Tag Archives: Young Performers Initiative

“The Final Forte” 2017 Premieres Tonight!

Above, from left to right: Violinist Julian Rhee, harpist Naomi Sutherland, pianist Michael Wu and violinist Yaoyao Chen.

Join us tonight at 7 p.m. on-air and online as four Wisconsin musical prodigies perform with Maestro John DeMain and the Madison Symphony Orchestra in the 2017 Bolz Young Artist Competition.

This year, The Final Forte features violinist Julian Rhee of Brookfield, harpist Naomi Sutherland of Viroqua, pianist Michael Wu of Sun Prairie and violinist Yaoyao Chen of Menasha, who will vie for top honors in the 2017 competition. WPR’s Lori Skelton and Jim Fleming will co-host the event.

Continue reading “The Final Forte” 2017 Premieres Tonight!

Jazz Fest in Eau Claire Spotlights Young Performers

An Eau Claire jazz tradition that highlights the talents of young Wisconsin performers comes to WPT this Monday, Dec. 19 at 9 p.m. The full Jazz Fest in Eau Claire special, along with bonus musical content from the 50th annual Eau Claire Jazz Festival, is also available online now.

Jazz Fest in Eau Claire takes you inside the festival to see students performing in venues across Eau Claire, as well as learning from experts in hands-on clinics.

Performances from the headlining concert at Eau Claire Memorial High School feature groups who received the festival’s highest honors, including the Whitewater High School Jazz Ensemble from Whitewater, the Waconia High School Jazz Ensemble from Waconia, Minn., the Black Elk Jazz Ensemble from Elk River, Minn., and Valley High School Jazz Ensemble from West Des Moines, Iowa.

World-renowned jazz artists Stefon Harris and Jimmy Heath also perform with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I.

Enjoy the web exclusive below, featuring the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Jazz I Ensemble performing Duke Ellington’s “Rockin’ in Rhythm,” at the 50th annual Eau Claire Jazz Festival. Then tune in Monday or watch the full program online now!

Jazz Fest in Eau Claire is part of WPT’s multiyear Young Performers Initiative, a statewide effort to raise the visibility of the arts, celebrate the creative achievements of Wisconsin’s young people and support the arts in education.

Funding for Jazz Fest in Eau Claire provided by David and Susan Manor in honor of Blaine and Loretta Manor, Holiday Vacations, and Friends of Wisconsin Public Television.

Behind the Scenes: The 2016 Tommy Awards

The 2016 Tommy Awards premieres 8 p.m. tonight, Monday, Oct. 24 on WPT.  Take a look behind the scenes in this blog post by Young Performers Initiative project manager Megan Aley. (Can’t wait for tonight’s broadcast? Watch the full program online now.)

Continue reading Behind the Scenes: The 2016 Tommy Awards

The Final Forte: Where Are They Now?


To watch this year’s competition at 7 p.m. on Friday, January 29, visit The Final Forte page, tune in to WPT’s livestream or listen live on WPR. If you miss the live show, you can also catch the competition by watching the broadcast on WPT

Each year, some of the most talented young artists in the state vie for top honors in the final round of the Bolz Young Artist Competition. With all of the buzz around the competition itself, it’s easy to forget that soon afterward, these amazing young musicians go on to do great things! With that in mind, producer John Gerbig set out to catch up with some of the previous contestants and discover what they’re doing today. Continue reading The Final Forte: Where Are They Now?

Behind the Scenes: Young Performers Initiative

Allow me to introduce myself! My name is Megan; I’m the project manager for the Young Performers Initiative, and I’m excited to announce Wisconsin Public Television is launching a new website to provide high-quality resources for music educators!

In partnership with the Wisconsin School of Music Association, we have created the Young Performers Initiative website, an online resource that pairs high-quality Wisconsin Public Television-produced videos of performances and behind-the-scenes interviews with lesson activity guides based on teaching standards. These resources will allow teachers to focus their energy, continuing to inspire their students toward greater achievements. This initiative is unique to Wisconsin Public Television and will continue to expand with every new Young Performers Initiative project.

For an example of the work we do, take a look at the music and activity guides associated with the 2012 State Honors Music Project Treble Choir’s performance of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” arranged by David Moore and produced by Wisconsin Public Television.

