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BRASS SECTION

Individual musician photographs by Katrin Talbot unless otherwise noted.
Full orchestra photographs by Greg Anderson.
Musician profiles are in alphabetical order.

Anne Aley
ANNE ALEY, HORN
Anne Aley trained as a performer in horn at the Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of Toronto and the Aspen Music Festival. She played in a number of Canadian orchestras and other ensembles in Toronto, Kitchener and Hamilton prior to living and performing in New York City and Madison. She has also performed at the Yale Summer School of Music and the Alexandria Festival of the Lakes. Anne is the outreach program manager for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Summer Music Clinic, as well as coordinating Winds of Wisconsin, a premier youth wind ensemble. As a member of the Oakwood Chamber Players she has performed for many years on their concerts series and in outreach performances and has particularly enjoyed being a part of commissioning new works and recording projects with them.


John Aley
JOHN ALEY, PRINCIPAL TRUMPET
Marilynn G. Thompson Chair
Principal trumpet with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, John Aley is the professor of trumpet at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. He is a former member of the American Brass Quintet, with whom he toured extensively throughout the U. S. and internationally. He has performed with New York based ensembles such as Musica Sacra, American Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Ensemble and American Composers' Orchestra and has recorded with ensembles such as the American Brass Quintet, the PDQ Bach Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, the American Composers' Orchestra, and the Wisconsin Brass Quintet. He has been a featured soloist with the English and Vienna Chamber Orchestras, the Composers' Brass Group, and on various public radio broadcasts throughout the U.S. He was faculty and principal trumpet with the Aspen Chamber Orchestra, and principal trumpet and soloist with the Wichita, Greenwich and Stamford Symphony Orchestras. He performed in concert in the Mediterranean and South America and was fortunate to have had formative experiences in orchestras under the batons of legendary musicians such as Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland. During the summer he is an artist/teacher-Valade Fellow- at the Interlochen Arts Camp, Michigan where he is also on faculty of the Interlochen Trumpet Institute. Aley has been teaching faculty and performer at the Aspen Music Festival, the Yale Summer School of Music, UW-Madison Summer Music Clinic, the New England Music Camp, Minnesota Festival of the Lakes and the Hot Springs Music Festival. He has been featured as performer, clinician and adjudicator for the International Trumpet Guild and the National Trumpet Competition. His CD, Autumn, features lyrical music for trumpet and piano in collaboration with Martha Fischer.


Michael Allsen
MICHAEL ALLSEN, BASS TROMBONE
I started playing in the fifth grade. I actually wanted to play clarinet, but the guy at the music store said, "You look like you're going to have long arms--you should play the trombone." I stuck with it and I'm glad I did. Among other things, I met my wife Diann (another trombonist) playing in the pep band at a football game the first week of college. We've been married 30 years and have an adult son, Jeff. My day job is at UW-Whitewater, where I am Chair of the Music Department and teach Music History and Humanities courses. I came to Madison in 1982 for grad school in musicology--I hold a Ph.D from UW-Madison--and I began playing in the MSO the next season. In 1990 I became the orchestra's bass trombonist. I have also been writing our program notes for the last 25 years. For me, this combines my interests in performance and history--learning about and playing great music well with people you like...and getting paid for it. How cool is that?



RICARDO ALMEIDA, HORN
Ricardo Almeida studied horn at UW-Madison with John Barrows and Douglas Hill and finished his studies at the Amsterdam Conservatory and the MHS Koeln. His professional career started out in 1979 in Mannheim, Germany, where he played until becoming a member in 1982 of the Guerzenich Orchestra in Cologne, Germany, a position he held until relocating to the US in 2006. Ricardo is a nationally certified Health Care Interpreter and raises Scottish Highland cattle on a farm in SW Wisconsin.



Josh Biere
JOSHUA BIERE, PRINCIPAL TUBA
Josh Biere joined the Madison Symphony Orchestra as principal tubist in 2013. He also holds the principal tuba chair with the Kenosha (WI) Symphony and regularly performs with the new Chicago Composers Orchestra. Mr. Biere has also performed at the Grant Park Music Festival (Chicago), and with the St. Paul (MN) Chamber Orchestra. An established chamber musician, Mr. Biere plays in numerous ensembles and in dozens of venues in the Chicagoland area, and has soloed with many groups and given numerous recitals throughout the region. He is a highly sought after clinician and teacher, maintaining a studio of well over thirty-five tuba and euphonium students. Mr. Biere holds degrees from Illinois Wesleyan University and Northwestern University. His principal teachers include Emily Binder, Ed Risinger, and Rex Martin. Mr. Biere currently resides in Elgin, IL with his wife, two kids and his tuxedo cat Rico Suave. He enjoys reading, video games, puzzles, delicious food, and philanthropy work, especially with Habitat for Humanity.


DAVID COOPER, TRUMPET
David Cooper’s performing affiliations include the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Isthmus Brass, The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, The Art Blakey Tribute Band, and The Tim Whalen Nonet. Performances have been with such renowned artists as; Doc Severinsen, Adolph Herseth, Kurt Elling, Wayne Newton, Bobby McFerrin, Bob Newhart, Marie Osmond, Robert Goulet, among others. Ensemble affiliations have included the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, the Milwaukee, Fox Valley, Canton and La Crosse Symphony Orchestras, The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, The Dallas Brass, Walt Disney World, and the Aspen Jazz Ensemble.

