The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The second LunART Festival will spotlight women in the performing and creative arts. Here is Part 2 of 2 with more about new music, comedy and a full schedule

June 3, 2019
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ALERT: The second Van Cliburn Junior Piano Competition resumes today — Monday, June 3 — in Dallas at 2:20 p.m. CDT. The young players range from 13 to 17 and come from around the world, and they are terrific. Plus the quality of the live streaming is outstanding, especially for the camera work of the keyboard. It’s all FREE. If you want to see it, here is a link: https://www.cliburn.org. You might also be interested to know that among the jurors are Alessio Bax, who has performed in Madison at Farley’s House of Pianos, and Philippe Bianconi, who has soloed several times with the Madison Symphony Orchestra.  All that and you get to vote for the Audience Award too! 

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received a long and detailed announcement about the upcoming second LunART Festival. Here is Part 2 of two parts with more information about new music, comedy and a schedule of events. Yesterday was Part 1 — a link is below — with background and participants. 

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2019/06/02/classical-music-starting-wednesday-the-second-lunart-festival-will-again-spotlight-women-in-the-performing-and-creative-arts-here-is-the-first-of-a-two-part-preview/

The LunART Festival, co-founded and co-directed by Iva Ugrcic and Laura Medisky, is back for its second season from this Wednesday, June 5, through Sunday, June 9, and will continue its mission of supporting, inspiring, promoting and celebrating women in the arts.

The 2019 season brings 10 events to eight venues in the Madison area, providing accessible, high-quality, engaging concerts and events with diverse programming from various arts fields.

The festival will showcase over 100 artists this season, including many familiar local artists and performers as well as guest artists hailing from Missouri to Texas, Minnesota to Florida and as far away as Peru.

LunART’s 2019 call for scores was open to women composers of all ages and nationalities, and received an impressive 98 applicants from around the globe. Scores were evaluated by a committee of 17 LunART Festival musicians and directors, and three works were selected to be performed at each of the Gala concerts.

The winning composers are Eunike Tanzil (below top), Edna Alejandra Longoria (below middle) and Kirsten Volness (below bottom). All three will be in attendance at the festival. (In the YouTube video at the bottom, you can hear a piece for cello and piano, with the composer playing the piano, by Eunike Tanzil.)

The “From Page to Stage: Emerging Composers” educational program also returns, bringing six composers to Madison to work with flutist and composer-in-residence Valerie Coleman (below).

During the festival she will mentor participants in developing practical skills to express their creative ideas, cultivate relationships with performers and master the art of collaboration. The program culminates with a free public concert featuring their music on Saturday, June 8, at 2 p.m. in the Capitol Lakes Grand Hall, 333 West Main street, downtown and two blocks from the Capitol Square.

On Friday, June 7 at Overture Center in Promenade Hall, Meaghan Heinrich (below) presents her pre-concert lecture, “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman,” which explores what it means to be a woman artist in the 21st century, and how women’s experiences shape their artistic expressions.

Following the Friday gala concert is “Holding Court,” this season’s Starry Night event at Robinia Courtyard. This all-women comedy show features Midwestern comics Vanessa Tortolano (below top), Chastity Washington (below bottom), Vickie Lynn, Samara Suomi and Cynthia Marie who are blazing a trail of funny that will leave you gasping in their wake.

“The Multi-faceted Artist” panel discussion is for anyone interested in the ongoing trend and need for artists to wear multiple hats to succeed and thrive.

Coleman (composer and flutist) and Dr. Linda DiRaimondo (psychiatrist and aerial dancer, below top on top) serve as panelists along with Katrin Talbot (violist, poet and photographer, below bottom in a photo by Isabel Karp), and will lead the discussion on Saturday, June 8, at the downtown Madison Public Library’s Bubbler Room.

The festival wraps up on Sunday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to noon at Common Ground, 2644 Branch Street in Middleton, with “Mooning Around” poetry reading and artist mixer, featuring a performance of “One for Mileva Maric (Einstein)” by Andrea Musher, with special guests Sarah Whelan and Jackie Bradley, and poetry readings by The Line-Breakers: Andrea Potos (below), Eve Robillard, Rosemary Zurlo-Cuva and Katrin Talbot.

Everyone is welcome to come enjoy their morning coffee and pastries while making creative connections with other artists.

