Marketing and Communications Intern
I am excited! The Pro Arte Quartet, with Christopher Taylor, will be playing a quintet by William Bolcom in the theater!
My first encounter with Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award Winning American composer William Bolcom was last spring when the University of Wisconsin Wind Ensemble played his First Symphony for Band. Bolcom traveled to Madison to work with us on the piece in person throughout the week, leading up to our concert. In addition to guiding us musically, during this week, Bolcom regaled us with stories of his musical influences, which range from Bach to cabaret (which, by the way, he performs regularly with his wife, Joan Morris).
A fiercely cheerful man, Bolcom is also a jokester: he named one of his trios HAYDN GO SEEK, and he created three devilishly hard piano pieces named the Ghost Rag in honor of his dead father. He mixes that jokester spirit with a unique creativity in the piece we played, the First Symphony for Band, which ranges from twisted and lyrical (not unlike Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas) to pointed and feverish. The fourth movement, and my favorite on account of the rocking saxophone part, is a very successful creative mash-up of a mournful, wailing funeral dirge, and a typical jazzy New Orleans Funeral Procession.
After having the opportunity to work with this musically and intellectually creative and intelligent composer, I was delighted to hear that on March 24th the Pro Arte Quartet will be premiering his Piano Quintet No. 2 with Christopher Taylor on piano. I can't tell what the piano quintet will be like - Bolcom's range is so wide, his creativity so deep, and his trickster spirit so ready to throw in the unexpected that I can't predict what this new piece will sound like. But I have no doubts that the fantastic Pro Arte Quartet with pianist Christopher Taylor can handle whatever Bolcom's newest composition brings.