The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Door County’s Midsummer’s Music Festival hosts opening night gala is this Friday night. Performers include the Preucil Family plus David Perry and Sally Chisholm of the Pro Arte Quartet at the UW-Madison.

June 10, 2015
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By Jacob Stockinger

Our friends in Door County write:

Sister Bay, Wis.  –  Door County’s Midsummer’s Music Festival kicks off with a gala opening night concert and celebration on this Friday night, June 12, at 7 p.m. in Juniper Hall at the Birch Creek Music Performance Center (below) in Egg Harbor.

Birch Creek Music Performance Center exterior

Birch Creek interior concert

For this special 25th anniversary season opener, the festival will welcome to the stage the talented Preucil family (below) whose story is deeply entwined in the history of Midsummer’s Music Festival.

After a special pre-concert performance by the Preucils, the renowned musicians of Midsummer’s Music will perform lovely chamber works — including the Piano Quartet by Robert Schumann that they played on their very first concert in 1991 — to celebrate the opening of this year’s Midsummer’s Music concert season. (You can hear the heartbreaking slow movement of Schumann’s Piano Quartet, played by the Beaux Arts Trio, in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

Twenty-five years ago, festival founders Jim and Jean Berkenstock invited a young couple, along with other top-flight musicians from the Midwest, to join them for the first season of the Midsummer’s Music Festival.

Walter Preucil was a cellist with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and his wife Stephanie was an accomplished violinist.  Stephanie gave birth to the couple’s first child eight months before the start of the first season.  Over the next several years, the couple had two more sons – Anthony and James.  And the apple did not fall far from the tree.  Each of the Preucil boys shared the family’s musical talent.

Preucil Family 2 2

Walter and Stephanie have spent every summer in Door County performing with the Midsummer’s Music Festival, and their boys have become favorites of Door County audiences who have essentially watched them grow up.

Now Zachary is an accomplished cellist at age 24 and is on the cello faculty of the renowned Music Institute of Chicago. He holds a degree from the New England Conservatory of Music and recently graduated with a masters degree from the Eastman School of Music.

Eighteen-year-old Anthony has been concertmaster for the Schaumburg Youth Symphony Orchestra as well as the District 211 Honors Orchestra. Anthony was also Principal Viola for Illinois All-State Honors Orchestra.  He will be attending Pennsylvania State University in the fall where he will pursue a double degree in meteorology and violin performance.

And 13-year-old James is a skilled violinist who also is the youngest member to have been accepted into the Schaumburg Youth Symphony Orchestra.

To showcase the story of a very important part of the Midsummer’s Music family, all five Preucils will take the stage and captivate the audience with a performance of the slow “Andante con moto” movement from the String Quintet in E-flat Major by Max Bruch (below).

max bruch

After the special performance by the Preucils, the prestigious ensemble known as Midsummer’s Music will take the stage to present works in a program entitled “Romantic Legacy.”

The group will perform the Piano Trio by Nino Rota, famous for his film scores  for Italian director Federico Fellini, with Jean Berkenstock, flute; UW-Madison professor and Pro Arte Quartet member David Perry, violin; and William Koehler, piano.

nino rota at piano

Next will be the Quintet in C Minor, Op. 54, by Robert Kahn with Elizandro Garcia-Montoya, clarinet; John Fairfield, horn, David Perry, violin; Walter Preucil, cello; and William Koehler, piano.

Robert Kahn

Closing out the program will be the Piano Quartet in E-flat, Opus 47, by Robert Schumann with William Koehler, piano; David Perry, violin (below top); UW-professor and Pro Arte Quartet member Sally Chisholm, viola (below bottom); and Walter Preucil, cello.

Pro Arte Quartet Rehearsal with composer Benoit Mernier

Pro Arte Quartet Rehearsal with composer Benoit Mernier

Sally Chisholm

Following the concert, guests will have the opportunity to mingle with the Preucils, the Berkenstocks and all of the Midsummer’s Music performers at a special reception of wine and hors d’oeurves.

A selection of large photos showcasing the Midsummer’s Music Festival’s family over the 25 years will be on display.

During the reception portion of the evening, Midsummer’s Music will unveil a brand new artwork designed by Door County artist Charles “Chick” Peterson to celebrate the festival’s 25th anniversary season. Peterson is best known for his watercolor paintings and has established a world-class reputation for his maritime works. Many of his pieces depict fond memories of everyday life.

