The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music education: Educator Harv Thompson receives the Rabin Youth Arts Award from the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO)

March 7, 2016
Leave a Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received the following announcement and is pleased to post it:

The Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2016 Rabin Youth Arts Award recipient.

Harv Thompson will receive the award in the category of Artistic Achievement. The award will be presented at Arts Day on this Wednesday, March 9, at the Monona Terrace in the Hall of Ideas at 9 a.m.

Deserving individuals and organizations from across the state were nominated for their support of youth arts across all disciplines.

Harv Thompson (below) is Professor Emeritus of Theater at the UW-Madison and the UW-Extension. A firm believer in the “Wisconsin Idea,” Thompson considers the boundaries of the University System to be the boundaries of the state. His passion for arts education throughout Wisconsin is deeply rooted in his belief that the state has a commitment to bring the UW’s arts offerings to the diverse audiences found in every corner of Wisconsin.

harv thompson

Thompson’s career ran on two tracks: his theater endeavors and his administrative leadership. Harv served over 20 years as department chair for the UW-Extension’s Continuing Education in the Arts Department.

His role at the UW-Extension included maintaining a link between UW arts professors and the UW-Extension youth program of 4-H. Over 50,000 children state-wide are enrolled in 4-H and his leadership helped develop and maintain funding for 4-H arts programs including: Arts Camp, Arts Leadership lab, Showcase Singers, Drama Company and Art Team.

Thompson (below) is also founder of the Wisconsin Theater Association, which was developed to assist public schools in their theater offerings including classes and live performances of plays and musicals. Since its inception, the Wisconsin Theater Association has provided educational resources and performances to thousands of students throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Harv Thompson color

Twenty-five years ago, Thompson founded the Wisconsin High School Theater Festival (below). For every year since, hundreds of high school students attended the three-day festival to participate in a variety of educational workshops and to view live theater performances by both their high school peers and by professional theater groups. Thousands of high school students have benefited from the festival’s 25-year run, and Harv continues to remain closely involved in the planning and execution of the festival to this day.

Wisconsin High School Theater Festival

The Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras, located in Madison, Wisconsin, presents the Rabin Youth Arts Awards in honor of their founding conductor, Marvin Rabin (below), as a means to honor those who follow in his footsteps.

The awards are a forum for promoting quality youth arts programs and honoring those who work diligently to provide arts opportunities for children throughout Wisconsin. They also serve as a means to elevate awareness in our community about the importance of arts education for all children.

marvin rabin BW

Now celebrating its 50th season, WYSO membership has included more than 5,000 young musicians from more than 100 communities in southern Wisconsin. WYSO, currently under the artistic direction of James Smith, includes three full orchestras, a string orchestra, a chamber music program, a percussion ensemble, a harp ensemble and a brass choir program. For more information, visit www.wysomusic.org


Classical music education: Last Sunday afternoon, we said good-bye to master music educator and Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra (WYSO) founder Marvin Rabin. The Ear thinks Rabin would have liked how he was celebrated and remembered.

January 2, 2014
4 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

Last Sunday afternoon, as the winter sun was getting low in the sky and the thermometer was dropping even lower, we gathered to say good-bye to Marvin Rabin (below).

marvin rabin BW

Rabin, you may recall, died Dec. 5 at the age of 97. He was a pioneer in music education and in addition to achievements around the U.S. — especially Kentucky, Boston and Illinois — and around the globe, in 1966 Rabin came to Madison to found and direct the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra, which still exists and is bigger and better than ever.

Here is a link to the WYSO website with more information:

http://wyso.music.wisc.edu

The crowd, which came from both coasts and around the U.S., was at capacity, a full house on the floor and in the balcony (below) of the sleek and contemporary Atrium auditorium at the First Unitarian Society of Madison. Apparently, even more people wanted to attend the memorial but couldn’t find seats or parking.

Rabin Memorial crowd

The Ear thinks it was exactly the kind of memorial that Marvin would have liked.

I say that for several reasons.

All the speakers — from the masterful host Dick Wolf (below top), who worked besides Marvin for decades at the University of Wisconsin-Extension, and radio host son David Rubin (below bottom) to friends, admirers and former students and members of the general public — kept their remarks short, dry-eyed and to the point.

Rabin memorial Dick Wolf

David Rubin

The impromptu speakers (below) also kept the mood just right: not too serious or reverent, but leavened with wit and stories that didn’t drag on forever. In short, the mood of the memorial modeled itself on the manner of Marvin himself, at least as far as I and many others knew him.

Rabin memorial speaker

His son-in-law Frank Widman read two poems by Rainer Maria Rilke that touched on music, especially “To Music” with its fitting line: “You speech, where speeches end … Music. Space that has outgrown us, heart-space.”

But most of all, I think that Marvin — who embodied The Wisconsin Idea of reaching everyone in the state and elsewhere —  would have enjoyed all the music that was played by current WYSO students as well as former WYSO students who are now professional educators and musicians themselves. (Forgive me, but they are too many to name individually.)

Under the baton of WYSO’s music director James Smith, who directs the conducting program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, the WYSO Chamber Orchestra turned in a moving and emotionally restrained performance of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.”

It was an appropriate choice not only for its universally appreciated sorrowful content (“the world’s saddist music”), but also because it has deep Madison ties: the world-famous work was given its world premiere in 1936 in Rome by the Pro Arte String Quartet, which has been in residence at the UW-Madison since 1940. That is what the famous conductor Arturo Toscanini heard and then asked the composer to add some string basses and orchestrate it.

