The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Madison Symphony Orchestra concerts this weekend feature three local debuts — by a woman conductor, a Grammy-winning cellist and an immigrant composer | October 17, 2018

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By Jacob Stockinger

Three local debuts will take place this weekend in the three “Epic Romance” concerts by the Madison Symphony Orchestra (below).

Renowned Canadian guest conductor Tania Miller will lead the MSO while music director John DeMain makes his debut at the Liceu Theater in Barcelona, conducting the opera Candide in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth.

Grammy Award-winning American cellist Zuill Bailey will make his Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) solo debut in Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto.

And Canadian composer Michael Oesterle will be performed for the first time in Madison when his work Home” opens each concert.

The second half of the program is Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.

Performances will be held in Overture Hall of the Overture Center, 2912 State Street, on Friday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m.; on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m.; and on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 2:30 p.m.

Here are more details:

Canadian Conductor Tania Miller has distinguished herself as a dynamic interpreter, musician and innovator, on the podium and off. She has been praised for “energy, grace, precision and restraint.” She has appeared as a guest conductor in Canada, the United States and Europe with such orchestras as the Bern Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony and the Vancouver Symphony, among others.

Over a 14-year tenure as the Music Director of the Victoria Symphony in Canada, Miller (below) gained national acclaim for her passion and commitment to the orchestra and community. Recipient of the 2017 Friends of Canadian Music award from the Canadian League of Composers for her acclaimed commitment to contemporary music in Canada, Miller has been an example of the impact of commitment and dedication to an orchestra and to the future of orchestral music through creative innovation and vision.

You can hear Tania Miller discuss women conductors in the informative YouTube video at the bottom.(But please be forewarned: YouTube was having major technical issues and glitches last night that affected all their videos on this blog, not just this one. If it doesn’t load when you try, wait and then try again.) 

Zuill Bailey (below), described by Classical Net as “easily one of the finest cellists today,” has been featured with symphony orchestras worldwide, including Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Israel, Cape Town, and the Bruckner Orchestra in Linz, Austria. Bailey has also appeared at Disney Hall, the Kennedy Center, the United Nations, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.

In 2017, Bailey won a best solo performance Grammy Award for his live recording of “Tales of Hemingway,” by composer Michael Daugherty. His celebrated “Bach Cello Suites” and recently released Britten Cello Symphony and Sonata CD with pianist Natasha Paremski immediately rose to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard magazine Classical Chart.

His Cello Concerto was the last notable work by Sir Edward Elgar (below), composed in 1919 in the aftermath of World Ear I. Upon regaining consciousness following a 1918 tonsillectomy, Elgar immediately asked for pencil and paper and wrote down the melody that would become the first theme in this concerto.

Despite today’s renown as a crowd favorite, the piece did not achieve wide popularity until the 1960s, when a recording by Jacqueline du Pré caught the public’s attention, and it became a classical favorite.

Michael Oesterle’s “Home” had its world premiere in November 2017 with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra and conductor Tania Miller.

The piece is an homage to the great geographical ebb and flow of humanity, also known as the immigrant experience. Oesterle (below) notes, “I wrote it through the filter of my personal impressions as an immigrant, and with the realization that this subject is humbling in its breadth.”

Composed between May and August 1888, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 was first performed in St. Petersburg at the Mariinsky Theatre with Tchaikovsky below) conducting.

Unlike its two predecessors, there is no known program for the Fifth Symphony, save for a recurring main theme heard throughout all four movements. Over the years this theme has become known as the “fate” motive; its original ominous character undergoes various metamorphoses, emerging triumphant in the score’s concluding pages.


The lobby opens 90 minutes prior to each concert. One hour before each performance, Madison Symphony Chorus Director and UW-Madison director of choral activities Beverly Taylor (below) will lead a 30-minute Prelude Discussion in Overture Hall to enhance concertgoers’ understanding and listening experience. It is free to ticket holders.

The MSO recommends concert attendees arrive early for each performance to make sure they have time to pass through Overture Center’s security stations, and so they can experience the Prelude Discussion.

Program notes for the concerts are available online:

Tickets can be purchased in the following ways:

  • Single Tickets are $18-$93 each and are on sale now at: through the Overture Center Box Office at 201 State Street, or by calling the Box Office at (608) 258-4141. Fees apply to online/phone sales.
  • Groups of 10 or more can save 25% by calling the MSO office at (608) 257-3734. For more information, visit,
  • Student rush tickets can be purchased in person on the day of the concert at the Overture Center Box Office at 201 State Street. Students must show a valid student ID and can receive up to two $15 or $20 tickets. More information is at:
  • Seniors age 62 and up receive 20% savings on advance and day-of-concert ticket purchases in select areas of the hall.
  • Subscribers to 5 or more symphony subscription concerts can save up to 50% off single ticket prices. More information is available about the season at:
  • Flex-ticket booklets of 10 vouchers for 18-19 symphony subscription concerts are available. Learn more at:

Discounted seats are subject to availability, and discounts may not be combined.

Find more information, go to

Major funding for the October concert is provided by: Mirror 34 Productions and National Guardian Life Insurance Company. Additional funding is provided by John A. Johnson Foundation, a component fund of the Madison Community Foundation, Barbara J. Merz, Selma Van Eyck, and the Wisconsin Arts Board, with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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  1. Dear Ear – Hello from Madison’s Polish Heritage Club. We are co-sponsors of an October 21 concert by Igor Lipinski at Mills Hall. it is not yet listed on the UW’s Music calendar.

