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Sunday, December 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 31.0° F  A Few Clouds

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Clarinetist Joseph Morris is splendid in Middleton Community Orchestra's 2014 holiday concert

The December holidays mean the concert calendar is full of music no one would think of tolerating any other time of the year. Who wants to hear "Silent Night" or "White Christmas" in July? >More
 Arts 2014: Isthmus critics rate the art performances of the year

Madison's cultural scene just keeps growing and getting better. So much so, in fact, that it's hard to keep up with it all. But we give it our best. Now it's time for retrospection. Five Isthmus critics look back on the year in theater, classical music, dance and comedy. >More
 Beethoven's Fidelio is a stirring 2014-15 season opener for Madison Opera

Madison Opera rousingly opened its 2014-15 season at Overture Hall on Friday night with a great work not often encountered: Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio. The work typifies the "rescue opera," a style that flourished in the years after the upheavals of the French Revolution, exploiting stories of escapes from danger and oppression. >More
 Sarah Chang sizzles on a Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Madison Symphony Orchestra

The latest Madison Symphony Orchestra concert is mistitled "Scandinavian Wonders." One of the three composers represented is a Finn, and the Finnish are Scandinavian in neither language or culture. "Nordic" would have been the more appropriate label. >More
 University Opera's comic Albert Herring is an enjoyable debut for acting director David Ronis

University Opera opened its 2014-15 season with the novelty of Benjamin Britten's chamber-opera comedy Albert Herring. The production is the first mounted under acting director David Ronis, visiting assistant professor for the 2014-2015 season, following the retirement of longtime director William Farlow. >More
 Pianist Olga Kern dazzles with Rachmaninoff as Madison Symphony Orchestra performs Russian works both familiar and rare

The Madison Symphony Orchestra offered another big winner at Overture Hall with a program devoted to the music of three Russian composers. >More
 Rachel Barton Pine delivers a splendid rendition of Vieuxtemps' Fifth Violin Concerto with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra opened its 2014-15 season with a remarkably generous and diversified program at the Capitol Theater on Friday. Violinist Rachel Barton Pine and violist Matthew Lipman served as guest soloists. >More
 Violinist Wes Luke proves a solid anchor for Ancora String Quartet in a program of works by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Beach

Because of the leave of absence being taken by first violinist Leanne Kelso League, the Ancora String Quartet has undertaken a second season of experimentation. Last season, that involved bringing in different instrumentalists in trio-plus collaborations. This season, it involves two visiting first violinists. >More
 Madison Symphony Orchestra's 2014-15 season-opener forgoes guest soloists to showcase the ensemble's own brilliance

The Madison Symphony Orchestra follows several precedents in the first program of its 2014-15 season. For one thing, there is no guest soloist grinding out a warhorse concerto. >More
 A thought-provoking work by C.P.E. Bach kicks off the 2014 Token Creek Chamber Music Festival

This year's Token Creek Chamber Music Festival (through Aug. 31 in the festival barn in DeForest) celebrates the operation's 25th anniversary, no mean achievement for so idiosyncratic an undertaking. This time around, there are three classical programs, two of them performed twice. The next program, involving only violin and piano, will be presented on Aug. 27. >More
 Madison Savoyards does justice to Gilbert & Sullivan's unfairly neglected Princess Ida

Princess Ida is unusual among the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. It is, for instance, the only one inspired by the work of an author other than Gilbert himself -- Tennyson, as it happens. It is the only one by the collaborators structured in three acts. >More
 Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society champions underappreciated masterpieces in its 2014 season finale

Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society capped its 2014 season at the Stoughton Opera House with two chamber-music masterpieces, interspersed with two light works. >More
 A rewarding program of Ravel and Rachmaninoff begins Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society's 2014 season

Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society opened its 2014 season this weekend with the organization's typical combination of unfamiliar music with beloved masterpieces, in performances of the highest quality. The June 14 performance took place at Overture Center's Playhouse, and both of the weekend's programs will be repeated at Taliesin in Spring Green on June 15. >More
 Conductor Steve Kurr challenges Middleton Community Orchestra with an ambitious 2013-14 season finale

The Middleton Community Orchestra closed its 2013-14 season with an unusually long, if typically ambitious, concert at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. There were two works in the program of concerto character on Wednesday. >More
 New Comma Baroque joins the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble for a lively performance of early music written and inspired by Bach

The season closer by the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble, offered at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Friday, was particularly novel. Not the usual program of individual shorter pieces, favoring this or that member of the group. This time, the music was instrumental, and by Bach, in one way or another. And it joined four players of the Ensemble with five players of the Illinois group New Comma Baroque. >More
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