Rabin memorial WYSO Chamber Orchestra

A WYSO Alumni Quartet (below, with the cellist hidden by the violist), made up of students from 1972, played the exquisite slow movement from the final string quartet, No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135, by Ludwig van Beethoven. (You can hear it played by the Artemis Quartet in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

It proved the perfect work for the occasion because it is a work where Beethoven moves from the futuristic Romanticism and Modernism of the late quartets and returns to more formal structure of a Classical aesthetic that Beethoven worked with in his early Op. 18 quartets. Such an embracing of diverse styles was typical of Marvin no less than of Ludwig.

Rabin memorial WYSO alumni quartet

Following open-mic reflections and memories of Rabin by perhaps a half-dozen people the WYSO String Quartet played the poignant “Intermezzo Sinfonico,” arranged for string quartet, from Pietro Mascagni’s opera “Cavalleria Rusticana.”

Rabin memorial WYSO string quartet

And the final touch was a slow but elegant reading, in Hebrew, of the Kaddish, the Jewish mourner’s prayer for the dead.

And then the relatively brief memorial was over, with some refreshments and small talk, exactly the kind of elbow-to-elbow socializing, where old friends reconnect, that Marvin excelled at and relished.

Even if you didn’t know Marvin Rabin in life, you grew to know him through the memorial.

What emerged was a man who was as devoted to life-long learning as he was to life-long teaching. And the judgment was unanimous: Marvin Rabin was a man who lived his life fully out of his love of music and his love of other people.

Rabin came across in remembrance exactly as he did in life: A zesty, energetic and witty man who was immensely smart and sensitive but who wore his gifts lightly and who was also anxious, even impatient, to share them with others.

Rabin portrait USE

And we can still learn from Marvin Rabin. His accumulated wealth came from giving himself away. And we – all of us — are the rich beneficiaries of his personal and professional generosity.

Is there any thing more to add besides: The world needs more Marvin Rabins – the more, the better; and the sooner, the better.


Classical music education: The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s “Final Forte” – the final round of the Bolz Young Artists Competition –- will be broadcast LIVE on Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio this Thursday night. The public can attend the live performance in the Capitol Theater of the Overture Center for FREE. Plus, the music tonight by Classical Revolution Madison at Brocach Irish Pub has been CANCELLED.

March 11, 2013
Leave a Comment

ALERT: The performance tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. by Classical Revolution Madison at Brocach Irish Pub (below) at 7 West Man Street, on the Capitol Square in Madison HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

brocach inn

By Jacob Stockinger

It’s time again for one of Madison’s annual and much anticipated Rites of Spring: “The Final Forte.”

That is the final round where four young classical musicians compete as soloists live and on stage with the Madison Symphony Orchestra (below top) under music director and conductor John DeMain (below bottom, in a photo by James Gill) in the Capitol Theater, although in previous years it was held in Overture Hall, of the Overture Center in downtown Madison near the Capitol Square.

I have heard and watched The Final Forte  quite a few times and the music-making is always wonderful, and the display of talent is always impressive. I don’t envy the judges and their task. It is a terrific event to promote classical music, both the making of it and the hearing of it in live performance. Young performing artists always need more public platforms and exposure. And music education always needs more help.

mso from above

John DeMain HeadShot color by James Gill

Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) and Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) will once again offer statewide live broadcasts of Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 14. The broadcast — part of WPT’s new Young Performers Initiative — also will be live simulcast at wpt.org on the Web.

The Final Forte features (below, from left, in a photo by James Gill) pianist Christopher Eom; harpist Chloe Tula; violinist C. Andrew Dunlap; and oboist Lauren McNeel. The four will vie for honors in the 2013 Bolz Young Artist Competition.

For more information, including biographies of the four performers and dates for repeat broadcasts, visit: http://www.madisonsymphony.org/competition

forte_group_2013

Each finalist will perform a movement from a concerto while judges determine who will win scholarships and the opportunity to perform as soloists with the MSO at the Spring Young People’s Concert.

Here is the complete program: W.A. Mozart – “The Impresario” Overture, K. 486; Franz Josef Haydn’s Oboe Concerto in C Major, first movement with Lauren McNeel, Oboe; Reinhold Gliere’s Harp Concerto in E flat Major, Op. 74, first movement, with Chloe Tula, harp; Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19, first movement, with C. Andrew Dunlap, violin; Camille Saint-Saëns, Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22, first movement, with Christopher Eom, piano; Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird” Suite (1945) sections 9) Infernal Dance, 10) Berceuse and 11) Finale.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the free live performance in the Capitol Theater (below) at the Overture Center in Madison; phone (608) 257-3734 to reserve a seat. Audience members must be seated by 6:45 p.m.

Capitol Theater

“Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte” is a partnership of Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin Public Radio and the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

Major funding for “Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte” is provided by Diane Endres Ballweg; Stanley and Shirley Inhorn; Julie and Larry Midtbo; Fred and Mary Mohs; and Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, with additional gifts from A. Paul Jones Charitable Trust, Baird Foundation, The Boldt Company, Mildred and Marv Conney, Sentry Insurance Foundation, W. Jerome Frautschi, and Friends of Wisconsin Public Television.

WPT is a service of the Educational Communications Board and the University of Wisconsin–Extension. Statewide outlets include WHA-TV, Madison; WPNE-TV, Green Bay; WHRM-TV, Wausau; WLEF-TV, Park Falls; WHLA-TV, La Crosse; and WHWC-TV, Menomonie-Eau Claire.


    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,204 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 2,090,802 hits
%d bloggers like this: