The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Today is Super Bowl Sunday, so The Ear asks: Who are the winners and champions in the concert hall? Here are the most popular pieces, composers and soloists. Plus, on Tuesday night, violist Elias Goldstein returns to perform Paganini’s fiendish Caprices in a FREE recital

February 7, 2016
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ALERT: The Ear has received the following note from University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music viola professor Sally Chisholm, who also plays with the Pro Arte Quartet: “Elias Goldstein, who has a doctorate from UW-Madison (2011) and was a Collins Fellow, is playing a concert of all 24 Caprices, originally composed for solo violin by Niccolo Paganini, on VIOLA this Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall. Admission is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

“On March 9, he will perform this program at Carnegie Hall in New York City, as the first violist ever to perform all 24 Caprices in one concert. This is such a feat that it is difficult to believe one of our own is accomplishing it. I was with him in Krakow, Poland when he performed 6 of them. He got standing ovations. He is professor of viola at Louisiana State University, won top prizes at the Primrose International Viola Competition and the Yuri Bashmet Viola Competition in Moscow in 2011.”

Elias Goldstein big

By Jacob Stockinger

Today is the 50th Super Bowl of the NFL, and will be played by the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos in the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, near San Francisco.

It starts at 5:30 p.m. CST.

Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem. Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars will perform in the half-time show. The Super Bowl will be broadcast live on CBS-TV.

super bowl 50 logo

So, one might ask in a society that loves competition, what constitutes The Super Bowl of classical music?

It is a source of endless discussion and often disagreement.

What classical music is the most mainstream, if not best?

Who are the big winners and champions in the concert hall?

A survey, compiled by a student at the UW-Milwaukee, of the most popular or frequently performed composers, works and soloists was recently conducted by the League of American Orchestras. The rest are for the 2010-11 season.

The No. 1 work is a YouTube video at the bottom. It is the Symphony No. 1 in C Minor by Johannes Brahms and is performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under its late music director and conductor Sir George Solti.

And on March 11, 12 and 13 the Madison Symphony Orchestra hosts TWO of the Top 10 winners: Pianist Emanuel Ax performing the Piano Concerto No. 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven. (The Symphony No. 4 by Gustav Mahler completes the program.)

Emanuel Ax Philharmonia

Here is a link to the complete results along with the method used to gather data:

See what you think and leave a COMMENT.

Do they match up with your preferences and your choices of favorites?

In your opinion, what makes them so popular?

The Ear wants to hear.

Classical music: This coming Sunday night brings a MUST-HEAR chamber music concert of Schubert and Brahms that is FREE and open to the public. It features faculty members and Collins Fellow at the UW-Madison.

April 3, 2013

By Jacob Stockinger

This coming Sunday, April 7, at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall there will be an extraordinary concert of Romantic chamber music that features both UW-Madison faculty members and Collins Fellows.

Unfortunately, it is on the same day as a Madison Symphony Orchestra’s afternoon performance. Still, this concert is a MUST-HEAR and I hope you can make it.

The concert will feature UW faculty members violinist David Perry, pianist Christopher Taylor (below top) and cellist Uri Vardi (below bottom, in a photo by Katrin Talbot).



Additionally, the concert will feature Collins Fellows violinist Roxana Pavel (below), violist Elias Goldstein  and cellist Philip Bergman.

roxana pavel

The program couldn’t be more appealing. It offers two of the greatest masterpieces of Romantic chamber music: Franz Schubert’s sublime String Quintet in C major (D. 956, or Opus posthumous 163) for two violins, viola and cello; and Johannes Brahms’ dramatic Piano Quintet in F minor,  Opus 34. (The Scherzo movement of the Brahms is in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

Here is some background about the Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowships, thanks to the UW School of Music and its new Concert Manager and Director of Public Relations Kathy Esposito:

The Collins fellowships have been established through the generosity of Paul J. Collins (below) in honor of his mother, Adele Stoppenbach Collins, a 1929 School of Music graduate. Students are nominated by faculty members.

