Shepherd Express - Classical Music and Dance http://shepherdexpress.com/articles.sec-30-1-classical-music-and-dance.html Sat, 01 Aug 2015 00:00:00 CDT en hourly 1 ‘Art to Art’ - Danceworks’ lab for dance, music, film and more http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26178-%25E2%2580%2598art-to-art%25E2%2580%2599-danceworks%25E2%2580%2599-lab-for-dance-music-film-and-more.html Every summer, Danceworks produces an influential research laboratory for performing artists. The only requisite is that the project be a cross-disciplinary collaboration; hence the program’s title, “Art to Art.” For]]> CLASSICAL HAPPENING: July 21 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26141-classical-happening-july-21.html Who says you have to wait until weekend evenings to enjoy live music, classical or otherwise? Hunt around a little and you can find gems like Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist’s Wednesday Concert Series where, year ]]> Kitchendances Debuts with ‘Decimation Blues’ - Soulful dances by Mauriah Kraker and guests http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26100-kitchendances-debuts-with-%25E2%2580%2598decimation-blues%25E2%2580%2599-soulful-dances-by-mauriah-kraker-and-guests.html Milwaukee dancer and choreographer Mauriah Kraker made her debut as a producer last week with a soulful concert at The Box downtown. Titled Decimation Blues, it was serious in subject and admirably danced]]> Milwaukee’s Intimate Orchestra - Concord Chamber Orchestra concert features American, Russian work http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26068-milwaukee%25E2%2580%2599s-intimate-orchestra-concord-chamber-orchestra-concert-features-american-russian-work.html Many people think that classical music performers, like teachers, take summer off. The nearly 50-member Concord Chamber Orchestra belies such a notion. As their website expounds, the CCO strives “to make]]> Dance Happening: Moses(es)’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26069-dance-happening-moses%2528es%2529%25E2%2580%2599.html On Saturday, July 18 Reggie Wilson’s Fist & Heel Performance and Alverno Presents will present the site-specific dance work, Moses(es), at Lynden Sculpture Garden.]]> Dance Happening: Danceworks Studio Theatre http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26034-dance-happening-danceworks-studio-theatre.html Aerial dancer Andrea Chastant Burkholder and choreographer/dancer/UW-Milwaukee dance faculty member Daniel Burkholder will host their third Real Time performance at Danceworks Studio Theatre. Dance improvisation and new works ]]> Kitchendances Debuts with ‘Decimation Blues’ - Mauriah Kraker’s new company joins Milwaukee’s dance lineup http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26035-kitchendances-debuts-with-%25E2%2580%2598decimation-blues%25E2%2580%2599-mauriah-kraker%25E2%2580%2599s-new-company-joins-milwaukee%25E2%2580%2599s-dance-lineup.html Mauriah Kraker is a sterling addition to the growing number of fine dance makers in Milwaukee. Kitchendances, her new company, will debut on July 8-9 with a program titled Decimation Blues]]> Catey Ott’s Powerful Dance Concert - Reflections on her ‘3rd eye (i)’ performance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26036-catey-ott%25E2%2580%2599s-powerful-dance-concert-reflections-on-her-%25E2%2580%25983rd-eye-%2528i%2529%25E2%2580%2599-performance.html Choreographer Catey Ott Thompson marked the 10th anniversary of her Catey Ott Dance Collective with five new works beaded into an intellectually stimulating non-stop hour-long performance titled 3rd eye (i) ]]> Classical Happening: June 25 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26016-classical-happening-june-25.html Guest clarinetist Michel Lethiec joins the Fine Arts Quartet for the ensemble’s season finale. Of famed composer Gioachino Rossini’s mere handful of non-operatic works is his Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet and Orchestra (pared ]]> ‘Fairy Queen Fantasy’ Lifts Midsummer Eve Hearts http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26017-%25E2%2580%2598fairy-queen-fantasy%25E2%2580%2599-lifts-midsummer-eve-hearts.html Beckoned by fairies, many hundreds of humans traveled around the small lake at the heart of the Lynden Sculpture Garden on the eve of midsummer, some clockwise, some counterclockwise, stopping in groves ]]> Classical Happening: Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra - Modern harmonies meet a medieval spirit http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25962-classical-happening-milwaukee-symphony-orchestra-modern-harmonies-meet-a-medieval-spirit.html German composer Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G. Minor (1866) has been a staple of the classical repertoire since its inception. An allegro moderato prelude leads directly into the work’s very heart: its warm-hearted, melodious adagio]]> Milwaukee Symphony Goes Baroque - MSO gives credible performance of Handel, Vivaldi, Haydn http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25963-milwaukee-symphony-goes-baroque-mso-gives-credible-performance-of-handel-vivaldi-haydn.html Guest conductor Nicholas McGegan has been a regular presence at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for at least 15 years, I’m guessing. He is known as an interpreter of music of the 17th and 18th centuries, and his witty and joyful spirit ]]> The Catey Ott Dance Collective’s 10th Anniversary Celebration http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25964-the-catey-ott-dance-collective%25E2%2580%2599s-10th-anniversary-celebration.html Choreographer Catey Ott Thompson will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Catey Ott Dance Collective with five works choreographed during the last year for her company dancers and other collaborators from ]]> Classical Happening: Florentine Opera http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25921-classical-happening-florentine-opera.html Unlike many performing arts groups, the Florentine Opera doesn’t take the summer off. Live performances take place on the lakefront (at Festa Italiana), in Bay View, at the Peck Pavilion and the Estabrook Park Beer Garden. The summer season ]]> Present Music’s ‘Music Nation’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25922-present-music%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598music-nation%25E2%2580%2599.html Present Music ended the season last Friday evening, returning to Hot Water Wherehouse, a dance club that is a surprisingly good concert venue. Most of the music was chosen by audience vote. The result was a good and consistently intriguing program]]> MSO Pops Presents ‘S’Wonderful: The Music of Gershwin’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25923-mso-pops-presents-%25E2%2580%2598s%25E2%2580%2599wonderful-the-music-of-gershwin%25E2%2580%2599.html As their 2014-2015 season comes to a close, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Pops paid tribute to one of America’s most well-known composers of the 20th century, Jacob Gershowitz—better known as George Gershwin. Under the direction of Michael ]]> ‘The Fairy Queen’ in the Lynden Sculpture Garden - Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Danceworks on Midsummer’s Eve http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25924-%25E2%2580%2598the-fairy-queen%25E2%2580%2599-in-the-lynden-sculpture-garden-milwaukee-opera-theatre-and-danceworks-on-midsummer%25E2%2580%2599s-eve.html “We’re trying to enchant the garden on the eve of the solstice,” says Jill Anna Ponasik, artistic director of Milwaukee Opera Theatre, about MOT’s new collaboration with Danceworks Performance Company at the ]]> Classical Happening: Fine Arts Quartet http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25854-classical-happening-fine-arts-quartet.html Three quartets spanning two centuries comprise the Fine Arts Quartet’s next concert. Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet in F Major, Op. 18, No. 1, is the first of six he had published and shows his clear mastery of the established Haydn]]> Dance Happening: ‘Real Time’ Aerial and Dance Performance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25855-dance-happening-%25E2%2580%2598real-time%25E2%2580%2599-aerial-and-dance-performance.html Aerial dancer Andrea Chastant Burkholder and her husband Daniel Burkholder, distinguished new members of the UW-Milwaukee Dance Department faculty, have instituted a new and unusual performance series to ]]> UW-Milwaukee’s ‘Summerdances’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25856-uw-milwaukee%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598summerdances%25E2%2580%2599.html Musician, poet, historian and UW-Milwaukee Music Department faculty member Martin Jack Rosenblum died in his sleep in January 2014. Last weekend, six remarkable new dances were presented to honor him in]]> Master Singers Spotlight Milwaukee’s Ethnic Roots http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25806-master-singers-spotlight-milwaukee%25E2%2580%2599s-ethnic-roots.html  ]]> Voting for Present Music - PM’s audience chose program for season finale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25807-voting-for-present-music-pm%25E2%2580%2599s-audience-chose-program-for-season-finale.html Present Music’s Artistic Director Kevin Stalheim has always favored low barriers between performers and audience. Sometimes, he has endeavored to lower the wall altogether. The interactivity of the web has provided him with another ]]> Frank Almond’s Busy Weekend - Concertmaster performs with Frankly Music and MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25808-frank-almond%25E2%2580%2599s-busy-weekend-concertmaster-performs-with-frankly-music-and-mso.html Aeolus String Quartet, which just completed its time as resident graduate string quartet at Juilliard, appeared on the Frankly Music season finale last week at Wisconsin Lutheran College. This ensemble plays with unusual sensitivity and ]]> Skylight’s ‘Ring’ of Brevity - Two-hour production edits out the immensity http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25746-skylight%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598ring%25E2%2580%2599-of-brevity-two-hour-production-edits-out-the-immensity.html They’re doing the entirety of Richard Wagner’s The Ring Cycle in two hours? That’s editing out something like 16 hours. Since one might expect an abridgment of that magnitude to be comical, it]]> Classical Happening: Bel Canto http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25715-classical-happening-bel-canto.html “This is all about the sound of today and the breadth and depth of the American choral scene,” says Music Director Richard Hynson about the upcoming Bel Canto Chorus concert, “Modern American Choral Masters.” A dozen modern choral works ]]> Celebrating the Clarinet - Virtuoso performances in Early Music Now concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25716-celebrating-the-clarinet-virtuoso-performances-in-early-music-now-concert.html Listening to classical music is mostly about considering cultural artifacts from the past. But when a worthy piece of music comes to life in the present, I don’t usually actively consider its historical context while listening. (That would come ]]> Savoring the ‘Elixir’ - Florentine Opera closes season with Donizetti http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25717-savoring-the-%25E2%2580%2598elixir%25E2%2580%2599-florentine-opera-closes-season-with-donizetti.html Setting Gaetano Donizetti’s 1832 comic opera Elixir of Love in Napa Valley may seem a bit of stretch, especially when medicine man Dulcamara drives onto the Uihlein Hall stage in a 1930s truck to hawk his all-purpose elixir, but the score]]> Itzhak Perlman with the Milwaukee Symphony - Light spirit and solid performances at MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25653-itzhak-perlman-with-the-milwaukee-symphony-light-spirit-and-solid-performances-at-mso.html Itzhak Perlman, with a long career as one of the most famous of classical artists, returned to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last week for one sold-out concert. The audience was obviously excited to see and hear him]]> Florentine Opera’s ‘Elixir of Love’ - Donizetti’s beloved comic opera takes the stage http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25654-florentine-opera%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598elixir-of-love%25E2%2580%2599-donizetti%25E2%2580%2599s-beloved-comic-opera-takes-the-stage.html Gaetano Donizetti may have been one of the most prolific of bel canto composers—he wrote close to 70 operas—but his versatility equaled his talents. However, his most beloved comic opera, enhanced by the ]]> Limber Bodies, Heart and Soul - Wild Space Dance Company’s ‘Reckless Wonders’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25655-limber-bodies-heart-and-soul-wild-space-dance-company%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598reckless-wonders%25E2%2580%2599.html Reckless Wonders, last weekend’s Wild Space Dance Company concert at the Stiemke Studio, is named for its dance makers, a group of company artists, former members and guests presenting original work.]]> A Rousing Russian Festival Finale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25630-a-rousing-russian-festival-finale.html Pyotr Tchaikovsky composed his heart-on-his sleeve flag-waver of an orchestral tone poem, Marche Slave, to foster pan-Slavic solidarity during the 1876-78 Serbo-Turkish War. To make his point, he borrowed from Serbian folk tunes and the ]]> Dance Happening: ‘Back in Black (and purple)’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25631-dance-happening-%25E2%2580%2598back-in-black-%2528and-purple%2529%25E2%2580%2599.html Choreographer Elizabeth Johnson’s darkly comic, streetwise, sexy dances have attitude and punch. Her company, Your Mother Dances, disappeared for nearly two years. They’re back in Back in Black (and ]]> DANCE HAPPENING: ‘Hyperlocal #4: Tuning’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25581-dance-happening-%25E2%2580%2598hyperlocal-4-tuning%25E2%2580%2599.html No one knows what will happen in this entirely improvised hour of dreamy music and dance by some of Milwaukee’s most compelling and fearless performing choreographers and composers. The gracious]]> Home from New York, Wild Space Presents ‘Reckless Wonders’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25582-home-from-new-york-wild-space-presents-%25E2%2580%2598reckless-wonders%25E2%2580%2599.html Salerno-Sonnenberg’s Triumph with MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25459-salerno-sonnenberg%25E2%2580%2599s-triumph-with-mso.html Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg returned to town to play with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) last Friday evening, bringing her one-of-a-kind artistry to the fascinating Concerto No. 1 by Dmitri Shostakovich. It feels like an understatement to say that the performance was a ]]> Michael Pink’s ‘Giselle’ - Milwaukee Ballet reimagines a classic http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25335-michael-pink%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598giselle%25E2%2580%2599-milwaukee-ballet-reimagines-a-classic.html In silence and dismal light, barbed wire atop a wooden barricade is breached as a shadowy figure climbs though it. A gunshot sounds; harsh searchlights pierce the dark. The shadow jumps. Quiet music begins as he moves to a doorstep, leaves a gift of flowers and runs. Guards with]]> Skylight Premieres ‘The Snow Dragon’ - New opera is impressively staged and sung http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25253-skylight-premieres-%25E2%2580%2598the-snow-dragon%25E2%2580%2599-new-opera-is-impressively-staged-and-sung.html There is something strange and wonderful going on in The Snow Dragon, the new opera with music and libretto by Somtow Sucharitkul, which had its premiere at Skylight Music Theatre last Friday evening]]> ‘Elmer Gantry’ Redux http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25254-%25E2%2580%2598elmer-gantry%25E2%2580%2599-redux.html Revisiting Elmer Gantry, the Florentine Opera’s award-winning 2010 production, proved an enlightening experience in a refreshingly renovated presentation. Director Frank Kelley oversaw new costumes and sets by Camille Assaf and Kris Stone respectively, plus the creative staging design]]> All Strauss at the MSO - Soloists sparkle on ‘Don Quixote’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25137-all-strauss-at-the-mso-soloists-sparkle-on-%25E2%2580%2598don-quixote%25E2%2580%2599.html
]]>
Present Music Connects the Past http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25083-present-music-connects-the-past.html ]]> Breath Is Life - ‘Breathe’ from Danceworks http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25098-breath-is-life-%25E2%2580%2598breathe%25E2%2580%2599-from-danceworks.html ]]> Frank Almond Returns to Schwan Hall - Frankly Music celebrates the ‘Lipinski Strad’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25050-frank-almond-returns-to-schwan-hall-frankly-music-celebrates-the-%25E2%2580%2598lipinski-strad%25E2%2580%2599.html ]]> Dance Happening: Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25051-dance-happening-lily-cai-chinese-dance-company.html ]]> MSO and Prometheus Trio Perform Seldom-Heard Works http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24994-mso-and-prometheus-trio-perform-seldom-heard-works.html ]]> Festival City Symphony presents Sounds of the Sea http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25004-festival-city-symphony-presents-sounds-of-the-sea.html Sonic seascapes abound in classical music and oceanic imagery comprises the entire program of the next Festival City Symphony concert. Richard Wagner first found his idiomatic voice in the 1846 version of his opera, Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), about a legendary cursed]]> Classical Happening: Feb. 15 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25005-classical-happening-feb-15.html With love songs as the focus, the endearing and talented Florentine Opera Studio Artists will allow audiences to hear how the European roots of America’s great contribution to the art form come to full bloom in the land ]]> The Audience Wins Milwaukee Ballet’s 'Genesis' Competition http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24992-the-audience-wins-milwaukee-ballet%25E2%2580%2599s-genesis-competition.html ]]> Glamour of Tchaikovsky, Subtleties of Sibelius - James Feddeck guest conducts the MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24885-glamour-of-tchaikovsky-subtleties-of-sibelius-james-feddeck-guest-conducts-the-mso.html Edo de Waart’s greatest accomplishment at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has been crafting the ensemble to play at a world-class level no matter who is guest conductor. Earlier in De Waart’s tenure, when he was still making player changes and refining the group’s technique, the MSO ]]> MSO in Top Form for Mozart, Schubert - Milwaukee Symphony joined by pianist Richard Goode http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24788-mso-in-top-form-for-mozart-schubert-milwaukee-symphony-joined-by-pianist-richard-goode.html
]]>
Milwaukee Ballet’s ‘Genesis’ - Young choreographers compete in world premieres http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24789-milwaukee-ballet%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598genesis%25E2%2580%2599-young-choreographers-compete-in-world-premieres.html
]]>
MBII Brings Old and New to South Milwaukee PAC - Milwaukee Ballet II gives sensational, profound performance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24790-mbii-brings-old-and-new-to-south-milwaukee-pac-milwaukee-ballet-ii-gives-sensational-profound-performance.html
]]>
Dance Revolution presents MKE Follies - Variety show for dancers, actors and more showcases local talent http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24791-dance-revolution-presents-mke-follies-variety-show-for-dancers-actors-and-more-showcases-local-talent.html ]]> MSO Performed a Favorite, a Rarity and a Premiere - Edo de Waart led the orchestra in eclectic program http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24747-mso-performed-a-favorite-a-rarity-and-a-premiere-edo-de-waart-led-the-orchestra-in-eclectic-program.html Music Director Edo de Waart was back on the podium at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last Friday evening, leading the orchestra in the co-commission premiere of new work, a rarely performed concerto and a favorite Beethoven symphony]]> Florentine Opera Sings ‘Wuthering Heights’ - Concert performance of Carlisle Floyd’s seldom-heard opera http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24707-florentine-opera-sings-%25E2%2580%2598wuthering-heights%25E2%2580%2599-concert-performance-of-carlisle-floyd%25E2%2580%2599s-seldom-heard-opera.html ]]> DANCE HAPPENING: Dance Revolution Milwaukee http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24708-dance-happening-dance-revolution-milwaukee.html On Friday, Jan. 23, Dance Revolution Milwaukee presents a new installment of its popular variety show MKE Follies at The Box, a laidback loft performance space that also offers drinks, at 628 N. Broadway in Downtown Milwaukee. This inexpensive treat, about an hour long, begins at 8 p.m.]]> Lionheart Brings Songs of Praise to St. Joseph Center - ‘Epigrams’ and ‘Elegies’ from Prometheus Trio http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24551-lionheart-brings-songs-of-praise-to-st-joseph-center-%25E2%2580%2598epigrams%25E2%2580%2599-and-%25E2%2580%2598elegies%25E2%2580%2599-from-prometheus-trio.html Lionheart, the New York-based male vocal ensemble, returned to Milwaukee for a Saturday evening concert at the beautiful St. Joseph Center Chapel, presented by Early Music Now. The program focused on the Medieval to Renaissance tradition of the Italian lauda, or song of praise]]> Milwaukee Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ Works Like Magic http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24552-milwaukee-ballet%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598nutcracker%25E2%2580%2599-works-like-magic.html ]]> Jeffrey Kahane fills in at MSO - Last-minute guest conductor leads a fascinating concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24494-jeffrey-kahane-fills-in-at-mso-last-minute-guest-conductor-leads-a-fascinating-concert.html ]]> Revelations in Schumann, Berg and Strauss - Conductor Asher Fisch with the MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24433-revelations-in-schumann-berg-and-strauss-conductor-asher-fisch-with-the-mso.html
]]>
‘Duetted’ & ‘Connected’ - Monica Rodero and Daniel Schuchart’s love for dance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24434-%25E2%2580%2598duetted%25E2%2580%2599-%25E2%2580%2598connected%25E2%2580%2599-monica-rodero-and-daniel-schuchart%25E2%2580%2599s-love-for-dance.html “It starts like this,” Dan Schuchart told the audience as his spouse Monica Rodero bound his hand tightly to hers with masking tape. “We start like this.” Music started and the couple danced rapidly, equally in charge, testing every twist, turn, bend, lift, fall and wriggle possible for people so]]> Classical Happening: Nov. 20 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24409-classical-happening-nov-20.html Present Music has long celebrated Thanksgiving with grand performances in the cathedral. This year’s concert, “A Juxtaposition of Traditions,” includes Present Music instrumentalists; vocal ensemble Hearing Voices; and 90-plus musicians from Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble, Vocal Arts Academy, Milwaukee Youth]]> The Seduction of Scheherazade? - MSO missed the magic of Rimsky-Korsakov http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24410-the-seduction-of-scheherazade-mso-missed-the-magic-of-rimsky-korsakov.html
]]>
Milwaukee Dance Partners Monica Rodero and Dan Schuchart - ‘Duetted/Connected’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24411-milwaukee-dance-partners-monica-rodero-and-dan-schuchart-%25E2%2580%2598duetted_connected%25E2%2580%2599.html Outside ballet and hip-hop, Milwaukee has only three professional male dancers at the moment, by my count. Of that group, Dan Schuchart has had the greatest impact on the city’s modern dance scene via his]]> Quicksilver’s Extraordinary Baroque Concert - MSO performs ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24359-quicksilver%25E2%2580%2599s-extraordinary-baroque-concert-mso-performs-%25E2%2580%2598pictures-at-an-exhibition%25E2%2580%2599.html Early Music Now presented Quicksilver in two terrific concerts last weekend at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. On Friday evening the ensemble performed a program of Italian music of the early Baroque period with sensuality and extraordinarily sensitive, refined ensemble. I’ve rarely heard ]]> Early Music Now Presents Modern Music - Quicksilver Baroque Ensemble performs at St. Paul’s http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24328-early-music-now-presents-modern-music-quicksilver-baroque-ensemble-performs-at-st-paul%25E2%2580%2599s.html Early Music Now’s second concert of the season features a rare take on modern music…modern for the mid-17th century, that is. The double concert program by Quicksilver Baroque Ensemble offers the ]]> Milwaukee Ballet in Top Form for ‘Don Quixote’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24298-milwaukee-ballet-in-top-form-for-%25E2%2580%2598don-quixote%25E2%2580%2599.html Looking like the best classical ballet company you’d ever want to see, Milwaukee Ballet opened its season last weekend with an exemplary production of Don Quixote. First fashioned from bits of Miguel de Cervantes’ great novel by choreographer Marius Petipa in the mid-19th century for]]> The Evolution of Femininity in An Evening - Danceworks’ ‘Paleontology of a Woman’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24299-the-evolution-of-femininity-in-an-evening-danceworks%25E2%2580%2599-%25E2%2580%2598paleontology-of-a-woman%25E2%2580%2599.html Last weekend, Danceworks Performance Company (DPC) and fiber artist Timothy Westbrook teamed up for Paleontology of a Woman, an ambitious exhibition of dance, fashion and fossils that tackled nothing short of the evolution and essence of femininity]]> Milwaukee Opera Theatre’s World Premiere - ‘Lucy’ at the boundary of humanity http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24326-milwaukee-opera-theatre%25E2%2580%2599s-world-premiere-%25E2%2580%2598lucy%25E2%2580%2599-at-the-boundary-of-humanity.html During the 1960s, behavioral scientists explored the boundary between Homo sapiens and other primates by tearing chimpanzees from their surroundings and raising them as if they were human children. The memoirs of the most notorious of those researchers, psychologist Maurice]]> Florentine Opera hits the High Notes - ‘Flying Dutchman’ thrilled the ear at Marcus Center performance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24249-florentine-opera-hits-the-high-notes-%25E2%2580%2598flying-dutchman%25E2%2580%2599-thrilled-the-ear-at-marcus-center-performance.html In its exhilarating production of Richard Wagner’s first successful opera]]> MSO Becomes a Great Orchestra - Fantastic rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24212-mso-becomes-a-great-orchestra-fantastic-rendition-of-tchaikovsky%25E2%2580%2599s-fifth.html Two years ago the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra could only seem to play with razor sharpness and unity of purpose when Music Director Edo de Waart was conducting. It had taken de Waart, a master technician, more than three years to move the ensemble from good to excellent, a pretty ]]> DANCE HAPPENING: Alverno Presents and UW-Milwaukee http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24196-dance-happening-alverno-presents-and-uw-milwaukee.html

