The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The 35th annual summer Concerts on the Square start this Wednesday night and will feature a lot of classical music

June 25, 2018
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By Jacob Stockinger

Maestro Andrew Sewell usually makes sure the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra programs a fair amount of classical music for its annual summer Concerts on the Square (below).

The FREE popular outdoor concerts — billed as “The Biggest Picnic of  Summer” — usually draw up to at least 20,000 people for each performance on the King Street corner of the State Capitol.

They start this Wednesday night at 7 p.m. – blankets can go down at 3 p.m. — and run for six consecutive Wednesday nights through Aug. 1.

But this year Sewell (below) seems especially generous with the classical fare he is serving up. In fact, four of the six concerts are all classical – a much higher percentage than in most past years, if The Ear recalls correctly.

For the complete lineup of the concerts – and to compare this year’s offerings with those of past years — go to the website: https://wisconsinchamberorchestra.org/performance-listing/category/concerts-on-the-square

Then you can click on “More Info” for each individual concert date to get the full program and information about the performers.You can also find what you need to know about following rules, parking, reserving tables, listening etiquette, volunteering, donating and support, and finding menus for food providers.

For this opening concert “Carnival” on Wednesday, the WCO will showcase 18-year-old Kenosha high school senior Matthew Udry (below), a cellist who won this year’s Young Artist Concerto Competition. Udry will perform the Cello Concerto No. 1 by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Also on the all-Slavic program are two Czech compositions:  the “Carnival” Overture by Antonin Dvorak (heard in the YouTube video at the bottom); and “Three Dances” from the opera “The Bartered Bride” by Bedrich Smetana.

An all-Russian concert is slated for July 11 with another student cellist, Miriam K. Smith (below top), and the Middleton High School Choir (below bottom). The program includes the Concert Waltz No. 2 by Alexander Glazunov, the “Rococo” Variations by Peter Tchaikovsky and the Intermezzo and Women’s Dance by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

The July 25 concert features the up-and-coming guitarist Colin Davin (below) in a programs of Spanish and Hispanic music including Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez,” Alberto Ginastera’s “Estancia: Four Dances,” and Roberto Sierra’s “Fandango.”

Finally, on Aug. 1, baritone Jubilant Sykes (below) is featured in a program that includes: the “Norwegian Rhapsody No. 1” by Johan Halvorsen; Aaron Copland’s “Old American Songs,” including “Simple Gifts” and “I Bought Me a Cat” as well as two spirituals, “Were You There?” and “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”;  the Interlude from the symphonic ode, “La Nuit et l’Amour” (Night and Love), from the cantata “Ludus pro Patria,” by the French composer Augusta Holmes; and the Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” by Antonin Dvorak.

Of course other programs include pops and rock music, plus patriotic music for the Fourth of July concert — only fitting for the occasion.

But The Ear still thinks the classical fare is generous and noteworthy.

Of course, loud chitchat, eating and other neighborly noise could interfere with your ability to listen closely to the music.

But Andrew Sewell and the WCO still deserve a big shout out!

Bravo, all!


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Classical music: Today is the summer solstice. Here is information about the solstice plus 20 pieces of classical music to mark the coming of summer

June 21, 2018
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ALERT: Today is the fifth annual Make Music Madison. More than 300 FREE outdoor performances will be featured at some 100 venues. For information about artists, kinds of music, places and times, go to: http://www.makemusicmadison.org 

By Jacob Stockinger

Today is Thursday, June 21, 2018.

The summer solstice arrives in Wisconsin early today at 5:07 a.m. Central Daylight Time.

If you want to know more about the summer solstice, here are two stories from NBC and The Washington Post with some interesting information you might not know:

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/what-summer-solstice-ncna884991

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/06/20/summer-solstice-is-thursday-5-things-to-know-about-the-longest-day-of-the-year/?utm_term=.049d0675f182

Quite a few composers and works of classical music celebrate the coming of summer.

