A Whole New Holiday Playlist for 2017

3 new CDs to break out of a December listening rut   Over nearly three decades of reviewing, I feel like I have almost heard it all when it comes to Christmas fare: more Messiahs, more Nutcrackers, and endless re-packagings of the tried-and-true…not to mention the better-off-left-alone. Ah, but things brightened considerably this year, when… Continue reading A Whole New Holiday Playlist for 2017

The Presence of All Means Presents for All

The 24th “Madison Symphony Christmas” treats us royally   As we get older and families often branch out, we often experience Christmas and holiday gatherings that are wonderful, but tinged with a little sadness that someone we love is missing. One celebration that always brings the whole gang back together is the “Madison Symphony Christmas,”… Continue reading The Presence of All Means Presents for All

This “Grinch” Doesn’t Steal Christmas—He Steals Hearts

Dr. Seuss’ timeless characters enchant kids of all ages in Overture Hall   I don’t usually start my Christmas traditions before Thanksgiving (although Santa Claus always was the last in line at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), but you can almost guarantee to jump start the holiday spirit with a trip to the Overture Center… Continue reading This “Grinch” Doesn’t Steal Christmas—He Steals Hearts

Early Thanks Given, Courtesy of DeMain and Co.

Guitarist Sharon Isbin gives us a pair of concertos   Like most people, I don’t wait for one day a year to give thanks for all the blessings poured into my life, but last Sunday was a particularly good day for Madison music lovers to get a head start on gratitude. In closing the third… Continue reading Early Thanks Given, Courtesy of DeMain and Co.

Sharon Isbin and Her Never-ending Legacy

A recent DVD and new CD add insights and break new ground to the guitarist’s singular accomplishments   Sharon Isbin long ago earned the right to drop the word “female” from the phrase “greatest (female) classical guitarist.” If anyone cares to argue the point, just hand them a copy of the 2015 DVD “Sharon Isbin:… Continue reading Sharon Isbin and Her Never-ending Legacy

Yakushev Delivers the Whole Package

Salon Piano Series remains a Madison treasure   Wonderful things always happen at the Salon Piano Series, but it was particularly gratifying to see what appeared to be a couple of extra rows of chairs squeezed in at Farley’s House of Pianos last Sunday. The occasion was the second of this year’s Salon Piano Series… Continue reading Yakushev Delivers the Whole Package

Madison Opera’s Carmen So Easy to Love

Baseball may be over, but the season-opener is a home run It isn’t just that Bizet’s incarnation of Carmen, the wanton gypsy girl who ruins lives almost as quickly as the composer strung together hit numbers in his opera, seduces Don Jose so easily—she is responsible for ensnaring many a first-time listener into the world… Continue reading Madison Opera’s Carmen So Easy to Love