Exciting music moves indoors

Six September events sure to inspire
Exciting music moves indoors
Photo by Joe Martinez
Wynton Marsalis will accompany the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in concert Sept. 23 at Overture Center for the Arts. 

The sadness that comes with saying goodbye to summer is assuaged in part by the fall music indoor season. September showcases Madison’s classical and jazz greats and ability to attract the biggest stars to make guest appearances.

Oakwood Chamber Players
For a group known for its endlessly inventive programming, the Oakwood Chamber Players may be outdoing themselves this year. The theme of their season is “Journey” and the opening concerts at the Oakwood Village West auditorium (on Saturday, September 9 at 7 p.m. and the following afternoon at 2 p.m.) are titled “Departure.” Featuring a variety of combinations of winds, strings and piano, you can hear everything from a couple of famous waltz arrangements, to music of Broughton and a trio by none other than jazz/fusion icon Chick Corea.

Madison Symphony Orchestra
After a summer at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, New York, where he again garnered bushels of rave reviews for conducting “Porgy and Bess,” John DeMain returns to Madison to launch his 24th season as music director of the Madison Symphony Orchestra . As has often been the case with his season openers, DeMain will feature the orchestra as a whole and not bring in a guest soloist. But this month will feature one of the ensemble’s stalwart principles. Violist Chris Dozoryst will provide all the evidence needed that the viola is a special and unique solo instrument by playing one of the great masterpieces for the instrument, “Harold in Italy” by Hector Berlioz. The concerts (Friday, Sept. 15 at 7:30, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 17 at 2:30 p.m.) open with Stokowski’s famous arrangement of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” and close with Mendelssohn’s “Reformation” symphony in celebration of this year’s 500th anniversary of the onset of the Protestant Reformation. It is a work that yours truly will get to hear live for the very first time in over 50 years of concert going.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
I saw Marsalis and his band in 2000–and the event remains one of the Top 10 musical experiences of my life. Fifteen players performed nearly every style of jazz with perfection. From all accounts, nothing has changed since then, except some personnel. This performance of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. is sure to deliver the goods, and will feature an excerpt from Marsalis’s work, “Swing Symphony.”

Christopher Taylor, piano
I’ll say it until I’m sure everyone gets it: Christopher Taylor is one of the greatest pianists of our time, and all the national critical acclaim he get backs me up. Instead of the typical globe-trotting soloist circuit, Taylor spends most of the year teaching right here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music. Our next chance to hear him is in a faculty recital in Mills Hall on Saturday, September 23 at 8 p.m. The stimulating lineup continues his survey of Liszt’s piano arrangements of Beethoven’s symphonies (No. 7 this time), “Moments Musicaux” by both Schubert and Rachmaninoff, and a work by Corigliano.

Salon Piano Series
Speaking of repeating myself, there are few events in Madison as unique and intimate as a performance of the Salon Piano Series . Presented at Farley’s House of Pianos, fewer than 150 lucky listeners hear great international artists up close on a restored historic instrument or two. Tim Farley’s introductory insights are fascinating, and one can linger afterwards over a delectable reception to see the pianos and ask questions of the artists and the Farleys. The Sunday, September 24 event at 4 p.m. marks the return of pianists Roberto Plano and his wife, pianist Paola Del Negro. The first half is piano and includes Brahms’ “Hungarian Dances” and an arrangement of Smetana’s “The Moldau.” The second half features the two-piano version of what became Brahms masterful “Piano Quintet.” You can hear this keyboard version now, and in March come back for the Pro Arte Quartet and Alon Goldstein for the more famous version with strings.

Madison Bach Musicians
The packed weekend of September 23 and 24 also includes the season opener for yet another of our fair cities absolute artistic gems: the Madison Bach Musicians . Trevor Stephenson’s exquisite group will be joined by cellist Steuart Pincombe in works of Bach and Vivaldi, and you have your choice of venue: on Saturday they can be heard in the Atrium Auditorium of the First Unitarian Society at 7:30 p.m. and at the Holy Wisdom Monastery on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. In either case, get there 45 minutes early for one of the most informative and entertaining pre-concert lectures you’ll ever hear.

Greg Hettmansberger writes about opera, jazz and classical music for madisonmagazine.com.