The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: On Saturday, concerto competition winners perform with the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO). On Sunday, Edgewood College gives a FREE concert of choral and guitar music

May 3, 2019
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IF YOU LIKE A CERTAIN BLOG POST, PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD. FORWARD A LINK TO IT OR, SHARE or TAG IT (not just “Like” it) ON FACEBOOK. Performers can use the extra exposure to draw potential audience members to an event.

ALERT: This weekend at Edgewood College, the Women’s Choir, Chamber Singers, Guitar Ensemble and Chorale will give FREE concerts. The performances are on Sunday, May 5, at 2:30 p.m. in the St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive.

The concert features the Women’s Choir, directed by Kathleen Otterson; the Chorale and Chamber Singers, both conducted by Sergei Pavlov; and the Guitar Ensemble, directed by Nathan Wysock. 

The Women’s Choir will perform works including “One Voice” by Ruth Moody; the Chamber Singers continue with a variety of works, including “Ballad to the Moon” by Daniel Elder. The Guitar Ensemble performs “Walk, Don’t Run,” arranged by Nathan Wysock, and “New Beatles Medley,” arranged by Guitar Ensemble member Dick Stransky. The concert concludes with the Chorale performing works including “Schlof Mayn Fegeleby” by Mikhail Lermontov.

The Women’s Choir and Chamber singers are student ensembles, while the Chorale and Guitar Ensemble have both student and community members. 

By Jacob Stockinger

This weekend, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) will start presenting the Eugenie Mayer Bolz Family Spring Concerts series on Saturday, May 4 and Saturday, May 18 in Mills Concert Hall, 455 North Park Street, in Madison. A schedule of times and groups is below.

Winners of the annual Youth Orchestra (below) and Philharmonia Orchestra Concerto Competitions will perform a concerto with their orchestra.

Youth Orchestra cellist Grace Kim (below), of Waunakee, will perform the Cello Concerto No. 1 by Camille Saint-Saens.

Youth Orchestra violinist Ellen Zhou (below), of Middleton, will perform the Violin Concerto by Felix Mendelssohn.

Philharmonia Orchestra percussionist Anais Griffith-Oh (below), of Madison, will perform the Concertino for Xylophone and Orchestra by Toshiro Mayuzumi.

WYSO orchestras will also perform pieces from Modest Mussorgsky, Lili Boulanger, Jean Sibelius, Antonin Dvorak and more. Visit to view the concert repertoire and learn more about the WYSO program. You can listen to young participants talk about WYSO in the YouTube video at the bottom.

Tickets for each concert are available at the door 45 minutes prior to each concert, and are $10 for adults and $5 for youth 18 and under.

WYSO students travel from communities throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois during the concert season to rehearse on the UW-Madison campus.

Each orchestra performs three concerts per season, with additional performance opportunities available to students.

Eugenie Mayer Bolz Family Spring Concerts

Saturday, May 4, in Mills Hall at 4 p.m. — 
Youth Orchestra

Saturday, May 18, in Mills Hall — 1 p.m. Opus One and Sinfonietta; 4 p.m. Harp Ensemble and Concert Orchestra; 7 p.m. Percussion Ensemble and Philharmonia Orchestra

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Classical music: Fresco Opera Theatre opens its new season, starting this Sunday afternoon, with five FREE garage performances of “Snow White” in Madison, Waunakee and Sun Prairie

August 10, 2016
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By Jacob Stockinger

Fresco Opera Theatre has justifiably developed a reputation for quality quirkiness.

Little wonder, then, that it has also developed a loyal following.

Fresco Opera Theatre opens its new season with FREE garage performances of “Snow White” in Madison, Waunakee and Sun Prairie.

Fresco Opera Snow White poster 2016

There will be five afternoon performances, at 2 p.m., starting this Sunday afternoon and running through Aug. 28. All performances take place at different addresses.

You are advised to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Here is what was Fresco Opera Theatre posted on Facebook:






Our 16/17 season starts with a BANG! by bringing Garage Opera out to the suburbs again!

This year, Snow White will be the story set to some of the most beautiful music the world has ever heard.

