July 2013

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play in your free time Musician's Corner: Cheryl Bensman-Rowe The Grammy winner sets the stage for Madison Early Music Festival By Karin Wolf Like many vocalists, Cheryl Bensman-Rowe started with a dream of singing her heart out for big crowds in a big city. She had already made contact in the singing world by attending the Aspen Music Festival, but auditioned for anything and everything in New York City, even filling in as a substitute singer in professional choirs of many churches and synagogues. Today, the world-class vocalist brings her talent to Madison Early Music Festival as a faculty member and co-artistic director. The organization, which celebrates music of the medieval, renaissance and classical periods, brings renowned performers and instructors in voice, strings, brass, musicology and more to Madison for period music workshops. In 1998 you earned a Grammy for vocal performance on a recording for Pulitzer Prize winning composer Steve Reich, considered by some America's greatest living composer. What was that like? Through a music friend, I heard Steve Reich was looking for singers as he was writing his piece "Tehillim." At the audition, he said he would like a 'Joni Mitchell' kind of sound, and that was it for me! I had spent many hours singing Joni Mitchell songs, wanting to be Joni Mitchell, so I channeled my inner Joni, and, voilĂ , I was selected. I sang with his ensemble, Steve Reich and Musicians, from 1980 to 2006, all over the world. Our recording of Music for 18 Musicians was part of a retrospective of his works and was selected for the Grammy. How does teaching inform your work as a performer? Teaching and performing complement each other. I love working with all kinds of singers, and because I have sung in different styles, I am able to help singers from beginners to professionals. I also enjoy helping young singers find the right opportunities and college programs that will suit them, and push them to explore different types of repertoire, not just the musical theater standards. Book Club: Lounge about with summer's hottest page-turners And the Mountains Echoed By Khaled Hosseini Through clever storytelling and thoughtful portrayals of human nature, the bestselling author weaves together an engrossing saga that follows family generations between the U.S. and Afghanistan, and beyond. Published by Riverhead Books, $29 72 BRAVA Magazine Starting Now By Debbie Macomber A devastating career shift and lifechanging choice set the stage for a turn-your-life-around story that will leave you feeling inspired by new beginnings, endearing friendships and fresh romance. Published by Ballantine Books, $26 July 2013 The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls By Anton DiSclafani With the drama of the Great Depression as a backdrop a mysterious family tragedy wrapped in a scandalous love story is told through the eyes of a 15-year-old in this tantalizing read. Published by Riverhead Books, $28 Photo by Shanna Wolf What opportunity or performance transformed you into a professional singer? I was asked to sing with the New York Consort of Viols and heard about an opening in the Waverly Consort. I auditioned, got in, and my career was really launched with an ensemble that performed at Lincoln Center and some 88 concerts in the U.S., Canada and South America

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