The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Madison Symphony Orchestra announces the new 2013-14 season of the Overture Concert Organ series, featuring sister violinists Alice and Eleanor Bartsch of Madison as well as local and imported talent in appealing and varied programs.

May 23, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

The news about new seasons continues to come in.

The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) has just announced the 2013-14 season of concerts with the Overture Concert Organ (below) that will feature the internationally renowned organist Janette Fishell, MSO Principal Organist Samuel Hutchison, MSO sister violinists Alice Bartsch and Eleanor Bartsch, and the Madison Youth Choirs.

Overture Concert Organ overview

Now the acclaimed Twin Sister duo of pianists Michelle and Christina Naughton can be joined by their violinist counterparts from Madison.

Program highlights include Julius Reubke’s Sonata on the 94th Psalm and double violin concertos by J. S. Bach and Antonio Vivaldi.

Subscriptions are available for $63 to the four-concert series, which has quietly become one of the best-attended organ seasons around.

The subscription deadline is June 28. Subscribers save 25 percent off the cost of single tickets and get the best seats before they go on sale to the general public on August 17.

Subscriptions, full details and concert programs are now available at

Here is an overview of the season with artists and programs:

Samuel Hutchison (below) opens the season on Friday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Overture Center‘s Overture Hall with a program of works by J. S. Bach, Gabriel Pierné, Marco Enrico Bossi and a special transcription of the waltz from Peter Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. The highlight of the program will be Hutchison’s interpretation of Julius Reubke’s Sonata on the 94th Psalm, which is considered one of the pinnacles of Romantic organ composition.

Hutchison has received rave reviews from the local press for his playing: The Capital Times said, “Simply ‘fantastique’! Hutchison delivered a seamless performance.” And John W. Barker, writing for Isthmus, said, “Hutchison took full measure of the work in the strongest performance of it I can recall hearing.”


MSO first violinists and sisters Alice Bartsch (below top) and Eleanor Bartsch (below bottom) join Hutchison on Friday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall with the Double Concerto by J. S. Bach and Antonio Vivaldi’s Double Concerto in D Minor.

Both sisters have distinguished themselves as stellar violinists and have won competitions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. Hutchison will round out the program with works by Marcel Dupré, Herbert Howells, Josef Rheinberger and Giacomo Meyerbeer.

Alice Bartsch

Eleanor Bartsch

Organist Janette Fishell (below) has performed in many of the world’s great concert venues and has just completed a 21-concert cycle of the complete works of J. S. Bach, which she talks about in the YouTube video at the bottom. Her program on Friday, March 21, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. includes works by J. S. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, Miloš Sokola, Robert Schumann, Lionel Rogg and others.

Fishell serves as Professor of Music and Chair of the Organ Department at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. She has been described as “a tour de force” in The Diapason, and her colleagues of the American Guild of Organists call her “fabulous…flawless!”

Janette Fishell CR Forrest Croce

The highly popular Madison Youth Choirs (Michael Ross, Artistic Director) bring the season to a close with Hutchison on Saturday, May 10, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall with a refreshing program of music for soprano, alto, tenor and bass mixed voices with treble singers.

The program includes works by John Rutter, J. S. Bach, Lili Boulanger, Herbert Howells and others. MSO Music Director John DeMain has said, “I can never say enough about the good work that Michael Ross does with the Madison Youth Choirs; they are an essential and beloved part of our Christmas concerts.”

madison youth choirs

The Overture Concert Organ is owned by the MSO. It is programmed and curated by MSO Principal Organist Samuel Hutchison. In addition to the subscription season, the instrument is featured in the MSO Christmas concerts and in the April, 2014 program, as well as the Free Farmers’ Market Concert series with three summer events and Free Community Hymn Sings, which take place four times per season.

Details can be found on the Web at

The Overture Concert Organ series is made possible by major funding from Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation and the Diane Endres Ballweg Fund. Additional sponsorships come from Friends of the Overture Concert Organ and John and Christine Gauder.

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