The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Two FREE “garage” performances of Fresco Opera Theatre’s “The Ugly Duckling” remain in Fitchburg and Madison on Saturday and Sunday afternoons

June 23, 2017
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received the following information from Fresco Opera Theatre:

Take “The Ugly Duckling” — the fairy tale by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen — mashed up with opera and all set in the context of a typical John Hughes movie.

Fresco revisits the joys that were the ’80s.

The hair.

The fashion.

The mean girls.

The cute boys.

Teenage angst at its best, and what better way to convey it than through opera?

Best of all – WE BRING THE SHOW TO YOU!

This is fun for the whole family, whether you are an opera fan, unfamiliar with opera, or frankly even think you hate opera. This is a totally awesome production!

The final two FREE “garage” performances (below top, by Max Wendt, and below bottom) are this Saturday at 2 p.m. at 4412 Sentinel Pass in Fitchburg and Sunday at 2 p.m. at 21 Shea Court, on Madison’s west side)

This is part of Fresco’s 2017 season of outreach. All that we do this year will be FREE OF CHARGE to get people interested in the fine arts.

We will have our Opera Unplugged series starting up at the end of July, which will take place on the Capitol Square during the Saturday morning Dane County Farmers’ Markets.

This is a great opportunity for families of young children to introduce them to opera.

For more information about Fresco Opera Theatre, including portraits of the cast for “The Ugly Duckling”; past productions; dates and places of Opera Unplugged productions; opera at Olbrich Gardens; and how to support the company, look at the YouTube video at the bottom and go to: http://www.frescooperatheatre.com


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 education: TONIGHT brings two FREE sendoff concerts by the local youth musicians -– the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras and the Madison Youth Choirs -– before they head off on international tours to Argentina and Scotland.

July 22, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

This is a reminder.

This is A Tale of Two Tours.

Like the tours, both of which will run exactly from July 24 through August 3, the two local groups will also offer competing sendoff concerts at exactly the same time — tonight, Tuesday, July 22, at 7 p.m.

But it is best not to dwell on the conflict or competition.

Instead, The Ear prefers to see it as a reminder that Madison, Wisconsin, is a great place to be not only for culture in general and for classical music, but for classical music education, which has been shown again and again by researchers to reap lifelong benefits in terms of development and maturity.

It involves two FREE sendoff concerts by two important groups of young musicians in Madison.

One is by the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras’ Youth Choir, under conductor UW-Madison professor James Smith, which will perform tonight at 7 p.m. at Olbrich Botanical Gardens on Madison’s East side. The program, a preview of the concert fare to be performd in Argentina, features music by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Peter Tchaikovsky and Alberto Ginastera.

Here is a link to a previous blog posting about the WYSO concert:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/classical-music-education-a-wisconsin-youth-symphony-orchestra-will-embark-on-an-international-tour-to-argentina-that-runs-july-24-to-aug-3-wyso-says-bon-voyage-with-a-free-send-o/

WYSO Youth  Orchestra

The other concert is the Madison Boychoir (below, in a photo by Jon Harlow), which will perform tonight at 7 p.m. in the Covenant Presbyterian Church, 326 South Segoe Road, on Madison’s near west side.

And here is a statement from Nicole Sparacino, the director of development for the Madison Youth Choirs:

“By a strange coincidence, the MYC send off concert is the same night as WYSO’s send off concert, and the dates of both tours are exactly the same, July 24-August 3!

“It’s pretty neat to think that, combined, over 100 of Madison’s finest young musicians will be sharing their talents on two very different parts of the world’s stage at the same time.

“Over the course of the tour, 71 MYC boys ages 9-18 will sing in medieval cathedrals, perform a joint concert with the National Youth Choir of Scotland, and have the chance to meet hundreds of other young artists from across the world. Our boys will even get the chance to test their foreign language skills, as they will have the honor of singing the national anthems of all participating countries during the festival’s Opening Ceremony. (You can see a promotional video for the Scotland tour at the bottom in a YouTube video.)

“We’re so excited for the boys to have this outstanding opportunity.

“Tonight, over 70 boys ages 9-18 from Madison Youth Choirs (MYC) will share an exciting free concert with the community before taking off to perform at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in Scotland.

“As the only boychoir from the United States invited to perform at the festival, MYC’s lads (below, in a photo by Jon Harlow) will pay homage to the rich musical traditions of their homeland, from folk songs to cowboy melodies.

Madison Youth Choirs Scotland Tour CR Jon Harlow

“It will perform classic boychoir repertoire in three different languages. Concert selections will include the Shaker tune “Simple Gifts,” the powerful “Anthem” from the musical Chess, “Laudamus Te” by Antonio Vivaldi and the Shakespeare and “Macbeth”-inspired “Sound and Fury.”’

