical.com) and “the most exciting addition to Madison’s classical music scene” (Isthmus), Clocks in Motion is a percussion quartet that performs new music, builds many of its own instruments, and breaks down the boundaries of the traditional concert program.

clocks_ID_assets

Formed in 2011, Clocks in Motion is quickly becoming a major artistic force in today’s contemporary music scene. Among its many recent and upcoming engagements, the group served as performers at the Interlochen Arts Academy (Michigan), The Stone (New York), The Overture Center for the Arts, Casper College (Wyoming), University of Michigan, Baldwin-Wallace University (Ohio), The University of North Carolina-Pembroke and The Ewell Concert Series (Virginia).

Clocks in Motion members are Matthew Coley, Kyle Flens, Sean Kleve and Andrew Veit.

Find out more at www.clocksinmotionpercussion.com


Classical music: The last of this summer’s FREE Farmers’ Market organ concerts takes place this Saturday at 11 a.m. in Overture Hall

August 9, 2016
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By Jacob Stockinger

The last of the three monthly FREE organ concerts that the Madison Symphony Orchestra puts on during the summer for the Dane County Farmers’ Market on Saturdays will take place this Saturday at 11 a.m. in Overture Hall of the Overture Center.

Overture Organ close up CRE ZaneWilliams

The hour-long program will feature local musician Mark Brampton Smith (below).

Mark Brampton Smith

Brampton Smith holds degrees in organ performance from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan. Past teachers have included William Watkins, Russell Saunders, and Robert Glasgow (organ); Vincent Lenti (piano); and Edward Parmentier (harpsichord).

Currently the organist at Grace Episcopal Church (below), he has served on the music staff of churches in seven states. He has won prizes in the Fort Wayne, Ann Arbor and American Guild of Organists National Competitions.

grace episcopal church ext

As a collaborative pianist, he has worked with numerous singers, instrumentalists and ensembles, including the Ann Arbor Cantata Singers, University of Michigan choirs, Colgate University Chorus, and the Wisconsin Chamber Choir.

His program includes music by Felix Mendelssohn, Jean Roger-Ducasse, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and others. Sorry, but specific titles of the works to be performed were not sent to The Ear. But you can hear a sample of Jean-Roger Ducasse in the YouTube video at the bottom.

For more information about this and other Farmers’ Market organ concerts, go to:

http://www.madisonsymphony.org/farmers


Classical music: The percussion ensemble Clocks in Motion performs music by Steve Reich and John Cage in Spring Green on Monday night

July 22, 2016
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By Jacob Stockinger

Performing on a variety of percussion instruments, the experimental quartet Clocks in Motion (below, in 2015) is the featured performer at the next Rural Musicians Forum concert.

Clocks in Motion Group Collage Spring 2015

The concert will be held on this coming Monday night, July 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hillside Theater (below) on the Taliesin estate, south of Spring Green at 6604 Highway 23.

taliesin_hillside2

The concert is not ticketed and is open to the public. A free-will offering will be taken to support the concert series. For additional information and driving directions, see www.ruralmusiciansforum.org

Clocks in Motion is known for engaging performances of the classic repertoire for percussion quartets presented alongside new compositions and rarely heard works.

Featured in this performance are the great masterworks “Mallet Quartet” and “Drumming, Part I” by Steve Reich (below). In addition to these classic compositions, Clocks in Motion will perform their commissioned work by Marc Mellits, “Gravity.” (You can hear “Mallet Quartet” in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

Steve Reich

The quartet will also perform Moldavian folk music for hammered dulcimer, experimental music by John Cage (below), and a not-to-be-missed theatrical work for wooden spoons on lunch trays.

John Cage and cat

Hailed as “nothing short of remarkable” (ClevelandClassical.com) and “the most exciting addition to Madison’s classical music scene” (Isthmus), Clocks in Motion is a percussion quartet that performs new music, builds many of its own instruments and breaks down the boundaries of the traditional concert program.

