The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Madison Choral Project celebrates the holidays and the Winter Solstice on this Saturday with reading, carols and music.

December 17, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Madison Choral Project’s founder and music director Albert Pinsonneault (below) writes:

Albert Pinsonneault 2

Hi Jake!

Here is information about the Madison Choral Project’s upcoming concert: “O Day Full of Grace” on this coming Saturday, Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m., First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1609 University Avenue, Madison.

The concert will feature the 22-voice professional chamber choir the Madison Choral Project (below to), and readings from Noah Ovshinsky (below bottom) of Wisconsin Public Radio, as well as audience sing-along carols.

Madison Choral Project color

Noah Ovshinsky

Tickets are $20 online or $25 at the door.

Here is a link for tickets:

Here is a link to the Madison Choral Project general website:

And here is the complete program:

– Reading from Ovid’s “Amores”

– Carol with Audience: “Once in Royal David’s City


– “Benedictus Dominus” by Ludwig Daser (1525-1589)

– “Die mit Tränen Säen” by Johann Schein (1586-1630)

– “Helig” from “Die Deutche Liturgie” by Felix Mendelssohn (below, 1809-1847)



– “Mary Speaks” by Nathaniel Gawthrop (b. 1949)

– Reading from Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning”

– “The Gallant Weaver” by James MacMillan (b. 1959)

– “Entreat Me Not To Leave You” by Dan Forrest (b. 1978)

– Carol with Audience: “Silent Night”



– Reading from Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese”

– “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day,” arr. Dale Grotenhuis (1932-2012)

– “Away in a Manger,” arr. Bradley Ellingboe (b. 1958)

– “Ding Dong! Merrily on High,” arr. Carolyn Jennings (b. 1929)


– Reading, e.e.cummings’ “i thank you”

– “O Day Full of Grace” by F. Melius Christiansen (1871-1945)

– Reading Ranier Maria Rilke‘s “Sunset”

– Carol with Audience: “Day Is Done”

– “The Long Day Closes” by Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900), which can be heard in a YouTube video at the bottom.


– “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord” by Moses Hogan (1957-2003)


Classical music: Madison Bach Musicians opens its season with two all-Bach performances on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. The program features two cantatas and two concertos.

September 30, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Madison Bach Musicians, perhaps the premier local early music group in Madison that draws bigger audiences and offers terrific education through pre-concert lectures, will open its 11th season this coming weekend.

Kangwon KIm with Madison Bach Musicians

On this Saturday evening, Oct. 4, at Christ Presbyterian Church, and Sunday afternoon, Oct. 5, at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Monona, the Madison Bach Musicians will perform a program of cantatas and concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach.


Included are two cantatas: Cantata 82, “Ich habe genug” (I Am Content); and Cantata 58, “Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid” (O God, How much Heartache); plus the well-known Harpsichord Concerto in D minor (you can hear the irresistibly energetic first movement played by the Concert des Nations in a YouTube video at the bottom) and the Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C minor.

Madison Bach Musicians in Bach Cantata Dec. 2012

Featured soloists are bass-baritone Joshua Copeland (below top), who is flying in from England for the performances; and soprano Chelsea Morris (below, bottom) the recent winner of the second annual Handel Aria Competition during the Madison Early Music Festival in July), who has moved from Chicago to Madison; harpsichordist Trevor Stephenson; baroque oboist Luke Conklin; and baroque violinist Kangwon Kim.

Joshua Copeland BW

Chelsea Morris soprano

The concert will be played entirely on 18th-century period instruments.

Beginning 45 minutes before the concert, MBM founder and director Trevor Stephenson (below) will give a pre-concert lecture about the music and the period instruments. Ticket information can be found at or by calling (608) 238-6092.

Prairie Rhapsody 2011 Trevor Stephenson

Here are specifics about the two performances

Saturday, Oct. 4, 7:15 p.m. for the lecture, 8 p.m. for the concert – at Christ Presbyterian Church, 944 E. Gorham St.

Sunday, Oct. 5, 2:45 p.m. for the lecture, 3:30 p.m. for the concert — at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 5700 Pheasant Hill Rd.

Tickets for Madison Bach Musicians concerts may be purchased in advance or at the door. Advance outlets include the Willy Street Coops east and west; Orange Tree Imports on Monroe Street; Farley’s house of Pianos near West Towne Mall; A Room of One’s Own, downtown; and the Ward Brodt Music Mall, off the West Beltline.