The latter is a world premiere work by composer Scott Gendel (below), who is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.

Scott Gendel color headshot

For further information: visit www.madisonyouthchoirs.org or call (608) 238-7464.

 


Classical music education: One of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras will embark on an international tour to Argentina that runs July 24 to Aug. 3. So WYSO says “Bon Voyage” with a FREE send-off preview concert on this coming Tuesday night, July 22, at 7 p.m. in Olbrich Gardens.

July 18, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger 

The young musicians of Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) and its premier performing ensemble, the Youth Orchestra, are preparing for a fantastic opportunity this month when they will tour to Argentina.

WYSO Youth  Orchestra

Youth Orchestra members will have a chance to visit the three cities of Buenos Aires, Rosario and Mar del Plata. While in these cities they will visit some of the most beautiful places in South America and perform in world class venues.

The tour will be led by WYSO Music Director James Smith (below). He has served as conductor of the Youth Orchestra for 29 years and also serves as the Director of Orchestras for the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, where WYSO is housed.

Smith_Jim_conduct07_3130

The 67 WYSO musicians who will participate in the tour range in age from 14 t0 18 years old and hail from 19 different communities across southern Wisconsin. (You can hear a great sample of the Youth Orchestra under James Smith in the “Carmen” Suite by Georges Bizet in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

The tour will run from July 24 to August 3. It will include performances at Facultad de Derecho, the famed Teatro Colon (below) in Buenos Aires, Escuela 23 Distrito Escolar, La Usina de Musica, and Teatro el Circulo.

Teatro Colon interior

Repertoire for the tour will include the Overture to “Candide” by Leonard Bernstein, “Billy the Kid” Suite by Aaron Copland;  Liturgical Scenes by Dwane S. Milburn, the Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36, by Peter Tchaikovsky; and “Malambo” from “Estancia” Suite, Op. 8a by Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera (below).

Alberto Ginastera with cat

The Youth Orchestra will be posting a live blog before and during their trip to keep friends, family, and supporters of WYSO up to date with how the tour is going.

The writers will mainly be students, but a handful of chaperones will also be offering their perspectives.

You can visit the blog, and bookmark it, at http://wysotour2014.blogspot.com.

FREE PREVIEW CONCERT ON TUESDAY

Prior to departing on their international tour, the Youth Orchestra members will give a bon voyage send-off concert at Olbrich Botanical Gardens this coming Tuesday night, July 22, at 7 p.m. The concert is FREE and outdoors (weather permitting; otherwise it will be held indoors), and is open to the public, with a $1 suggested admission donation to support the gardens.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Olbrichsummermusic

The Ear thinks it would be great if local media – especially television – paid as much attention and gave as much coverage (even an audiovisual sample or clip with a voiceover) to these distinguished cultural ambassadors and exceptional products of music and arts education as they do to, say, student athletes.

Since 1966, WYSO has been providing excellence in musical opportunities for more than 5,000 young people in southern Wisconsin.

WYSO includes three full orchestras and a string orchestra, a chamber music program, a harp program, a percussion ensemble, and a brass choir program. The orchestras rehearse on Saturday mornings during the academic year, perform three to four public concerts per season, and tour regionally, nationally and internationally.

For more information, contact WYSO, Room 1625, Mosse Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706. You can also call (608) 263-3320 or visit www.wyso.music.wisc.edu

 


Classical music: This coming Monday, May 6, is the renewal deadline for subscribers to the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s 2013-14 season. Plus, the MSO names new staff in marketing and development and the Festival Choir of Madison sings songs from the theater and movies on Saturday night.

May 3, 2013
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ALERT: On Saturday night, at 7:30 p.m. in the First Baptist Church, 518 North Franklin Avenue, the Festival Choir of Madison (below) will perform a program of “From the State and Screen.” The program features classic and contemporary music, including Verdi’s “Anvil Chorus,” musical show stoppers like “Rockin’ the Boat” and “Anything Goes”, or classic songs from the silver screen like “Singin’ in the Rain.” For more information, go to: http://festivalchoirmadison.org/Season1213/tickets.htm and http://festivalchoirmadison.org/Season1213/concerts.htm

festivalchoir

By Jacob Stockinger

First a reminder: This coming Monday, May 6, is the deadline for subscribers to the Madison Symphony Orchestra (below in Overture Hall) to renew and keep their seats.

That date seems earlier to me than last year, perhaps because the MSO finished its season earlier. But I could well be mistaken.

MSO-HALL

And here is information about the 2013-14 season, which will be the 20th anniversary season of MSO music director John DeMain (below in a photo y James Gill):

http://madisonsymphony.org/13-14

John DeMain full face by Prasad

And here is a post I did when the new season was announced in March:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/classical-music-the-madison-symphony-orchestra-announces-its-new-season-which-celebrates-the-20th-year-of-maestro-john-demains-tenure-with-a-mix-of-the-new-and-the-predictable-tickets-will/

In any case, here is a link to more information about renewing:

http://madisonsymphony.org/renewsub

But there is also symphony news to announce.

