Tidings of Great Joy (for the 25th time)

“Madison Symphony Christmas” replicates its winning formula   I’ve only heard the last nine editions of the “Madison Symphony Christmas,” so I’m not sure exactly how long it took music director John DeMain to hit upon his winning formula. Last weekend was the 25th edition during his tenure, and perhaps the most impressive thing about… Continue reading Tidings of Great Joy (for the 25th time)

DeMain’s Gift to “Lenny”

Madison Symphony joins the global celebrations of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday   Leonard Bernstein’s 100th  birthday fell on August 25 of this year, but if you think the Madison Symphony and John DeMain were late to the party in celebrating this still larger-than-life icon, don’t fret. Some locales began after August 25, 2017—the year leading… Continue reading DeMain’s Gift to “Lenny”

Madison Opera Goes Old School

Some great singing and a traditional approach revive “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci”   It has been more than 30 years since Madison Opera staged that once-ubiquitous double bill of one-act operas, “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci.” That’s nothing—I’ve been attending and listening to opera for a little over half a century, and I never managed to… Continue reading Madison Opera Goes Old School

Madison Symphony Gives Warm Welcome to Two New Guests

Canadian conductor Tania Miller and cellist Zuill Bailey are the latest to discover the joys of the MSO and Overture Hall   Madison Symphony music director doesn’t miss many concerts, but when he does it’s always intriguing to see how the group will respond to a fresh dynamic. This past weekend saw the local debuts… Continue reading Madison Symphony Gives Warm Welcome to Two New Guests

John DeMain Launches His 25th Madison Symphony Season

Five years have flown; shall we shoot for 30?   I hadn’t thought about it until I sat down to write this review, but five years can really fly by at my age…2013 marked John DeMain’s 20th anniversary as music director of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and I was favored with penning an article for… Continue reading John DeMain Launches His 25th Madison Symphony Season

Walton Wins Us Over

BBC Symphony and James Ehnes are revelatory on new Chandos CD   My first focused exposure to William Walton’s music was a recording of his early and celebrated Façade, and I was an instant fan. Still, I didn’t diligently seek out all of his works, but surely I encountered his Concerto for Viola and Orchestra… Continue reading Walton Wins Us Over

Introducing “30-Somethings”

Celebrating my 30th year as a critic/annotator, an occasional series of the performances, people and places I just can’t forget   It was probably about five years ago, as I approached the 25th anniversary of my first published review, that I thought about making a “Top 10” list of the most memorable performances I had… Continue reading Introducing “30-Somethings”