School of Music Alumni Association
All UW–Madison graduates with an undergraduate or graduate music degree are welcomed as members of the School of Music Alumni Association. There are no required membership dues or fees. Friends and donors who wish to support the mission of the School of Music are also welcome. Alumni are invited annually to voluntarily contribute and support activities of SOMAA of their choosing, as well as to contribute to the undergraduate scholarship fund of SOMAA and other causes.
The mission of the UW-Madison School of Music Alumni Association (SOMAA) is to support and strengthen the educational impact and outreach of the Mead Witter School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and to maintain a close spirit of cooperation and communication between alumni and the School of Music.
Brief Description of 2022 Activities
- Day on Campus (Fall 2022)
- Reception for Alumni, Faculty, Staff, Grad Students, and School of Music Friends (Oct. 27, 2022)
- School of Music Distinguished Alumni Award Presentation and Concert (December 9, 2022)
Check back soon for more announcements.
How to be involved and stay connected
There are numerous ways to stay connected to the School of Music through the School of Music Alumni Association, including:
- Volunteering to assist with SOMAA a committee, activity, or event planning
- Nominating an alumni for a Distinguished Alumni Award
- Contributing to undergraduate scholarship
- Attending scheduled events (live and virtual)
Contact SOMAA@music.wisc.edu to learn more.
Mailing address: SOMAA, PO Box 5503, Madison, WI 53705-0503
SOMAA Volunteer Leadership
School of Music Faculty Liaison
School of Music Administration Liaisons
UW Foundation Liaison
Emeritus Faculty Liaison
Distinguished Alumni Award
The Mead Witter School of Music Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes an alumnus or alumna who is making, or has made, an outstanding contribution to the music profession in service or in artistic impact. In addition to the award, the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award receives recognition on the school’s website with a profile in any publication related to the award.
Award Eligibility and Deadline
Only living alumni of the Mead Witter School of Music are eligible. For purposes of definition, alumni must have received at least one degree from the School of Music. The nomination deadline is November 30, 2023.
Nominations can be made by Mead Witter School of Music faculty, current or emeritus, and University of Wisconsin–Madison alumni. All nominations must include the following:
• A nomination cover sheet from the person placing the name in nomination, which details the nominee’s qualifications as a Distinguished Alumnus.
• A biographical statement, résumé or CV, providing basic information such as: name, address, employment history, and all music degrees and dates.
• Letters of support (maximum of 3) are welcomed and strengthen the nomination. Writers of support letters should provide their contact information and title. Support letters must be sent to the nominator and included with the submission.
• Nominations must be submitted electronically to the Assistant Director of the School of Music.
• All paperwork must be submitted electronically to the Assistant Director of the School of Music by November 30, 2023.
• The final selection will be approved by the Distinguished Music Alumni Award Committee (DMAAC) in the spring of each year.
• Any nominations not selected for the award may be re-nominated in subsequent years.
• If, in the opinion of the DMAAC, no worthy candidate is nominated in a given year, the Award will not be presented that year.
2021: Paul Boylan
The Mead Witter School of Music Distinguished Alumni Award Committee selected Paul Boylan, Emeritus Professor of Music Theory and Dean Emeritus of the School of Music, Theater and Dance at the University of Michigan, as the 2021 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Boylan graduated from the School of Music with a bachelor’s degree in piano performance in 1961, and a master’s degree in music theory in 1962. He subsequently completed a Ph.D. in 1968 at the University of Michigan in historical musicology with a dissertation on the songs of Hugo Wolf. Boylan then joined the U-M faculty in 1969 as an assistant professor and continued to serve that institution with considerable distinction until his retirement.
As an undergraduate piano major, Boylan worked closely with artist-in-residence Gunnar Johansen, who not only provided Boylan with piano instruction, but expanded his perspectives on the importance of music and musical study both at a public university campus and in the culture at large.
