The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Ear does some more catching up. This time he takes in the Madison Area Youth Chamber Orchestra (MAYCO). Plus, here is more news from Day 4 of WYSO’s tour in Argentina.

July 28, 2014
6 Comments

Here is the daily alert for the tour though Aug. 3 by Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) in Argentina. Here is a link to the latest news from Day 4: www.wysotour2014.blogspot.com

WYSO Youth  Orchestra

By Jacob Stockinger

As I said yesterday, The Ear is finally getting a chance to catch up on some old business, now that live concerts have quieted down a bit for a while.

Here is an overdue review.

MADISON AREA YOUTH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (MAYCO) EXCELS IN OLD MUSIC AND NEW MUSIC

On Friday, July 11, the Madison Area Youth Chamber Orchestra (MAYCO) performed “Triumph and Delight,” the first of its two concerts this summer. This one was at the handsome new Atrium auditorium, with its bright acoustics, of the First Unitarian Society of Madison 900 University Bay Drive.

Founder and conductor Mikko Utevsky (below), who is currently a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, led the group through an intriguing program that include the Piano Concerto No. 11 in D Major, by Franz Joseph Haydn; the “Reformation” Symphony by Felix Mendelssohn; and the world premiere of a “Experiment No. 1” by his fellow student, composer Olivia Zeuske.

Mikko Utevsky with baton

The soloist in the Haydn Piano Concerto was UW-Madison graduate Thomas Kasdorf (below). The Ear recently heard him in the Romantic and evergreen Piano Concerto In A Minor by Edvard Grieg, played with the Middleton Community Orchestra. And the performance was impressive, so expectations were high.

And those expectations were both met and surpassed in the Haydn.

thomas kasdorf 2:jpg

This was not, thank goodness, period Haydn. From what The Ear heard, Kasdorf made no attempt to scale back his part and treat the piano like some Classical-era fortepiano. Instead this was robust and rich Haydn, an interpretation that made Papa Haydn sound more alive than dead. The humor and tunefulness plus the effective, if sparing, use of dissonance, all came through convincingly and in a contemporary way.

Add in the orchestra’s careful attention to part-playing and to dialogue with the piano, and you had a performance that The Ear loved.

Thomas Kasdorf at FUS MAYCO Haydn

The work by Olivia Zeuske (below) proved highly atmospheric –- not exactly 12-tone or atonal, but not exactly not, either. For the most part, The Ear found it appealing, engaging and attractive.

But for The Ear, who admits to being a “tunes” guy, it could have used some kind of melody or motif that was recognizable and repeated. In addition the piece could use more distinctiveness among the three sections, so the structure guides your listening.

True, the very end did seem to build to some kind of climax, and you knew something was about to happen. But a lot of the rest of the piece seemed to have a tad too much lateral drift. A good statement or speech is not made by a series of “um”’s and “you know”’s and similar filler. And it takes more than sound to make music.

Still, The Ear thinks that she has a future and looks forward to hearing more from Olivia Zeuske.

olivia zeuske 2014

The famous and familiar “Reformation” Symphony by Felix Mendelssohn was not weak except by comparison to the other performances. Some of it seemed a bit muddled, and The Ear wondered if it couldn’t have used more rehearsal time, which more likely went to working with the soloist and the world premiere. Still, the music carries itself in a great way.

Plus, it was set off and spotlighted by a stroke of genius and inspiration in programming. Utevsky opened the entire program with the chorale prelude-type arrangement by Johann Sebastian Bach for orchestra of the hymn by Martin Luther “Ein Feste Burg” (A Mighty Fortress is Our God”). (At bottom, you can hear an arrangement by Leopold Stokowski that sounds a bit Wagnerian and even “Parsifal”-like at the end because of the horns.)

That is the same Lutheran hymn that Mendelssohn, a Jew who converted to Christianity but was nonetheless banned from being performed under the Nazis and Adolf Hitler, used in the finale to his irresistible symphony.

Kudos, then, to this fine group of young up-and-coming musicians, who were warmly applauded by a good size audience of more than friends and family members.

Mikko Utevsky and MAYCO at FUS

MAYCO audience at FUS July 2014

It makes one look forward to MAYCO’s next concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 22. That’s when soprano Caitlin Ruby Miller (below) will join then in Samuel Barber’s “Knoxville, Summer 1915” with words by James Agee and music by Samuel Barber; the Symphony No. 9 in E-Flat Major, Op. 90, by Dmitri Shostakovich; and the Overture to “The Magic Flute” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

caitlin ruby miller

The advertised venue is Music Hall, though the Atrium auditorium and other venues are still being considered, so stay tuned. Tickets are an affordable $7 with students being asked to donate what they can.

The Ear says: Don’t miss it.

 

 


Classical music education: Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) names Michelle Kaebisch, of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, as the successor to retiring conductor Tom Buchhauser.

March 29, 2013
5 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received the following press release and news announcement:

“Michelle Kaebisch will step into the role of Philharmonia Orchestra Conductor, a position held for the past 30 years by longtime Madison music educator Tom Buchhauser (below), who is retiring at the end of this school year.

Thomas Buchhauser

“Kaebisch (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) brings with her a wealth of experience in the music world, having served as Director of Education and Community Engagement at the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) since 2006, and as a violinist in the MSO since 1993.

“She holds a BS degree in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and taught high school orchestra and beginning strings in the Stoughton Area School District from 1995 to 2006. She also received a nomination from the Walt Disney Company’s public service branch as DisneyHand Teacher of the Year in 2006, recognizing her creativity in the classroom.

Michelle Kaebisch WYSO cr Katrin Talbot

“Kaebisch’s book, “HeartStrings: A Guide to Music Therapy-Informed Engagement for Symphony Orchestras,” published in January 2012, has been purchased by orchestras and healthcare facilities world-wide, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Arts & Medicine Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

“She has led presentations at the League of American Orchestras and Society for the Arts in Healthcare annual conferences, and will be the keynote speaker at the 2013 Association of Wisconsin Orchestras bi-annual conference. Kaebisch is co-chair of the League of American Orchestras’ Education and Community Engagement Committee and has been active with the Wisconsin School Music Association on the Middle and High School Honors Project staff.

“Kaebisch has served as a conductor for the UW-Madison Summer Music Clinic, the UW-Whitewater Strings Camp, and the Badger Conference Honors Orchestra.” (Below are photos of a packed MSO student concert (at top, by Greg Anderson) and WYSO’s Philharmonia Orchestra, at bottom by Cheng-Wei Wu).

MSO Fall Youth kid greg anderson

Thomas Buchhauser  conducting WYSO Philharmonia Cheng-Wei Wu

“WYSO’s Executive Director Bridget Fraser said: “I am thrilled that Michelle has accepted the position. She is an exceptionally well-qualified conductor with a passion for music education.   I know she will make a tremendous difference in the artistic lives of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s young musicians.”

Kaebsisch has told The Ear that she will continue her post at the MSO as Director of Education and Community Engagement, but is taking a leave of absence from her duties as a violinist in the orchestra until she sees how MSO and WYSO schedules work out. (Below is a link explaning her “on-call” duties as an MSO ambassador to classrooms plus of photo of her plyaing for children.)

http://www.madisonsymphony.org/oncall

Michelle Kaesbisch playing with kidsl

And at bottom is a YouTube video of the Philharmonia Orchestra in WYSO performing “Greensleeves” under outgoing conductor Tom Buchhauser:


    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,245 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 2,211,391 hits
%d bloggers like this: