The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: This Sunday brings three concerts of choral and orchestral music

April 13, 2019
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By Jacob Stockinger

This Sunday brings three chances to hear choral and orchestral music.

On this Sunday morning, April 14, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., in the Atrium Auditorium (below in a photo by Zane Williams) the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, will host its spring All-Music Sunday. The public is invited to attend FREE of charge.

The performers are the Society Choir and Friends, a pickup orchestra, and vocal and instrumental soloists.

The program lasts about one hour and includes the Concerto for Two Trumpets by Antonio Vivaldi and the early Mass in G Major by Franz Schubert. (You can hear the Kyrie from the Schubert Mass in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

At 2:30 p.m., at Edgewood College in the St. Joseph Chapel (below, in a photo by Ann Boyer), 1000 Edgewood College Drive, the Edgewood Chamber Orchestra will give its spring concert.

Director Blake Walter (below) will conduct the performance.

Works to be performed are: the Overture to the opera Fidelio by Ludwig van Beethoven; St. Paul’s Suite for String Orchestra by Gustav Holst; and the Symphony No. 35, “Haffner,” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Admission is $5 for general admission, free with those with an Edgewood College ID.

Here are some program notes provided by Edgewood College.

“The Overture to Fidelio — Beethoven’s only opera — is the first of four overtures composed for the opera, but is perhaps the least often performed.

“In 1904, Gustav Holst was appointed Music Director of St. Paul’s School for Girls in London, and wrote the Suite for the small string orchestra and based it on popular English folk songs.

“Mozart completed his Haffner Symphony in 1785 and dedicated it to his patron, Sigmund Haffner the Elder, a wealthy businessman in Vienna.”


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Classical music: The Wisconsin Chamber Choir celebrates 20 years with a retrospective concert and alumni singers this Saturday night

April 11, 2019
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By Jacob Stockinger

This Saturday night, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir (below) will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a retrospective concert that includes alumni.

The performance is at 7:30 p.m. in the Atrium Auditorium (below, in a photo by Zane Williams) of the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive.

The program features favorite works from the choir’s history.

Founding conductor Gary McKercher (below top) will join current artistic director Robert Gehrenbeck (below bottom) – who directs choral activities at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater — to lead the choir in this special performance.

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Familiar composers such as Felix Mendelssohn, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Franz Joseph Haydn share billing with Jean Belmont Ford (below), whose Sand County, a setting of Aldo Leopold’s words, will be performed.

Also on the program are a set of pieces by Howard Helvey (below top) that the WCC commissioned in 2002, and the U.S. premiere of Utyos by longtime WCC member Albrecht Gaub (below bottom).

Alumni of the choir will participate as guest singers in the final two works on the program: Haydn’s humorous Eloquence; and Gregg Smith’s serene Now I Walk in Beauty, which is based on a Navajo prayer and can be heard in the YouTube video at the bottom. 

Immediately following the performance, audience members are invited to join the singers for cake and refreshments to celebrate this milestone in the history of one of Madison’s premiere music ensembles.

Founded in 1998, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir has established a reputation for excellence in the performance of oratorios by Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johannes Brahms; a cappella works from various centuries; and world premieres of commissioned works.

Artistic director Gehrenbeck has been hailed by critics for his vibrant and emotionally compelling interpretations of a wide variety of choral masterworks.

Advance tickets for the April 13 performance at are available for $15 ($10 for students) from www.wisconsinchamberchoir.org, via Brown Paper Tickets.

Tickets are also available in Madison from Orange Tree Imports, all three Willy Street Co-op locations, and from members of the choir. Tickets at the door will be available for $20 for adults and $10 for students.


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Classical music: The Madison Area Youth Chamber Music Orchestra (MAYCO) performs music of Haydn and Mendelssohn plus a world premiere of a work by Madison composer Olivia Zeuske this Friday night at the First Unitarian Society.

July 9, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

Few young musicians, or older ones for that matter, lead a busier schedule than the young University of Wisconsin-Madison violist and conductor Mikko Rankin Utevsky (below).

Mikko Utevsky with baton

Recently returned from a stay in Europe, Utevsky will show his latest ambitious achievement in a program this Friday night.