The current mebers of Clocks in Motion (below from left, in a photo by Strom Strandell) are Sean Kleve, Kyle Flens, Matt Coley and Garrett Mandelow.

Clocks in Motion 2016 BW CR Strom Strandell

Formed in 2011 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Clocks in Motion is quickly becoming a major artistic force in today’s contemporary music scene.

Among its many recent and upcoming engagements, the group served as performers at the Interlochen Arts Academy (Michigan), The Overture Center for the Arts (Wisconsin), Casper College (Wyoming), University of Michigan (Michigan), Baldwin Wallace University (Ohio), The University of North Carolina-Pembroke (North Carolina) and The Ewell Concert Series (Virginia).

The concert is made possible in part through a grant from the Spring Green Art Fair and an anonymous gift to Clocks in Motion.


Classical music: This will be an outstanding semester for piano fans in the area. But it starts with a “train wreck” this Friday night with dueling piano concerts by Christopher Taylor and Ilya Yakushev.

January 20, 2015
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By Jacob Stockinger

For piano fans, the first semester in Madison proved a bit underwhelming, even disappointing when compared to many past falls.

But that is about to change this semester, starting this weekend.

Of course this piano-rich week comes complete with the inevitable piano “train wreck,” as The Wise Critic terms such scheduling conflicts and competition.

Farley's House of PIanos MMM 20141

CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR OR ILYA YAKUSHEV

For many area listeners, the big annual piano event is on this Friday night at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall. That is when the UW-Madison School of Music virtuoso Christopher Taylor (below) — whom The Ear hears other schools are trying to lure away from the UW — performs his annual solo faculty recital.

Taylor, famed for his prodigious technique and fantastic memory, has won praise nationwide and even internationally for his performances of all kinds of difficult music, from Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven to Olivier Messiaen and Gyorgi Ligeti as well as contemporary musicians like Derek Bermel.

ChristopherTaylorNoCredit

Taylor’s program this time is an unusual one that mixes old and new.

It features another of the dazzling two-hand transcriptions by Franz Liszt of the symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven, which Taylor has been performing elsewhere in a cycle. This time he will perform the famous Symphony No. 6 in F Major, “Pastoral.”

Also on the program are seven of the 12 etudes by the contemporary American composer William Bolcom, who taught at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and the Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5, by Johannes Brahms — a wondrously dramatic and beautiful work that you can hear performed by Van Cliburn International Piano Competition winner Radu Lupu in a YouTube video at the bottom.

Tickets are $10 and benefit the UW-Madison School of Music Scholarship Fund.

For more information, including some national reviews of Taylor, here is a link to the UW website:

http://www.music.wisc.edu/events/christopher-taylor-piano-faculty-recital/

But, as I said, there is a problem.

At exactly the same time on Friday night, in the Capitol Theater of the Overture Center, is a terrific concert by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra with Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev (below), who last performed Prokofiev and Gershwin concertos with the WCO.

This Friday night’s program includes Yakushev in two well-known concertos: the keyboard concerto in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach and the Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor by Felix Mendelssohn.

ilya yakushev 3

Also on the program – typically eclectic in the style that conductor Andrew Sewell (below) favors — is the English Suite for Strings by British composer Paul Lewis and the Chamber Symphony No. 2 by Arnold Schoenberg.

For information, go to: http://wcoconcerts.org/performances/masterworks/77/event-info/

andrewsewell

But this piano weekend doesn’t stop there.

On Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m., Ilya Yakushev will open the new season of the Salon Piano Series when he plays a solo recital in the concert room (below) at Farley’s House of Pianos, on Madison’s far west side.

The program includes the famous Sonata in C minor “Pathétique,” Op. 13, by Ludwig van Beethoven; the Sonata No. 2 by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev and “Carnival” by Robert Schumann. A reception will follow the recital.

