The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison Opera, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Overture Center cancel their fall seasons. Plus, on Saturday cellist Cole Randolph performs a virtual concert for Grace Presents

June 26, 2020
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ALERT: The Saturday at noon, Grace Presents will offer the first in its series of HD Virtual Concerts online. Future performers include organist Mark Brampton Smith and the Willy Street Chamber Players.

The performer this time is the cellist and recent UW-Madison graduate Cole Randolph (below). The program is: the Sonata for Solo Cello by the American composer George Crumb; two of the “Seven Songs Heard in China” by Chinese composer Bright Sheng; and the Suite for Solo Cello No. 3 by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Here is where you can hear the 40-minute concert inside the church on the Capitol Square: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vaOCH53osk

You can also connect with Cole Randolph after the show by joining in a Zoom meet-and-greet immediately following the performance at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88001773181

The meeting ID is: 880 0177 3181

You can hear Randolph (below, in a photo by Michael Anderson) playing in the YouTube video at the bottom.

By Jacob Stockinger

With all the talk of a second wave of coronavirus coming in the fall — complicated by the seasonal flu – concert cancellations don’t come as a surprise, unfortunately.

In fact, The Ear suspects many more cancellations are to come, including those from the UW-Madison, the Wisconsin Union Theater and the Middleton Community Orchestra.

Here is the latest round: the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Madison Opera, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Overture Center have all canceled their fall seasons, with some qualifications.

The announcements came on Thursday morning in the wake of the Overture Center canceling all performances this summer and fall through Nov. 30.

MADISON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

The Madison Symphony Orchestra has provided a short statement and a more complete and detailed press release.

Here is the statement:

“The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s 2020-21 “Beethoven and Beyond” season concerts and Overture Concert Organ performances are now canceled from September 2020 through January 2021.

“The move is due to the Overture Center’s decision to suspend events through Nov. 30, 2020, and the requirements of Dane County’s “Forward Dane” Reopening Plan.

“The 2020-21 season performances in February, March, April and May 2021 are scheduled to take place as planned.

“All subscribers will be sent a refund for the value of their tickets for the September 2020 through January 2021 concerts.”

Here is a list on the five MSO concerts – including the Beyond the Score performance of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” on Jan. 25 — that will be canceled and the four that remain scheduled: https://madisonsymphony.org/concerts-events/2020-2021-symphony-season-concerts/

Here is a link to the full press release about the cancellations by the MSO (below, in a  photo by Peter Rodgers): https://madisonsymphony.org/press-release-june-2020-concert-events-update/

MADISON OPERA

The Madison Opera is canceling the two in-person performances of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” (The Troubadour) but is planning on offering some kind of large digital event and smaller live events at its center.

Here is statement from the Madison Opera:

“Although the Overture Center for the Arts is closed until the end of November, we will not be going silent.

“We are creating a fall season that lasts from September through December, and includes both digital content and live performances at the Margaret C. Winston Madison Opera Center, our home in downtown Madison.

“Some of our signature engagement activities — such as Opera Novice and Opera Up Close — will have monthly editions that include artists from around the country.

“The Opera Center itself will be the site of “Live from the Opera Center,” a variety of streamed performances with a small live audience.

“Other performances will be created digitally and made available exclusively to subscribers.

“Artists involved include members of the original “Il Trovatore” cast: soprano Karen Slack, baritone Weston Hurt, bass Kenneth Kellogg, and stage director Fenlon Lamb. Other soloists include Wisconsin-based artists Jeni Houser (below), David Blalock, Emily Fons, Emily Secor and Kirsten Larson.

“We are working with our artists to create programming that is chosen from their passions: music they want to share, ideas they want to explore, and conversations they want to start. The challenges facing us will create new art, and new ways to make sure it is accessible to everyone.”

Marketing director Andrew Rogers told The Ear that the opera company is still deciding whether digital performances will be ticketed or free with suggested donations.

