By Jacob Stockinger
Perhaps you have read about the rapidly escalating cost of great musical instruments.
That puts a lot of younger or less well-known, cash-strapped players in a difficult spot.
For quite a while, banks and other financial institutions as well as museums and historical institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution have been putting the investment-quality instruments on loan to younger players whose playing deserves the instrument.
But individuals can do so too.
Take the case of the pioneering conductor Marin Alsop (below), a protégée of Leonard Bernstein who now heads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Sao Paulo State Symphony in Brazil, and who is being mentioned as a prominent candidate to follow Alan Gilbert when he steps downs from the podium of the New York Philharmonic in 2017.
When both her parents, who were distinguished professional musicians, died last year, they left behind valuable string instruments — a violin and a cello.
Alsop didn’t want to sell the instruments.
But she also didn’t want them to lie unused and defeat their original purpose.
So Alsop (below, in a photo by Gabriella Dumczek of The New York Times) decided to turn the violin and cello into living memorials by placing them on loan with players in her Baltimore orchestra -– a move that has benefitted everyone and the instruments as well.
Here is a story from The New York Times:
It gives you ideas about what might be done on the local level, where some very fine instruments – including pianos — could benefit some very young but very fine local players who otherwise couldn’t afford to have them.
ALERT: Two early music friends who perform together as the Ensemble SDG, baroque violinist Edith Hines and UW harpsichordist and organist John Chappell Stowe, write to The Ear: “Ensemble SDG (below) is pleased to invite the public to our FREE upcoming performance on Wisconsin Public Radio‘s “Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen.” The recital will be this Sunday, October 6, from 12:30-2 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery III at the Chazen Museum of Art (750 University Avenue, Madison). It will be broadcast live on WPR’s News and Classical Music network (in the Madison area, 88.7 WERN) and streamed online here.
By Jacob Stockinger
This weekend will witness a landmark: It marks the opening of the 10th anniversary season of the Madison Bach Musicians.
In only a decade, the accomplished baroque ensemble (below) has risen to the fore of the many early music group in the area.
The MBM, under director and founder Trevor Stephenson will give two performances – on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon of a concert that features the acclaimed guest baroque violinist Marilyn McDonald (below), who tours widely and also teaches at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Stephenson is a masterful and humorous explainer and will also give a pre-concert lecture at each performance. Other MBM musicians include: Marilyn McDonald, Kangwon Kim, Brandi Berry, Mary Perkinson on baroque violins; Nathan Giglierano on baroque viola; Anton TenWolde on baroque cello’ and Trevor Stephenson on harpsichord. (You can hear MBM musicians play and talk in a News 3/Channel 3000 YouTube video from 2011 at the bottom.)
The program features: Georg Philipp Telemann’s Concerto in G major for Four Violins; George Frideric Handel’s Violin Sonata in G minor, HWV 364, and Trio Sonata in E major, Op. 2, No. 9, HWV 394; Jean-Marie Leclair’s Violin Duo in G minor; Johann Pachelbel Canon and Gigue in D major; J.S. Bach’s Contrapunctus 19 from The Art of Fugue (with B-A-C-H Fugue); and Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto in A minor for Two Violins, RV 522.
Performances are on Saturday, October 5, with a 7:15 p.m. lecture and 8 p.m. concert at the First Unitarian Society’s crisp Atrium Auditorium (below, in a photo by Zane Williams) at 900 University Bay Drive on Madison’s near west side; and on Sunday, October 6, with 2:45 p.m. lecture and 3:30 p.m. concert in Blessing Room of Madison’s Christian Community Church, 7118 Old Sauk Road on the far west side of Madison.
Advance tickets, cash or check only, are discounted and run $20 for general admission, $15 for students and seniors 65 and over; and are available at A Room of One’s Own; Farley’s House of Pianos; the east and west locations of the Willy Street Co-op; Orange Tree Imports; and Ward-Brodt Music Mall.
At the door, tickets are $25 for general admission and $20 for students and seniors.
For more information, call (608) 238-6092 or visit www.madisonbachmusicians.org
MORE ABOUT THE GUEST SOLOIST
Marilyn McDonald, a founding member of the Smithson Quartet and the Castle Trio, currently plays in the Axelrod Quartet in residence at the Smithsonian Institution; the Axelrod Quartet is named in honor of the donor of the decorated Stradivarius instruments on which the quartet performs.
She has toured world-wide as a chamber musician playing repertoire ranging from baroque to contemporary, appearing at Alice Tully Hall, the Metropolitan Museum, the Frick Gallery, the Caramoor, Utrecht and Mostly Mozart Festivals, Wigmore Hall, Disney Hall, Ravinia and the Concertgebouw, as well as appearing as soloist with the Milwaukee and Omaha Symphonies. Concertmaster positions include Boston Baroque and the Peninsula Music Festival.
She has been artist in residence at Boston University and has held visiting professorships at the Eastman School of Music and at Indiana University. She teaches each summer at the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute and has been honored with the “Excellence in Teaching” award at Oberlin, where she is professor of violin. McDonald’s recordings are heard on the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Virgin Classics, Decca, Gasparo, Smithsonian and Telarc labels.
REST OF THE ANNIVERSARY SEASON
The Madison Bach Musicians’ 10th anniversary season also includes:
On December 14, the third annual Baroque Holiday Music program at the First Congregational Church.
On April 18 and 19, the season will conclude with Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B minor, conducted by University of Wisconsin-Madison bassoonist Marc Vallon (below). The MBM will collaborate on this venture with the Madison Choral Project under Edgewood College choral director Albert Pinsonneault.
By Jacob Stockinger
Well, guess what?
The U.S. House of Representatives (below) and the U.S Senate – both of which have been so-o-o-o popular and so in tune with the American public lately – last week passed a bill to cut back on the arts and humanities (specifically, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities) even though those organizations might benefit their own constituents and their own children.
Instead the House and Senate have favored a time-honored historical group that is more conservative and less adventurous about new and contemporary culture: The Smithsonian Institution (below). And it looks like President Obama will sign the bill into law as a compromise measure.
Well, they need some place to go unwind and to pretend to be cultured, don’t they?
Do you think it has to do with the anti-intellectualism and pseudo-populism of the Republican Party and the Tea Party?
Do you think it has to with federal debt and spending, so many will no doubt say?
Or do you think maybe those same groups see independent or critical thinking skills or art and beauty as dangerous to their agenda and underlying ideology?
Certainly The Smithsonian seems a safer and less creative choice, although no one can deny it is certainly a deserving institution with great many valuable artifacts and exhibitions. (See the photo os its interior below.) And the new Museum of African American History is sure to add to its reputation.
But don’t these cuts also reek of the same know-nothing, take no prisoners partisanship that leads the House majority party to want to defund public radio and public television?
Read all about it the citizen-politician wealth gap right here:
And here are links to read all about it the budget cuts to the arts and humanities:
Read it and then let me know what you think.
The Ear wants to hear.