The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Willy Street Chamber Players kick off their new FREE Community Connect concert series this coming Sunday afternoon at Warner Park. Plus, FREE oboe and piano concerts are this Friday at noon and Saturday night

February 16, 2017
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ALERT: This week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, features oboist Laura Medisky and pianist Vincent Fuh in sonatas by Paul Hindemith, Henri Dutilleux and Malcolm Arnold. The concert runs from 12:125 to 1 p.m. On Saturday night at 7 p.m., the same performers will repeat the same program in a FREE concert at Oakwood Village West auditorium, 6201 Mineral Point Road, on Madison’s far west side near West Towne.

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear’s friends at the Willy Street Chamber Players (below), which The Ear named as Musicians of the Year for 2016, write:

Willy Street Chamber Players 2016 outdoors

We wanted to let you know about the upcoming kickoff of the Willy Street Chamber Players’ “Community Connect” series. We are committed to our mission of making classical music accessible to all.

The Willy Street Chamber Players’ Northside Community Connect Concert is on this coming Sunday, Feb. 19, at noon at the Warner Park Community Recreation Center.

Warner Park shelter

Enjoy hot coffee, exciting classical music and great conversation with the Willy Street Chamber Players. 

This program is FREE, family-friendly and will last about 60 minutes. All are welcome.

The program is: String Quartet in C Major, K. 157, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; String Quartet No. 5, “Rosa Parks” by Daniel Bernard Roumain; “Entr’acte” for String Quartet by Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw (you can hear the piece, which The Ear loves for its pulsing and hypnotic rhythm plus unusual and interesting string textures, in the YouTube video at the bottom); and “Four, for Tango” by Astor Piazzolla.

There was an announcement about this series in the January string quartet program at A Place to Be (below, in a photo by John W. Barker), and it included a couple more concerts. But we have decided to make Community Connect a self-produced series.

willy-street-chamber-players-at-a-place-to-be-jan-2017-cr-jwb

We are planning a second Community Connect concert in July during our regular summer series, and have listed our other free appearances on our regular calendar.

The concert is made possible in part by Willy Street Co-Op and the North/Eastside Senior Coalition (NESCO).

For more information go to: www.willystreetchamberplayers.org

Willy Street Chamber Players logo


In classical music, what would be a really clever and outrageous but believable April Fools’ Day story? Tell us the best one and win prizes from The Ear.

April 1, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

Today is April 1.

That is, April Fools’ Day.

I’ll admit it: I do not like April Fools’ Day stories or so-called jokes.

In fact, I hate them.

When I was working in a newsroom, I always considered it unprofessional to publish such stories. I saw it as a betrayal of the same public trust that newspaper and magazines are always crowing about and citing as grounds for all sorts of rights or even privileges.

But I also hate them personally as well as professionally.

That’s probably just because I am a gullible and sincere guy, a sucker who falls for them.

“Oh, really” I would almost always say – to much laughter and guffawing, disbelief and incredulity, to say nothing of embarrassment, awkwardness and shame. I was always The Joker or The Jerk.

But who knows? Maybe there is a deeper reason for my disdain of April Fools’ Day and all that it entails.

Anyway, for some reason this year I found myself at the end of March idly wondering: What would be a good April Fool’s Day story in classical music?

Steinway Pianos to Go Digital” was one.

“Steinway to Make Violins” was another.

You get the idea. I have a very limited ability for this kind of goofing around and satire.

Maybe I just lack the imagination to be both outrageous and believable.

So I call on you, Dear Readers:

If you are so inclined, come up with and tell me: What would be a good headline for a classical music April Fool’s Day story?

Just send in your suggestions – put them in COMMENTS — and let’s see what you come up with.

If one story clearly emerges as a winner, I will personally send that person a recently published book about classical music and a new CD as a top prize. So include your snail-mail address or e-mail so I can get that address.

Happy Brainstorming!

And Happy April Fools’ Day!

And THAT is no joke.


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