The full schedule will be announced in early August, after the digital online Opera in the Park takes place Saturday, July 25. For details, go to: https://www.madisonopera.org/2020/05/06/opera-in-the-park-is-going-digital/

To stay current about the regular opera season, you can sign up for the Madison Opera’s news updates via email by going to this website: https://www.madisonopera.org/fall2020/

WISCONSIN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

The Nov. 20 opening concert with pianist John O’Conor of the Masterworks Series has been POSTPONED with no new date set yet.

Music director Andrew Sewell says the Family Concert on is still on for Saturday, Oct. 10, at the Goodman Community Center but the WCO is looking for an alternative venue.

The concert on Nov. 7 at the Verona Area Performing Arts Center has been CANCELED.

Both performances of Handel’s “Messiah” — on Dec. 9 and Dec. 12 at the Blackhawk Church in Middleton and the UW’s Hamel Music Center on Dec. 12 – have also been CANCELED.

And this season the WCO will not play Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” from Dec. 17-27 because the Madison Ballet has canceled those performances.

For more information about the WCO (below, in photo by Mike Gorski), go to: https://wcoconcerts.org/concerts-tickets/calendar

What do you think?

Do you think the cancellations are warranted?

Do you want to leave a message or comment encouraging and supporting the various groups and their many musicians?

The Ear wants to hear.


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Classical music: Renowned organist Hector Olivera will play classics and also improvise spontaneously in Overture Hall on Tuesday night

February 9, 2020
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By Jacob Stockinger

At 7:30 p.m. on this Tuesday night, Feb. 11, in Overture Hall, the renowned Argentinian organist and composer Hector Olivera (below) will make his local debut on the Overture Concert Organ Series sponsored by the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

Olivera will perform on the Klais Overture Concert Organ (below)

All tickets are $20.

The program includes works by: Johann Sebastian Bach; Cesar Franck; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Astor Piazzolla; Louis Vierne; Marco Enrico Bossi; and William Ralph Driffill.

For the specific works on the program, plus information about buying tickets, biographical background and reviews of his past performances, go to: https://madisonsymphony.org/event/organ-hector-olivera/

Says Greg Zelek (below), the MSO organist and Juilliard School graduate who also organizes the organ concert series:

“Known as one of the most exciting organists of the 20th century, international concert organist Hector Olivera will entertain and exhilarate the audience with an unforgettable performance.

“Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mr. Olivera has performed all over the world and has had audiences leaping to their feet with applause for years.

“His debut performance at Overture Hall will feature organ classics like Vierne’s Carillon de Westminster, as well as transcriptions like “Oblivion” by another Argentine native, Astor Piazzolla.

“He will close the concert with an improvisation on a submitted theme that is sure to enthrall and amaze everyone in attendance.”

Want proof or a preview?

You can hear Olivera improvise on a traditional Chinese folk song, first sung to him, during a concert in Shenzhin, China, in the YouTube video below:


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Classical music: The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge sings a varied program with organ accompaniment this Wednesday night in Overture Hall

September 9, 2019
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By Jacob Stockinger

The new season of the popular Overture Concert Organ series, sponsored by the Madison Symphony Orchestra and curated by MSO organist Greg Zelek, begins this Wednesday night, Sept. 11, at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall.

All single tickets are $20. (A subscription to all four organ concerts is $63.)

The opening program features the world-famous Choir of Trinity College Cambridge (below), on tour from its home in the United Kingdom.

Adds Zelek:

“Our season opens with the amazing Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, named by Gramophone Magazine as one of the best choirs in the world.

“Conducted by the choir’s music director Stephen Layton (below top) and accompanied on the mighty Klais concert organ (below bottom), this 25-voice choir will present a program of music spanning many centuries that will display its beauty of tone and depth of feeling. These rich voices will make this varied program soar through Overture Hall and leave everyone in the audience breathless.”


