Professor Susan C. Cook and Professor Paul Rowe are retiring this spring.

Cook is a professor of musicology, and was formerly the academic associate dean for the Arts and Humanities in the Graduate School and director of the School of Music. She also held the Walt Whitman Chair in American Culture Studies as part of the Fulbright Distinguished Teaching Program in the Netherlands.

Cook’s teaching and research focuses on contemporary and American music of all kinds and demonstrates her abiding interest in feminist methodologies and cultural criticism. The author of Opera for a New Republic, she also co-edited 2 volumes of essays, Cecilia Reclaimed and most recently Bodies of Sound: Studies Across Popular Music and Dance, in collaboration with dance historian Sherril Dodds. As director of the School of Music, Cook played a critical role in the Hamel Music Center building campaign, as well as leading discussions on the department’s strategic vision and mission.

Professor of Voice Paul Rowe has also served on the voice faculties of the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, Vanderbilt University, State University of New York at Purchase, Lehigh University and Nazareth College of Rochester, the Berkshire Choral Festival, and the Tennessee State Governor’s School. He was the Artistic Director of the Madison Early Music Festival, an annual festival he helped found in 2000.

Rowe has maintained a wide ranging performing career throughout the United States for the past 20 years. He has performed with many of the leading American musical organizations including the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa at Symphony Hall in Boston and Carnegie Hall in New York, American Ballet Theater at the Metropolitan Opera and Kennedy Center, and Musica Sacra at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall. He has appeared as well with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Smithsonian Chamber Players, the Alabama and Arkansas symphony orchestras, the Folger Consort, and the Ensemble for Early Music, among many other groups.

The School of Music is thrilled to announce Albert Pinsonneault as the incoming Associate Director of Choral Studies starting this fall. Pinsonneault will teach choir, conducting, and the graduate choral literature seminar.

“I am so honored to join the faculty at the Mead Witter School of Music and to begin my work making art collaboratively in this community,” Pinsonneault said. “I have a lifelong passion for ensemble singing and I am grateful for the opportunity to share, critically examine, and produce music here.”

Pinsonneault is founder and artistic director of the Madison Choral Project, a 24-voice professional chamber choir based in Madison. A fierce advocate for new music, he has commissioned and premiered dozens of new works for choir. He received second place in the American Prize for Professional Choirs in 2020, performed at Midwestern ACDA Regional conferences (2018, 2020), presented at ACDA National in 2017, and will headline the Iowa Choral Directors Association state conference in 2024. His booklet Choral Intonation is published through Graphite and in active use at over 150 high schools, universities, churches, and community choruses.

Pinsonneault was Director of Choral Activities at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota where he oversaw a large undergraduate choral program involving 200 student musicians, a nationally televised Christmas program, and a history of international travel. From 2015-2019 he was Associate Director of Choral Organizations at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, where he helped administer a distinguished doctoral program in choral conducting, led two choirs, taught the graduate choral literature sequence, and served on dissertation committees.

A native of Minnesota, Pinsonneault attended St. Olaf College (BM Piano Performance) and the University of Minnesota (MM Choral Conducting) before completing his studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (DMA Choral Conducting, minor in Music Theory).

Professor Les Thimmig, who taught at UW–Madison for over 50 years, died April 28, 2024.

Leslie L. Thimmig (“Les”) grew up in Joliet, Illinois, where he played his saxophone as a teenager in jazz clubs. He graduated from the Eastman School of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree in composition, and was awarded MMA and DMA degrees in composition from Yale University. He taught music theory at Yale before joining the faculty of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, to direct the composition/theory department. In 1971, Thimmig joined the music faculty at UW–Madison to direct the composition program. He later added woodwind performance and jazz studies to his teaching curriculum.

Thimmig was an internationally known soloist and composer. His compositions have been performed in North and South America, Europe, and Africa, and his commissioned work for the Da Capo Chamber Players premiered in Carnegie Hall. His jazz career included performances with the orchestras of Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, Oliver Nelson, and Duke Ellington. He recalled fondly his dates in the Catskill Mountains with prominent band leaders of the ’60s, and his work during the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s with leading artists.

