The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: John Stevens’ “Fanfare for an Uncommon Man” gets its second performance at tonight’s “all-American” Concert on the Square by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra | July 27, 2011

By Jacob Stockinger

Here’s another Catch-Up posting that had to wait until some pieces fell into place.

But it works out better than I ever thought because at tonight’s 7 p.m. Concert on the Square (below), the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, under Andrew Sewell, will give the second performance of Madison resident and UW composer John Stevens’ “Fanfare for an Uncommon Man.”

The program is an all-American on with guest soprano Susanna Phillips and works by John Williams, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein as well as Stevens.

Here are the original circumstances on how the fanfare come into being: On May 21, Marvin Rabin (below), the founder of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award by the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music.

It was only the third such Lifetime Award the Foundation has given, the other two going to electric guitar inventor Les Paul and the legendary UW band director Mike Leckrone.

More than 160 people (below) from 13 states, coming form the East and West Coasts and from all over the US, came to the Cherokee Country Club on Madison’s northeast side to mark the event with a dinner and presentation.

I think pictures I took will do a lot of the talking, so here they are.

But I am also include a link (below) to a press release and to an impressive video biography (at bottom) and portrait of Rabin that ran into a technical snag — computer projector overheating, apparently — and is now posted for those who attended the dinner but didn’t get to see all of it. It is also intended for the general public who wasn’t at the dinner. Everyone who loves music, education and children should know what a treasure we have in Marvin Rabin:

Wisconsin Public Radio host Norman Gilliland (below) served as master of ceremonies and welcomed the guests. He also read the proclamation from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker marking Marvin Rabin Day.

Young students from Music Makers and the Bonnie Greene Studio came to play and perform and did themselves proud with a fine appearance:

Many of Marvin’s colleagues, including Dick Wolf and Richard Mannisto, spoke of his work, and some of his former students and admirers– including the groups Harmonious Wail and the Brown Dolphin Duo — performed. Marvin’s daughter, Martha Rabin, who flew in from California, spoke eloquently, lovingly and humorously about her father.

UW-Madison composer John Stevens (below) presented Rabin with an autographed and framed copy of the first page of the “Fanfare for an Uncommon Man,” which had been commissioned for the event and which received its world premiere from WYSO, iwth Stevens as the cbnductor, the following night, May 22:

Rabin is 95 and has some hearing and seeing problems. But he had no problem standing at the podium (below) and taking his time to graciously acknowledge and thank all the other people who helped make his dream of youth music-making come true.

For background about the music, and both Rabin and Stevens, who is the new director of the UW School of Music, here is a two-part Q&A I did and posted with Stevens about the commissioned work and his friendship with Rabin:

And if you want to know more about Rabin’s achievement and impact in founding WYSO, which has educated some 5,000 students from over 100 communities since 1964, here is a link:

And here (at bottom) is the world premiere performance by WYSO, conducted by the composer, of John Stevens’ “Fanfare for an Uncommon Man.” You can see how it compares to tonight’s performance by the WCO.

What do think of the honor?

Of the music?

Do you want to leave a message for Marvin Rabin?

For John Stevens?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music


  1. Concert has been postponed until Thursday, 7/28 due to weather.

    Comment by Keith Hampton — July 27, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

    • Hi Keith
      Thank you for letting me know.
      It was being posted even as you were informing me.
      I appreciate your diligence.

      Comment by welltemperedear — July 27, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

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