By Jacob Stockinger
Here is the official announcement of the 2017-18 season by the Madison Symphony Orchestra:
The 2017-18 season of the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO, below, in a photo by Greg Anderson) presents nine programs that invite audiences to “listen with all your heart” and “feel the emotion, power and majesty” of great classical music.
Subscriptions are available now, and single tickets for all concerts go on sale to the public Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.
For more information about tickets and ticket prices plus discounts for new subscribers and renewing subscribers, go to:
MSO music director John DeMain, who will be marking his 24th season with the MSO, has created an exciting season that features favorites combined with firsts.
Says DeMain (below, in a photo by Prasad): “I must point out two monumental firsts: the MSO debut of the great violinist Gil Shaham, renowned and sought after the world over, whose appearance Madison has waited for for many years; and the Madison premiere of the Glagolitic Mass by Czech composer Leos Janacek, a gargantuan work for chorus and orchestra with a prominent role for our “Colossal Klais,” the Overture Concert Organ.”
Performances are in Overture Hall of the Overture Center at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays; 8 p.m. on Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays.
The 2017-2018 subscription series concerts begin on Sept. 15, 16 and 17 with “Orchestral Brilliance”—proudly presenting the Madison Symphony Orchestra performing the Johann Sebastian Bach/Leopold Stokowski version of the organ Toccata and Fugue in D minor; Felix Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony and Hector Berlioz’s “Harold in Italy” with MSO principal viola Christopher Dozoryst (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) as soloist. (You can hear Leopold Stokowski conduct his own transcription of the work by Bach, which was used in Walt Disney’s film “Fantasia,” in the YouTube video at the bottom.)
“From the New World” on Oct. 20, 21 and 22 features the return of beloved pianist Olga Kern (below), a gold medalist in the Van Cliburn competition, performing Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto, and the MSO performing Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” and Maurice Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite.
On Nov. 17, 18, and 19 “Troubadour: Two Faces of the Classical Guitar” features sensational guitar virtuoso Sharon Isbin (below) playing two works, one by American composer Chris Brubeck, and the other by the Spaniard Joaquin Rodrigo, with the MSO performing two Suites—Manuel DeFalla’s The Three-Cornered Hat and Aaron Copland’s Billy the Kid.
The cherished kickoff to the holiday season, “A Madison Symphony Christmas,” returns on the first weekend in December — the 1, 2, and 3. Guest artists Emily Pogorelc, soprano, and Eric Barry, tenor, join John DeMain, the MSO, the Madison Symphony Chorus (below), Madison Youth Choirs and Mount Zion Gospel Choir on stage for the family-friendly celebration.
The MSO season subscription continues in 2018 with the long awaited appearance of violinist Gil Shaham (below) with the MSO—“Gil Shaham Plays Tchaikovsky” on Jan. 19, 20 and 21. This program features works by three of the most popular Russian composers of all time— Sergei Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges Suite, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3 and Peter Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.
“Richly Romantic” concerts take place on Feb. 16, 17 and 18 when one of MSO’s favorite cellists, Alban Gerhardt (below), returns performing the lyrical William Walton’s Cello Concerto, and the MSO presents Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 and Gioachino Rossini’s Overture to Semiramide.
Spring arrives April 13, 14, and 15 with “String Fever” featuring Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 1, Spring, Benjamin Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem and Grammy Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich (below) performing the Antonin Dvorak’s Violin Concerto.
The season finale, “Mass Appeal,” takes place on May 4, 5 and 6. Star of NPR’s From the Top, pianist Christopher O’Riley (below), will open the program with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22. The MSO premiere of the monumental Glagolitic Mass by Czech composer Leos Janacek features the Overture Concert Organ and the Madison Symphony Chorus, along with soloists Rebecca Wilson, soprano, Julie Miller, mezzo-Soprano, Roger Honeywell, tenor, and Benjamin Sieverding, bass.
The MSO’s 17-18 season includes the popular multimedia production of Beyond the Score®, “Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations,” featuring live actors and visuals in the first half, with the entire work performed in the second half. Joining the orchestra are American Players Theatre actors James Ridge (below), Colleen Madden and Brian Mani, along with Wisconsin Public Radio’s Norman Gilliland of Wisconsin Public Radio as the Narrator. This single performance takes place on Sunday, March 18, 2018*.
