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Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Conservatory on Milwaukee's West Side

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A new music conservatory has positioned itself to become a cultural hub for the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side. That's what West End Conservatory founders Neil Davis and Isaiah Joshua hope for the conservatory they opened in early February. The four-room music school provides space for teachers to offer a variety of music lessons to musicians at all skill levels.

Instrumentally, the young collective's main focus is on the staples—strings, piano, percussion, voice—though Davis is open to offering private instruction, group classes and rentals for just about any instrument available. "I wouldn't exclude any [instrument]," Davis says. Davis has taught jazz guitar at local music shops over the last 11 years as well as for the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. Multi-instrumentalist Joshua was one of the first students to graduate from UW-Milwaukee's Jazz Studies Program.

In a city offering a number of music-lesson outfits from which a student may choose, the West End folks hope to set themselves apart through their community-centered orientation. "Ours is back to an old-fashioned setting and old-fashioned approach," Davis said. "I think that what differentiates us is that people will not feel like a number."

Davis and Joshua also plan to engage the community by hosting music events—they will use a bowling alley-style room in the back as a recital hall to showcase the work of their own students. Eventually that room may become a live music venue.

West End Conservatory (5500 W. Vliet St.) is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Learn more at westendconservatory.com.

West End Conservatory will also be one of the stops during the annual West Side Artwalk, April 26-27, with art by Milwaukee’s Renee Bebeau, Todd Mrozinski and Jamie Bilgo Bruchman on display.

 

 

Classical Happenings

“From the Steppes”

Sunday, April 28, 2 p.m.

Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St.

Festival City Symphony concludes its Symphony Sundays for this season with a salute to two of Russia’s great, late-19th-century composers, Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition) and Borodin (Symphony No. 2). Conductor Monte Perkins’ mission is to make his concerts fun and educational, especially for kids.

 

“Cosmic Granduer”

Sunday, April 28, 3 p.m.

Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 E. Forest St., Oconomowoc

In its season finale, the Wisconsin Philharmonic performs Gustav Holst’s popular, space-age orchestral suite, The Planets. Joining the orchestra will be the Brookfield East High School Women’s Ensemble and pianist Andrew Armstrong, taking the spotlight for Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

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