Additional performing affiliations included membership in The Thimmig-Johnson Duo (Madison), Present Music (Milwaukee), Adam Unsworth Ensemble (Ann Arbor), New Sousa Band (San Francisco), and Chicago Clarinet Ensemble. He was leader of the Les Thimmig 7, which performed his compositions exclusively.

Thimmig was revered as a devoted teacher and mentor by his students. His positive attitude and skill at enhancing their performance–and his excitement at assisting graduate students preparing for doctoral evaluations–were essential to what he believed was his obligation to the university.

In the jazz field, Thimmig’s role at the university evolved over the years. When he first arrived, he was involved with the UW Jazz Ensemble for a short period of time. Then he helped teach classes for a jazz major that was first developed in 1979, even though the major was short lived. From 1982 to 1988, Thimmig helmed the UW Jazz Ensemble again. While never his sole focus, jazz remained an important part of Thimmig’s career.

Thimmig most recently ran the Jazz Composers Group, one of several jazz ensembles at the School of Music. Sometimes called a “laboratory,” it was a place where jazz students were able to experiment under Thimmig’s tutelage. With a foundation library of Thimmig’s work, the group slowly became centered on student writing each semester.

After competitive national searches, the School of Music is thrilled to announce the hiring of Dawn Dongeun Wohn as Assistant Professor of Violin, and Matthew Treviño as Assistant Professor of Voice. Wohn and Treviño join the faculty this fall.

Wohn, who is currently in a teaching faculty role at the School of Music, has performed in concert halls across five continents including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. She has appeared as a soloist for live-broadcast performances with orchestras such as the Korean Broadcasting Symphony and the Aspen Conducting Orchestra, The New York Sinfonietta, and Japan’s Telemann Ensemble. In addition, she has performed recitals across the world including Carnegie Weill Hall, Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, and Jordan Hall.

Her debut solo album Perspectives, featuring works by female composers, was featured by the New York Times, Spotify and Apple Music and was chosen as one of WQXR’s best albums of the year. Her recent release, Unbounded by Delos Music, explores music by American women.

“I’m very excited to continue working for the School of Music in this new position,” Wohn said. “I love working with our curious, creative and open-minded students, and our collaborative and supportive faculty and staff. I am happy to be able to add my voice and be able to serve our School of Music community.”

Hailed as “a bass of rare talent,” Treviño most recently performed the role of Bonze in Madama Butterfly and Ferrando in Il Trovatore with L’Opéra de Montréal, Dr. Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro with Calgary Opera’s and Austin Opera, Dr. P in Nashville Opera’s revival of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Friar Laurent in Roméo et Juliette with Florentine Opera, and Dr. Grenvil in La Traviata with the Calgary Opera.

Treviño is currently the chair of the voice department at McGill University in Montreal. A devoted and passionate educator, he is committed to a teaching approach which includes the science of healthy singing, a sensitivity to the artist’s physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, and an unyielding commitment to guiding students towards a more productive life both personally and professionally.

“I am thrilled to join the faculty of the School of Music’s voice department and look forward to contributing to the school’s already stellar reputation,” Treviño said. “My wife, son, and I are so excited to begin our adventure in a city as vibrant and beautiful as Madison, and I’m eager to be a contributing member of its educational and artistic community. I’m humbled by this opportunity to teach, mentor, and guide the students at UW–Madison and help propel the School of Music to even greater heights.”

Professor Scott Teeple, Director of Bands, has been inducted into the American Bandmasters Association (ABA). He’s conducting the United States Navy Band in concert in Washington, D.C. on March 7, 2024 as part of the ABA convention and induction. 

Being a member of ABA is one of the highest honors in the profession. Membership is granted through an extensive process that acknowledges the quality of someone’s work, musicianship, and contributions to the field. To be accepted into membership, an individual must be nominated by a group of members, submit a dossier of materials including a CV and performance recordings, and then be voted upon by the membership committee and the full membership of the organization.

Dr. Kevin Geraldi, Director of Bands at the University Illinois, and Dr. Mary Schneider, Director of Bands at Eastern Michigan University, served to nominate Teeple.

“Scott is most deserving and it was my honor to be one of his sponsors,” Geraldi said.

Founded in 1929, ABA recognizes outstanding achievement on the part of concert band conductors and composers. The current invitational membership comprises approximately 300 band conductors and composers in the United States and Canada.

