The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Pianists Peter Serkin and Julia Hsu will play works for piano-four hands by Mozart, Schubert, Schumann and Brahms this Saturday night at Farley’s House of Pianos.

March 31, 2015

By Jacob Stockinger

Our friends at Farley’s House of Pianos write to the blog with news of a noteworthy piano concert this Saturday night:

Renowned American pianist Peter Serkin (below top) and Julia Hsu (below bottom) will perform piano, four-hand pieces by Schumann, Bizet, Mozart and more, as part of the Salon Piano Series concerts held at Farley’s House of Pianos at 6522 Seybold Road on Madison’s far west side near West Towne.

Peter Serkin

Julia Hsu

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday night, April 4 and will include an introduction by Karlos Moser (below), a retired University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of music and former longtime director of the University Opera at the UW-Madison School of Music.

Karlos Moser

The program includes: Six Etudes in the Form of Canons for Pedal-Piano, Op. 56, by Robert Schumann; Three Pieces from “Jeux d’Enfants” (Children’s Games) by Georges Bizet; the Sonata in B flat Major, K. 358, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; the Allegro ma non troppo in A minor (the dramatic and lyrical “Lebenssturme” or “Lifestorms” that you can hear in a live performance in a YouTube video at the bottom), D.947, and the Rondo in A Major, D.951, by Franz Schubert; and Four Hungarian Dances by Johannes Brahms.

Tickets are $45 and are expected to sell quickly. They are available online at and or at Farley’s House of Pianos, (608) 271-2626.

For more information about the Salon Piano Series, visit:

The distinguished American pianist Peter Serkin has performed with the world’s major symphony orchestras with such conductors as Seiji Ozawa, Daniel Barenboim, George Szell, Claudio Abbado, Eugene Ormandy and James Levine. A dedicated chamber musician, Serkin has collaborated with artists including violinist Pamela Frank and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

An avid exponent of the music of many contemporary composers, Serkin has brought to life the music of Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, Michael Wolpe, and others for audiences around the world. He has performed many world premieres written specifically for him, in particular, works by Toru Takemitsu, Oliver Knussen and Peter Lieberson. Serkin currently teaches at Bard College Conservatory of Music and the Longy School of Music. Serkin became friends with the Farleys in 1994 when he was in town for a concert and visited the Farley’s showroom (below).

Farley Daub plays

Originally from Taiwan, Julia Hsu received scholarships to study at The Purcell School for young musicians at the age of 14. She has also studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London and at the Hannover Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Germany. Julia has collaborated with conductors Fabio Panisello, Lutz Koeler and cellist Ivan Moniguetti. She was a Festival Fellow at Bowdoin Music Festival, and a scholar at the Banff Centre, Canada before she became a Piano Fellow at Bard College Conservatory of Music in 2013.

The Salon Piano Series is a non-profit founded by Tim and Renée Farley to continue the tradition of intimate salon concerts at Farley’s House of Pianos.

Upcoming concerts include the internationally acclaimed Czech pianist Martin Kasík (below top), who will play the “Moonlight” and “Les Adieux” Sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven and Sonata No. 3 by Sergei Prokofiev, on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. Jazz pianist Dick Hyman (below bottom) will perform on May 30 and 31, 2015, at 4 p.m. both days.

Martin Kasik w piano

dick hyman

For ticket information and concert details see

All events will be held at Farley’s House of Pianos, 6522 Seybold Road, Madison, on Madison’s west side near the Beltline, and plenty of free parking is available. It is also easy to reach by bicycle or Madison Metro.

Classical music: The City of Tomorrow wind quintet will perform contemporary music during its Madison debut concert this Thursday night at the Brink Lounge.

October 23, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

The City of Tomorrow wind quintet (below top) is coming to Madison for is local debut concert this Thursday night at 8 p.m. at the Brink Lounge (below bottom), 701 East Washington Avenue.

The concert is sponsored by the Madison chapter of Classical Revolution, the growing national and international movement to present classical music in non-traditional venues.

The City of Tomorrow — which specializes in  contemporary music, especially contemporary classical music,  and offers many world premieres (at bottom) — is the only wind quintet to have won the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in the last 10 years. The Madison concert will include yet-unrecorded works by David Lang and Esa-Pekka Salonen (below), former music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The program features “Memoria” by Esa-Pekka Salonen; the 1948 wind quintet by Elliott Carter; “Breathless” by David Lang; and the Wind Quintet No. 3 by David Maslanka.

Admission is $11 for adults; $6 for students with ID; and $5 for members of Classical Revolution. For information, call (608) 661-8599.

The City of Tomorrow wind quintet (below) is a long-distance ensemble. Members live in four different cities (New York, Chicago, Portland, Oregon and San Antonio) and have intensive rehearsal residencies throughout the year. The quintet will perform in 17 cities in nine states this season as well as make its Canadian debut with New Music Edmonton and record its first CD while at the Banff Centre.