Here are some sample reviews:

Virtuoso is the right word. I, for one, can’t immediately think of any more appropriate way of describing singing of such staggering accomplishment.  – BBC Music Magazine

Sitting front and center at a recent Trinity Choir of Cambridge concert at Grace Cathedral was, sonically speaking, a heavenly experience.                    -The New York Times

Here is Wednesday night’s eclectic program:

William Byrd | Sing joyfully
William Byrd | O Lord, make thy servant, Elizabeth
Thomas Tallis | Salvator mundi
Henry Purcell | Thou knowest, Lord
Arvo Part | Bogoroditse Djévo
John Tavener | Mother of God, here I stand
Vasily Kalinnikov | Bogoroditse Djevo
Robert Parsons | Ave Maria
Eriks Esenvalds | The Heavens’ Flock (You can hear a different Esenvalds work, “Only in Sleep,” sung by the Trinity College Choir, in the YouTube video at the bottom.)
Morten Lauridsen | O magnum mysterium
Jaakko Mantyjarvi | Stuttgarter Psalmen
Herbert Howells | Take him, earth, for cherishing
Herbert Howells | Trinity St. Paul’s

For more information about the Overture Organ Series, detailed background about the Trinity College Choir and how to purchase tickets, call (608) 258-4141 or go to: https://madisonsymphony.org/concerts-events/overture-concert-organ-performances/ or https://madisonsymphony.org/event/organ-trinity-choir/ 


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Classical music: Organist and composer Chelsea Chen debuts at Overture Hall on Tuesday night

February 18, 2019
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IF YOU LIKE A CERTAIN BLOG POST, PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD. FORWARD A LINK TO IT OR, SHARE or TAG IT (not just “Like” it) ON FACEBOOK. Performers can use the extra exposure to draw potential audience members to an event.

By Jacob Stockinger

Organist Chelsea Chen (below) makes her Madison debut on this Tuesday night, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall as part of the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Concert Organ series.

Ticket information is below.

Chen brings to her Overture Hall premiere an array of widely known classical pieces plus her own original composition.

Chen’s performance begins with Ola Gjeilo’s Sinfonietta and Edvard Grieg’s First Peer Gynt Suite, Op. 46— continuing with Chen’s original work, the Taiwanese Suite, Camille Saint-Saens’ Finale from “Organ” Symphony No. 3, Ad Wammes’ Miroir, and finally, selections from Gustav Holst’s The Planets.

Composer Gjeilo (below) has praised Chen’s interpretation of Sinfonietta, which the organist has performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.

The First Peer Gynt Suite, Op. 46, by Grieg is one of the most easily recognizable compositions within the musical art form. Subtitled “Morning,” it is the first of two suites that Grieg (below) transcribed from Henrik Ibsen’s 1867 Norwegian play Peer Gynt.

The opus, albeit a short first movement from the suite, intends to instill imagery of the sunrise over the North African desert. Despite this, it is more commonly associated with the sweeping mountains, fjords and lakes that mark Norway’s landscape.

Chen’s own Taiwanese Suite combines the dynamic range of the organ with inflections of traditional Asian folksongs. It is composed of three movements: “Hills in the Springtime,” “Moonlight Blue” and “Mountain of Youth.”

Inspired by the works of Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt and others, Saint-Saens (below) composed a variety of arrangements and selections for numerous occasions. By age 10, the French composer and child prodigy had given his first concert. His Finale from “Organ” Symphony No. 3 is, as some consider, the pinnacle of his body of compositions. (You can hear Chen’s playing of the Finale from the “Organ” Symphony by Saint-Saens in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

Miroir was composed by Dutch composer Ad Wammes (below) for Stephen Taylor to celebrate the organist’s appointment to the Nicolaïkerk, a church in the Netherlands. In an unconventional mirroring — hence the title — the right hand repeats the higher voices in the same pattern throughout the song, whereas the left hand varies texture, voice and tone in the lower registers. The result is a calming, low hum that is lifted by the glistening echoes of the upper registers.