Cash or checks only. Please make checks payable to Madison Bach Musicians.

For this weekend, advance ticket prices: $25 general, $20 students and seniors over 65; tickets at the door are $30 general, $25 for students and seniors.

Season tickets are also available.

The Madison Bach Musicians will also perform other concerts this season -– an always reliable holiday program in December at the First Congregational United Church of Christ and a concert “Pygmalion,” an opera-ballet by Jean-Philippe Rameau in April at the First Unitarian Society of Madison. For the lineup and details, go to:






Classical music: The Oakwood Chamber Players conclude their season by performing Australian and New Zealand music this Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. On Saturday afternoon, the Arbor Ensemble performs a benefit concert of works by English composers.

May 15, 2014
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ALERT: Violist Marie Pauls, a blog reader and music teacher, writes: “I have a newer chamber group called Arbor Ensemble, and I wanted to share with you info about a benefit recital we are doing. It is called “Steeped in Tradition: A Celebration of English Composers” and it will take place this Saturday, May 17, at 2:30 p.m. at the McFarland United Church of Christ, 5710 Anthony Street in McFarland.” 

The Anglophile recital program will include works by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Rebecca Clarke, Ian Clarke and Sir Arthur Bliss. Tea and scones will be served following the performance.

Reservations are strongly encouraged to guarantee your place. PLEASE NOTE: Reserved tickets not claimed 10 minutes prior to the recital will be released to the public. Visit the lick below and click the “tickets link” to make your reservation today. If you are interested in donating an item to the silent auction, please contact Arbor Ensemble! Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for students. All ages are welcome.

Marie Pauls violist

By Jacob Stockinger

Talk about performing rarely heard repertory — even in the same English-speaking world!

Plus, add in some unknown women composers, and you have the makings of a memorable event.

This Saturday night and Sunday afternoon the Oakwood Chamber Players (below) will perform “Down Under,” its final concert in the season exploring music by composers from various regions around the world, featuring a program of music by Australian and New Zealand composers.

Oakwood Chamber Players 2012 2

Map of Australia and New Zealand

The Oakwood Chamber Players will present the program “Down Under” on Saturday, May 17 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, May 18, at 1 p.m., in the Oakwood Village Center for Arts and Education, 6205 Mineral Point Road, 6205 Mineral Point Road, on Madison’s far west side.

Tickets are available at the door. Admission is $20 for the general public, $15 for seniors and $5 for students.

This is the fifth and final concert in the 2013-2014 Season Series titled “Origination: Exploring Musical Regions of the World.”

Australian compositions to be performed include a string quartet (at bottom in a YouTube video performed by the Australian String Quartet)  by Miriam Hyde (below top), written in the 20th century pastoral style, as well as “Concertina di Camera” for winds and piano by Peggy Glanville-Hicks (below bottom), who was a student of Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Miriam Hyde and music mss

Peggy Glanville-Hicks at piano

Compositions by Percy Grainger (below) will be represented with a grouping of favorites including “Country Gardens “ for solo piano and three pieces in mixed chamber ensemble settings including “Handel on the Strand”, “Shepherd’s Hey” and “Walking Tune.”

Percy Grainger

Two centuries of New Zealand compositions will be represented by Keith Statham’s melodic “Lansdown Gardens” and “Flora” for flute, clarinet and piano, by Keith Statham (below top) as well “Morningstar II” for mixed winds and strings by 21st century composer Paul Stanhope (below bottom, in a photo by Jacky Ghossein).

Keith Statham drawing

Paul Stanhope CR Jacky Ghossein

The lively and familiar “Jamaican Rumba” buy Australian Arthur Benjamin (below) will round out the programming.

Paul Stanhope CR Jacky Ghossein

arthur benjamin

The Oakwood Chamber Players is a group of Madison-area professional musicians who have rehearsed and performed at Oakwood Village for 30 years. Many have affiliations with and perform with well-known groups such as the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Madison Opera and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.

Visit for more information.

The Oakwood Chamber Players are a professional music ensemble proudly supported by Oakwood Lutheran Senior Ministries and the Oakwood Foundation, in collaboration with Friends of the Arboretum, Inc.

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Classical music education: The many Madison Youth Choirs perform their 10th anniversary Winter Concert series – with music by J.S. Bach, Handel, Britten, Bernstein, Poulenc, Schubert, Telemann and others — this coming Sunday. Plus, the “Met LIve in HD” offers Verdi’s “Aida” on Saturday.