Farley Daub plays

Here is a link with more information:

http://salonpianoseries.org/concerts.html

And as background, here is a Q&A that The Ear did in 2011 with Ilya Yakushev:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/classical-qa-russian-pianist-ilya-yakushev-discusses-prokofiev-and-gershwin-which-he-will-play-at-the-opening-concert-of-the-wisconsin-chamber-orchestra-on-friday-night/

ilya yakushev mug

MORE TO COME

Of course this is just the beginning of Piano Heaven.

There is still the concerto competition for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) to come, along with the UW-Madison concerto competition, the Bolz “Final Forte” Concerto Competition of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and others.

Later this semester, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra will also feature two other returning pianists –- Shai Wosner (below top) and Bryan Wallick (below bottom). They will perform, respectively, two concertos by Franz Joseph Haydn and the Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major “Emperor” by Ludwig van Beethoven.

Shai Wosner Photo: Marco Borggreve

Bryan Wallick mug

Here is a link to the WCO website:

http://wcoconcerts.org/performances/masterworks/

And let’s not forget the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to the above piano events and others, the Madison Symphony Orchestra will feature the Irving S. Gilmore Competition winner Ingrid Fliter (below), a native of Argentina, in the lusciously Romantic Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor by Frederic Chopin on Feb. 13-15 – perfect fare for Valentine’s Day weekend.

Ingrid Fliter playing

That program which also includes the Symphony No. 4 by Robert Schumann and British composer Benjamin Britten’s “Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge” -– Bridge was Britten’s teacher — promises to be a memorable performance by a renowned Chopin specialist who last played a solo recital here ay the Wisconsin Union Theater.

And if you know of more. just add them in a Reader’s Comment for others to see,

 

 


Classical music: Can you sing? Famed diva Jessye Norman thinks you can -– and should try. She says it is good for your physical health and mental health.

December 26, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

We have just come through Christmas and the holiday season where the instrument of choice – quite appropriately – is the human voice, both solo and in choruses.

Do you sing?

Can you sing?

The famous Grammy Award-winning soprano diva Jessye Norman (below) thinks you can -– and should, or at least try to.

In an interview with the Deceptive Cadence blog for NPR (National Public Radio), Norman explains why all  people can sing.

She also explains why you should: Singing, she says, is healthy for your body and mind.

Jessye Norman

She may be 69, but Norman, who was born in Georgia but now lives in France, is not retiring from singing, even if she is cutting down on professional appearances. She is following her own advice and so continues to sing, as she recently did on The David Letterman Show in New York City.

The interview traces her career from her earliest years in Augusta, Georgia, through training at the famed Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. It has samples of her fabulous voice, and also her remembrances of great voices she has admired in others, such as the great history-making African American contralto Marian Anderson (below, during her historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial).

anderson

She also names some favorite orchestral music and instrumental music, including a prelude from the opera “Lohengrin” by Richard Wagner, as conducted by James Levine (below top) of the Metropolitan Opera; a cello sonata by Johann Sebastian Bach performed by cellist Yo-Yo Ma (below middle); and a Beethoven piano concertos performed by pianist Alfred Brendel (below bottom) and the conductor Simon Rattle along with the Berlin Philharmonic.

James Levine conducting

yo-yo ma

Brendel playing BIG

Norman also singles out American jazz composer Duke Ellington (below) for praise.

Duke Ellington at piano

And the NPR interview includes some fine music audio samples.

Here is a link:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2014/11/25/364758676/guest-dj-jessye-norman-from-augusta-to-valhalla

And here is one of my favorite and landmark or legendary performances by Jessye Norman: “Im Abendrot.” It is one of the “Four Last Songs” by Richard Strauss that was recently used in the movie “The Trip to Italy” to such great and repeated effect:


Classical music: The acclaimed New Music group Clocks in Motion will give two world premieres by composers with Madison ties this Friday night at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. Plus, tonight at 7:30 the UW Masters Singers give a FREE performance of Haydn’s “Lord Nelson” Mass.

