The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Less than two weeks remain to see the world-class Pro Arte String Quartet exhibit in Madison at the Dane County Regional Airport. It is a must-see and must-hear.

August 25, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

If your spring or summer travels haven’t taken you to Dane County Regional Airport, be sure to make a stop out there during the next two weeks.

That is where – through Sept. 3 — you will find an absolutely first-rate  and fabulous exhibit marking the centennial of the University of Wisconsin’s Pro Arte String Quartet (below, in a photo by Rick Langer) , which played four new commissions and recorded them last season to mark the occasion that made the Pro Arte the oldest continuing string quartet in history.

The exhibit (below) was painstakingly planned and put together by Paula Panczenko and her team from the UW Tandem Press, with special and outstanding help from artist and designer Andree Valley, who teaches at Madison College (formerly Madison Area Technical College.)

The exhibit has high-tech videos and podcasts (below) and low-tech scores and instruments. It is chock full of information about the quartet: its history in Belgium and then here in Madison where it was exiled after World War II interrupted its American tour; its many members over 100 years; its music, including manuscripts of new works; its recordings on LPs, tapes and CDs; its American, European and global tours as traced on maps; and much more. It really is a treat that surpasses even the highest expectations.

Here are some more photos I took of the exhibit that you will find in the main entry. I hope they entice you to go in person and spend some time looking closely and interacting with it. You won’t be sorry you did.


For more information about the Pro Arte Quartet, including photos, reviews and audio clips, visit the many samples on YouTube and the quartet’s home page at:

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