The painting will capture the collegial spirit of the Midsummer’s Music ensemble.  Patrons can purchase matted copies of the limited edition print beginning June 12 and continuing through the Big Top Door County event on July 12. Proceeds will support the Midsummer’s Music mission of bringing exceptional classical music to Door County audiences at affordable prices.

Midsummer’s Music Festival features world-class musicians from organizations such as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Pro Arte Quartet (below, in a photo by Rick Langer), Aspen Music Festival, the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra and artist faculty from major universities.

Pro Arte 3 Rick Langer copy

The festival presents a series of more than 30 classical music concerts in a host of unique venues ranging from a 120-year old bay side warehouse, to a quaint community church from the 1850s, to luxury homes of private residents. Each venue exudes character and offers a distinct musical experience for the listener.

This year’s festival runs June 12 through July 14, with an additional concert series of 10 performances during the week and a half leading up to Labor Day.

Tickets for the opening night gala are $60.

For more information on the opening night gala or any of the Midsummer’s Music concerts, visit www.midsummersmusic.com or call 920-854-7088.

The Birch Creek Performance Center is located at 3821 County Road E, Egg Harbor, WI 54209.

 

 

 

 

 


Classical music: Baroque arias and Schubert songs will be performed by Madison Bach Musicians harpsichordist Trevor Stephenson; guest artist Tallis Scholars soprano Amy Haworth; and Chicago viola da gambist Anna Steinhoff.

October 3, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

The acclaimed local early music group Madison Bach Musicians will kick off its new season this Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium of the historic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed First Unitarian Society, below), 900 University Bay Drive.

The MBM-sponsored program features “Baroque Vocal Masterworks” with English soprano
 Amy Haworth (below top) of the famed Tallis Scholars; MBM founder and harpsichordist Trevor Stephenson; and viola da gambist
 Anna Steinhoff (below bottom) who lives in Chicago and performs with the Newberry Consort and other well-known early music, period-instrument groups.

The chamber music program featuring vocal gems from the Baroque 
era composed by Monteverdi, Caccini, Luzzaschi, Caldara, Cesti, Alessandro Scarlatti, Purcell, J. S. Bach and G.F Handel.

Advance tickets are: $20 general, $15 students/seniors (over 65). At the door: $25 general, $20 students & seniors (over 65), $10 children ages 6-12
. Advance-price discount tickets are on sale at: A Room of One’s Own, Farley’s House of Pianos, 
Willy St. Co-op (east and west), Orange Tree Imports and Ward Brodt.
 Tickets are also available at the door.

The Baroque Vocal Masterworks 
Concert is part of a CD-Release Tour that runs Oct. 5-17. Other performances include: Friday, Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the 
Christ Church Episcopal, 5655 N. Lake Drive, Whitefish Bay, Wis.;
 Saturday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m. at the
First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive in Madison, Wis.; Saturday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in
 Sundin Hall at Hamline University, 1531 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul, Minn.
 (For advance tickets for Oct. 13 in St. Paul: call 651-523-2459, press 4); and Wednesday,
Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in
 Nichols Hall at Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Avenue, in Evanston, Ill.

Then on Wednesday evening, Oct.  10, at 7 p.m., soprano Amy Haworth (from the Tallis Scholars) and keyboardist Trevor Stephenson on the fortepiano will give an informal  “house concert”  of art songs by Franz Schubert (below, at the keyboard in a print by Moritz Schwind), that social amiable composer who often premiered his works at gatherings of friends called “Schubertiades.” That same week the two performers will be in the process of recording these 16 lieder for an upcoming CD.

The concert is at the home of Rose and Trevor Stephenson (below) 
at 5729 Forsythia Place on Madison’s far west side. Tickets are $35 with refreshments served. About 35 to 40 people can be accommodated. Reservations are required: email trevor@trevorstephenson.com or call 238-6092.

Says Stephenson (below), who is a master guide to and explainer of music: “We’re thrilled to have a chance to run the set for you and to discuss the pieces some as we go along. These are simply some of the most beautiful songs ever written, and I believe that the way in which the fortepiano’s vibrant immediacy and Amy’s outstanding pitch and diction combine will shed new light on these masterpieces. I hope so very much that you will be able to attend. The concert will be in our home music studio. Yummy treats and drinks will appear as well!! Please let us know if you can make it. It would be great to see you.”

For more background and information about both concerts, visit madisonbachmusicians.org or www.trevorstephenson.com, or call (608) 238-6092.


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