The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: Great chamber music by Mendelssohn and by living composers plus some Big Beethoven mark a rich week for music in Madison.

February 22, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

This is a rich week for great classical music in Madison. Some might even say it is too rich, since Friday is another one of those inevitable train wrecks.

That’s when two great and very appealing concerts take place almost at the same time: an all-Mendelssohn concert by the David Finckel, Wu Han and Philip Setzer piano trio (below) at the Wisconsin Union Theater; and a largely Beethoven concert, with the Violin Concerto and the Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”) by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra at the Overture Center.

My colleague Greg Hettmansberger even wrote in detail about the conflict for his “Classically Speaking” blog for Madison Magazine:

But I guess that is the price one pays for living in such a culturally rich city. Still, for the sake of audiences, performers and the financial stability of the organizations, The Ear just wishes that the two organizations would cooperate more closely to eliminate such heart-breaking conflicts when they are not absolutely necessary.

Anyway, there is a lot of other notable musical concerts to console us for that one disheartening dilemma.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Western Percussion Ensemble (below) and UW percussionist Anthony Di Sanza will give a FREE concert. No program is available yet.

The recital by UW soprano Julia Faulkner and pianist Martha Fischer has been CANCELLED.


Friday’s FREE Noon Musicale, from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium of the First Unitarian Society Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive, features harpist Linda Warren, violinist Leyla Sanyer and cellist Philip Delaquessi in music of Naderman and Respighi. For information, call (608) 233-9774 or visit

From 2:30 to 4 p.m., a TRIPLE-HEADER of FREE public master classes, with University of Wisconsin-Madison students, will be held: Emerson Quartet cellist David Finckel in Mills Hall; Emerson Quartet violinist Philip Setzer (below) in Morphy Recital Hall; and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center pianist and co-director Wu Han on the stage at the Wisconsin Union Theater, where the same trio will performance an all-Mendelssohn program later Friday night.

At 7:30 p.m. in the Wisconsin Union Theater, retiring Emerson Quartet cellist David Finckel and his wife Wu Han (below), who also co-direct The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, will team up with Emerson Quartet violinist Philip Setzer to perform both piano trios and a cello sonata in an all-Mendelssohn program.

It is a mark of the prestige these performers are held in that the concert is officially designated the Fan Taylor Memorial Concert. Each season the Wisconsin Union Theater names a concert in honor of Taylor, the pioneering university arts presenter who founded the Wisconsin Union Theater concert series and led it for many decades.

Here is link to more information, including ticket prices, a video and reviews, of Friday night’s concert by the Finckel, Setzer and Wu Han Trio:

At 8 p.m. in the Capitol Theater of the Overture Center, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra under Andrew Sewell with violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky (below) will perform Benjamin Britten’s “End Sequence” from “Night Mail” as well as Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s famed Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”).

For more information about the concert and tickets, visit:


At 11:55 a.m. CST at the Point and Eastgate cinemas, the Metropolitan Opera’s “Live in HD” satellite broadcast will feature Verdi’s “Ernani.” The cast includes (below) acclaimed soprano Angela Meade and Marcello Giordani. (The encore presentation is March 14 at 6:30 p.m.)

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Wind Ensemble will perform “Circa Now,” a FREE concert of works by living composers. The ensemble performs “Fanfare for the Uncommon Man” by UW composer John Stevens, who will conduct the work; “Concerto for percussion” by Michael Udow, with percussion soloist Anthony Di Sanza; “The Future of Fire” by Zhou Long (below), the 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner in music, with the UW Concert Choir; and “Cosmosis” by Susan Botti, with soprano soloist Mimmi Fulmer and the women of the Concert Choir.  Scott Teeple is the conductor of the Wind Ensemble.

A pre-concert discussion with Stevens, Udow and Zhou will take place at 7:15 p.m.


This week’s “Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” offers violinist Kangwon Lee Kim (below) 12:30-2 p.m. p.m. in Brittingham Gallery Number III at the Chazen Museum of Art. It will be broadcast live by Wisconsin Public Radio.

Kim will be joined by colleagues Eli Kalman, pianist, David Rubin, violinist, Matthew Michelic, violist, and Janet Anthony, cellist, presenting Sonatas for violin and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven and Maurice Ravel, and the Piano Quintet in C minor by Erno Dohnanyi.

Kim received degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Oberlin Conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music, and Temple University, and this year she has been asked to join the faculty at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin.

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.

At 2 p.m. in Mills Hall, a FREE concert will be performed by the UW Concert Band, conducted by Michael Leckrone (below).

At 2:30 p.m. in the St. Joseph Chapel of Edgewood College, 1000 Edgewood College Drive, the Edgewood Chamber Orchestra will perform a concert under the direction of Blake Walter (below, in a photo by John Maniaci).

The program includes Rossini’s “L’Inganno Felice” Overture, Gorecki’s “Kleines Requiem für eine Polka” (Little Requiem for a Polka), and Mozart’s well-known Symphony No. 40 in g minor, K. 550. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door.


The Middleton Community Orchestra’s Winter Concert, conducted by Steve Kurr, will be on Wednesday, February 29, 7:30 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center at Middleton High School. The concert features a performance of “Schelomo,” by Ernest Bloch with cellist Jordan Allen (below) as soloist. The orchestra will also play “John Henry” by Aaron Copland and “The Firebird Suite” by Igor Stravinsky.

Tickets are $10 for general admission. Students and retirement home residents are free. Tickets are available at the door and at Willy St. Coop West.

Call 608-212-8690 for more information.

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