The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: This is New Music Week in Madison. Plus, pianists Peter Serkin and Jeffrey Siegel perform; the Portland Cello Project comes to town; NEW MUSE holds its first-ever, one-day free festival of new music that includes dance and spoken word; and the University of Wisconsin School of Music and Edgewood College close out their spring semesters.

May 2, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

After two very busy weeks, we have a third very busy week – but a week that winds up before the semester pretty much comes to an end while we wait for the summer concert season to start with the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, the Madison Early Music Festival, Opera in the Park and the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival and other groups or performers.

Do you think that too little new music gets performed?

Not this week.

In fact, a great deal of new music will be performed in town this week. Pianist Peter Serkin will play contemporary composers plus Big Beethoven at the Wisconsin Union Theater; NEW MUSE will hold a one-day FREE festival on Saturday with many works by new composers. And even the UW Wind Ensemble and Madrigal Singers will feature the work of local composers John Stevens and Jerry Hui.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the season’s last Keyboard Conversation with Jeffrey Siegel (below) will be held.

The program is titled “A Musical Love Triangle” and will feature music of Clara Wieck inspired by Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, as well as music by Brahms and Schumann inspired by Clara.

Tickets are $14-$34 and can be purchased through Campus Arts Ticketing online; by phone at (608) 265-ARTS; or in person at the Union Theater Box Office or the Vilas Hall Box Office.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Wind Ensemble will perform a free concert under conductor Scott Teeple (below).

The program includes the Symphonic Dance Suite from “West Side Story” by Bernstein and “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky. Performances from members of the UW Dance and Theater and Drama departments will accompany the Mussorgsky and pianist Dorothy Hui will perform some of the movements from the original piano solo versions. The premiere of “Concerto for Euphonium” by School of Music faculty John Stevens in its orchestration for wind ensemble will feature soloist Matthew Mireles.

At 8:30 p.m. at the Majestic Theater (doors open at 7:30 p.m.) the Portland Cello Project (below) will perform. The acclaimed ensemble has over 800 pieces in its repertoire and mixes classical music with other kinds including jazz and folk. Tickets are $13 and $15 with $1 going to benefit the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. For more information, visit:


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, Harper Tasche plays original music for lever and cross-strung harps. For information, call 608 233-9774 or visit

At 7 p.m. in Edgewood College’s St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive, the Edgewood College Chamber Singers (below), the Concert Band, and the Women’s Choir perform to benefit the music scholarship fund. Admission is $7 at the door.

At 7:30 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (below, 227 State St. in the Overture Center), as part of MMoCA’s reception for the closing of their Houdini exhibit and their Design at MMoCA exhibit, Classical Revolution will be playing a program of small orchestral works, assisted by the wonderful Kyle Knox.  Here’s the program for the evening, with is also Gallery Night:

7:30 in lobby- Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 by Bach
7:55 in 2nd floor gallery-  Falling by Stephen Dembski (world premier)
8:10 in lobby and outside 2nd floor gallery The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives
8:30 in 2nd floor gallery Serenade for Tenor Horn and Strings by Benjamin Britten, featuring Daniel O’Dea and Laura Weiner
At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Madrigal Singers, conducted by Bruce Gladstone (below) will perform a FREE concert.

The program is entitled “Let Him Kiss Me,” with texts from the “Song of Songs” set by Schuetz, Palestrina, Edward Bairstow, Melchior Franck and Leonhard Lechner.  Other works include “Three Facets of Love” by Jerry Hui and “Columba mea” (1979) by Kenneth Leighton, scored for strings, harpsichord, celesta and alto and tenor soloists as the bride and bridegroom, performed by Sarah Leuwerke and James Doing.


At noon in Music Hall, the UW World Percussion Ensemble will perform a free concert conducted Neil Sisauyhoat.

From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. the UW-based group New Music Everywhere (NEW MUSE) will hold its first-ever Madison Muse Fest — a festival of contemporary classical music to be held in various State Street locations. All events are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Four non-traditional venues on State Street will be transformed into inviting performance spaces for Muse Fest.

The one-day festival will include mini concert-installations at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Sunroom Cafe, Fair Trade Coffee House, and Nick’s Pub respectively, culminating in a concert at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) at 5 p.m.

The festival will feature the NEW MUSE ensemble and special guests including dancer Janelle Bentley (Ephemeral Art), spoken word artist Gabriel De Los Reyes (UW-Madison First Wave Program), and piano/percussion duo Sole Nero (UW-Madison faculty Jessica Johnson and Anthony Di Sanza).

The music – most of which was composed within the last decade – will include works selected from a national call for scores that resulted in more than 30 submissions from across the U.S.

This includes pieces by Robert Honstein (co-­founder of the “Sleeping Giant” collective) and John C. Griffin (Western Michigan University), the winners of the call for scores contest, as well as music by Wisconsin‐based composers Jeff Herriott (UW-Whitewater) and Guggenheim Fellowship winner Laura Schwendinger (below, UW-Madison).

