David Spies: A Biselle KlezKamp 2013

David Spies (tuba) is one of ABKK’s two Madison-based instructors. He’ll be teaching in the music workshops.


1. Tell us about your work and interests.

I serve as Instructor of Low Brass at Carroll University, and perform with the Racine Symphony, Madison Jazz Orchestra, Madison Mellophonium Jazz Orchestra, and Yid Vicious Klezmer Ensemble.

In my spare time, I dabble in studying foreign languages. I also enjoy silent film, film restorations, independent and foreign film.

2. What’s your favorite new project right now?

My favorite new project right now is re-introducing myself and introducing others to the genre of SoundPainting, the Art of Live Composition, a language developed by Walter Thompson. From the SoundPainting website: “Soundpainting is the universal multidisciplinary live composing sign language for musicians, actors, dancers, and visual Artists. Presently (2013) the language comprises more than 1200 gestures that are signed by the Soundpainter (composer) to indicate the type of material desired of the performers. The creation of the composition is realized, by the Soundpainter, through the parameters of each set of signed gestures.”

3. What kinds of classes will you teach at A Biselle KlezKamp and winter KlezKamp?

I will be teaching in the music performance workshops. We try to make the classes as approachable as possible to beginners, yet provide a rich and deep immersion experience as well. I would encourage the less-seasoned musicians to grab what they can and let the experience wash over you as much as possible. All musicians learn differently, but immersion can present new pathways to learning.

4. You’re from Madison—what else do you love doing here when you’re not playing klezmer?

Madison is a fantastic place to live, learn, and make music. Great local venues offer a vitality of entertainment and culture which rivals cities two to three times as large as Madison. But I most enjoy the area’s natural abundance, with 5 lakes, woodlands, and meadows within 10 minutes of my home accessible by bike paths.

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