December 14, 2012
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ALERT: Just a reminder that this Saturday will see the “Met Live in HD” production of Verdi‘s “Aida.” It features Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska (below). Performances are at 11:55 a.m. at Point and Eastgate cinemas in Madison. The opera lasts 4 hours and will feature English supertitles. For information, a cast listing and program notes including a libretto summary, visit: 

Liudmyla Monastyrska Aida

By Jacob Stockinger

The Madison Youth Choirs (below) will perform their 10th anniversary Winter Concert series on this coming Sunday, Dec. 16, at the First Congregational United Church of Christ at 1609 University Avenue, in Madison.

Concerts are at 1:30 p.m, 4 p.m., and 7 p.m.

Tickets are $9 plus a processing fee in advance or $12 at the door.  Children 7 and under are free.

madison youth choirs

Selections from the programs among the three concerts include:

Excerpts from J.S, Bach‘s Cantata BWV 196 “Der Herr denket an uns” featuring Trevor Stephenson and musicians from Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orcheras (WYSO);

Three pieces by Roger Bourland with text by Francisco Alarcón.

“Seigneur, je vous un prie” by Francis Poulenc; from his 4 pieces with texts by St. Francis of Assisi;

Several songs from the shape-note tradition including an arrangement of “Idumea” by Rick Bjella;

“Cuncti Simus” from the red book of Monserrat;

And “Gloria Tibi” from Leonard Bernstein‘s “Mass.”

In addition, works by Benjamin Britten, Handel, Schubert, Telemann and others favorites from the past 10 seasons will be performed.

Tickets and more information are available at

Special guests include musicians from the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra (WYSO), Madison harpsichordist Trevor Stephenson, below), cellist Eric Miller, violinists Amber Dolphin and Carol Carlson, and local bluegrass band Off the Porch.


Here is a schedule:

At 1:30 p.m. the high school ensembles Cantilena, Cantabile, and Ragazzi; at 4 p.m., the boychoirs Purcell, Britten, Holst, and Ragazzi; and at 7 p.m. the girlchoirs Choraliers, Con Gioia, Capriccio. (Below is a photo by Harriet Chen.)

Madison Youth Choirs younger girls cr Harriet Chen

Here is a statement about the Madison Youth Choirs (MYC) from artistic director Michael Ross:

Madison Youth Choirs strives to create a community of young musicians dedicated to musical excellence through which we inspire enjoyment, enhance education, and nurture personal, musical, and social development, by the study and performance of high-quality and diverse choral literature. To this end, we focus on the process and provide singers a rich rehearsal experience where thoughtful discussion and activities lead to larger connections and a music education that becomes a springboard for understanding the world.

Please note that MYC has moved its headquarters to 160 Westgate Mall, Suite I, Madison, WI 53711. You can email mross@madisonyouthchoirs.orgor call (608) 238 7464 and fax (608) 278 7992.

Madison Youth Choirs Cantabile

Classical music: Madison Bach Musicians offers two Holiday Baroque Concerts — one especially for children — with vocal and chamber music by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, Schutz and Lassus this Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

December 12, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

Music – and especially baroque music — is such an integral part of holiday celebrations, and you would be hard put to find a better sampler than the one being offered this coming weekend.

The Madison Bach Musicians (below) will offer two Baroque Holiday Concerts on this Friday night, Dec. 14, and Saturday afternoon, Dec. 15, in Madison’s First Congregational Church United Church of Christ, 1609 University Ave.

Kangwon KIm with Madison Bach Musicians

MBM will play the same program twice, but with somewhat differing formats.

Friday night will be the usual sequence of a 7:15 p.m. pre-concert lecture followed by an 8 p.m. concert.

On Saturday, the program will start at 3 p.m. in the afternoon and have lecture and demo interludes between the pieces. The Saturday concert will be geared particularly toward children and young adults and promises to be very fun and informative.

MBM founder and artistic director, keyboardist Trevor Stephenson (below) will talk about the featured composers lives — Bach, Handel, Corelli, Vivaldi, Schütz and Lassus.

Prairie Rhapsody 2011 Trevor Stephenson

The Madison Bach Musicians players will talk about their 18th-century instruments — such as the baroque violin, viola, and cello. The singers will discuss their approach to singing baroque music. And the audience will be invited onto the stage after the program to speak with the players. For the Family Concert, ticket prices for ages 6-18 are half-price.