“While a student at UW-Madison, I especially valued my studies with Gunnar Johansen and Rudolf Kolisch, founder of the Pro Arte String Quartet,” Boylan said. “I also came under the influence of the harpsichordist Alice Ehlers who was a distinguished Visiting Professor during my student days. Possibly to the detriment of serious piano studies, I was also very active in campus politics, and was pleased to be elected to both Mace and Iron Cross.”
Boylan has given more than one hundred performances as pianist in solo and chamber music repertory, including many broadcasts on National Public Radio. He has performed concerts with Ralph Herbert, Paul Makanowitzky, Elizabeth Mosher, Angel Reyes, George Shirley, and many others. He is the author of articles published by and papers delivered for the American Musicological Society, Music Teachers National Association, Music Educators National Conference, and others.
Boylan’s administrative skill was apparent through his four-year term as director of the National Music Camp at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Following his promotion to associate professor in 1972, he became associate dean for academic affairs, and then Dean of the School of Music in 1979 and continued in that office until 2000. During his tenure, Boylan secured the future wellbeing and stature of the U-M School of Music as an institution on par with any other school—public or private—in the United States and beyond.
He oversaw the administrative consolidation of arts entities on the U-M campus (bringing dance and theatre together with music), brought on the American Music Institute, and oversaw the creation and expansion of new music degrees including the B.F.A. in musical theater, the B.F.A. in Jazz and Improvisation studies, and the B.S. in media technology. He expanded the library holdings through the important acquisition of a major collection of works by women composers, increased the school’s endowment significantly (the music school endowment was less than $1 million when Boylan began his deanship and totaled more $50 million when he retired), and oversaw major building projects that expanded and enhanced the school’s campus on the north side of Ann Arbor.
He led two successful capital campaigns, including a $2o million campaign to renovate the university’s historic Hill Auditorium, and he helped lead the university’s billion dollar Campaign for Michigan. Through all of this, he continued to perform as a piano soloist and chamber musician.
Boylan also served on a number of university-wide committees and councils, including the Academic Affairs Advisory Council, the Academic Policy Group, the Budget Priorities Committee, the Center for Continuing Education for Women executive committee, the Task Force on University Events, the Institute for the Humanities executive committee, and the Michigan Alumnae Council Athena Award Committee.
He has also served on the boards of directors of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, the Ann Arbor Chamber Orchestra, and Ars Musica; the board of trustees and executive committee of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival; and he was a member of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Benefit Committee, among others.
More importantly, Boylan identifies UW-Madison as the institution that made it possible for him to become the visionary musician and arts leader he is today.
“My time in Madison was simply magical to a young man from Portage hungry for art and the life of the mind, and I’ve often gratefully credited the University of Wisconsin for feeding that hunger,” Boylan said. “In those days, UW-Madison rewarded its most distinguished professors in all fields for introducing undergraduates to their disciplines—opportunities of which I took liberal advantage then and benefit from to this day.”
2020: Kenneth Woods
Conductor Kenneth Woods was selected as recipient of the 2020 Mead Witter School of Music Distinguished Alumni Award. Woods was nominated for the award by James Smith, with additional letters of support from John DeMain, Parry Karp, and Cyrena Pondrom.
Hailed by Gramophone Magazine as “a symphonic conductor of stature,” Woods was appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra in 2013. He was also recently appointed Artistic Director of both the Colorado MahlerFest–the only US organization other than the New York Philharmonic to receive the International Gustav Mahler Society’s Gold Medal–and the Elgar Festival in Worcester.
“Equally at home as a conductor, recitalist, chamber musician, and writer, Kenneth is a credit to the University of Wisconsin-Madison,” retired Director of Orchestras James Smith said. “His artistic accomplishments and the numerous ways he has contributed to the music profession, and his outstanding career as a multi-talented professional musician, make him an excellent nominee for this award.”
As a guest, Woods has conducted ensembles including the National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and the English Chamber Orchestra.
