Virtual concert for Wisconsin composers set for Friday, Sept. 25

Five classical music composers to be featured by Madison New Music Festival.
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The composers featured in the Wisconsin Composers Project Concert include (top row from left) Brent Michael Davids, Lawren Brianna Ware and Jerry Hui and (bottom row from left) Laura Schwendinger, and Asha Srinivasan. (Photo courtesy of the Madison New Music Festival)

On its fifth anniversary, the Madison New Music Festival heads online with a virtual classical concert on Friday, Sept. 25. The Wisconsin Composers Project Concert will feature prerecorded performances of works by five composers starting at 7:30 p.m. at The concert will be followed by the composers themselves talking about their influences as well as how living in Wisconsin has shaped their music.

The concert will feature Brent Michael Davids’ “In Wisconsin Woods,” performed by the composer; Jerry Hui’s “Quarantine Canzonets,” performed by Jennifer D’Agostino, soprano and Michael Roemer, baritone; Laura Schwendinger’s “All the Pretty Little Horses,” performed by cellist Trace Johnson; Asha Srinivasan’s “Dyadic Affinities,” performed by tubist Tom Curry; and Lawren Brianna Ware’s “Borealis,” performed by the composer.

Born in Madison, Brent Michael Davids is a Stockbridge-Munsee member, a Native American band of the Mohican Nation. He has composed music for the Kronos Quartet, Joffrey Balley, National Symphony Orchestra and written music for several films, including “The Last of the Mohicans.”

Jerry Hui is the director of choral activities at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menonmonie and the Chippewa Valley Choir in Eau Claire. A vocalist himself, Hui’s work has been performed at numerous festivals in the U.S. Hui received his doctorate degree in musical arts , specifically music composition and choral conducting, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also received his bachelor’s degree in music composition and computer science from at UW-Madison, and masters degrees in music composition and choral conducting from the University of Oregon.

Laura Schwendinger is a professor of composition in UW-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music and artistic director of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Her many honors include the American Academy in Berlin Prize, which she was the first composer to win. Her works have been performed by many artists on stages around the world.

Asha Srinivasan is an Indian American composer and associate professor of music at Lawrence University in Appleton. Her compositions, which combine elements of Western and Indian classical music, have won several composition contests in the U.S. and abroad and she has released several CDs of her music.

Lawren Brianna Ware earned a master’s degree in piano performance at the Mead Witter School of Music in May 2018 and is currently a student in the school’s doctoral musical composition program. She performed “Borealis” – the piano composition of hers to be included in the Wisconsin Composers Project Concert – when she opened the April 2019 Branford Marsalis concert at the Overture Center for the Arts. Ware earned that opportunity by being named  the Grand Prize Winner in Overture Center’s 2017 “Rising Stars” competition.

The suggested donation for viewers of the Sept. 25 virtual concert is $15 per person. For more information go to

Joel Patenaude is associate editor of Madison Magazine.