LunART Festival is supported by Dane Arts, the Madison Arts Commission, the Wisconsin Arts Board and the Open Meadows Foundation; it also won first place at the 2018 National Flute Association C.R.E.A.T.E. Project Competition and second prize at the 2018 UW Arts Business Competition.

Schedule of 2019 Festival events:

Wednesday, June 5

  • 6-8 p.m.: “Women Against Hate United by Love” exhibition opening reception @ Rotunda Stage, Overture Center for the Arts (free event)

Thursday, June 6

  • 9 a.m.-Noon From Page to Stage composition master class with Valerie Coleman @ First United Methodist Church (free event)
  • 7 p.m.: Opening Gala Concert @ Maiahaus (402 E. Mifflin St.) (Tickets: $20 general/$10 students)

Friday, June 7

  • 6 p.m.: “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman” pre-concert lecture by Meaghan Heinrich (free event)
  • 7 p.m.: “Portraits of Josephine” Gala Concert @ Promenade Hall, Overture Center for the Arts (Tickets: $20 general/$10 students)
  • 9 p.m.: Starry Night: “Holding Court” All-Women Comedy Show @ Robinia Courtyard (Tickets: $7 in advance/$10 at the door)

Saturday, June 8

  • 10 a.m.-Noon: “The Multi-faceted Artist” Panel Discussion @ Madison Public Library Bubbler Room (free event)
  • 2 p.m.: From Page To Stage: Emerging Composers Concert @ Capitol Lakes Grand Hall (free event)
  • 7 p.m.: “Gaia” Closing Gala Concert @ First Unitarian Society of Madison Atrium Auditorium (Tickets: $20 general/$10 students)

Sunday, June 9

  • 10 a.m.-Noon: “Mooning Around” poetry reading and artist mixer @ Common Ground, 2644 Branch St., Middleton (free event)

More information can be found at lunartfestival.org

video


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Classical music: Starting Wednesday, the second LunART Festival will again spotlight women in the performing and creative arts. Here is the first of a two-part preview

June 2, 2019
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received a long and detailed announcement about the upcoming second LunART Festival. Here is Part 1 with background and participants. Tomorrow will be Part 2 with more information about new music and a schedule of events.

The LunART Festival is back for its second season from this Wednesday, June 5, through Sunday, June 9, and will continue its mission of supporting, inspiring, promoting and celebrating women in the arts.

The 2019 season brings 10 events to eight venues in the Madison area, providing accessible, high-quality, engaging concerts and events with diverse programming from various arts fields.

The festival will showcase over 100 artists this season, including many familiar local artists and performers as well as guest artists hailing from Missouri to Texas, Minnesota to Florida and as far away as Peru.

LunART’s inaugural 2018 season was a success on numerous fronts. From showcasing a wide variety of artists and arts disciplines to building lasting relationships and collaborations, LunART has distinguished itself from other arts events in Madison.

Both artists and audiences have commented that the LunART atmosphere is one of camaraderie, love and acceptance. Festival directors Iva Ugrcic and Laura Medisky (below right and left, respectively) have set this season to come back even stronger, with expanded dates and more diverse programming.

Like last year, the three ticketed evening gala concerts are centered on classical chamber music. Other art forms — including contemporary and aerial dance, poetry, spoken word and visual arts — are interwoven throughout the programs to create a unique atmosphere for performers, artists and audiences.

This year’s Grammy-nominated composer-in-residence is flutist Valerie Coleman (below), a former member of Imani Winds, who was described as one of the “Top 35 Female Composers in Classical Music” by The Washington Post.

Coleman embodies LunART’s vision by challenging norms and being a strong advocate for diversity in the arts. Her rich compositional output infuses elements of jazz and African secular music into the Western classical tradition, creating a soundscape that honors both worlds. (In the YouTube video at the bottom, you can hear Valerie Coleman playing her own composition “Fanmi Imen” at the 2018 convention of the National Flute Association.)

Coleman’s music will be featured throughout the festival among the works of other remarkable women who shaped music history, from Baroque composer Barbara Strozzi to Romantic composer Clara Schumann to living composer Missy Mazzoli.

