The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: J.S. Bach turns 330 on Saturday. At noon in Grace Episcopal Church, the Madison Bach Musicians mark the event with a FREE concert of baroque music. On SATURDAY night at 8 the Wisconsin Brass Quintet plays a FREE concert in Mills Hall. And on Sunday afternoon, Madison native pianist Kathryn Ananda-Owens performs a Mozart concerto at St. Olaf College, and the performance will be streamed live. | March 20, 2015

By Jacob Stockinger

Three items deserve attention today.


This Saturday is the 330th birthday of composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). That means you can expect to hear a lot of Bach played on Wisconsin Public Radio and streamed by other radio stations and music institutions from around the country and world.


To mark the occasion, the program “Grace Presents” – which takes place at Grace Episcopal Church, 116 West Washington Avenue, on the Capitol Square – is presenting a FREE concert by the early music group the Madison Bach Musicians from noon to 1 p.m.

grace episcopal church ext

MBM Grace altar

Explains MBM founder and director Trevor Stephenson: “Madison Bach Musicians (MBM) was formed to foster a love of music and to provide education about great music within the community. MBM is dedicated to presenting the music of Bach-as well as works by other great composers of the Baroque, Renaissance and Classical periods — to both the general public and to educational institutions through performances, lectures, and workshops.

“Bach’s music was chosen as a focal point because of its outstanding beauty, variety and profundity, and because it speaks with urgency to modern audiences.

In pursuit of the greatest clarity of musical texture, MBM performs primarily on period instruments, using historically informed performance practices, and the ensemble sizes are typical of those used by Bach himself. MBM provides a unique forum for experienced professional and exceptionally talented young professional musicians to work together in an exciting period performance style.”

Grace Presents is a FREE monthly concert series that takes place in the historic Grace Church on Madison’s Capitol Square. The series features a diverse range of music, everything from classical and folk to jazz and bluegrass.

Members of the Madison Bach Musicians (below) include: Kangwon Kim, baroque violin; Martha Vallon, viola da gamba and baroque cello; Chelsea Morris, soprano; and Trevor Stephenson, harpsichord.

Kangwon KIm with Madison Bach Musicians

Here is the program for Saturday’s concert:

Sonata No. 4 in D major from Sonatae unarum fidium by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (below, 1623-1680)

Johann Heinrich Schmelzer

Sonata in G Major, BWV 1027, by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Adagio; Allegro ma non tanto; Andante;  Allegro moderato

Prelude & Fugue in E-flat minor, from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I by Johann Sebastian Bach

Violin Sonata in F major, HWV 370, by George Frideric Handel (below, 1685-1759)

Adagio; Allegro;  Largo; Allegro

handel big 2

Recitative and Aria from “Ach Gott, wie manches HerzeleidBWV 58, by Johann Sebastian Bach. (You can hear the beautiful music in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

Aria from “Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm” BWV 171, by J.S. Bach 

The harpsichord (below) to be played in Saturday’s concert was made by area instrument builder Norman Sheppard in 2009 and is modeled on a circa 1720 German double-manual instrument by Michael Mietke of Berlin, one that Bach bought and used.

PLEASE NOTE: Madison Bach Musicians will repeat the FREE concert on this Sunday, March 22, at 3 p.m. in the West Middleton Lutheran Church, 3763 Pioneer Road in Verona.



The Wisconsin Brass Quintet (below, in a photo by Megan Aley) performs a FREE concert SATURDAY night at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall — NOT tonight as incorrectly first stated here.

The program includes music by William Mathias, James Stephenson, Anders Hillborg and Malcolm Arnold.

Here is a link to background about the members of the faculty ensemble that was founded in 1972 at the UW-Madison School of Music:

Here is link to the program:

Wisconsin Brass Quintet on Mendota K. Esposito


The following news has come to the attention of The Ear: Pianist Kathryn Ananda-Owens (below), is a graduate of James Madison Memorial High School on Madison’s far west side and the first winner of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Neale-Silva Young Artists Competition. She was promoted to full professor at St. Olaf College in February.

