The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Madison New Music Ensemble makes its debut this Friday night. A FREE harpsichord recital is Friday at noon

April 10, 2019
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ALERT: This Friday’s FREE Noon Musicale at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, features harpsichordist Faythe Vollrath (below). She has been hailed by the Wall Street Journal for her “subtly varied tempo and rhythm that sounds like breathing.” Her programs do not focus solely on early music, but also incorporate new music written for historic instruments. The concert runs from 12:15 to 1 p.m. (In the YouTube video at the bottom, you can hear and see her playing the 1993 “Toccata” by Emma Lou Diemer.)

By Jacob Stockinger

On this coming Friday night, April 12, at 7:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, the Madison New Music Ensemble will give its debut concert.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. Only cash and personal checks will be accepted at the door.

The program features music by the group’s artistic director and Madison-based composer Joseph Koykkar — the director of music in the Dance Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison —  Robert Muczynski, Ed Martin, Lennon/McCartney and others.

Special guests are The Vine Street Trio, a faculty trio from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, playing works by contemporary composers and saxophonist Peterson Ross.

Members of the Madison New Music Ensemble (below, from left) are: Danielle Breisach; Joseph Koykkar; Monica Jiang; Joseph Ross; Amy Harr; Elena Ross; and Bethany Schultz

For more information about the performers and the group, go to the Madison New Music Ensemble page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/madisonnewmusicensemble/


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Classical music: Bach Around the Clock marks Johann Sebastian’s 334th birthday next Saturday with a FREE 12-hour celebration. Here is the full schedule. Plus, Parry Karp plays all-French cello music on Thursday night

February 25, 2019
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ALERT: This coming Thursday night, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, UW-Madison cellist Parry Karp, of the Pro Arte Quartet, will perform a FREE all-French recital with longtime piano partner Eli Kalman of the UW-Oshkosh. The program includes the Cello Sonata by Claude Debussy; the Cello Sonata by Albéric Magnard; “Granada” from “Foreign Evenings” by Louis Vierne; and Cello Sonata No. 1 by Camille Saint-Saens. For more information, go to: https://www.music.wisc.edu/event/faculty-recital-parry-karp-cello-and-eli-kalman-piano-2/

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By Jacob Stockinger

The event is coming a couple of weeks earlier than the actual birthday on March 21.

But next Saturday, March 2, from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., the annual Bach Around the Clock will celebrate the 334th birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).

At 10 p.m., there will even be a birthday cake for the birthday boy and for those who are still there celebrating the Big Bang of classical music.

The FREE informal event – complete with interviews, snacks and beverages – will take place at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (below) at 1833 Regent Street on Madison’s near west side close to Randall Elementary School.

How do you like your Bach?

Sung? Played on instruments?

As originally scored? As arranged and transcribed?

Played by students? By adult amateurs? Or by professionals?

Whatever you are looking for and love to hear, chances are good you will find it on the schedule. There will be all of the above, and more. There will be cantatas and concertos, suites and sonatas, preludes and fugues. (You can hear the instantly recognizable and frequently played Prelude No. 1 in C Major from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, in the YouTube video at the bottom.) 

The whole event will be streamed live locally and beyond.

To get an idea of what will happen from previous events, go to the previous blog post, which has a lot of photos, or use this blog’s search engine:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2019/01/20/classical-music-bach-around-the-clock-2019-is-looking-for-performers-of-all-kinds-to-play-on-march-2/

For more information, here is a link to the home website that has both the full schedule and a link for streaming as well as other information about free parking as well as how to participate in and support the event.

https://bachclock.com

Here is the specific link to the full schedule, with names of performers and pieces:

https://bachclock.com/concert-schedule/

Take a look. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations about what others should attend and listen to? Leave a COMMENT if you want.

The Ear wants to hear.