Dan Cavanagh, director of the School of Music, won The American Prize in the “Composition, 2023, Social Justice related” category for his composition Even if the Last Bullet Hits My Chest. A work for wind symphony, the piece reflects on the patterns of war and hope, and its impact on human beings.

“Some number of years ago, I was listening to the BBC World Service on the radio, and through an interpreter, a Yemeni farmer was being interviewed about the civil war there,” Cavanagh wrote in program notes. “He said something so profound: ‘Even if the last bullet hits my chest, we must end this war.’ To me hearing that was like a flash of human connection across the globe, from a man I will never know, from a completely different culture. That has stuck with me ever since.”

The piece was also awarded second place earlier this year in The American Prize Wind Symphony Composition division.

“I’m glad I was able to tackle themes of war and cultural connection through this piece and I’m grateful that it continues to spread that message,” Cavanagh said.

The University of Texas at Arlington Wind Symphony premiered the piece, with a subsequent professional debut by the Dallas Winds. 

According to the organization, The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts is the nation’s most comprehensive series of contests in the performing arts. The American Prize is unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, directors, ensembles and composers in the United States at professional, college/university, community and high school levels, based on submitted recordings. The American Prize was founded in 2010 and is awarded annually in many areas of the performing arts.

The School of Music is excited to announce the hiring of four new faculty members for the fall: Gabrielle Cornish, Assistant Professor of Musicology; John Walsh, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology; Jesse Rathgeber, Assistant Professor of Music Education; and Sarah Brailey, Voice Instructor.

Cornish’s research broadly considers music and everyday life in the Soviet Union. In particular, her monograph-in-progress, Socialist Noise: Sound and Soviet Identity after Stalin, traces the intersections between music, technology, and the politics of socialist modernity during the Cold War. Her research has been supported by the Fulbright Program, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Musicological Society, and the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Her writing has appeared in the Journal of Musicology and the Journal of the American Musicological Society, and she has bylines in Slate, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

“I’m thrilled to be coming to UW–Madison,” Cornish said. “The research environment is everything a young scholar could hope for, and I’m eager to work with such a devoted, intelligent, and supportive community of students and scholars. The department is moving in very exciting directions, buoyed by its faculty, staff, and students, and I’m excited to be a part of these transformations.”

Rathgeber has been a faculty member at Augustana College in Illinois and James Madison University in Virginia. As part of his teaching, scholarship, and service, Rathgeber has founded AugiePlay and JMUke, both informal, community-based music projects. He also co-founded the Center for Inclusive Music Engagement and co-convened the Disability Studies and Music Education Symposium. Prior to his work at the collegiate level, Rathgeber was K-12 music teacher for Deland-Weldon Community Unit School District 57 and EC-5 general music teacher for Kildeer Countryside School District 96, both in Illinois.

“I’m excited to join everyone at the Mead Witter School of Music and UW–Madison, broadly, in order to build upon the deep and meaningful history of music education scholarship and practice and to help chart new pathways toward inclusive, responsive, critical, just, and playful lifelong music learning,” Rathgeber said. 

As an ethnomusicologist, Walsh is broadly interested in the relationships between music and cities. Specifically, his work explores the music scene as a flexible form of collective expressive culture that articulates relations between sociality, materiality, and aesthetics. His current research focuses on contemporary music scenes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia under conditions of political transformation. Walsh’s research has been supported through two Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships, the Cota Robles Fellowship, The John L. Simpson Memorial Research Fellowship, the Rocca Pre-Dissertation Research Grant, and UC Berkeley’s Institute of International Studies and Center for African Studies.

Brailey, a Wisconsin  native, received her MM and DMA from the Mead Witter School of Music. She has worked as a freelance soloist and chamber artist in New York City and around the globe for the past 15 years in a repertoire that includes historically-informed performance, contemporary classical pieces, and 18th- and 19th-century solo and orchestral music. A prolific recording artist, she won the 2020 Grammy in the category Best Classical Solo Vocal Album for her performance in Dame Ethyl Smyth’s The Prison.   She is a member of the Lorelei Ensemble and Roomful of Teeth, and is co-founder of the Just Bach chamber series in Madison as well as Artistic Director of the Handel Aria Competition. 

