Arts and Culture

September brings bundle of varied musical events

Are you ready for some (musical) football?

It may be time for "back to school" and "are you ready for some football," but September also means that classical music moves indoors—and there is plenty to choose from (as usual, in our fair city!)

The first weekend marks the end of the event that most music lovers use to bookmark the end of summer, namely the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival. The 27th go-round at the Festival barn on Highway 19 just east of Highway 51 is celebrating the full restoration of Token Creek. The final program (Friday, September 2 at 7:30 and Sunday at 4) gives Schubert the spotlight, with the song cycle Die Schone Mullerin and the couldn't-be-more-appropriate "Trout" Quintet.

It might be called "Labor Day," but even the Karp family and friends would say it's no work at all, as they present the 38th annual Karp Family recital at Mills Hall. The 7:30 p.m., free event at Mills Hall is highlighted by a world premiere written by Joel Hoffman in memory of Howard Karp, the great pianist, professor and fondly, lifelong Cubs fan.

Far too often under the radar, the Oakwood Chamber Players open their 2016-17 season with as diverse a program of composers and instrumental combinations as one could want. The umbrella title of the season is "Perspective," and on September 10 at 7 p.m. and September 11 at 2 they will perform works by Schoenfield, Colina, Francaix and Elgar. Like their remaining four concerts, they can be heard at Oakwood's Center for Arts and Education, 6002 Mineral Point Road.

The Ancora Quartet opens its 16th season with a new first violinist, Wes Luke (who performed with the ensemble in the 2014 season). Their September 17 event at the Landmark Auditorium at the First Unitarian Society-Madison kicks off at 7:30 with their usual mix of familiar and less-heard works: early Beethoven, Turina's "The Bullfighter's Prayer" and the first quartet of Tchaikovsky.

The following afternoon at 3 the very same Landmark location will be the venue for the UW Opera Props showcase event. In addition to a number of students presenting arias and scenes with the accompaniment of Daniel Fung, alumna Lindsay Metzger—who is enjoying a fine and still-rising professional career—will perform. And if that doesn't entice you, a reception follows with everything from artisanal cheeses to Gail Ambrosius's inimitable chocolates. Tickets and more information are available here.

Of course the "big kids" get after it again after various summer activities, and the Madison Symphony's first weekend is literally out of this world. Holst's seminal The Planets—which is still influencing film music composers, among others—will be accompanied by an HD film that was commissioned several years ago from NASA by the Houston Symphony. The experience has garnered rave reviews from The New York Times, among others, and we'll have the added treat of concertmaster Naha Greenholtz in the "Chaconne" from The Red Violin by Corigliano. Performances are Friday and Saturday night, September 23 and 24, and Sunday afternoon the 25th.

The UW-Madison has managed to develop a young tradition that promises to draw even larger and more enthusiastic crowds in their third presentation: Brass Fest III. With multiple events on September 30 and October 1, this year's mini-fest features the first U.S. tour of the Stockholm Chamber Brass. Saturday's 8 p.m. concert will also bring local high school and UW-Madison students onto the stage. Tickets and more information can be found here.


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