To Holst, The Planets suite could be framed as “a series of mood pictures,” with its seven movements. Ironically, Holst (below) seemed to heavily dislike his explosive popularity resulting from the suite’s compositional structure. Despite his supposed negativity towards the piece, its inherent superb qualities of each movement — no two are alike — became a staple of evocative composition.

Following an academic career at the Juilliard School and Yale University, Chelsea Chen has practiced under the tutelage of known names in the musical world, such as Paul Jacobs and John Weaver. For more information about her, go to: https://madisonsymphony.org/event/chelsea-chen/

Single Tickets are available for $20 each and can be purchased online at http://madisonsymphony.org/chen, through the Overture Center Box Office at 201 State Street, or by calling the Box Office at (608) 258-4141.

Groups of 10 or more can save 25% by calling the MSO office at (608) 257-3734. For more information, visit, https://madisonsymphony.org/groups

Student rush tickets can be purchased in person on the day of the concert at the Overture Center Box Office at 201 State Street. Students must show a valid student ID and can receive up to two tickets for $10 each. More information is at: https://madisonsymphony.org/studentrush

Discounted seats are subject to availability, and discounts may not be combined.

This performance is sponsored by Friends of the Overture Concert Organ (below) that was custom-built by Klais Orgelbau of Germany. Support for all Overture Concert Organ programs is provided by the Diane Endres Ballweg Fund. With a gift from Pleasant T. Rowland, the Madison Symphony Orchestra commissioned the Overture Concert Organ.


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Classical music: Virtuoso trumpeter and Empire Brass founder Rolf Smedvig dies suddenly at 62. The Empire Brass plays with the Overture Center Concert Organ on Tuesday, May 12.

May 2, 2015
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By Jacob Stockinger

Rolf Smedvig, the Norwegian-Icelandic trumpeter extraordinaire, died suddenly this past week at age 62, apparently of a heart attack.

Once the young principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony and renowned soloist, he also cofounded and played with the Empire Brass.

rolf smedvig

Passing along the news seems especially timely and appropriate since the Empire Brass will perform in Overture Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12.

Tickets are $20. Call the Overture Center box office at (608) 258-4141.

Empire Brass

The brass ensemble will perform with organist Douglas Major (below top), former organist at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.,  at the console of the Overture Center Concert Organ (below bottom).

Douglas Major

Overture Concert Organ overview

The program is a delightfully and largely Baroque one, which should highlight the brass sound. It features music by Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Tomaso Albinoni, Georg Philipp Telemann, Johann Pachelbel and Dietrich Buxtehude and Henry Purcell. (You can hear the Empire Brass, with Rolf Smedvig, performing Handel’s “Water Music” in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

But one wonders: Is there a substitute for Rolf Smedvig? Or has the brass group changed its membership since the publicity photo? It sounds like the latter is the case, but The Ear doesn’t know for sure. Do you?

Here is a link for more information about the Madison concert:

http://www.madisonsymphony.org/empire

Here is a link to a terrific obituary and feature profile done by Tm Huizenga for the Deceptive Cadence blog on National Public Radio (NPR).

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2015/04/28/402836867/dazzling-trumpeter-rolf-smedvig-dies-suddenly

 

 


Classical music: The Madison Symphony Orchestra presents this summer’s last FREE organ concert for the downtown Dane County Farmers’ Market at 11 a.m. this coming Saturday.

August 7, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) will host the last of three FREE summer performances on the Overture Concert Organ, this time featuring guest organist Donald VerKuilen, during the Dane County Farmers’ Market (below) on this coming Saturday, Aug. 9, at 11 a.m. in Overture Hall, 201 State Street.

dane county farmers' market

No tickets or reservations are needed for this 45-minute concert.

A Wisconsin native and current Oberlin College organ performance major, Donald VerKuilen (below) makes his Overture Hall debut in an exciting program. (You can hear VerKuilen performing “Variations on ‘In Dulci Jubilo’ in a YouTube video at the bottom.) 