Five years ago, Alverno Presents generously nurtured the world premiere of choreographer Molly Shanahan’s Stamina of Curiosity by providing crucial time and space to create it. Shanahan has stayed

]]>
Milwaukee Symphony’s Restrained ‘German Requiem’ - On same weekend, Early Music Now presented fiery Irish music http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24184-milwaukee-symphony%25E2%2580%2599s-restrained-%25E2%2580%2598german-requiem%25E2%2580%2599-on-same-weekend-early-music-now-presented-fiery-irish-music.html
]]>
Arena Dances http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24154-arena-dances.html

Does Main Street still exist in our technological world? Minneapolis choreographer Mathew Janczewski has been asking that question of young people and seniors. With

]]>
Movie Music at the MSO - Frankly Music opens its season with Bach http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24134-movie-music-at-the-mso-frankly-music-opens-its-season-with-bach.html Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra was the place to be in town on Saturday night, with the great film composer John Williams as guest. The concert sold out in four hours upon announcement. It undoubtedly felt like a rare event to everyone there, including the orchestra itself. Electricity buzzed]]> ‘German Requiem’ at the Milwaukee Symphony - Robert Spano conducts the Brahms’ masterpiece http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24135-%25E2%2580%2598german-requiem%25E2%2580%2599-at-the-milwaukee-symphony-robert-spano-conducts-the-brahms%25E2%2580%2599-masterpiece.html Although the link is by no means exclusive, choral music’s association with Christian liturgy is a strong one. Through composers such as Léonin, Pérotin, Giovanni Palestrina, Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel, choral music gradually migrated from the cathedral to the concert hall. Ludwig van]]> Early Music in Irish Pub Style http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24136-early-music-in-irish-pub-style.html
]]>
Prometheus Trio Opens With Pierné and Beethoven http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24109-prometheus-trio-opens-with-pierne-and-beethoven.html
]]>
Cinderella at the Skylight - Finding fresh ideas in Rossini’s ‘La Cenerentola’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24051-cinderella-at-the-skylight-finding-fresh-ideas-in-rossini%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598la-cenerentola%25E2%2580%2599.html “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” That often-quoted quip applies as much to opera as to theater, and nothing is harder in operatic comedy than Gioachino Rossini. Not only are there vocal challenges in the bel canto style, but the often repeated lines and many numbers seem to scheme ]]> MKE Follies is Milwaukee’s Young Variety Show http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24052-mke-follies-is-milwaukee%25E2%2580%2599s-young-variety-show.html Karen Raymond and Katie Rhyme—aka Dance Revolution Milwaukee—are providing a community service with MKE Follies, their inexpensive bimonthly variety show intended to introduce the next generation of ]]> Opera at the Milwaukee Symphony - MSO executes a superb ‘Don Giovanni’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24010-opera-at-the-milwaukee-symphony-mso-executes-a-superb-%25E2%2580%2598don-giovanni%25E2%2580%2599.html
]]>
Wild Space in ‘Brew City Dreams’ - Turning Schlitz Stock-House into a performance space http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23996-wild-space-in-%25E2%2580%2598brew-city-dreams%25E2%2580%2599-turning-schlitz-stock-house-into-a-performance-space.html The Schlitz Stock-House occupies a long stretch on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive from Cherry to Galena streets. On the fifth floor of this monumental warehouse, audience members strolled past tall windows,]]> Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Opens Season with ‘Don Giovanni’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23965-milwaukee-symphony-orchestra-opens-season-with-%25E2%2580%2598don-giovanni%25E2%2580%2599.html The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s season opener promises a stunning, provocative departure from their usual format with a live performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, one of the 10 most frequently performed operatic works]]> MKE Follies - Music, dance and variety http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23975-mke-follies-music-dance-and-variety.html Indonesia, Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation (W.W. Norton), by Elizabeth Pisani http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23942-indonesia-etc-exploring-the-improbable-nation-%2528ww-norton%2529-by-elizabeth-pisani.html Indonesia was an idea for a nation hatched by restless local activists in the early 20th century. As Elizabeth ]]> ‘Brew City Dreams’ in Schlitz Park - Wild Space premieres new piece in brewery setting http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23929-%25E2%2580%2598brew-city-dreams%25E2%2580%2599-in-schlitz-park-wild-space-premieres-new-piece-in-brewery-setting.html “You’ll never see this space like this again—ever,” Debra Loewen said as we toured the raw fifth floor of the historic Schlitz Brewing Company Stock-House, a cement-floored]]> Present Music Opens with Five Times the Ince http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23873-present-music-opens-with-five-times-the-ince.html Present Music will open its 33rd season Aug. 30 with Ince by Ince, a program of five recent works by Turkish American composer Kamran Ince, including three American premieres. These pieces cover great ground stylistically, says Ince, who will conduct the concert, but they are united by a]]> Danceworks’ Global Spin on Tap Dancing - ‘Tap the Map’ concert was thoughtful and fun http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23820-danceworks%25E2%2580%2599-global-spin-on-tap-dancing-%25E2%2580%2598tap-the-map%25E2%2580%2599-concert-was-thoughtful-and-fun.html Looking for new ideas, tap dance choreographers sometimes succumb to gimmickry. Danceworks on Tap avoided that nicely in Tap the Map, a new concert performed at ]]> Florentine’s Four Fabulous Females to perform at Colectivo, Bay View and Lakefront http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23757-florentine%25E2%2580%2599s-four-fabulous-females-to-perform-at-colectivo-bay-view-and-lakefront.html  For the curtain call of their summer season, the Florentine Opera Company has decided to don their best evening gowns and show off their feminine side with “4 Divas” at Colectivo in Bay View (Wednesday, Aug. 13) and Colectivo Lakefront Café (Thursday, Aug. 14) at 7 p.m. each evening

]]>
Danceworks Matches Art to Art - Recycled edition remains original http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23758-danceworks-matches-art-to-art-recycled-edition-remains-original.html

 The annual Danceworks Art to Art concert of new work by choreographers partnered with artists from other disciplines is always issue laden and interesting. Nothing lasts

]]>
DANCE HAPPENING: Danceworks http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23719-dance-happening-danceworks.html  Long the anchor of the Danceworks DanceLAB summer series of dance experiments, Danceworks on Tap enjoys upending preconceptions about tap dance. According to Artistic Director Amy Brinkman, this year’s

]]>
Danceworks Ignites a Hip-Hop Experience http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23715-danceworks-ignites-a-hip-hop-experience.html

 The pleasure of Ignite: A Hip Hop Dance Experience, the first of three concerts in the Danceworks DanceLAB series that started last weekend, lay above all in seeing so

]]>
Danceworks’ Annual ‘Art to Art’ - ‘Recycled’ is the theme as dancers work with music, film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23701-danceworks%25E2%2580%2599-annual-%25E2%2580%2598art-to-art%25E2%2580%2599-%25E2%2580%2598recycled%25E2%2580%2599-is-the-theme-as-dancers-work-with-music-film.html  Milwaukee choreographers team up with non-dance artists to create experimental performances in Art to Art, the worthy centerpiece of the annual Danceworks

]]>
At Home with Present Music? - Caroline Shaw octet provided a break in the gloom http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23541-at-home-with-present-music-caroline-shaw-octet-provided-a-break-in-the-gloom.html

 Present Music presents a smorgasbord of composers and styles, with some degree of hit and miss as part of the nature of performing new music. The season finale, performed Friday evening at the Cabot Theatre (normally home to Skylight) was decidedly more miss than hit

]]>
Multi-media Exploration of Home and Place - Present Music and Milwaukee Opera Theatre join with Reginald Baylor’s TypeFace Project http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23530-multi-media-exploration-of-home-and-place-present-music-and-milwaukee-opera-theatre-join-with-reginald-baylor%25E2%2580%2599s-typeface-project.html  Present Music joins forces with Milwaukee Opera Theatre in Home Place, a multi-media exploration promising to challenge our views of home and place. The event is cast in three segments beginning outside the Broadway Theatre Center in Catalano Square with new works by local students

]]>
MSO’s Season Finale - Gilbert Varga conducts Tchaikovsky and Mozart http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23433-mso%25E2%2580%2599s-season-finale-gilbert-varga-conducts-tchaikovsky-and-mozart.html

 Guest conductor Gilbert Varga returned to conduct the final classical concert of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra season last weekend. The highlight was Karen Gomyo’s account of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for Violin, with every note and nuance emerging with clarity and exquisite taste.

]]>
UWM Presents Summerdances 2014 - New choreography by faculty, students and guests http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23397-uwm-presents-summerdances-2014-new-choreography-by-faculty-students-and-guests.html

 The UW-Milwaukee Dance Department closes each school year with an edition of “Summerdances,” a concert of new work by faculty and guest choreographers created

]]>
MSO cellist shines in Schumann concerto - A great ensemble hits its stride as season nears end http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23398-mso-cellist-shines-in-schumann-concerto-a-great-ensemble-hits-its-stride-as-season-nears-end.html

 A member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra I have wanted to hear more from as a soloist is principal cellist Susan Babini. After her first featured solo in the orchestra a few seasons ago, I paraphrased the famous line from Jerry Maguire: “She had me at hello.” I have heard her only

]]>
Summerdances 2014 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23381-summerdances-2014.html  The end-of-the-school-year concert of the UWM Dance Department is always enjoyable and you can also learn a lot. Lineage will close the department’s 50th year

]]>
Kalliope Vocal Arts http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23382-kalliope-vocal-arts.html  Kalliope Vocal Arts presents “Faith, Hope & Love,” a concert of three fully staged, not-often-performed opera scenes showcasing 12 young vocalists, string quartet and piano. “What’s cool about this event is all the stories are very compelling—these don’t drag and are very dramatic. And translations

]]>
Sister Carrie’s Star Rises - New American opera in the Florentine’s @ The Center Series http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23361-sister-carrie%25E2%2580%2599s-star-rises-new-american-opera-in-the-florentine%25E2%2580%2599s-a-the-center-series.html

 In the small, high-ceilinged Florentine studio in Riverwest, a kind of chapel for opera, the audience sits within arm’s reach of the singers whose resonant voices penetrate

]]>
Sing Out with Milwaukee Children’s Choir - Choral group celebrates 20 years of music making http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23351-sing-out-with-milwaukee-children%25E2%2580%2599s-choir-choral-group-celebrates-20-years-of-music-making.html

 Milwaukee Children’s Choir (MCC), a nonprofit choral organization touching the lives of nearly 700 children with in-school and afterschool programming, will celebrate 20 years of music making with a concert. Featured will be all of its performance-level choirs (first through 12th graders)

]]>
‘Sister Carrie’: A Workshop Performance of a New American Opera - Classical Happening http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23342-%25E2%2580%2598sister-carrie%25E2%2580%2599-a-workshop-performance-of-a-new-american-opera-classical-happening.html  When the new opera of Theodore Dreiser’s great 1900 novel Sister Carrie enters the international repertory, as it will if it follows the path of its celebrated sibling Elmer Gantry, you can remember taking part in its development. The composer and librettist Robert Aldridge and Hershel Garfein

]]>
The Dark Glamour of Snow White - Milwaukee Ballet premieres ‘Mirror Mirror’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23321-the-dark-glamour-of-snow-white-milwaukee-ballet-premieres-%25E2%2580%2598mirror-mirror%25E2%2580%2599.html

 Milwaukee Ballet’s Mirror Mirror is a spectacle of very high order. The darkly glamorous reconstruction of Snow White by choreographer Michael Pink and

]]>
Frank Almond Returns to Wisconsin Lutheran - ‘8 is Enough’ reaches lyrical heights http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23322-frank-almond-returns-to-wisconsin-lutheran-%25E2%2580%25988-is-enough%25E2%2580%2599-reaches-lyrical-heights.html

 The final Frankly Music concert of the season was performed last week at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Most in the audience certainly were aware of the events of the previous concert at this venue, after which the Stradivarius violin Frank Almond plays was stolen. The story traveled around

]]>
The Glamorous Sound of 'La Bohème' - Florentine’s production of the world’s favorite opera http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23290-the-glamorous-sound-of-la-boh%25C3%25A8me-florentine%25E2%2580%2599s-production-of-the-world%25E2%2580%2599s-favorite-opera.html

 Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème is probably the world’s favorite opera, about romance within a group of impoverished young artists in Paris and the intrusion of tragic fatal illness. The music is so appealing and sympathetic that it will connect with an audience in almost any performance

]]>
Dancing Around the Mysteries of Life - Wild Space reflects on the horror, joy and beauty http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23272-dancing-around-the-mysteries-of-life-wild-space-reflects-on-the-horror-joy-and-beauty.html

 All About Life, the uninterrupted dance premiered by Wild Space Dance Company last weekend at the Stiemke Studio, is a seamless collaboration by four choreographers

]]>
Classical Happening: May 8 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23262-classical-happening-may-8.html  Milwaukee Opera Theatre is returning to a beloved work from its past: Fortuna the Time Bender vs. The Schoolgirls of Doom, the Jason Powell operetta that blended comic book heroism and Gilbert & Sullivan pastiche into a blockbuster success for the company in 2012. That production’s

]]>
The Best Elgar Ever - De Waart leads MSO in warm, full-bodied performance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23246-the-best-elgar-ever-de-waart-leads-mso-in-warm-full-bodied-performance.html

 Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Music Director Edo de Waart conducted his last concert of the season last weekend. I cannot help but repeat some of the same thoughts previously written about his transforming impact on

]]>
Dance Happening: Milwaukee Ballet http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23247-dance-happening-milwaukee-ballet.html

This is something special. A full-length ballet of the Snow White story by choreographer Michael Pink and composer Philip Feeney, years in the making, will have its world 

]]>
DeWaart conducts Wagner, Mozart and Elgar - Three superb pieces at the MSO this weekend http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23225-dewaart-conducts-wagner-mozart-and-elgar-three-superb-pieces-at-the-mso-this-weekend.html

 This weekend Edo DeWaart will conduct the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in three wonderful works in place of the originally scheduled concert-length Mahler Sixth Symphony. The program will begin with Richard Wagner’s enchanting Siegfried Idyll. He wrote it as a birthday present

]]>
Bach’s Second Son http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23228-bach%25E2%2580%2599s-second-son.html  Join Ensemble Musical Offering for a pre-concert presentation (7 p.m.) titled “The Sons of Bach” before its final performance of the season celebrating Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), J.S. Bach’s second son and distinguished proto-Romantic musician and composer. Featured

]]>
Plugging into MTV - Music videos inspire Danceworks' 'Plugged In' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23196-plugging-into-mtv-music-videos-inspire-danceworks-plugged-in.html

 My date was surprised that Jason Powell is not a rock star, so perfectly does he look and sound the part in Plugged In, the wonderful Danceworks Performance Company

]]>
Discovering Rachmaninoff - Edo de Waart guides MSO with insight and transparency http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23203-discovering-rachmaninoff-edo-de-waart-guides-mso-with-insight-and-transparency.html

 What I like best about Edo de Waart is that he is not an imposing interpreter. Some conductors’ personalities ultimately seem as important as the composer of the work performed. This is not De Waart’s approach, which in my opinion makes him one of the best “interpreters.” Under his guidance

]]>
Four of Milwaukee’s Finest Dancers on One Stage - Wild Space is ‘All About Life’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23161-four-of-milwaukee%25E2%2580%2599s-finest-dancers-on-one-stage-wild-space-is-%25E2%2580%2598all-about-life%25E2%2580%2599.html

 Seated in the Wild Space Dance Company studio for an interview with the four choreographers who are jointly creating

]]>
Shakespeare By Prokofiev and Mendelssohn - MSO guest conductor Rossen Milanov’s passionate evocations http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23181-shakespeare-by-prokofiev-and-mendelssohn-mso-guest-conductor-rossen-milanov%25E2%2580%2599s-passionate-evocations.html

 A conductor’s influence on a performance is one of the ever-fascinating aspects of orchestra concerts. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra sounds its best self, which is better than good, with Edo de Waart on the podium, a decidedly non-indulgent and tasteful conductor who stresses technique

]]>
'Magnificient Moods' and Romantic Music - Festival City Symphony closes season with Schumann http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23182-magnificient-moods-and-romantic-music-festival-city-symphony-closes-season-with-schumann.html  For its final Symphony Sundays concert of the season, Milwaukee’s Festival City Symphony presents “Magnificent Moods,” a performance dedicated to Romantic composer and musician Robert Schumann. The repertoire will include Piano Concerto in A minor, featuring

]]>
What Would Devo Do? - Danceworks Gets ‘Plugged In’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23143-what-would-devo-do-danceworks-gets-%25E2%2580%2598plugged-in%25E2%2580%2599.html

 Jason Powell is having a great spring. In March

]]>
Milwaukee Ballet’s 'Peter Pan' Airs Nationally - Dance Happening http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23144-milwaukee-ballet%25E2%2580%2599s-peter-pan-airs-nationally-dance-happening.html  If you couldn’t see it live, here’s a television version to rival Mary Martin’s. If you saw it at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, you can thrill to it again in close-up

