The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: Best Bets for Oct. 6-12 include grand opera, choral music, orchestral and chamber music | October 6, 2010

Reminder: On Friday, Oct. 8, at 11:30 a.m. (earlier than normal to accommodate Midday pledging), violinist Linda Wang (below, who is substituting for a flu-stricken Alexander Sitkovetsky on Friday night with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra in Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” – will be the guest on Wisconsin Public Radio‘s “Midday” program. The channel is 88.7 FM in the Madison area. For more information, visit:

By Jacob Stockinger

The season is barely under way. But already classical music fans are being presented with hard choices, with contradictory choice that mean foregoing one event for another.

Just look how filled Friday is. Then take a look at Saturday.

I suppose you can blame Homecoming Weekend at the UW for some of the activity – but only in part.  It happens often and just goes to prove that we are privileged to live in a city with such a rich musical life.


From 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m., the First Unitarian Society’s weekly “Noon Musicale” series opens a new season for classical music. This week’s artist is trumpeter David Cooper (below), who plays trumpet with UW-Platteville’s Ensemble Nouveau.

Admission is free to the public and coffee is available. You can bring and eat your lunch too.

It’s at the First Unitarian Society Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive. For information, call (608) 233-9774.

Then comes a BIG EVENT: At 8 p.m. Friday night in the Capitol Theater of the Overture Center, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra opens its new season under music director Andrew Sewell (below), who is celebrating his 10th anniversary with the WCO.

The program will begin with Michael Daugherty‘s “Strut,” a work for string orchestra, written between 1989 & 1994, and inspired by the great black American Paul Robeson (1898-1976). Imagining a youthful and optimistic Robeson strutting down 125th Street in Harlem in the 1920s, Daugherty has created various rhythmic motives, themes and vibrant syncopations that are woven into a lively and complex rhythmic tapestry.

Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” is a perennial favorite among audiences and will feature violinist soloist Linda Wang, who is substituting at the last minute for a flu-stricker Alexander Sitkovetsky, a Yehudi Menuhin atudent who was to make his Madison and Wisconsin debuts.

For the finale, the orchestra performs Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8. Beethoven seemed intent on a more light-hearted work in his Symphony No. 8, which the composer considered better than his No. 7.

Beethoven was wrong – he also mistakenly thought the Piano Sonata, Op. 78 was better than the earlier “Moonlight” — but the Symphony No. 8 is still a fine and enjoyable work.

Tickets are $19-$62, with discounts for seniors, students and youth. Student Rush tickets $10 available day of show at the box office. To purchase single tickets for this and other WCO concerts, call the Overture Center Box Office at (608) 258-4141 or visit

Then, also on Friday, at 8 pm. in Mills Hall, is the UW Wind Ensemble’s fourth annual Collage Concert.

Various School of Music Studio Ensembles and Chamber Ensembles, MadHatters, UW Wind Ensemble, Creative Writing and Dance will perform under conductor Scott Teeple (below).

The one-hour performance begins following the homecoming parade and fireworks and is a celebration of the creative work of UW students and faculty during the homecoming celebration.

For information call (608) 263-1896.

Admission is free and unticketed, and open to the public.


At noon at the Eastgate and Point Cinemas, the fifth season of the Metropolitan Opera’s popular hi-def live broadcasts opens with the new production of Wagner “Das Rheingold,” the first opera in his epic “Ring” cycle. Tickets are $24 ands $22.

Some very positive reviews of the performance on the Met’s opening night appeared on this blog earlier last week.

For more information about the Met’s hi-def schedule for this expanded season, visit:

Later on Saturday night — at 7:30 p.m. in the First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive — the Ancora String Quartet (below) of Madison will perform works by Beethoven and Brahms.

This season marks Ancora’s 10th anniversary, as well as their fifth anniversary in residence at First Unitarian Society.

The Ancora will open the performance with Quartet No. 10 in E-Flat Major (“Harp”), Op. 74, by Beethoven. For the second half of the recital, pianist Myung Hee Chung, a professor at the UW-Whitewater, will join the Ancora for Brahms’ famed Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34.  Tickets are $15, $12 and $6. A reception will immediately follow the performance.

The Ancora String Quartet, founded in 2000, has been performing in and around the greater Madison area for recitals, weddings, special events, and master classes for the past 10 years.  The musicians are accomplished both individually and together, performing with artistic organizations such as the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and Madison Bach Musicians.

For more information about this and other upcoming Ancora performances, visit

Also on Saturday night, at 7:30 at Farley’s House of Pianos, on Madison’s far west side, 94-year-old piano phenomenon Frank Glazer (below) will perform a very big program of Haydn (Variations in F Minor), Ravel (Valses nobles et sentimentales), Schubert (Sonata in A Major, D. 959) and Chopin. Tickets are $30, $25 for seniors and students. For more information, call (608) 271-2626  or visit:


At 2 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Chamber Orchestra, under conductor James Smith (below), will perform with bassoonists Marc Vallon and John Miller.

The program includes “Summer Day” Op. 65 by Sergei Prokofiev; “Symphony No. 5” by Beethoven and “Concerto No. 2 for Two Bassoons” by Christian Ludwig Dietter, featuring Marc Vallon and John Miller, bassoons.

Vallon (below top) is associate professor of bassoon at UW-Madison. Miller (below bottom) is the principal bassoon of the Minnesota Orchestra and adjunct professor of bassoon at the University of Minnesota. He will also give a public master class at 4:10 p.m. in Morphy Hall.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Also on Sunday at 5 p.m. in Mills Hall, guest artist trumpeter John Urness will perform a program of works by Arutiunian, Ravel, Vivaldi and Hindemith. Pianist Wayne Wildman will play with him. John Urness is a UW-Madison alumnus and principal trumpet of the National Orchestra of Mexico.

On Monday at 2:25 p.m. in Mills Hall, Urness (below),will give a free public master class on music careers and performing abroad.

Posted in Classical music


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  4. Quote of the day : Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music. – Jimi Hendrix –

    Comment by Music School — October 6, 2010 @ 2:16 am

    • Thanks for that quote.
      In reply: how about the philosopher Nietzsche’s dictum that “Without music, life would be a mistake.”
      I hope you keep reading and replying.

      Comment by welltemperedear — October 6, 2010 @ 6:49 am

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