NOTE: *Advance tickets for Beyond the Score® are available only to MSO 17-18 season subscribers prior to single tickets going on sale to the general public on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Beyond the Score® is a production of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Gerard McBurney, Creative Director for Beyond the Beyond the Score®
ABOUT THE MADISON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The Madison Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 92nd season in 2017-2018 and its 24th season under the leadership of music director John DeMain.
The MSO has grown to be one of America’s leading regional orchestras, providing Madison and south central Wisconsin with cultural and educational opportunities to interact with great masterworks and top-tier guest artists from around the world.
Find more information at madisonsymphony.org
By Jacob Stockinger
The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and music director John DeMain will kick off the holiday season with the much-loved tradition — A Madison Symphony Christmas — with three concerts this coming weekend in Overture Hall.
The holidays will be celebrated with a variety of music from the Hallelujah Chorus by George Frideric Handel (at the bottom in a YouTube video) to exciting Gospel selections. Highlights will also include Panis Angelicus by Cesar Franck, selections from Magnificat by John Rutter and holiday classics including Baby, It’s Cold Outside and The First Noel.
Performing with the MSO will be soprano Sylvia McNair (below), star of Broadway and the Metropolitan Opera, along with the Madison Symphony Chorus, directed by Beverly Taylor.
In addition, Madison Youth Choirs (below top), directed by Michael Ross and the Mt. Zion Gospel Choir (below bottom, in a photo by Bob Rashid), directed by Tamera and Leotha Stanley, will be featured during the program.
No Christmas concert would be complete without a sing-along. To conclude the concert, audience members will be invited to join with the MSO and guest artists to sing beloved holiday carols.
The concerts are in Overture Hall of the Overture Center, 201 State Street, on Friday night, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday night, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday afternoon, Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m.
Concertgoers are encouraged to arrive 45 minutes before the concert begins to join the Madison Symphony Chorus (below) as they lead a selection of Christmas carols in the festively lit lobby at Overture Hall.
NOTE: These concerts typically sell out, so early ticket purchases are encouraged.
Single Tickets are $16 to $87 each, available at madisonsymphony.org/christmas, through the Overture Center Box Office at 201 State Street, or call the Box Office at (608) 258-4141.
Groups of 15 or more can save 25% by calling the MSO office at (608) 257-3734. For more information visit, madisonsymphony.org/groups.
Club 201, MSO’s organization for young professionals, has continued to fulfill its mission for the past 11 years as the premiere organization promoting classical music and networking opportunities to the young professionals’ community in Madison. Tickets are $35 each and include world-class seating in Overture Hall, an exclusive after-party to be held at Fresco, one drink ticket, and a cash bar. Conductor John DeMain, as well as musicians from the symphony, may also be in attendance to mingle with Madison’s young professionals during the after-party.
The deadline to purchase tickets is Thurs., Dec. 1, pending availability. Tickets can be purchased for this event, as well as the other events throughout the 2016-17 season by visiting the Club 201 page on the MSO’s website at http://www.madisonsymphony.org/club201.
Student rush tickets can be purchased in person on the day of the concert at the Overture Box Office at 201 State Street. Students must show a valid student ID and can receive up to two $12 or $15 tickets. More information is at: madisonsymphony.org/studentrush. Students can receive 20% savings on seats in select areas of the hall on advance ticket purchases.
Seniors age 62 and up receive 20% savings on advance and day-of-concert ticket purchases in select areas of the hall.
Discounted seats are subject to availability, and discounts may not be combined.
Find more information at madisonsymphony.org
Major funding for the December concerts is provided by: American Printing, Nedrebo’s Formalwear, BMO Wealth Management, Hooper Foundation/General Heating & Air Conditioning, Maurice and Arlene Reese Family Foundation, National Guardian Life Insurance Company, and An Anonymous Friend. Additional funding is provided by: Colony Brands, Inc., J.H. Findorff & Son Inc., Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., Hans and Mary Lang Sollinger, and Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.