Dan Cavanagh has been named the next director of the School of Music, effective July 1, 2023. Cavanagh’s appointment concludes a national search led by Associate Dean Susan Zaeske of the College of Letters & Science; music professors Mimmi Fulmer, Christopher Taylor, Scott Teeple, Conor Nelson, and Daniel Grabois; and School of Music Assistant Director Wendy Johnson.

“I am thrilled that Dan will bring to the directorship of the Mead Witter School of Music a cutting-edge vision of research and curricular excellence combined with the wherewithal to get things done thanks to his many years of experience as a music and liberal arts administrator,” Zaeske said.

Cavanagh is a composer and pianist who has garnered numerous awards in both areas. As a composer he has written or arranged for Latin Grammy-winning AfroBop Alliance, the legendary Patti LaBelle, and a wide range of classical and jazz performers across North America and Europe. He has released five critically acclaimed jazz CDs as a leader.

His music can be heard on many other recordings both classical and jazz and he continues to be commissioned and programmed around the world. Cavanagh has also performed extensively in North America and internationally. He has been a finalist in the EuropaFest Jazz Contest in Bucharest, and in the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Piano Competition.

“I am very excited to join UW–Madison as the next Pamela O. Hamel/Music Board of Advisors Professor and Director of the Mead Witter School of Music,” Cavanagh said. “The school’s national reputation is bolstered by its amazing faculty, talented students, and accomplished staff.”

Cavanagh is currently the interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Arlington. Prior to serving as interim Dean, Cavanagh held various academic leadership roles, including program director, music department chair, and associate dean. He has also served in high-profile shared governance roles in the University of Texas System, including as Chair of the Faculty Advisory Council representing over 21,000 faculty members across the 14 institutions in the system.

From 2015-2020, he served as the Co-Chair of Region VI for the Society of Composers and currently serves on the executive board of a2ru, the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities. Cavanagh serves on the board of directors for Downtown Arlington Management Corporation (Arlington, TX), chairs Downtown Arlington’s Cultural Arts District Partners group and serves as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Dallas Winds, a five-time Grammy nominated professional Wind Symphony.

Cavanagh succeeds Director Susan C. Cook, who will be on research leave during the 23-24 academic year after serving 10 years as director of the School of Music.

“I look forward to engaging with the Board of Advisors, colleagues across the University, and individuals throughout the community to continue growing the impact, reach, and excellence the School of Music creates every day, and to advance the ideals of the Wisconsin Idea through the creative work and scholarship we will produce together,” Cavanagh said.

The School of Music is thrilled to announce and celebrate the Susan C. Cook Scholarship Fund. This newly-established fund created by alumni, friends, and our Board of Advisors will provide eligible students with full in-state tuition and will build upon Professor Cook’s ten years of service as director of the School of Music.

Professor Cook’s legacy resonates throughout the school, from the students she has mentored to overseeing the building and completion of Hamel Music Center which she called “the Wisconsin Idea at its most audible” upon its opening in 2019. During her ten years as director, Professor Cook has also developed a larger culture of philanthropy and support and has expressed her deep appreciation for the generous philanthropic individuals who have continued to support music students through scholarships and support of all kinds.

Join us in celebrating the new fund during Day of the Badger March 28–29. All gifts made during Day of the Badger will be designated to support students through the Susan C. Cook Scholarship and will ensure Professor Cook’s pivotal contributions to the School of Music will be remembered for generations. Thanks to Garry and Joanne Owens, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar–up to $10,000–during Day of the Badger.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has named Professor Laura Schwendinger and librettist Ginger Strand winners of the Charles Ives Opera Prize for their opera Artemisia. Based on the life of 17th-century Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi, Artemisia premiered at the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble in 2019 and received an OPERA America Discovery Grant.

The Ives Opera Prize is is the largest and most prestigious award for opera composers in the US. As composer, Schwendinger will receive $35,000, and Strand, as librettist, will receive $15,000.

Operas were nominated by the Academy’s members, and winners chosen by a jury comprised of members John Harbison (chair), Anthony Davis, Tania León, Tobias Picker, and Shulamit Ran, who met in 2022. The awards will be given at the annual Ceremonial in May.