The fellowships are awarded to outstanding graduate performance majors and are determined by a committee of performance faculty.

Paul J. Collins

Collins Awards guarantee two years of support at the master’s level and three years at the doctoral level, contingent upon full-time study and satisfactory progress in the degree program. These awards are sufficient to provide the financial support needed for a single international student to obtain a visa.

And here is more information about Elias Goldstein (below):

He won second prize at the Primrose International Viola Competition in 2011 and recently made his Russian debut with the Moscow Soloists and the New Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra under Alexander Slatkovsky. He took second prize at the Yuri Bashmet International Viola Competition, and was also a top prizewinner of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in 2010. He has also won top and special prizes at the Andrews University International String Competition, and the Watson Forbes International Viola Competition in 2009.

elias goldstein 2

He holds degrees from DePaul University (M.M.) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (D.M.A.) where he was a Collins Fellow. He has studied with Mark Zinger and with UW-Madison viola teacher and Pro Arte Quartet violist Sally Chisholm. While at the UW, he won Wisconsin Public Radio’s Neale-Silva Young Artists Competition in 2009.

Sally Chisholm

As a soloist with orchestras, Goldstein has appeared with the Moscow Soloists under the direction of Yuri Bashmet, New Moscow Philharmonic, New Mexico Chamber Orchestra, Advent Chamber Orchestra, the Ukrainian Chamber Orchestra, and the DePaul Symphony Orchestra, where he won the annual concerto competition twice.

Goldstein is currently assistant professor of viola at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Here is a link to his website:

Classical music news: Breakfast fundraiser on Sunday will benefit choral programs at Middleton High School. Madison Opera’s “Galileo” is almost sold-out. Prize-winning UW violist Elias Goldstein returns to “Sunday Live From the Chazen.”

January 25, 2012
1 Comment

ALERTS: The Madison Opera‘s production of Philip Glass‘ “Galileo” has sold out three of the four performances this week. The only remaining seats available are for the performance on THURSDAY night at 8 p.m. in the Overture Center‘s Playhouse. Call (608) 238-8085. ALSO: This week’s “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen” will feature prize-winning violist Elias Goldstein in a program of Mozart, Martinu and Spohr from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery Number III at the Chazen Museum of Art. It will be broadcasts live by Wisconsin Public Radio. Goldstein, a former student of UW Professor Sally Chisholm, won second prize at the Primrose International Viola Competition in 2011 and took second prize at the Bashmet International Viola Competition. He was also a top prize winner of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in 2010.

By Jacob Stockinger

It’s hard times and they are only getting harder for music education programs in the public schools.

That’s why I am posting this invitation to a local fundraiser this Sunday:

“The 18th Annual Country Breakfast will be held Sunday, January 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Middleton High School Student Center at 2100 Bristol Street in Middleton.

“The highlight of the breakfast will be individual and group performances (below) from students participating in the MHS Concert Choir, Cantus, Cardinal Choir and Chamber Singers throughout the entire day.

“Check out the schedule at to find out when your favorite MHS singer is performing!  All the proceeds go toward increasing musical opportunities for students participating in all four groups.

“Come enjoy all you can eat pancakes plus ham, eggs, fresh oranges and beverages.  Tickets are $9 for adults and $4 for children (10 and under), and will be available at the door.

“A silent auction will feature sports memorabilia, handcrafted items, jewelry, restaurant packages, event tickets and much, much more.

“This is the Choral Music Program’s annual fundraising event sponsored by the MHS Choral Boosters and many local businesses and friends including Tom and MaryBeth  Haunty, Huntington Learning Services,  James Lord, D.D.S., Mays Law Office, L.L.C, Pohlkamp & Associates, Sprechers Restaurant & Pub, SVA Certified Public Accountants, State Bank of Cross Plains,  Willy Street Co-op, Barriques and The Printing Place, Inc.       

“Questions can be directed to or Karen Stodola at 836-1105.

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