]]>
New Voices for Old Music - Present Music and Early Music Now featured great singers http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23122-new-voices-for-old-music-present-music-and-early-music-now-featured-great-singers.html

 Two very different, terrific singers were featured in concerts this weekend. Both sang old music, and both sang in highly evolved style. The similarities end there

]]>
Four Nations from Early Music Now http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23106-four-nations-from-early-music-now.html  The Four Nations Ensemble, Early Music Now’s current artists in residence, brings the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau, Jean-Marie LeClair, François Couperin and Louis-Nicolas Clérambault to stage for the one-night-only show The Paris of LeClair and Rameau. Special artists include

]]>
Milwaukee Ballet's 'Spring Series' - Outstanding world premieres and a celebrated work http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23097-milwaukee-ballets-spring-series-outstanding-world-premieres-and-a-celebrated-work.html

 In Passing, a one-act ballet by San Francisco-based choreographer Amy Seiwert and the first of two world premieres presented by Milwaukee Ballet in its “Spring Series”

]]>
Beethoven Keeps Company with Stravinsky and Adams - MSO gives a blended, balanced, nuanced concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23089-beethoven-keeps-company-with-stravinsky-and-adams-mso-gives-a-blended-balanced-nuanced-concert.html

 The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra again performed in the Pabst Theater, for the last time this season, for the final program in its three-concert Beethoven Festival, which has also featured the music of John Adams and Igor Stravinsky. Hearing Beethoven symphonies in this context made

]]>
Catey Ott’s Graceful Homecoming - A tribute to dance and ‘The Incomparable Hildegarde’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23070-catey-ott%25E2%2580%2599s-graceful-homecoming-a-tribute-to-dance-and-%25E2%2580%2598the-incomparable-hildegarde%25E2%2580%2599.html  In her hour-long dance theater piece LIVING IT UP (and dOWN), choreographer/dancer Catey Ott playfully compared aspects of her own life with that

]]>
Dance Happening: Pilobolus http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23065-dance-happening-pilobolus.html  When they started in the experimental early 1970s, Pilobolus seemed less a dance company than a physical theater group—a band of graceful gymnasts who, with the

]]>
Madison Opera’s Dead Man Walking Breaks New Ground http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23053-madison-opera%25E2%2580%2599s-dead-man-walking-breaks-new-ground.html  Rape, murder and its ultimate retribution dressed in 18th century garb constitutes nothing new when it comes to grand opera. Position such actions in a contemporary setting and create a scenario based on the real life events

]]>
MSO Returns to the Pabst - Great acoustics for a challenging repertoire http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23022-mso-returns-to-the-pabst-great-acoustics-for-a-challenging-repertoire.html

 Years ago the Pabst Theater was a regular venue for classical performance. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is playing two concerts there, the first of which took place last weekend. I realized how much I’ve missed hearing classical music at the Pabst

]]>
Dance Happening: March 27 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23009-dance-happening-march-27.html  I was introduced to stepping as a street dance form relished by the teens participating in my theater program at the Boys & Girls Clubs. Often done by teams in tight unison, the insanely rhythmic, fast-paced whole-body

]]>
Julius Caesar Meets Cleopatra - Deathless story in the Florentine’s production of Handel’s opera http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22960-julius-caesar-meets-cleopatra-deathless-story-in-the-florentine%25E2%2580%2599s-production-of-handel%25E2%2580%2599s-opera.html

 George Frideric Handel’s great baroque opera, Julius Caesar (1724), may come as an exhilaratingly provocative and tempestuous treat to those more familiar with the composer’s later choral and orchestral works such as the perennial (and justly acclaimed) Messiah. Although German born

]]>
MSO’s Beethoven Festival Begins http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22961-mso%25E2%2580%2599s-beethoven-festival-begins.html

 Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s three-week Beethoven Festival began last weekend. Besides Beethoven symphonies, the programs feature music by John Adams, a composer whose works have a strong connection to conductor Edo de Waart, and Igor Stravinsky

]]>
Performance Happening: Cooperative Performance Milwaukee http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22931-performance-happening-cooperative-performance-milwaukee.html  Decide what you’d like to see presented in this adventurous performing artists co-op’s first full season. Members will pitch ideas to the public using the entertaining pecha

]]>
A Sleek, Chilling 'Hydrogen Jukebox' - Skylight's performance of the Glass-Ginsberg opera http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22858-a-sleek-chilling-hydrogen-jukebox-skylights-performance-of-the-glass-ginsberg-opera.html

 Artistic Director Viswa Subbaraman continues his bold debut season at Skylight Music Theatre with Hydrogen Jukebox, marking the theater’s first Philip Glass opera production. It runs through March 30

]]>
'LIVING IT UP (and dOWN)' in New York and Milwaukee - Catey Ott Dance Collective comes home http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22859-living-it-up-%2528and-down%2529-in-new-york-and-milwaukee-catey-ott-dance-collective-comes-home.html

 “The Incomparable Hildegarde,” aka Hildegarde Loretta Sell, of Adele, Wis., graduated from Marquette to become a singing star on the international supper club circuit in the mid-twentieth century. Gloved, gowned

]]>
Early Music Now Presents East of the River http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22825-early-music-now-presents-east-of-the-river.html  East of the River integrates musicians from classical, jazz, rock and world music to create an aural sensuality unfamiliar to Western ears. In its program “Levantera”—an unrelenting east wind of the Adriatic region—the artists of East of the River will blow listeners across the far-reaching

]]>
A Tempting Collaboration http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22826-a-tempting-collaboration.html  Danceworks Performance Company and Present Music joined forces for Temptation’s Snare, a retelling of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale with choreography by Dani Kuepper, direction by Jason Powell, and Julian

]]>
Dance Happening: LeeSaar The Company http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22827-dance-happening-leesaar-the-company.html  New York’s LeeSaar The Company comes to Milwaukee to share a production inspired by the choreographers’ six years in the Israeli military. The company is most notable for its use of Gaga

]]>
Classical Afternoon Delights - Racine Symphony mixes Baroque and Romantic eras http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22773-classical-afternoon-delights-racine-symphony-mixes-baroque-and-romantic-eras.html  The Racine Symphony Orchestra’s next Masterworks concert, “Afternoon Introductions,” presents light and beautiful music perfectly suited to a late-winter Sunday afternoon

]]>
Milwaukee Symphony Keeps its Groove - Confident performances of Fauré, Ravel and Stravinsky http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22760-milwaukee-symphony-keeps-its-groove-confident-performances-of-faure-ravel-and-stravinsky.html

 For years now, since the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra found its groove with Music Director Edo de Waart, I’ve written that the orchestra has never sounded better. That remains true. When De Waart is on the podium, as was the case in a concert last Friday, the MSO plays with confident

]]>
Classical Happenings http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22723-classical-happenings.html

 Richard Hynson leads the Bel Canto Chorus and Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra in James MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross and Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, at the Basilica of St. Josaphat, 2333 S. Sixth St. For more information, visit

]]>
Orlando Consort Goes Medieval http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22696-orlando-consort-goes-medieval.html

 At the Early Music Now concert series I sometimes encounter music I never thought I would ever hear in live performance. Like all music students in college, years ago I gained only first-glance familiarity with the 14th-century French poet and composer Guillaume de Machaut. His music

]]>
Milwaukee Ballet’s Triumphant Winter Series - Young and veteran dancers bring viewers close to the act of creation http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22677-milwaukee-ballet%25E2%2580%2599s-triumphant-winter-series-young-and-veteran-dancers-bring-viewers-close-to-the-act-of-creation.html

 Like a proud father, Michael Pink opened his company’s Winter Series with an unannounced curtain raiser. MBII, Milwaukee Ballet’s 20 young professionals

]]>
A Late Medieval Valentine - Early Music Now brings Orlando Consort to Milwaukee http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22649-a-late-medieval-valentine-early-music-now-brings-orlando-consort-to-milwaukee.html

 Early Music Now presents the Orlando Consort, one of Britain’s most revered vocal ensembles, in a performance of Guillaume de Machaut’s Le Voir Dit and 15th- and 16th-century masterworks by Dufay, Josquin and Ockeghem as the ensemble graces Milwaukee on its five-city U.S. tour

]]>
Piano Trio Takes On Dvorak - Prometheus exciting concert series continues http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22598-piano-trio-takes-on-dvorak-prometheus-exciting-concert-series-continues.html

For Prometheus Trio’s third concert in this season’s four-part series, Scott Tisdel (cello), Stefanie Jacob (piano) and Timothy Klabunde (violin) will perform Antonín Dvorák’s challenging Trio in F Minor, Op. 65, a set of quirky Viennese drinking song variations by Hans Gál, and Ned Rorem’s

]]>
Before the 'Lipinski' Theft - Frank Almond’s inspiring chamber concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22599-before-the-lipinski-theft-frank-almond%25E2%2580%2599s-inspiring-chamber-concert.html  The shocking story of the armed robbery of the 1715 “Lipinski” Stradivari violin from Frank Almond on the cold night of January 27, after a Frankly Music concert at Wisconsin Lutheran College, has traveled around the world. This unjust and violent act is a horrendous violation of Almond as a

]]>
The Meaning of Movement - Wild Space and UW-Milwaukee offer 'Sight Readings' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22600-the-meaning-of-movement-wild-space-and-uw-milwaukee-offer-sight-readings.html

 There was so much to consider during “Sight Readings,” Debra Loewen’s new site-specific dance performance at INOVA Gallery, that the hour-long experience

]]>
MSO in top form for Brahms - Milwaukee Opera Theatre presents new work http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22560-mso-in-top-form-for-brahms-milwaukee-opera-theatre-presents-new-work.html

 As is sometimes the case, there was more than one classical performance of interest last weekend. With Music Director Edo de Waart on the podium, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra was in top form on Saturday evening. The young Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan was a last-minute

]]>
'Winter Dances: Past Moving Forward' - The UWM dance department on the move http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22575-winter-dances-past-moving-forward-the-uwm-dance-department-on-the-move.html Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the UW-Milwaukee dance department brought forth a new chapter with Winter Dances: Past Moving Forward. Five artists with ties to UWM choreographed the performances. The themes of the evening included human connection, intimacy and perseverance

]]>
Milwaukee Ballet Two at the South Milwaukee PAC - World Premieres and a New Generation of Dancers http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22551-milwaukee-ballet-two-at-the-south-milwaukee-pac-world-premieres-and-a-new-generation-of-dancers.html Orpheus Loves Eurydice - Milwaukee Opera Theatre explores the undying myth http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22543-orpheus-loves-eurydice-milwaukee-opera-theatre-explores-the-undying-myth.html  At the death of his adored Eurydice, the musician Orpheus breached the Underworld. He sang about love so beautifully that Hades let Eurydice return to life provided Orpheus refrained from looking at her on the way

]]>
Dance Happening: Sight Readings http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22544-dance-happening-sight-readings.html  How do we behave in an art gallery? Do we experience visual art differently than performance? What turns movement into dance? In Debra Loewen’s new site-specific performance at INOVA, a limited number

]]>
'Winterdances...Past Moving Forward' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22503-winterdancespast-moving-forward.html  The 50th Anniversary of the influential UWM Dance Department will be honored with contrasting works choreographed by five of the program’s graduates and current faculty and danced by its students. Artistic

]]>
Hearing Out the Women - Present Music concert featured contemporary female composers http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22504-hearing-out-the-women-present-music-concert-featured-contemporary-female-composers.html

 Present Music has regularly explored alternative concert venues, not out of line with the downtown and Brooklyn scene that has emerged in New York in the last decade. The Saturday evening concert was held at Anodyne Coffee in Walker’s Point. Ambient room sounds were sometimes

]]>
Madison Opera’s Daughter of the Regiment http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22467-madison-opera%25E2%2580%2599s-daughter-of-the-regiment.html Classical Happenings http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22449-classical-happenings.html  Present Music has always looked for new composers’ work to perform, new venues to perform in and new frameworks for appreciating (and enjoying) contemporary music. With “Women in the Chamber,” the Milwaukee ensemble brings a program of music by 10 living women

]]>
Autobiography of a Runaway Slave - Skylight’s rare performance of ‘El Cimarrón’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22450-autobiography-of-a-runaway-slave-skylight%25E2%2580%2599s-rare-performance-of-%25E2%2580%2598el-cimarron%25E2%2580%2599.html Skylight Music Theatre started the New Year with a production of Hans Werner Henze’s chamber opera El Cimarrón, composed in 1970. Set in 19th-century Cuba, the libretto (originally in German, sun]]> Skylight Music Theatre: El Cimarrón http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22402-skylight-music-theatre-el-cimarron.html  While living in Cuba at the end of the ’60s, the eclectic German composer Hans Werner Henze set the autobiography of runaway slave Esteban Montejo to music. The result, El Cimarrón, was not an opera but something more intimate, a recital for four musicians led by a baritone in the role

]]>
A Baroque 'Messiah' - MSO delivers a rhythmic, stylish holiday event http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22388-a-baroque-messiah-mso-delivers-a-rhythmic-stylish-holiday-event.html

 Some years Messiah has felt like an annual obligation, but not this time around. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra 2013 edition lived up to expectations of being a major holiday event. The performance I heard on Thursday evening at the Cathedral of St. John was an uplifting pleasure

]]>
Florentine Opera is Home for the Holidays - Young artists sing holiday favorites http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22361-florentine-opera-is-home-for-the-holidays-young-artists-sing-holiday-favorites.html The Joy of Music - Prometheus Trio performs elegant, varied program at the Conservatory http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22362-the-joy-of-music-prometheus-trio-performs-elegant-varied-program-at-the-conservatory.html  Prometheus Trio gave another literature-rich concert at the Conservatory of Music last week. Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra principal horn player Matthew Annin joined trio regulars Stefanie Jacob (piano), Timothy Klabunde (violin) and Scott Tisdel (cello)

]]>
Pink’s 'Nutcracker' at 10 - The Magic of Community http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22338-pink%25E2%2580%2599s-nutcracker-at-10-the-magic-of-community.html This year’s production of Milwaukee Ballet’s annual treasure, The Nutcracker, is a resplendent display of holiday feeling and community mindedness. One look at the audience testifies to the intergenerational nature of this show. Now in its 40th year, the Ballet’s Nutcracker appeals to regulars and newcomers alike. The]]> ‘Nutcracker’ a la Pink - Milwaukee Ballet stages the holiday favorite http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22310-%25E2%2580%2598nutcracker%25E2%2580%2599-a-la-pink-milwaukee-ballet-stages-the-holiday-favorite.html  Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet of 1892 is based upon Alexandre Dumas’ adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale of little Clara and her magical Christmas gift of a nutcracker in the form of a soldier. With its ethnic dances, Waltz of the Flowers and Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

]]>
Words Inspiring Music - Frankly Music breaks ground with program of art songs http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22311-words-inspiring-music-frankly-music-breaks-ground-with-program-of-art-songs.html  The Frankly Music series broke new ground last week by adding a singer into its chamber music mix. Baritone Kelly Markgraf, who grew up in Cedarburg, was the featured soloist in a concert last week at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music

]]>
Milwaukee’s Medieval Christmas - Early Music Now presents the Waverly Consort http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22269-milwaukee%25E2%2580%2599s-medieval-christmas-early-music-now-presents-the-waverly-consort.html

 The Waverly Consort, one of America’s premier early music ensembles, will be in Milwaukee to perform The Christmas Story, a holiday celebration of Medieval drama and song. Each holiday season, the consort’s 13 players and singers tour this program of solemn and festive music dramatizing the

]]>
The Florentine After Dark and The Florentine Opera's New Cabaret Series @ the Center http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22249-the-florentine-after-dark-and-the-florentine-operas-new-cabaret-series-a-the-center.html Giving Thanks with Present Music and Friends http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22220-giving-thanks-with-present-music-and-friends.html

 The Present Music Thanksgiving concert, an annual community event, took place Sunday at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Five works were performed by featured guest composer Caroline Shaw

]]>
Classical Happenings http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22221-classical-happenings.html  Now in its 10th season, the chamber music ensemble led by Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond has, in the words of Shepherd Express critic Rick Walters, “achieved and sustained a high artistic level in a variety of sophisticated programs” with high standards of

]]>
Schubert’s Sublime Mass - MSO to perform a late work by the great composer http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22187-schubert%25E2%2580%2599s-sublime-mass-mso-to-perform-a-late-work-by-the-great-composer.html

 The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming performance of Schubert’s Mass No. 6 in E flat major for vocalists, chorus and orchestra is a seldom-performed work ranked among classical music’s finest choral compositions. Its romantically inspired melodiousness gently rivals the more

]]>
From Baroque to New Music - An evening out with Pallade Musica, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22188-from-baroque-to-new-music-an-evening-out-with-pallade-musica-milwaukee-symphony-orchestra.html

 The vocal influence on the Pallade Musica concert of Italian Baroque music for violin, cello and continuo was unmistakable last Saturday evening at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, presented by Early Music Now. This Montreal-based ensemble of four young musicians was the 2012 winner of

]]>
Collaboration is Key to Danceworks’ Intersect http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22180-collaboration-is-key-to-danceworks%25E2%2580%2599-intersect.html Intersect, the latest show from the Danceworks Performance Company, takes collaboration to the next level. Running through Sunday, Nov. 24 at the intimate]]> Montreal’s Pallade Musica Travels to Renaissance Italy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22153-montreal%25E2%2580%2599s-pallade-musica-travels-to-renaissance-italy.html

 Early Music Now presents Pallade Musica in “Terreno e vago” (“Earth and Reflection”), a program exploring the secular and spiritual elements found in 17th-century Italian

]]>
A Crowd-Pleasing ‘La Traviata’ - Florentine Opera brings magic to Verdi’s classic http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22154-a-crowd-pleasing-%25E2%2580%2598la-traviata%25E2%2580%2599-florentine-opera-brings-magic-to-verdi%25E2%2580%2599s-classic.html

The Florentine Opera’s beautiful production of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata was a crowd-pleasing success. It takes a certain magic to bring together all the elements of this subtle masterpiece, which requires exceptional acting skills to match the aesthetic demands of the score. Thanks to Director 

]]>
Madison Opera’s ‘Tosca’: A fine performance of a ‘shabby little shocker’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22088-madison-opera%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598tosca%25E2%2580%2599-a-fine-performance-of-a-%25E2%2580%2598shabby-little-shocker%25E2%2580%2599.html

 A diva and a sharp knife prove a deadly combination in Tosca, which opened Madison Opera’s season this past weekend. But Giacomo Puccini’s perennial potboiler of love, death and political intrigue may have never sounded this good

]]>
When Arts ‘Intersect’: Danceworks Performance Company showcases inter-arts http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22089-when-arts-%25E2%2580%2598intersect%25E2%2580%2599-danceworks-performance-company-showcases-inter-arts.html

 Danceworks Performance Company is a Milwaukee laboratory and showcase for inter-arts performance. “Intersect,” running Nov. 15-24 at the Danceworks Studio Theatre (1661 N. Water St.), will offer five such

]]>
Milwaukee Ballet’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a Match For Shakespeare http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22090-milwaukee-ballet%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598romeo-and-juliet%25E2%2580%2599-is-a-match-for-shakespeare.html

 Trusting us to silence our mobile devices, Michael Pink replaced his customary preshow speech with jolting thunderbolts and a recording of Shakespeare’s spoken prologue to Romeo and Juliet. Against the dread-

]]>
A World of Great Music - Mazmanian quartet spans flamenco through Sabre Dance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22010-a-world-of-great-music-mazmanian-quartet-spans-flamenco-through-sabre-dance.html

 One of the showpieces on the Mazmanian Family’s latest CD, Folk Spirit, is Brahms’ signature number, Hungarian Dance No. 5. The wild abandon bursting from passages of aching restraint, the Gypsy fury of the dance, is characteristic of the Mazmanian repertoire. The quartet spans the

]]>
Milwaukee’s Extraordinary Chamber Music Series - Frankly Music 10th season opened with Mozart and more http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22011-milwaukee%25E2%2580%2599s-extraordinary-chamber-music-series-frankly-music-10th-season-opened-with-mozart-and-more.html

 Frankly Music, Milwaukee’s best chamber music series, celebrated the beginning of its tenth anniversary season last week in concerts at the Conservatory of Music. Frank Almond’s steadfast commitment to this series has been impressive. He has achieved and sustained a high artistic