Kathryn Ananda-Owens, horizontal

On this Sunday at 3:30 p.m., with the St. Olaf Orchestra, she will perform the dark, dramatic and lovely Piano Concerto in D Minor, K. 466, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (below) — with her own cadenzas. (The concert will be live-streamed. St. Olaf officials say to tune in 10 minutes ahead).

For anyone who might be interested, here is the link to the streaming part of the website, and scroll to March 22:

By way of background, the Mozart piano concerto cadenzas were the study of Ananda-Owens’ doctoral dissertation and lecture recital at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore that is attached to Johns Hopkins University.

Mozart old 1782

Mozart wrote cadenzas for some, but not all, of his 27 piano concertos. No one else has analyzed the topic in-depth, and she is more than halfway through turning her dissertation into a book, thanks to a sabbatical during academic year 2012-13. She annually lectures at the Juilliard School (and occasionally at some other places, including internationally) on this topic.


  1. More info on “Bach in the Subways” (TIP: you don’t need to play in a subway to do this).

    What is Bach in the Subways?

    There are three core elements to a Bach in the Subways Day performance:

    1) Play J.S. Bach any time from 12:00 am to 11:59 pm on Saturday, March 21, 2015.

    2) Make sure your performance is open & accessible to all.

    3) Decline donations and instead offer your music as a gift.

    The rest is up to the creativity, ingenuity, and invention of the musicians and organizers involved. See our guidelines for more info.
    How do I participate?

    To join us simply email with your idea. We’ll help you list your performance on the website, and also make sure you get some Bach in the Subways Day cards. We can also help connect you with other Bach in the Subways performers and organizers in your city.
    Do I have to play in the subways to join Bach in the Subways Day?

    Absolutely not. Although Bach in the Subways originated in the subways of New York City, some cities don’t have subways, and other cities have such strict rules that playing music there is impossible. The most important idea behind Bach in the Subways has always been to bring Bach to as many people across the world as possible. Musicians who cannot access subways can perform wherever there are souls to hear the music – in malls, on the street, in churches, schools, coffee shops, airports, and more.
    Can I choose when & where I want to play? What if I want to play in a duo or other ensemble?

    Each and every Bach in the Subways Day performance is entirely the result of the initiative and passion of the musicians involved. We encourage performers to be creative in exploring and finding venues, and also in arranging interesting ensembles. Solos are always welcome too!Can I accept money or donations?

    No! Bach in the Subways has always been a shared gift of musical love & joy and we want to keep it that way. See our guidelines for more info.
    Do I have to be a professional musician? Do I have to be a classical musician?

    No & no. While many high caliber professional classical musicians are involved, what we’re doing is for everyone. If you can play Bach then you can perform on Bach in the Subways Day.
    Can I promote my CD/website/orchestra/etc. while I perform on Bach in the Subways Day?

    Please do! Musicians are invited to provide whatever promotional materials they wish during Bach in the Subways Day performances as long as nothing is offered for sale before, during, or immediately after each performance. See our guidelines for more info.
    Should I record my Bach in the Subways Day performance?

    We strongly encourage performers to record and post their Bach in the Subways Day videos and pictures online with the hashtag #BachInTheSubwaysDay2015. You can also email them to us so we can share them on the Bach in the Subways Facebook & Twitter pages.
    Do I have to play Bach?

    We urge all participating musicians to stick to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.
    How can I support and promote Bach in the Subways Day in my city and around the world?

    You can distribute cards and flyers, and you can be creative and come up with your own unique way to join the Bach in the Subways movement and bring more Bach to the world! Write us at to discuss the infinite possibilities!
    Need music?
    Hundreds of free, public domain Bach scores and transcriptions for an enormous variety of solo instruments and ensembles can be found at the Petrucci Music Library, International Music Score Library Project.



