The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Help restore a historic coop piano. This Saturday is the first of two concerts to benefit the Mason and Hamlin grand at Arboretum Cohousing (Arbco). Trevor Stephenson will perform on harpsichord and piano. Plus, tonight is composer Nils Bultmann’s CD party at the Overture Center.

November 8, 2013

ALERT: Blog friend and guest blogger Mikko Utevsky writes: “There  will be a fun and unusual concert tonight at 6 p.m. in the Overture Center‘s Promenade Hall. (Tickets are $10-$15.) Madison-born Nils Bultmann is a very good violist with a unique and quirky compositional style that I find immensely enjoyable to perform, and he is giving a CD pre-release performance. The program will be a viola extravaganza with several players from the UW-Madison joining him onstage, including Sally Chisholm and myself, for a series of 10 duets he composed. There will also be dance by Jin-Wen Yu. More information is below. That night is also the UW Concert Choir and Chorale concert at 8 p.m and the Bartsch sisters with the Overture Organ at 7:30 p.m., so it’s a full docket. But Nils, Sally and I would all appreciate if you can toss a mention of this in.”

Nils Bultmann - Headshot

By Jacob Stockinger

A while ago, The Ear put out the call for guest bloggers.

Janet Murphy responded with the following blog post about a concert that is coming this Saturday night and that will benefit the restoration of the historic grand piano at Arboretum Cohousing.

Here is some information from Janet: “I received my bachelors and masters in musicology from the University of Michigan. After toiling in the music industry for 20 years, I got a bachelors in nursing from UW, and have worked as an RN (Registered Nurse) ever since. 

“Music is now my hobby. I sing in the UW Choral Union, play with an informal recorder group, and I am currently taking banjo lessons. Needless to say I am a big fan of The Well-Tempered Ear. I hope you will consider coming to the concerts. They will be great fun.”

Here is the guest post, with many of her own photos, by Janet Murphy (below):

Janet Murphy

By Janet Murphy

Arboretum Cohousing is delighted to present two benefit concerts to raise funds for the restoration of their Common House grand piano (below).

Arbco Grand Piano

The first concert will be this Saturday, November 9, by the celebrated keyboardist and historian Trevor Stephenson of Madison. The second will be Saturday January 18 by Metropolitan Opera star and Madison resident mezzo-soprano Kitt Reuter Foss. Both concerts are at 7 p.m. and will take place at 1137 Erin St., next to St. Marys Hospital and near the UW-Madison Arboretum.

These will certainly be very nice concerts, but there are many very nice concerts in the Madison area … an embarrassment of riches, really.  So, why make a point of attending these two concerts?


1) Arboretum Cohousing (aka Arbco) is an intentional living community located in the heart of Madison’s Greenbush neighborhood.  With 40 units and 85 members, it is the largest of Madison’s three cohousing communities.  Living in cohousing is very special, and it’s worth a visit to see what it’s all about. If you have never been to a cohousing, this is your chance.

Arboretum Cohousing Arbco

2) Featured at each concert will be the exceptional Mason Hamlin Model AA 1930 Grand Piano that resides at Arbco. Built during the golden age of grand pianos, this fine instrument was recently restored by one of Madison’s preeminent piano technicians, Jim Forrest (below, with owner Lucy Moore).

Jim Forrest & Lucy Moore, owner

Steinway and Mason & Hamlin were in fierce competition in pre-depression era America to see who could build the superior piano. Many felt Mason & Hamlin won.

Mason and Hamlin harp and strings

3) Sweets, savories and beverages will be provided by Arbco.  If you have attended any of their craft fairs, blood drives, sing-a-longs, dances, you know Arbco knows how to lay out a spread and have fun in their spacious Common House.  What is a Common House?  Come see.

4) Trevor Stephenson, the founder and director of the Madison Bach Musicians, is so entertaining, and so broadly talented.  He is bringing along his 8-foot, circa 1720-style, double manual harpsichord.  Expect a journey through three centuries of keyboard music, and expect that he will make you laugh. Stephenson writes: “I’ll perform music by Bach, Couperin, Handel and Scarlatti on my double manual harpsichord. For the second half I’ll play works by Chopin, Brahms and Joplin on Arbco’s beautiful, newly restored vintage Mason Hamlin grand piano. Proceeds from the concert will raise funds for the recently completed restoration of this instrument–a Mason Hamlin Model AA from 1930.

Trevor Stephenson Explains

5) Mezzo-soprano Kitt Reuter Foss is the only person from Wisconsin to ever win the Metropolitan Opera Auditions.  We are lucky to have her living in Madison, but we don’t have enough opportunities to see her locally.  January 18 is your chance.  Like Trevor, she has a broad repertoire, and will be showing off both her classical and popular chops.

kitt reuter foss

Tickets are $25 for each concert  Tickets can be reserved online, in person or by mail at Arboretum Cohousing (members are below, forming a tree): or,  or by calling (608) 260-0284.

Arbco members as a tree

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