]]>
Early Music Now http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21919-early-music-now.html

 Early Music Now, whose mission is to present the best performances of Medieval, Renaissance and early Baroque music from around the world, opens its season with an Estonian early music vocal ensemble, Heinavanker. This a cappella septet will perform “Ancient Songs, Chants, and Hymns, a program offering an

]]>
MSO Catches the Spirit - Guest conductor Asher Fisch brings playfulness and drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21922-mso-catches-the-spirit-guest-conductor-asher-fisch-brings-playfulness-and-drama.html

 Due to travel, Saturday evening was my first chance to hear the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in this new season. It’s always good to come back home, after hearing concerts in Europe, and be assured of what an excellent orchestra we have in this city. I realized anew how fundamental the MSO is to enhancing life in

]]>
Florentine Opera, @ The Center Series http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21893-florentine-opera-a-the-center-series.html

 The Florentine Opera Company (930 E. Burleigh St.) invites audiences into their Riverwest studio to experience world-class opera free of fuss. The new @ The Center series offers affordable performances in an intimate, informal setting in the neighborhood in which the company resides. “We don’t want to just be

]]>
Dance Revolution’s MKE Follies @ Theatre Unchained http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21874-dance-revolution%25E2%2580%2599s-mke-follies-a-theatre-unchained.html Three Bridges Park Blossoms with Wild Space’s Acts of Wilderness http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21866-three-bridges-park-blossoms-with-wild-space%25E2%2580%2599s-acts-of-wilderness.html

 As a part of Wild Space Dance Company’s site-specific initiative, the company celebrated Menomonee Valley’s nascent Three Bridges Park with dance. Their production Acts of Wilderness consisted of dance performances staged throughout the park’s unique landscape. Audiences walked in

]]>
MSO to revel in Ravel - The sublimely sensuous ‘Daphnis and Chloe’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21844-mso-to-revel-in-ravel-the-sublimely-sensuous-%25E2%2580%2598daphnis-and-chloe%25E2%2580%2599.html

 Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Pelleas and Melisande—there are many tragic love stories in classical music. Daphnis and Chloe is one that ends happily.  Based on a romance by Longus, a Greek writer who lived during the early Christian

]]>
Beethoven Goes Bollywood - Skylight’s colorfully choreographed ‘Fidelio’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21845-beethoven-goes-bollywood-skylight%25E2%2580%2599s-colorfully-choreographed-%25E2%2580%2598fidelio%25E2%2580%2599.html

 Skylight Music Theatre under its new artistic director, Viswa Subbaraman, opened the season in daring and innovative style. Speaking nervously from the stage (and why not? India’s ambassador to the U.S., Nirupama Rao, was in attendance), Subbaraman introduced this unique production

]]>
Wild Space in Wild Space - ‘Acts of Wilderness’ in Three Bridges Park http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21826-wild-space-in-wild-space-%25E2%2580%2598acts-of-wilderness%25E2%2580%2599-in-three-bridges-park.html

 A newborn park in the center of Milwaukee is the dramatic setting for Acts of Wilderness, a new site-specific spectacle that Debra Loewen and her Wild Space Dance Company will present on Sept

]]>
Beethoven Meets Bollywood http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21828-beethoven-meets-bollywood.html  If you like to be in on the cutting edge of art without traveling to New York, Berlin or Paris, then you definitely will want to experience Skylight Music Theatre’s Fidelio. With a production featuring video game-like motion-sensor technology, projected EEG imaging, fantastical animation and Indian

]]>
A Celebration of Jewish Music - East Side Chamber Players’ Yom Kippur Concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21762-a-celebration-of-jewish-music-east-side-chamber-players%25E2%2580%2599-yom-kippur-concert.html

 The East Side Chamber Players will celebrate Yom Kippur with a program of music inspired by the Jewish experience, including Eric Whitacre’s Five Hebrew Love Songs, George Gershwin’s Lullaby, a selection

]]>
Classical Season Openers - Present Music and Early Music Now http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21763-classical-season-openers-present-music-and-early-music-now.html

 Present Music created a remarkable audience experience last Saturday afternoon with John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit for 99 percussionists. The Lynden Sculpture Garden was the inspired site for this environmental music

]]>
Victory for Victoria - Milwaukee Opera Theatre’s season opener http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21726-victory-for-victoria-milwaukee-opera-theatre%25E2%2580%2599s-season-opener.html

 Milwaukee Opera Theatre opens its 2013-2014 season with a concert reading of Victory for Victoria, a new musical showcasing 20 original songs about Victoria Claflin Woodhull. Woodhull published her own newspaper, ran her own brokerage firm and, in 1872, became the first female candidate

]]>
Sunshine Footwork - Danceworks on Tap’s Joyful Noise http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21615-sunshine-footwork-danceworks-on-tap%25E2%2580%2599s-joyful-noise.html

 Parts One and Two of Joyful Noise—the new concert by Danceworks On Tap, Aug. 16-18 at the Danceworks Studio—are choreographed by Founding Artistic Director Amy Brinkman-Sustache in the

]]>
Dance Lab - Art to Art tests ideas in progress http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21548-dance-lab-art-to-art-tests-ideas-in-progress.html  Art to Art is Danceworks’ inter-arts performance laboratory. Seasoned and emerging choreographers who want to test ideas in collaboration with artists from other

]]>
A New Life for ‘Don Giovanni’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21484-a-new-life-for-%25E2%2580%2598don-giovanni%25E2%2580%2599.html

 The East Side Chamber Players, Milwaukee’s hot new chamber music ensemble, will present a 90-minute adaptation of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. The production

]]>
‘Ignite: A Hip Hop Dance Experience’ - High energy in an intimate space http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21463-%25E2%2580%2598ignite-a-hip-hop-dance-experience%25E2%2580%2599-high-energy-in-an-intimate-space.html

Rare in Milwaukee and a first for Danceworks, “Ignite: A Hip Hop Dance Experience” is a concert devoted entirely to this highly personalized, richly varied, energetic

]]>
A New Rooftop Dance and a New Milwaukee Dance Company http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21365-a-new-rooftop-dance-and-a-new-milwaukee-dance-company.html One year ago, Milwaukee dancer/choreographers Steven Moses and Jaimi Patterson curated Rooftop Dance, a collection of dances by themselves and friends. The open-air performances took place on the flat roof of the]]> Bold Audio Spectacles on the Lake - UWM's gift to dance students and the city http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21319-bold-audio-spectacles-on-the-lake-uwms-gift-to-dance-students-and-the-city.html

 “It'll never look the same,” my friend said as we left the North Point Water Tower section of UW-Milwaukee’s “Summerdances—Stephan Koplowitz: Water Sight

]]>
Dancing on Site - UWM Summerdances transfigures two Milwaukee landmarks http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21259-dancing-on-site-uwm-summerdances-transfigures-two-milwaukee-landmarks.html

 At nightfall on June 13, 14 and 15, 14 dancers will perform at the base of the beautiful North Point Water Tower while digital projections animate the white stone monument's upper half and 25 voices from Bel Canto Chorus

]]>
A Victorian Catholic Dream - MSO’s Classical Season Finale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21194-a-victorian-catholic-dream-mso%25E2%2580%2599s-classical-season-finale.html

 Edward Elgar’s monumental The Dream of Gerontius is a repertory staple in Britain, but is not often heard in the U.S. Before last weekend, the last Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performance was in 1980. Though the

]]>
A Classic Salon http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21195-a-classic-salon.html  PianoArts presents “Music in the Cities - Vienna and Paris” Friday, June 7 through Monday, June 10 at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, 1584 N. Prospect Ave. Transforming the conservatory into a Viennese coffeehouse and a

]]>
Present Music’s ‘Multitude’ of Great Performances http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21142-present-music%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598multitude%25E2%2580%2599-of-great-performances.html

 Present Music closed its season with a program of thrilling compositions and sensational performances. “Multitude” was a good concert title since even Derek Johnson, alone with his electric guitar on the Turner Hall Ballroom stage

]]>
The Unabashed Melodies of Brahms - MSO performs his first and final symphonies http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21104-the-unabashed-melodies-of-brahms-mso-performs-his-first-and-final-symphonies.html

 Brahms may not have been the most enterprising of composers. The first of his four symphonies was 20 years in the making, a gestation period culminating in an initial performance in 1876 when the composer was 44 years

]]>
America’s Folk Opera - Skylight’s superb ‘Porgy & Bess’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21105-america%25E2%2580%2599s-folk-opera-skylight%25E2%2580%2599s-superb-%25E2%2580%2598porgy-bess%25E2%2580%2599.html

 Anyone who cares about theater or opera needs to see the Skylight production of The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess (through June 9). I was skeptical beforehand, since this grand scale opera with a large orchestra, cast and chorus

]]>
Conducting Frank Almond - Violinist takes the lead in chamber orchestra concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21106-conducting-frank-almond-violinist-takes-the-lead-in-chamber-orchestra-concert.html

 Frank Almond, one of Milwaukee’s most admired musicians, performed in an unusual role at the Frankly Music season finale last week. Rather than playing violin, he was conductor for a chamber orchestra concert

]]>
Revising Swan Lake - Michael Pink sorts through the swirling tale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21107-revising-swan-lake-michael-pink-sorts-through-the-swirling-tale.html

 In most versions of Swan Lake, the white swan pas de deux represents the first meeting of Prince Siegfried and the swan queen Odette. He's obliged by virtue of his birth to marry and carry on the line, but no available

]]>
Bel Canto Sings Brahms’ ‘German Requiem’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21066-bel-canto-sings-brahms%25E2%2580%2599-%25E2%2580%2598german-requiem%25E2%2580%2599.html

 Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) composed one of the great masterpieces of sacred choral music, the “German Requiem,” by astutely, even assiduously, avoiding standard requiem texts and references. Its emotional power was drawn from the deaths of Brahms’ mother as well as his

]]>
Unusually Fine Figaro - Florentine Opera’s Near-Perfect Finale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21067-unusually-fine-figaro-florentine-opera%25E2%2580%2599s-near-perfect-finale.html

 The Florentine Opera’s season finale, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, was an unqualified delight. Not only was it a tribute to this gentlest of the great composers, but a reminder that the tendency to “reinvent” operatic

]]>
Pushing Classical into Contemporary - Michael Pink's Swan Lake http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21068-pushing-classical-into-contemporary-michael-pinks-swan-lake.html

 In rehearsal for Milwaukee Ballet's Swan Lake, Luz San Miguel dances the delicate curved arabesques of the White Swan with more than grace and perfect technique; she seems endlessly apologetic. The mournful girl knows that

]]>
UWM's New and Haunting Springdances...impermanence http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21052-uwms-new-and-haunting-springdancesimpermanence.html A Burst of Mozart - Graceful, elegant performance with the MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21035-a-burst-of-mozart-graceful-elegant-performance-with-the-mso.html

 The young Italian-German violinist Augustin Hadelich is the rare artist who can make Mozart sizzle. Many musicians find the refined style of Mozart by containing expression. Hadelich seemed released by it. At Milwaukee

]]>
From Baroque to Classical - Ensemble Musical Offering performs Telemann, Bach http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21014-from-baroque-to-classical-ensemble-musical-offering-performs-telemann-bach.html

 While the lives of Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) and Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) were not closely intertwined, they did intersect in more than just a casual manner. Of immediate interest is the upcoming

]]>
What’s Behind the Façade? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20990-what%25E2%2580%2599s-behind-the-fa%25C3%25A7ade.html

 Sadly, Façade: An Entertainment, a collaborative production of Danceworks Performance Company, Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra and Milwaukee Opera Theatre, was ruined for me by the unworkable acoustics of the

]]>
New Conservatory on Milwaukee's West Side http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20958-new-conservatory-on-milwaukees-west-side.html 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]]> What A Show! - Wild contrasts at the Milwaukee Ballet http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20901-what-a-show_-wild-contrasts-at-the-milwaukee-ballet.html

 In Mozart Requiem, the first of three wildly contrasting works presented by Milwaukee Ballet in its immensely enjoyable “Spring Series” last weekend, Amy Seiwert's choreography mirrors the structure of Mozart's work for

]]>
Toe Shoes, Tap Shoes and Trip-Hop - Milwaukee Ballet's Eclectic Spring Series http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20890-toe-shoes-tap-shoes-and-trip-hop-milwaukee-ballets-eclectic-spring-series.html

 With Mozart, Sammy Davis, Jr. and DJ Wax Tailor as musical inspirations, the three contemporary works in Milwaukee Ballet's Spring Series could hardly be more different. Once again, Artistic Director Michael Pink has

]]>
Berio’s Trippy ‘Sinfonia’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20800-berio%25E2%2580%2599s-trippy-%25E2%2580%2598sinfonia%25E2%2580%2599.html

 Avant garde ain’t what it used to be. Forty-five years ago it was still possible to shock and outrage a concert audience. Could that ever happen today? Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Luciano Berio’s wildy

]]>
When Guns Meet Rosenkavalier http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20801-when-guns-meet-rosenkavalier.html

"This next one is by country legend Robert Schumann," joked the opera singer Andrew Wilkowske as he introduced his arrangement of the Romantic German composer's “Ich grolle nicht.” In the translation by Kelley

]]>
Absolutely Luscious - Wild Space’s luscious, ecstatic dance concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20754-absolutely-luscious-wild-space%25E2%2580%2599s-luscious-ecstatic-dance-concert.html Debra Loewen and her Wild Space Dance Company are having a spectacular season. Following last fall’s stunning “Milwaukee 360,” their new concert at the Stiemke Studio Theatre, “Luscious” (March 14-16), was one of the]]> Swingle Singers join MSO for Berio’s ‘Sinfonia’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20758-swingle-singers-join-mso-for-berio%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598sinfonia%25E2%2580%2599.html

 Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia for eight voices and orchestra

]]>
Comic Opera Masterpiece - The Florentine’s ‘Albert Herring’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20720-comic-opera-masterpiece-the-florentine%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598albert-herring%25E2%2580%2599.html

 The Florentine Opera’s production of Benjamin Britten’s comic masterpiece, Albert Herring, was a bounty of energized musical riches. The audience was won over from the first moment by Britten’s incomparable gift for

]]>
David Zinman & the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich / Joshua Bell & Academy of St. Martin in the Fields - Schubert Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6 (RCA Red Seal) / Beethoven’s Symphonies No. 4 & 7 (Sony Classics) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20722-david-zinman-the-tonhalle-orchestra-zurich-joshua-bell-academy-of-st-martin-in-the-fields-schubert-symphonies-nos-5-6-%2528rca-red-seal%2529-beethoven%25E2%2580%2599s-symphonies-no-4-7-%2528sony-classics%2529.html  The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich under David Zinman has gradually been recording Franz Schubert’s symphonies through the RCA Red Seal label. Schubert just passed 30 when he died in his hometown, Vienna, which in his day

]]>
Imperial Riches - Sheboygan Symphony’s night in Russia http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20683-imperial-riches-sheboygan-symphony%25E2%2580%2599s-night-in-russia.html

 Imperial Russia is often painted in the grim hues of Siberian exile and political repression, yet a glittering culture coalesced there during the 19th and early 20th centuries—one that continues to influence the arts and imagination

]]>
Restless Spirit of Rachmaninoff at MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20684-restless-spirit-of-rachmaninoff-at-mso.html

 Rachmaninoff’s music always feels emotionally restless. Whether melancholy or agitated, it inevitably longs for some undefined otherness. Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra played an all Rachmaninoff concert last Friday

]]>
Guest Star at the MSO - Violinist Salerno-Sonnenberg on Bruch http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20668-guest-star-at-the-mso-violinist-salerno-sonnenberg-on-bruch.html Subtle, Contemporary, Intimate - Present Music explores new venues http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20621-subtle-contemporary-intimate-present-music-explores-new-venues.html

 On Saturday Present Music explored yet another unprecedented venue in the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Bayside. A previous performance took place at a private East Side home, and the same program is planned for

]]>
Icy Hot Russian Classics - Solzhenitsyn’s slam-dunk at the MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20593-icy-hot-russian-classics-solzhenitsyn%25E2%2580%2599s-slam-dunk-at-the-mso.html

 Very few people are equally adept at conducting and playing an instrument at the highest level of professional performance. Guest conductor/pianist Ignat Solzhenitsyn proved his profound dual abilities last Saturday night with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

]]>
A Great Night for Dancers - Genesis of sublime, expressive contemporary ballet http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20594-a-great-night-for-dancers-genesis-of-sublime-expressive-contemporary-ballet.html

 No pointe shoes appeared on the Pabst Theatre stage during “Genesis, the Milwaukee Ballet’s international competition for emerging ballet choreographers. The dances in the program were thoroughly contemporary in

]]>
That’s Amore: Operatic Love Songs by the Florentine Opera http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20599-that%25E2%2580%2599s-amore-operatic-love-songs-by-the-florentine-opera.html  Simple, elegant and pure unamplified talent. These few words sum up the wonderful experience that was the Florentine Opera’s “That’s Amore,” a showcase of mostly musical theatre songs performed by the company’s

]]>
The Edo Factor - MSO celebrates early Beethoven http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20556-the-edo-factor-mso-celebrates-early-beethoven.html

The “Edo factor” was in full gear at the All-Beethoven Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert last Saturday evening. With music director Edo de Waart as conductor, the MSO is a disciplined, efficient entity. There were no guest artists in this meat-and-potatoes orchestral program

]]>
Danceworks’ Lovable Serendipity http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20536-danceworks%25E2%2580%2599-lovable-serendipity.html Milwaukee Ballet’s Genesis Concert - Three winners perform at annual choreography contest http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20538-milwaukee-ballet%25E2%2580%2599s-genesis-concert-three-winners-perform-at-annual-choreography-contest.html Milwaukee Ballet is probably right to call “Genesis” one of the only truly international choreographic competitions in existence. Artistic Director Michael Pink chose this year's finalists from over 30 applicants representing six nations. Choreographers submitted videos of past work and]]> The Structure of Bruckner - MSO raises the bar http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20512-the-structure-of-bruckner-mso-raises-the-bar.html I am not alone in admitting that I can’t completely embrace the symphonies of Anton Bruckner. The surface sound of his music, its harmonies and gorgeous sonorities, is readily appreciated. It’s a grasp of structure and emotional narrative within his abstracted romanticism that has eluded me]]> MSO’s Rhapsody and Lincoln - Also, Frankly Music’s ‘Art of the Cello’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20487-mso%25E2%2580%2599s-rhapsody-and-lincoln-also-frankly-music%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598art-of-the-cello%25E2%2580%2599.html

 There have been few major classical stars at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in recent seasons. The sell-out audience last Wednesday night was especially eager to hear legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman

]]>
Two Centuries of Strings - Philomusica Plays Haydn, Glass and Beethoven http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20472-two-centuries-of-strings-philomusica-plays-haydn-glass-and-beethoven.html Presenting a selection that spans more than two centuries of string quartet literature, Milwaukee’s Philomusica Quartet will take its audience on a tour full of musical humor, incandescence and elegance. Haydn’s charming and]]> Classical Happening http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20425-classical-happening.html  The Voyage of the Maori To New Zealand was written in Esperanto by Brendon H. Clark, a noted New Zealand proponent of the attempt to formulate and popularize an international language. As translated by UW-Milwaukee

]]>
MSO’s Christmas Classic - ‘Messiah’ is all over Town http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20351-mso%25E2%2580%2599s-christmas-classic-%25E2%2580%2598messiah%25E2%2580%2599-is-all-over-town.html

 For millions of people around the world, Messiah, the oratorio by George Frideric Handel, has been encountered regularly from childhood on. I count myself among them. It’s one of the reliably recurring things against

]]>
Your Mother Dances in Transit - Milwaukee choreographers get out of town http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20352-your-mother-dances-in-transit-milwaukee-choreographers-get-out-of-town.html  “G O T / I T (Get Out of Town/In Transition)” is the largely tongue-in-cheek title of a dance concert by two choreographers with strong Milwaukee ties who've just left town. Elizabeth Johnson, founder and artistic

]]>
Celebrating Christmas Early - Boston Camerata’s Medieval Holiday Music http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20330-celebrating-christmas-early-boston-camerata%25E2%2580%2599s-medieval-holiday-music.html  The Early Music Now December concert has become a wonderful local tradition. An audience of 600 gathered Saturday evening in the acoustically pleasing St. Joseph Center Chapel to hear The Boston Camerata, joined

]]>
Children Lost In Their Imaginations - Michael Pink’s The Nutcracker http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20303-children-lost-in-their-imaginations-michael-pink%25E2%2580%2599s-the-nutcracker.html  In a faraway land in the days when nuts were sold in shells, a magician named Drosselmeyer made a soldier-shaped voodoo doll with teeth. He presented this totem to young Clara at her wealthy family’s Christmas feast.

