“Expanding our presence in the broad field of jazz performance is central to the mission of the School of Music,” she says. “Johannes has provided critical new energy to our jazz performance and jazz studies curricula. He’s an innovative pedagogue and an internationally acclaimed jazz pianist, ensemble leader and composer.” An ability to forge connections has been an important component of Wallmann’s work. He says it’s an extension of the collaborative nature of playing jazz. Since moving to Madison, he’s performed at venues across the city and strengthened ties between the university and the broader jazz community.
Tune into the sounds coming out of The Mead Witter School of Music! Check out @UW-MadisonSOM on SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/uwmadisonsom
A project with special significance for Wallmann is the UW High School Honors Jazz Band, made up of top jazz students from Madison-area high schools who come together each year for master classes, rehearsals with the UW Jazz Orchestra and a grant-funded guest musician, and a concert. The group is exactly what Wallmann loved as a student. While he performed with his middle and high school jazz bands in rural Canada, he also sought out summer band camps similar to
UW's Summer Music Clinic to gain additional experience and meet young musicians as passionate about jazz as he was. “The biggest thing I’m trying to do with it is create community,” he says of the band. Wallmann has found his own jazz community in Madison, performing with small groups, a brassfocused ensemble and a 16-piece big band, and always honing his sound. “I call it modern acoustic jazz,” he says, explaining that his style is “very much grounded in the jazz of the 1960s,” of Davis in particular, but moves it into a more modern era. This fall brings the release of Wallmann’s “Love Wins Project.” Featuring electronic and spokenword elements woven into jazz, it’s a “musical exploration of marriage equality." Like the jazz studies program he’s building, the album is one more way Wallmann is using the power of music to unite and push forward. “Jazz is almost always very collaborative,” he says. “We’re always having a musical conversation.” — Story by Katie Vaughn
GIVING IN CONCERT A $25 million transformational gift from the Mead Witter Foundation, announced last fall, provides major funding for the School of Music’s new performance building, slated to begin construction at University Avenue and Lake Street late this year. The gift allows the facility to be built in a single phase. It also complements Pamela and George Hamel’s lead gift for the building, which will be named the Hamel Music Center and house a concert hall to be called the Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall. The Collins Recital Hall will be named after longtime music supporters Paul and Carol Collins. The School of Music will be renamed The Mead Witter School of Music in honor of the foundation, a private philanthropic organization headquartered in Wisconsin Rapids.
“The ability to construct the entire music center at once is an incredible gift to our students,” says Susan Cook, director of The Mead Witter School of Music. “These are spaces where our undergraduates will perform their capstone projects; where our graduate students will do their final doctorate recitals; where our largest student ensembles will perform; and where we will hold chamber recitals, lecture recitals and public events. It will be a magnet for faculty, students and the public for generations.” Promininent naming opportunities are still available. Contact Jon Sorenson at email@example.com for details.
L&S Annual Review 2015-2016