By Jacob Stockinger
This coming week, the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) will present organist Samuel Hutchison (below) and acclaimed singers Andrew Bidlack and Kyle Ketelsen performing as a trio in vocal and instrumental music from oratorios and operas.
The concert is Tuesday night, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall of the Overture Center, 201 State Street.
Principal Organist and Curator for the Madison Symphony Orchestra Samuel Hutchison joins forces with two outstanding singers in the first half to perform a program of favorite arias and overtures from Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Rossini’s Stabat Mater.
Opera will be the focus of the second half, featuring arias and selections from Bizet’s Carmen, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Gounod’s Faust.
For the full program, go to: http://www.madisonsymphony.org/organopera
Featured by Opera News as one of their top 25 brilliant young artists, tenor Andrew Bidlack (below) — who is replacing David Portillo — makes his debut in Overture Hall following performances at The Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Welsh National Opera and London’s Covent Garden.
Bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen (below, in a photo by Dario Acosta), who lives in nearby Sun Prairie, has sung with major opera companies throughout the world including The Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the State Opera of Berlin. He is praised for his vibrant stage presence and his distinctive vocalism.
In the YouTube video at the bottom, you can hear Kyle Ketelsen sing the role of Don Escamillo in a Barcelona, Spain, production of Bizet’s “Carmen.” He is singing the same role in the Metropolitan Opera’s current production of “Carmen.”
General Admission for each Overture Concert Organ performance is $20. Tickets can be purchased at madisonsymphony.org/organopera, (608) 258-4141 or the Overture Center Box Office.
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 $10 tickets.
This performance is sponsored by the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. 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 (MSO) commissioned the Overture Concert Organ, which is the stunning backdrop of all MSO concerts.
By Jacob Stockinger
The Ear has received the following announcement to post:
The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) invites the entire community to celebrate the holiday season and sing together with the Overture Concert Organ at a free Christmas Carol Sing-Along in Overture Hall, 201 State Street, Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m.
All ages are welcome to the FREE event and no registration or tickets are required.
The Christmas Carol Sing’Along will feature holiday favorites including George Frideric Handel‘s Joy to the World, Angels We Have Heard on High, Away in a Manger and The First Noel, along with some lesser known works such as the arrangement of In the Bleak Midwinter by Gustav Holst (below). NOTE: You can hear Holst’s arrangement in the YouTube video at the bottom.
MSO Principal Organist and Curator Samuel Hutchison (below) will lead the carol singing, which will last approximately one hour.
Concerts will be presented in Overture Hall on Friday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets for those concerts can be purchased at madisonsymphony.org/christmas, through the Overture Center Box Office at 201 State Street, or by calling the Box Office at (608) 258-4141.
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 (MSO) commissioned the Overture Concert Organ, which is the stunning backdrop of all MSO concerts.
For more Overture Concert Organ information, visit madisonsymphony.org/organ
ALERT: The UW-Madison‘s Pro Arte Quartet performs at the Chazen Museum of Art today at 12:30 p.m. The concert, which features soprano Elizabeth Hagedorn and includes works by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Ottorino Respighi and Ludwig van Beethoven, takes place in Brittingham Gallery 3 and is FREE to the public. You can also stream it live. Here is link:
By Jacob Stockinger
The two groups will perform under the direction of former Madisonian Peggy Dettwiler (below). For more information, visit her web site:
Tickets are $20 except for student rush tickets, which are $10 on the day of the performance.
For tickets and more information, including specific works on the program, go to:
Here is some background:
The Mansfield University Concert Choir directed by Peggy Dettwiler has distinguished itself internationally by winning three gold medals at the World Choir Games in 2012 and the gold medal at the Robert Schumann International Choir Competition in Germany.
The Mansfield Choir will be joined by the Madison Youth Choirs (below top), directed by Michael Ross (below bottom).
Madison Symphony Orchestra organist Samuel Hutchison (below) will accompany the choirs.
ALERT: Want to relax after eating and shopping? Tonight at 7 p.m. in Overture Hall of the Overture Center, there is a FREE and PUBLIC one-hour Community Christmas Carol Sing, hosted by the Madison Symphony Orchestra. All ages are welcome. Accompaniment will be on the Overture Concert Organ, played by MSO Principal Organist Samuel Hutchison.
By Jacob Stockinger
Unfortunately, the availability of classical music recordings has shrunk so much over the past decade, it can be hard to shop locally for classical music gifts except tickets — which make a great gift. But you can still try. Any tips you want to leave in the COMMENT section and share with others?
And a gift guide might be appreciated or even helpful, whether you shop online or locally.
Today, The Ear offers installment Number 2 from The New York Times.
Here is a link to that post:
Today is the annual gift guide put together by the various critics for The New York Times. Prices have a wide range, and there are some inexpensive gifts. But this year there seems to be an emphasis on more expensive sets of books and recordings.
Could it possibly be that because the critics get free review copies, they feel compelled to push them or hawk them at the holiday time?