Donald VerKuilen

The music includes the Fantasie in D-flat Major, by Camille Saint-Saëns (below top), the Allegro Vivace for Organ Symphony No. 5 by Charles-Marie Widor (below middle, at the organ in the church of St. Sulpice in Paris circa 1900) and the Suite for organ by Malcolm Archer (below bottom).

Camille Saint-Saens

Charles-Marie Widor at St. Sulpice in Paris ca 1900

malcolm archer

VerKuilen recently returned from a concert tour of French organs, and is certain to bring the same magic to the colossal Klais organ, custom-built by Klais-Orgelbau of Bonn, Germany, in Overture Hall.

Overture Concert Organ overview

The Madison Symphony Orchestra and Overture Center for the Arts present the Farmers’ Market Concert Series in partnership with 77 Square.

The Free Farmers’ Market Concerts are sponsored by Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. Support for all Overture Concert Organ programs is provided by the Diane Endres Ballweg Fund.

To see the Overture Concert Organ series of concerts for 2014-15 or to subscribe at a 25 percent savings, visit: www. madisonsymphony.org/organseason14-15

 

 


Classical music: The Madison Symphony Orchestra will present FREE organ concerts in Overture Hall on three Farmers’ Market Saturdays this summer. The first one is this Saturday, June 21, at 11 a.m. The two others are on July 19 and August 9.

June 17, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) will host FREE performances on the custom-built Overture Concert Organ (below top) during the Dane County Farmers’ Market (below bottom) on three Saturdays -– June 21, July 19, and Aug. 9 –- all at 11 a.m.

Overture Concert Organ overview

dane county farmers' market

The concerts will take place in Overture Hall, 201 State Street. NO tickets or reservations are needed for these 45-minute concerts featuring MSO organist and curator Samuel Hutchison, as well as guest organists Ahreum Han and Donald VerKuilen.

Here are more details:

June 21: Samuel Hutchison (below), the MSO’s principal organist and curator, presents a program entitled “Bach’s Lunch”, featuring the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Favorites including the famous and popular  Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, used in the Walt Disney movie “Fantasia” (and available at the bottom in a popular animated YouTube voice that has more than 22 million hits) and a transcription of the Air on the G-String are among other items on the program.

Sam Hutchison  close up

July 19: Korean organist Ahreum Han (below) brings a delightful program to Overture Hall in her first recital on the Overture Concert Organ. A graduate of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Han is known throughout the US, Asia, and Europe for her imaginative, powerful, and extraordinary performances.

Ahreum Han

Aug. 9: Wisconsin native and current Oberlin College organ performance major Donald VerKuilen makes his Overture Hall debut in an exciting program of music by Charles-Marie Widor, Bonnal, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Langlais. He recently returned from a concert tour of French organs, and is certain to bring the same magic to the colossal Klais organ in Overture Hall.

Donald VerKuilen

To see the Overture Concert Organ series of concerts for 2014-15 or to subscribe at a 25 percent savings, visit:

www.madisonsymphony.org/organseason14-15

The Madison Symphony Orchestra and Overture Center for the Arts present the Farmers’ Market Concert Series in partnership with 77 Square.

The Free Farmers’ Market Concerts are generously sponsored by Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. Support for all Overture Concert Organ programs is provided by the Diane Endres Ballweg Fund.

 


UW-Madison sister violinists Alice and Eleanor Bartsch join Madison Symphony Orchestra organist Samuel Hutchison for a concert on Friday night. Plus, on Saturday night, UW cellist Parry Karp gives FREE recital that includes Schumann and Brahms.