Learn More About Megan:
I’m a musician born to two musicians, whose parents were also musicians. I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by music my whole life. My parents taught me not only to love and appreciate music, but to advocate for it as a necessary part of a full and vibrant life. This passion for music education advocacy has influenced many of my life choices. In high school I became the teaching assistant for our youngest band class. In college, at UW-Madison, I was a music education major. I’ve had the privilege of living in New York and Santa Barbara while working for The Juilliard School and Music Academy of the West, two prestigious organizations dedicated to educating young musicians and promoting arts advocacy. I am lucky to have friends and classmates who are teachers in Middleton, Milwaukee, Lodi, Janesville, Walworth and Madison. And on the weekends I have the pleasure of teaching trumpet lessons to middle- and high-school students. Music education is an integral part of my life, to say the least, and has led to my work with WPT.

Young Performers Shine During Birch Creek Concerts

Talented young performers take center stage on Wisconsin Public Television when Percussion at Birch Creek and Symphony at Birch Creek premiere this June. Both concerts were filmed at the picturesque Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Egg Harbor and feature young performers from across the country demonstrating techniques learned during intensive two-week sessions with world-class educators.

Percussion at Birch Creek, premiering 8 p.m. Monday, June 1 on WPT and online now, features the students demonstrating newly learned percussion techniques and performing a variety of musical styles including steel band, world percussion, and classical and popular music.

Symphony at Birch Creek, premiering 8 p.m. Monday, June 8 on WPT and online now, is a culmination of the young musicians’ symphony and chamber music session and features performances of full orchestral pieces. Two winners of the Burton Concerto Competition — trombonist Naomi Black and violinist Andrew Reed — are also featured.

Percussion at Birch Creek and Symphony at Birch Creek will be aired simultaneously via live stream on wpt.org during their WPT premieres. Both concerts are part of WPT’s multiyear Young Performers Initiative, a statewide effort to raise the visibility of the arts, celebrate the creative achievements of Wisconsin’s young people and support the arts in education.

See Wisconsin's High School Musical Stars

Normally we don’t give away the ending of a show before it’s aired. It’s sort of bad for business in the TV world. But, the final number from the 2013 Tommy Awards is so good — and the performer interviews so genuine — that I just have to share it.

Don’t worry, the show’s one big compilation of award-winning performances from various musicals, so you won’t spoil anything by watching the following clip. If you like what you see, check out more clips in our 2013 Tommy Awards Video Playlist. And catch the entire show at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21.


The 2013 Tommy Awards is part of WPT’s Young Performers Initiative to celebrate Wisconsin’s young performers and those who inspire them.

A Sneak Peek at Spirited Songs

In just over a week, the whole state will have the chance to enjoy an evening of some of the finest young choral voices that Wisconsin has to offer when Wisconsin Public Television broadcasts Spirited Songs: A Choral Celebration at 8 p.m. Monday, June 3. The concert from Appleton – and part of WPT’s Young Performers Initiative – features inspiring performances from the Appleton Boychoir, Lawrence Academy Girl Choir and White Heron Chorale.

While you have to wait for the full show, we are proud to give our Web visitors a taste of these young performers’ talents with a few sneak peek performances that we weren’t able to fit into the hour-long show. Just click play on the playlist below and enjoy a special preview of the broadcast concert, performances of “Tell Me Why” and “No Time,” and entertaining interviews with some of the young artists who talk about their roles in the choir and their passion for singing. Enjoy!

See the State's Top Young Performers

Written by Shannon Lobdell, WPT Project Coordinator – Young Performers Initiative.
State Honors Concerts airs 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25 on Wisconsin Public Television.

The State Honors Concerts bring together Wisconsin’s top high school musicians, and let
me tell you — they sound great!

State Honors Concerts

After surviving a successful audition in the winter, a three-day camp in the summer, and hours of intense rehearsals in the fall, more than 400 students join forces in Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts to participate in a concert they will never forget.

These talented young musicians hail from nearly every county in the state, bringing with them stories of dedicated teachers, supportive communities and, of course, hours and hours of practice. When it all comes together, the concerts provide an inspiring look into the strength of music education here in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Public Television recorded Wisconsin School Music Association’s 2012 State Honors Concerts as part of the Young Performers Initiative to celebrate our state’s young performers and those who inspire them. This broadcast is the first of many upcoming programs that shine a spotlight on Wisconsin’s talented youth, including:

Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte – 7 p.m. Thursday, March 14
Live at Overture: The Naughtons – 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 2
UW Varsity Band Spring Concert 2013 – 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4
Spirited Songs: A Celebration of Choral Music – Coming in June