The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: A new statewide collective has been formed to perform and promote Baroque music in Wisconsin, with initial concerts in Madison and Milwaukee. Plus, the Lawrence Chamber Players from Appleton will perform music by Brahms, Elliott Carter and Juan Orrega-Salas this Sunday afternoon on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen” Museum of Art.

February 21, 2014
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ALERT: The accomplished and always popular Lawrence Chamber Players, from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin, will perform on this weekend’s edition of “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen” on Wisconsin Public Radio (88.7 FM in the Madison area). The FREE concert is in Brittingham Gallery III of the art museum at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and airs live from 12:30 to 2 p.m. The program includes the Piano Quartet No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 60, by Johannes Brahms; Duos for Violin and Viola by Elliott Carter, and the  Sonata for Viola and Piano by Juan Orrego-Salas. As always, the host will be WPR’s Lori Skelton.

SAL3

By Jacob Stockinger

Attention, all early music fans!

If you haven’t heard news yet, a new statewide collective has been formed to perform and promote Baroque music in Wisconsin, with initial concerts and groups in Madison and Milwaukee.

Major organizers, with their hometowns, include: Brett Lipshutz, Monica Steger and Christine Hauptly Annin, who all live in Milwaukee; and Eric Miller and Theresa Koenig, who live in Madison. 

Brett Lipschutz and Monica Steger — you can hear them with cellist Anton Ten Wolde and harpsichordist Max Yount — performing flute music by Baroque master Georg Philipp Telemann in a YouTube video at the bottom — recently cooperated to answer an email Q&A by The Ear to give readers more information:

Monica Steger

Brett Lipschutz 2014

When and why did the collective come into being?

The idea began when Monica moved to Milwaukee. Being two of a very small disparate group of musicians playing on period instruments, they wanted to create more activity locally.

Having to travel all of the time to play with good musicians didn’t seem logical, considering the size of Milwaukee. The idea then went from local to statewide in the hopes of connecting a broad base of period musicians, regardless of affiliation.

Our first informal public gathering was July 3, 2013. Brett Lipshutz, Monica Steger, Eric Miller (below), Theresa Koenig, and Christine Hauptly-Annin came together to do open public rehearsals just to bring some awareness to historically informed performance practice.

Eric Miller viol

We know that there are many musicians playing Baroque music on period instruments in Wisconsin, but some feel isolated. The collective offers an opportunity for such musicians to find like-minded colleagues with whom to collaborate, as well as a way to encourage improvement in performance through peer review or studying with guests we would like to bring here. (Below are the Madison Bach Musicians, who will perform a FREE program of J.S. Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli and Scarlatti this Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. at the Grace Episcopal Church, 116 West Washington Avenue, on the Capitol Square downtown.)

Kangwon KIm with Madison Bach Musicians

What does such a statewide collective say about the state of early music and how established it is among the general public by now?

Because this is such a new endeavor, the Collective is just starting to be discussed among musicians interested in developing such a community. It might take a bit of time and exposure for the general public to catch on. The emphasis now is the music and the people who play it. The hope is that this emphasis will create excitement about projects that lead to audience education and development.

How many members or chapters belong to it now and where are they located? How does the collective benefit its musician members?

This collective has just gotten started, and we have about 10 musicians in the Madison and Milwaukee areas who have participated in reading sessions and informal public performances, or concerts. But there are more and more who are expressing interest.

What is the plan of concerts and events that the collective has in mind? Do you have other projects such as recordings or special plans in mind?

At this point, members of the Collective have been creating concerts and playing for events under the name of the Wisconsin Baroque Musicians Collective. We’ve also had a music reading session and plan to do them on a regular basis. This includes discussions about relevant peripheral elements such as aesthetics of music, etc. (Below is a concert from the annual Madison early music Festival that takes place every July.)

MEMF1

Are there special aspects of Baroque music – composers, works, instruments (below) – that you expect to champion and educate the public about?

We want our audiences to learn to be curious about the music and its cultural context. Much of the music we play is enjoyable upon the first hearing, but we want to encourage listeners to take a “deep dive” into learning about styles and philosophies informing the music as well as the underlying systems that make the music’s narrative apparent.

MEMF 14 2013 Piffaro instruments

How do musicians, presenters or the general public contact you and learn about you?

Musicians interested in playing Baroque music on period instruments are encouraged and welcome to contact us at wisbmc@gmail.com.

We also have a basic informational webpage up at www.harmonyhallforall.com/collective.

Because we are just beginning, our performances are mostly informal and sporadic. However, presenters can contact us for a list of potential projects that group members have expressed interest in realizing in the next couple of years.

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