The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: Madison is post-Spring Break busy every night with the University of Wisconsin hosting The Lincoln Trio and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra closing out its season with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

April 11, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

Musically speaking, this will be a very, very busy week in Madison that comes just before an even busier week.

Spring Break is clearly  over. Audiences are back in town, And now things will heat up quickly and continue for about a month before the semester is over and the current concert season winds down and comes to its end — and then the busy summer concert season starts up.


Tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall the UW School of Music’s Guest Artist Series at the UW School of Music hosts its final residency of the 2011-12 season with the critically acclaimed Lincoln Trio. Admission is free.

The Lincoln Trio will open its Madison program with Beethoven’s “Piano Trio No. 4 in B-flat,” Op. 11.  Following intermission, the trio will perform works by composers born in the 1960s and 1970s — Lera Auerbach, Stacey Garrop, UW composer Laura Schwendinger, Jennifer Higdon and Patrick Zimmerli.

Formed in 2003, the Lincoln Trio (below) takes its name from its home, the heartland of the U. S., the “Land of Lincoln.”  The trio’s members—violinist Desirée Ruhstrat, cellist David Cunliffe and pianist Marta Aznavoorian — are all artists of international renown, with performing and teaching careers in addition to their joint endeavors as a chamber ensemble.

The Lincoln Trio has performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, the Ravinia Festival, Indianapolis Beethoven Chamber Music Series, University of Chicago, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series and Poisson Rouge, among many others.  In December 2011 the trio was chosen to celebrate the 60th anniversary of WFMT in Chicago and present a live world premiere broadcast from the Chicago Cultural Center.

The trio’s first full-length recording, “Notable Women,” features works by Jennifer Higdon, Joan Tower, Lera Auerbach, Stacy Garrop, Augusta Read Thomas and Laura Schwendinger (below), a professor of composition at UW-Madison.  The recording won a Grammy award for its producer, Judith Sherman, who is also recording the centennial world premiere performances by the UW’s Pro Arte String Quartet.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Faculty Recital Series presents a FREE recital pianist by Douglas Jurs.

The program features Schibert’s Sonata in A major, D. 959; “Poème in F-sharp Major,” Op. 32, No. 1, by Scriabin; “Ballade No. 3 in A-flat major,” Op. 47 by Chopin; two selections from “Preludes, Book II” by Debussy; and “Three Preludes” by Gershwin.  Free admission.

Jurs is visiting lecturer in piano at the UW School of Music and a faculty member at Edgewood College in Madison. He has given solo and collaborative recitals around the world and at festivals including the Holland International Music Sessions, Banff Centre for the Arts and Aspen Music Festival. Recently, he performed with Present Music, Milwaukee’s pre-eminent new music ensemble.


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 tenor Heath Rush and pianist Greg Punswick in a selection of operatic arias. For information, call (608) 233-9774 or visit

At 8 p.m. in the Capitol Theater of the Overture Center, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (below) will close its current Masterworks season “Rebith” program that features two works – one rarely performed, the other iconic.

The program starts with Gerald Finzi’s “Dies Natali” (Day of Birth), Op. 8, for tenor and strings sung by Robert Bracey. A 25-minute work by Finzi (below), “Dies Natalis” is set to a text by the 17th-century poet Thomas Traherne, which reflects the joy and wonder of a newborn child’s innocent perspective on the world. It was premiered in 1940.

Then comes 
Beethoven’s famous Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125, “Choral.”
This will be a first for the chamber orchestra. The orchestra string section will again be expanded and a full chorus, the Festival Choir of Madison (below) and the newly formed Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Chorus, will also perform.

The four soloists are seasoned performers including soprano Michelle Areyzaga from Chicago; tenor Robert Bracey from North Carolina; bass Timothy Jones from Houston, and Jamie Van Eyck (below), mezzo-soprano, from Madison.

Tickets are $15-$62.

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

At 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall (below), Luther Memorial Church organist Bruce Bengtson, soprano Jamie-Rose Guarrine, violinist Eleanor Bartsch and the MSO’s principal oboe, Marc Fink will perform “Bachanalia!” — an all-Bach concert of cantatas, toccatas and fugues.

Tickets are $18.

For more information about the complete program and the performers, call the Overture Box office at (608) 258-4141 or visit:


At 3:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the all-student Perlman Piano Trio—violinist Roy Meyer, cellist Taylor Skiff and pianist Jeongmin Lee – performs a FREE concert.