By Jacob Stockinger
The Ear has received the following news:
Several local musicians received prestigious awards from the Board of Directors of the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) at the board’s recent June meeting in recognition of their musical contributions.
Margaret Rupp Cooper Award
The Margaret Rupp Cooper Award is presented in honor of the Symphony’s original harpist, who performed in the first concert in 1926 through the 50th anniversary season. The award is presented annually to two orchestra members based upon years of service, commitment to the orchestra, and musicianship. This year’s awardees were Naha Greenholtz, MSO Concertmaster, and Josh Biere, MSO Principal Tuba.
Naha Greenholtz (below, in a photo by Chris Hynes) has now completed her fifth season as concertmaster with the MSO. A graduate of the Juilliard School and winner of the prestigious Concertmaster Academy Fellowship at Cleveland State University, she has held numerous concertmaster positions and has participated in music festivals as both a performer and music director.
Josh Biere (below) joined the Madison Symphony Orchestra as Principal Tuba in 2013. He also holds the principal tuba chair with the Kenosha (Wisconsin) Symphony and regularly performs with the Chicago Composers Orchestra. Mr. Biere holds degrees from Illinois Wesleyan University and Northwestern University.
Marie Spec Award
The Marie Spec Award honors the Symphony’s long-time first violinist, who also played in the first performance in 1926. The award consists of a fund that provides both the concertmaster and Madison Symphony Chorus accompanist with an annual bonus. MSO Concertmaster Naha Greenholtz and Chorus Accompanist Dan Lyons received this year’s award.
A Chicago native, Dan Lyons (below) holds performance degrees from DePaul University and a doctoral performance degree from UW-Madison. He has performed solo, concerto and chamber recitals throughout the Midwest. In addition to serving as the accompanist and chorus manager for the Madison Symphony Chorus, he maintains a private teaching studio and continues to accompany throughout the Madison area.
Ann Stanke Award
The Ann Stanke Award is presented in honor of the former Madison Symphony Chorus accompanist and manager for her years of excellent service. This year’s award was presented to chorus member Bob Gentile.
Bob Gentile, a lifelong music educator, has sung in the bass section of the Madison Symphony Chorus for over 15 years, has served as President and Vice-President, and has shown valued leadership with his counsel, wisdom, good humor and kindness.
The Madison Symphony Orchestra engages audiences of all ages and backgrounds in live classical music through a full season of concerts with established and emerging soloists of international renown, an organ concert series, and diverse educational and community engagement programs. Learn more at: www.madisonsymphony.org
ALERT: This week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale, to be held from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Meeting House of the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, Trevor Stephenson — the founder and director of the Madison Bach Musicians — will play harpsichord music by Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel and Domenico Scarlatti.
He will perform on his own four-octave, crow-quilled 17th-century-style Flemish instrument and will talk about the well-tempered tuning of this instrument, the composers’ lives and the concert repertoire. Selections are from Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier,” Scarlatti’s Sonatas and Handel’s “Keyboard Suites.”
By Jacob Stockinger
Some groups perform more in tandem or as adjuncts to other groups than by themselves. This seems especially true of choruses.
But this weekend, the Madison Symphony Chorus, which normally performs with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, will have the spotlight to itself. (You can hear the chorus sing as part of the MSO’s Christmas concert in the YouTube video at the bottom.)
Twice on the same day.
Here are the details:
On this Sunday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., director Beverly Taylor and the Madison Symphony Chorus (below, in a photo by Greg Anderson) will present a “Memories” concert in Promenade Hall at the Overture Center for the Arts.
Taylor (below) is the longtime assistant conductor of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the director of choral activities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.
The concerts will feature an array of musical styles, including classical music selections from Johannes Brahms and contemporary American composer John Corigliano, a collection of Swedish, Norwegian, Scottish and Mexican ethnic tunes, traditional spirituals and gospel music, and nostalgic songs from the Tin Pan Alley era by Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, and Fats Waller.
Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) Principal Pianist Daniel Lyons will accompany much of the music.
Tickets are $20, and are available: at madisonsymphony.org/chorusconcert; at the Overture Box Office (201 State Street); or by calling (608) 258-4141.
