The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: Madison has a busy summer season of classical music ahead

June 2, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

Today is Wednesday,  June 2, when I normally post Best Bets for the coming week.

But not this time, except in a broader sense.

Technically, summer doesn’t begin until June 21. But to me it always feels like summer begins once the Memorial Day holiday ends — much the way fall begins on the first day of school after Labor Day, not on (this year) Sept. 23.

So the beginning of June seems like a good time to offer an overview of the summer classical music events in Madison.

That means it’s also time to get out your datebooks and calendars. The summer classical music scene is not the desert of silence it used to be.

Not only does the Isthmus and surrounding area offer an event-filled regular season, but the summer has also become a time for important concerts.

Tonight, for example, at Ben Luedcke returns for the second year to direct the Madison Summer Choir, a registered student organization at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. The choir will rehearse for six weeks on Mondays and Tuesdays from 5-7 p.m. in Room 1351 Humanities, beginning Tuesday, June 1 (the other rehearsal that week is on Wednesday, June 2, due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 31). There is an evening dress rehearsal on Thursday, July 8, at a time to be announced.

The Madison Summer Choir’s FREE concert on Friday, July 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall features selections on the theme of “Light,” including Morten Lauridsen’s “Lux Aeterna” performed with small orchestra and several a cappella selections.

No auditions are required for singers who have been in an auditioned choir at the School of Music or in the community; others should contact Ben Luedcke at

This Thursday, June 3, at 7 p.m. in Capitol Lakes Retirement Community, 333 W. Main St., a FREE chamber music concert features Beethoven’s String Trio in C minor, Op. 9, No. 3 (1798); Schubert’s String Trio No. 1 in B-flat Major (1816); Mozart’s Horn Quintet in E-flat Major, K. 407 (1782). Performers are Laura Burns, violin; Marie Pauls, viola; Alexis Carreon, viola; Sarah Schaffer, cello; and Brad Sinner, horn.

June 5-19: Two major workshops and conferences — Feldenkrais injury-prevention and playing improvement workshops for singers and other instrumentalist plus a special national cello institute using the same methodology — will be held for the first time at the UW-Madison School of Music. The latter will be directed by UW cellist Uri Vardi (seen below, working with a violinist), and the 2-1/2 hour master classes will be open to the public for $20 with tickets or passes available at the door. (One session that captures the eye of The Ear is a master of baroque dances who will discuss the stylized dance forms that J.S. Bach used in his cello suites — and, one assumes, also in his keyboard and violin suites and partitas.) For more information, visit  the site and especially at .

Saturday, June 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the First Unitarian Society of Madison (900 University Bay Drive).  The Ancora String Quartet (below) performs Felix Mendelssohn’s Quartet No. 1 in E-Flat Major, Op. 12 and Antonin Dvorak’s last Quartet, No. 13 in G Major, Op. 106.  Tickets may be purchased at the door directly before the concert and are $12 general admission, $10 for students and seniors, and $6 for children under the age of 12.

Saturday, June 12, at 11 a.m. in Overture Hall: The first of three FREE Farmer’s Market organ concerts (on what is described as the “colossal Klais,” below) over the summer.

Friday, June 18, at 7 p.m. at the home of Trevor Stephenson. Another “house music” concert (his home concert hall is below) sees period instrumentalists playing trio sonatas by Handel, Haydn, Corelli and Leclair. Tickets are $30. Call (608) 238-6092 or visit

Monday, June 21, starting at 10 a.m.: The Madison Symphony Orchestra the annual concert on the Green at Bishop’s Bay. A big fundraiser, the expensive event includes golf, a picnic, cocktail party and a 6 p.m. concert with John DeMain conducting and student concerto contest winner marimba player Greg Riss. For information visit,

Last three weekends in —  June 11-13; June 18-20; and June 25-27: In its 19th season, the always lively and unpredictable Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society (below) will offer a wide variety of classical chamber music in four different venues. The theme is “Novel Obsessions.” Composers include the Anniversary Boys (Chopin, Schumann and Barber) as well as Faure, C.P.E. Bach, Telemann, Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy to Andre Imbrie, Leon Kirchner, Ian Clarke, Kristin Kuster, Astor Piazzolla, Frank Bridge, Arnold Bax, Albert Roussel and Gareth Farr. For information: visit:

Wednesday, June 30, at 7 p.m. The first of six FREE Concerts on the Square by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, under Andrew Sewell, will feature Joseph Hauer (below), a young pianist from Appleton who won the WCO Concerto Competition, in the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3.  For information, visit


Friday, July 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall: the free concert by the Madison Chamber choir of Morton Lauridson’s “Lux Aeterna.”

On Saturday, July 10, at 11 a.m. in Overture Hall, the second FREE Farmers Market organ concert.

July’s big event will be the week-long Madison Early Music Festival (below, in Mills Hall), which runs from July 10 to July 17. The focus this year is on music of Tudor England. Guest artists include The King’s Noyse, Parthenia and Hesperus. The final All-Festival concert is Saturday, July 17. For information, visit:

On Saturday, July 17, at 8 p.m. in Garner Park, the Madison Opera will present the ninth annual “Opera in the Park.” The popular free event (below) takes place in Garner Park on Madison far west side. Performers includes guest soloists, members of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Madison Symphony Chorus under conductor John DeMain. A program hasn’t been announced yet, but usually the concert offers previews of the operas to be staged next season. Those operas include Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” Kurt Weill’s “The Three Penny Opera” and  Verdi’s “La Traviata.” For information visit:

Wednesday, July 28, at 7 p.m.: The FREE Concert on the Square will feature members of the Madison Ballet in a program “Summer Nights in Vienna.”


Wednesday Aug. 4, at 7 p.m. The final Free Concert on the Square will feature piano soloist Eugene Alcalay in an all-Russian program.

Saturday August 14, at 11 a.m. in Overture Hall: The final FREE summer organ concert.

August 28-Sept. 5: The Token Creek Chamber Music Festival takes place in a renovated barn (below). It is co-directed by composer John Harbison and his violinist wife Rose Mary Harbison, will feature the music of J.S. Bach (Oboe and Violin Concerto, cantatas and chorale preludes by Emanuel Music from Boston); Beethoven (a quintet arrangement of the Piano Concerto No. 4 with Robert Levin and other works); plus a concert on variations (Sessions, Harbison and Schubert) and a jazz concert of anniversaries (Mary Lou Williams and Johnny Mercer).

Here’s a link for more information about programs, players, tickets price and reservations, visit

I am sure there are other concerts in the making that I have not heard about or have missed.

If you know of some, please send me the details, and I will post them.

And I will let you know about them as soon as I do.

Posted in Classical music

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