29th Capital City Jazz Fest—What Took Me So Long??!!

Four amazing ensembles in five hours make for a quick Saturday   It didn’t take long—sometime around 11:15 Saturday morning, the juxtaposition hit me: Fifteen hours earlier I had been in the Capitol Theater, hearing a world premiere concerto for two pianos, with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Now I was equally enthralled by the Bria… Continue reading 29th Capital City Jazz Fest—What Took Me So Long??!!

Closing the Season with a World Premiere

Sewell, WCO and soloists end indoor season with Cabaniss’s Double Rainbow   We are happily accustomed to the stimulating programming of Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra music director Andrew Sewell, but the occasion of a world premiere is always an added treat. In the case of Friday night’s final Masterworks concert in the Capitol Theater, the new… Continue reading Closing the Season with a World Premiere

Madison Opera’s “Flute” Finds Plenty of Vocal Magic

Mozart’s late hybrid stage work proves a hit Friday night   Okay, let’s get this out of the way right now: Yours truly is not the optimal critic for a performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. I didn’t fall under its spell when I first heard it about 45 years ago, and no version since,… Continue reading Madison Opera’s “Flute” Finds Plenty of Vocal Magic

The Easter Mastery of the Madison Bach Musicians

Bach’s “St. John Passion” is revealed in all its poignant splendor It was over a year ago, when I first experienced the Madison Bach Musicians for the first time (a revelatory Messiah) that I saw they planned performances of J.S.Bach’s “St. John Passion” for Good Friday night and the next in 2017. I was ready… Continue reading The Easter Mastery of the Madison Bach Musicians

Bianconi Soars; Overture Hall Roars

MSO players get their wish—and audience approves that, too It was one of those nights at Overture Hall on Friday. John DeMain returned from his recent forays into Turandot with Virginia Opera (a reliable source indicated the reviews were off the charts), and we had another return that was as welcome. There’s some sort of… Continue reading Bianconi Soars; Overture Hall Roars

New CD “44 Waltzes (on 88 Keys)” a Real Treasure

Pianist Peter Schaaf should be encouraged to bring us “Act 3”   First things first: File this review under “better late than never.” I received this new and intriguing recording in the fall, with every intention of reviewing it well before the holidays. Here’s hoping some readers will buy this for themselves—and find a good… Continue reading New CD “44 Waltzes (on 88 Keys)” a Real Treasure

2017 “Final Forte”: No “Bracket Busters” Here

As usual, we get one champion (and four winners) (Pictured above: Julian Rhee, Naomi Sutherland, Michael Wu and Yaoyao Chen, courtesy of Madison Symphony)   The last round of the Bolz Young Artist Competition, in which we are treated to four teen-aged prodigies at various stages of producing artistic fruit, is of course known as… Continue reading 2017 “Final Forte”: No “Bracket Busters” Here