]]>
Early Music Now’s Medieval Christmas - Boston Camerata performs with Milwaukee Choral Artists http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20283-early-music-now%25E2%2580%2599s-medieval-christmas-boston-camerata-performs-with-milwaukee-choral-artists.html

 Early Music Now marks the holiday season with “A Medieval Christmas” featuring the Boston Camerata and the Milwaukee Choral Artists. The concert traces the transformation of the Christmas story from the 10th through

]]>
Spanning Cultures and Centuries - Alba Consort Crisscrosses the Mediterranean http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20204-spanning-cultures-and-centuries-alba-consort-crisscrosses-the-mediterranean.html

 It was a Medieval and Renaissance journey around the Mediterranean with the Alba Consort at Wisconsin Lutheran College on Saturday, presented by Early Music Now. The name of the New York based ensemble comes from a

]]>
König a Match for MSO’s High Standards http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20195-k%25C3%25B6nig-a-match-for-mso%25E2%2580%2599s-high-standards.html

  The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has become pretty remarkable in the era of Edo de Waart. Under his assured guidance, the orchestra has been transformed by important player changes, new levels of technical discipline

]]>
Classical Music Happenings http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20196-classical-music-happenings.html  Robert Ashley’s opera Perfect Lives was featured in Peter Greenaway’s documentary 4 American Composers after enjoying a long career at the cutting edge of musical theater. Ashley will perform his Lectures to Be

]]>
Dance Happening: Parsons Dance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20189-dance-happening-parsons-dance.html Choreographer David Parsons’ internationally renowned modern dance company will showcase its newest work, Round My World (2012), in an 8 p.m. concert Nov. 16 at the Wilson Center in Brookfield’s Mitchell Park.]]> The MSO’s Dramatic, Understated Masterpieces http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20136-the-mso%25E2%2580%2599s-dramatic-understated-masterpieces.html  One of the founding fathers of German Romanticism, Carl Maria von Weber, is today best remembered for his seminal opera, Der Freischutz (1821). Weber was the quintessential Romantic artist, turning to myth, folklore

]]>
Francis Fails to Bring Out Best of MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20137-francis-fails-to-bring-out-best-of-mso.html  Programming—what music to play, in what combination and order, and by whom—is an elusive yet fundamental aspect of any classical concert. Though the individual elements of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert

]]>
Conventionally Carmen http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20096-conventionally-carmen.html

 Bizet’s Carmen has such a surefire story and score that any performance is almost guaranteed to impact an audience. It was the composer’s music that carried an unexciting and sometimes dull rendition at Florentine

]]>
Hindemith’s Masterpiece in Miniature http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20097-hindemith%25E2%2580%2599s-masterpiece-in-miniature.html  Those unfamiliar with Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler are in for a pleasant surprise. Yet, the circumstances surrounding the composition of his beautiful little symphony were even more dramatic than the content

]]>
MBII Triumphs at the South Milwaukee PAC http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20069-mbii-triumphs-at-the-south-milwaukee-pac.html  The rumor that the current edition of MBII, the Milwaukee Ballet’s pre-professional second company, is the strongest ever assembled appeared well founded during their splendid concert at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center...

]]>
Festival City’s Halloween Pajama Jamboree http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20054-festival-city%25E2%2580%2599s-halloween-pajama-jamboree.html  With the leaves turning and nights growing darker and colder, it is almost trick-or-treat time—even for classical music fans in Downtown Milwaukee. The Festival City Symphony will...

]]>
Racine Symphony Orchestra Highlights Beethoven http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20055-racine-symphony-orchestra-highlights-beethoven.html  For its latest concert, the Racine Symphony Orchestra presents an all-Beethoven program. Artistic Director Pasquale Laurino welcomes violinist Sharan Leventhal for a performance of the brilliant Violin Concerto...

]]>
Levy Masterful in Frankly Music Program - Levy Masterful in Frankly Music Program http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20056-levy-masterful-in-frankly-music-program-levy-masterful-in-frankly-music-program.html  Frankly Music (FM) kicked off a new season last week in a program that prominently featured Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra principal clarinetist Todd Levy, heard in all three works on the concert. The title of the...

]]>
Milwaukee Ballet II Dances Balanchine http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20057-milwaukee-ballet-ii-dances-balanchine.html  Milwaukee Ballet has an advanced training program for exceptional college-age dancers from around the world. Much of the main company graduated from this program, known as MBII. In addition to covering secondary...

]]>
Beauty Too Fleeting - Milwaukee Ballet’s La Boheme http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20031-beauty-too-fleeting-milwaukee-ballet%25E2%2580%2599s-la-boheme.html Michael Pink’s new La Boheme is extremely beautiful. Created by the Milwaukee Ballet in just five weeks of rehearsal, the world premiere on Oct. 18 was cheered at great length by a full house in the Marcus Center’s...]]> Finding the Fun in ‘What’s So Funny?’ - Danceworks puts on a show http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19975-finding-the-fun-in-%25E2%2580%2598what%25E2%2580%2599s-so-funny%25E2%2580%2599-danceworks-puts-on-a-show.html An array of skills and a generous sense of humor are on display in “What’s So Funny?,” an original variety show by Danceworks Performance Company (DPC) and the comedy-improv group The Show. The evening includes...]]> Frankly Music Presents Musicians of the MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19965-frankly-music-presents-musicians-of-the-mso.html

 Frankly Music, Milwaukee’s top-level chamber music series, begins its new season with a program that features musicians of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO)...

]]>
Milwaukee Opera Theatre’s Intimate ‘Candide’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19910-milwaukee-opera-theatre%25E2%2580%2599s-intimate-%25E2%2580%2598candide%25E2%2580%2599.html

 Milwaukee Opera Theatre (MOT) kicks off its season with four intimate performances of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. MOT’s production brings opera to a broader audience, as it moves throughout southeastern...

]]>
Mahler’s Fourth at the MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19873-mahler%25E2%2580%2599s-fourth-at-the-mso.html  Was Mahler the new Beethoven? The groundbreaking Ninth Symphony as well as Beethoven’s later sonatas and quartets provided direct antecedence to Mahler, who so startlingly combined the passion of 19th-century...