December 9, 2013
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ALERT REMINDER: Tonight, Monday, Dec, 9, the UW Master Singers, under conductors Adam Kluck and Brian Gurley, will perform a FREE concert of Franz Joseph Haydn‘s “Lord Nelson” Mass at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall. The singers will be accompanied by a pick-up orchestra. Like other late masses of Haydn, it is a great work that deserves to be performed and heard more often.

By Jacob Stockinger

On this Friday, the critically acclaimed New Music group Clocks in Motion (below) will present a “New Discoveries” program with two world premieres.

clocks in motion in concert

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in the DeLuca Forum (below top) of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery (below bottom) at 330 North Orchard Street, across from Union South on the UW-Madison campus, in Madison, Wisconsin.

SEW Forum room

WID_extr11_1570

General admission is $15; $10 for students with a current University of Wisconsin ID.

Tickets are available in advance at http://clocksinmotionpercussion.com/events/

“Allhallows,” a new work by Madison composer John Jeffrey Gibbens (below, in a  photo by Milt Leidman) features two unique instruments built by Clocks in Motion: the quarimba, an unconventionally tuned marimba allowing for a 24-note scale, and the galvitone, a set of meticulously tuned steel pipes.

Clocks in Motion John Jefffey Gibbens cr MiltLeidman

The second world premiere, Percussion Duo, by Tom Lang (below), is a virtuosic work for one pianist and one percussionist playing marimba and vibraphone simultaneously in a “stacked” arrangement.   Lang, a UW-Madison graduate now living in Minneapolis, creates sophisticated and intertwining rhythms and pitches in this piece, resulting in a dynamic interplay between the musicians.

Thomas Lang

The program will close with Iannis Xenakis’ powerful composition, Persephassa by the famous 20tyh century composer Iannos Xenakis (below).  This work features 6 percussionists surrounding the audience with an array of drums, gongs, siren whistles, tam-tams, cymbals, wooden bars, and metal slabs.  The resulting three-dimensional antiphonal effect makes for an unmatched live experience.

Iannis Xenakis

Hailed as “nothing short of remarkable” (ClevelandClassical.com), Clocks in Motion is a group that performs new music, builds rare instruments, and breaks down the boundaries of the traditional concert program.  Formed in 2011, the ensemble is currently in residence at the University of Wisconsin School of Music. You can hear them in the video at the bottom, one of a dozen that the group has posted on YouTube.

The individual members (below) of Clocks in Motion’s unique skill sets and specialties contain an impressive mix of musical styles including, rock, jazz, contemporary classical music, orchestral percussion, marching percussion, and world music styles.  Among its many recent engagements, the group served as resident performers and educators at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Rhapsody Arts Center, University of Michigan, Baldwin-Wallace University, and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

Clocks in Motion outside

You may also recall the unusual rave review the group received on this blog from critic and musician Mikko Utevsky when Clocks in Motion last performed. Here is a link:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/classical-music-when-the-audience-participates-in-a-concert-through-using-cellphones-and-coughing-the-unexpected-effect-can-be-enthralling-and-unforgettable-consider-saturdays-concert-by-t/

For more information, including advance ticket sales, repertoire, upcoming events, biographies, and media, visit http://clocksinmotionpercussion.com


Classical music: Help restore a historic coop piano. This Saturday is the first of two concerts to benefit the Mason and Hamlin grand at Arboretum Cohousing (Arbco). Trevor Stephenson will perform on harpsichord and piano. Plus, tonight is composer Nils Bultmann’s CD party at the Overture Center.