    Comment by fflambeau — March 21, 2015 @ 8:13 pm

  2. “The power & beauty of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music consistently transcend social & musical boundaries and inspire deep appreciation and strong emotion. Sadly, in many countries classical music audiences continue to shrink. In 2010, convinced this trend was largely because many people never have the chance to experience classical live and up close, and believing Bach to be the perfect ambassador for his art form, Dale Henderson began frequent performances of the Bach Cello Suites in the subways of New York City. Feeling the experience was infinitely more powerful with money removed from the equation, Henderson declined donations and instead offered audiences free postcards explaining his intentions. His efforts, which he called “Bach in the Subways,” garnered appreciative attention from media & musicians and on March 21, 2011 – Bach’s 326th birthday – Henderson invited other musicians to join him. Bach in the Subways Day was born. Through Henderson’s initiative and the work of similarly impassioned people everywhere, Bach in the Subways has grown from a single cellist playing alone in the subways of New York City to a global movement with thousands of musicians around the world offering Bach’s music freely to the public on Bach’s birthday.

    At heart, Bach in the Subways is an invitation. It’s an invitation for musicians to connect with their audience in an unusually pure and open way. It’s an invitation to the audience, most importantly to the multitudes who would otherwise never encounter live classical music, to experience the magic of an art form which is cloistered away from the mainstream for reasons having nothing to do with the raw experience of musician and audience.”


    Great idea to get more people interested in classical music!


    Comment by fflambeau — March 21, 2015 @ 8:07 pm

  3. Some highlights of Bach’s 330th birthday:
    1. A NYC celebration concert featuring award winning cellist Yosif Feigelson playing Bach’s beloved 6 Suites for Cello;

    2. The most unusual, and international event, though, is definitely the “Bach in the Subways” series of concerts (world wide).

    “Bach in the Subways” is an international movement founded by cellist Dale Henderson to sow the seeds for future generations of classical music lovers by generating public interest and excitement for the art form. Every year on March 21, Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday, musicians around the world celebrate Bach in the Subways Day by offering performances of his music in subways, public spaces, and concerts open to all. The music is given freely as a gift, and as an invitation to further explore classical music. No need for a subway; just substitute a park or a sidewalk. See

    Go to that link and you will see many of the cities where the celebration will be held including: Seoul, Korea; Lviv, Ukraine; Tokyo, Japan; Seattle, Washington, USA; LA, and of course, Leipzig, Germany where Bach lived for decades.

    I saw no events listed here for Madison. at the website’s international program finder. Why not? Why not? If not this year, then there’s always next….!


    Comment by fflambeau — March 21, 2015 @ 8:04 pm

  4. Happy Birthday to the great J.S. Bach! He’s 330 and still going strong. My nominee for the greatest musician of all time (followed closely by W.A. Mozart).


    Comment by fflambeau — March 20, 2015 @ 10:34 pm

  5. The posted photo on Facebook was saying the Brass concert is tonight,.


    Comment by Lynn Morgan — March 20, 2015 @ 9:14 am

  6. Thanks for the nice Grace Presents feature, Jake. We always appreciate your support and this will be one of our most special concerts.

    I think, that tonight in Mills is the UW Percussion Ensemble’s 50th Anniversary concert and that the UW Brass concert is on Saturday. Am I mistaken?


    Comment by Lynn Morgan — March 20, 2015 @ 9:01 am

    • The posted photo on Facebook was saying the Brass concert is tonight.


      Comment by Lynn Morgan — March 20, 2015 @ 9:13 am

      • You are right again. I took it down.


        Comment by welltemperedear — March 20, 2015 @ 9:15 am

      • Lynn,
        The Brass concert is indeed tomorrow night — SATURDAY.
        I canceled the Facebook post.


        Comment by welltemperedear — March 20, 2015 @ 9:17 am

    • Hi Lynn,
      No you are absolutely right.
      It was my mistake.
      I am sorry an apologize.
      But I have fixed the blog to reflect the correction.
      And I have taken the Facebook post down.
      Thank you for your help.


      Comment by welltemperedear — March 20, 2015 @ 9:15 am

      • You’re welcome! I just didn’t want people showing up expecting brass! But, that percussion concert will be mighty special too. So many great music choices this weekend- as usual!


        Comment by Lynn Morgan — March 20, 2015 @ 9:18 am

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