]]>
Present Music Embraces 'Change' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19682-present-music-embraces-change.html Danceworks on Tap Pursues a Rhythmic Phenomenon http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19529-danceworks-on-tap-pursues-a-rhythmic-phenomenon.html “The Pursuit of Tappyness” is the title of this summer's annual concert by Danceworks on Tap (DOT). Steps and styles will be tracked down the corridors of history to the present in three performances at the Danceworks Studio Theatre, Aug. 10-12...]]> All-City People's Parade Joins Forces With Summer of Peace http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19326-all-city-peoples-parade-joins-forces-with-summer-of-peace.html Dance and Sculpture in the Lyndon Garden http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19260-dance-and-sculpture-in-the-lyndon-garden.html NomadicLIMBS Delights http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19211-nomadiclimbs-delights.html 'Rooftop Dancing' Looks to Reach New Heights http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19176-rooftop-dancing-looks-to-reach-new-heights.html How cool is this? On the flat roof of the INVIVO Wellness building beside Stubby's Pub & Grub, along the Milwaukee River just north of the Humboldt Avenue Bridge, a lighted dance floor and seating will be installed for open-air performances...]]> NomadicLIMBS: Milwaukee's New Summer Dance Collective http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19097-nomadiclimbs-milwaukees-new-summer-dance-collective.html Thom Dancy, a young dancer and choreographer just graduated from the Milwaukee Ballet II (MBII) professional training program, has founded a Milwaukee summer contemporary dance collective called NomadicLIMBS. Its members include...]]> 'Love' All Around at Present Music Concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18955-love-all-around-at-present-music-concert.html American composer Michael Daugherty truly is a Renaissance man. His music is based in popular culture, which he embraces wholeheartedly, yet Romanticism and Postmodernism are also in his blood. Daugherty's music bears out all of these influences...]]> MSO Delivers High, International Standard http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18956-mso-delivers-high-international-standard.html For perspective, once in a while it is worth stating the obvious: the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, which performed its final classical concert of the season last weekend, is by far the largest performing arts organization in the state...]]> Young Talent in Town for Piano Competition http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18909-young-talent-in-town-for-piano-competition.html MSO's 'Swan Lake' Ripples With Beauty http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18890-msos-swan-lake-ripples-with-beauty.html Parts of Tchaikovsky's score for Swan Lake are so overly familiar that I admit I went into the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's performance last Friday evening with some dread. But as the substantial “selections from” unfolded...]]> Vagueness Limits MSO Concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18819-vagueness-limits-mso-concert.html After the warm acoustics of Carnegie Hall, the sound of Uihlein Hall was duller than ever in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) concert of Friday evening. My ears were working hard to find a small percentage of the depth heard...]]> Vulnerable, Impulsive Visionaries in UWM's 'Summerdances' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18826-vulnerable-impulsive-visionaries-in-uwms-summerdances.html Milwaukee Opera Theatre's 'Iolanthe' Trades Pomp for Circumstance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18761-milwaukee-opera-theatres-iolanthe-trades-pomp-for-circumstance.html Milwaukee Opera Theatre (MOT) completes its season with an exciting new production of Gilbert and Sullivan's 1882 comic operetta Iolanthe. Presented in partnership with Carroll University, Iolanthe marks MOT's first foray into the world...]]> Florentine Opera's Wayward 'Idomeneo' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18762-florentine-operas-wayward-idomeneo.html Idomeneo, Mozart's early masterwork, was potential largely unrealized in the Florentine Opera last weekend. Almost all the principals in the cast sang well, and the amazing score was there, demanding to be heard. Still, it wasn't enough to make...]]> GERALDCASELDANCE http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18742-geraldcaseldance.html MSO Shines Even Brighter in Carnegie Hall http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18700-mso-shines-even-brighter-in-carnegie-hall.html A GeraldCaselDance Premiere Made in Milwaukee http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18685-a-geraldcaseldance-premiere-made-in-milwaukee.html Ko-Thi Premieres 'Words from the Sole' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18686-ko-thi-premieres-words-from-the-sole.html A voice whispers, “I been away so long, I wonder if the drum still has the power to connect us back to the beginning of being.” Those words by Milwaukee poet Sheena Carey open Words from the Sole, a groundbreaking new dance from Ko-Thi Dance...]]> Bel Canto Delivers Dvorak's 'Stabat Mater' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18688-bel-canto-delivers-dvoraks-stabat-mater.html Next up for the Bel Canto Chorus is Dvorak's classic Stabat Mater, directed by maestro Richard Hynson. First performed in Prague in 1880 (and also known as the “Czech Messiah”), the solemn score was composed to honor Dvorak's daughter...]]> Revising a Classic - Michael Pink's Generous Peter Pan http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18667-revising-a-classic-michael-pinks-generous-peter-pan.html MSO Unveils Chen's Exotic 'Iris' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18615-mso-unveils-chens-exotic-iris.html Last weekend was the second preview of the May 11 appearance of Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. I think it's safe to say that few involved knew what to expect in composer Qigang Chen's 45-minute work, Iris dévoilée...]]> At Ease and Glad To Be Together - Danceworks' Season Closes with Want or Need http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18554-at-ease-and-glad-to-be-together-danceworks-season-closes-with-want-or-need.html Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Pairs Brahms, Chen http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18555-milwaukee-symphony-orchestra-pairs-brahms-chen.html Sophisticated MSO Readies for Carnegie Hall http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18556-sophisticated-mso-readies-for-carnegie-hall.html Because of working abroad, last Saturday was the first opportunity this season I've had to hear the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) conducted by Edo de Waart. Every music director sculpts an orchestra over time. Through player changes...]]> Frankly Music Ends Season on High Note http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18497-frankly-music-ends-season-on-high-note.html Debussy's Lush 'La Mer' at MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18484-debussys-lush-la-mer-at-mso.html The compelling beauty of La Mer, Debussy's most famous and widely performed score, dates from 1903, a time of great personal happiness following a divorce from his wife and new life with his mistress. The music abounds in the shaded...]]> Prometheus Trio Presents Mozart, Babajanian & Schumann http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18412-prometheus-trio-presents-mozart-babajanian-amp-schumann.html The Prometheus Trio completes its 12th season at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music with works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Arno Babajanian and Robert Schumann. Prometheus will perform Mozart's Piano Trio in F major (from Sonata for...]]> Present Music's Insightful 'Buffalo Nation' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18413-present-musics-insightful-buffalo-nation.html Is Buffalo Nation (Bison bison), premiered at Present Music last weekend, an opera? An oratorio? A song cycle? Live accompaniment to film? Or an unstaged, multimedia morality play with incidental music?]]> Ensemble Musical Offering's 'Coffee' Break http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18338-ensemble-musical-offerings-coffee-break.html Milwaukee's masters of early music, Ensemble Musical Offering, have found a link between the Baroque era and our city's popular Alterra Coffee Roasters in the form of J.S. Bach's “Coffee Cantata.” The Prospect Alterra (2211 N. Prospect Ave...]]> Frank Almond's Rich Sounds at MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18339-frank-almonds-rich-sounds-at-mso.html The music of Russian composer Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) is not much encountered these days. His deceptively difficult violin concerto, heard last weekend at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, has a few prominent recordings...]]> The MSO's 'Symphonic Masters' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18275-the-msos-symphonic-masters.html The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's next concert, “Symphonic Masters,” will kick off with Symphony No. 26 in D minor, written in 1768 by the incredibly prolific Franz Joseph Haydn. For this symphony, known as the “Lamentatione” for its sonic...]]> Eyes Wet and Mouth Agape - Milwaukee Ballet's Spring Series of Contemporary Dance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18218-eyes-wet-and-mouth-agape-milwaukee-ballets-spring-series-of-contemporary-dance.html MSO's Concert in the Basilica http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18158-msos-concert-in-the-basilica.html The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra will be on the road to the Basilica of St. Josaphat under the baton of Francesco Lecce-Chong. The concert will feature the MSO Chorus for an extravaganza of sacred music, starting with Arvo Pärt's chamber...]]> Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's 'Celtic Celebration' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18085-milwaukee-symphony-orchestras-celtic-celebration.html The Florentine Opera's Loving 'Susannah' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18086-the-florentine-operas-loving-susannah.html Terrible things befall innocent people in melodrama. By the end, evil is usually punished and the good guys rewarded or at least consoled. American composer Carlisle Floyd's 1955 opera Susannah tells the melodramatic story of a young woman falsely...]]> Florentine Opera Presents Carlisle Floyd's 'Susannah' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18017-florentine-opera-presents-carlisle-floyds-susannah.html Goulding Dazzles in Impressive MSO Concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18018-goulding-dazzles-in-impressive-mso-concert.html I have written often in the last decade of the steady improvement in the quality of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Listening anew on Saturday evening I heard an ensemble moving into a new realm of refined excellence...]]> Virtuoso Performances of Sibelius, Tchaikovsky at MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17932-virtuoso-performances-of-sibelius-tchaikovsky-at-mso.html When Jean Sibelius was in his mid-teens, he was studying hard to become a famous concert violinist. Indeed, he did become a fine musician, but fate had other plans and Sibelius soon found himself drawn toward composition instead of performance...]]> Chamber Music Milwaukee, Arcas Quartet Deserve Recognition http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17852-chamber-music-milwaukee-arcas-quartet-deserve-recognition.html For a city of its size, Milwaukee has a decent amount of professional-level chamber music. One of our better series is Chamber Music Milwaukee (CMM). While it is primarily conceived to showcase music faculty at the University of Wisconsin...]]> Bel Canto Chorus' 'Evensong' Celebration http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17855-bel-canto-chorus-evensong-celebration.html Milwaukee Ballet's Winter Brilliance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17810-milwaukee-ballets-winter-brilliance.html The three world premieres in the Milwaukee Ballet's moving Winter Series at the Pabst Theatre last weekend deserve many more performances, but it's hard to believe they will ever be better cast. Each wildly different, highly individual, contemporary...]]> MSO on the Road to Whitewater http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17769-mso-on-the-road-to-whitewater.html The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is going on a road trip to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. The love affair between the MSO and UW-Whitewater, in which the orchestra provides outstanding classical music outside its usual haunts, goes back 18...]]> Early Music Now Visits 14th-Century Italy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17770-early-music-now-visits-14th-century-italy.html Where else would one hear a concert of music from 14th-century Italy except at Early Music Now (EMN)? At the Cathedral of All Saints on Saturday, guest artists Margriet Tindemans and Shira Kammen played vielle (a forerunner of the violin)...]]> Early Music Now's Joy of 'Medieval Creativity' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17721-early-music-nows-joy-of-medieval-creativity.html Food of the Gods - Wild Space Premieres Delicious http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17691-food-of-the-gods-wild-space-premieres-delicious.html “So many meals, so much meaning!” declared a food expert in one of the scintillating voiceover's that peppered the luscious score assembled by choreographer Debra Loewen for Delicious, the new Wild Space Dance Company performance about...]]> Milwaukee Ballet's Young Choreographers Accept the Challenge http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17638-milwaukee-ballets-young-choreographers-accept-the-challenge.html Milwaukee Ballet Artistic Director Michael Pink has often said that the company's winter and spring programs of contemporary one-act ballets are designed to provide the dancers with exciting challenges. Freed to be themselves...]]> Joyce Yang Joins MSO for Rachmaninoff http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17580-joyce-yang-joins-mso-for-rachmaninoff.html MSO Fully Inhabits Stravinsky's 'Rite of Spring' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17581-mso-fully-inhabits-stravinskys-rite-of-spring.html Instead of the catcalls and raised fists that confronted The Rite of Spring at its 1913 premiere, the audience for the Jan. 27 Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) concert rose in a standing ovation. Stravinsky's once revolutionary ballet...]]> Milwaukee Symphony Chorus Shines in 'Carmina Burana' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17450-milwaukee-symphony-chorus-shines-in-carmina-burana.html Long considered one of classical music's most addictive guilty pleasures, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana may not command the respect of more prestigious choral works, but its rollicking hedonistic decadence seems in tune with the moral indifference...]]> Rogister Takes MSO On Energetic Tour of the East http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17377-rogister-takes-mso-on-energetic-tour-of-the-east.html With each concert the string section of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra seems to acquire greater dynamic precision and an increasingly subtle refinement, which brought a warm sense of repose to guest conductor Evan Rogister's beautiful performance...]]> A Great Day for Kids http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17331-a-great-day-for-kids.html Choice Selections Enhance Present Music's 'Choose' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17329-choice-selections-enhance-present-musics-choose.html It must have been a treat for Kevin Stalheim, Present Music's founding artistic director, to nominate a slew of works that excited him and let the audience choose its favorites. “It's power-to-the-people time,” Stalheim declared at the start of...]]> MSO Adds a Few Twists to Handel's 'Messiah' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17149-mso-adds-a-few-twists-to-handels-messiah.html George Frideric Handel's timeless Messiah is a December inevitability. Last week the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra presented five performances of its annual Messiah in three locations. I heard the oratorio on Saturday evening at the Cathedral...]]> Milwaukee Ballet's Best 'Nutcracker' Ever http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17085-milwaukee-ballets-best-nutcracker-ever.html I've never enjoyed The Nutcracker as much as at the matinee opening of Michael Pink's Milwaukee Ballet production last Saturday. I found it funnier and more poignant this year, my third annual viewing. The dances and the story they...]]> Stile Antico Captivates at Early Music Now Concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17086-stile-antico-captivates-at-early-music-now-concert.html The art of collaboration between humans is a continuing life lesson. Sometimes when individuals come together, even with shared ideals, things can go south. Other times people work together in a happy and rich process, and remarkable...]]> Florentine Opera, MSO Join Forces for Handel's 'Messiah' - Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17052-florentine-opera-mso-join-forces-for-handels-messiah-preview.html The Florentine Opera Studio Artists and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra...]]> Early Music Now, Bel Canto Show Seasonal Spirit http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16989-early-music-now-bel-canto-show-seasonal-spirit.html Early Music Now presents the young British choral ensemble Stile Antico for a performance of Thomas Tallis' 16th-century Christmas mass, Missa Puer natus est. The concert also will feature works by other British Renaissance songwriters...]]> Frankly Music's Masterful, Unified 'Goldberg Variations' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16994-frankly-musics-masterful-unified-goldberg-variations.html Albert Einstein stated about music, “I never like a work if I cannot intuitively grasp its inner unity.” Architectural unity came to mind listening to J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations at Frankly Music last week. A soulful aria theme is taken through...]]> Milwaukee's Christmas in the Classical Tradition http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16928-milwaukees-christmas-in-the-classical-tradition.html Now that December is upon us, Milwaukee can look forward to superb holiday music. One such delightful option is the MSO Pops' “Holiday Pops Spectacular” under conductor Jeff Tyzik, a Grammy winner considered one of the nation...]]> MSO Reaching Higher Levels of Excellence http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16929-mso-reaching-higher-levels-of-excellence.html Frankly Music Presents Bach's Goldberg Variations http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16869-frankly-music-presents-bachs-goldberg-variations.html Bach's Goldberg Variations, published in 1741, were originally performed on the harpsichord before evolving into the modern iteration for violin, viola, cello and piano. The history of the variations hinges on Goldberg's desire to receive musical...]]> All Elements Present - Present Music's Annual Thanksgiving Concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16844-all-elements-present-present-musics-annual-thanksgiving-concert.html Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Presents 'Bach and More' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16803-milwaukee-symphony-orchestra-presents-bach-and-more.html Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong will lead the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in “Bach and More,” the second concert of this season's Basilica Series. The program will begin with Bach's great Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, arguably the most popular...]]> Milwaukee's Night of Tango http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16809-milwaukees-night-of-tango.html Handel's Duets and Arias at Wisconsin Lutheran College http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16732-handels-duets-and-arias-at-wisconsin-lutheran-college.html The Chamber Orchestra of the Theatre of Early Music, under artistic director/countertenor Daniel Taylor, will fill Wisconsin Lutheran College with the beautiful music of George Frideric Handel—specifically, operatic arias and duets from...]]> Florentine Opera's Thrilling 'Turandot' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16733-florentine-operas-thrilling-turandot.html The Florentine Opera's stunning production of Puccini's final masterpiece, Turandot, was a crowd pleaser even for those unfamiliar with this idiosyncratic work. Some eyebrows were raised among the sold-out house on Friday night as a pajama...]]> MSO, Joyce Yang to Deliver Passion of Tchaikovsky http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16609-mso-joyce-yang-to-deliver-passion-of-tchaikovsky.html Fortune has returned to Milwaukee in the form of Joyce Yang, who will be performing a one-evening concert of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 23 with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO...]]> A 'Dracula' to Die For at Milwaukee Ballet http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16610-a-dracula-to-die-for-at-milwaukee-ballet.html Michael Pink makes fine use of ballet traditions to expose the heart of Bram Stoker's late-Romantic masterpiece, Dracula. The opening-night performance, with a wonderful score by Philip Feeney and first-rate designs by Lez Brotherston and Paul Pyant...]]> Changing 'Seasons' at Basilica of St. Josaphat http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16536-changing-seasons-at-basilica-of-st-josaphat.html The Basilica of St. Josaphat is a splendid setting for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's upcoming concert, “The Eight Seasons.” The program will span the 18th to 20th centuries and include Vivaldi's immortal The Four Seasons, Argentine...]]> Racine Symphony Orchestra Celebrates 80 Years http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16445-racine-symphony-orchestra-celebrates-80-years.html This weekend the Racine Symphony Orchestra (RSP) marks the opening of its 80th season. The RSO is led by maestro Pasquale Laurino, a guest conductor...]]> Bloody Night at the Milwaukee Ballet - Costume party to complement Michael Pink's 'Dracula' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16451-bloody-night-at-the-milwaukee-ballet-costume-party-to-complement-michael-pinks-dracula.html If you know the Milwaukee Ballet and the work of its director and choreographer Michael Pink, you need no further prompting to see Dracula, running Oct. 27-30 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Pink's 1996 adaptation of Bram Stoker's...]]> Milwaukee Ballet II in South Milwaukee - World Premieres and Old School Showpieces http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16409-milwaukee-ballet-ii-in-south-milwaukee-world-premieres-and-old-school-showpieces.html A deep stage, good lighting and up-close seating made the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center an excellent venue for the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II in “Classical To Contemporary,” a program of seven dances in as many styles...]]> Unique Water Show in MSO's 'Romantic Brahms' - Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16393-unique-water-show-in-msos-romantic-brahms-review.html On Friday evening, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's “Romantic Brahms” concert was an eclectic and enthralling experience. The unconventional set began with Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 5 in B-Flat Major, followed...]]> The Romance of Robert Schumann at MSO http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16373-the-romance-of-robert-schumann-at-mso.html Robert Schumann's reputation as a master of Romantic piano music has, to some degree, overshadowed his work in other genres; indeed, it has long been fashionable to bemoan his lack...]]> East Meets West at Early Music Now - Season opener highlights Jordi and Ferran Savall http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16333-east-meets-west-at-early-music-now-season-opener-highlights-jordi-and-ferran-savall.html Early Music Now marks the start of its 25th season with one of the stars of the early music movement, viola da gamba player Jordi Savall, accompanied by his son, Ferran. Born in the Catalonian region of Spain, Jordi trained at the Barcelona Conservatory...]]> South Milwaukee PAC Breaks Stereotypes - Milwaukee Ballet II: From Classics to Contemporary http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16293-south-milwaukee-pac-breaks-stereotypes-milwaukee-ballet-ii-from-classics-to-contemporary.html MSO's Portrait of Grieg as a Young Pianist http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16252-msos-portrait-of-grieg-as-a-young-pianist.html Edvard Grieg's only piano concerto, composed when he was 24, remains one of the most beloved 19th-century piano compositions. Its almost dangerous popularity during World War II derived not only from its folk-like Norwegian...]]> MSO's Rousing Whirlwind of Beethoven http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16253-msos-rousing-whirlwind-of-beethoven.html The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's all-Beethoven season opener was a rousing success that balanced familiar and unusual choices. After a near miss with the opening adagio of the First Symphony, music director Edo de Waart opted for genial...]]> Early Music is Alive http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16206-early-music-is-alive.html The Baroque period was a time of transition, leaving a legacy of musicians and composers the likes of Thomas Tallis and Pier Francesco Cavalli, and paving the way for paragons of music...]]> Pure Joy in Skylight Opera Premiere 'The Rivals' - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16179-pure-joy-in-skylight-opera-premiere-the-rivals-classical-review.html There is pure joy in Kirke Mechem's new comic opera The Rivals, premiered at Skylight Opera last Friday evening. Mechem's bubbly score sings. Voices take to it happily and gratefully. Freely adapted from Richard Sheridan's...]]> Beethoven Concert Something to Talk About - Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's season opener http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16171-beethoven-concert-something-to-talk-about-milwaukee-symphony-orchestras-season-opener.html In the spring of 1787, an awkward teenager from Bonn arrived in Vienna on a mission: to meet and impress the era's greatest composer, Wolfgang Mozart. Their meeting was brief, but Mozart heard enough to advise his guests to “keep an eye on him...]]> Your Mother Dances' Full-Bodied Movement - Talented Milwaukee company presents 'Stripped Roundly' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16172-your-mother-dances-full-bodied-movement-talented-milwaukee-company-presents-stripped-roundly.html If you heard that Elizabeth Johnson and Luc Vanier, the artistic leaders of Your Mother Dances, were leaving town, don't worry. They're staying, and as I watched a rehearsal of their upcoming concert “Stripped Roundly,” it was clear to me...]]> The Wild Space In Between - Where Dance, Visuals and Location Converge http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16150-the-wild-space-in-between-where-dance-visuals-and-location-converge.html Accordionist Stas Venglevski's Classical Side - 'Music From Almost Yesterday' highlights Milwaukee master http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16105-accordionist-stas-venglevskis-classical-side-music-from-almost-yesterday-highlights-milwaukee-master.html Look out, Lawrence Welk: There is a new accordion hero in town—Stas Venglevski. And his repertoire is, if anything, wider than Welk's songbook. Born in Moldova in the former Soviet Union, Venglevski won awards in his homeland for his mastery...]]> Bel Canto, Chamber Orchestra United in Concert - Music to commemorate 10th anniversary of 9/11 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16039-bel-canto-chamber-orchestra-united-in-concert-music-to-commemorate-10th-anniversary-of-9_11.html Present Music's Daring 'Water' Concert - From the Milwaukee River to Uihlein Hall http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15953-present-musics-daring-water-concert-from-the-milwaukee-river-to-uihlein-hall.html Present Music (PM) celebrated its 30th anniversary last Saturday evening in a daring and big way: a free concert at Uihlein Hall, in collaboration with other local groups, preceded by the audience gathering at the Milwaukee River. It was a marketing and logistical feat to pull this off, and especially...]]> Saturated Images, Wild Spaces at the Pritzlaff Building http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15954-saturated-images-wild-spaces-at-the-pritzlaff-building.html Wild Space Dance Company opens its 25th season Sept. 15-17 with In the Space Between, a site-specific experience created by founding director Debra Loewen in collaboration with artist/photographer Tom Bamberger at the 19th-century Pritzlaff Building...]]> Surprising Inventions in DanceLAB's 'Art to Art' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15788-surprising-inventions-in-dancelabs-art-to-art.html Peninsula Music Festival: Classics in Door County - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15760-peninsula-music-festival-classics-in-door-county-classical-preview.html Idyllic Door County is home to the Peninsula Music Festival, which presents a series of classical concerts every August. Under the baton of Maestro Victor Yampolsky, the festival's programs feature outstanding artists and professional musicians. Past guests have included James Ehnes, Michael Zaretsky...]]> 'TAPtivating' Dance Performance - Milwaukee's Danceworks keeps alive the art of tap http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15705-taptivating-dance-performance-milwaukees-danceworks-keeps-alive-the-art-of-tap.html No ensemble in Milwaukee is more committed to tap as a living art form than Danceworks on Tap (DOT). The group's annual concert, this year titled TAPtivating, is appropriately the centerpiece of Danceworks' DanceLAB summer series of experiments...]]> Raven in the Garden - Eiko and Koma Bring Japanese Dance to Milwaukee http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15576-raven-in-the-garden-eiko-and-koma-bring-japanese-dance-to-milwaukee.html Last Friday, Alverno Presents sponsored acclaimed Japanese-American Butoh dancers, Eiko and Koma, for their performance of Raven. Butoh dancing has its genesis in Japan's response to World War II, in particular, the devastating bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The style emerged during the early...]]> Love and Art and Lime Trees - Danceworks DanceLAB kicks off summer concert series http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15512-love-and-art-and-lime-trees-danceworks-dancelab-kicks-off-summer-concert-series.html Danceworks DanceLAB is an incubator and a showcase for dance experiments. Its summer series began last weekend with The Chemistry of Lime Trees, a two-act concert by Daniel Burkholder and The PlayGround, Burkholder's company from Washington, D.C. This was Burkholder's MFA thesis for the UW-Milwaukee Dance Department. Three of his D.C...]]