November 8, 2013
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ALERT: Blog friend and guest blogger Mikko Utevsky writes: “There  will be a fun and unusual concert tonight at 6 p.m. in the Overture Center‘s Promenade Hall. (Tickets are $10-$15.) Madison-born Nils Bultmann is a very good violist with a unique and quirky compositional style that I find immensely enjoyable to perform, and he is giving a CD pre-release performance. The program will be a viola extravaganza with several players from the UW-Madison joining him onstage, including Sally Chisholm and myself, for a series of 10 duets he composed. There will also be dance by Jin-Wen Yu. More information is below. That night is also the UW Concert Choir and Chorale concert at 8 p.m and the Bartsch sisters with the Overture Organ at 7:30 p.m., so it’s a full docket. But Nils, Sally and I would all appreciate if you can toss a mention of this in.”
http://overturecenter.com/production/nils-bultmann

Nils Bultmann - Headshot

By Jacob Stockinger

A while ago, The Ear put out the call for guest bloggers.

Janet Murphy responded with the following blog post about a concert that is coming this Saturday night and that will benefit the restoration of the historic grand piano at Arboretum Cohousing.

Here is some information from Janet: “I received my bachelors and masters in musicology from the University of Michigan. After toiling in the music industry for 20 years, I got a bachelors in nursing from UW, and have worked as an RN (Registered Nurse) ever since. 

“Music is now my hobby. I sing in the UW Choral Union, play with an informal recorder group, and I am currently taking banjo lessons. Needless to say I am a big fan of The Well-Tempered Ear. I hope you will consider coming to the concerts. They will be great fun.”

Here is the guest post, with many of her own photos, by Janet Murphy (below):

Janet Murphy

By Janet Murphy

Arboretum Cohousing is delighted to present two benefit concerts to raise funds for the restoration of their Common House grand piano (below).

Arbco Grand Piano

The first concert will be this Saturday, November 9, by the celebrated keyboardist and historian Trevor Stephenson of Madison. The second will be Saturday January 18 by Metropolitan Opera star and Madison resident mezzo-soprano Kitt Reuter Foss. Both concerts are at 7 p.m. and will take place at 1137 Erin St., next to St. Marys Hospital and near the UW-Madison Arboretum.

These will certainly be very nice concerts, but there are many very nice concerts in the Madison area … an embarrassment of riches, really.  So, why make a point of attending these two concerts?

FIVE REASONS TO ATTEND A CONCERT AT ARBORETUM COHOUSING

1) Arboretum Cohousing (aka Arbco) is an intentional living community located in the heart of Madison’s Greenbush neighborhood.  With 40 units and 85 members, it is the largest of Madison’s three cohousing communities.  Living in cohousing is very special, and it’s worth a visit to see what it’s all about. If you have never been to a cohousing, this is your chance.

Arboretum Cohousing Arbco

2) Featured at each concert will be the exceptional Mason Hamlin Model AA 1930 Grand Piano that resides at Arbco. Built during the golden age of grand pianos, this fine instrument was recently restored by one of Madison’s preeminent piano technicians, Jim Forrest (below, with owner Lucy Moore).

Jim Forrest & Lucy Moore, owner

Steinway and Mason & Hamlin were in fierce competition in pre-depression era America to see who could build the superior piano. Many felt Mason & Hamlin won.

Mason and Hamlin harp and strings

3) Sweets, savories and beverages will be provided by Arbco.  If you have attended any of their craft fairs, blood drives, sing-a-longs, dances, you know Arbco knows how to lay out a spread and have fun in their spacious Common House.  What is a Common House?  Come see.

4) Trevor Stephenson, the founder and director of the Madison Bach Musicians, is so entertaining, and so broadly talented.  He is bringing along his 8-foot, circa 1720-style, double manual harpsichord.  Expect a journey through three centuries of keyboard music, and expect that he will make you laugh. Stephenson writes: “I’ll perform music by Bach, Couperin, Handel and Scarlatti on my double manual harpsichord. For the second half I’ll play works by Chopin, Brahms and Joplin on Arbco’s beautiful, newly restored vintage Mason Hamlin grand piano. Proceeds from the concert will raise funds for the recently completed restoration of this instrument–a Mason Hamlin Model AA from 1930.