The program includes “Piano Trio in C major,” K. 548 by Mozart; “Piano Trio in E-flat major,” Op. 70, No. 2 by Beethoven; and “Piano Trio in F minor,” Op. 65 by Dvorak.

Roy Meyer is a senior and expects to graduate this spring with a B.M. degree in violin performance. He studies violin with David Perry and chamber music with Parry Karp and Suzanne Beia. Taylor Skiff is a senior cellist studying with Uri Vardi and expects to graduate with a B.M. degree this spring. Jeongmin Lee is pursuing the D.M.A. degree in piano performance and pedagogy, studying with Todd Welbourne and Jessica Johnson.

The Perlman Piano Trio is funded through endowed scholarships generously provided by Dr. Kato Perlman.  A reception will follow the concert.

At 7 p.m., at the Capitol Lakes Retirement Center, 333 W. Main St., the UW Faculty Concert Series presents the Wingra Woodwind Quintet in a FREE concert.

This concert was originally scheduled for March 2 but was cancelled due to inclement weather.

The program, “Around the World in 80 minutes with the Wingra Quintet,” begins with “Fugue in G minor” by J. S. Bach; “Three Greek Dances” by Nikos Skalkottas; and “Petite Suite” by Claude Debussy. Following intermission, the quintet performs “Humoresque” by Alexander Zemlinsky; “Rumanian Folk Dances” by Bela Bartok; “Porgy and Bess” Suite by George Gershwin; and two tangos — “Calambre” by Astor Piazzolla and “La cumparsita” by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez.

At 8 p.m. in Grace Episcopal Church, 116 West Washington Ave., the early-music group the Madison Bach Musicians
 (below) will present a concert of two Bach cantatas and a Bach motet. (A second performance is on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Both performances are preceded at 7:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m., respectively, by a lecture given by MBM founder and keyboard player Trevor Stephenson.

The all-Bach program features Cantata BWV 22 – “Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe”; Cantata BWV 32 – “Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen”; and the Motet BWV 230 – “Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden.”

Soloists are soprano Emily Birsan and bass David Govertsen, both of whom currently sing at the Lyric Opera in Chicago. The countertenor, Joseph Schlesinger (who now lives in Chicago) has toured Europe for many years as an early music specialist; the tenor, Daniel O’Dea is outstanding and is working on his DMA at UW under Jim Doing.

For information, visit or phone 608 238-6092

Advance ticket prices are: $20 General, $15 Students/Seniors (over 65).
Tickets at the door: $25 General, $20 Students/Seniors.
Cash or checks only. Make checks payable to Madison Bach Musicians. (Only cash or check are accepted; no credit cards.)

Advance tickets can be purchased at

Orange Tree Imports; Farley’s House of Pianos; A Room of One’s Own; Ward Brodt Music Mall; and  Willy Street Co-op, East and West locations.

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Concert Choir (below), conducted by Beverly Taylor (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) and graduate assistant conductor Brian Gurley, will perform a FREE concert.

The program includes motets by Anonymous, Victoria and Gallus; Bach’s extended motet “Jesu, meine Freude”; and a selection of folk songs and spirituals arranged by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw.


This week’s “Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” features the Varshavsky-Shapiro Piano Duo (below) in works by Mendelssohn, Mozart, Ravel, Debussy and Gershwin.

The free concert is from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery Number III at the Chazen Museum of Art. It will be broadcast live by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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 free docent-led tour in the Chazen galleries begins every Sunday at 2 p.m.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (below) will perform a FREE concert under the direction of UW composer Laura Schwendinger.

The program includes “Over a Moving Landscape” by Steven Burke (MM 1992), a past winner (2004-05) of the prestigious Rome Prize. Les Thimmig will be the solo bass clarinetist for the work, with an ensemble of nine additional players.

The balance of the program will be devoted to three works by John Harbison—“The Natural World,” with soprano soloist Karen Bishop (MM 2008, DMA 2011) and sextet; “Chaconne,” for quintet; and “The Leonard Stein Anagrams” performed by piano soloist Jessica Johnson.

The prize-winning and world-famous Harbison, who teaches at MIT and co-directs the nearby Token Creek Chamber Music Festival each summer, will be in town for the free world premiere of his String Quartet No. 5 by the Pro Arte String Quartet on Saturday, April 21, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall. Harbison (below) is expected to attend the concert.

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