November 7, 2013
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ALERT:  UW-Madison cellist Parry Karp (below), who heads the UW School of Music’s chamber music program and who perform with the Pro Arte Quartet, will give a FREE and PUBLIC recital on Saturday night at 8 p.m. in Mills  Hall. He will perform with his father and mother, Howard and Frances Karp, as piano accompanists. The program includes: “Poem for Cello and Piano” by Charles Tournemire; “Eight Pieces” by Theordor Kirchner; “Pieces in the folk Style for Cello and Piano” by Robert Schumann; and the late Sonata for Clarinet (or viola) and Piano in E-flat Major, Op. 120, No. 2, by Johannes Brahms as transcribed by Parry Karp.

Parry Karp

By Jacob Stockinger

Word has reached The Ear:

Sister violinists Alice and Eleanor Bartsch (below respectively, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) will join the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s organist, Samuel Hutchison, in a recital of music for organ and violin on this Friday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall at the Overture Center.

Alice  and Eleanor Bartsch (c) Katrin Talbot

The generous program includes Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins; the Double Concerto in D Minor by Antonio Vivaldi; the Finale from Sonata No. 6 by Felix Mendelssohn; the Suite for Violin and Organ by Josef Rheinberger; the Prelude and Fugue in B Major by Marcel Dupre; the Coronation March from “Le Prophete” by Giacomo Meyerbeer; and the “Preludium and Allegro in the Style of Pugnani” by Fritz Kreisler (heard at the bottom in a very popular YouTube by superstar violinist Itzhak Perlman.)

Adds Teri Venker, the marketing director, in a press release for the Madison Symphony Orchestra:

“Sisters Alice and Eleanor Bartsch are a dynamic pairing: both are members of the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s first violin section with impressive performance credits.

“Each sister has also won prestigious competitions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) School of Music, where they are students.

“Currently, Eleanor is a first-year master’s student at UW and a Paul Collins Distinguished Graduate Fellow, and Alice is a senior at UW working toward a bachelor of music degree in performance.

The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Samuel Hutchison (below, in a photo by Joe DeMaio) is a seasoned recitalist and will round out the powerful trio.

Sam Hutchison with organ (c) JoeDeMaio

“When asked about playing on Overture Stage, Eleanor Bartsch (below) said, it “still takes our breath away! There’s actually a ‘sweet spot’ on stage: If you stand exactly right, the sound seems to ‘jump’ out of the violin and soar all the way to the balcony. I wish I could practice in Overture Hall every day!”

Eleanor Bartsch

“Alice Bartsch said, “The Bach Double Violin Concerto is a piece we have been performing since we were little girls. The concert has a little bit of everything from the romanticism of Kreisler and Rheinberger to the powerful “Chaconne” by Tomaso Vitali. For baroque music lovers, we will play the lively Double Concerto by Vivaldi.”

Alice Bartsch

Both Alice and Eleanor agree that they have a “sister vibe” about timing and musical phrasing that makes playing together easy, fun, and rewarding.

For more information about the Bartsch sisters and their major funders including retired Citibank executive Paul Collins, retired UW chemistry professor Kato Perlman and retired UW-Madison Chancellor Irving Shain, read the fine posting by Public Relations Director and Concert Manager Kathy Esposito on the UW School of Music’s new blog “Fanfare” :

http://uwmadisonschoolofmusic.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/bartsch-sisters/

In addition to accompanying the Bartsch sisters, Hutchison will also perform solo works for organ by Marcel Dupré, Herbert Howells, Josef Rheinberger, and Tomaso Vitali.

Hutchison said, “It is a great privilege to be joined by Alice and Eleanor Bartsch in this program for organ and violins.  Each brings a great joy and freshness to this music, which will be infectious for the audience.  We look forward to sharing some audience favorites as well as some new pieces with our listeners in Overture Hall.”

Overture Concert Organ overview

General admission for the concert is $20, and tickets can be purchased at http://www.madisonsymphony.org/bartsch, the Overture Center Box Office or (608) 258-4141. Student rush tickets are $10 the day of the show with a valid student ID. (See http://www.madisonsymphony.org/studentrush).