That is when the Madison Area Youth Chamber Orchestra (MAYCO, seen below in a performance last year in Mills Hall at the UW-Madison), which was founded by Utevsky while he was still a student at Madison East High School, opens its fourth season on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

MAYCO orchestra close up

The concert will take place in the crisply designed Atrium auditorium of the First Unitarian Society of Madison (below, in a photo by Zane Williams), 900 University Bay Drive, on Madison near west side. Tickets are $7, with donations requested from students.

FUS Atrium, Auditorium Zane Williams

The gifted pianist Thomas Kasdorf (below), a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, where he studied with Christopher Taylor and where he will return as a graduate student this fall, joins the orchestra for the Piano Concerto No. 11 in D Major by Franz Joseph Haydn. (You can hear the legendary Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter play the concerto in a YouTube video at the bottom)

Thomas Kasdorf

You may recall that this spring Kasdorf answered a Q&A for this blog when he performed the Piano Concerto in A Minor by Edvard Grieg with the Middleton Community Orchestra.

Here is a link to Kasdorf’s interview:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/classical-music-qa-native-son-pianist-thomas-kasdorf-talks-about-playing-solo-recitals-chamber-music-and-the-grieg-piano-concerto-with-the-middleton-community-orchestra-which-also-closes-out-i/

And here is a link to The Ear’s positive review of his performance of the Grieg concerto (below):

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/classical-music-maybe-its-back-to-the-future-the-classical-music-scene-needs-more-groups-to-act-like-the-middleton-community-orchestra-and-break-down-barriers-between-performers-and-listene/

MCO june 2014 Thomas Kasdorf plays Grieg

Also on the program are the “Reformation” Symphony by Felix Mendelssohn and the world premiere of the chamber symphony “Experiment No. 1” by Olivia Zeuske (below). Zeuske just graduated from the UW-Madison with a double major in English and music composition, which she studied with professor and composer Steven Dembski.

olivia zeuske 2014

MAYCO’S NEXT CONCERT

MAYCO’s next concert this summer will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 22, 2014. Called “Summer Magic,” it features soprano Caitlin Ruby Miller. The program includes the Overture to “The Magic Flute” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; “Knoxville: Summer of 1915” by Samuel Barber: and the Symphony No. 9 in E-flat Major, Op. 70, by Dmitri Shostakovich. The concert will be held in UW Music Hall, 925 Bascom Mall, at the base of Bascom Hill.

For more information about MAYCO, including background, concerts, programs, photos and how to support and join MAYCO, visit:

http://madisonareayouthchamberorchestra.org/


Classical music: The memorial service for internationally acclaimed music educator and WYSO founder Marvin Rabin is this Sunday, Dec. 29, at 3 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society in Madison.

December 26, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

In case you hadn’t already heard, the memorial service for Marvin Rabin (below) – the founder and longtime music director and conductor of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras – is set for this coming Sunday at 3 p.m. in the historic landmark First Unitarian Society that was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

WYSO will be well represented at Rabin’s memorial service.  There will be a WYSO String Orchestra performing Samuel Barber’s moving “Adagio for Strings” as well as a WYSO Chamber Ensemble and a WYSO Alumni Chamber Ensemble.

marvin rabin BW

Here is the official death notice:

MADISON – Music educator, Marvin Rabin, age 97, died at University of Wisconsin Hospitals on Dec. 5, 2013.

A celebration of Marvin’s life is planned for 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, at the UNITARIAN MEETING HOUSE’S new ATRIUM auditorium (below, in a photo by Zane Williams), 900 University Bay Drive, Madison.

FUS Atrium, Auditorium Zane Williams

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras, UW Humanities Building, Room 1625, 455 N. Park St., Madison, WI 53706; Wisconsin Foundation for School Music, Wisconsin Center for Music Education, 1005 Quinn Drive, Waunakee, WI 53597; and Madison Music Makers, 705 Edgewood Ave, Madison, WI 53711

wyso violas

You can read more about Marvin Rabin and his many achievements at:

http://host.madison.com/news/local/obituaries/rabin-marvin/article_67360c16-0252-5019-85dd-68b57e400188.html#ixzz2o1pTrTAG