> Bach, Beethoven, Liszt Get the Classical Treatment - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15450-bach-beethoven-liszt-get-the-classical-treatment-classical-review.html Classical music falls silent in concert halls during the summer, yet CD releases by classical labels continue year-round, giving aficionados sonically rich performances not meant for the tinny speakers of smartphones...]]> Drink for DRACULA and his Minions http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15424-drink-for-dracula-and-his-minions.html Milwaukee Ballet performances are always a high and its summer fundraising scheme is literally so. Even the name, “Ballet Up to the Bar,” is dizzying. Until Sept. 4, you can raise your spirits with unique specialty drinks at a variety of Milwaukee establishment knowing that part of the cost of your drink will support Milwaukee Ballet...]]> Milwaukee's Florentine Opera: At the Lake and on the Green http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15371-milwaukees-florentine-opera-at-the-lake-and-on-the-green.html The Florentine Opera Company, in conjunction with Alterra Coffee, is continuing its “Florentine at the Lake” series this summer. The music offers a peek ahead at the company's 2011-2012 season. Expect to hear passionate yet dulcet bits of Puccini's Turandot, Mozart's Idomeneo...]]> A Milwaukee Neighborhood's 'Refoundation' - IN:SITE presents artist Faith Purvey http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15296-a-milwaukee-neighborhoods-refoundation-insite-presents-artist-faith-purvey.html At North 29th Street, just south of Capitol Drive, is an unnamed city park. This triangle of grass with two trees and a basketball court bounded by Hopkins and Melvina streets is the site of a promising artwork. Faith Purvey, a site-specific performer based in Los Angeles and Minneapolis, together with the citizens...]]> Amy X Neuburg Displays Rare Talent at Turner Hall - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15220-amy-x-neuburg-displays-rare-talent-at-turner-hall-classical-review.html Amy X Neuburg's unique combination of talents was on advantageous display at the Present Music concert on Saturday evening at Turner Hall. I don't know of another composer/poet/soprano like her. Though many artists in every genre aspire to individuality, few fit that definition...]]> Milwaukee Artists Unite for Japan - Also: Fine Arts Quartet concludes its 65th season http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15221-milwaukee-artists-unite-for-japan-also-fine-arts-quartet-concludes-its-65th-season.html The “Milwaukee Artists Unite for Japan” concert features a wide range of performers from our area. Milwaukee Symphony...]]> MSO Season Ends With Triumphant 'Resurrection' - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15142-mso-season-ends-with-triumphant-resurrection-classical-review.html The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra season ended with a bang last weekend with Gustav Mahler's inspired and titanic Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”). Not unlike many others, I'm sure, I approach a performance of this music with high hopes. Will it take me on an expansive journey of tragedy and...]]> Turner Hall Hosts Present Music's Season Finale - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15119-turner-hall-hosts-present-musics-season-finale-classical-preview.html The versatile, avant-garde performer Amy X Neuburg will bring her unique voice and electronic extravaganza to the Turner Hall Ballroom for Present Music's season finale. Neuburg has wowed Milwaukee audiences twice before, and this concert promises to be another showstopper...]]> MSO Ends With Mahler's 'Resurrection' - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15061-mso-ends-with-mahlers-resurrection-classical-preview.html This year marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Gustav Mahler, whose 10 epic symphonies comprise the culmination of the Austro-Germanic symphonic tradition. Born in Bohemia the grandson of a street peddler, by the time he died in 1911 he'd achieved renown throughout Europe as a conductor...]]> Love and Loss in UWM's Summerdances - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15047-love-and-loss-in-uwms-summerdances-dance-review.html Xavier Phillips Joins MSO for Elgar Concerto http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15003-xavier-phillips-joins-mso-for-elgar-concerto.html D.H. Lawrence described the World War I era as a time when 2,000 years of civilization were collapsing before his eyes. “So much beauty and pathos of old things passing away and no new things coming—my God, it breaks my soul,” he wrote. Yet there was still hope in music, as manifested in Edward Elgar's...]]> 'Essential' Sensual Dances at UW-Milwaukee - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15004-essential-sensual-dances-at-uw-milwaukee-dance-preview.html The end-of-semester concerts by the dance department at UW-Milwaukee's Peck School of the Arts have become highlights of the season. Summerdances: Essential/Essensual will be presented 7:30 p.m. June 2-4 at UWM's Mainstage Theatre. Its four premieres were seen at a recent rehearsal...]]> Something 'Wicked' This Way Comes to Marcus Center - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14946-something-wicked-this-way-comes-to-marcus-center-classical-preview.html The beguiling and dazzling Wicked Divas are set to enchant Milwaukee with show tunes from Ragtime, The Music Man, Evita and, of course, Wicked, the show-stopping Broadway extravaganza based around The Wizard of Oz. One of the Wicked Divas is Julia Murney, an actress whose bio includes the TV shows “30...]]> A Perfect 'Coppélia' for Milwaukee Ballet - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14947-a-perfect-coppelia-for-milwaukee-ballet-dance-review.html With Coppélia, the Milwaukee Ballet brought an old-school ballet to exquisite life. While the traditional steps, structures and conventions were interesting as history, the performance could not have felt more immediate. Created in Paris in 1870 with a groundbreaking score by Léo Delibes, Coppélia is...]]> Bel Canto's 'Give Us Peace' Commemorates Civil War - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14854-bel-cantos-give-us-peace-commemorates-civil-war-classical-preview.html Under Music Director Richard Hynson, the Bel Canto Chorus is hosting a concert titled “Give Us Peace.” Drawing from an array of talent, it will feature contributions by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under maestro Edo de Waart; the Waukesha Choral Union, led by Artistic Director Ernest...]]> Andreas Delfs Cooks Up Heat in MSO Return - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14855-andreas-delfs-cooks-up-heat-in-mso-return-classical-review.html There was an understandable spirit of anticipation in the air at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra on Friday evening. Andreas Delfs returned to the podium, his first appearance in this city since leaving the position of MSO music director in June 2009. Delfs decidedly earned a beloved status in his 12 years with the...]]> Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony at the MSO - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14800-tchaikovskys-fifth-symphony-at-the-mso-classical-preview.html Florentine Opera's Baroque Magic of a Bygone Age - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14801-florentine-operas-baroque-magic-of-a-bygone-age-classical-preview.html The operas of the Baroque period (1600-1759) were once a hard sell for music lovers accustomed to the greater realism and stronger story lines of later classic and romantic opera. Yet the beguiling appeal of the best Baroque operas can't be dismissed as charming relics of a world gone by. The treasures of the...]]> Strong Concerts From Flanders Recorder Quartet, Prometheus Trio - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14732-strong-concerts-from-flanders-recorder-quartet-prometheus-trio-classical-review.html More than Zsa Zsa Gabor, Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney or any other often married public figure, Henry VIII of England is perennially intriguing. In the final concert of the Early Music Now season, the Flanders Recorder Quartet constructed a program, with narrative, of the king and his six wives, heard...]]> Concord Chamber's Symphony in 'Blue' - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14706-concord-chambers-symphony-in-blue-classical-preview.html Under the guidance of Music Director Jamin Hoffman, the Concord Chamber Orchestra will close its season with a concert in a “blue” theme. The program opens with “Blue Rag” by Israeli composer Rami Bar-Niv and continues with Morton Gould's 1939 composition Symphonette No. 2 (“American”)...]]> Green Dancing - Danceworks at Sweet Water Organics http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14693-green-dancing-danceworks-at-sweet-water-organics.html Danceworks' Magical 'Stone Soup' - Dance performance takes place at Sweet Water Organics http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14660-danceworks-magical-stone-soup-dance-performance-takes-place-at-sweet-water-organics.html Stone Soup, a Danceworks Performance Company premiere (April 28-May 1), takes its title from a folk legend of soldiers playing a trick on stingy villagers who refuse them food and shelter. The soldiers take an ordinary stone and claim that it has magic: Put it in a pot with food and the food will multiply...]]> Flanders Recorder Quartet's Early Music Prowess - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14622-flanders-recorder-quartets-early-music-prowess-classical-preview.html The Flanders Recorder Quartet will visit Milwaukee for a concert at Wisconsin Lutheran College. The ensemble, which hails from the Netherlands, consists of respected recorder artists Bart Spanhove, Tom Beets, Joris van Goethem and Paul van Loey...]]> Prometheus Trio Makes 'Fantasies' a Reality - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14558-prometheus-trio-makes-fantasies-a-reality-classical-preview.html The Prometheus Trio, resident piano trio for the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music (WCM), includes pianist Stefanie Jacob, a faculty member of WCM since 1987, along with violinist Timothy Klabunde and cellist Scott Tisdel. Next week they will perform...]]> Varga, Gerstein and MSO's World-Class Talent - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14562-varga-gerstein-and-msos-world-class-talent-classical-review.html Recent travel allowed me to hear three orchestras in three cities on three consecutive nights. On Thursday evening I was in Leipzig, Germany, and heard the revered Gewandhaus Orchestra. A stunning all-Richard Strauss concert at the Munich...]]> Getting There From Here http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14563-getting-there-from-here.html Questions of place and identity must be on the minds of Monica Rodero and Dan Schuchart as they prepare to leave Milwaukee for grad school in California after nine years with Wild Space Dance Company. Thoughts of journeys and change must also...]]> Varga Leads Diverse Program at MSO - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14486-varga-leads-diverse-program-at-mso-classical-preview.html Guest conductor Gilbert Varga leads pianist Kirill Gerstein and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in a wide range of musical flavors. It starts off with Turn the Key, a contemporary work by American composer Steven Mackey, who often draws rock and...]]> MSO Pops' 'Tribute to Cole Porter' - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14374-mso-pops-tribute-to-cole-porter-classical-preview.html Cole Porter, born in Peru, Ind., in 1891, personified sophistication. His parents encouraged him to study music and acting. He chose the violin and piano—and completed his first song at the age of 10. Understanding the boy's talent, his parents...]]> Milwaukee Opera Theatre's Intimate Look at Virginia Woolf - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14318-milwaukee-opera-theatres-intimate-look-at-virginia-woolf-classical-preview.html From the Diary of Virginia Woolf is a cycle of eight songs based on excerpts from the diary of legendary author Virginia Woolf, the acclaimed novelist, critic and essayist from early-20th-century England. The words were adapted for music by Dominick Argento, known for his choral writing and operas such as...]]> Joshua Bell Headlines Week of Brilliant Music - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14319-joshua-bell-headlines-week-of-brilliant-music-classical-review.html In violinist Joshua Bell's performance with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last Wednesday evening, he proved why he is one of the top stars in classical music. With his signature mop top hair swinging, Bell was a dashing romantic hero in the Concerto in G minor by Max Bruch, gorgeous sound emanating from...]]> Schubert's Songs - In Concert at the Conservatory http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14302-schuberts-songs-in-concert-at-the-conservatory.html Excellent Symphony at UWM - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14284-excellent-symphony-at-uwm-classical-preview.html Florentine Opera's Pleasant, Fun 'Italian Girl' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14255-florentine-operas-pleasant-fun-italian-girl.html A likable and inventive production of Rossini's The Italian Girl in Algiers (L'italiana in Algeri) opened at Florentine Opera last Friday evening. Though not the composer's most sparkling comedy, this production conjured a more than pleasant evening, with some sparkling moments...]]> Skylight's Misguided 'Così fan tutte' - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14256-skylights-misguided-cos%25C3%25AC-fan-tutte-classical-review.html 'Fireworks' at the MSO - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14241-fireworks-at-the-mso-classical-preview.html There will be no shortage of pyrotechnics at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra as guest conductor Christopher Seaman leads Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks, which opens with a French overture and includes a bourrée and two minuets. Following Handel on the program is Mozart's Concerto in E-Flat...]]> Present Music's Extreme Diva - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14228-present-musics-extreme-diva-classical-review.html Present Music: Bits of Bittová, Rhythms by Reich - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14187-present-music-bits-of-bittova-rhythms-by-reich-classical-preview.html "The violin accompanies me all the time. Everything around me is under its influence," explains singer, violinist, composer and actress Iva Bittová. "The violin is a mirror reflecting my dreams and imagination," she continues, both of which surely will be made most evident in an upcoming concert. She was born in the Moravian section...]]> Milwaukee Treated to Shaham's Exuberant Joy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14188-milwaukee-treated-to-shahams-exuberant-joy.html What I like most about violinist Gil Shaham—besides his captivating playing—is the bubbling, exuberant joy in music-making. He can barely contain his excitement on stage, physically moving around more than any other soloist, periodically flashing a broadly sincere smile...]]> Inspired Composers, Stimulating Works at Next MSO Concert - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14096-inspired-composers-stimulating-works-at-next-mso-concert-classical-preview.html William Walton (1902-83) is part of the triumvirate of great English 20th-century composers (his cohorts being Vaughan Williams and Britten) though his final output is considerably smaller than theirs...]]> MSO Masterful With Adams' 'Harmonium' - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14097-mso-masterful-with-adams-harmonium-classical-review.html I looked forward to hearing John Adams' Harmonium at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra more than any other music in this classical season. I was not disappointed last Friday evening. Harmonium, one of the landmarks in the maturity of Minimalism of the 1970s and '80s, has become...]]> Challenging & Heroic Works for MSO, Chorus - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14031-challenging-heroic-works-for-mso-chorus-classical-preview.html The acclaimed Milwaukee Symphony Chorus will be presented with something of a new challenge in the next Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert. With its alternating passages of throbbing minimalist textures and dramatic lyricism, Harmonium for Chorus and Orchestra (1981) by John Adams...]]> The Philharmonic’s Good Things in Small Packages - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13968-the-philharmonicrss-good-things-in-small-packages-classical-preview.html When Wolfgang Mozart (1756-91) composed his Symphony No. 5 in B-Flat Major, K. 22 (at the ripe old age of 9), the symphony as a bona fide musical genre was yet in its infancy. Still to come were the great symphonies of Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner, as well, indeed, of Mozart's later years...]]> Born Entertainers - Danceworks Performance Company premieres Vaudeville! http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13935-born-entertainers-danceworks-performance-company-premieres-vaudeville_.html Italian Renaissance at Danceworks - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13934-italian-renaissance-at-danceworks-dance-preview.html Casta Diva - Great Soprano at Vogel http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13907-casta-diva-great-soprano-at-vogel.html The Winning Performances - Milwaukee Ballet Competition Goes Live http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13864-the-winning-performances-milwaukee-ballet-competition-goes-live.html A Chamber Music Potpourri - MacDowell Club, MSO's upcoming concerts http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13870-a-chamber-music-potpourri-macdowell-club-msos-upcoming-concerts.html There are a wide variety of music styles on the next concert of the MacDowell Club, members of which hail from throughout the greater Milwaukee area...]]> Plaine & Easie Simply Charming at All Saints’ Cathedral - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13871-plaine-easie-simply-charming-at-all-saintsrs-cathedral-classical-review.html The Seattle Renaissance ensemble Plaine & Easie takes its name from the British composer Thomas Morley’s 1597 treatise A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke. There was nothing plain nor particularly easy about the charming concert presented Saturday evening at All Saints...]]> It’s Showtime! - Danceworks Presents Vaudeville! http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13840-itrss-showtime_-danceworks-presents-vaudeville_.html MSO, Emanuel Ax’s Rich Journey - Also: Frankly Music enlivens Schwan Hall http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13814-mso-emanuel-axrss-rich-journey-also-frankly-music-enlivens-schwan-hall.html Sometimes a two-hour concert feels like being transported on a long, rich journey. Such was the case at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra on Saturday evening in the vast expanses of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, and Act I of Wagner’s Die Walkre...]]> The English Renaissance Made Plaine & Easie - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13800-the-english-renaissance-made-plaine-easie-classical-preview.html Renaissance England has grasped popular imagination for a very long time and while lauded on stage, screen and in the concert hall. Early Music Now welcomes four special guest artists collectively known as Plaine & Easie to Milwaukee to further such renown. Winners of Early Music America’s 2009...]]> Wild Space Dance’s Imaginative ‘Past Present’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13731-wild-space-dancerss-imaginative-lspast-presentrs.html Choreographer and Wild Space Artistic Director Deb Loewen clearly spent much time in the interior of the Milwaukee County Historical Society imagining where to situate her dancers and audiences for her newest site-specific performance, Past Present. Aided by Jan Kellogg’s quiet lighting, the work revealed...]]> Ohlsson Falters, But de Waart Continues Mastery With MSO - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13742-ohlsson-falters-but-de-waart-continues-mastery-with-mso-classical-review.html UWM Winterdances Features Masterworks http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13697-uwm-winterdances-features-masterworks.html Milwaukee Ballet Comes to Oconomowoc http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13698-milwaukee-ballet-comes-to-oconomowoc.html Frank Almond Shines in MSO Strauss Solo http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13678-frank-almond-shines-in-mso-strauss-solo.html Lyric, romantic music of the late 19th and early to mid-20th centuries is a specialty in Frank Almond’s playing. His sound and his temperament as a musician are especially suited to it. His performance of the Barber concerto a few weeks ago was an unforgettable high point. Almond again came up with one of his...]]> Unexpected Bodies: Heidi Latsky and ‘The GIMP Project’ - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13660-unexpected-bodies-heidi-latsky-and-lsthe-gimp-projectrs-dance-preview.html Heidi Latsky was a celebrated principal dancer with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company from 1987-1993. She went on to become a renowned choreographer and teacher in collaboration with Lawrence Goldhuber, and in 2001 she founded her modern dance company in New York, Heidi Latsky Dance. Her work has won widespread acclaim...]]> Perlman, Kanda Star in MSO Concerts - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13594-perlman-kanda-star-in-mso-concerts-classical-review.html It’s an event when the great violin legend Itzhak Perlman comes to town. As guest of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Perlman played a sparkling but modest piece...]]> De Waart Leads Giants of German Romanticism - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13578-de-waart-leads-giants-of-german-romanticism-classical-preview.html By the time Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) composed his Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37 (1803), the Romantic Era in music was in its infancy. Hearkening back somewhat, Beethoven modeled this concerto on the C Minor concerto (K. 491) of that master of an earlier age, Wolfgang...]]> Symphonic Benchmarks - MSO concert features Mozart, Ives and Cedarburg's Gordon http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13544-symphonic-benchmarks-mso-concert-features-mozart-ives-and-cedarburgs-gordon.html MacDowell Club’s Music for One, Two, Three… - Classica Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13427-macdowell-clubrss-music-for-one-two-threehellip-classica-preview.html Knapp Energizes MSO’s Annual ‘Messiah’ Concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13348-knapp-energizes-msorss-annual-lsmessiahrs-concert.html Messiah, Handel’s evergreen oratorio, has become a Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra tradition each December. Large audiences attended five performances last week at three venues. I heard the Friday evening performance at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, the most acoustically pleasing choice. Christian Knapp returned as conductor...]]> Holiday Wizardry in Milwaukee Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13258-holiday-wizardry-in-milwaukee-balletrss-lsnutcrackerrs-dance-review.html Michael Pink’s imagining of The Nutcracker was lovingly presented by the Milwaukee Ballet and its Orchestra under Pasquale Laurino on opening night. The dancers will trade major roles during the run, which ends Dec. 26, appearing in different pairings that will shade each performance a bit differently...]]> Frankly Music Honors Chopin and Schumann - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13200-frankly-music-honors-chopin-and-schumann-classical-review.html The year 2010 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of two major composers: Frédéric Chopin and Robert Schumann. Perhaps because both are heard so regularly, there were not enormous celebrations. It was good to ponder these two 19th-century giants at a Frankly Music concert last week at the...]]> Ensemble Musical Offering Goes Back to Bach - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13167-ensemble-musical-offering-goes-back-to-bach-classical-preview.html After the highly successful “In Harmony: At Home With Biedermeier” series of concerts consisting of Classical and early Romantic chamber pieces, Ensemble Musical Offering’s Artistic Director Joan Parsley looked forward to a different kind of homecoming. “I missed the Baroque...]]> Prometheus Trio Presents Stunning Works for Piano - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13102-prometheus-trio-presents-stunning-works-for-piano-classical-preview.html MSO’s Sensuous ‘Sea Symphony’ - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13103-msorss-sensuous-lssea-symphonyrs-classical-review.html British sensuality seems like an oxymoron. Nevertheless, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony (1910) is just that, an example of Edwardian passion for a topic always dear to English hearts: the inescapable ocean that surrounds the British Isles, and its resonating, philosophical metaphors of endless journey toward the ever-changing...]]> Present Music Gives Thanks - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13009-present-music-gives-thanks-classical-review.html MSO Sets Sail on a Sea of Sound http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13019-mso-sets-sail-on-a-sea-of-sound.html The fact that Peter Tchaikovsky’s (1840-93) Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 (1878) is both melodious and structurally sound attests to the resilience of its creator, for it was composed shortly after Tchaikovsky’s disastrous marriage and abortive suicide attempt. The D Major Concerto fairly teems with...]]> Frank Almond’s Lyric Gifts at MSO - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13020-frank-almondrss-lyric-gifts-at-mso-classical-review.html Honesty and fairness are my aims as a critic. For the first time in more than 12 years at it, I feel I must admit that I cannot find objectivity in reviewing Frank Almond’s performance of the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Samuel Barber with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last weekend...]]> Skylight Opera’s Must-See ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13021-skylight-operarss-must-see-lshms-pinaforers.html Samuel Barber and MSO: Music in Perpetual Motion - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12969-samuel-barber-and-mso-music-in-perpetual-motion-classical-preview.html MSO Showcases Artistry of Bassist Edgar Meyer - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12953-mso-showcases-artistry-of-bassist-edgar-meyer-classical-review.html Bass players rarely become renowned soloists. Edgar Meyer is the exception, performing his own compositions as well as the small body of music by other composers for the instrument. Meyer’s longstanding appeal goes beyond out-of-the-ordinary curiosity. His artistry was happily...]]> MSO to perform Vaughan Williams’ “Whitman Symphony” - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12970-mso-to-perform-vaughan-williamsrs-ldwhitman-symphonyrd-classical-preview.html Music for Strings & Things - Upcoming concerts include Philomusica String Quartet, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12875-music-for-strings-things-upcoming-concerts-include-philomusica-string-quartet-milwaukee-symphony-orchestra.html With their next concert, the Philomusica String Quartet—newest resident faculty ensemble at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music—begins a multi-year canvassing of all the quartets of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Appropriately enough, they start more or less at the beginning...]]> Fretwork’s Musical Voyage With ‘Sir Francis Drake’ - Also: Chamber Music Milwaukee turns to film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12876-fretworkrss-musical-voyage-with-lssir-francis-drakers-also-chamber-music-milwaukee-turns-to-film.html The Saturday evening concert at the Zelazo Center by the London ensemble Fretwork was historical in the truest sense. The program mixed old and new in an engrossing theme: The World Encompassed – Sir Francis Drake. The six-player viol group commissioned composer Orlando Gough to write music...]]> Early Music Now, Fretwork’s ‘The World Encompassed’ - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12814-early-music-now-fretworkrss-lsthe-world-encompassedrs-classical-preview.html Setapen Sets Tone for Milwaukee’s Classical Future - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12815-setapen-sets-tone-for-milwaukeerss-classical-future-classical-review.html As much as we appreciate the established top classical performers in town, it is good to see a new, young professional player who, by talent and ability, earns a place in their company. Ilana Setapen is in her second season as associate concertmaster at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She presented a Sunday afternoon recital at Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, presented by Civic Music Association...]]> Milwaukee Ballet’s Superb ‘Esmeralda’ - Michael Pink scores another hit with moving cry against abuse of power http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12816-milwaukee-balletrss-superb-lsesmeraldars-michael-pink-scores-another-hit-with-moving-cry-against-abuse-of-power.html After expressing unabashed enthusiasm for three of Michael Pink’s ballets last season, I came to the opening of Esmeralda in search of something I could criticize. No luck. On the contrary, this brand-new reworking of his 12-year-old ballet The Hunchback of Notre Dame (changed enough to warrant the new title) is magnificent. Every moment is rich with feeling and sense...]]> Milwaukee Opera Theatre’s Time-Bending Superhero - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12725-milwaukee-opera-theatrerss-time-bending-superhero-classical-preview.html The Florentine Opera is not the only Milwaukee opera company to present a world premiere this year. With equal courage, the Milwaukee Opera Theatre (MOT) has undertaken the task of developing an original operetta by local composer and writer Jason Powell. A staged concert reading of his Fortuna the Time Bender...]]> Florentine Opera Premieres ‘Rio de Sangre’ - Strong performances aid uneven production http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12726-florentine-opera-premieres-lsrio-de-sangrers-strong-performances-aid-uneven-production.html Milwaukee Ballet’s ‘Esmeralda’ Revisits Notre-Dame - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12727-milwaukee-balletrss-lsesmeraldars-revisits-notre-dame-dance-preview.html War and Remembrance - Wisconsin Philharmonic's tribute to veterans http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12644-war-and-remembrance-wisconsin-philharmonics-tribute-to-veterans.html “Our Nov. 7 concert, a musical tribute in the spirit of Veterans Day,” says Alexander Platt, “is the fulfillment of a long-held dream of mine: to pay homage, in words and music, to the service and sacrifices of our service men and women past and present.” And thus, Maestro Platt will lead the former Waukesha Symphony...]]