The performance is sponsored by Kato L. Perlman, and by Alfred P. and Ann M. Moore, with additional funding from Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation and the Diane Endres Ballweg Fund. With a gift from Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, the Madison Symphony Orchestra commissioned the Overture Concert Organ, which is the dramatic backdrop of all MSO concerts.

For more Overture Concert Organ information, visit http://www.madisonsymphony.org/organseason


Classical music: The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s series of four organ concerts begins this Friday night. Also, the Oakwood Chamber Players perform on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen.”

October 10, 2013
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ALERT: This Sunday, Wisconsin Public Radio’s live statewide broadcast “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen” from 12:30 to 2 p.m. will feature the Oakwood Chamber Players of Madison. Sorry, but no word on the program yet. And there is still no listing of upcoming SAL concerts and performers on the new WPR website.

Oakwood Chamber Players 2012 2

By Jacob Stockinger

The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO)’s 2013-2014 Overture Concert Organ Season will start this Friday night at 7:30 p.m. In Overture Hall. (Below is a photo of the custom-built Klais organ in Overture Hall of the Overture Center.)

The series includes four diverse performances from the MSO’s principal organist, several dynamic guest artists, and the impressive Madison Youth Choirs.  Each concert will be in Overture Hall, where the MSO’s concert organ resides.

Overture Concert Organ overview

CONCERT 1

The first concert this Friday at 7:30 p.m. features solo works performed by Samuel Hutchison (below, in a photo by Joe DeMaio), the MSO’s principal organist and curator.

Highlighting the concert will be Hutchison’s transcription of the Waltz from Tchaikovsky’s opera “Eugene Onegin,” and his interpretation of Julius Reubke’s Sonata on the 94th Psalm (the fugue is in a YouTube video at the bottom).  Considered one of the pinnacles of Romantic organ composition, the sonata’s furious fugue and thrilling conclusion make for an unforgettable sonic experience.

Works by Gabriel Pierné, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Marco Enrico Bossi will also be performed.

Sam Hutchison with organ (c) JoeDeMaio

CONCERT 2

On Friday, Nov. 8, sister violinists Alice and Eleanor Bartsch (below top and bottom, respectively) will join Hutchison in a program for organ and violins. The program features J.S. Bach’s Double Concerto and Vivaldi’s Double Concerto in D Minor. The sisters are a powerful pairing: both are members of the MSO’s first violin section and have impressive performance resumes.  Each sister has also won prestigious competitions at the University of Wisconsin School of Music.

In addition to performing with the Bartsch sisters, Hutchison will present solo works for organ by composers Marcel Dupré, Herbert Howells, Josef Rheinberger, Tomoso Vitali, and others.

Alice Bartsch

Eleanor Bartsch

CONCERT 3

On Friday, March 21, the third Overture Concert Organ Performance will feature internationally renowned organist Janette Fishell (below), making her Overture Hall debut.

Fishell is a seasoned recitalist, having performed in many of the world’s greatest concert venues in Tokyo, Cambridge, Berlin, Budapest, and Prague.  She has been featured at five national conventions and five regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, and also holds a professorship and chair in Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.

The program, entitled Bach and Beyond, will include the music of J.S Bach, Miloš Sokola, Ethyl Smyth, Lionel Rogg, and Louis Vierne.

Janette Fishell CR Forrest Croce

CONCERT 4

On SATURDAY, May 10, the final Concert Organ performance will feature dozens of guest artists as Samuel Hutchison takes the stage with the Madison Youth Choirs Saturday.

Michael Ross, artistic director for the Choirs, has received significant praise from MSO Conductor John DeMain: “I can never say enough about the good work that Michael Ross is doing with the Madison Youth Choirs; they are an essential and beloved part of our Christmas Concerts.”

Works by John Rutter, J.S. Bach, Lili Boulanger and Herbert Howells will be performed.