“This past season, Kenneth made his conducting debut with the Madison Symphony Orchestra,” MSO Music Director John DeMain said. “His work drew raves from the musicians, audience and critics. Indeed, his performance of Haydn was revelatory, and Strauss’ extraordinarily difficult ‘Ein Heldenieben’ came off flawlessly.”
Under his leadership, the English Symphony Orchestra has gained widespread recognition as one of the most innovative and influential orchestras in the UK. In 2016, Woods and the ESO launched their “21st Century Symphony Project,” an ambitious multi-year effort to commission, premiere and record nine new symphonies by leading composers, with Philip Sawyers’ Third Symphony.
Woods earned his MM in Cello as a student of Parry Karp at the School of Music from 1991-1993. He remains active as a cellist, and his debut recordings with the string trio Ensemble Epomeo and the Briggs Piano Trio were both recipients of the Gramophone Editor’s Choice.
“The breadth and quantity of Kenneth’s work as a musician is awe-inspiring, and the consistent high quality of his artistic work is spectacular,” Professor of Chamber Music and Cello Parry Karp said. “While conducting has become the biggest part of his life as a musician, he has stayed very active as a cellist, musical writer, educator, composer and arranger. In all of these areas he is highly original, challenging and inspires the musicians around him to new heights. He is a great role model for young musicians of today, many of whom have to wear many hats to be successful.”
A widely read writer and frequent broadcaster, Woods’ blog, A View from the Podium, is one of the 25 most popular classical blogs in the world. He has spoken on Mahler on NPR’s All Things Considered and is a regular guest on BBC radio programs. Since 2014, he has been Honorary Patron of the Hans Gál Society.
2019: JoAnne Brown Krause
As part of the Hamel Music Center Celebration Weekend, JoAnne Brown Krause was recognized on July 26 as the 2019 Distinguished Music Alumna during intermission of a sold out concert in the Mead Witter Concert Hall.
JoAnne Brown Krause is a true Wisconsinite, born and raised on a farm in Northwestern Wisconsin where she graduated from Shell Lake High School. Her high school band director, Darrel Aderman, an alumnus of the UW–Madison School of Music, encouraged JoAnne to attend the UW–Madison. She subsequently received her Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1961 and shortly thereafter married Don Krause, whom she met in her junior year. They are proud that two of their three children and their oldest grandson are also UW–Madison alumni.
Throughout the years, JoAnne has used her music education degree in a variety of capacities – as a public school general music teacher, as a studio piano instructor, church music director, and accompanist for WSMA competitions, to name just a few. In 1985 she was recruited to join the education wing of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra League thus continuing her teaching as a docent and providing volunteer support for the MSO’s Youth programs. As an almost full-time volunteer, she found the work of promoting classical music education especially rewarding.
JoAnne has served in a variety of leadership roles on multiple boards including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra League, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Association of Wisconsin Symphony Orchestras, the Volunteer Council of the American Symphony Orchestra League, PianoArts of Wisconsin, and is a dedicated and enthusiastic member of the UW School of Music Board of Advisors. She has sustained this activity while also singing with the MSO chorus for seventeen years and in her church choir for over fifty years. JoAnne is simply the person to know about all things Milwaukee and music.
In 1996, the Krauses joined the grassroots committee to provide a performing venue for the Elmbrook school system including holding “fireside chats” to educate and to raise the necessary funds. The result is the beautiful Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield, including a special space for music education named in honor of JoAnne.
Not surprisingly, JoAnne has been the recipient of many honors: the 2007 AWSO award for “Outstanding Service to Music”; the 2009 “Distinguished Citizen-Patron of the Arts” award from Milwaukee’s Civic Music Association; the MSO’s Chairman’s Council Award, and with husband Don, she shared the “2014 Badger of the Year” award presented by the Waukesha Alumni Chapter.
The Krauses live out their belief that Badgers give back to the University. In 2006 they established a scholarship in the Mead Witter School of Music that presents two annual scholarships to a junior or senior majoring in Music Education. As a member of the School’s Board of Advisors, JoAnne, along with Don, pledged early support for the Hamel Music Center.