Formed in 1927, the Madison Symphony Chorus gave its first public performance in 1928 and has performed regularly with the MSO ever since.
The Chorus was featured at the popular Madison Symphony Christmas concerts in December and will join the MSO April 29 and 30, and May 1 for Carmina Burana, the colossal modern oratorio based on medieval Latin songs by 20th-century German composer Carl Orff.
The Chorus is comprised of more than 125 volunteer and amateur musicians from all walks of life who enjoy combining their artistic talent. New members are always welcome.
Visit madisonsymphony.org/chorus for more information about the chorus and the program for this concert.
By Jacob Stockinger
It is definitely not your typical program at holiday time.
But it sure is appealing — and timely too, given the birthday on this Wednesday, Dec. 16, of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827).
This Friday night – NOT the usual Wednesday night concert time — the mostly amateur Middleton Community Orchestra (below) will perform a big and ambitious all-Beethoven program.
The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Middleton Performing Arts Center (below, the exterior and interior) that is attached to Middleton High School.
Admission is $10; free for students. Advance tickets are available at a variety of outlets. The box office opens at 7 p.m. and the theater opens at 7:30 p.m.
As always, there will be an informal meet-and-greet reception for musicians and the audience after the performance.
For more information about the Madison Community Orchestra, including its spring concerts and how to join it or support it, visit:
Conductor Steve Kurr took time out from his busy schedule of teaching and rehearsing to discuss the program via email with The Ear.
The “Eroica” is one of Beethoven’s biggest, most famous and most popular symphonies. Why did you program it for an amateur orchestra?
I think you answered your own question. Our musicians and our audience are interested in experiencing a titanic work like the “Eroica.” We are having a spectacular time as we prepare the work–learning the ins and outs of this symphony and getting to know more about Beethoven and his compositional processes. And it has opportunities for each instrument to shine, so it is fun to play.
What kind of technical and interpretative challenges will the “Eroica” pose to you and to the players in the Middleton Community Orchestra?
One of the toughest parts of the “Eroica” is its size. Clocking in at around 50 minutes, this work can be taxing for players both physically and mentally.
In addition, there are some overarching ideas that Beethoven begins in the opening movement that are not resolved until the finale and we have to keep those in mind over the length of the whole symphony.
There are also some typical Beethoven gestures that add to this mix–such as the crescendo leading to a sudden piano–that shows up all over the place in the “Eroica.”
What special things should the public listen for in the “Eroica”?
What did you program the Choral Fantasy with the Eroica Symphony?
Pairing Beethoven works together has benefits. It puts us in a Beethoven frame of mind, which helps the musicians focus on the style. And with the length of the “Eroica,” the “Choral Fantasy” fits so well into a concert program. It is also nice to pair a lesser-known work with the familiar “Eroica.”
Who will perform the choral part in the Choral Fantasy? And what should we listen for in the work?
We are extremely excited to be joining with the Madison Symphony Chorus (below in a photo by Greg Anderson) for this endeavor. It will be one of our first times working with a chorus, and we are all looking forward to the chance to collaborate with this first-rate ensemble.
The piece is an unusual one: it begins with a large piano solo section followed by a section that trades back and forth between the soloist and the orchestra.
It ends with the piano, orchestra and chorus joining together for a rousing finish that foreshadows the last movement (“Ode to Joy”) of the Ninth Symphony.
The piece was premiered on Dec. 22, 1808 (with the composer at the keyboard) at a concert that also included the Fifth and Sixth (“Pastoral”) Symphonies. Listen for the improvisatory quality of the opening piano solo and for the text, written by Christoph Kuffner, which extols music and its great powers. (NOTE: In a YouTube video at the bottom, you can hear it performed live at the BBC Proms by Norwegian pianist and conductor Leif Ove Andsnes with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Singers.)
Thomas Kasdorf, a talented Middleton native and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, is the piano soloist in the Choral Fantasy. He has done a number of concertos by other composers such as Edvard Grieg, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky with you. Will he become a regular with the MCO? Might you do a cycle of Beethoven piano concertos with him?
