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Student Chamber Ensembles
Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
Laura Schwendinger, artistic director
Javier Calderon, director
The UW–Madison Horn Choir, founded in 1974, rehearses 90 minutes per week and performs an annual holiday concert at the Chazen Museum. In the spring semester, the group reconfigures as Twisted Metal, an all-horn, rock-and-roll band for which the students arrange all the music. An extension of horn studio class, the Horn Choir is comprised primarily of horn majors and the standard of performance is high. It meets together as a performing group while constantly rotating part assignments, providing students with extensive training toward advanced section playing. Prof. Grabois’s rehearsal direction explores detailed and practical ideas on interpretation, styles and periods of music, section blending, and other significant elements of performance.
The Horn Choir regularly performs at regional and national music conventions and horn workshops. In fall 2005, the Choir worked extensively with composer, conductor, and horn player Gunther Schuller, who conducted and coached the Choir on his monumental work for 16 horns, Lines and Contrasts.
Daniel Grabois, director
Marvin Rabin String Quartet
The Marvin Rabin String Quartet is the Mead Witter School of Music’s graduate string quartet. As project assistants, the quartet performs concerts at the Mead Witter School of Music and other university events, as well as performing community outreach. Members work closely with faculty, including the Pro Arte Quartet, and with its principal coach, Prof. Uri Vardi. The Rabin String Quartet has worked with notable guest artists, including violist Nobuko Imai, violist Lila Brown, and members of the Takács Quartet.
Low Brass Ensemble
The UW–Madison Low Brass Ensemble is a collective of the Trombone Choir and Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble. Low Brass rehearses weekly and performs at least one concert each semester, which features Low Brass as a whole as well as the Trombone Choir and Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble. The group plays original compositions, transcriptions, and arrangements of all kinds of music. This ensemble is open to any UW–Madison student who passes an in-person audition. The group also provides a wonderful opportunity for low brass players to double: trombonists can spend some time on euphonium, or tuba and euphonium players can play tenor or bass trombone, for example.
The Perlman Trio
The Perlman Piano Trio is funded through endowed scholarships generously provided by Dr. Kato Perlman.
Wisconsin Trumpet Ensemble
The Wisconsin Trumpet Ensemble is directed by Jean Laurenz, assistant professor of trumpet. Participation increases ensemble skills and presents the opportunity to study trumpet-specific repertoire. The ensemble includes trumpet undergraduate and graduate music majors and rehearses during the weekly studio class time in the first half of spring semester. Graduate students provide mentorship during rehearsals and are encouraged to take on leadership roles in repertoire selection, concerts, and competitions.
The Trumpet Ensemble’s repertoire spans from the Baroque to recent compositions. Student members have contributed arrangements to the Trumpet Ensemble’s library. In addition to on-campus performances, the Trumpet Ensemble gives outreach concerts at area churches and senior centers, performs at other state schools of music, and competes at the National Trumpet Competition.
Chamber, World, and Graduate Percussion Ensembles
The UW–Madison has multiple active percussion chamber ensembles that rehearse and perform regularly. The Chamber Percussion Ensemble (formerly Western Percussion Ensemble) is a chamber group dedicated to performing significant and interesting works. Repertoire from diverse trends in twentieth- and twenty-first-century chamber composition is explored with an emphasis on new compositions for percussion. Guest artists regularly perform with the Ensemble, and guest composers are often featured.
The World Percussion Ensemble is dedicated to the performance of significant percussive styles from around the globe. Traditions from various cultures—Cuba, Brazil, India, the Middle East, and more—are explored through performance and research, and most of the music selected is studied and practiced in the oral tradition. The Ensemble works diligently to present the music performed in its traditional folkloric settings. In 2010, the Ensemble won the Percussive Arts Society International World Percussion Ensemble Competition, resulting in a feature performance at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC).
In addition to the Chamber and World Percussion Ensembles, the graduate percussion students perform with the Graduate Percussion Group. This chamber ensemble, which performs regular concerts on and off campus, is uniquely autonomous, allowing members to have primary input in repertoire selection, musical decisions, and more. With coaching from the percussion faculty, this ensemble provides extensive experience in advanced chamber ensemble preparation and performance in a musically democratic environment.