The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: The Madison Symphony Orchestra announces the winners of the Final Forte concert Wednesday night

March 17, 2011

By Jacob Stockinger

Here is the official announcement from the Madison Symphony Orchestra about the winners of the Final Forte concert competition last night:

“The free Final Forte concert, held last night, in Overture Hall was a true celebration of the power of music and music education. All four finalists played beautifully, wowing a large audience.

“After the judging was complete, Pianist Ariela Bohrod (left, in the above photo by Jim Gill) and Violinist Leah Latorraca (second from right) emerged as the winners.

“Cellist Elliot Yang and Violinist Valerie Clare Sanders also gave stunning performances.

“We’d like to thank all four finalists for their dedication and professionalism. Good luck to you all!”

For more information about the participants and the prizes, check out the postings on this blog for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and visit:

Posted in Classical music

Classical music datebook: Use the silence of Spring Break to renew your appetite for music

March 17, 2011
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By Jacob Stockinger

It is Spring Break at the University of Wisconsin, so much less than usual is going on in the way of live concerts. This would be a good time to read a book about music – and there are many — or listen to some recordings.

Or better yet:

How about going without music for a while, at least a few days? Funny, how silence can whet you appetite for music?

It’s a kind of renewal of appreciation.

In fact, I think that is part of composer John Cage (below) and his cagey strategy – sorry, I can’t help the wordplay – in the famous or infamous 4’ 33”, the silent piano piece which also asks the audience or listen to the music of the environmental sounds, or “music,” around them.

Anyway, it’s something to think about. Which pieces or composers do you miss most when you don’t hear classical music regularly?

The Ear wants to hear. I remember the joy of hearing Bach’s simple (or not so simple) Two-Part Inventions after spending a week on a beach without music as a long drink of refreshing cold water.

Still, there is live music this week.

On FRIDAY, the weekly free Friday Musicale, from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society’s Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive,  will feature Marilyn Chihaney, flute, and Linda Warren, harp, in music of Bach, Beauchamp, Corigliano, Hovhannes and Mussorgsky.


Then ON SATURDAY, from noon to midnight at the Pres House, 731 State St., Wisconsin Public Radio is sponsoring the second annual Bach Around the Clock to greet the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach.


There will be professionals, amateurs and students all playing and the public is invited to the free event that also features free cookies, drinks and other refreshments. It was fun last year and will be fun again this year.

I’ll post more information, along with some photos from last year.

In the meantime, for details you can visit:


Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen features Raffi Besalyan and the North Shore Quartet from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery III at the Chazen Museum of Art.  The performance will feature music from Franck’s Piano Quintet, J. Haydn’s Sonata in G-Major, Ravel’s La Valse, and three Armenian pieces for violin and piano.

Pianist Raffi Besalyan has performed in various places such as North and South America, Europe, Russia and Asia.  In 2008 he joined the faculty at UW Stevens Point and currently is an assistant consultant for Dover Publications.  Besalyan will be joined by the North Shore Quartet consisting of members Yuliya Smead, Yuri Segawa, Matthew Michelic, and Luara Kenney Henckel.

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.

A reception follows the performance, with refreshments generously donated by Fresh Madison Market, Coffee Bytes and Steep & Brew. A free docent-led tour in the Chazen galleries begins every Sunday at 2 p.m.

On MONDAY, Keyboard Conversations pianist Jeffrey Siegel will hold a free and public master class at 7 p.m. in Morphy Hall.

On TUESDAY, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall,  pianist Jeffrey Siegel (below), long a staple of Madison’s concert life, returns with “Paris – 1911! A Century Celebration!” The program features enduring, forever engaging masterpieces composed exactly 100 years ago.

Selections include Ravel’s “Noble and Sentimental Waltzes,” exotic preludes of Debussy and Faure, humorous short pieces of Eric Satie and Stravinsky’s colorful “Petrouchka.”

Tickets are $34, for the public; UW-Madison students are admitted free. Youth tickets are only $14 with purchase of adult ticket – limit 2 youth tickets per adult ticket. Youth tickets must be purchased at the same time as the adult tickets and are valid for youths 6-18 years old. Age is verified at door.

Posted in Classical music

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