The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music Best Bets for Sept. 23-29 are big on chamber music for strings, winds

September 23, 2009

By Jacob Stockinger

This coming weekend is a memorable one for chamber music fans of strings and winds.

On Friday, Sept. 25, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall the UW Pro Arte String Quartet (below right) kicks off its new season with a terrific program that features the return of guest violist Victoria Chiang. The group will perform a MUST-HEAR CONCERT of Brahms’ String Quintet in F Major, Op. 88; Beethoven’s String Quartet in B-flat Major Op., 18, No. 6; and Edvard Grieg’s rarely heard Quartet in G Minor, Op. 27. (Members in the photo, from left, are David Perry and Suzanne Beia, violins; Parry Karp, cello; and Sally Chisholm, viola.)


The concert is part of the Faculty Concert Series, which is FREE to the public this season. For more information, see

(The Pro Arte will repeat two-thirds of the program — the Brahms and the Grieg — at “Sunday Live From the Chazen” which will take place and be broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio (WERN 88.7 FM in the Madison area) on Sunday from 12:30 to 2 p.m.)

Also on Friday night at 7:30 at the First Congregational Church, 1609 University Ave., the local chamber group Con Vivo will open its fall season with “Da Capo,” a program that includes Beethoven’s Septet, Carl Nielsen’s “Serenata in vano” and the “Meditation” from “Thais by Jules Massenet as well as Jean Langlais’ “Suite Medievale” scored for the pipe organ at First Congregational Church. Tickets at the door are $10 adults and $8 seniors and students.

Then on Saturday night at 7:30 pm. in the First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive, the Ancora String Quartet (below center)


will perform a program of Beethoven’s late String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op.132, with the famous “Heilegedankgesang” or Sacred Song of Thanksgiving) along with the rarely heard work String Quartet No. 7 in D minor, Op. 192, No. 2. “The Maid of the Mill” by Joachim Raff, who was a protege of Mendelssohn and Liszt.

Admission is $12 general admission, $10 for students and seniors, $6 for children under 12. Tickets are available at the door.

A free reception will follow. (The receptions are good — believe me, I know and my waistline knows.)

(Member of the quartet in the photo above are  Marika Fischer Hoyt, viola; Robin Ryan and Leanne Kelso League, violins; and Benjamin Whitcomb cello..

The Ancora String Quartet — perhaps Madison’s most deserving up-and-coming chamber music group — is in residence at the First Unitarian Society and has been invited to do a residency at the Monroe Arts Center in Monroe, Wis., next season. The quartet is also looking forward to its debut at the Stoughton Opera House on Saturday, Nov. 7, as well as a return appearance on the Sunday Afternoon Live” series at the Chazen Museum on March 14, 2010.

For more information about the Ancora’s new season, visit and go to the 2009-2010 Recitals page.

Also on Saturday, Saturday 26: At 8 pm. in Morphy Hall, the UW Wingra Woodwind Quintet (below in a photo by John Wingren: members are, from left, Linda Bartley, clarinet; Marc Vallon, bassoon; Linda Kimball, horn; Dawn Lawler, flute; and Marc Fink, oboe.)

Wingra_Quintet 09-09

Admission is free tot he public.

The program features the String Quartet in F major, Op. 96 (“American”) by Dvorak (whom The Ear blogged about the underperforming of Dvorak on Sept. 8), transcribed for wind quintet by David Walter; the Woodwind Quintet (“La Nouvelle Orleans”) by Lalo Schifrin; quintets by Robert Muczynski and Clint Needham; and “Music at the Movies,” commissioned by Wingra from James Christensen, the director of the UW Marching Band from 1961 to 1968.

It should be a memorable concert. These are all consummate soloists and ensemble players.

If you go to any of these concerts, why not be a critic and leave a mini-review for those who didn’t?

The Ear wants to hear.

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