The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: Best Bets for Oct. 20-26 include a bit everything from early music to contemporary with lots of chamber music | October 20, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

The classical music season is well under way now, and this week the remaining big groups and presenters – including the Wisconsin Union Theater and the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) — join the fray.

Boy, it is hard to believe how much excellent classical music you can find here in Madison.

It makes choosing hard, though. For example, on Saturday night, if you are an early music fan do you want to hear an all-Mozart or all-Bach program?


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Contemporary Chamber Ensemble presents “Solo Acts.” The program features solo works performed by Eleanor Bartsch, violin; Mimmi Fulmer, soprano; Parry Karp, cello; Justin Krawitz, piano; Alana Elizabeth Henkel, oboe; and Les Thimmig, E-flat clarinet.

Composer Laura Schwendinger (below, whom The Ear interviewed last season – check the search engine) is the artistic director of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble.

Admission is free and open to the public.


At 7:30 p.m., Mills Hall, the UW School of Music’s Guest Artist Series presents percussionist Neeraj Mehta, percussion (below).

Mehta, a UW-Madison alumnus (B.M. 2003), will perform contemporary Danish music for percussion by Poul Ruders, Wayne Seigel, Per Nørgård and Ole Buck.  The program is the culmination of a year of research and study at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen on a U. S. Fulbright fellowship.

Admission is free and open to the public.

At 7:30 the chamber music group Con Vivo (Music with Life!)  begins its ninth season with a chamber music concert entitled “Trio!”

The concert will take place at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1609 University Ave. across from Camp Randall. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students.

The concert will feature music of Ludwig van Beethoven and his mentor Franz Joseph Haydn. The performed works by Beethoven will include two trios, one with two violins and viola, Op. 87, and the trio for clarinet, cello and piano, Op. 11. Also included is the String Trio for two violins and viola by Haydn.

A surprise piece from the Baroque era will be sure to entertain as well. The evening will be rounded out with Rachmaninoff’s Trio in G minor “Elegiac” for violin, cello and piano.

Audience members are invited to join Con Vivo musicians after the concert for a free reception to discuss this chamber music literature.

Con Vivo is a professional chamber music ensemble composed of Madison-area musicians assembled from the ranks of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and various other performing groups familiar to Madison audiences.


One of the big events this week in Madison is the Wisconsin premiere of the Jerusalem String Quartet (below) at the Wisconsin Union Theater. This promises to be a MUST-HEAR concert.

Based in Israel, the quartet has own numerous international awards – the only one to have won two BBC awards – and has been critically acclaimed.

It has also been the target of picketers and political protests focusing on the occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. — NOT 8 p.m. as in past years.

The all-masterpiece program features Haydn’s Quartet in F-Minor, Op. 20, No. 5; 
Debussy’s String Quartet; and
 Brahms’ Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51, No. 1.

Tickets are $20, $32 and $36 with $10 for UW students. Call 608 262-2201.

For more information, you can also visit this site:

To visit the quartet’s homepage, go to:


The First Unitarian Society Friday Noon Musicale will take place from 12:15 to 1 p.m. and it will features Music for Two and Three Harps with Karen Beth Atz (below), Mary Ann Harr and Linda Warren.

Admission is free and open to the public. Coffee is provided. Bring your lunch.

The concert is at the First Unitarian Society Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive, on Madison near west side. For information, call, (608) 233-9774

At 8 p.m., Mills Hall, the UW Wind Ensemble, conducted by Scott Teeple (below), with Erik Jester, graduate assistant conductor, will perform “L’ai” for orchestra without strings by Bright Sheng; Dances from “Gloriana” by Benjamin Britten; “Sinfonietta” by Ingolf Dahl; “Adagio Music” by Nicholas Thorne; “Irish Tune from County Derry” by Percy Grainger; and “Spin Cycle” by Scott Lindroth.  Free admission and open to the public.

At 8 p.m. in Morphy Hall, the Guest Artist Series features pianist Jeri-Mae Astolfi in a program of “New Piano Music from the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers.” Composers represented are James Chaudoir, Jeffrey Phillips Burns, James Crowley, Ed Martin, Christopher Frye, David Bohn, Stacey Barelos, Jeff Herriott, John Jeffrey Gibbens and Joseph Koykkar.  Astolfi is a member of the faculty at UW-Oshkosh. Free admission, open to the public.


On Saturday morning, music students, families, and teachers are invited to come and see what the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras have to offer at the Fall Open Rehearsal.

The event will begin at 10 a.m. with a meet and greet featuring breakfast snacks in the Strelow Lounge of the UW Humanities building. Guests will be able to talk with WYSO staff and parents of current members, and will get a chance to tour WYSO’s four orchestras in rehearsal.

After the tour, guests will have an opportunity to speak with current WYSO members in a Q&A session. All instrumentalists are welcome and students who play viola, bassoon, low brass, horn, and oboe are especially encouraged to attend.

Since 1966, WYSO has been providing excellence in musical opportunities for more than 5,000 young people in southern Wisconsin. WYSO includes three full orchestras and a string orchestra, a chamber music program, a harp program, a percussion ensemble, and a brass choir program.

The orchestras rehearse on Saturday mornings during the academic year, perform three to four public concerts per season, and tour regionally, nationally and internationally. The Youth Orchestra toured to Eastern Europe in 2005 and has toured to Canada, Japan, Scotland, Spain, France, Colorado, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. in the past.

UW Humanities Building, is located at 455 N. Park Street, Madison. Contact Nicole Sparacino, WYSO Communications Manager at 608-263-3320 x 11 for more information or to RSVP (nor required but helpful).