Madison has had rich season of wind quintets, as the Imani Winds were just in town for the Wisconsin Union Theater, and the University of Wisconsin’s Wingra Woodwind Quintet performs regularly. So this will be a memorable season for wind fans and students.

A complete calendar and bio of the quintet can be found at

Classical music datebook: Madison is post-Spring Break busy every night with the University of Wisconsin hosting The Lincoln Trio and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra closing out its season with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

April 11, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

Musically speaking, this will be a very, very busy week in Madison that comes just before an even busier week.

Spring Break is clearly  over. Audiences are back in town, And now things will heat up quickly and continue for about a month before the semester is over and the current concert season winds down and comes to its end — and then the busy summer concert season starts up.


Tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall the UW School of Music’s Guest Artist Series at the UW School of Music hosts its final residency of the 2011-12 season with the critically acclaimed Lincoln Trio. Admission is free.

The Lincoln Trio will open its Madison program with Beethoven’s “Piano Trio No. 4 in B-flat,” Op. 11.  Following intermission, the trio will perform works by composers born in the 1960s and 1970s — Lera Auerbach, Stacey Garrop, UW composer Laura Schwendinger, Jennifer Higdon and Patrick Zimmerli.

Formed in 2003, the Lincoln Trio (below) takes its name from its home, the heartland of the U. S., the “Land of Lincoln.”  The trio’s members—violinist Desirée Ruhstrat, cellist David Cunliffe and pianist Marta Aznavoorian — are all artists of international renown, with performing and teaching careers in addition to their joint endeavors as a chamber ensemble.

The Lincoln Trio has performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, the Ravinia Festival, Indianapolis Beethoven Chamber Music Series, University of Chicago, Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series and Poisson Rouge, among many others.  In December 2011 the trio was chosen to celebrate the 60th anniversary of WFMT in Chicago and present a live world premiere broadcast from the Chicago Cultural Center.

The trio’s first full-length recording, “Notable Women,” features works by Jennifer Higdon, Joan Tower, Lera Auerbach, Stacy Garrop, Augusta Read Thomas and Laura Schwendinger (below), a professor of composition at UW-Madison.  The recording won a Grammy award for its producer, Judith Sherman, who is also recording the centennial world premiere performances by the UW’s Pro Arte String Quartet.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Faculty Recital Series presents a FREE recital pianist by Douglas Jurs.

The program features Schibert’s Sonata in A major, D. 959; “Poème in F-sharp Major,” Op. 32, No. 1, by Scriabin; “Ballade No. 3 in A-flat major,” Op. 47 by Chopin; two selections from “Preludes, Book II” by Debussy; and “Three Preludes” by Gershwin.  Free admission.

Jurs is visiting lecturer in piano at the UW School of Music and a faculty member at Edgewood College in Madison. He has given solo and collaborative recitals around the world and at festivals including the Holland International Music Sessions, Banff Centre for the Arts and Aspen Music Festival. Recently, he performed with Present Music, Milwaukee’s pre-eminent new music ensemble.


Friday’s FREE Noon Musicale, from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium of the First Unitarian Society Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive features tenor Heath Rush and pianist Greg Punswick in a selection of operatic arias. For information, call (608) 233-9774 or visit

At 8 p.m. in the Capitol Theater of the Overture Center, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (below) will close its current Masterworks season “Rebith” program that features two works – one rarely performed, the other iconic.

The program starts with Gerald Finzi’s “Dies Natali” (Day of Birth), Op. 8, for tenor and strings sung by Robert Bracey. A 25-minute work by Finzi (below), “Dies Natalis” is set to a text by the 17th-century poet Thomas Traherne, which reflects the joy and wonder of a newborn child’s innocent perspective on the world. It was premiered in 1940.

Then comes 
Beethoven’s famous Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125, “Choral.”
This will be a first for the chamber orchestra. The orchestra string section will again be expanded and a full chorus, the Festival Choir of Madison (below) and the newly formed Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Chorus, will also perform.

The four soloists are seasoned performers including soprano Michelle Areyzaga from Chicago; tenor Robert Bracey from North Carolina; bass Timothy Jones from Houston, and Jamie Van Eyck (below), mezzo-soprano, from Madison.

Tickets are $15-$62.

For more information about the program, performers and tickets, visit:

At 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall (below), Luther Memorial Church organist Bruce Bengtson, soprano Jamie-Rose Guarrine, violinist Eleanor Bartsch and the MSO’s principal oboe, Marc Fink will perform “Bachanalia!” — an all-Bach concert of cantatas, toccatas and fugues.

Tickets are $18.

For more information about the complete program and the performers, call the Overture Box office at (608) 258-4141 or visit:


At 3:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the all-student Perlman Piano Trio—violinist Roy Meyer, cellist Taylor Skiff and pianist Jeongmin Lee – performs a FREE concert.

