Sachie Ueshima (voice), Shuguang Gong (piano), and Joshua Biere (tuba) are the winners of the 2021 Mead Witter School of Music Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. The winners will perform with the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra during the 2022 Spring or Fall semesters.
“Performing on stage as soloist with an orchestra is an experience that the Mead Witter School of Music is proud to offer our students,” Director of Orchestral Activities Oriol Sans said. “Sachie, Shuguang, and Joshua excelled in their performance at the final round. The works they will be playing in concert are very interesting and eclectic: Landskap (Landscape), a piece for tuba and string orchestra by Swedish composer Trobjörn Ludquist; Alban Berg’s Seben Frühe Lieder (Seven Early Songs) for soprano and orchestra; and Frederic Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor.”
Ludquist’s work Landskap includes no other brass, woodwinds, or percussion, and its melodic harmonic material stretches the expressive capacity of the instrument, Biere said.
“Lundquist was often inspired by nature, and the piece itself is a little off the beaten path as far as tuba concertos go,” Biere said. “It has moments that are gorgeous cascades of sound, and others that are visceral and guttural, almost angry sounding, so it has a very diverse color palette that Lundqust draws from. I’ve performed Landskap before with piano, but I’ve never heard it done live before with strings, so I’m excited what the sustaining power of a string section will bring to the table. I’m very much looking forward to playing it with my colleagues, as it will be a unique and thrilling musical experience.”
Compared to his late works, which are always complicated, Chopin’s second concerto is more like a direct expression of the characters and emotions of a young man, Gong said. Gong is looking forward to showing the romantic and classical sides of Chopin, and exploring his music more deeply with the orchestra.
“It’s difficult to capture the essence of Chopin’s music, to express his music in a genuine way, and I’m still on my way trying to do that, trying to get closer to his heart and feel what he felt,” Gong said. “I’m excited and really looking forward to collaborating with Professor Sans and our excellent orchestra. From my perspective, this concerto contains a lot of intimacy as well as magnificence, so it would be challenging to cooperate well and accomplish all these elements with a large orchestra.”