Trevor Stephenson Explains

5) Mezzo-soprano Kitt Reuter Foss is the only person from Wisconsin to ever win the Metropolitan Opera Auditions.  We are lucky to have her living in Madison, but we don’t have enough opportunities to see her locally.  January 18 is your chance.  Like Trevor, she has a broad repertoire, and will be showing off both her classical and popular chops.

kitt reuter foss

Tickets are $25 for each concert  Tickets can be reserved online, in person or by mail at Arboretum Cohousing (members are below, forming a tree): www.ArboretumCohousing.org or ArbcoPiano@gmail.com,  or by calling (608) 260-0284.

Arbco members as a tree


Classical music: “New Music Saturday” is rich with FREE concerts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

September 19, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

Think of this coming Saturday as “New Music Saturday.”

That is because fans of new and contemporary classical music have a busy day of MUST-HEAR concerts ahead of them.

Two FREE concerts will be featured in Mills Hall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

CLOCKS IN MOTION

The first concert is in the afternoon and will be given by the UW-Based percussion group “Clocks in Motion” (seen below in concert).

clocks in motion in concert

The “Clocks” concert is at 3 p.m. in Mills Hall and will present a FREE concert highlighting the music of American composers Henry Cowell (below top) and John Cage (below bottom).

henry cowell

John Cage and cat

Here are some program notes provided by Clocks in Motion:

“The performance will be interactive. Audience participation will be a central focus in the performance, resulting in a seamless sound tapestry that will transform the concert experience into a fully immersive event.

“Clocks in Motion’s ability to use virtually any object as an instrument will be extended to the audience, who will be encouraged to use their cell phones, keys, voices, hands, and other objects to contribute musical sounds throughout the performance.

“Hailed as “nothing short of remarkable” (ClevelandClassical.com), Clocks in Motion is a group that performs new music, builds rare instruments, and breaks down the boundaries of the traditional concert program.

“Formed in 2011, Clocks in Motion now serves as the ensemble in residence with the UW-Madison percussion studio.

Clock in Motion Logo white on black square

“The individual members of Clocks in Motion’s unique skill sets and specialties contain an impressive mix of musical styles including, rock, jazz, contemporary classical music, orchestral percussion, marching percussion, and world music styles including Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Middle Eastern, West African, and Indian.

“Among its many recent engagements, the group served as resident performers and educators at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Rhapsody Arts Center, University of Michigan, Baldwin-Wallace University, and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

”For more information on Clocks in Motion, including repertoire, upcoming events, biographies, and media, visit www.clocksinmotionpercussion.com

IOWA’S CENTER FOR NEW MUSIC

But that isn’t the end of new music on Saturday.

Also on this coming Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the acclaimed Center for New Music (below) at the University of Iowa will return to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a FREE concert.

The Center for New Music at the University of Iowa was established in 1966 with funds from the Rockefeller Foundation. Its purpose is to promote contemporary to audiences rarely exposed to such repertoire. The Center also resulted in a tight collaboration between composer and musician. During the past 47 seasons, the Center has performed over 400 concerts and presented over 2000 compositions. It has commissioned and premiered works by composers such as Berio, Crumb, Messiaen and Carter, and continues to serve as a vehicle for contemporary music in the Midwest.

university of iowa center for new music ensemble

The concert of late 20th-century and early 21st-century repertoire features Viennese violinist Wolfgang David and pianist-composer David Gompper (below).

David Gommper and Wolfgang David

The program includes “Nuance” for solo violin (2012) by David Gompper (below); the Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 80 (1938-46) by Sergei Prokofiev; “Ikona” for violin and piano (2008) by David Gompper; and “Dikhthas” for violin and piano (1979) by Iannis Xenakis  (1922-2001).