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Classical music: The Wisconsin Chamber Choir performs Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” this Friday night in Madison and Sunday afternoon in Whitewater

December 10, 2018
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received the following announcement about performances this coming weekend by the Wisconsin Chamber Choir (below) and the professional orchestra Sinfonia Sacra of what is, unfortunately and undeservedly, often considered, when compared to Handel’s “Messiah,”  “The Other Oratorio” for the holiday season:

There will be two performances of four parts of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” (1734). On Friday night, Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. at the Luther Memorial Church (below), 1021 University Ave., in Madison; and on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. in the Young Auditorium at the UW-Whitewater, 930 Main Street, in Whitewater.

Advance tickets for the Friday night performance at Luther Memorial Church in Madison are available for $20 ($10 for students) from www.wisconsinchamberchoir.org, via Brown Paper Tickets, or at Orange Tree Imports (Madison) and Willy Street Coop (all three locations in Madison and Middleton).

Advance tickets for the Sunday afternoon performance at Young Auditorium in Whitewater are available from www.uww.edu/youngauditorium/tickets

Of the six cantatas that make up the “Christmas Oratorio,” Part, 1, 2, 3 and 5 will be performed. (In the YouTube video at the bottom, you can hear the brisk and energetic opening, performed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Concentus Musicus of Vienna with the Arnold Schoenberg Choir.)

Parts 1 to 3 tell the Christmas story: Mary and Joseph, the birth of Jesus, the shepherds and the angels. Part 5 introduces the magi from the East, traditionally known as the Three Kings.

The music offers a sampling of every style of music in the repertoire of Johann Sebastian Bach (below) as a composer.

Massive, concerto-like movements crowned by brilliant trumpet fanfares, booming timpani and virtuosic fugues highlight the full chorus.

Solo arias, duets and trios and even one instrumental movement provide a contemplative contrast with constantly changing instrumental colors—from lush strings to playful flutes and the pastoral sounds of oboes and bassoons.

Featured vocal soloists include mezzo-soprano Rachel Wood (below top) and tenor J. Adam Shelton (below middle), both on the faculty of UW-Whitewater. Highly accomplished members of the choir, including baritone Bill Rosholt (below bottom, and a Madison Savoyards regular), will share the solo parts with these professionals.

The members of Sinfonia Sacra, under concertmaster Leanne League (below), are drawn from the rosters of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble and the music faculties of UW-Madison, UW-Whitewater and UW-Oshkosh.

Trumpet virtuoso John Aley (below top) and oboist Marc Fink (below bottom) will also perform.

Founded in 1998, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir has established a reputation for excellence in the performance of oratorios, a cappella choral works from various centuries, and world premieres.

Bach’s music has always occupied a special place in the choir’s repertory, with performances of the Christmas Oratorio (2002 and 2003), the Mass in B minor (2005), the St. John Passion (2010) and the Magnificat (2017).

Artistic Director Robert Gehrenbeck (below) has been hailed by critics for his vibrant and emotionally compelling interpretations of a wide variety of choral masterworks.


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Classical music education: WYSO honors James and Geri Grine with the Rabin Youth Arts Award for Youth Arts Supporters. Plus, the final performance of “Exiled in Hollywood” by the Madison Symphony Orchestra is TODAY at 2:30 p.m.

March 8, 2015
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ALERT: This afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall is the last performance of “Exiled in Hollywood” with British violin soloist Daniel Hope (below) and John DeMain conducting the Madison Symphony Orchestra. The music, composed by refugees from Nazi Europe, is by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Miklos Rozsa and Franz Waxman.

Here is a link to my Q&A with Daniel Hope:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/classical-music-violinist-daniel-hope-explores-the-music-created-by-musicians-who-emigrated-from-the-nazi-europe-to-hollywood-and-composed-film-scores-he-performs-that-music-with-the-madison-symphon/

And here is a link to a rave review by Greg Hettmansberger for his Madison Magazine blog “Classically Speaking”:

http://www.channel3000.com/madison-magazine/arts-culture/Madison-Symphony-mixes-movies-with-more-musical-magic/31668436

Daniel Hope playing

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received the following news from the office of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO):

The Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2015 Rabin Youth Arts Award recipients.

They are James and Geri Grine, who will receive the award in the category of Artistic Achievement. The award is a glass sculpture (below) designed and made by artist Colleen Ott of Spring Green. It will be presented at state Arts Day on this Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at the downtown Central Branch of the Madison Public Library.