You can donate to and learn more about WYSO by going here:

http://wyso.music.wisc.edu

And here is an appreciation that The Ear did and many readers seemed to like and commented positively on:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/classical-music-let-us-now-praise-marvin-rabin-who-founded-the-wisconsin-youth-symphony-orchestra-wyso-who-excelled-as-a-music-educator-and-performer-who-was-the-leonard-bernstein-of-ma/

Rabin portrait USE

At bottom is a YouTube video done as a tribute to Marvin Rabin when he won the third Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wisconsin School Music Association. It is well worth listening to, especially in these times when the arts seems to get shortchanged in favor of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math:


Classical music: The Madison-based Ancora String Quartet ends its 12th season with a recital this Saturday night of chamber music by Dvorak, Haydn and Shostakovich.

May 2, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

The critically acclaimed Ancora String Quartet will close its 12th season this coming Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive, where the group performs as artists-in-residence.

Members (below, in a photo by Barry Lewis) of the Ancora Quartet are: violinists Leanne Kelso League and Robin Ryan, violist Marika Fischer Hoyt and cellist Benjamin Whitcomb, who teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Ancora CR Barry Lewis

The Ear has heard and seen the quartet and knows that it performs with conviction and vivacity, often in unusual and intriguing programs.

This time the quartet will perform a program of 18th, 19th and 20th century music in the handsomely woody, crisp and sonically bright Atrium Hall (below in a photo by Zane Williams) rather than the old Landmark Auditorium of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed church.

FUS Atrium, Auditorium Zane Williams

Tickets are sold at the door: $15 for general admission; $12 seniors and students; and $6 for children under 12

Here are some remarks by the quartet’s violist spokesperson  Marika Fischer Hoyt, who is also a weekend radio host for Wisconsin Public Radio: “We are closing our 12th season.  We’re pretty serious fans of the Bard in this quartet, and we decided to go with a Shakespearean theme: “Twelfth Season:  “If music be the food of love, play on!”  For the sports fans out there, we’re simply calling this season the Big 12.

“Dodecahedral elements (permutations of 12)  permeate our May recital program, which features selections (Nos. 1, 3, 8, 9, 11, 12) from the 12 “Cypresses” by Antonin Dvorak (below, and at the bottom in a YouTube video, where the Emerson Quartet plays No 3).

Plus, she notes, “Like our Fall 2012 program, this May 2013 program includes exactly 12 movements of music.”

Adds Fischer Hoyt: About the Dvorak, she adds: “We’re very pleased with this program, and feel that it offers variety and balance.  The six Dvorák “Cypresses” are intimate expressions of a young man’s unrequited love, and cover the gamut from tender, wistful longing, to jaunty descriptions of nature, to jealous frustration.  Dvorak played the viola himself, and wrote so well for that instrument. The viola gets the opening melodies in the first two Cypresses that we’re playing, so don’t be late or you’ll miss them!”

dvorak

“The Quartet in C Major, OP. 20, N. 2, by Franz Josef Haydn (below) will also be performed.

Adds Fischer Hoyt: The Haydn quartet Op. 20 No. 2 is one of the celebrated ‘Sun’ quartets, with a glorious cello melody in the first movement.  The last movement is a quadruple fugue, but it’s not at all daunting; in fact, quite the reverse.  It twinkles along merrily, and Haydn provides it with a whimsical inscription in Latin:  “Laus. Omnip. Deo. Sic fugit amicus amicum,” or “Praise the Lord. Thus one friend flees another friend.”  Haydn had such a great sense of humor!

Haydn

“And the Quartet No. 12 (which also uses 12-tone techniques) by Dmitri Shostakovich (below) will round out the program.

Adds Fischer Hoyt: “In the last piece on our program, Shostakovich nods to serialism by featuring a 12-tone row (an intentionally atonal collection of 12 pitches), but then thumbs his nose at serialism by setting the row in the tonal key of D-flat major.  This is not conventionally pretty music, but it has a nuanced complexity, an inner integrity, and a through-line of development that rivets the attention from the beginning to the end.  I think when you play or listen to Shostakovich, you need to allow yourself to be transformed, or at least to go on a journey with him, and with us.”

dmitri shostakovich

A champagne reception will conclude the evening.

For more information visit: http://ancoraquartet.com


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