The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: This week brings memorable Romantic music for orchestra and a lot of outstanding choral and operatic vocal music.

April 13, 2011

By Jacob Stockinger

The tempo of performances always picks up as the semester goes into its last month and the current concert season gradually comes to its end.

A big professional concert by the Madison Symphony Orchestra is bookended by a lot of student groups, including University Opera, the UW Chamber Orchestra and several UW choral and instrumental groups.

But that’s not all there is to attend.

Just take a look at another busy week in this music-loving city.


At 8:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall, the UW Guitar Ensemble, with 10 graduate and undergraduate guitar majors, will perform works by Georges Bizet, Dominick Argento and Laurindo Almeida under the direction of UW guitarist Javier Calderon (below in a photo by Katrin Talbot). Admission is free and open to the public.


This weekend the Madison Symphony Orchestra under John DeMain will perform a promising and intriguing concert with unusual mix of repertoire.

The program of well-known works and little-known features Stravinsky’s “Symphony of Psalms” with the Madison Symphony Chorus; Ralph Vaughan WilliamsFantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis”; and Tchaikovsky’s Dante-inspired orchestral fantasy “Francesca da Rimini.”

But for many listeners, the heart of the program will be the performance of the Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54, by arch-Romantic Robert Schumann.

The soloist is UW virtuoso pianist and Van Cliburn bronze medalist Christopher Taylor (below), who learned the concerto specifically for these three performances – and who was interviewed on this blog yesterday.

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

Tickets are $15-$75. Call the Overture Center box office at (608) 258-4141.

For more information about the concert, the program the performers and tickets, visit:

The free Noon Musicale from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at the First Unitarian Meeting house, 900 University Bay Drive, will feature harpist Laura Zaerr (below) performs her own compositions. For information, call (608) 233-9774.

At 4 p.m. in Room 1641 of the Mosse Humanities Building, the Colloquium Series, Charles Kronengold (below) will give a free lecture open to the public. Kronengold earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego. His current research concerns the ways that modern artistic genres condition, depict, embody and help to transform the activity of thinking.

At 7:30 p.m. in Old Music Hall, the University Opera and Chamber Orchestra give the first of three performances (Friday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.) of “The Consul” by Gian-Carlo Menotti. William Farlow is the director and James Smith (below) is the conductor.

“The Consul,” an overwhelming story of resistance and defeat, takes place in a European country post-World War II. Immediately following its premiere in 1950, the opera was translated into at least a dozen languages and performed in more than 20 countries. It won the Pulitzer Prize and the Drama Critics’ Circle Award.

The role of Magda Sorel is shared and performed by Celeste Fraser (April 15 and April 19) and Lindsay Sessing (April 17). Michael Roemer (below right with Celeste Fraser on the left and Emily Campbell in the middle in a photo by Brent Nicastro) performs John Sorel, and the mother, also a shared role, is performed by Jennifer Sams (April 15 and April 19) and Amy Sheffer (April 17). Emily Campbell is the secretary.

Other cast members include Benjamin Schultz and Yohan Kim as Mr. Kofner, Arielle Basile and Kyeol Lee as the foreign woman, J. Adam Shelton as the Magician, Leslie Lukas as Vera Boronel, Karen K. Bishop as Anna Gomez, Benjamin Li as the Secret Police, and both Christopher Apfelbach and Andy Aumann as Assan.

Production staff includes costume designers Sydney Krieger and Hyewon Park, technical director Greg Silver, lighting designer Steven M. Peterson, set designer Michele Field, vocal coach Bill Lutes and chorus master Susan Goeres.

Tickets are $20 general, $18 seniors/non-UW-Madison students and $10 UW-Madison students.  Tickets are available through the Wisconsin Union Theater Box Office by calling (608) 265-ARTS or visiting

At 8 p.m., in Mills Hall, the University of Iowa Center for New Music performs a free concert.


At 2 p.m., Mills Hall, the UW-Madison Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, directed by John Stevens (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot), will perform.  Free admission.

