The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society turns 20 with a “Bach to the Future” summer season bacchanale that starts in a month

May 12, 2011
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

The regular concert season is not even over and already there have been announcements of the upcoming summer season.

The latest news is from the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, which will be celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Here is the official press release:

“The Madison-based chamber music group Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society (BDDS), an Overture Center Summer Resident Company, presents its 20h annual summer chamber music festival “Bach to the Future: A 20th Season Bacchanale,” June 10-26, 2011.

“This festival features 12 concerts over three weekends, each weekend offers two different programs.  Six programs will be performed over three weekends in the Playhouse at Overture Center in Madison (below), Stoughton Opera House, and the Hillside Theater at Taliesin in Spring Green.

“Combining the best local musicians and top-notch artists from around the country, a varied repertoire and delightful surprises, BDDS presents chamber music as “serious fun” infused with high energy and lots of audience appeal, and makes this art form accessible to diverse audiences.

“Led by artistic directors Stephanie Jutt, flute, and Jeffrey Sykes, piano (both are below), 17 guest artists will perform in the festival.

“Recently, Anthony Tommasini, the chief music critic of the New York Times created a list of the 10 greatest classical composers of all time. Johann Sebastian Bach (below) was at the top. We take our name and inspiration from the great “father” of classical music.

“This summer, we will feature a work by a member of the Bach family on each program, including the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, the Coffee Cantata, and the Chaconne for solo violin.

“Each will be paired with a modern work that draws on Bach’s compositional techniques and aesthetics and looks toward the future of “classical” music.

“These modern pieces include George Gershwin’s ballet score “An American in Paris” in its original two-piano incarnation performed by Jeffrey Sykes and Christopher Taylor; Olivier Messiaen‘s hypnotic “Visions de l’amen” for two pianos, which inspired both minimalist and New Age composers: Ned Rorem’s “The Unquestioned Answer” and John Harbison’s “Six American Painters.” BDDS will also perform more beloved tangos by Astor Piazzolla filled with Bach-inspired counterpoint.

A behind-the-scenes photographic show by Dick Ainsworth (including our notable posters from seasons past) will be hung in the Playhouse Gallery concurrently.  Carolyn Kallenborn, local textile artist, will create stage settings for each concert in The Playhouse.

All concerts at The Playhouse, the Stoughton Opera House (below) and Hillside Theater will be followed by receptions with the artists and cake.

Our first week’s programs are “Bach Around the Clock,” and “We Will, We Will Bach You.” Guest artists include Timothy Jones, bass-baritone, from the University of Houston; Layton James, keyboard, from the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio, former concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra; Carmit Zori, violin, New York City’s Pro Musicis award winner; Parry Karp, cello, and Suzanne Beia, violin, of the Pro Arte Quartet.  Madison based vocalists, Gregory Schmidt and Anna Slate, will also be heard in performance.

Concerts will be performed at the Stoughton Opera House, Friday, June 10, 7:30 p.m.; The Playhouse, Overture Center for the Arts on Saturday, June 11, 7:30 p.m., and Spring Green at the Hillside Theater, Sunday, June 12, at 2:30 p.m. and an earlier evening time, 6:30 p.m.

The second week’s programs will be “The Empire Strikes Bach” and “Bach of Ages.” Guest artists include Madison’s great pianist, Christopher Taylor (below), from UW-Madison, performing music for which he is well known: George Gershwin’s “American in Paris” and Olivier Messiaen’s “Visions de l’amen,” for two pianos (with Jeffrey Sykes). Other musicians include Suzanne Beia, violin, and Parry Karp, cello; and Kerri Ryan, viola, and William Polk, violin, from the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Two concerts will be performed at The Playhouse in the Overture Center for the Arts on Friday, June 17, AND Saturday, June 18, 7:30 p.m., and Spring Green at the Hillside Theater, Sunday, June 19, at 2:30 p.m. and at an earlier evening time, 6:30 PM.

In a new initiative, BDDS will also perform one free family concert at 11 a.m., on June 18, in The Playhouse.  This is geared toward families with children ages 6 and up and seating will be first come first served.  This performance is generously underwritten by CUNA Mutual Group, Murphy Desmond, S.C., Lawyers, and The Overture Center.

The third week’s programs are School of Bach and The Cradle Will Bach and feature performances by the San Francisco Piano Trio: Axel Strauss, violin, Jean-Michel Fonteneau, cello, and Jeffrey Sykes, piano.  Also featured will be Randall Hodgkinson, piano, of the New England Conservatory.

Concerts will be performed at the Stoughton Opera House, Friday, June 24, 7:30 p.m.; The Playhouse, Overture Center for the Arts on Saturday, June 25, 7:30 p.m., and Spring Green at the Hillside Theater, Sunday, June 26, at 2:30 p.m. and a new, earlier time, 6:30 p.m.

Locations: Stoughton Opera House (381 E. Main Street); Overture Center in Madison (201 State Street); Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin Hillside Theater (CHY 23 in Spring Green, bleow).

“Single general admission tickets are $34.  Student tickets are $5 for the first time! Various ticket packages are also available starting at a series of three for $96.  A popular program begun last year: first time subscriptions are 50 percent off.  For tickets and information, call (608) 255-9866 or visit:

Single tickets for Overture Center concerts can also be purchased at the Overture Center for the Arts box office, (608) 258-4141, or at (additional fees apply).  Hillside Theater tickets may be purchased from the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor’s Center on County Highway C, (608) 588-7900.  Tickets are available at the door at all locations.

“The June 10 concert at the Stoughton Opera House will also be preceded by a reception in conjunction with New Harvest Foundation, a non-profit organization working to support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights, services, culture and community development.  For more information, visit:

“Chamber Music with a Bang.

“More Bang for your Bach.

“What Bach would be doing if he were more fun and less dead.

“However you describe what they do, Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society always features great music played with joy, creativity, spontaneity, and a technique that is second to none. BDDS is aimed at people who are curious, open-minded, and up for anything. People who want to have serious fun.”

Posted in Classical music

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