The first composer to win the American Academy in Berlin Prize, Schwendinger is a professor of composition at the Mead Witter School of Music.

 

Susan C. Cook sums it up perfectly: “You can take the professor out of the classroom, but not the classroom out of the professor.” After a decade as director of the Mead Witter School of Music, Cook will step down at the end of this year. But this isn’t the grand finale of Cook’s career; it’s just the beginning of a new movement.

Having worked 15 years without a sabbatical, Cook is looking forward to taking some time off. Then, she’ll be back to doing what she loves: teaching music history.

“My area of interest has always been contemporary music,” Cook says, “which used to mean the 20th century, but now it’s the 21st century as well. The world keeps changing around us and we have to change with it. I think it’s always important for faculty to be continuing to think about what it is our students need now and to be not teaching just the way we were taught, or just the way we used to teach even 10 or 15 years ago.”

That adaptability and forward thinking have been the cornerstones of Cook’s term as director. They served her well when things looked precarious for the school.

“I came into the role in somewhat of a challenging time,” she recalls. “The previous director had stepped down a couple years early, so it was a transition that we weren’t expecting.”

The school was experiencing budget cuts and limited hiring and had been struggling to move ahead with a new building project. Then, there came a new chancellor, provost, and dean in quick succession — all starting around the same time that Cook assumed her new role. The future was uncertain. However, following campuswide discussions, Chancellor Rebecca Blank quickly decided to move ahead with plans for a new music building, which would become the Hamel Music Center.

“That decision proved to be a really smart one,” Cook remembers, because it was the vote of confidence that signaled to the Mead Witter Foundation that the university was invested in the future of the school, and “that there was a real critical need here.” The foundation made a major gift that allowed the ambitious building project to proceed and attracted even more support.

“One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about this job was working with the incredibly generous philanthropic individuals who have helped make this building a reality and have continued to support our students, again, through scholarships and support of all kinds,” Cook says. She beams as she talks about the “larger culture of philanthropy and support” that has sprung up around the school. “We have wonderful fans that come and write students notes (after performances) and tell them how terrific they sounded and that has just been something really unexpectedly wonderful to be a part of.”

The Hamel Music Center opened its doors in fall 2019, glistening like a jewel at the heart of campus. Then came the blow that nobody expected: COVID-19. But as it turned out, even though the center wasn’t designed with a pandemic in mind, it met the needs of the moment perfectly.

“Had we not had this building, the pandemic would have been so much worse for all of us,” Cook says. “Because we did have the technology and the extra spaces in this building that allowed us to do things safely to continue to connect with each other and to connect with audiences, even if we couldn’t be in person. I know there were people who felt like the building was closed and empty, and I kept saying, ‘It’s not. There’s still life going on there.’ I would drive by, and I would see the lights on in the lobby. To me, it was a beacon of hope and a reminder that we would be back together and that the building was helping keep us connected even then.”

Looking ahead, Cook hopes that the school will continue to build on what the Hamel Music Center started, continuing to be “inventive in our programming, inventive in our use of the space.” She also hopes to get the additional rehearsal spaces and financial assistance that students need, though that is a quest that will pass to the school’s next director — and to the new Humanities building project, which is in development.

“This clearly is a big job, a challenging job,” Cook says. “Sometimes people have asked me what have been the rewards? And I would say that the rewards have been in the music.”

She says it’s like “being in this wonderful garden” and not knowing what’s going to spring up and blossom. “You’re doing a lot of digging and a lot of heavy labor at times, but then (you’re) rewarded with this kind of beauty that you couldn’t have imagined.”

From L to R, Amy Lewis (Music Education), Michael Weinstein-Reiman (Music Theory), and Lindsay Flowers (Oboe) joined the School of Music faculty this fall.

The School of Music is excited to welcome three new faculty members this fall: Amy Lewis (Music Education), Michael Weinstein-Reiman (Music Theory), and Lindsay Flowers (Oboe).

