The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: This week brings a public UW conference about music and new media as well as a MUST-HEAR Madison Symphony Orchestra concert of Dvorak, Beethoven and Barber

March 23, 2011
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By Jacob Stockinger

Spring Break at the University of Wisconsin is over and now the tempo of the concert life will pick up gradually and get faster and faster until mid-May, when there will be another short intermission before the summer music season starts.

There are some interesting concerts this week.

But some of the most intriguing events, at least to my mind, is a major conference at the University of Wisconsin that is free and open to the public.

The conference keynote is a lecture-demonstration about music and new media/social media/video games, slated for Friday. Then comes two days of papers on music slated for Friday and Saturday. All events take place in Grainger Hall (below) at the UW School of Business.

Concerts are for knowing the music. Conferences are for knowing about the music, and about issues related to the music. These occasions are great examples of the Wisconsin Idea – the public university serves the state that pays for it – in action.

The UW does that with the music itself, but it also does it with scholarship about the music.


The BIG concert event this week is a terrific MUST-HEAR program by the Madison Symphony Orchestra under John DeMain (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot).

It features two strongly contrasting but essential and beautiful masterpieces: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” and Samuel Barber’s Violin Concert with guest soloist Robert McDuffie (below), who never disappoints, especially in modern American repertoire, which is a specialty of his. Dvorak’s high-spirited “Carnival” Overture raises the curtain.

For more information and program notes, visit:

Performances are in Overture Hall on Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15-$75.

Call (608) 258-4141 or visit

The 15th Annual Midwest Graduate Music Consortium Graduate Student Conference takes place on Friday and Saturday. It starts at noon on both days in the Grainger Hall of the Wisconsin School of Business at University Avenue and Park Street.

It is open and free to the public.

The Midwest Graduate Music Consortium is a joint venture organized by graduate students from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, The University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. Conferences allow graduate students in various fields of music to come together and share ideas on a vast array of topics in a professional and collegial atmosphere. Conferences are held annually on a rotating basis in Madison, Chicago and Evanston.

For a schedule, visit:

Conference Schedule and more information

Panels Location: Grainger, Director’s Room, 4151

Keynote Location: Grainger, Kellner Hall, 2120

The free Friday Noon Musicale, held from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive, offers Olga Dragieva, flute; Lin Dragieva, violin; Ina Selvelieva, piano, in the music of Quincy Porter and Krzysztof Penderecki.

On Friday at 4 p.m. in 2120 Kellner Hall in the Grainger Hall at the Wisconsin School of Business, Brown University ethnomusicologist Kiri Miller (below) will discuss music and new media in Playing Along: Digital Media and Virtual Performance.

Here is a statement by Miller:

“Over the past decade, music has played an increasingly important role in Web 2.0 online content and popular digital games. Streaming audio/video technologies and social networking sites have made it possible for people to go far beyond trading mp3 files online; today they take music lessons through YouTube, participate in virtual collaborations, and engage with popular music in new ways by playing games like Guitar Hero.

“How are these new forms of “musicking” changing practitioners? concepts of musicality, creativity, and embodied performance? My current project addresses this question through ethnographic research on music-oriented interactive digital media. I draw on the methodologies and theoretical orientations of ethnomusicology, performance studies, popular music studies, and interdisciplinary digital media scholarship to discuss musical practices at the intersection of the “virtual” and the “real.”

“This talk focuses on two complementary case studies: music-oriented digital gameplay and music pedagogy on YouTube.”

SATURDAY: See Friday for the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

SUNDAY: See Friday for the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

SUNDAY: See Friday for the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

This week’s “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen” features the Advent Chamber Orchestra with  David Perry (below left, in a photo by Katrin Talbot), first violinist of the UW Pro Arte String Quartet , as soloist. The free concert, to be broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio, is from 12:3o to 2 p.m.

The program includes two Bach string concertos and a Schubert Rondo.

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 or visit

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.

Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen is a free, weekly chamber music series presented by the Chazen Museum of Art and Wisconsin Public Radio, with the cooperation of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Music. The series, hosted by music commentator Lori Skelton, is broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio stations WERN, 88.7 Madison; WHRM, 90.9 Wausau; WPNE, 89.3 Green Bay; WUEC, 89.7 Eau Claire; WVSS, 90.7 Menomonie; WHSA, 89.9 Brule; WGTD, 91.1 Kenosha; WLSU, 88.9 LaCrosse; and WHND, 89.7 Sister Bay. Generous support for the series is provided by individual donations to the Chazen Museum of Art and Wisconsin Public Radio.

On Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the St. Joseph Chapel at Edgewood College, 1000 Edgewood College Drive, the Edgewood College annual Spring Choral Concert will take place. It will feature the Chamber Singers, conducted by Albert Pinsonneault, and the Women’s Choir, conducted by Kathleen Otterson.

There is no admission charge.


The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s student concerto competition concert, the Final Forte held in Overture Hall last Wednesday, will be broadcast on Wisconsin Public Television at 8 p.m. See how the four finalists (below, in a photo by Jim Gill) performed and were judged. See posts here last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for interviews with the students.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Concert Band will perform under Mike Leckrone (below). Admission is free and open to the public.

Posted in Classical music

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