BUT WAIT! There is a twist in this tale…

While this is the story of Snow White you are familiar with, in true Fresco fashion we have added a few twists, including a mild-mannered “dwarf” of a man who befriends Snow White. And who will save her after the Evil Queen has poisoned her?

Come to Fresco’s GARAGE OPERA – SNOW WHITE to find out!

NOTE: You can hear Melanie Cain and Jeff Turk discuss with the local NBC affiliate Channel 15 Fresco’ s past production of  Smackdown – which mixed high-brow opera with low-brow professional wrestling — in the YouTube video at the bottom.

For more information, visit:

Classical music education: Sound Ensemble Wisconsin (SEW) is seeking musicians of all kinds –- students, amateurs, professionals — for an inaugural 24-hour marathon in Waunakee on Dec. 8-9 to benefit music education and local food.

November 16, 2012
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ALERT: This week’s “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen,” broadcast live from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Wisconsin Public Radio, features Lawrence University faculty members Wen-Lei Gu and pianist Catherine Kautsky in Mozart‘s Violin Sonata in E minor;  Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Major, Op. 12, No. 1; Debussy’s Violin Sonata; and “Why Are the Flowers So Red” (1980) by Ti Hua Han.

By Jacob Stockinger

Violinist Mary Theodore (below), the founder and director of Sound Ensemble Wisconsin (SEW), a new and highly accomplished professional chamber music group in the Madison area, has asked The Ear to help publicize a very worthy event: The first SEW marathon to raise money for music education and local food.

Mary recently read on this blog about Wisconsin Public Radio canceling the 12-hour birthday marathon Bach Around the Clock 4 this March and said she hadn’t known of the event (below, a h short from 2011). Here is a link to that story:

But she says she also thought that some of the same players might be interested in participating in the marathon.

Here is her press release:

“Sound Ensemble Wisconsin (below in a group shot)  is actively seeking participating musicians for their First Annual 24-Hour Chamber Music Marathon to benefit two great regional educational programs — one for music and one for local food (see below for more information on these programs).

“SEW is inviting musicians of any age or level to perform pieces polished at their level and welcomes any style of music of chamber size (defined as approximately 1 – including SOLO PIANO — to 10 people with no conductor) on acoustic instruments. There will be a quality piano available.

Musicians can participate in the marathon as individuals or as part of an ensemble and may sign up for 30 or 60 minute time slots or for multiple time slots.

“Currently, ensembles such as Sound Ensemble Wisconsin and con vivo! (below) are signed up, as well as other professionals from our community.  SEW welcomes students, amateurs, and professionals. This is about gathering as much of our community together as we can to support two wonderful programs.  SEW hopes that 24 hours of non-stop music will inspire folks to give.

“The marathon will be held from December 8 at 9 a.m. to December 9 at 9 a.m. at the Center for Music Education in Waunakee (below top and bottom).  There will be a suggested $5 minimum donation at the door, although participants are welcome to raise pledges in advance if they wish.

“Let’s get out there and play some music for these awesome programs!

“Please contact Mary Theodore, SEW Director, at for more information and to sign up.

“The proceeds will be split equally between Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance ( and Community GroundWorks Youth Grow Local Program (  

“The Wisconsin Center for Music Education’s “Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance” ( is a planning process which helps teachers explore the elements of the meaningful music performance skills of knowledge and affect and integrates those elements into student-centered teaching plans.  CMP offers innovative ideas and effective ways to teach those significant elements.

“Community GroundWorks Youth Grow Local Program ( provides young people with safe, supportive environments in the city where they learn to grow and prepare healthful foods and develop a connection to nature.

“The Youth Grow Local Program serves a diverse, primarily low-income, population of 2,000 young people annually.  The Youth Grow Local Program also helps build the capacity of the garden-based education movement locally, statewide, and nationally through resource development and professional development opportunities for educators.”


Classical music education: Student composers across Wisconsin are honored by the Wisconsin School Music Association.

November 3, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

Composing music might seem like a rare activity – until you read about the many  student composers from middle schools and high schools across the state who won honors this year from the Wisconsin School Music Association, the headquarters of which is located in the Madison suburb of Waunakee.

Check it out the press release and the photo — and become optimistic about the future of music:

WAUNAKEE, Wis. (October 31, 2012) – Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) proudly presents the 2012 WSMA Student Composition Project winners. The following students from across the state were recognized for outstanding achievement with their original musical work.