Drawing from Madison’s rich arts scene and community, LunART 2019 features local artists including: former Madison poet laureate Andrea Musher (below); actor and theater artist Deborah Hearst; choreographers and dancers Liz Sexe and Kimi Evelyn; and aerial dancer Linda DiRaimondo.

Also featured are musicians from arts organizations such as Madison Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Fresco Opera Theatre, Arbor Ensemble, Madison New Music Ensemble and Sound Out Loud Contemporary Music Collective. Under the direction of Edgewood College professor Kathleen Otterson, Madison’s only women’s choir ARTemis Ensemble returns in greater numbers and will present a work by LunART 2018 “From Page to Stage” alum Meg Huskin among others.

Visual art will have a stronger presence in the 2019 Festival. From May 11-July 7, Overture’s Playhouse Gallery will house “Women Against Hate United by Love,” a collaborative, traveling art exhibition and multi-step “anti-hate” campaign united against bigotry, intolerance and racism, created by J. Leigh Garcia (below), Rachael Griffin and Kelly Parks Snider.

A gallery reception on Wednesday, June 5, serves as LunART’s opening event, in which Snider will give a talk about the exhibit and her use of art to educate communities about targeted issues in the hopes of shaking up the status quo. This engaging and thought-provoking exhibit is meant to provide a meaningful and hopeful community experience for all who attend.

In collaboration with Studio 84 and ArtWorking, two nonprofit art studios specializing in the creative development of people with disabilities, the final Gala concert at First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, on Saturday, June 8, will showcase 40 artworks. This exhibit will feature 20 women artists whose works will be displayed, flanking the Atrium Auditorium stage as well as in the lobby.

Tomorrow: New music to be premiered, comedy and the full schedule of events


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Classical music: A ticket to the concert here by the Imani Winds is an ideal gift to mark the African-American holiday Kwanzaa

December 27, 2018
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By Jacob Stockinger

The African-American and Pan-African harvest and heritage holiday of Kwanzaa started Wednesday and runs through Jan. 1.

Many people know the name of the events that mark the African Diaspora.

But do you know more about the holiday itself?

Do you know the seven principles of Kwanzaa?

Do you know the history and person behind the celebration, which started the United States in 1966?

Here is a link to a comprehensive view of Kwanzaa in Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwanzaa

If you are looking for a suitable gift to give during Kwanzaa, it would be hard to beat tickets to the concert by the Imani Winds (below) on Friday, Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Shannon Hall at the Wisconsin Union Theater.

The Imani Winds have been nominated for a Grammy Award, and have established a reputation for world music and commissioning new works.

For more information about the group, the performers, ticket prices and how to buy tickets, go to: https://union.wisc.edu/events-and-activities/event-calendar/event/imani-winds/

The group’s name comes from a principle of Kwanzaa — namely, faith. And one member, Valerie Coleman, composed a signature piece based on the first principle of Kwanzaa – Umoji, or Unity. You can hear that work in the YouTube video at the bottom.

Then in June, from June 6 to June 9, Valerie Coleman (below) returns to Madison as the Composer-in-Residence for the second annual LunArt Festival — a cultural and all-women festival devoted to performers, composers, writers and artists.


Classical Music Q&A: Here is what’s happening with the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds ensemble, which opens the new Wisconsin Union Theater series in Mills Hall this Friday night.

September 25, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

While the historic Wisconsin Union Theater is being renovated for the next two seasons, the WUT’s concert series will be taking place at Mills Hall at the University of Wisconsin School of Music. For more information, visit:

http://www.uniontheater.wisc.edu

The WUT classical season, cut back this year to four less expensive and often mixed genre crossover or fusion concerts  designed to help draw younger audiences, opens this Friday night at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall with a concert by the Grammy-nominated group the Imani Winds quintet (below, in a photo by Eddie Collins).

In addition to the concert, the Imani Winds will offer a free master class. The class, open to the public, is in Mills Hall in the Mosse Humanities, 455 N. Park St., on Thursday night at 7 p.m. The ensemble will also be interviewed on Thursday at noon on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “The Midday” on WERN, 88.7 FM.

The program for the performance on Friday night consists of both classical and original pieces, including works commissioned by the high-energy group.