Twenty of the best-known are featured on a blog at the famous classical radio station WQXR FM in New York City. Here is a link:

https://www.wqxr.org/story/20-summertime-classical-pieces-maximum-chill/

The blog posting features many terrific sound samples, including such well-known works as “Summer” section from “The Four Seasons” violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi.

Still, some of the titles – including the famous Overture to “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream” by Felix Mendelssohn – are not accompanied by sound.

That includes one of The Ear’s favorites, “Knoxville, Summer 1915” by the American composer Samuel Barber with words by the journalist and documentarian James Agee.

Here it is, in a much-praised recording by soprano Dawn Upshaw, in the YouTube video at the bottom.

Here’s hoping summer is better in this part of the country than spring was, what with record cold in April and record rainfall in May that seems to be continuing with disastrous flooding in June.

Happy Summer, all.


Classical music: Madison Symphony Orchestra hands out this year’s annual awards for service, commitment and musicianship.

June 23, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

A friend writes:

Dear Jake,

Here are some recent awards that the Madison Symphony Orchestra (below) recently gave out at its Board of Directors’ annual meeting. I thought you might be interested in them for your blog.

John DeMain and MSO from the stage Greg Anderson

The citations come with comments by music director and conductor John DeMain (below, in a photo by Prasad).

John DeMain full face by Prasad

The 2014 Madison Symphony Orchestra Musician Awards were presented at the Annual Meeting of the Board this June.

MARGARET RUPP COOPER AWARDS

Margaret Rupp Cooper (below), was the harpist in the Madison Symphony Orchestra from its first concert in 1926 until the 50th Anniversary season. The awards in her honor are presented annually to two orchestra members based upon years of service, commitment to the orchestra, and musicianship.

Margaret Rupp Cooper

The two award winners this year are:

ELIZABETH MARSHALL, FLUTE

John DeMain said: “Liz has performed extraordinary service as our second flute since 2005. She often plays as Principal in Stephanie Jutt’s absence and is always superbly prepared and performs beautifully in whatever capacity we ask of her.  She is an excellent colleague and sets the standard for professional demeanor. It gives me great personal pleasure to recognize Liz this season, and thank her for her outstanding contributions to our orchestra.”

DAN LYONS, PRINCIPAL KEYBOARD

Dan Lyons joined the orchestra in 2011 filling the remarkable shoes of Ann Stanke, both as manager and accompanist of the chorus and as the principal piano and celeste player for the orchestra.

John DeMain said: “Dan Lyons has had an outstanding season, performing in many varied styles.  In addition to some particularly challenging solo work in the orchestral repertoire, he performed as accompanist on the Beyond the Score concert and the Chorus’ own concert in February.  In each instance he has performed brilliantly.  In his capacity as chorus manager, Dan has reorganized and modernized the internal communications within the chorus.  Thank you for your excellence in the orchestra and your dynamic and valuable contributions to the chorus.”

Recipients of the 2014 Madison Symphony Musician Awards -– pictured below from left to right –- are soprano Maureen Kind, keyboardist Dan Lyons and flutist Elizabeth Marshall.

MSO awards 2014

ANN STANKE AWARD

Ann Stanke (below top) was the long-time manager and accompanist for the Madison Symphony Chorus (below bottom, in a photo by Greg Anderson). The award winner is second soprano Maureen Kind, who has been with the Chorus since she started as a graduate student 46 years ago.

ann stanke

MSO Chorus CR Greg Anderson

MARIE SPEC AWARD

Marie Spec played first violin in the MSO’s first concert in 1926 and for many seasons after. The Marie Spec Award consists of a fund that allows an annual bonus to be paid to the MSO Concertmaster, Naha Greenholtz (below, in a  photo by Chris Hynes), and to the accompanist for the Madison Symphony Chorus, Dan Lyons.

Naha Greenholtz 2014 CR  Chris Hynes

 

 

 


Classical music: Here are the 2014 winners of the BBC Music Magazine awards for classic music recordings.

April 26, 2014
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

In another week or two, the live concert season will start winding down until mid-June when the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society (below top) will start its three weeks of concerts. Then in mid-July will come the Madison Early Music Festival (below bottom).