    Please contact Szymon Wozniczka for information: 608-577-3897 or

    Is this the best way to contact you?

    Sincerely, Rose Meinholz, Newsletter Editor

    2018 marks Poland’s 100th Anniversary of Independence. October is also Polish American Heritage Month.

    To celebrate, Madison’s Polish Heritage Club presents several events and an exhibit. All are free and open to the public.



    Prof. Igor Lipinski solo piano recital of Polish classical music poster attached

    What: compositions by Chopin, Szymanowski, Paderewski, Bacewicz, Mykietyn

    When: Sunday, October 21st, 2018 at 4 PM

    Cost: FREE (donations welcomed)

    Where: Mills Concert Hall at Mead Witter UW- Madison School of Music

    Address: 455 North Park St , Madison , WI 53706

    Contact Info: Call Szymon at 608-577-3897 or

    Check the updates on FB event page (type “Igor Lipinski Recital in Madison “)

    Visit the Polish Heritage Club’s website to see videos of Lipinski’s past performances”


    On Sunday, October 21st, 2018, at 4 PM, Professor Igor Lipinski will perform a solo piano recital with commentary at Mills Concert Hall of UW-Madison Mead Witter School of Music.

    Mills Hall is located at 455 North Park St , Madison , WI 53706

    At this FREE CONCERT, Prof. Igor Lipinski will perform music by the 19th through 21st century Polish composers: Fryderyk (Frederic) Chopin, Karol Szymanowski, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Grazyna Bacewicz, Pawel Mykietyn. Since classical music from Poland has been rarely performed in concert halls in Madison, this recital will be a unique occasion to experience Poland ‘s musical heritage and diversity.

    This concert also commemorates the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence at the conclusion of WWI, after 123 years of its partition and disappearance from the map of Europe. Please join our local Polish community in celebrating this joyous occasion through appreciation of beautiful and captivating music from some of the Poland ‘s most important composers.

    This event is organized by the Polish Student Association of UW-Madison and Mad-PolKA Productions, with cooperation and financial support provided by Lapinski Fund (UW-Madison German, Nordic and Slavic Dept) and the Polish Heritage Club – Madison, WI as well as Sounds & Notes Foundation from Chicago. Thanks to all the sponsors and community support, this concert is FREE and open to the public.

    About the performer:

    Prof. Igor Lipinski is native to Poland and currently teaching at the University of Oklahoma. Igor Lipinski, at age of 12, won a Grand Prix at the Paderewski Piano Competition for Young Pianists in Poland. He is a musician, piano teacher, performer and also a magician, sometimes surprisingly combining all of his interests together during his performances. Igor received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the Northwestern University and since then performed over 100 concerts, both solo and with orchestras, all over the USA. This will be his first performance in Madison, WI .

    About The Composers: (based on information from []

    Fryderyk (Frederic) Chopin (1810-1849) – born in Poland , but also composed and performed in Germany , Vienna and France. he is probably the most prominent Polish composer as well as pianist and performer. Much of Chopin’s inspiration came from Polish village music from the Mazovia region; Chopin composed 57 mazurkas – one of his most beloved type of compositions. He also composed numerous polonaises, concertos, nocturnes and sonatas.

    Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) – part of the “Young Poland” group of composers at the beginning of 20th century. Szymanowski composed operas, ballets, sonatas, concertos, cycle of songs, string quartets. Many of his compositions were also inspired by Polish folk music, including the famous ballet “Harnasie” based on the culture of Polish highlanders which Karol experienced while living in Zakopane.

    Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) – was a remarkable figure in Poland ‘s turn of the century history. He was a pianist, composer, statesman, politician, philanthropist, actor, businessman, patron of the arts and architecture, winegrower and humanitarian. As a pianist, he was praised for his interpretations of music of Chopin, Liszt, Bach and Beethoven. He successfully toured western Europe before eventually setting off for the USA . Starting with his first 1891 tour he crossed US about 30 times in his 50 year career. He was a very popular, charismatic and somewhat extravagant, which eventually resulted in “Paddymania” phenomenon. He was largely influenced by Chopin in his composition of sonatas, concertos, polonaises, Polish dances, symphonies, mazurkas, krakowiaks, minuets and even one opera. He also relentlessly supported and lobbied for Poland ‘s independence as WWI unraveled. He influenced US politicians and played a crucial diplomatic role in Poland regaining its independence in 1911.

    Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) – violinist, pianist, teacher, writer and composer was one of the few female classical music composers at the time in Poland and in the world. Thanks to a generous grant from Ignacy Jan Paderewski she was able to study music in Paris . She composed numerous concertos, string quartets, sonatas, symphonies.

    Pawel Mykietyn (1971- ) – composer, clarinetist, member of Nonstrom Ensemble. In 1995, he won a first prize in the young composers category during the UNESCO composers competition in Paris .

    Mykietyn’s composing style is at times aggressive and post-modern, incorporating sharp rhythms to create a vivid and provocative sound. He composed concertos, sonatas, symphonies, preludes and string quartets.



    Comment by Rosie Meinholz Larry Hochman — October 17, 2018 @ 8:31 am

    • Hi, I am sure the community welcomes your information and the program certainly looks inviting.

      May I ask one question, and I assure you, I mean no disrespect. You are indicating this is the 100th anniversary of Polish Independence but was not Poland completely lost in about 1939 (to a division between Germany and Soviet Russia)? It was, of course, an impossible position for any country (and people) to be in, caught between those giant, and then, hostile countries.


      Comment by fflambeau — October 18, 2018 @ 5:42 am

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