The Well-Tempered Ear

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Wisconsin Union Theater go head-to-head twice this season: Why?

October 18, 2009
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By Jacob Stockinger

So what gives?

Twice this season the Wisconsin Union Theater’s concert series and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra are going head to head, with similar concerts programmed on the same nights.

The first time was last week with the season opener for each on Friday, Oct. 9.

That’s when the WUT hosted the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under its new music director Edo de Waart in a program of classics by Mozart (the Overture to “Don Giovanni”), Brahms (The Double Concerto for Violin and Cello) and Beethoven (the Seventh Symphony.)

That same night the WCO opened its season and marked its 50th anniversary. That concert also featured a program of masterpieces with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony along with Respighi’s “Three Paintings by Botticelli.”

But were events classical fans wanted to attend.

But then it isn’t a one-time thing.

On Friday, Jan. 22, 2010, classical fans face another conflict similar in nature. Emerson

That’s when WUT will host the acclaimed Emerson String Quartet (above) — often described as the best string quartet in the US and even the world — in a program of Beethoven, Dvorak and Ives.

And the WCO hosts the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet (below) in a program of Bacewicz, Rodrigo and Ginastera. Minneapolis Guitar Quartet

Both presenters have venues of about 1,100 (the WCO plays in Overture Hall’s Capitol Theater).

It’s hard to believe that this scheduling conflict works to either group’s advantage. And it certainly doesn’t work to the public’s advantage.

As a classical music fan, I certainly don’t like such major conflicts in choices — and I don’t think others do either.

And The Ear knows that most of the classical music groups in Madison and cooperate when it comes to scheduling.

And that’s not an easy task, especially with the Madison Symphony Orchestra offering three performances of each concert and with the UW School of Music offering some 300 concerts a year.

Still, you figure someone ought to be able to do something.

It seems like classical fans are owed some kind of explanation.

Let’s hope the same thing isn’t repeated the next season.

What do you think of such scheduling conflicts?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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