The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society in Madison comes of age this weekend – and opens its 21st summer season on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

June 14, 2012

Three Alerts: Just a reminder that three FREE classical music events will take place this Saturday in Madison.

From 10.a.m. to 3 p.m., the Henry Vilas Zoo will host the annual event for children and young people by Wisconsin Public Radio and the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO). Events includes performances, an instrument petting zoo and ice cream. Here is a link:

At 11 a.m., the Madison Symphony Orchestra will again start its FREE summer organ concerts in Overture Hall. For details visit:

At 8:30 p.m. in Mills Hall is a FREE concert with music by Bach, Villa-Lobos and others by the Cello Choir from the biennial summer cello institute being held at the UW-Madison through Saturday. Here is a link to details and the program:

By Jacob Stockinger

Though its members and guests artists have long played with the maturity, sensitivity and spontaneity of adults, this weekend – with concerts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday — Madison’s Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society really grows up and comes of age.

That is because the chamber music ensemble turns 21 years old.

Boy, those years went fast! Just ask co-founders flutist Stephanie Jutt and pianist Jeffrey Sykes (bel0w).

So what is an appropriate theme for this group that likes fun and puns?

MIXOLOGY, of course — that is, the art of mixed drinks. BDDS is legal now – though when it comes to classical music, they have long been intoxicated and intoxicating. So programs have been given names like “White Russian,” “B&B,” “Manhattan,” “Old-Fashioned” and “Kir Royale.” All to serve “Bartender Bach,” as you can see on the home page of BDDS, which is given below.


Tune into WORT (89.9 FM) this morning 5 – 8 a.m., to hear an interview with Stephanie Jutt during the classical music show. 

Then, listen to WERN (88.7 FM) today at noon, to hear Norman Gilliland host BDDS live.   

The overall theme of this new summer season may have changed. But from what The Ear sees on the schedule of composers, works and performers, between this weekend and July 1 BDDS will offer the same first-rate chamber music — WITH A BANG, as BDDS says about its penchant for surprises and informal fun — that its loyal fans have become accustomed to over two decades.

As in recent years, BDDS will be performing in three venues, plus at the Green Lake Festival; The Playhouse in the Overture Center; the Hillside Theatre (below) at Taliesin in Spring Green; and at the charmingly and handsomely restored Stoughton Opera House. All draw big crowds and enthusiastic audiences.

Of course co-founders and co-directors pianist Jeffrey Sykes and flutist Stephanie Jutt will be playing.  For my piece on the talented Sykes, a pianist for all seasons and styles, visit:“let-us-now-praise-pianist-jef/

I am especially pleased that local and imported guest artists such as pianist Randall Hodgkinson, harpsichordist Layton James, cellists Jean-Michel Fonteneau  and Parry Karp, percussionist Dane Richeson, and violinists Carmit Zori and Axel Strauss (below) are returning.

I also like that we will hear our share of certified masterworks, including Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in C Minor, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A Minor, Brahms’ Piano Quintet, Schubert’s Cello Quintet (at bottom), Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, and Stravinsky’s “Suite Italienne.” There are also great works by American masters Leonard Bernstein (below), Samuel Barber and Ned Rorem.

In addition, some of the unusual transcriptions and arrangements I always look forward to are making reappearances. That includes a chamber version by Hummel of Mozart’s sublimely beautiful Piano Concerto in D Minor and another chamber version of Haydn’s Symphony No. 85 “La Reine” (The Queen). (Below is a chamber version of a Haydn symphony they did last year at the Stoughton Opera House.)

And of course BDDS will once expose us to some otherwise neglected composers and works including those by Marcelle de Manziarly, Andre Jolivet and Kenji Bunch (below).

There will be more stunning stage installations (below, one from last year in the Overture Center’s Playhouse), fun door prizes and surprise guests.

Adds BDDS’ s Executive Director and chief problem-solver Samantha Crownover: “We’ve got drink special tie-ins with a few places around Madison: Tornado Room, Tempest Oyster Bar, Fresco and Merchant.  Of course we’ll have a bar at The Playhouse, too, and audience members can actually bring their cocktails into the theater (in those adult sippy cups).  We’ll see how that goes!”

BDDS will have another FREE Family Concert at Overture on June 23. It will feature lots of percussion and two pianos!  Then in Stoughton, at the Stoughton Opera House (below), on June 29, we’ll be filmed for Wisconsin Public Television’s Jewel Box Theater Series.

The venues, programs and list of artists are really too extensive for me to list here separately. But trust The Ear, you are sure to find a MUST-HEAR concert on the list – and probably more than one. BDDS is THAT good. So for more information about concert, programs and tickets, visit the BDDS website:

You will have fun just contemplating what difficult choice you’ll make – but nowhere near the fun of actually attending a BDDS concert. Their audiences invariably love them and reward the players with a standing ovation.

I’ll drink to that! Cheers!

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