Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cold Comfort

Today feels like fall has officially arrived, and it appears the chiller weather is here to stay.

While I could bemoan the temperature drop, this weekend I’m going to regard it as an invitation to step into Overture Center and be whisked away by the Madison Symphony Orchestra for a few hours. While escapism via the arts is fun any time of year, I think it’s enhanced when the word beyond the theater is cold and dark.

MSO has a rich program in store this weekend, a concert of Copland, Elgar and Holst featuring guest conductor Chosei Komatsu and cellist Alban Gerhardt. Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Music director and conductor John DeMain met Komatsu in 2007 at the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica, where he is artistic director; he’s also music director of Japan’s Central Aichi Symphony Orchestra. This weekend serves as Komatsu’s Madison debut, and he will open with Aaron Copland’s An Outdoor Overture, a work DeMain describes as an embodiment of the American spirit.

The second work, Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto, will showcase the talent of guest performer Gerhardt, a young German cellist quickly making a name for himself in Europe and beyond. On the MSO website, DeMain describes how the cellist and concerto are a natural fit. “I’m excited to bring back Alban Gerhardt, one of the most sought-after European cellists, for the Elgar Concerto. It’s not just one of the most important cello concertos; it’s also a great audience favorite because of its delicacy and melancholic beauty.”

And a highlight is sure to be Gustav Holst’s The Planets, one of the most popular classical music works—and considered to be inspiration for John Williams’ Star Wars music. Dramatic and powerful, it showcases a range of emotions. Says DeMain, “It will be thrilling to hear this work performed live in Overture Hall, where all of its moods will blossom.”

As much as I enjoy an evening or afternoon musical getaway, I particularly love that in Madison anyone who wants to can have this experience. It’s not just for music lovers of a certain age or income level. In fact, MSO is making it easy and fun for young adults to attend concerts with its Club 201. Under this program, a joint effort between the Symphony and Madison MAGNET targeting Madisonians ages 21 to 39, classical music lovers can get discounted tickets and an invitation to a post-concert party at a local hotspot. After this Friday’s concert, Club 201-ers will head to Fromagination for wine and a Wisconsin cheese tasting.

But what if you don’t fall into the young music aficionado category? Or you’re already booked up this weekend? Well, there’s another related program open to public tomorrow. An Open Dress Rehearsal takes place 7–9:30 p.m. at Overture Hall. It’s free but only 250 spots are available and advance reservations are required (call 257.3734).

Here’s a look at the rest of MSO’s 2008–2009 Season:

November 7–9: Barber, Brahms, Tormis and Shostakovich featuring conductor Anu Tali and violinist Sarah Chang.

December 5–7: Christmas Spectacular featuring conductor John DeMain, soprano Jamie-Rose Guarrine, tenor Gregory Turay, the Madison Symphony Chorus, Madison Youth Choirs, Mount Zion Gospel Choir and Madison Area Concert Handbells.
Club 201: Holiday Party. December 5 at Barriques.

January 16–18: Mozart, Sibelius and Prokofiev featuring conductor Daniel Hege, violinist Hanning Kraggerud and narrator James DeVita.
Open Dress Rehearsal. January 15, 7–9:30 p.m.

February 6–8: A Feast of Beethoven featuring conductor John DeMain and pianist Olga Kern.
Club 201: Beethoven & Beer. February 6 at Café Montmartre.

March 6–8: Borodin, Stravinsky and Dvořák featuring conductor Yoav Talmi and violinist Julian Rachlin.

April 3–5: Wagner, Saint-Saëns and Brahms featuring conductor John DeMain and pianist André Watts.
Open Dress Rehearsal. April 2, 7–9:30 p.m.
Club 201: Spring Romance. April 3 at Fresco.

May 1–3: Verdi Requiem featuring conductor John DeMain, soprano Karen Slack, mezzo-soprano Kristine Jepson, tenor Arnold Rawls, bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen and the Madison Symphony Chorus.

Photos of Gerhardt and Komatsu are courtesy of the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for featuring MAGNET and Club 201 - they are really fun events!