They will play Jeff Scott’s “Startin’ Sumthing”; Jason Moran’s “Cane,” about the Cane River which runs through Natchitoches Parish where the composer’s ancestor, ex-slave Marie Coincoin, is fabled to have established a colony of creoles in the 1700s; and works from the group’s flutist, Valerie Coleman (below and at bottom on YouTube), “Suite: Portraits of Josephine Baker,” commemorating the remarkable life story of the African-American dancer, chanteuse, humanitarian and WW II resistance fighter, and “Tzigane.”  Then, in line with the night’s theme of “West Meets East,” the group will also perform Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” and Gene Kavadlo’s arrangement of Romanian folk “Klezmer Dances.”

Tickets for the concert are $25 for the general public, $21 for Memorial Union members, faculty and staff, and $14 for young people under 18.  As always, tickets for UW Madison students are only $10 with a valid ID.  Call the Box Office at 608-265-ARTS (2787), buy online, or purchase in person at the Campus Arts Ticketing box office in Vilas Hall, 821 University Ave.

This performance is sponsored by the Wisconsin Union Directorate Performing Arts Committee and is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin. Other sponsors include the Union Theater Endowment Fund, Wisconsin Public Radio and WORT, 89.9 FM.

Clarinetist Miriam Adams (below) recently answered an email Q&A for The Ear:

Can you briefly describe the history of the Imani Winds: How it came into being? What is its mission or purpose, its special point of view or approach?

Imani Winds was just a name in the mind of Valerie Coleman, flutist, back in 1996 before she had the players. She wanted to create a group that would perhaps approach classical music from the similar ethnic and cultural background she had. The group was indeed formed without anyone but her or I knowing each other previously.

The mission also involved championing composers that were underrepresented from the non-European side of contemporary music which continues to be a platform for us. Now our mission has broadened to include collaborations, expanding the idea of what a wind quintet can sound like and bridge the gap between traditional classical audiences and pop culture audience.

What would attract audiences to hear the group (below)?

Imani Winds performances are right away noted for the synergy and chemistry between the players. Being together for almost 15 seasons helps this and it allows the music we play to come off the page more. The repertoire is definitely not your average classical standard and we play lots of music that is written for our unique personalities. There’s usually a little something for everyone on our programs.

Could you briefly comment on the pieces on the Madison program?

The Madison program is “West Meets East” in a back-and-forth of works that were created in the West (the States) and pieces that are inspired by the sounds of the East. Jeff Scott’s “Startin Sumthin'” is a down home almost tribute to Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther” style of cool jazz.

Jason Moran’s “Cane” is a result of our Legacy Commissioning Project that presents a journey of a famed ancestor of his from Louisiana that had quite a story of perseverance. “Tzigane” by Valerie Coleman is a wild gypsy ride that was inspired by the collaborations we have had with great world musicians of the east; her suite “Portraits of Josephine” is inspired by the great ex-pat, Josephine Baker. The arrangement of “The Rite of Spring” by Stravinsky (below) has been an amazing feat that changed the way people hear the piece. Look for it and the Klezmer Dances on our next album!

What are your future plans for touring, recording, TV and radio appearances, etc.?

We are on tour almost full-time and are having quite a bit of success with our international touring in Europe and Asia. We are in residence at Sirius-XM and find a moment at least once a year to be on an NPR program, either locally or nationally.

The biggest projects for us right now are the collaborations with pianists that will take us to a commission from Chick Corea (below)  in a couple of years as well as the festival that we started in New York City during the summer, the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival.

We have a new album coming out this season that is self-produced and a great selection of repertoire including original pieces by our own Valerie Coleman, Jeff Scott, the “Rite of Spring,” Astor Piazzolla and the Klezmer Dances.

There’s never enough time to get in all our projects at once, so it’s nice to be in a place that we can schedule things one at a time and really have a chance to dive in to each one, knowing there’s always an exciting one around the corner.

Could you comment on the state of wind music today in terms of both composition and performance? Do you commission works and arrangements?

We started the Imani Winds Legacy Commissioning Project for our 10th year anniversary, and it has been an ongoing love affair of working with living composers. It’s extremely important for the wind quintet repertoire to have a pump of fresh energy from composers that wouldn’t normally write for our instrumentation. So we have had great experiences approaching a wide variety of musicians.

We also do arrangements, many by our own composers. But in general are very picky because we always want to make sure our repertoire highlights the diversity and virtuosity of each instrument and player.


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