Here is a note about “Nuance” — heard at the bottom in a YouTube video — from composer David Gompper (below) and reprinted courtesy of the UW School of Music:

“Nuance (2012) for solo violin is based on a simple descending melody heard in the opening bars. The three-part form explores timbral resources of the instrument through an extended series of character developments. Written in London in January 2012, it has undergone a number of expansions and a “filling out”. Very much in my mind was the application of the ratio 1.414 (the square root of 2), the same portion found in many of Bach’s works.”


Classical music news: For the next two weeks Madison will again become the summer capital of Cello World – and this time the public is invited to participate.

May 29, 2012
7 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

Attention, all cellists and cello lovers! Madison, Wisconsin is about to become the temporary Cello Capital of the world.

The cello (or violoncello, below) has been, is and will remain very popular, largely, The Ear suspects, because its beautiful sound so resembles the human voice and because it uses total body involvement and has a wonderful repertoire. Just go to Google Images and check out how many schools, colleges, universities and conservatories have a Cello Choir. You will be amazed at how many exist.

Starting this Friday, June 1, the biennial National Summer Cello Institute will take place at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It will run through June 16, when it cuminates with a FREE and PUBLIC concert at 8:30 p.m. in Mills Hall. It will feature music by Bach, Bloch, Bruch and Villas Lobos,

Once again, the sessions will be under the general guidance of UW-Madison cellist and institute founder  Uri Vardi (below top) and his wife Hagit Vardi (below bottom), who is a trained practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method and was a professional flutist in her native Israel. Another important figure is the institute site administrator, Cathy Spann, a UW alumna who is a cello teacher and performer and helped found the Wisconsin Cello Society with Uri Vardi.

And here are links to a two-part Q&A the Vardis did for The Ear last summer:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/classical-music-interview-how-the-feldenkrais-method-helps-both-the-physical-and-artistic-side-of-making-music-part-1-of-2/

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/classical-music-interview-how-the-feldenkrais-method-improves-the-physical-and-artistic-sides-of-making-music-part-2-of-2/

Famous cellists and teachers – including the well-known performer Ralph Kirshbaum, who now teaches at USC — will teach, many come from such prestigious music schools as Juilliard, Mannes and the University of Michigan among others. Students highly praise the results.

This year – for the first time – the public will be allowed to audit the clinics and master classes for $15. There will also be a FREE public concert by the Cello Choir on June 16 at 8:30 p.m. in Mills Hall. For a full schedule of events with times and places, visit:

http://www.music.wisc.edu/calendar?eventcategory_id=0&ensemble_id=0&faculty_id=0&month=6&year=2012

In addition from June 1-6 there will be on-going sessions and workshops called “Your Body Is Your Strad” — great title, no? Make me wonder: Is My Body My Steinway? Anyway, the sessions teach the Feldenkrais Method to help cellists relax and use their bodies to play more efficiently and make them less prone to injury.

The NSCI is co-sponsored by the UW-Madison School of Music and The College Music Society (CMS), and this year received additional grants from the UW Chancellor’s office, the Evjue Foundation (the charitable branch of The Capital Times newspaper) and the UW Anonymous Fund.

For more details about the Feldenkrais sessions – which are NOT open to the public for auditing – and about the National Summer Cello Institute, visit:

http://www.yourbodyisyourstrad.com/main/Home.html

And listen to the YouTube videos included in this posting:

Here is a schedule of highlights – where auditing fees apply:

June 3: Seminar with Dr. Mark Erickson: “Kinesiological Considerations for Musicians”

June 4: Seminar with Dr. Raymond Purdy: “Brain Plasticity and its Relevance to Musicians”

June 8: Seminar with Timothy Eddy (below):  “Natural Resources”

June 11, 12: Seminar with Richard Aaron: “Teaching Young Children”

Cello master classes include:

June 7 and 9: Timothy Eddy

June 3, 4 and 8: Uri Vardi

June 12 and 13: Richard Aaron (below)

June 14 and 15: Ralph Kirshbaum

All events are at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music Mills Hall or Morphy Hall.