The program includes J.S. Bach’s Cantata BWV 122, “Das Neugeborne Kindelein”; 
Schütz’ “Allein Gott in der Höh
”; Lassus’ “Ave Regina Coelorum
”; Vivaldi’s Concerto for Strings in D major, RV 12; 
Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in C minor, Op. 6, No. 3 (middle movement is at bottom); 
selections from Handel’s “Messiah
” including “Every Valley” (tenor), “Thus saith the Lord” (bass), “But who may abide” (countertenor), “If God is for us” (soprano) and “
His yoke is easy” (vocal quartet).

Performers include Chelsea Morris, soprano; 
Joseph Schlesinger, countertenor
; Peter Gruett, tenor; 
Joshua Copeland, bass
; Kangwon Kim (below), Edith Hines, Lauren Basney, Mary Perkinson on baroque violins; Marika Fischer Hoyt and Micah Behr on baroque violas; Martha Vallon and Anna Steinhoff on baroque cellos; and 
Trevor Stephenson on harpsichord.

Kangwon Kim

 are $20 general admission and $15 for students and seniors over 65 if purchased in advance; $25 and $20, respectively, at the door

The Dec. 15 Family Concert tickets are half-price for children and young adults 
ages 6-18 ($7.50 in advance, $10 at the door)

Advance-price discount tickets are on sale at: A Room of One’s Own, Farley’s House of Pianos, 
Willy St. Co-op (east and west), Orange Tree Imports & Ward Brodt.
Tickets also available at the door. Call (608) 238-6092 or visit for more information.

Classical music news: Madison Summer Choir will go authentically Baroque this year. It holds auditions on Monday, May 14, and then starts rehearsals on May 21 with a public performance on July 1.

May 10, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

It’s that time again.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison ends its spring semester with classes this week, finals next week, and graduation ceremonies on May 19 and 20.

Then comes the unofficial start of summer – when many avid community singers find themselves without an outlet.

Until recently.

For the fourth year, the Madison Summer Choir (below, performing last year) will take place, although the venue of its public concert at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 1, will change from Mills Hall on the UW campus to the First Congregational United Church of Christ, across from Camp Randall Stadium. (NOTE: Contrary to what was earlier stated here, the July 1 concert is NOT free, as it has been for the past three years. Admission will be $8, $5 for seniors and students, and is designed to cover the cost of renting the church.)

It is a fine group that in past summers has brought memorable performances of classic and contemporary music, including major works like Saint-Saens’ “Requiem” and Morton Lauridsen’s “Lux Aeterna.” It pulls a lot together very quickly and very well.

This year, the program  “Honors the Blessed Virgin Mary” by featuring Baroque music and period instruments. That makes it a fine run-up or introduction to the Madison Early Music Festival, which follows it in July.

Here are details from the founder and director of the 80-voice Madison Summer Choir, UW alumnus Ben Luedcke (below), the talented and energetic man who is also the director of the Lake Edge United Church of Christ among other posts he holds:

Here are notes to the fascinating and eclectic program: “Madison Summer Choir presents a concert honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary with a plethora of devotional Marian texts set by inventive titans of their time, including Benjamin Britten, Franz Liszt, Edvard Grieg, William Byrd and Tomás Luis de Victoria.

“It will culminate with choral/instrumental mid-sized works by Claudio Monteverdi (below), Michael Praetorius, Domenico Scarlatti and Giovanni Gabrieli, and will feature Baroque period string instruments that use gut strings instead of metal and a different kind of bow.”

The Madison Summer Choir runs 6 weeks: May 21 through the end of June (see ** below for additional information).

Rehearsals are Mondays and Tuesdays 5:15-7:15 p.m., 1351 Mosse Humanities Building on campus.

The  Concert is on Sunday, July 1, at 7 p.m. in the First Congregational UCC (across from Camp Randall)

Members’ dues are: $30 for students; $45 for community members. Concert admission is $8, $5 for seniors and students.

**Wed., May 30, 5:15-7:15 p.m. (make-up for Memorial Day holiday)

**Wed., June 20, 5:15-7:15 p.m. (extra rehearsal)

**Thursday, June 28, 5:15-7:15 p.m. Dress Rehearsal at First Congregational United Church of Christ

Members of the UW-Madison or community auditioned ensembles do NOT need to audition; otherwise contact to set up an audition time during the evening of Monday, May 14.

If you are interested, you should RSVP and include the choir that you currently sing with (if any) and your voice part to:

For more information, go to:

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