The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Madison’s Oakwood Chamber Players kicks off its 28th season of neglected composers and works this Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

September 12, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

Given the high level of its playing and its devotion to overlooked composers and unusual repertoire, the Oakwood Chamber Players might just be the most overlooked and underrated chamber music group in Madison.

The players have many affiliations with other professional groups in Madison. They include  (below): Nancy Mackenzie, Leyla Sanyer, Vincent Fuh, Amanda King Szczys, Anne Aley, Christopher Dozoryst, Maggie Darby Townsend, and Marilyn Chohaney

The group’s 28th annual season starts this weekend, on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, which means, unfortunately, it is going up against the season openers of the Pro Arte and Ancora string quartets. 

Still, the Oakwood Chamber Players have much to recommend them.

Each of the Oakwood season’s concerts features a collection of pieces with a common theme. For example, the first concert — “Twenty-somethings” — features pieces written by composers in their twenties.

Performances are Saturday Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Oakwood Village University Oaks Auditorium, 6209 Mineral Point Road, on Madison’s far west side; and on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 1:30 p.m. in the UW Madison Arboretum’s Visitor Center Auditorium (below).

The program includes Alexander Borodin’s String Trio; Maurice Durufle’s Trio for flute, viola and piano; Kaspar Kummer’s Trio for flute, clarinet and bassoon, and Svend Erik Tarp’s Serenade for winds and strings.

Tickets are available at the door – $20 general admission, $15 seniors and $5 students

Here are some program notes for the first concerts provided by the group:

“The unstoppable creative force of young composers is celebrated on the first concert of the Oakwood Chamber Players season.  Each of the composers featured on the program wrote captivating music while in their twenties, many while juggling multiple career interests.

“The youthful energy and enthusiasm for music is tangible in the featured compositions. For example, as a fine amateur cellist, Russian composer Alexander Borodin wrote charming chamber music (at bottom, his String Trio) throughout his twenties, yet in his chosen career in the sciences, Borodin lead a remarkable life as a prestigious innovator in the field of chemistry.

Composer Kaspar Kummer, was gifted as a technically dazzling flute player and his popularity sent him on frequent tours throughout Europe. Throughout his twenties he added many delightful pieces of chamber music featuring the flute, including the wind trio programmed on the concert.

Music by the young Parisian organist Maurice Durufle (below with top), and by Svend Erik Tarp (below bottom), Danish musician and contemporary of Carl Nielsen, will round out the performances. Audiences will learn more about the lives of these young composers along with the Oakwood Chamber Player’s musical presentation.

Here is the rest of the 2012-13 season for the Oakwood Chamber Players:

Nov. 23: “Christmas Lights,” a tradition at Oakwood Village, showcases music of the season. Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at 2:30 and 7 p.m., Oakwood Village University Woods Auditorium (below):

February 2 and 3: “The Americas” features a blend of the music of North, Central and South American composers. On Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at 7 p.m., in the Oakwood Village University Woods Auditorium, and Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. in the UW Arboretum Visitor Center

March 16 and 17: “Influences” focuses on the works of French composers and their mentors. On Saturday, March 16, 2013 7 p.m., in the Oakwood Village University Woods Auditorium; on Sunday, March 17, 2013, at 1:30 p.m., UW Arboretum Visitor Center.

May 4 and 5: The finale, “The Movies,” features music from film. For this performance, Madison-area native and film music composer, Ian Honeyman, created a special arrangement of his music from Disney’s Lilly the Witch. On Saturday, May 4, 2013, at 7 p.m., in Oakwood Village University Woods Auditorium; on Sunday, May 5, 2013, 1:30 p.m., at the UW Arboretum Visitor Center.

Visit for more information, including specific programs and works.

The Oakwood Chamber Players are a professional music ensemble proudly supported by Oakwood Lutheran Senior Ministries and the Oakwood Foundation, in collaboration with Friends of the Arboretum, Inc.

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