Dr. Amy Lewis is the daughter of Jayne McShann Lewis and Bennie Lewis and is the granddaughter of Frances McShann Shelton and jazz pianist Jay McShann. Dr. Lewis is a research associate as an Anna Julia Cooper Fellow in the Mead Witter School of Music at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Her research is focused on systemic oppression, equity, and racism in music education. As a public music teacher, she taught K-1, 6-8 general music, beginning band, middle school choir, and jazz band in the Chicagoland suburbs. She received the 2022 Compass Visionary Award, the 2019 Black Faculty, Staff, and Administrators Association Emerging Leader Award, and was also named the 2015 Illinois Education Association Teacher of the Year.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be named an Anna Julia Cooper Fellow at the UW–Madison,” Lewis said. “I look forward to working with incredible colleagues in the Mead Witter School of Music and contributing to such a rich history of research in music education.”

Michael Weinstein-Reiman is a historian of music theory. His work seeks to elucidate music theory’s role in the history of ideas over the longue durée. His related research interests include eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European philosophy, music pedagogy, literature, gender and sexuality, and disability studies.

In 2021, he received the Ph.D. in Music Theory from Columbia University, where he wrote a dissertation on the changing understanding of touch—considered as an action, a sense, and as a metaphor for music’s effect on the psyche—across the span of two centuries of French intellectual history. Research for the dissertation was supported by Columbia’s Dean’s Fellowship, a Georges Lurcy Fellowship, an honorary Chateaubriand Fellowship from the French Embassy, and several travel grants. He holds degrees in music from The University of Oregon, Mannes College, and Brandeis University.

“It is a real honor to join the community of musicians and scholars at UW–Madison,” Weinstein-Reiman said. “I am excited about working with the School of Music’s top-notch and diverse performers. As I embark on my own research projects, I cannot wait to see our students flourish and forge their own paths.”

Dr. Lindsay Flowers is the Assistant Professor of Oboe at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music where she is a member of the Wingra Wind Quintet and guides student-generated community engagement projects. She received a Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Linda Strommen and Roger Roe. Her background in athletics distinguishes her pedagogical approach in her emphasis on performance visualization, disciplined commitment, and supportive teamwork.

Lindsay is an Oboist and English Hornist with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra. She previously was a member of the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, New Mexico Philharmonic, and Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Lindsay was a founding member of the Arundo Donax Reed Quintet, Bronze Medal Winners of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and recorded a duo album with Dr. Andrew Parker to be released in 2023. She has performed with the Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Utah, and Nashville Symphony Orchestras and during recent summers with the Santa Fe Opera, Grant Park, Midsummer’s, Lakes Area, Apollo, Lake George, Castleton, Aspen, and Banff Music Festivals.

Dr. Mariana Farah, director of Choral Activities, and incoming DMA choral conducting student Liz Olson are presenting as part of a panel session at the National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association. This session will feature five active women conductors and a first-year doctoral student in a candid discussion about past, present, and future challenges for women in choral music. The presenters will offer strategies on how young and experienced conductors can fight new and longstanding matters involving gender bias in the choral field. Members will learn to:

a) identify instances of gender disparity in the choral profession;
b) fight challenges related to gender bias;
c) support students and colleagues who experience gender discrimination;
d) advocate for themselves and others;
e) promote change to help create more equitable spaces for women conductors

The conference will be held February 22-25, 2023 in Cincinnati, OH.

Professor Margaret Butler has received the IAML Vladimir Fédorov Award for her article “Opening a Celebrity’s Closet: Cecilia Davies and the De Bellis Collection,” Fontes Artis Musicae 68/4 (2021): 288–314. The award honors the best article published in the journal during a given volume year.

The Publications Awards Subcommittee commented that “this article could well stand as a model description of uncatalogued collections: it provides historical background of both the collection and collector; description of the content together with the extensive research required to compile the listing; further reading and research suggestions, and a tantalising problem that set our detective pulses racing: there are still some unidentified pieces in the collection.”

Professor Anthony Di Sanza recently premiered “Ancient Echoes,” a new concerto by Michael Udow commissioned by the Longmont Symphony Orchestra. In addition to a modern lithophone and percussion instruments from around the world, Professor Di Sanza played on a set of 6,000-year-old lithophones discovered by Longmont archaeologist Marilyn Martorano.

