The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: You can hear Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” on 5,000 kazoos at this year’s Burning Man Festival.

August 31, 2015
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By Jacob Stockinger

Talk about counter-cultural!

This year’s famed Burning Man festival started yesterday and runs through Sept. 7.

The unusual event, held in the north Nevada desert, features many noteworthy things including nudity, drugs and lot of talk about peace and love — kind of like an updated Woodstock festival but on a much grander and more ambitious scale. (See the YouTube video at the bottom.)

One remarkable thing is the sheer size of the event (below, in an aerial photo by Kenny Reff), a temporary city estimated to be more than 60,000 strong this year:

Burning Man aerial CR Kenny Reff

Another is the impressive and dramatic sculpture that is set aflame (below is last year’s) at the festival’s end:

Burning Man 2014

But there is also classical music included at the iconic pop event.

In fact this year, the “Ode to Joy,” from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, will be played 5,000 kazoos.

In addition, there will be strings (below top in a photo by Jaki Levy) and a certain conductor named Dr. FireTuba (below bottom in a photo of Eric Yttri by Jaki Levy) as part of the 63-piece pickup symphony orchestra that also includes winds such as flute and clarinets. The group will perform music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi and Edvard Grieg and other composers on the playlist.

Burning Man music cellist 2014 Jaki Levy

Burning Man Dr FireTuba (Erio Ittry) CR Jaki Levy

Here is an illuminating and entertaining story about classical music at Burning Man that was reported in NPR or National Public Radio:

http://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2015/08/29/435244975/beethoven-flaming-tubas-and-5-000-kazoos-classical-music-at-burning-man

 


Classical music: Need a break from the holiday rush? Try the Middleton Community Orchestra and soprano Emily Birsan this Monday night at 7:30. Plus, tuba, sousaphone, euphonium and baritone players — both amateurs and professionals — are wanted for Sunday’s “Tuba Christmas” in the state Capitol.

December 20, 2013
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ALERT: Attention alls players of the tuba, sousaphone, euphonium and baritone players: If you want to have a Christmas blast, gathered in the Wisconsin State Capitol and around the state Christmas Tree in the Capitol Rotunda (bel0w), here is your chance. All you need is the instruments, the skills, the desire, some paraphernalia and $10. For details, see:

http://www.tubachristmas.com/readtcloc.php?TCState=WI&TCCity=Madison

tuba christmas in capitol

By Jacob Stockinger

Need a break from the rush of holiday shopping, partying and prepping?

You might try attending a concert by the Middleton Community Orchestra (below top), which is made up of amateurs and professionals and is conducted by Steve Kurr (below bottom).

Middleton Community Orchestra press photo1

Steve Kurr.

The concert is on this coming Monday night, December 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the comfortable Middleton Performing Arts Center (below), which is attached to Middleton High School.

Middleton PAC1

Tickets are $10 and are available at the door and at Willy St. Coop West.

The concert, “An Evening with the Middleton Community Orchestra and Soprano Emily Birsan” promises to be an enjoyable evening of great music.

The orchestra will be featured in: Mikhail Glinka’s “Russlan and Ludmilla Overture; Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Dance of the Tumblers”; and Ludwig van Beethoven’sSymphony No. 6, “Pastoral.”

The very accomplished University of Wisconsin School of Music alumna Emily Birsan (below) will return top the MCO holiday concert to sing four arias by Mozart, Strauss, Donizetti and Charpentier.

Details are at www.middletoncommunityorchestra.org

Emily Birsan is in her final year of the Chicago Lyric Opera apprentice program and is on the brink of a stellar international career.  Here is a link to her bio for more details: http://www.emilybirsan.com/bio.html (You can hear her sing “Musetta’s Waltz,” from Puccini’s “La Boheme,” with the Middleton Community Orchestra under Steve Kurr in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

Emily Birsan 2013 in red

The Ear has found the MC performances a thoroughly enjoyable treat.

The performance usually lasts about 90 minutes without an intermission and features socializing over cookies and punch with the players afterwards.

Middleton Community Orchestra reception

If you need more reasons to attend, here is a review I wrote about one performance:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/classical-music-review-let-us-now-praise-amateur-music-makers-and-restoring-sociability-to-art-here-are-9-reasons-why-i-liked-and-you-should-attend-the-middleton-community-orchestra/

And if you use this website’s search engine, you can also check out the many positive reviews of the Middleton Community Orchestra by critic John W. Barker.


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