Five music picks to start your new year off right

From Broadway to Bruckner, check these out.
Five music picks to start your new year off right
Ana Vidovic. Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

Just because it’s the middle of winter doesn’t mean we don’t have a thrilling selection of music events just waiting to be heard.

Jersey Boys has returned to Overture Hall as part of the Broadway at the Overture series. Given the popularity of the show’s run a few years ago and its short run this time (January 3-8, with two performances each on Jan. 7 and 8), it’s a sure bet to start the calendar year a bang. The 2005 Tony Award-winning story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons found new life in the Clint Eastwood-directed film version of 2014, but as theater lovers know, nothing beats the live experience. This touring cast features Osseo native and UW-La Crosse graduate Barry Anderson as the Four Seasons manager/producer Bob Crewe.

The new year also marks the return of the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s “Beyond the Score,” the compelling combination of scripted insights into a major masterpiece with live excerpts from the orchestra, followed by a full performance. Several seasons ago, Maestro John DeMain and the MSO brought us inside the world of Dvorak and his last symphony, “From the New World.” The single performance was sold out. When Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” was announced for Jan. 15, the tickets went so fast that a second performance was added on Jan. 14. James and Brenda DeVita of American Players Theater will grace the stage. James will narrate and Brenda will accompany him as the sultry and cunning tale-spinner who manages to postpone her planned execution by the Sultan. It’s a can’t-miss event.

If a more intimate but no less thrilling experience will help brighten your midwinter, then head over to hear the Salon Piano Series. These exquisite performances, held in the inviting showroom of Farley’s House of Pianos, match great artists with historic keyboards–and throw in a fabulous reception to boot! On Jan. 22, the concert celebrates Schubert’s 220 th birthday. Pianist Catherine Kautsky plays some of the composer’s great music, along with works of Ravel and Widmann that were inspired by the Viennese master.

It always feels like such a long wait after the first performance in the [Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Masterworks Series since October, but on Jan. 27 Andrew Sewell and his fine-tuned ensemble return to the Capitol Theater. The maestro is giving us the best of all worlds again with a lesser-played Mozart symphony (No. 30). The return of stunning guitarist Ana Vidovic in the most popular of all guitar concertos (“Concierto de Aranjuez” by Rodrigo) will also thrill audiences. And Sewell couldn’t resist a return to some un-chamber-orchestral music in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3. Now that’s something for everybody!

We reach the end of the musical month on Jan. 29 with the third Schubertiade performance, presented by Martha Fischer and Bill Lutes of the Mead Witter School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. These recreations of the evenings that the composer and his friends enjoyed are built around a theme in the composer’s life and music. This year’s motif is “Circle of Friends,” and soprano Emily Birsan will be featured along with other stellar soloists. Yours truly made it to this event last year, and the memories remain fresh nearly a year later. The event starts at 3 p.m. in Mills Hall. .