The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Wednesday brings the fifth annual Make Music Madison celebration of the summer solstice. You can hear FREE music of all kinds from morning to night, outdoors and indoors

June 20, 2017
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By Jacob Stockinger

Registration has closed and the fifth annual Make Music Madison festival is set to take place tomorrow, Wednesday, June 21, 2017. ( A promotional video from the 2013 event is in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

The annual celebration of the Summer Solstice, which arrives at 11;24 p.m. tonight, will run all day, featuring all kinds of music from morning to night, and take place indoors and outdoors.

And it is FREE and completely local.

So far, there are more than 275 artists registered to perform at 108 venues in every area across the city, including the Dane County Regional Airport, Henry Vilas Zoo, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, the Goodman Center, Hilldale Mall, the First Congregational United Church of Christ, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

For a complete listing, go to: http://www.makemusicmadison.org

Once you are on the website, go to the map on the right hand side and under FILTER and GENRE and click on classical. You will find more than 20 events.

Then click on the VENUE’s tear-drop shaped red indicator to see the name of artists, group and kind of music you can hear.

They include a cello choir, an early music group, a guitar ensemble, string quartets and the Suzuki Strings of Madison (seen below at last spring’s Bach Around the Clock.) There is plenty of amateur music-making, which The Ear loves to see, but also some professional performances.

The click on the name and you will get more detailed background and a program, if one is available.

You can also search by ARTIST and VENUE – including general areas of the city — and well as by GENRE.

Take it from The Ear: This site has some really impressive and easy-to-use organization for getting at its information. So The Ear gives big shout-outs to to the people who designed the website and put it together.

Of course there are many more events in other genres and kinds of music, including blues, jazz, rock, roots, folk, world music and others. But many of them overlap or pertain to classical music, and you won’t want to miss them.

There is plenty to go around.

The Ear might even meet you at one of the events.

Enjoy! Have fun!


Classical music: John W. Barker’s book on the history of UW-Madison’s Pro Arte Quartet to be published this fall

June 8, 2017
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By Jacob Stockinger

Local chamber music fans may recall that five or six years ago, the gala centennial of the Pro Arte Quartet, the string quartet-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was celebrated in many ways.

After all, the Pro Arte Quartet (below in a photo by Rick Langer) had by then become the longest-lived string quartet in the history of music.

Furthermore, the quartet and the UW-Madison established the model for chamber music group affiliations with universities, which has since become standard.

There were six commissions, later recorded in two volumes and three CDs (below) by Albany Records.

There were many free live concerts with the world premieres of the commissions.

There was a tour to Belgium (below is a concert at the Royal Conservatory), the home country of the quartet that was exiled in Madison while on tour in 1941, when Hitler invaded Belgium during World War II.

There was a terrific and impressive Pro Arte Quartet display at Dane County Regional Airport, put together with Tandem Press art publishers at the UW-Madison.

And there was a book, a complete history of the Pro Arte Quartet, commissioned from John W. Barker (below), a professor emeritus of Medieval history at the UW-Madison who is also the premier music critic in Madison. He writes for Isthmus and this blog.

Now his project, full of original research, has come to fruition and will be published in October.

Here is a link to information, including how to pre-order a copy, about the book and the author from the University of Rochester Press (Boydell and Brewer):

https://boydellandbrewer.com/the-pro-arte-quartet-hb.html

 


Classical music: Less than two weeks remain to see the world-class Pro Arte String Quartet exhibit in Madison at the Dane County Regional Airport. It is a must-see and must-hear.

August 25, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

If your spring or summer travels haven’t taken you to Dane County Regional Airport, be sure to make a stop out there during the next two weeks.

That is where – through Sept. 3 — you will find an absolutely first-rate  and fabulous exhibit marking the centennial of the University of Wisconsin’s Pro Arte String Quartet (below, in a photo by Rick Langer) , which played four new commissions and recorded them last season to mark the occasion that made the Pro Arte the oldest continuing string quartet in history.

The exhibit (below) was painstakingly planned and put together by Paula Panczenko and her team from the UW Tandem Press, with special and outstanding help from artist and designer Andree Valley, who teaches at Madison College (formerly Madison Area Technical College.)

The exhibit has high-tech videos and podcasts (below) and low-tech scores and instruments. It is chock full of information about the quartet: its history in Belgium and then here in Madison where it was exiled after World War II interrupted its American tour; its many members over 100 years; its music, including manuscripts of new works; its recordings on LPs, tapes and CDs; its American, European and global tours as traced on maps; and much more. It really is a treat that surpasses even the highest expectations.

Here are some more photos I took of the exhibit that you will find in the main entry. I hope they entice you to go in person and spend some time looking closely and interacting with it. You won’t be sorry you did.

 

For more information about the Pro Arte Quartet, including photos, reviews and audio clips, visit the many samples on YouTube and the quartet’s home page at: http://proartequartet.org


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