Schubertiade 2021 Program

Schubertiade 2021 Biographies

Schubertiade 2021 Texts & Translations

For the 8th consecutive year, the Mead Witter School of Music will present its annual Schubertiade, a special concert celebrating the music of Franz Schubert. Traditionally these concerts have been held around the composer’s birthday. This year’s concert will in fact occur on his birthday: Sunday, January 31 at 3 pm at https://youtu.be/7sshhKiFPAg

As in past years, Martha Fischer, professor of piano and head of the collaborative piano program at UW-Madison, and her husband Bill Lutes, an independent piano teacher, and UW Emeritus Artist-in-Residence, will host the program.

These concerts have been presented in the sprit of the first Schubertiades that took place during the composer’s lifetime (1797-1828) in the homes of his friends and fellow artists, poets, and fans. These were social as well as musical occasions with Schubert himself presiding at the piano, giving his audience a chance to hear his latest songs, piano duets and chamber music, as well as pieces that had already become favorites.

This year’s Schubertiade will be rather different, in response to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. It will be an online look back—or Rückblick—at past concerts, with songs chosen from performances that have been preserved in our audio and video archive. The featured performers will include faculty, students and alumni from the Mead Witter School of Music, along with special guests. In addition pianists Fischer and Lutes will give a “new” performance recorded for this occasion of the great Fantasie in F-minor for piano duet.

The songs have been chosen to reflect themes that were not only relevant to Schubert and his circle, but also to all of us in the midst of this challenging time: hope for a brighter future, the need for connection with others, remembrance of happier times, and the consolation to be found in nature.

Schubert left us a vast and precious legacy of beauty—an enormous output of music that he composed in his short lifetime. In a sense, each time his music is performed and heard, it is a journey from the past to our own time, the sounds speaking to us today as vividly and consolingly as they did when they were created 200 years ago.

 

Performers

Martha Fischer and Bill Lutes, pianists

Alumnae:

Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano

Emily Birsan, soprano

Michael Roemer, baritone

Jennifer D’Agostino, soprano

Daniel O’Dea, tenor

Wesley Dunnagan, tenor

Sarah Brailey (alumna and current DMA student)

Sara Guttenberg

Guests:

Marie McManama, soprano

Cheryl Bensman-Rowe, mezzo soprano

Faculty:

Mimmi Fulmer, soprano

Paul Rowe, baritone

Julia Rottmayer, soprano

 

David Alcorn, Videographer, editor, etc.

Katrin Talbot, Images for audio only tracks

ALSO IN JANUARY: Violinist Soh-Hyun Altino and pianist Christopher Taylor team up for an afternoon of exquisite sonatas from Fauré and Corigliano. Sunday, January 22, 4 PM. Learn more here.


Join pianists Martha Fischer, Bill Lutes, and friends on the stage and seats

of Mills Hall for January’s “Schubertiade,” an intimate homage to the music,

loves and life of Romantic composer Franz Schubert.

The concert will take place Sunday, January 29, at a new time, 3:00 PM.

Fischer is a UW-Madison professor of collaborative piano and piano and Bill Lutes is emeritus artist-in-residence.

Martha Fischer & Bill Lutes. Image by Katrin Talbot.

Martha Fischer & Bill Lutes. Image by Katrin Talbot.

The concert will be followed by a reception (included in the ticket cost) at the University Club. Tickets are $15 per adult and $5 for students. The concert is sponsored by Madison resident Ann Boyer, an admirer of Franz Schubert’s music and the musical talents of Fischer and Lutes.

Tickets may be purchased online, at the Memorial Union Box Office or in Mills Hall, one hour before the concert.

The evening will include a special guest, the much-acclaimed soprano and UW-Madison alumna, Emily Birsan. Among other works, she will sing Schubert’s Epistle to Josef von Spaun, D. 749 – a brilliant and humorous send-up of the Italian operatic style that was all the rage in Vienna during Schubert’s lifetime.

Emily Birsan.

Emily Birsan.

Other performers will include Mead-Witter School of Music faculty Mimmi Fulmer, soprano and Paul Rowe, baritone; School of Music alumni Daniel O’ Dea, tenor and Benjamin Schultz, baritone; and current graduate students Anna Polum, soprano, Rebecca Bechtel and Jessica Kasinski, mezzo sopranos, and Wesley Dunnagan, tenor.

Schubert was born on January 31, 1797, and lived only 31 years. In his day, his music was cherished, but mostly by his personal circle. UW-Madison’s “Schubertiade” extends that circle to include the entire seating chart in Mills Hall.

The theme for this year’s Schubertiade is “Circle of Friends,” says co-organizer Lutes.

He writes: “Moritz von Schwind, a important German painter of the 19th century, was a young man when he became part of the group that was present at the first Schubertiade — those social gatherings given over to charades, poetry reading, dancing and imbibing – but most particularly to the performance of Schubert’s music, often with the composer himself at the piano.

“These almost legendary occasions were immortalized by Schwind in his famous painting ‘A Schubert Evening at Josef von Spaun’s,’ created in 1868, when these glorious moments had become distant and cherished memories. Schubert is indeed at the piano, with the great baritone Johann Michael Vogel seated to the composer’s right. Depicted are many of the poets, artists, lawyers and civil servants, and close friends who first heard Schubert’s music. In some cases, they are individuals with whom Schubert collaborated in the creation of songs, and our program will include a many settings of poetry by Schubert’s friends: Schober, Mayrhofer, Spaun, Schlechta and others.

A Schubert Evening at the Home of Josef von Spaun on December 15, 1826. Sepia drawing by Moritz von Schwind (1804-1871), 1868.

A Schubert Evening at the Home of Josef von Spaun on December 15, 1826. Sepia drawing by Moritz von Schwind (1804-1871), 1868.

“In addition we will include a group of songs that Schubert assembled in 1816 and presented to Theresa Grob, a young soprano whom he had hoped to marry. Other highlights will be a Cantata written for the birthday of Vogl, for soprano, tenor, baritone and piano and a great piano duet composition, the Theme and Variations in A-flat major, D. 814.

“Emily Birsan will perform the ‘flower-ballad’ Viola, D. 786, and two Italian canzonas, D. 688 and the previously mentioned Epistle to Josef von Spaun. She will conclude the program with one of Schubert’s best-loved songs, Ellen’s 3rd Song from Scott’s The Lady of the Lake….also known as Ave Maria.”

“The concert will close with an audience singalong of ‘An die Musik.’

“We offer this program of musical collaboration in a spirit of camaraderie, good will, and love for Schubert and his music, in celebration of the composer’s 220th birthday on January 31. From Schubert’s Circle of Friends we reach out to our own Circle of Friends, including the sponsor of these Schubertiades: Ann Boyer.”

Tickets may be purchased online, at the Memorial Union Box Office or in Mills Hall, one hour before the concert.

Read this news story about our Schubertiade in 2015.