The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: UW-Madison’s Hunt Quartet performs a FREE MUST-HEAR concert of Beethoven, Schubert and Webern this Sunday evening. Plus, there is a FREE concert of Schubert’s song cycle “Winterreise” this Saturday afternoon at the UW-Madison

March 4, 2016
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ALERT: On Saturday night at 3:30 p.m. in Morphy Recital Hall, David Richardson, a first-year DMA candidate in Collaborative Piano at the UW-Madison, will be joined by a guest artist, baritone Alan Dunbar, for a FREE performance of the famous song cycle “Winterreise” (Winter Journey) by Franz Schubert. The Ear hears it promises to be an outstanding performance.

By Jacob Stockinger

There are many student recitals and concerts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison each season – many dozens and maybe even into the hundreds.

But still there are standouts.

One such standout is coming up this Sunday night at 6 p.m. in Morphy Recital Hall. That’s when the Hunt Quartet, made up of very talented UW-Madison graduate students, will perform a FREE concert.

Too bad it has to compete with the special two-hour final episode of the popular PBS series “Downton Abbey,” which The Ear suspects will cut into the audience. Could they have moved the concert up to 5 or earlier? That would be nice, but maybe hall logistics made that impossible.

Anyway, the members of the string quartet were selected by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music faculty because they are outstanding performers and pedagogues.

Members are seen below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot. They are from left: Clayton Tillotson, violin; Blakeley Menghini, viola; Paran Amirinazari, violin; and cellist Andrew Briggs, cello.

Hunt Quartet 2016 Katrin Talbot

The appealing all-masterpiece program is: String Quartet No. 5 in A major, Op. 18 No. 5, by Ludwig van Beethoven; Six Bagatelles for String Quartet, Op. 9, by Anton Webern; and the famous String Quartet in D minor, “Death and the Maiden,” by Franz Schubert. (You can hear the slow movement of the Schubert, based on a song he composed, played by the Alban Berg Quartet in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

The Hunt Quartet is the graduate string quartet for UW-Madison’s School of Music. As Project Assistants within the School of Music, the Quartet performs concerts at the School of Music and university events, as well as part of community outreach.

Members work closely with faculty, including the Pro Arte Quartet, and have Professor Uri Vardi as their principal coach. Other artists who have worked with the Quartet include violist Nobuko Imai, violist Lila Brown, and members of the Takacs String Quartet.

The Quartet is also the integral part of the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s “Up Close and Musical” program, visiting area schools to teach students about fundamentals of music and the string quartet.

The Hunt Quartet is generously sponsored by Kato Perlman and the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

Classical music education: Madison Symphony Orchestra receives a major grant from Carnegie Hall to foster music education in the public schools.

September 9, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Madison Symphony Orchestra has always taken community outreach and music education seriously. To see that, all you have to do is attend one of their student concerts in Overture Hall at the Overture Center (below) that are invariably packed with enthusiastic young listeners (below, in a photo by Greg Anderson).

MSO Fall Youth kid greg anderson

Perhaps those efforts also help to explain how the MSO, which is celebrating its 20th season under music director and conductor John DeMain recently received one of 58 Link Up grants given nationally by Carnegie Hall (below) in New York City to foster music education in the public schools.


Here is the official announcement with details:

“While education budgets are constantly cut, here is a NEW program from the Madison Symphony Orchestra that invests in education and should be welcome news to parents, teachers and the greater community!


“School children across Madison will get a unique musical opportunity this year.

“The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is the recipient of a prestigious invitation from Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute to present Link Up, a music education program that will reach over 900 fourth-grade and fifth-grade students in Madison. 

“Link Up unites the classroom with the concert hall, giving young students the opportunity to explore music through a year-long curriculum of classroom activities, exploring rhythm, melody and orchestration using the musical instrument, the soprano recorder (below and at the bottom in a YouTube video of a piece by Johann Sebastian Bach).

soprano recorder

“A culminating concert takes the students into Overture’s CAPITOL THEATER (below) to perform on their recorders WITH the MSO.

Capitol Theater

“Link Up will begin in September 2013 and finish with its interactive concert Thursday, May 15, 2014, at 10 a.m.

“The program is possible through a generous lead grant from the Madison Community Foundation in the amount of $40,000 over two years. Other donors for the pilot season of this program include the Alliant Energy Foundation, The Evjue Foundation Inc., the Madison Symphony Orchestra League, Associated Bank, US Bank, and the Capital Times Kids Fund.

“The MSO’s 2013-2014 Link Up partner elementary schools will include: Allis, Chavez, Gompers, Huegel, Lowell, Marquette, Muir, Nuestro Mundo, Sandburg, Shorewood, Thoreau, and Van Hise, all within the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD). 

music education 1

“The plan is to expand the program to schools outside of Madison in its second year.

“Link Up is a nationwide initiative; the MSO is one among 58 orchestras in the US and abroad chosen to present it.

“For more information, visit or contact Michelle Kaebisch (below, in a photo y Katrin Talbot), the MSO’s Director of Education and Community Engagement, at (608) 257-3734 x225 or (Kaebisch, a violinist who p;lays with the MSO, is also the new conductor in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) to take over from Thomas Buchhauser, who retired at the end of last season.

Michelle Kaebisch WYSO cr Katrin Talbot

“Be sure to mark your calendar now for the May 15, 2014, 10 a.m. Link Up event when fourth-graders and fifth-graders perform with the Madison Symphony Orchestra.’

And The Ear says: Be sure to leave a message of congratulations or thanks, or some other comments, if you so wish, in the COMMENT section of this blog.

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