Here is the program for the FREE concert at 8:30 p.m. on June 16 in Mills Hall by the NSCI CELLO CHOIR, conducted by German Marcano: the “Chaconne” from Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor BWV 1004 by J.S. Bach (1685-1750) as arranged by Laszlo Varga; “Pájaro Guaracha” for cello ensemble by Paul Desenne (1959); “Rochela” for cello ensemble by Ricardo Lorenz (1961); “Kol Nidrei,” Op. 47, by Max Bruch (1838-1920) with soloist Uri Vardi and arranged for cello ensemble by Gunther Rinke; the “Bachianas Brasileiras” No. by Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959).

If you wonder about the credentials of the participants, here are a couple of impressive biographies:

PAUL DESENNE: The 2009 Guggenheim Fellow Paul Desenne (below) began composition studies at the age of 14 under Greek composer Iannis Ioannidis, and as a cellist, he became a founding member of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra in 1977. He moved to Paris and studied cello with Michel Strauss and Philippe Muller; composition with Marc-Olivier Dupin and Luc Ferrari. He won first prize in cello performance at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris – the dean of the jury was the great Pierre Fournier.

His works are performed around the world, with venues and festivals including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Juilliard, MoMA‘s Summergarden series in New York, the Sonic Boom Festival, Focus! Festival, Caramoor, Faneuil Hall in Boston, among many others.

His works have been performed by the Simón Bolívar Symphonic Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, Boston Classical Orchestra, the Bogotá Philharmonic, I Musici de Montréal, the Miami Symphony, Nederlands Blasers Ensemble, the New Juilliard Ensemble, by various artist such as the Verdehr Trio, pianist Gabriela Montero, clarinetists Paquito d’Rivera and Jorge Montilla, flutists Luis Julio Toro, Marco Granados, Javier Montilla, and Jacques Zoon, violinists Alexis Cárdenas, Virginie Robilliard, and Jennifer Curtis, violinist/violist Nicholas Mann, and cellist Iseut Chuat, with conductors including Tania Léon, Olivier Grangean, Joel Sachs, Yuli Turovsky, among others

RICARDO LORENZ: Venezuelan-born Ricardo Lorenz has served as Composer-in-Residence in several programs and presenting organizations, such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Armonía Musicians Residency Program (1998-2003), the Billings Symphony (1998-1999), and Music in the Loft chamber music series (1999-2000).

Lorenz has also been the recipient of several other distinctions and awards from American Bandmasters Association, National Flute Association, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Organization of American States (OAS), Concert Artists Guild, Meet-the-Composer, Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, the Newhouse Foundation, Illinois Community College Trustees Association, and ASCAP.

Although Ricardo Lorenz has resided in the United States since 1982, he has always maintained close ties with Latin America.  Between 1987 and 1992, Ricardo Lorenz held the position of Interim Director of the Indiana University Latin American Music Center.

During this time he established a network of composers from the continent and compiled the sourcebook Scores and Recordings at Indiana University’s Latin American Music Center (Indiana University Press, 1995) nominated to receive the 1996 Best General Reference Source Award by the Association of Recorded Sound Collections.  Ricardo Lorenz holds a Ph.D. degree in composition from the University of Chicago and a Master of Music degree from Indiana University.  He studied composition under Juan Orrego Salas, Shulamit Ran and Donald Erb.

He has taught at Indiana University, The University of Chicago, City Colleges of Chicago, and he is currently Associate Professor of Composition at Michigan State University.

Lorenz’ compositions are published by Lauren Keiser Music and Boosey & Hawkes.  They can also be heard on the following record labels:  Arabesque Recordings, Albany Records, Indiana University LAMC Series, Doublemoon Records (Turkey), Urtex Digital Classics (Mexico), SOMM Recordings (UK), Cedille Records, and Navona Records.


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