Cooper is the Director of Jazz Studies and Trumpet at UW-Platteville and has lectured and performed at the International Wind and Percussion Festival in Beijing, International Trumpet Guild Conference, New York Brass Conference, and is a very active soloist/clinician with regional schools, jazz festivals and community ensembles. He is the host and author of the educational blog AllThingsTrumpet.com.

Dr. Cooper received his Bachelor of Music from Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Appleton, WI, his Master of Music from the University of Akron in Ohio, and his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. David is a Conn-Selmer Artist and plays Bach Artisan trumpets.


Frank Hanson
FRANK HANSON, TRUMPET
Noteworthy: Doctorate degree from Ohio State University; Professor of Trumpet: UW-Whitewater; Principal Trumpet: WI Chamber Orchestra; member of Whitewater Brass Quintet. Oddest practice quarters: In a canoe in a lake in the Canadian Boundary Waters. Funniest concert experience: A trombonist lost control of his slide, which went sledding across the floor, under my chair and over the edge of the stage into the audience. What your colleagues don't know about you: I raced sports cars during college. Recurring musical fantasy: To perform the National Anthem as soloist before a Browns football game in Cleveland Stadium.


Linda Kimball
LINDA KIMBALL, PRINCIPAL HORN
Steve & Marianne Schlecht Chair
The exciting musical life of hornist Linda Kimball includes performance, teaching, and arranging/composition. Linda is principal horn of both the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. In addition to her active orchestral career, Linda is involved extensively in chamber music performance. As an artist-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) she performs with the Wingra Woodwind Quintet. She is also a founding member of the Artemis Horn Quartet and the Whitewater Brass Quintet. Linda has performed orchestral and chamber music in Austria, France, Scotland, and Sweden, and has played principal horn with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Linda is on the music faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she is the artistic director of the annual “Fall Horn Festival,” a daylong extravaganza for horn-players of all ages. Recent festival themes have included: The “Jazz-tastic Horn,” “Holiday Hornaments,” and “The Intergalactic Horn.” November 1, 2014 is the date for the 16th annual festival. The lack of excellent music for young horn ensembles prompted Linda to begin writing and arranging; she has more than four dozen compositions and arrangements, ranging from Mozart to Broadway show tunes. Ms. Kimball received a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the Lawrence Conservatory of Music, and a Master of Music degree in music performance from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.


Joyce Messer
JOYCE MESSER, PRINCIPAL TROMBONE
Fred & Mary Mohs Chair
My brass instruction began on baritone horn with a hand-me-down instrument previously played by an older brother and sister. For my very first lesson, I attempted to play a major scale and very nearly succeeded to the amazement of my band director, a wonderful teacher. While attending the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Switzerland on full scholarship, I attended week-long master classes with John Marcellus, the Phillip Jones Brass Quintet and the New York Brass Quintet. I later received my BM in Music Education and MM in Trombone Performance from the UW-Madison School of Music. Since then, I have performed with several chamber ensembles and orchestras throughout the Midwest, including the Milwaukee Symphony. I currently play in a brass quintet, and I continue to teach privately. Several of my students have entered the music field, and one became an ethnomusicologist, serving as Founding Director of the American Center for Mongolian Studies, an academic non-government organization in Ulaanbaater, Mongolia. Principal Trombone of the MSO since 1978, I am the mother of two adult songs and live in Madison with my violinist husband, Mark, and our Labrador, who runs to find her bone whenever I practice at home. I guess you could say we are playing "bone" duets!


William Muir
WILLIAM MUIR, HORN
Noteworthy: B.A. in music education from St. Olaf College and M.M. in horn performance from UW-Madison; member of Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Artemis Horn Quartet; building contractor and woodworker. Funniest concert experience: Playing "Christmas in July" with my horn quartet at a Jellystone campground. At any given time we had between zero and three people listening, mostly from golf carts. It was not a roaring success. Recurrent musical fantasy: To play all of the Mahler symphonies in order...hey, wait a minute - some fantasies do come true!


BENJAMIN SKROCH, TROMBONE II
Benjamin Skroch joined the Madison Symphony as 2nd trombone in 2011. He was previously 2nd trombone with the Duluth-Superior Symphony, and has subbed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony and a number of regional orchestras. He has MM and MA degrees from the University of Minnesota in trombone and music theory. He also has a BME from the University of Illinois and previously taught high school orchestra in Osseo, Minnesota. He plays both tenor and bass trombone. Benjamin has taught privately, played in brass quintets, and conducted orchestras, musicals, and brass choir. Benjamin also builds Nighthawk Canoes, his own make of specialty kevlar canoes nighthawkcanoes.com. He enjoys paddling canoes and flying model airplanes. Growing up, Benjamin spent summers milking cows and cutting hay on his uncles’ dairy farm near Arcadia, Wisconsin.


Mike Szczys
MIKE SZCZYS, HORN
Noteworthy: M.M. University of Minnesota; B.M. University of Northern Colorado; Winner of the 2000 Rocky Mountain Concerto Competition and the 2000 Angie Southard Chamber Music Competition. Funniest concert experience: Playing a Led Zeppelin tribute concert with the MSO. They pulled a guy in a sleeveless t-shirt from the audience to conduct the next number. He was one of the most enthusiastic conductors I've ever played under. What your colleagues don't know about you: A few weeks before my first audition for college I got cold feet and almost didn't pursue music. Recurrent musical fantasy: To live in a time before TV and recorded music, when live music was the main source of entertainment. Playing any instrument was a virtue because you could entertain friends and family in your own home. How do you pronounce your name? Stish - it's a Polish name.