The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: A week of orchestral music, professional and amateur, awaits. But you can also hear a great piano recital and some outstanding early music.

November 9, 2011
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By Jacob Stockinger

Over the last two weeks, opera ruled the classical music calendar. But this week’s emphasis shifts to orchestral playing — both professional and amateur — even though you can also find on tap a surefire piano recital by Christopher Taylor and some early music by the Madison Bach Musicians, to say nothing of other noteworthy events.

I suppose I should no longer be surprised and delighted to find so much classical music in this mid-sized city. But I am — and you should be too!

Surely the biggest local event this week is the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s third concert of the season.

It finds acclaimed violinist Midori (below top) returning to Madison to perform Dimitri Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 under conductor John DeMain (below bottom, in a photo by Katrin Talbot). The rest of the program features Haydn’s last symphony, No. 104, and Ravel’s “La Valse.”

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

Tickets are $16.50 to $78.50 with $10 student rush available with student ID. (You can purchase up to two tickets for best seats available with each ID.) Call 258-4141 or visit:

For more information about tickets and the concert, visit:

For program notes by J. Michael Allsen about the concert:


At 7:30 p.m. in the Middleton Performing Arts Center, the Middleton Community Orchestra (below), under conductor Steven Kurr, will perform an all-French program. Featured are: Berlioz” “Franc-Juges” Overture; “Nuages” (Clouds) from Debussy’s “Nocturnes”; Faure’s “Pelleas et Melisande”; Chabrier’s “Espana” and the finale from Franck’s Symphony in D Minor.

Admission is $10; students are free.

For more information, visit


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, pianist Christopher Taylor (below), will perform on the UW Faculty Concert Series. The FREE concert features will feature Bagatelles, Op. 119 by Ludwig van Beethoven; 8 Piano Pieces, Op. 76 by Johannes Brahms; “Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues” (from “Four North American Ballads”) by Frederic Rzewski: “Turning: by Derek Bermel; and Six “Paganini” Etudes by Franz Liszt.


The free Friday Noon Musicale, from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive, features the Madison Bach Musicians (below) in music by Bach, Corelli and Vivaldi. For information, call (608) 233-9774.

At 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall, the Madison Symphony Orchestra and violinist Midori perform. See above.

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall the UW Madrigal Singers will perform a free concert under conductor Bruce Gladstone (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot).

The 32-voice mixed choir, whose members are drawn from both campus and community, presents “Creation or Evolution?” a juxtaposition of works that utilize or adapt pre-existing music with the original sources.

Composers include Antoine Busnois, Jean Mouton, Cristobal de Morales, Martin Luther, Byrd, Mozart and UW alumni Scott Gendel and Jerry Hui . The program concludes with Daryl Runswick’s “Deconstructing Johann,” the little-known story of Bach’s bout with composer’s block.


The Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) will hold the annual Steenbock Fall Concerts on Saturday, Nov. 12, and Sunday, Nov. 13. More than 300 young musicians will celebrate the first concert series of the year, which is dedicated to local music teachers.

On Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, following a performance by the talented Harp Ensemble, WYSO’s youngest members, the string orchestra Sinfonietta, will perform the hit soul instrumental “Green Onions.”  Next, the Concert Orchestra will perform an eclectic mix of selections, including “Amazing Grace,” “Moonlight Masquerade” and a collection of Slovakian folk songs.

At 4 p.m. in Mills Hall, the Philharmonia Orchestra will perform Ambroise Thomas’ “Raymond” Overture, Lecuona’s “Andalucia Suite” and the familiar melody of “Greensleeves.”   

On Sunday at 2 p.m. in Mills Hall, the Youth Orchestra will perform Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance No. 8, Prokofiev’s Suite from “Romeo and Juliet” and Martinu’s Symphony No. 2.  

The Evelyn Steenbock Fall Concerts will be held in Mills Concert Hall in the UW Humanities Building, 455 N. Park Street, Madison. WYSO concerts generally last about 1-1/2 hours, providing a great orchestral concert opportunity for families.

Tickets are available at the door — $8 for adults and $5 for children under 18 years of age.

WYSO was founded in 1966 and has served nearly 5,000 young musicians from more than 100 communities in southern Wisconsin.

The concerts are supported by the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation and the Evjue Foundation, Inc., charitable arm of The Capital Times. This project is also supported by the Alliant Energy Foundation and by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information, visit:


From 12:30 to 2 p.m. “Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” features the Madison Bach Musicians in Brittingham Gallery Number III at the Chazen Museum of Art. The concert will be broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio.

Many of the musicians are prominent performers and scholars in the historical performance field and will be performing on authentic instruments of the Baroque period, which spanned the years 1600 to 1750. The Madison Bach Musicians (see Friday’s listings)  will be performing music of Johann Sebastian Bach and his kin, Johann Christoph Bach, as well as of Arcangelo Corelli and Antonio Vivaldi. The program will include J.S. Bach’s famous Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major.

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.

2:30 in Overture Hall: The Madison Symphony Orchestra and violinist Midori perform. See above.


At 7:30 in Mills Hall, the UW Trombone Choir will perform under conductor Mark Hetzler (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot). Free admission.


At 4 p.m. in Room 1351 of the Mosse Humanities Building. American composer Paul Schoenfield (below) will give a public composition master class. Schoenfield’s “Three Rhapsodies for Piano Quintet” will be given its world premiere by the Pro Arte Quartet and pianist Brian Hsu on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m., during a FREE concert in Mills Hall. (Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 4 and Beethoven’s Quartet Op. 131 complete the program.) Schoenfield will talk about his music with composition students.

At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, pianist Jeffrey Siegel (below) will give the season’s first Keyboard Conversation. The theme is “A Beethoven Bonanza.”  He will perform the “Pathetique” Sonata as well as Sonatas Op. 31, No. 3 and Op. 109.

To purchase tickets ($34; $14 for youths 6-18; free for UW students), visit

For more information, visit:

At 8:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall, the UW Guitar Ensemble will perform under director Javier Calderon (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot). Free admission.

Posted in Classical music

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