Read more –> “Ancient Echoes”: A Review

Women have always been at the core of every major development in music history, with historical and contemporary composers such as Hildegard of Bingen, Amy Beach, Clara Schumann, Eleanor Daley, Andrea Ramsey, Elaine Hagenberg, Dale Trumbore, and Ingrid Stolzel leading the way for generations to follow.

However, a major lack of documentation often leads to important contributions by women composers going overlooked, an issue Director of Choral Studies Mariana Farah sees as an educational opportunity. Farah is committed to programming more music by women composers.

“A lot of music by women composers has been neglected for a long time, and some music remains unpublished and unknown,” Farah said. “I know that programming music by women composers will help our students better understand the role of women in music history and it will also empower our female students to come forward with their own contributions.”

Through performances, Farah and her colleagues can educate students and audiences about the lack of representation and the importance of furthering our perspective on how women have contributed to the canon of literature throughout history.

A student in Women’s Chorus describes the impact the programming decision has had. In a conversation with her mother (who was also in Women’s Chorus during her college years), the student noted that her ensemble was working on pieces by women composers that were both beautiful and meaningful. The student’s mother was pleasantly surprised, as she remembered Women’s Chorus mostly consisting of love songs and lesser pieces written by men.

Her comment got the student thinking.

“I didn’t realize how much I was affected by sexism in classical music culture,” the student said. “I never considered creating music, because women are just supposed to sing what they are given. Women aren’t talented enough to compose. We’re better as passive vessels for the artistry of the opposite gender. I’ve never heard female composers because men just have a special gift. I didn’t realize the above were my subconscious thoughts until being accepted into Women’s Chorus. Experiencing the excellence of Andrea Ramsey’s work has made me feel empowered.”

Farah conducts the UW-Madison Concert Choir, Advanced Treble Choir, and Choral Union. She also teaches courses in graduate choral conducting and oversees all aspects of a comprehensive choral program. Prior to her appointment at UW-Madison, she served as the Associate Director of Choral Activities at the University of Kansas.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education has announced that Professor of Trombone Mark Hetzler is one of 26 faculty winners of the Vilas Associates Competition. The competition recognizes “new and ongoing research of the highest quality and significance.” The award is funded by the William F. Vilas Estate Trust.

“I am proud to have received this award,” Hetzler said. “The project is called Pulcinella Reimagined and it feels pretty ambitious. Essentially, I plan to use a classic ballet as the inspiration to produce a contemporary performance piece in various formats.”

In a collaboration with members of Hetzler’s band Mr. Chair and LA-based producers Amy Ryerson and Selena Moshell, the goal is to reimagine Igor Stravinsky’s ballet score Pulcinella and the commedia dell’arte stock characters on which the ballet is based to produce an audio recording, a short film, and a live concert production.

In reimagining the musical aspects of Stravinsky’s musical score to Pulcinella, Hetzler and collaborators inspired to consider ways to use the commedia dell’arte stock characters featured in Pulcinella as vehicles to tell a contemporary story. Commedia dell’arte stock characters fit into four categories (servants/clowns, wealthy masters, lovers, and braggarts) and are meant to be easily adaptable to local events, specific regions, and current situations.

In collaborating with producers Ryerson and Moshell, they pitched a plan to lead a creative team in which one guest artist per segment of music (for a total of five guests), in any medium they choose (dance, song, acting, animation, etc.), will tell a unique story that adheres to the overall theme of Pulcinella in modern times. These productions will feature a reimagined version of Pulcinella that focuses on social issues relevant in today’s world and features underrepresented voices and perspectives.

In the words of Moshell, this production will be “a series of five vignettes of Pulcinella through modern lenses—how this archaic and archetypal character would exist in the current society today. Ideally, we are seeing this trope in new lights—as a person who identifies as a woman, through a new racial perspective (being Black in America, etc.), as a character navigating issues that the historical Pulcinella never had to experience. What would this mischievous character look like, perform like, act like, what would they have to say in 2021?”

Pulcinella Reimagined involves the creation of a studio recording of Hetzler’s band’s arrangement of Pulcinella, and the development of this recording into a live concert production and film. Hetzler will be recording the music with Mr. Chair and a collective of nationally recognized vocalists and instrumentalists at a recording studio in Madison, WI.

