The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music education: The University of Wisconsin-Madison will have a chamber orchestra after all for this season.

September 9, 2015
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

In the on again-off again saga of having a chamber orchestra at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, there is good news to report.

That is heartening to hear, given that the music school has been ranked in the Top 10 of the nation and a chamber orchestra is important for student education because it offers a very different educational experience than a symphony orchestra. (The UW-Madison continues to have the UW Symphony Orchestra.)

This academic year and concert season, 2015-16, the UW-Madison will indeed once again have a chamber orchestra (below), which, if The Ear recalls correctly, had been threatened earlier with the lack of various instruments and players of high enough quality.

That lack was blamed on the lack of scholarships to lure top students away from competing music schools.

UW Chamber Orchestra entire

First, it was the lack of winds and brass that threatened the orchestra.

So the chamber ensemble was redesigned as a string orchestra.

But even a couple of weeks ago, the stumbling block appeared to be a lack of violists.

But now that problem has apparently been solved.

Conductor James Smith sent The Ear a tentative schedule of concert programs for the first semester. And the repertoire – subject to change — looks quite engaging.

Here it is:

SUNDAY, OCT. 4, AT 2 P.M. IN MILLS HALL: Serenade for Strings by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and “Death and the Maiden” by Franz Schubert as arranged by Gustav Mahler.

SUNDAY, NOV. 1, AT 2 P.M. IN MILLS HALL: Chamber Symphony for String Orchestra by Dmitri Shostakovich as arranged by Russian violist and conductor Rudolf Barshai; and the Serenade, Op. 22, by Antonin Dvorak

SUNDAY, DEC. 6, AT 7:30 P.M. IN MILLS HALL: the haunting beat score “Apollon Musagete (Apollo, Father of the Muses, heard at bottom in a YouTube video) by Igor Stravinsky; and the Serenade, Op. 6, by Czech composer Josef Suk.


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