Colleen Ott Rabin award 2015

Deserving individuals and organizations from across the state were nominated for their support of youth arts across all disciplines.

Jim and Geri Grine have been fervent supporters of the arts in Oshkosh and throughout Wisconsin. Through their careers as musicians, conductors, teachers and arts administrators, the Grines have promoted and expanded performing arts opportunities for youth in Oshkosh and the state of Wisconsin.

Geri Grine (below) has been a long-time orchestra director and music teacher at both Oshkosh high schools. She has been the conductor and Musical Director of the Oshkosh Youth Symphony Orchestra for 28 years. Geri created the Oshkosh Youth Symphony’s Philharmonia Orchestra in 2008. She has sponsored several hands-on artist residencies for local high school students as a board member for Project SOAR.

Geri also founded the Suzuki program at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. From 1996 to 2006, Geri built a Suzuki string program in her native Hawaii. This would be become the first string program on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

Geri Grine

Since 2008, Jim Grine (below) has served as the Volunteer Executive Director of the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra. He has been instrumental in raising funds to support the symphony’s Art and Music Synergy Programs, which has led to several collaborations between local arts organizations. Under Jim, the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra devotes one-third of its annual income to supporting the Oshkosh Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Jim was also instrumental in the creation of the Water City Chamber Orchestra which performs an annual concert for third graders in the Oshkosh School District.

Jim Grine

The Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras, located in Madison, Wisconsin, presents the Rabin Youth Arts Awards in honor of their founding conductor, Marvin Rabin (below), as a means to honor those who follow in his footsteps. The awards are a forum for promoting quality youth arts programs and honoring those who work diligently to provide arts opportunities for children throughout Wisconsin. They also serve as a means to elevate awareness in our community about the importance of arts education for all children.

marvin rabin BW

Now celebrating its 49th season, WYSO membership has included more than 5,000 young musicians from more than 100 communities in southern Wisconsin. WYSO, currently under the artistic direction of James Smith, includes three full orchestras, a string orchestra, a chamber music program, a percussion ensemble, a harp ensemble and a brass choir program. For more information, visit www.wyso.music.wisc.edu


Classical music: Wisconsin words and Wisconsin music will meet when the Rural Musicians Forum in Spring Green hosts state Poet Laureate Max Garland and noted UW-Oshkosh pianist Jeri-Mae Astolfi performing Wisconsin composers on Monday, Aug. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Hillside Theater of the historic Frank Lloyd Wright compound Taliesin.

August 8, 2013
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ALERT: Two days ago, I offered reviews by John W. Barker of last weekend’s concerts by the Isthmus Vocal Ensemble (below top) and pianist Frank Glazer (below bottom). Two more reviews, both by Greg Hettmansberger, have come to my attention. Hettmansberger writes his “Classically Speaking” blog for Madison Magazine. Here are links to his reviews:

http://www.madisonmagazine.com/Blogs/Classically-Speaking/August-2013/Isthmus-Vocal-Ensemble-Rewards-the-Faithful/

http://www.madisonmagazine.com/Blogs/Classically-Speaking/August-2013/98-Years-Young-Frank-Glazer-Amazesand-Teachesat-the-Keyboard/

Isthmus Vocal Ensemble group concert dress

Frank Glazer at the piano

By Jacob Stockinger

Here is a press release about an upcoming unusual event tat mixes words and music from a low-profile group that deserves wider circulation:

Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate, Max Garland (below), will visit the Wisconsin River Valley and Spring Green on Monday, August 12, as part of “Music for a Summer Evening,” the annual series of concerts sponsored by the Rural Musicians Forum. The concert of words and music, free with donations accepted, is at 7:30 p.m. in the hillside Theater of the historic Frank Lloyd Wright compound 

possible?

“Garland has been called the “Johnny Appleseed of Wisconsin’s poetry landscape,” travelling the state for the next year, sowing seeds of knowledge and promoting the value of arts and culture. (You can hear him reading at the bottom in a YouTube video from the Wisconsin Book Festival in 2010. Garland read at Avol’s Bookstore in Madison.)