Madison Youth Choirs Ragazzi cr Karen Holland

General admission for the above Overture Concert Organ performances is $20. Season subscriptions to all four concerts are available for $63 through TODAY, Oct. 10, at madisonsymphony.org. Other organ events for the 2013-2014 season include Free Community Hymn Sings Saturday, Nov. 16 (11 a.m.) and March 8 (11 a.m.), as well as a Free Community Christmas Carol Sing Sunday, Dec. 1 (7 p.m.).

Organist Nathan Laube (below) will also join the Madison Symphony Orchestra April 4-6, 2014, to perform Jongen’s “Symphonie Concertante.” 

Nathan Laube at console

The organ series is made possible by major funding from the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation and from the Diane Endres Ballweg Fund. With a gift from the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, the Madison Symphony Orchestra commissioned the Overture Concert Organ, which is the backdrop of all MSO concerts in Overture Hall.


Classical music: The last FREE Dane County Farmer’s Market organ concert of this summer – sponsored by the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Overture Center — will take place this coming Saturday morning, Aug. 17, at 11 a.m. in Overture Hall. Plus, Black Marigold Quintet will be featured on WORT-FM Thursday morning.

August 14, 2013
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ALERT: Radio programmer and host as well as blog friend Rich Samuels writes: “In anticipation of the upcoming concerts by Black Marigold Woodwind Quintet (below) at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and the Capitol Lakes Retirement Community, I’ll be airing, at 7:28 a.m. this Thursday morning, during my 5- 8 a.m. program “Anything Goes” on WORT-FM 89.9, their April 13 performance at Grace Episcopal Church (recorded by Bruce Kasprzyk) of Robert Muczynski‘s Quintet for Winds. The concerts will include arrangements of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” which is 100 years old this year.” Details of the concerts were included in a blog post here yesterday. 

Black Marigold

By Jacob Stockinger

A FREE performance on the Overture Concert Organ (below) will be co-presented by the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Overture Center for the Arts during the Dane County Farmers’ Market on this upcoming Saturday, Aug. 17, at 11 a.m. at Overture Hall, 201 State Street.

Overture Concert Organ overview

No tickets or reservations are needed for the 45-minute concert featuring Sam Hutchison and 14-year-old newcomer Adrian Binkley.

The two will play Johann Sebastian Bach’s Third Movement from the Sonata in E-Flat Major BWV 525 (heard in a YouTube video at the bottom), Sir Edward Elgar’s “Imperial March,” Sir Arthur Sullivan’s “The Lost Chord,” Ennio Morricone’s “Gabriel’s Oboe” and the Prayer to Our Lady and Toccata movements from Leon Boëllmann’s “Gothic Suite.” A complete list of Overture Concert Organ performances is at www.madisonsymphony.org/organperformances .

Audiences will hear the debut of a young rising star from Waunakee, Wisconsin. Fourteen-year-old organist Adrian Binkley (below top) is a student of MSO Principal Organist Samuel Hutchison (below bottom, in a photo by Joe DeMaio). Binkley is already an experienced recital artist and plans to study organ performance at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan this fall. Both Binkley and Samuel Hutchison will perform at this concert.

Adrian Binkley

Samuel Hutchison (c) Joe DeMaio

The Free Farmers’ Market Concerts are generously sponsored by the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation and are presented in partnership with 77 Square. Support for all Overture Concert Organ programs is provided by the Diane Endres Ballweg Fund with additional support from Friends of the Overture Concert Organ.

With a gift from the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, the Madison Symphony Orchestra commissioned the Overture Concert Organ, which is the stunning backdrop of all MSO concerts. As curator for the instrument, Samuel Hutchison is responsible for organ programming and education events. In addition to the Free Farmers’ Market Concerts, the instrument is featured in the MSO Christmas and April 2014 concerts along with three Free Community Hymn Sings and a Christmas Carol Sing.

Subscribers to the 2013-14 Overture Concert Organ season receive a 25% discount. To subscribe visit

http://www.madisonsymphony.org/organseason


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