Here are links to those two events:

http://www.bachdancinganddynamite.org/schedule.php

BDDS 3 Ferdinand Ries flute quartet

http://continuingstudies.wisc.edu/conferences/madison-early-music-festival/index.html?source=madisonearlymusic.org

MEMF 2012 left stage

But one of the compensating pleasures of the upcoming spring “intermission” is that you can catch up of some recent or new recordings that you might have overlooked or not had time to listen to during the regular concert season.

At least, you will do that if you are like The Ear.

So, in that spirit, here is a list of the 2014 winners of the BBC Music Magazine for classical recordings, which this year also include the Classical Music App of the Year.

Riccardo Chailly Brahms Symhonies CD Cover

I have sampled some of the recordings, and so far I have to agree: Some bias toward British musicians, music and labels notwithstanding, these are fine, outstanding recordings. You will find some familiar names among the honorees: Daniel Barenboim, Alisa Weilerstein (who has performed at the Wisconsin Union Theater and in the Overture Center with the Madison Symphony Orchestra), Sir Edward Elgar,  Riccardo Chailly, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Johannes Brahms (you can hear some of his symphonies in a YouTube video at the bottom), Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Britten, Johann Sebastian Bach, Elliott Carter,  Richard Wagner, Jonas Kaufmann, Giacomo Puccini and Felix Mendelssohn.

Alisa Weilerstein Daniel Barenboim Elgar and Dvorak CD

But there is always room for more suggestions. So I encourage all readers to send in any relatively new recordings that they consider discovered good enough to be shared. Just leave the information in the COMMENT section.

Meanwhile, here is a link to the BBC winners:

http://www.classical-music.com/news/bbc-music-magazine-awards-2014-winners-announced

 

 

 

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Classical music: Tonight is the FREE opening preview concert of cello and piano music for the 18 concerts in this summer’s Green Lake Festival.

June 14, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

Word has reached The Ear:

“Celebrating its 34 year, the Green Lake Festival of Music will present a Free Season Preview Concert at 7:30 p.m. this Friday night, June 14, at the Thrasher Opera House (below), 506 Mill Street, in Green Lake, Wisconsin.

thrasher opera house

The concert will feature pianist Sahun Hong (in a photo below top), winner of the 2012 Milwaukee Piano Arts Competition, and cellist Alison Rowe (below bottom), a winner of the 2013 Wisconsin Public Radio Neale-Silva Competition.

Sahun Hong

Alison Rowe with cello

The duo will be performing works of Benjamin Britten, Beethoven, Kirchner and Robert Schumann.

The concert is open to the public, tickets are free for all and no reservations are required. A pre-concert conversation with the artists will begin at 6:45 p.m.

In addition to hearing the musical performances, the audience will be introduced to the 18 events of the 2013 Concert Season by Festival Director Jeffrey Harkins.  (At bottom, in a YouTube video, is a movement from a Haydn piano trio performed at the festival’s chamber music camp.)

For more information, contact the Festival Office at (800) 662-7097 or visit www.greenlakefestival.org.

ALSO WORTH NOTING: This Sunday afternoon, June 16, from 12:30 to 2 p.m., Wisconsin Public Radio host Anders Yocom will be featuring music on her show that will be performed during the 34th Festival Season. You can tune in to your favorite Wisconsin Public Radio station — or stream it online here — to listen to Lori’s Broadcast previewing some of the musical highlights you will hear live in concert halls this year.  


Classical music: Summer fun and classical music mix well! The Midsummer’s Music Festival in Door County opens this Friday night and runs through July 17. It will feature music by Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms and others. Performers include Madison’s Pro Arte String Quartet.

June 4, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

Attention all visitors and vacationers to Wisconsin’s famous Door County.

Summer isn’t officially here, but summer vacation is. And classical music can mix very well with summertime fun and warm weather diversions –- especially in a state like Wisconsin where so many summer music festivals take place.

door county

The Midsummer’s Music Festival in Door County kicks off this Friday night off with a Gala Opening Night. It includes champagne and chocolate, guest speakers, a concert and post-concert reception. Guests will be whisked away to an English Garden for the opening night premiere, featuring works of Vaughan Williams and Charles Villiers Sanford, where taste buds will be dazzled with chocolate and champagne.