“The laureateship, announced in 2012 by the Wisconsin Academy of Arts and Science, is the latest addition to Garland’s long list of honors, which includes a National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowship, a James Michener fiction fellowship and two Wisconsin Arts Board literary fellowships.

“Garland is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, a post he has held since 1996. Before entering the academic world, he worked at many non-academic jobs in his native western Kentucky, including 10 years as a rural mail carrier on the route where he was born, a route formerly run by his grandfather.

“This experience was drawn upon in his first book of poems, “The Postal Confessions” (University of Massachusetts Press), winner of the 1994 Juniper Prize for Poetry. The poems brought to the fore the unknown residents of his rural hometown. For Garland, the book was a tribute to a particular time and place in his home state of Kentucky.

The Postal Confessions

“When Garland (below, reading) visits the Wisconsin River Valley this month as part of RMF’s summer concert series, he will read his poetry to honor the countryside and ordinary people of Wisconsin.

Max Garland reading

“At the Hillside School Theater presentation Garland and noted Wisconsin pianist, Jeri-Mae Astolfi (below), will capture the spirit of the state’s people, places, events and culture, making the connection between music and poetry. 

Jeri-Mae Astolfi playing solo USE 

“Astolfi is the soloist for the Wisconsin Soundscapes project, which features new piano music inspired by the people and places of Wisconsin, commissioned by the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers and the Wisconsin Arts Board.

“Astolfi is a Canadian-born pianist whose repertoire, ranging from the Renaissance era through the present, expresses her keen interest in “new” music, which has led her to commission and premiere many new solo and collaborative works.

“Jeri-Mae Astolfi is currently a member of the music faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Her concert appearance in Spring Green with Poet Laureate Max Garland is an extension of a 2012 state-wide tour made possible through the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers (WAC) and the Wisconsin Arts Board.

“In Spring Green she will play original compositions by Wisconsin composers Geoffrey Gordon, UW-Madison composer Joseph Koykkar (below) and Donald Young. The compositions create musical maps of such places as Black Earth, Mineral Point and Spring Green (Geoffrey Gordon) for example, as well as streets and bridges (Joseph Koykkar) and scenes along the Root River (Donald Young).

“The composers themselves will be present for the concert.

joseph koykkar

“The August 12 concert goes to the heart of what Max Garland most wants to do in his term as Poet Laureate of Wisconsin, examining, as he says, “the life that quietly happens in our heads and hearts, and the connection of that life to places where we live, the roots of that life in the places we know and love.”

“Taliesin’s Hillside School Theater (below), part of the historic Frank Lloyd Wright compound, is located at 6604 State Hwy. 23 in Spring Green.

“There is no admission charge for the concert. However, a free-will offering assists in underwriting the concert series.

“The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.  Seating is limited.

taliesin_hillside2

“For further information on Wisconsin Poet Laureate Max Garland or to see a schedule of his upcoming appearances, please visit www.wisconsinacademy.org/poetlaureate.  For more information on the concert series see www.ruralmusiciansforum.org.”


Classical Music: Spring arrives today! What great music should greet it? And acclaimed Czech pianist Martin Kasik will perform Liszt, Debussy and Mussorgsky at Farley’s this Saturday night.

March 20, 2013
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ALERT: It may not feel like it, but today — Wednesday, March 20, 2013 -– is the vernal equinox (from the Latin for “equal night”). It arrives in Wisconsin at 6:02 a.m. CDT. And boy, is it ever welcome this year after this on-and-off winter of warm and cold, snowfall and floods, sunshine and gray skies. But the first of spring is so cold!! So is spring a reality? Or just a dream or maybe illusion? Franz Schubert wondered the same thing in the YouTube video of his song “Spring Dream” (below) from “Winterreise” (Winter Journey), sung by the incomparable German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who died last year. (The mix of Schubert titles for the cycle and this specific song  certainly applies to this winter and spring, no?).  What piece would you like to hear to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of spring?