This event is made possible by a grant from the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission, with additional funds from the Overture Foundation and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, and generous support from the UW-Madison New Arts Venture Challenge, the UW-Madison School of Music, and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

Here is a full schedule for Muse Fest:

1 p.m. – Sunroom Cafe: Intimate Dialogues – Chamber Solos and Duets. Works by Robert Honstein, Greg Steinke, and Hans Werner Henze.

2 p.m. – Fair Trade Coffeehouse: Caffeinated Move – Music and Dance. Works by Laura Schwendinger, Jerry Hui and Payton MacDonald, with dancer Janelle Bentley.

3 p.m. – Nick’s Pub: Electric Jam – Spoken Poetry and Electroacoustic Music. Works by Patrick Chan, Jeff Herriott, with a spoken word performance by Gabriel De Los Reyes.

5 p.m. – MMoCA: Muse Fest Gala Concert. Featuring special guests Sole Nero, and works by Robert Honstein, John C. Griffin, Elizabeth Nonemaker, and Lansing McLoskey

Here is some background about NEW MUSE:

New Music Everywhere (NEW MUSE) is Madison’s only professional music ensemble specializing in the performance of new works in unconventional venues. Jerry Hui, Jonathan Kuuskoski and Paola Savvidou (below) formed the ensemble in August 2010 through generous support from the College Music Society Yamaha In-Residence Fellowship and the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission. Projects thus far have taken the group to such diverse venues as museums (MMoCA, Madison Children’s Museum), public spaces (a flash mob performance at the Dane County Farmer’s Market) and nightclubs (Plan B).

Each of these performances has presented a wide range of musical selections as well as interdisciplinary collaborations with dancers, spoken-word artists, and actors.

For more information and video samples of NEW MUSE’s work, see:

Starting at 6 p.m., the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras’ Board of Directors invites all members of our community to celebrate youth music education at the “Art of Note” Gala, WYSO’s annual fundraising event that recycles violins into art objects for sale. The gala will feature an evening of live music, delicious gourmet cuisine, wine, locally brewed beer, and live and silent auctions.

The Art of Note Gala will be held at Full Compass Systems, 9770 Silicon Prairie Parkway in Madison. Tickets are $100 per person in advance, $110 at the door. $70 of each ticket is tax-deductible. Guests may also purchase a table for 8 for $750.

There will be a Cinco de Mayo-themed dinner and bid on fine dining, event tickets, travel packages and many other items at the live or silent auctions. You can preview many of these auction items at

The gala will include performances by the young musicians of WYSO’s Percussion Ensemble and Chamber Music Ensembles.

Proceeds of the gala will help support all aspects of the WYSO program for young people, including high quality orchestral training, performance opportunities, student scholarships, orchestra tours, and master classes with professional musicians.

The Art of Note Gala is sponsored by Boardman Clark Law Firm, The Century House, C.K. Chang, CUNA Mutual Group, EnRich Financial Partners, Full Compass Systems, Goldstein & Associates, Goodman’s Jewelers, Lynn’s of Madison, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP, Tetrad, Inc., Wallman Investment Counsel, and Wegner CPAs.

Call (608) 263-3320 x 11 for more information or to purchase tickets.

At 7 p.m. in the First Unitarian Society Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive, Harper Tasche will perform a solo harp recital. For more information, call (608) 347-9912.

At 7:30 p.m. in the Wisconsin Union Theater, pianist Peter Serkin will perform works by Oliver Knussen, Toru Takemitsu and Charles Wuorinen. The program will conclude with Beethoven’s epic “Thirty-Three Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli,” Op. 120.

Tickets cost $10-$42 and can be purchased through Campus Arts Ticketing by phone at (608) 265-ARTS or in person at the Union Theater Box Office or the Vilas Hall Box Office, and online at:,

For more information and  videos, visit:


From 12:30 to 2 p.m. “Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” offers the Lawrence Chamber Players in Brittingham Gallery Number III at the Chazen Museum of Art. The program includes works of Shostakovich and Brahms. The concert will be broadcast live by Wisconsin Public Radio.

The Lawrence Chamber Players, the string ensemble in residence at the Lawrence University Conservatory in Appleton, Wis., is made up of Samantha George, Wen-Lei Gu, Alenka Donovan and Claire Gerhardt, violins; Matthew Michelic, viola; Janet Anthony, cello; Mark Urness, bass; and Michael Mizrahi, piano.

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 will follow the performance with treats, coffee, and tea donated by local businesses. We would like to thank our generous donors, Fresh Madison Market, Steep & Brew, and Coffee Bytes. A free docent-led tour in the Chazen galleries begins every Sunday at 2 p.m.

At 1 p.m. in Mill Hall, the UW Concert Band, directed by Michael Leckrone (below), will perform a FREE concert.

At 2:30 p.m. in Edgewood College’s St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood Drive, the Campus-Community Choir will perform to benefit music scholarships. Admission is $7 at the door.

At 4 p.m. in Mills Hall the UW Chamber Orchestra (below), conducted by James Smith, with horn soloist Daniel Grabois, will perform a FREE concert.  The program includes “Radiant Mind” by Christopher Theofanidis (b. 1967); “Horn Concerto No. 2” by R. Strauss; and “Symphony No. 3” by Schubert.

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