The program includes “Piano Trio in C major,” K. 548 by Mozart; “Piano Trio in E-flat major,” Op. 70, No. 2 by Beethoven; and “Piano Trio in F minor,” Op. 65 by Dvorak.

Roy Meyer is a senior and expects to graduate this spring with a B.M. degree in violin performance. He studies violin with David Perry and chamber music with Parry Karp and Suzanne Beia. Taylor Skiff is a senior cellist studying with Uri Vardi and expects to graduate with a B.M. degree this spring. Jeongmin Lee is pursuing the D.M.A. degree in piano performance and pedagogy, studying with Todd Welbourne and Jessica Johnson.

The Perlman Piano Trio is funded through endowed scholarships generously provided by Dr. Kato Perlman.  A reception will follow the concert.

At 7 p.m., at the Capitol Lakes Retirement Center, 333 W. Main St., the UW Faculty Concert Series presents the Wingra Woodwind Quintet in a FREE concert.

This concert was originally scheduled for March 2 but was cancelled due to inclement weather.

The program, “Around the World in 80 minutes with the Wingra Quintet,” begins with “Fugue in G minor” by J. S. Bach; “Three Greek Dances” by Nikos Skalkottas; and “Petite Suite” by Claude Debussy. Following intermission, the quintet performs “Humoresque” by Alexander Zemlinsky; “Rumanian Folk Dances” by Bela Bartok; “Porgy and Bess” Suite by George Gershwin; and two tangos — “Calambre” by Astor Piazzolla and “La cumparsita” by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez.

At 8 p.m. in Grace Episcopal Church, 116 West Washington Ave., the early-music group the Madison Bach Musicians
 (below) will present a concert of two Bach cantatas and a Bach motet. (A second performance is on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Both performances are preceded at 7:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m., respectively, by a lecture given by MBM founder and keyboard player Trevor Stephenson.

The all-Bach program features Cantata BWV 22 – “Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe”; Cantata BWV 32 – “Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen”; and the Motet BWV 230 – “Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden.”

Soloists are soprano Emily Birsan and bass David Govertsen, both of whom currently sing at the Lyric Opera in Chicago. The countertenor, Joseph Schlesinger (who now lives in Chicago) has toured Europe for many years as an early music specialist; the tenor, Daniel O’Dea is outstanding and is working on his DMA at UW under Jim Doing.

For information, visit or phone 608 238-6092

Advance ticket prices are: $20 General, $15 Students/Seniors (over 65).
Tickets at the door: $25 General, $20 Students/Seniors.
Cash or checks only. Make checks payable to Madison Bach Musicians. (Only cash or check are accepted; no credit cards.)

Advance tickets can be purchased at

Orange Tree Imports; Farley’s House of Pianos; A Room of One’s Own; Ward Brodt Music Mall; and  Willy Street Co-op, East and West locations.

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Concert Choir (below), conducted by Beverly Taylor (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) and graduate assistant conductor Brian Gurley, will perform a FREE concert.

The program includes motets by Anonymous, Victoria and Gallus; Bach’s extended motet “Jesu, meine Freude”; and a selection of folk songs and spirituals arranged by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw.


This week’s “Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” features the Varshavsky-Shapiro Piano Duo (below) in works by Mendelssohn, Mozart, Ravel, Debussy and Gershwin.

The free concert is from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery Number III at the Chazen Museum of Art. It will be broadcast live by Wisconsin Public Radio.

Members of the Chazen Museum of Art or Wisconsin Public Radio can call ahead and reserve seats for Sunday Afternoon Live performances. Seating is limited. All reservations must be made Monday through Friday before the concert and claimed by 12:20 p.m. on the day of the performance. For more information or to learn how to become a museum member, contact the Chazen Museum at (608) 263-2246.

A free docent-led tour in the Chazen galleries begins every Sunday at 2 p.m.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (below) will perform a FREE concert under the direction of UW composer Laura Schwendinger.

The program includes “Over a Moving Landscape” by Steven Burke (MM 1992), a past winner (2004-05) of the prestigious Rome Prize. Les Thimmig will be the solo bass clarinetist for the work, with an ensemble of nine additional players.

The balance of the program will be devoted to three works by John Harbison—“The Natural World,” with soprano soloist Karen Bishop (MM 2008, DMA 2011) and sextet; “Chaconne,” for quintet; and “The Leonard Stein Anagrams” performed by piano soloist Jessica Johnson.

The prize-winning and world-famous Harbison, who teaches at MIT and co-directs the nearby Token Creek Chamber Music Festival each summer, will be in town for the free world premiere of his String Quartet No. 5 by the Pro Arte String Quartet on Saturday, April 21, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall. Harbison (below) is expected to attend the concert.

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