We always enjoy having Mr. Kasdorf as our soloist. He is an excellent musician and he is what I might call a low-maintenance soloist–working with him is effortless. I sincerely hope to continue our collaborations, but I hesitate to speculate on any future repertoire. But the Fourth Piano Concerto of Beethoven is a favorite of mine, so Thomas and I may have to chat.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
It is such an honor to work with these marvelous people in the Middleton Community Orchestra. This is our sixth season and we continue to enjoy spending our Wednesday evenings making music together.
By Jacob Stockinger
Here is the latest of what The Ear hears from the Madison Symphony Orchestra:
Spring might seem like a long way off, but it isn’t. In fact it officially arrives in the Northern Hemisphere this Friday at 5:45 p.m. CDT.
MSO chorus director and MSO assistant conductor Beverly Taylor and the Madison Symphony Chorus (below, in a photo by Greg Anderson) will usher in the warmer weather this Sunday, March 22, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
That is when they present the “It Might As Well Be Spring” choral concerts in Promenade Hall at Overture Center for the Arts.
The concerts will feature classical music selections from Johannes Brahms and Aaron Copland, a traditional spiritual, and the song “It Might as Well Be Spring” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical “State Fair.” (You can hear the original in a YouTube video at the bottom.)
Madison Symphony Orchestra Principal Pianist Daniel Lyons (below) will accompany much of the music.
Tickets are $19, available at madisonsymphony.org/springchorusconcert, at the Overture Box Office (201 State Street) or by calling (608) 258-4141.
Formed in 1927, the Madison Symphony Chorus gave its first public performance in 1928 and has performed regularly with the Madison Symphony Orchestra ever since.
The chorus (below, in a photo by Greg Anderson) was featured at the popular Madison Symphony Christmas concerts in December and will be joined by four soloists for the MSO’s performance of Ludwig van Beethoven‘s “Choral” Symphony No. 9 (“Ode to Joy”) on May 8, 9 and 10.
The Chorus, conducted by Beverly Taylor (below) is comprised of more than 125 volunteer musicians from all walks of life who enjoy combining their artistic talent., New members are always welcome. Visit madisonsymphony.org/chorus for more information.
By Jacob Stockinger
A friend writes:
The citations come with comments by music director and conductor John DeMain (below, in a photo 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
By Jacob Stockinger
The Ear’s friends at the Madison Symphony Orchestra have sent in the following announcement:
“Can you name all the different distinctly American choral traditions?
“Director Beverly Taylor (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) and the Madison Symphony Chorus will answer that question this Sunday afternoon, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m., when they’ll appear in “Apple Pie America: A Slice of Choral Americana” in Promenade Hall at the Overture Center for the Arts. (Taylor is also the head of the choral department at the university of Wisconsin-Madison, where she directs the UW Choral Union and UW Concert Choir, and is the assistant conductor of the Madison Symphony Orchestra. And sorry, I have so specific titles of works on the program but I have been told that the concert is closing in on being sold-out, with only a few tickets remaining.)
Many of the works will be accompanied by Madison Symphony Orchestra principal pianist Daniel Lyons (below).
Tickets are $15, and are available at http://madisonsymphony.org/Americana or at the Overture Center Box Office at (608) 258-4141 or 201 State Street.
Formed in 1927, the Madison Symphony Chorus (below, in a photo by Greg Anderson) gave its first public performance in 1928 and has performed regularly with the Madison Symphony Orchestra ever since.
It was featured at the popular Madison Symphony Christmas concerts in December, and it will be joined by four soloists for the MSO’s performance of Mozart’s Requiem on April 4, 5 and 6.
The Chorus is comprised of more than 125 volunteer musicians from all walks of life who enjoy combining their artistic talent, and new members are always welcome. Visit http://madisonsymphony.org/chorus for more information.
CATCHING UP WITH THE GRAMMY WINNERS
Last Sunday was the Grammy Awards.
Here is a complete list of the nominees and the winners. It makes for a good listening list or buying list.
WINNER Roomful Of Teeth
78. BEST CLASSICAL VOCAL SOLO
80. BEST CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL COMPOSITION