Special guests will join in toasting the opening of the Door County arts season. World-class musicians will deliver a delightfully balanced and elegantly executed performance. The evening will end on a relaxed note when patrons can meet the Midsummer’s Music Festival musicians and chat with fellow concertgoers at the post premiere party where food and wine will be served.

Midsummer's Labor Day Concerts from 2010

Now in its 23rd year, Midsummer Music features world-class musicians from organizations such as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Pro Arte Quartet (below), Aspen Music Festival, and artist faculties from major universities.

PAQ-8BIT03

The festival will offer a series of 30 classical music concerts in a host of unique venues ranging from a 120-year old lakeside warehouse, to a quaint community church from the 1850s, to the grand hall of a palatial mansion overlooking Green Bay.

Door County Midsummers Music Festival lo

One event features a dinner cruise through Death’s Door Strait aboard the Island Clipper and then a concert on Washington Island at the Historic Island Dairy, now a concert facility, museum, and gallery.  Each venue exudes character and offers a distinct musical experience for the listener.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Bursting with Passion” with works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Brahms, and more.

The main concert series featuring the full complement of 16 musicians runs from June 7 through July 17.

Midsummer's David Perry, Stephanie Preucil, Jim Berkenstock

Tickets range from $25-$50 for most events.  Midsummer’s Music Festival, PO Box 1004, 10568 Country Walk Lane, Suite 109, Sister Bay, WI 54234.

For more information about times, dates, performers programs and tickets, visit www.midsummersmusic.com or call (920) 854-7088.

video


Classical music: The FREE Make Music Madison festival on the Summer Solstice, Friday, June 21, has lined up four acoustic open-mic pianos at four fire stations around the city. So, let’s get practicing. And let’s remember that today is Richard Wagner’s 200th birthday.

May 22, 2013
2 Comments

REMINDER: Today is the exact bicentennial or 200th birthday of opera pioneer Richard Wagner (1813-1883). Is it heresy to say I think he writes better for instruments than for the voice? What do you think of Wagner? What single opera of his is your favorite and why? The Ear wants to hear.

Richard Wagner

By Jacob Stockinger

Calling all pianists –- classical and other kinds, students and teachers, professionals and amateurs. Here is your chance to play in public!

piano keys

The chance comes in the latest news about the citywide festival called Make Music Madison that will be held on the Summer Solstice, Friday, June 21, 2013.

Make Music Madison logo square

The word comes from Michael Rothschild, who in charge of publicizing the event. Here is a link to an overview of the festival plus the hundreds of groups and individuals who have signed up so far (the deadline was May 15):

www.makemusicmadison.org

And here is a previous post I did about Make Music Madison with some YouTube videos of pianos in the street:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/classical-music-on-friday-june-21-the-summer-solstice-madison-will-be-filled-with-outdoors-music-by-the-first-make-music-madison-citywide-festival-but-so-far-no-acoustic-piano-is-available-for-p/

Says Michael Rothschild: “We now know more about the four pianos that will be at fire stations:

“The open-mic pianos will be available 4-8 p.m. on Friday, June 21.

“There won’t be any advance sign-up, but players can just wait for a turn or develop their own ordering system at each fire station.

“The stations (with photos below) are:

No. 3 at 1217 Williamson Street.

Madison fire station 3

No. 6 at 825 West Badger Road.

Madison fire station 6

No. 9 at 201 North Midvale Blvd.

Madison fire station 9

No. 10 at 1517 Troy Drive.

Madison fire station 10

The Ear thanks Michael Rothschild, the piano donor Grant Billings and the Billings Piano Gallery and the Make Music Madison festival for lining up the piano and thinks a fine job has been done at placing pianos at convenient locations all around the city.

The Ear also hopes that the Madison Area Piano Teachers Association (MAPTA) and other piano-related organizations take notice and add to the fun — as do individual pianists of all ages and talent levels and in all kinds of music.

make music madison logo wide


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