On Saturday at 11 a.m. in Saturday, the ‘Metropolitan Opera Live in Hi Def” season continues at the Point and Eastgate cinemas with the season’s second offering:  Modeste Mussorgky’s opera “Boris Godunov” in a new production. (The encore showing in the U.S. is Nov. 10, 2010, at 6:30 p.m. local time). Admission is $24 and $22.

The production takes about 4-1/2 hours.

René Pape (below) takes on one of the greatest bass roles in a new production by Stephen Wadsworth. Acclaimed conductor Valery Gergiev conducts Mussorgsky’s epic spectacle that captures the suffering and ambition of a nation, with Aleksandrs Antonenko, Vladimir Ognovenko, and Ekaterina Semenchuk leading the huge cast.

For more information about the Met’s hi-def season of 12 operas, visit:

At  7:30 p.m. in the Asbury Methodist Church, 6101 University Ave., on Madison west side, the Festival Choir (below) will perform its gala season opener – a veritable smorgasbord of Baroque music called “Baroque-o=rama.”

The program includes early 17th century madrigals and motets by Monteverdi and Schütz to the glories of Bach’s Cantata 150, and works by Handel. Additionally, the choir offers the premiere performance of a new Eric Whitacre piece, “little man in a hurry.”

Tickets are $18 and $16 the day of the concert, $16 and $14, with $5 for children, in advance.

For more information, visit:

At 8 p.m., Mills Hall, the UW Faculty Concert Series features John Chappell Stowe (below top) harpsichord, in a program devoted entirely to the works of J. S. Bach (below bottom).

The program includes the “Sonata in D minor” for solo harpsichord, a transcription of the “Sonata for Violin in A minor”; Trio Sonata, from “The Musical Offering,” with Edith Hines, violin, Rebecca Meier-Rao, flauto traverso, Eleanor Cox, cello, and Stowe, harpsichord; “Coffee Cantata,” with Paul Rowe, baritone, Anna Slate, soprano, Ryan McEldowney, tenor, Meier-Rao, flauto traverso, Hines and Kangwon Kim, violin, Micah Behr, viola, Cox, cello, and Stowe, harpsichord; and “Brandenburg Concerto No. 5” with all instrumentalists named above.

Admisison is free and open to the public.

Also on Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Atrium Auditorium of the First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive, fortepianist Trevor Stephenson and violinist Eleanor Bartsch (below) will perform a period-instrument, historically –informed concert of sonatas for violin and fortepiano by Mozart.

“There was something about this particular combination of instruments that encouraged Mozart to loose his effervescent, ebullient, and theatrical best,” write Stephenson (below). “And it was these pieces—played on period instruments– that brought me to the fortepiano in the first place, many moons ago, in the early 1980s.  For this concert, Eleanor Bartsch will play a superb 18th-century original violin, strung in gut.  I’ll be at the fortepiano.”

The program include Sonatas in C major, K. 303; E minor, K. 304; and A major, K. 305 plus the Six Variations on a French Folksong, K. 360.

Admission is $15 general, $10 for students and seniors (over 65).

For more information, visit


“Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” features the Wisconsin Brass Quintet. The concert, broadcast live by Wisconsin Public Radio from 12:20 to 2 p.m., is in Brittingham Gallery III at the Chazen Museum of Art.  Featured in the performance will be Dmitri Shostakovich’s Quintet for Piano, 2 Violins, Viola and Cello, Op. 57 and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Quintet in B-flat Major for Flute, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon and Piano.

Created in 1972 Wisconsin Brass Quintet has been called one of the very best quintets in memory.  They have performed at Carnegie Recital Hall, Merkin Concert Hall in New York City and throughout the Midwest and around the country.

Currently the group (below) consists of three trumpeters John Aley, Douglas Lindsey and Douglas Hill, Mark Hetzler on trombone, and John Stevens on Tuba.  During the performance guest artist Martha Fischer will accompany the Quintet on piano.

Members of the Chazen Museum of Art or Wisconsin Public Radio can call ahead and reserve seats for Sunday Afternoon Live performances. Seating is limited. All reservations must be made Monday through Friday before the concert and claimed by 12:20 p.m. on the day of the performance. For more information or to learn how to become a museum member, contact the Chazen Museum at 608.263.2246.

At 2 p.m. in Mills Hall: the UW Concert Band, conducted by Scott Teeple (below), with graduate assistant conductors Erik Jester, Matthew Mireles and Tobin Shucha, will perform music by Paul Hindemith, Frank Ticheli, Norman Dello Joio, David Holsinger, David Maslanka and Julius Fucik. Free admission.

At 4 p.m., Mills Hall, the UW University Bands, directed by Justin Stolarik, Erik Jester and Matthew Schlomer, perform. Free admission.

Posted in Classical music


  1. Don’t forget the Festival Choir’s season-opening concert, Saturday at 7:30 pm, entitled ‘Baroque-O-Rama.’

    Comment by Marika Fischer Hoyt — October 20, 2010 @ 9:58 am

    • Hi Marika,
      I did forget it because I received no advance information form the Festival Choir.
      My apologies to all.
      But I will add it.
      Thanks for the tip and help.

      Comment by welltemperedear — October 20, 2010 @ 10:03 am

  2. And on Saturday, the Met’s Boris Godunov at Point and Eastgate Cinemas! Thanks for the wonderfully comprehensive work you do!

    Comment by Greg Hettmansberger — October 20, 2010 @ 5:26 am

    • HI Greg,
      Thanks for reminding me.
      I meant to include it and it slipped my mind.
      have included it now.
      PS: I liked your preview and review of the opening concert of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.
      I’m happy to have you as a colleague.

      Comment by welltemperedear — October 20, 2010 @ 9:11 am

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