Student Chamber Ensembles
Black Music Ensemble
Black Music Ensemble is a small, audition-only collection of vocalists and instrumentalists devoted to studying the music of black composers, especially jazz composers. This ensemble was founded by now-retired director Richard Davis and is now a registered student organization. The rehearsals emphasize simplicity, teamwork, improvisational techniques, and an understanding of historical context. BME performs twice each semester.
1 credit; Course number 660-266
Collegium Musicum is an early music ensemble dedicated to performance on the school’s collection of period instruments. The group includes strings, winds, and vocalists. Prior experience in early music performance is not a prerequisite.
1 credit; course number 660-461
Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
Laura Schwendinger, artistic director
Music 660-273 (undergraduates)
Music 660-573 (graduate students)
$2 Broom, the electro-acoustic improvisation ensemble
Electro-acoustic improvisation ensemble, directed by Daniel Grabois, professor of horn.
Javier Calderon, director
1 credit; course numbers 660-270 (undergraduate) and 660-572 (graduate)
The UW Horn Choir, founded in 1974, rehearses for 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 students all arrange music. The Horn Choir comprises primarily horn majors and the standard of performance is high. The Horn Choir is an extension of the horn studio class; meeting together as a performing group, while constantly rotating the part assignments, provides students with extensive training toward advanced section playing. Professor Grabois’ rehearsals with the horn students provides an additional opportunity to share detailed and practical ideas on interpretation, styles and periods of music, section blending and other significant elements of performance.
In past years, the UW Horn Choir has performed at Midwest music conventions and regional and national horn workshops. In the fall of 2005, the choir worked extensively with Gunther Schuller as conductor and coach on a performance of Schuller’s monumental work, Lines and Contrasts for 16 Horns.
Daniel Grabois, director
The Hunt Quartet
The Hunt Quartet is the graduate string quartet for the Mead Witter School of Music. As project assistants within the School of Music, the Quartet performs concerts at the School of Music, University events, as well as community outreach. Members work closely with faculty, including the Pro Arte Quartet, and with cellist and Professor Uri Vardi as their principal coach. Other artists who have worked with the Quartet include violist Nobuko Imai, violist Lila Brown, and members of the Takacs String Quartet.
The Quartet is also the integral part of the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s “Up Close and Musical” program, visiting area schools to teach students about fundamentals of music and the string quartet.
The Hunt Quartet is generously sponsored by Dr. Kato Perlman and the Madison Symphony Orchestra.
Low Brass Ensemble
Brass Ensemble and two like-ensemble groups, the Trombone Choir and the
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 a live audition. The group also provides a wonderful opportunity
for low brass players to double: trombonists who wish to get more time on the
euphonium, or tuba and euphonium players who want to play tenor or bass
The Perlman Trio
The Perlman Piano Trio is funded through endowed scholarships generously provided by Dr. Kato Perlman.
Wisconsin Trumpet Ensemble
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Wisconsin Trumpet Ensemble is directed by adjunct assistant professor of trumpet, Alex Noppe. Participation in the trumpet ensemble is intended to increase ensemble skills for each performer. It presents an opportunity for the study of trumpet specific repertoire. The ensemble is made up of trumpet undergraduate and graduate music majors and rehearses during the weekly master class time in the first half of the spring semester. Graduate students are encouraged to accept leadership roles in the choice of repertoire, provide mentorship in rehearsals, and leadership in concert and competition venues.
The Ensemble’s repertoire spans the Baroque era to the most recent of contemporary compositions – even students have contributed arrangements to the Wisconsin Trumpet Ensemble library. As well as performing on campus, the Wisconsin Trumpet Ensemble has given outreach concerts at area churches and senior centers, traveled to other state schools of music, and competed at the National Trumpet Competition.
Western, World, and Graduate Percussion Ensembles
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has multiple active percussion chamber ensembles that rehearse and perform regularly. The Western Percussion Ensemble is a chamber group dedicated to the performance of significant and interesting works for the Western percussion ensemble. Repertoire from diverse trends in 20th and 21st 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. Percussion traditions from various cultures, including Cuba, Brazil, India and the Middle East, are explored through performance and cultural research, and most of the music studied by the ensemble is done so 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.
GRADUATE PERCUSSION GROUP
In addition to the Western 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 the members to have primary input in repertoire selection, musical decisions, etc. With timely coaching from the percussion faculty, this ensemble provides extensive experience in advanced chamber ensemble preparation and performance in a musically democratic environment.