University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Alumni Awards Evening

Kevin P. Stalheim

 BM Music `76 from Oberlin Conservatory, Oberlin, Ohio; MM Music `81 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukeedistinguished 11 stalheim

 Artistic Director and Founder, Present Music, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Kevin created a unique performing arts group that brings a broad and diverse spectrum of people together in Present Music.  Present Music is Milwaukee’s internationally acclaimed new-music ensemble that has one of the largest audiences in the world.  Celebrating 29 seasons of music, Present Music commissions, performs, records, and tours the music of today’s most important living composers from emerging voices to Pulitzer Prize winners.  In the past quarter century, more than 55 new works by composers from around the world have come into existence because of Present Music and Kevin Stalheim.

Present Music is the recipient of many local and national grants including the Rockefeller Foundation’s Multi-Arts Production Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Readers Digest/Meet the Composer Commissioning Program, and the Aaron Copeland Fund for American Music.

Kevin uses community collaboration to grow and enrich the new music audience in Milwaukee.  He matches performance venues to the concert performed to offer a consistently fresh experience for Present Music patrons.  Unique locations like Turner Hall Ballroom, the Milwaukee Art Museum, St. John’s Cathedral, and the Wherehouse (sic), a hidden dance club along the riverfront, offer an unexpected change of scenery for contemporary and classical music attendees.

Under Kevin’s guidance and instruction, Present Music nurtures the next generation of composers through its education program, the Creation Project.  The Creation Project provides composers-in-residence to Milwaukee schools and community groups.  Every year hundreds of young people in our community gain the experience of creating their own musical works, which are then performed by student musicians and heard by hundreds of audience members.

Among Kevin’s accolades and honors are the City of Milwaukee’s Arts Board’s 2002 Artist of the Year Award, the Civic Music Association’s 2001 Distinguished Citizenship Award, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s 1989 Musician of the Year Award.