Maybe. But in the spirit of the season let’s pretend that the suggestions – many of which are very good and The Ear agrees with – are based on merit alone.
Here is a link:
All the gift guides in various areas or field are on the same website.
So first you have to scroll down to Classical Music.
Then you have to click on the name or title to get more information about the item including the price.
It seems kind of inconvenient and a little bit sleazy to The Ear, what with all that navigating.
Which web designer came up with this way? The Ear much preferred the guides of past years, where you got the full text without so much work and so much clicking. All you had to do was scroll.
Try and see what you think, whether you disagree or agree with The Ear.
And, if you are the recipient rather than the giver, good listening and reading.
ALERT: Going to the Dane County Farmers’ Market on this UW-Madison Homecoming Weekend? A FREE community hymn sing will be held this Saturday, Oct. 17, at 11 a.m. in Overture Hall of the Overture Center. The event is presented by the Madison Symphony Orchestra and lasts about 45 minutes. MSO organist Samuel Hutchison (below) will be at the keyboard of the Overture Concert Organ.
For more information about future hymn sings, visit:
By Jacob Stockinger
Admission is FREE.
The Edgewood Chamber Singers, performing under the direction of Sergei Pavlov (below top), will be joined by the Women’s Choir, under the direction of Kathleen Otterson (below top).
ALERT: This afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall is your last chance to hear what may be the best concert of this season by the Madison Symphony Orchestra. The program features UW-Madison virtuoso pianist Christopher Taylor (below) in Keyboard Concerto No. 4 by J.S. Bach and Piano Concerto No. 1 by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt as well as a “landmark” performance of the Late Romantic Austrian composer Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7.
Here is a rave review by John W. Barker, the dean of Madison’s music critics who writes for Isthmus and for this blog:
By Jacob Stockinger
The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Organist and Curator Samuel Hutchison will mark a decade of memorable performances on the Overture Concert Organ (below) in a recital on this coming Tuesday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Overture Hall, 201 State Street.
The program will include music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Alexander Guilmant, Jehan Alain, Charles-Marie Widor and Charles Villiers Stanford. (You can hear one of the Bach works he will play — the Fantasy and Fugue in G Minor, BWV 542, in a YouTube video at the bottom.)
For the specific works on the program and more information, go to:
Hutchison (below) has presented many recitals in the U.S and in Europe in locations that include the Riverside Church, New York City; St. Paul’s Cathedral, London; and Notre Dame, St. Sulpice and St. Étienne-du-Mont, Paris.
He also performed the complete works of J.S. Bach – himself primarily an organist — in a series of 11 weekly recitals for the 300th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 1985.
Student rush tickets are $10 day of show with a valid student ID see http://www.madisonsymphony.org/studentrush).
This concert is sponsored by Friends of the Overture Concert Organ.
For more Overture Concert Organ information, including recital, hymn sings and community visit http://www.madisonsymphony.org/organseason
ALERT: A FREE one-hour community Hymn Sing will take place this Saturday morning at 11 a.m. in Overture Hall with the Overture Concert Organ played by guest Joe Chrisman. The event is put on jointly by the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Overture Center for the Arts.
By Jacob Stockinger
Today’s YOU MUST HEAR THIS comes from a recent concert that I attended.
I first heard this work — the Canzonetta for Oboe and String Orchestra by the 20th-century American composer Samuel Barber (below top) — at the concert by the Middleton Community Orchestra (below bottom) on Wednesday night a week ago.
Not that it is too late. It could stand being programmed again and having a wider hearing. I think it would even be welcome at Concerts on the Square.
I also can’t recall ever hearing it at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, although it seems a perfect choice and could well have been part of a student recital with a piano instead of the orchestra.
In any case, the Canzonetta for Oboe and String Orchestra was a last work -– the middle movement on an unfinished oboe concerto, much like British composer Gerald Finzi’s beautiful “Eclogue” was the middle movement of an uncompleted piano concerto.
The piece has all the hallmarks of Barber, who is best known for his Adagio for Strings. It is neo-Romantic, melodic, tonal and wholly accessible while being unmistakably modern. It is poignant and bittersweet, like many moments in the gorgeous and widely performed Violin Concerto that Barber composed.
In fact, some of the harmonies in the Canzonetta remind The Ear of the sublime and moving “Nimrod” Variation in Sir Edward Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations.
I am not alone in being introduced to this work for the first time. A few very seasoned musicians and music fans in the audience I spoke to had never heard it either.
But it was given a splendid performance by the MCO under conductor Kyle Knox and guest oboist Andy Olson (below), who was trained at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin, and who now works at Epic Systems near Madison.
Here is a link to a rave review that John W. Barker (below), who normally writes for Isthmus, did for this blog:
So here is a link to a YouTube video of the piece itself — the seven-minute “canzonetta” or little song, as the title announces. It is sadly telling of the work’s fate that you cannot find a version with either a well-known oboist or well-known string orchestra.
Enjoy and let us know what you think of it.
The Ear wants to hear.
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.
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.
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.
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