Middle School Division (Grades 5-8)

  • Jacob Beranek from University Lake High School in Hartland is the Middle School Division Winner for the composition Trio in C, which also won Best Instrumental Ensemble. In addition to a plaque, Jacob will also receive a scholarship to study one-on-one with a Wisconsin based composer. Vicki Taylor is Jacob’s music teacher.
  • Kate Young from PJ Jacobs Junior High School in Stevens Point won 2nd Place in the Instrumental Ensemble Category for the composition Daisy. Kurt Van Tiem is Kate’s music teacher.
  • A.J. McCarthy from Sheboygan Falls Middle School won Best Piano Solo in the Piano Solo Category for the composition Pursuit. Carrie Winkler is A.J.’s music teacher.

High School Division (Grades 9-12) 

  • Jacob Kavajecz from South Shore High School in Port Wing is the High School Division Winner for the composition Pride of the North, which also won Best Instrumental Ensemble. In addition to a plaque, Jacob will receive a scholarship to study one-on-one with a Wisconsin based composer. Cody Clayton is Jacob’s music teacher.
  • Zach Unke from Manitowoc Lutheran High School won 2nd Place in the Instrumental Ensemble Category for the composition Rondo for Three Clarinets. Randall Kramer is Zach’s music teacher.
  • Christian Carroll from Xavier High School in Appleton won 3rd Place in the Instrumental Ensemble Category for the composition Saxophone Quartet in F Minor. Kathryn Hardt is Christian’s music teacher.
  • Michael Roth from Neenah High School won 4th Place in the Instrumental Ensemble Category for the composition It Tells A Story. Kristina Stingle is Michael’s music teacher.
  • Max Lin from Eisenhower High School in New Berlin won 5th Place in the Instrumental Ensemble Category for the composition The Twelve Huntsmen. Dale Bigus is Max’s music teacher.
  • Tim Igel from Homestead High School in Mequon won Best Instrumental Solo for the composition Horse. John Emanuelson is Tim’s music teacher.
  • Julia Lake from Bradford High School in Kenosha won 2nd Place in the Instrumental Solo Category for the composition Piano Concerto in A-Flat Mvmt. 1 and 2. Liz Tercek is Julia’s music teacher
  • Hannah Hodgett from Shell Lake High School won Best Piano Solo in the Piano Solo Category for the composition Wind Dance. Aimee Pashby is Hannah’s music teacher.
  • Trevor Hietpas from Sevastopol High School won 2nd Place in the Piano Solo Category for the composition A Minor Waltz. Tanya Hasenjager is Trevor’s music teacher.
  • Samuel Mullooly from Pius XI High School in Milwaukee won 3rd Place in the Piano Solo Category for the composition Nocturne in C Minor. Bonnie Scholz is Samuel’s music teacher.
  • Tim Igel from Homestead High School in Mequon won 4th Place in the Piano Solo Category for the composition Lady Under the Umbrella. John Emanuelson is Tim’s music teacher.
  • Patrick McNamara from Onalaska Luther High School won Best Miscellaneous Ensemble for the composition Gonna Be Alright. James Ruprecht is Patrick’s music teacher.

Statewide, 60 compositions were submitted, demonstrating the musical talent of Wisconsin’s students and the strong leadership of its teachers. Each composition was evaluated on melody, rhythm, harmony, form, creativity and general effect, and awards are given solely based on merit. 

The Student Composition Project is sponsored by WSMA. Its goal is to encourage the positive artistic and creative musical abilities of Wisconsin students. An integral component of the National Standards for Music Education, the Student Composition Project is a fundamental extension of the creative element of music education specified in Wisconsin’s music curriculum guide.

For more information about WSMA and the Student Composition Project, go to

#  #  #

Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) is a service organization with more than 1,000 member public and private schools. Each year, more than 220,000 student participants take part in WSMA activities, including District and State Music Festivals, State Honors Music Project, State Marching Band Championships, Concert Festivals and Launchpad. WSMA, headquartered in the Wisconsin Center for Music Education, is governed by a Board of Directors made up of superintendents, principals and other officers from all over our state. WSMA believes music is a basic human need and that all children have the right to experience all that music offers them.   


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