“What excites me about this project is the collaborative aspect,” Hetzler said. “My band Mr. Chair lives for collaborating with all kinds of people: musicians, dancers, actors, artists, film makers, educators, you name it. The subject of Pulcinella seems like a fantastic vehicle for opening doors and inviting in ideas, influences, and inspiration from all kinds of people.”

Recipients of the Vilas Associates Competition are chosen competitively by the divisional research committees on the basis of a detailed proposal. Winners receive up to two-ninths of research salary support (including the associated fringe costs) for the summers of 2022 and 2023, as well as a $12,500 flexible research fund in each of the two fiscal years.

“I am very motivated to get things going and beyond grateful to UW-Madison for the support of research endeavors such as this,” Hetzler said.

Current members of the Wisconsin Brass Quintet include, from L to R, Gilson Da Silva, Mark Hetzler, Jean Laurenz, guest Matthew Endres, Tom Curry, and Daniel Grabois.

After a long hiatus due to the pandemic, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet is back on tour beginning February 14, with scheduled stops in several locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. School of Music faculty ensembles—Wisconsin Brass Quintet, Pro Arte Quartet, and Wingra Wind Quintet—routinely travel to regional high schools, colleges, and concert halls, working with young musicians and performing for local concert series patrons.

The upcoming Wisconsin Brass Quintet tour includes stops at several high schools in and around Minneapolis, as well as performances at Nicolet College, the Westby Area Performing Arts Center, and the Prairie du Chien Arts Center. 

“This tour presents an incredible opportunity to connect with hundreds of music students,” Music Engagement & Outreach Coordinator Dann Petersen said. “The Wisconsin Brass Quintet will help each of them to establish a lifelong love for music through their genuine energy and passion for the art.”

Regarded as one of the “superb brass ensembles in the USA” (Musicweb International) and praised for “remarkable musicianship and versatility” (International Trumpet Guild Journal), the widely acclaimed Wisconsin Brass Quintet has maintained a position at the forefront of brass chamber music since the group’s founding in 1972.

In addition to its regular concert series on the UW-Madison campus, the quintet performs extensively throughout the Midwest and nationally, including appearances in New York at Weill Recital Hall and Merkin Concert Hall. WBQ players have been members of the Seraph Brass, Empire Brass Quintet, and Meridian Arts Ensemble.

School of Music faculty ensembles continue to expand its involvement with regional communities by providing mentoring, educational leadership, and training opportunities to students of all ages and backgrounds. Faculty ensembles are available for chamber ensemble coaching, collaborative performances, community recitals, open rehearsals, and performance classes.

Contact Dann Petersen at meo@music.wisc.edu to learn more.

Wisconsin Brass Quintet February 2022 Tour 

February 14
Concert at Nicolet College, Rhinelander, WI

February 15
Performance class at Minneapolis South High School, Minneapolis, MN
Performance class at Thomas Edison High School, Minneapolis, MN
Performance class at Irondale High School, Minneapolis, MN

February 16
Performance class at Mankato West High School, Mankato, MN
Performance class at Farmington High School, Farmington, MN

February 17
Performance class at Onalaska High School, La Crosse, WI
Performance class at Mayo High School, Rochester, MN
Concert at Westby Area Performing Arts Center, Westby, WI

February 18
Performance class at La Crosse Central High School, La Crosse, WI
Clinic at Prairie du Chien High School, Prairie du Chien, WI
Concert at Prairie du Chien Arts Center, Prairie du Chien, WI

Professor Martha Fischer is one of twelve faculty members on campus to receive a UW-Madison Distinguished Teaching Award this year, an honor given out since 1953 to recognize the university’s finest educators.  An in-person ceremony is planned for 5 pm April 19 at the Pyle Center. The event is open to the public, and anyone wishing to join can contact the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty at admin@secfac.wisc.edu for information on how to attend.

See the full list of recipients.

 

Assistant Professor of Clarinet Alicia Lee releases Conversations With Myself, a collection of works for solo clarinet with and without electronics, chronicling a year of artistic activity in isolation.

Works by Pierre Boulez, Dai Fujikura, Isang Yun, Unsuk Chin, and Hideaki Aomori make for a program that highlights music by composers of Asian descent and Boulez’ iconic work exploring the dichotomy between live performance and pre-recorded material.

Releases January 28, 2022