The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music updates: Why the UW’s Pro Arte Quartet cancelled; WSYO activist Pat Blankenburg dies; and how you can vote on who gets into the YouTube Symphony

December 12, 2010
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By Jacob Stockinger

You may recall that a week ago Sunday, the Pro Arte String Quartet cancelled its scheduled appearance on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Sunday Live From the Chazen.”

Some readers wanted to know why. So The Ear made some inquiries.

It wasn’t the flu or a cold.

Turns out that longtime violist Sally Chisholm (below, far right, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) fell on the ice in a parking lot as she was stepping up on to the sidewalk. It was a very bad break. She broke a leg bone near the hip joint and so, on the advice of her doctors, had a complete hip replacement.

She returned home Thursday – a day early — and sounded in great spirits when I spoke to her.

Typically, it takes six weeks to mend, she said. But she is hoping to start rehearsing again by the beginning of the second semester on Jan. 24.

That also means she will be in fine form for the centennial celebration of the Pro Arte next season, when it will performs six new commissions, host guest lecturers, have a book written about it, record some CDs and go on tours of the US and Europe. For more information, visit

She says she is doing fine because “I got great care.” But, she adds, “I miss seeing everyone.”

Chisholm is an animated players and often lifts both feet off the ground in a kind of dance when she rocks out in some landler or scherzo movement: “Get me in ¾ time and that’s when it happens,” she laughs.

She doesn’t know whether the new joint will be able to take the strain of dangling a leg. But the doctors have said she can use the same chair.

“So we’ll find out.”

She also said she expresses the Pro Arte to perform the same program scheduled for statewide broadcast last Sunday of (early Beethoven, mature Mozart and Glazunov) another time.

If you want to send her a message or greetings or get well wishes, she says to leave a comment on this blog site or to use her email



Well, the applications are in and the submission period is closed.

Now it is up to the voters, the listeners and their discerning selections who have the rets of this week to help choose participants and players.

That means you get to vote for the YouTube Symphony of 2011, which will perform in Sydney in the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Here’s a link:

And another:

Here is a picture of them rehearsing last year in Carnegie Hall under San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conductor Michael Tilson Thomas:

And here is the result: the first YouTube Symphony — the world’s first collaborative Internet symphony with 96 professional and amateur players from more than 30 countries, in a great Tchaikovsky excerpt under Tilson Thomas in Carnegie Hall.

Enjoy. And then vote.

Posted in Classical music

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