There has been a staff shake-up, including some new hires at the MSO.

Here is an official press release

“MADISON, WIS. — The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) has announced that Teri Venker has been appointed Director of Marketing, Casey Oelkers has been named Director of Development, and Luba Konowalskyj has been selected as Manager of Individual Giving

“MSO Executive Director Rick Mackie said, “I am pleased to make the announcement of these outstanding new appointments within our Symphony team. Their combined skills and experience will fit seamlessly into our continual efforts to advance the cause of great music in Madison and south-central Wisconsin.”

“Venker (below) comes to the MSO with 28 years of experience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension, including 13 years as Director of Marketing for the Wisconsin Union, where she worked on marketing for the Wisconsin Union Theater. She holds a bachelor’s in English Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication from UW-Madison. Her position at the MSO includes responsibility for marketing, public relations and patron services as well as online and social media.

Teri Venker

“Casey Oelkers’ responsibilities at the MSO have grown from administrative assistant to manager of the Annual Fund and now Director of Development. She began her career with the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras as operations coordinator and joined the MSO staff in 2008.  Oelkers received her bachelor’s degree in flute performance (see her photo below in which she is perform the music of J.S. Bach at Wisconsin Public Radio’s second Bach Around the Clock two years ago) from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in arts administration from Florida State University.  In her new position at the MSO she oversees all annual giving, planned giving, and endowment fundraising efforts.

casey oelkers in batc 2

“Luba Konowalskyj joins the MSO development team following a successful seven years at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (below) where she increased the Gardens’ membership every year. A graduate of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and UW-Madison, her responsibilities at the MSO will include developing and implementing strategies to support individual donors as well as administering individual donor benefits.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

The Madison Symphony Orchestra is a professional ensemble of 91 musicians led by Music Director John DeMain, who will celebrate his 20th anniversary season with the orchestra in 2013-2014. The MSO engages a wide range of audiences in 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 outreach activities.

“More information is available on the Web at www.madisonsymphony.org


Classical music education news: Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Orchestra will tour in Europe from July 7 to July 17. A FREE preview concert is at Olbrich Gardens on Tuesday night and you can follow the tour with blogger Mikko Utevsky right here.

June 29, 2012
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NEWS FLASH: Violist Mikko Utensky of Madison, who also founded and conducts the Madison Area Youth Chamber Orchestra (MAYCO), has agreed to blog about the WYSO tour to Europe — which he is going on —  for The Well-Tempered Ear. Are we not lucky?

By Jacob Stockinger

July is a big month for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras.

The young musicians of WYSO’s premier performing group, the Youth Orchestra (below), are preparing for a fantastic opportunity this July, when they will travel to Prague, Vienna and Budapest on WYSO’s first international tour since 2005.

Youth Orchestra members will have a chance to visit some of the most significant locations in the history of classical music and will perform in world-class venues.

The tour will be led by WYSO Music Director James Smith (below, in a photo by Jeff Miller for U-Madison), who has served as conductor of the Youth Orchestra for 27 years and who also serves as Director of Orchestras for UW-Madison’s School of Music.

In 2010, Smith was named Musician of the Year by The Well-Tempered Ear blog. Here is a link to that posting:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/classical-music-uw-and-wyso-conductor-james-smith-is-“musician-of-the-year”-for-2010/

More recently, he was also profiled in the “Know Your Madisonian” feature in The Wisconsin State Journal. Here is a link to that story:

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/know-your-madisonian-conductor-james-smith-to-lead-youth-orchestra/article_da5032ca-bb20-11e1-8518-0019bb2963f4.html

The 69 WYSO musicians who will attend the tour range in age from 14-18 years old and hail from 19 communities across southern Wisconsin.

The tour, which will run from July 7-17, will include concerts at Glasenersaal of the Musikverein in Vienna, the Czech Museum of Music in Prague (below), and the Military Museum in Budapest.

Repertoire for the tour will include Vaughan Williams’s “London” Symphony, “Le Roi d’Ys” Overture by Lalo, Slavonic Dance No. 8 by Dvorak, and The Courtly Dances from “Gloriana” by Britten.

Prior to their international tour performances, the Youth Orchestra members will give a bon voyage concert at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (below) on Tuesday, July 3, at 7 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public, with a $1 suggested admission donation to support the gardens. These young cutural ambassadors deserve a great send-off.

For more information about the tour and about WYSO in general, visit:

http://wyso.music.wisc.edu/

Leave the young musicians a farewell message in the COMMENTS section. The Ear will try to keep you current with the tour and the reception these young artists receive.

 

 


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