At 4 p.m. in Mills Hall: the Wisconsin Trumpet Ensemble, directed by John Aley (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot), will perform.  Admission is free and open to the public.

At 7 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive, solo harpist Laura Zaerr, will perform. Admission is free, but monetary donations for Second Harvest Food Bank will be accepted.

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Chorale program, under director Bruce Gladstone (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot), will perform an all-Classical program featuring “Te Deum” in C by Haydn, “Magnificat” by Schubert, four Haydn part songs, and “Vesperae Solennes de Confessore” by Mozart. Admission is free and open to the public.


“Sunday Live From the Chazen” moves this week to the Wisconsin Union Theater (below) for the annual performances by the winner of the Neale-Silva Young Artists Competition, sponsored and conducted by Wisconsin Public Radio, which will broadcast it live.

The free concert, with no tickets required, takes place from 12:30 to  p.m.

Here are specifics about the program: pianist James Maverick, in “The Italian Ground” Orlando Gibbons and the Ballade in F minor, Op. 52 by Frederic Chopin; violist Daniel Kim in Suite No. 6: Prelude BWV-1012 by Johann Sebastian Bach, “Figment IV” by Elliott Carter and Solo Sonata Op. 25 No. 1, movements III and IV by Paul Hindemith; pianist Daniel Kuzuhara, in Sonata in E Flat Major XVI:49, first movement by Franz Joseph Haydn, Prelude and Fugue in D minor WTC II by Johann Sebastian Bach and “Gnomenreigen” by Franz Liszt; Saxophone Quartet of David Davis, Phillip Dobernig, Will Obst and Sumner Truax in Quartet for Saxophones by Jun Nagao and Andante et Scherzetto by Pierre Lantier; and Piano Duo of Dario LaPoma and Hazim Suhadi in the Concerto for 2 Pianos in D Minor by Francis Poulenc.

For information about this year’s performers: visit

At 3 p.m. on Sunday in Luther Memorial Church, 1021 University Ave.: Masters Singers and Women’s Chorus, with Russell Adrian, Brian Gurley and Sarah Riskind, conductors.

The program includes works by Stanford, Howells, Britten, Bach and Faure accompanied on the church’s 56-rank Austin pipe organ and works by Byrd, Martin, Dvorak and Johnson performed unaccompanied or with piano.

Admission is free and open to the public.


At 7:30 p.m. at Farley’s House of Pianos wife-and-husband pianists Lucille Chung and Alessio Bax (below) will perform works for piano-four hands. The program will include music by Stravinsky, Brahms and four Tangos composed by Astor Piazzolla and the two performers.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for students and seniors.  Reserve tickets with a credit card by calling 271-2626, or purchase tickets at Farley’s House of Pianos or Orange Tree Imports on Monroe Street.

Lucille Chung (below) was born in Montreal, Canada, and made her debut at the age of 10 with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. She graduated from both the Curtis Institute of Music and the Julliard School before she turned 20. Following graduation she was invited to be a featured soloist during the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s Asian Tour. Chung was acclaimed by Gramophone Magazine for her “stylish and refined performances, combining vigour and suppleness with natural eloquence and elegance.” In 1989, she was recognized as the first prize winner at the Stravinksy International Piano Competition, which brought her onto the international scene. As a recitalist, she has performed at the Wigmore Hall in London, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, plus many more.

Alessio Bax (below) was born in 1977 in Bari, Italy. He graduated with top honors from the Bari Conservatory at the age of 14 and then studied at the Southern Methodist University near Dallas, Texas. He now works as a faculty member at the university’s Meadows School of the Arts. Bax is praised for creating “a ravishing listening experience, his playing quivers with an almost hypnotic intensity,” says Gramophone Magazine. He has been honored with many first place awards at competitions such as, Leeds International Pianoforte and the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition. In 2009, he was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant, one of the most prestigious prizes in classical music.

Posted in Classical music

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