By Jacob Stockinger

Farley’s House of Pianos, 6522 Seybold Road, will present a concert by the internationally recognized Czech pianist Martin Kasik on this Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.

The first half of the performance will feature all three movements of Claude Debussy’s “Estampes” (Prints) that include “Pagodas,”  “Evening in Granada” and “Gardens in the Rain”; and Franz Liszt’s “Liebestraum” (Dream of Love) No. 3 and “Spanish Rhapsody.” After an intermission, Kasik will perform Modeste Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” (at bottom in a YouTube video) in its entirety. See the program details at www.farleyspianos.com

Martin Kasik w piano

Tickets can be purchased in person at Farley’s House of Pianos and Orange Tree Imports on Monroe Street, or by calling (608) 271-2626 to reserve tickets by credit or debit card.

Tickets are $35 the day of the concert or $30 in advance. Located on Madison’s far west side near West Towne, Farley’s House of Pianos will have plenty of free parking available, and is easy to reach by bicycle or Madison Metro.  A reception will follow the concert.

Martin Kasik formal at piano

Kasik has been playing piano since the age of four and won many national and international awards before the age of 25, including the 1999 Young Concert Artists Competition and the 2000 Davidoff Prix. Other prizes include: the 1997 Chopin International Piano Competition, 1st prize; the 1998 Prague Spring International Competition, 1st prize; the 1998 Young Concert Artists Competition, European Round, Leipzig, 1st prize; and the 1999 Young Concert Artists Competition, World Round, New York, 1st prize.

Kasik has played throughout the world, including concerts in Helsinki, Barcelona, Tokyo, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Kasik teaches piano at the Prague Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and is considered one of the best Czech pianists active today.

Other 2013 concerts include UW-Madison cellist Parry Karp and UW-Oshkosh pianist Eli Kalman in the complete works for cello and piano by Ludwig van Beethoven on April 19 at 7:30 p.m. and April 21 at 4:30 p.m.

 


Classical music: In a FREE recital Monday night, two University of Wisconsin faculty members perform music for cello and piano by Beethoven, Debussy, Shostakovich and the contemporary Russian prodigy Lera Auerbach.

February 1, 2013
2 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

The second semester concert schedule at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is just getting started, but it already deserves notice – and attendance.

Parry Karp is the cellist for the Pro Arte String Quartet and has taught for decades at the University of Wisconsin School of Music in Madison.

Eli Kalman studied piano at the UW-Madison School of Music and now teaches at the UW-Oshkosh.

The two (below, with Parry Karp on the left and Eli Kalman on the right) often collaborate in performance and, in fact, will perform a two-concert complete cycle of Beethoven’s cello music in April at Farley’s House of Pianos in Madison.

Parry Karp and Eli Kalman

But you can hear the two together in joint and solo pieces this coming Monday night, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in a FREE recital in Morphy Recital Hall on the UW campus.

The program is a rich and interesting and eclectic blend, united by tone and the rhythm of alternating between established composers and a contemporary one.

The program includes the Sonata in F Major for Cello and Piano that Beethoven himself (below) transcribed from his own Horn Sonata.

Beethoven big

Then Lera Auerbach’s “Ten Dreams” (1999) will be performed. The composer (below), born in 1973, is a prodigy and polymath who performs virtuoso piano music and prolifically writes published poetry and prose as well as composes distinctive music that is also accessible and performed more often than a lot of new music.

Here is a link to her website: http://www.leraauerbach.com

And here is a link to her entry in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lera_Auerbach

Lera Auerbach

Then comes the fabulously beautiful late Sonata for Cello and Piano (1915) by Claude Debussy (below).

Claude Debussy 1

Another work by Lera Auerbach punctuates the concert, this time the “12 Images From Childhood” (2000).

That is followed by another modern standard classic  the wondrous Sonata in D Minor for Cello and Piano, Op. 40, by Dmitri Shostakovich (below).

dmitri shostakovich

In addition there will be the 12th Prelude from 24 Preludes(1999) for piano and cello by Lera Auerbach and some solo piano works that have not yet been announced.


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