> MSO Brings Mozart to Basilica of St. Josaphat - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12645-mso-brings-mozart-to-basilica-of-st-josaphat-classical-review.html The Basilica of St. Josaphat is one of the few public places in Milwaukee that conjures the city’s soul, past and present. Awe-inspiring as it is, performances in the Basilica are chancy, to say the least. Unaccompanied choral music works best there, particularly of music intended to be heard in cathedral acoustics...]]> New Spirit of African Dance Comes to Alverno Presents - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12504-new-spirit-of-african-dance-comes-to-alverno-presents-dance-preview.html Today African dance is admired for a technique and movement vocabulary as rich and challenging as any dance form in existence. Alverno Presents offers an opportunity to experience a new and pioneering manifestation of that art when it presents the Senegalese dancers and drummers of Compagnie Jant...]]> Joyce Yang Lends Talent to Top MSO Performance - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12505-joyce-yang-lends-talent-to-top-mso-performance-classical-review.html Talent does not come any bigger than that possessed by pianist Joyce Yang. She grew up in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the United States at a young age to study at Juilliard. At 19 she won the silver medal at the 2005 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and has since established an international career. Edo de Waart is one of her champions, performing with her not only with...]]> Frankly Music Gem Shines - MSO, Early Music Now add to embarrassment of riches http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12432-frankly-music-gem-shines-mso-early-music-now-add-to-embarrassment-of-riches.html Danceworks Explores ‘Lying’ in Powerful Performance - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12416-danceworks-explores-lslyingrs-in-powerful-performance-dance-review.html Lying is the title and loose premise for a collection of new dances by members of Danceworks Performance Company and guest choreographer Amii LeGendre. LeGendre’s piece begins with dancer Kelly Anderson playfully accosting the audience with semi...]]> The Last Romantic - MSO returns to Rachmaninoff http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12406-the-last-romantic-mso-returns-to-rachmaninoff.html A contemporary of such “revolutionary” figures as Scriabin, Schoenberg, Ravel and Ives, Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) never questioned the validity of the late Romantic tradition he inherited from Tchaikovsky, Rubinstein and Rimsky-Korsakov. But his eschewal of impressionism, atonality and all the...]]> Edo de Waart, MSO Continue the Mahler Cycle - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12352-edo-de-waart-mso-continue-the-mahler-cycle-classical-preview.html Edo de Waart began and ended last MSO season with exciting performances of two big Mahler symphonies: the Fifth last September and the Third last June. The current season will end next June with Mahler’s spectacular Second with choral finale. This weekend, for the second concert of his second...]]> MSO Searches for Its Stride in Opening Concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12353-mso-searches-for-its-stride-in-opening-concert.html Present Music’s Phillip Bush Steps Down on a High Note http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12278-present-musicrss-phillip-bush-steps-down-on-a-high-note.html Present Music (PM) has settled into Turner Hall Ballroom, the idiosyncratic Downtown landmark. Saturday night’s concert, which launched a new season, marked the last appearance of retiring pianist Phillip Bush, a longtime ensemble member. The Piano Concerto by Gyrgy Ligeti, with the largest PM chamber orchestra ever assembled, is very difficult music...]]> Classical Music as Tour Guide - Frankly Music opens its season with Tchaikovsky, Strauss http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12279-classical-music-as-tour-guide-frankly-music-opens-its-season-with-tchaikovsky-strauss.html Of Simple Gifts and Odes to Joy - Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra opens its season with Beethoven's Ninth http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12205-of-simple-gifts-and-odes-to-joy-milwaukee-symphony-orchestra-opens-its-season-with-beethovens-ninth.html At the conclusion of a world premiere performance of a new work on May 7, 1824, in Vienna’s Hoftheater, the composer stood silently facing away from the audience as they applauded and cheered. It was the greatest public success of his career. In one of the most poignant accounts of his final years, Ludwig van Beethoven...]]> Festival City Symphony Marches Right Along - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12135-festival-city-symphony-marches-right-along-classical-preview.html Performance Art Showcase Returns - Carnival-like event ‘Souvenirs' takes place at MIAD http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12136-performance-art-showcase-returns-carnival-like-event-lssouvenirs-takes-place-at-miad.html For the sixth Performance Art Showcase, 28 artists will fill the fourth-floor gallery of the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design with imaginative new works. As always, the presentation by co-producers Pegi Christiansen and John Loscuito is adventurous. One end of the gallery will contain a tent with semicircular seating and a stage on which five different acts will appear in continuous rotation. The rest of the space...]]> Evolution of the Piano Trio - Prometheus Trio kicks off 11th season with Haydn, Brahms and Faur http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12066-evolution-of-the-piano-trio-prometheus-trio-kicks-off-11th-season-with-haydn-brahms-and-faur%25E9.html The Art of Tap Dancing - ‘Knock on Wood' at Danceworks Studio Theatre http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11832-the-art-of-tap-dancing-lsknock-on-wood-at-danceworks-studio-theatre.html Sounds of India at Early Music Now - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11550-sounds-of-india-at-early-music-now-classical-preview.html When it began, Early Music Now concentrated on presenting concerts in Milwaukee by leading performers of the pre-Baroque music of Western Europe—a field of forgotten music...]]> Outdoors ‘ScreenDance’ Combines Dance, Film - Local performers join the digital revolution at Danceworks http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11496-outdoors-lsscreendancers-combines-dance-film-local-performers-join-the-digital-revolution-at-danceworks.html Decoding Classical Music http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11404-decoding-classical-music.html Mention the names Mozart, Beethoven, Bach or Brahms to even non-classical music fans and they will almost assuredly ring a bell. But say K%uFFFDchel, Hoboken, Longo or Deutsch and you’ll get a blank stare. Even classical listeners might have trouble recognizing them. Yet these are the names of gentlemen who...]]> Present Music Explores The Wherehouse - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11325-present-music-explores-the-wherehouse-classical-review.html Present Music has explored more performing venues than any other classical group in town. Last Friday evening two performances took place at a nightclub, The Wherehouse, in the harbor area, at the end of National Avenue. Though unlikely, the space is a favorable one. The rectangular room with a very high ceiling and wooden floor (typically for dancing) rendered surprisingly good sound...]]> ‘Divas, Dudes and Dancers’ - Present Music performs at the Wherehouse http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11269-lsdivas-dudes-and-dancersrs-present-music-performs-at-the-wherehouse.html Milwaukee’s invaluable contemporary music ensemble Present Music loves to perform in places where the venue inspires the programming. The Wherehouse (818 S. Water St.) on Water Street at the east end of National Avenue is a cool nightclub with a beautiful view of the harbor, good acoustics and space...]]> Ascent to the Gods - Indian Classical Dance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11230-ascent-to-the-gods-indian-classical-dance.html Sophisticated New Music on ‘Portraits & Elegies’ - Milwaukee's Frank Almond on CD http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11243-sophisticated-new-music-on-lsportraits-elegiesrs-milwaukees-frank-almond-on-cd.html The fantastic new CD Portraits & Elegies (Innova), recorded by violinist Frank Almond and pianist Brian Zeger, explores the lyrical side of contemporary American...]]> MSO Classical Season Concludes on High Note - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11187-mso-classical-season-concludes-on-high-note-classical-review.html The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra classical season ended magnificently with the high-minded idealism of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3. On Sunday afternoon, at the conclusion of this 95-minute profound statement of nature and love, I was slayed, limp and spent. It was a fitting finale to a season that began with Edo de Waart conducting Mahler’s Symphony No. 5...]]> MSO & Guests Celebrate America - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11148-mso-guests-celebrate-america-classical-preview.html The summer pops concert is a staple of American orchestras, and as summer also means the anniversary of the founding of the United States, these concerts are almost always given a patriotic theme. With the musical framework pretty much set due to these expectations, the challenge is to be different somehow...]]> An Epic Hymn to Nature and Love - MSO season finale: Mahler's Third http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11089-an-epic-hymn-to-nature-and-love-mso-season-finale-mahlers-third.html Gustav Mahler said, “A symphony must be like the world—it must embrace everything.” This weekend, as grand finale to his first season as the Milwaukee Symphony’s new music director, Edo de Waart has chosen Mahler’s colossal Symphony No. 3. Once, when Mahler was 5, his father left him sitting on a tree stump in the Bavarian forest and told him to wait there until he returned...]]> Saint-Sans’ Music Dazzles at MSO - Plus: De Waart finds unusual remedy for coughing http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11090-saint-sa%25EBnsrs-music-dazzles-at-mso-plus-de-waart-finds-unusual-remedy-for-coughing.html Last Friday at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, maestro Edo de Waart reached the limit of his audience coughing tolerance. Between movements of Saint-Sans’ Symphony No. 3, de Waart startled all by making an impromptu plea of silence to the coughers. Though there was little quiet music after this highly unusual speech, I heard no coughing...]]> Eclectic Mix in UWM’s ‘Summerdances: Uncovered’ - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11091-eclectic-mix-in-uwmrss-lssummerdances-uncoveredrs-dance-preview.html If you attend “Summerdances: Uncovered,” the major concert to be presented through June 5 by the Department of Dance of the UW-Milwaukee Peck...]]> Saint-Sans Has His Day - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11017-saint-sa%25EBns-has-his-day-classical-preview.html “Organist, pianist, caricaturist, dabbler in science, enamored of mathematics and astronomy, amateur comedian, critic, traveler, archaeologist—he is a restless man.” So American music critic Philip Hale described French composer Camille Saint-Sans (1835-1921), who towered over French musical life like no one had since Jean-Baptiste Lully some two centuries before...]]> Florentine’s Overly Sparse ‘Rigoletto’ - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11018-florentinerss-overly-sparse-lsrigolettors-classical-review.html A bare stage is an odd and misguided trend at Florentine Opera. There was almost nothing to see in a Tosca production earlier in the season. Last weekend Rigoletto was more of the same. The audience saw a back gray wall made of large squares (some missing), a stairway, a platform and vast space that...]]> Frankly Music Delivers Again - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10940-frankly-music-delivers-again-classical-review.html Milwaukee Ballet’s Magical ‘Peter Pan’ - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10941-milwaukee-balletrss-magical-lspeter-panrs-dance-review.html Milwaukee Ballet’s new Peter Pan is visually and aurally ravishing. The bedrock of the work is Philip Feeney’s thrilling score, commissioned by the company for this world premiere and triumphantly performed by the Ballet Orchestra and the Milwaukee Children’s Choir under conductor Pasquale Laurino. In the music as in the dancing...]]> Milwaukee Opera Theatre’s ‘26’ - Creating a ‘Great Italian Songbook' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10893-milwaukee-opera-theatrerss-ls26rs-creating-a-lsgreat-italian-songbook.html Safaafir, Present Music Shine at Turner Hall - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10866-safaafir-present-music-shine-at-turner-hall-classical-review.html The well-attended Present Music (PM) concert last Saturday evening at Turner Hall was a trip to the Middle East, with music by an Israeli composer, an American composer with Turkish ties, and an American-Iraqi. If only peace talks were this civilized and artful. Betty Olivero’s Six Yiddish Songs and Dances...]]> Frankly Music’s Chamber Pyrotechnics - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10791-frankly-musicrss-chamber-pyrotechnics-classical-preview.html “I’m very excited about the program we’ve put together for our first concert at the Wilson Center,” says Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster and violinist Frank Almond of his next performing event. It’s easy to see why. Frankly Music (violinist Frank...]]> MSO Offers Rarely Heard ‘Symphony of Psalms’ - Plus: Prometheus Trio ends season on strong note http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10793-mso-offers-rarely-heard-lssymphony-of-psalmsrs-plus-prometheus-trio-ends-season-on-strong-note.html For whatever reason, some landmark works are rarely programmed. Such is the case with Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, heard last weekend at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, last performed here in 1991. Using Psalm texts in Latin, the composer gave unusual symphonic structure to a three-movement piece for chorus and orchestra...]]> Restrained Lang Lang at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra - Plus: Edo de Waart continues to shine http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10711-restrained-lang-lang-at-milwaukee-symphony-orchestra-plus-edo-de-waart-continues-to-shine.html Pianist Lang Lang is one of the brightest stars on the scene. His first appearance with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, nine years ago when he was a boyish 18 years old and just beginning his international career, was remarkable. Exuberant showmanship was rendered with titanic technique then. Lang has inevitably changed over the years, evidenced by his performance last week with MSO...]]> ‘Monsters, Mayhem’ in Potluck for Kids - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10713-lsmonsters-mayhemrs-in-potluck-for-kids-dance-review.html Wild Space Dance Creates ‘Happiness’ - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10714-wild-space-dance-creates-lshappinessrs-dance-review.html Speaking of Happiness, a rich, new, full-length dance by Wild Space Dance Company, provides further evidence (if any were needed) of the great strength of the collective process of performance-making. Holding to high standards, the team of choreographers (Debra Loewen, Dan Schuchart and Monica Rodero) asked questions of, and devised improvisations for, the willing dancers in a personal...]]> MSO’s Music From Life & Literature - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10621-msorss-music-from-life-literature-classical-preview.html Upon seeing the Liffey River meeting the sea, Anna Livia sings out “Far calls, coming, far!” This may not make a lot of sense, but such is the odd language of James Joyce’s 1939 novel Finnegans Wake. Four decades later, Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu (1930-96) found inspiration in the scene for a piece for violin...]]> Red Priest’s Masterful, Joyous Early Music - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10622-red-priestrss-masterful-joyous-early-music-classical-review.html There are people who are simply born to perform. In front of an audience these crowd-pleasing individuals become what one can only guess is their liveliest and best selves. Despite what may be enormous talent, very few classical musicians have this quality. The members of Red Priest are among them...]]> ‘Monsters, Mayhem & Mac ’n Cheese’ - Danceworks presents five ‘seriously silly' pieces http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10521-lsmonsters-mayhem-mac-rsn-cheesers-danceworks-presents-five-lsseriously-silly-pieces.html A Sextet of Quartets - Milwaukeeans treated to music from Philomusica, Fine Arts http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10397-a-sextet-of-quartets-milwaukeeans-treated-to-music-from-philomusica-fine-arts.html The Philomusica Quartet’s next concert is called “Jewish Expressions,” aptly so since that religious and cultural quality is shared by all three composers on the program...]]> Elgar and Chopin at MSO - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10312-elgar-and-chopin-at-mso-classical-preview.html This weekend’s Milwaukee Symphony concert gives us a chance to hear the magnificent Symphony No. 1 by Edward Elgar (1857-1934), last played here in 1994. The self-taught son of a music shop owner...]]> ‘Pure Dance’ at the Marcus Center - Milwaukee Ballet's hurricane of gorgeous, complicated dancing http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10327-lspure-dancers-at-the-marcus-center-milwaukee-ballets-hurricane-of-gorgeous-complicated-dancing.html In my decades of touring with Theatre X, we always said that you can’t begin to know a show until you’ve played it...]]> American Classics—Old & New - Diverse works come to Pabst Theater, Turner Hall Ballroom http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10245-american-classicsmdashold-new-diverse-works-come-to-pabst-theater-turner-hall-ballroom.html When young composer Aaron Copland (1900-90) witnessed how dancer/choreographer Martha Graham turned his Piano Variations into the “very striking” ballet Dithyramb, he decided to see if they could next work collaboratively on an original stage work. Though she readily agreed, the project wouldn’t materialize for more than...]]> Mixed Results for Florentine Opera’s ‘Elmer Gantry’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10248-mixed-results-for-florentine-operarss-lselmer-gantryrs.html Last weekend Florentine Opera presented Elmer Gantry, a new opera based on the Sinclair Lewis novel premiered in Nashville in 2007. This venture into Americana is more related to mid-20th-century American opera (Susannah, The Ballad of Baby Doe, Regina) than...]]> Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Emotional American Music http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10186-milwaukee-symphony-orchestrarss-emotional-american-music.html Concert programming can be mysterious business. On paper last weekend’s Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert appeared to be a hodgepodge mix of American music. In practice it turned out to be an emotional rollercoaster with satisfying, accumulative effect. Aaron Copland’s El Salón México paints a wonderfully colorful picture of a Mexico City dance hall visited by the composer. My guess is that there was limited...]]> Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s World-Class Beethoven http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10116-milwaukee-symphony-orchestrarss-world-class-beethoven.html When listening to classical music, acoustics and where you sit in the hall are almost as important as the performance itself. At the Sunday afternoon Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert I was seated in row J on the main floor, about eight or nine rows closer than my regular seats. That doesn’t seem like much, but the difference was enormous. Further back in the hall the sound...]]> America’s 20th Century in Music at MSO - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10099-americarss-20th-century-in-music-at-mso-classical-preview.html When commissioned by the eminent conductor Walter Damrosch for a new orchestral work for his New York Philharmonic, little did composer George Gershwin (1898-1937) know that he would produce one of the most endearing...]]> Random Entity - Another Great Performance at Alverno http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10074-random-entity-another-great-performance-at-alverno.html MSO Treads Beethoven’s ‘New Path’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10043-mso-treads-beethovenrss-lsnew-pathrs.html Shortly after 1800, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) told a friend he would soon “pursue a new path” in music. Heretofore his output—though quite distinctly his own—was clearly indebted to the Haydn-Mozart tradition. As great as Beethoven’s early works...]]> Danceworks Puts Hollywood in Motion http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10044-danceworks-puts-hollywood-in-motion.html The Danceworks Performance Company’s enjoyable new show “Lights, DPC…Action!,” playing through March 7 at Danceworks Studio Theatre, is such a work of love...]]> McGegan, Almond’s Fresh ‘Seasons’ at MSO - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9957-mcgegan-almondrss-fresh-lsseasonsrs-at-mso-classical-review.html About 10 years ago I wrote that Nicholas McGegan should narrate a PBS series on classical music. His witty remarks...]]> ‘Action!’ at Danceworks - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9958-lsaction_rs-at-danceworks-dance-preview.html John Lill, Soloists Shine at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9883-john-lill-soloists-shine-at-milwaukee-symphony-orchestra-classical-review.html A year and a half since its acquisition, the new Steinway piano at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has quickly become a welcome friend. I was again reminded of the instrument’s quality of sound and touch in John Lill’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s...]]> Milwaukee Ballet Showcases ‘Innovative Motion’Milwaukee Ballet Showcases ‘Innovative Motion’ - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9884-milwaukee-ballet-showcases-lsinnovative-motionrsmilwaukee-ballet-showcases-lsinnovative-motionrs-dance-review.html MSO’s ‘Four Seasons’ in a Single Evening - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9857-msorss-lsfour-seasonsrs-in-a-single-evening-classical-preview.html When you see that Nicholas McGegan is the guest conductor of a Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert, you can expect that the Baroque-through...]]> Chamber Music Beautifully Phrased - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9853-chamber-music-beautifully-phrased-classical-review.html Present Music’s Mixed Bag at Turner Hall Ballroom - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9807-present-musicrss-mixed-bag-at-turner-hall-ballroom-classical-review.html As is often the case with Present Music, the well-attended concert on Saturday night at Turner Hall Ballroom was a mixed bag, roaming from contemporary chamber works to...]]> Milwaukee Ballet’s ‘Innovative Motion’ - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9808-milwaukee-balletrss-lsinnovative-motionrs-dance-preview.html Plenty to Like in Skylight Opera’s ‘Marriage of Figaro’ - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9724-plenty-to-like-in-skylight-operarss-lsmarriage-of-figarors-classical-review.html Distinguished opera composer Dominick Argento once said to me, “The characters in The Marriage of Figaro are so rich, in both text and music, that I know them better than I know my own family.” There are plenty of reasons to see the new production of Mozart’s opera (sung in English) at Skylight Opera Theatre. Bill Theisen’s direction keeps the characters clear and the complex story moving forward...]]> Quartets Through the Ages With Fine Arts Quartet - Also: Frankly Music presents Brooklyn Rider http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9710-quartets-through-the-ages-with-fine-arts-quartet-also-frankly-music-presents-brooklyn-rider.html Out of necessity and limited resources true creation can emerge. Witness the case of a young Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) who had but two violinists, a violist and cellist at hand to fulfill the desire of a royal patron for new music. Haydn essentially became the founder of the string quartet—one of the fundamental genres of Classical Music...]]> Romantic Russian Quartets at Wisconsin Conservatory of Music - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9636-romantic-russian-quartets-at-wisconsin-conservatory-of-music-classical-preview.html As a creative artist, Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) was perhaps the most accomplished of the late-19th-century Russian nationalist composers; his remarkable gifts were evident in nearly every work he wrote. Alas, there aren’t very many, for composing was always merely his part-time job. Indeed, it often took years for works to be finished...]]> ‘In Paradisum’ With MSO - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9572-lsin-paradisumrs-with-mso-classical-preview.html The effect of location on a composer’s works cannot often be overstated. Witness the output of late-Renaissance composer Giovanni Gabrieli (1553-1612), who succeeded his uncle (and fellow composer) Andrea Gabrieli as music director of Venice’s St. Mark Cathedral in 1586. Therein, he purposely...]]> MSO, Johannes Moser’s Intriguing Shostakovich - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9573-mso-johannes-moserrss-intriguing-shostakovich-classical-review.html The dark, cold winter has always been a good time for listening to substantial music, such as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert heard last Saturday night. Johannes Moser...]]> Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra: More Cowbell! - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9484-milwaukee-symphony-orchestra-more-cowbell_-classical-preview.html The works on the upcoming Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert all stem from the tumultuous 20th century, descending back in time as the program progresses. In 1991, Scottish composer James MacMillan (b. 1959) composed his...]]> Catey Ott’s ‘Total Emersion’ at Danceworks - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9486-catey-ottrss-lstotal-emersionrs-at-danceworks-dance-review.html I think choreographer Catey Ott, a student of yoga, wants to honor that practice for its power to center, calm, strengthen, renew and summon the courage to go on. The full title of the program presented by her Catey Ott Dance Collective at Danceworks Studio Theatre last weekend, Total Emersion = Emotion Emission Immersion...]]> Cirque de la Symphonie Excites With MSO - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9423-cirque-de-la-symphonie-excites-with-mso-classical-review.html Combining aerialists, jugglers and acrobats with classical music played by an orchestra is the most exciting idea to hit the symphonic pops circuit in some time. Cirque de la Symphonie played three concerts with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last weekend to large and diverse audiences. The best thing about the Saturday evening performance was...]]> MSO’s ‘Messiah’: A Milwaukee Holiday Tradition? - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9300-msorss-lsmessiahrs-a-milwaukee-holiday-tradition-classical-review.html The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra presented a run of five performances of Messiah last week at three locations. I caught the Saturday evening performance at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, our city’s traditional, grand and elegant space. The cathedral is also Milwaukee’s most acoustically satisfying among its large churches...]]> Milwaukee Ballet’s Magical ‘Nutcracker’ - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9219-milwaukee-balletrss-magical-lsnutcrackerrs-dance-review.html The Milwaukee Ballet’s Nutcracker creates a child’s world without condescension. It charms like a happy youngster running up to you with open arms. Michael Pink’s choreography is also intellectually satisfying in that careful attention is paid to narrative logic...]]> Anonymous 4, Minus 1, Still Magical at Early Music - Plus: Prometheus Trio's rich performance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9220-anonymous-4-minus-1-still-magical-at-early-music-plus-prometheus-trios-rich-performance.html The old adage “the show must go on” came to mind Saturday evening when one member of the vocal quartet Anonymous 4 was hospitalized not long before the 5 p.m. Early Music Now concert at St. Joseph Center Chapel. If the remaining three members were agitated by circumstances (and who wouldn’t be?), it was not apparent...]]> UW-Milwaukee Dancers Provide New ‘Insight’ - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9142-uw-milwaukee-dancers-provide-new-lsinsightrs-dance-preview.html Holiday Concerts By Early Music Now, Bel Canto Chorus - Classical Christmas celebrations in Milwaukee http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9119-holiday-concerts-by-early-music-now-bel-canto-chorus-classical-christmas-celebrations-in-milwaukee.html The great thing about Classical Music around the holidays is that there is just so much of it available, and none need fall into the dreaded schmaltz category (all too easy to do at Christmastime). Indeed, two local ensembles avoid the cheap stuff and go right for the luxuries of Christmas past...]]> Trios Through the Ages at Wisconsin Conservatory of Music - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9028-trios-through-the-ages-at-wisconsin-conservatory-of-music-classical-preview.html One hundred and fifty years separate the works on the upcoming concert by the Prometheus Trio; hence concertgoers will be exposed to very different styles of chamber music composition in these four works for violin, cello and piano. Wolfgang Mozart (1756-91) completed his first trio when he was 20 years old, then didn’t return to the form for a decade, but when he did he created far more sophisticated...]]> Frankly Music’s Untamed Shostakovich - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8991-frankly-musicrss-untamed-shostakovich-classical-review.html Set Design Undermines Florentine Opera’s ‘Tosca’ - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8992-set-design-undermines-florentine-operarss-lstoscars-classical-review.html I have never experienced an opera performance more undermined by poor set design than the Florentine Opera Tosca production that opened last Friday evening. Noele Stollmack’s set consisted of an uncomfortably steep raked platform, vast drab spaces in dark colors, and little else. Chic contemporary minimalism simply...]]> Vienna Boys Choir Comes to South Milwaukee http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8953-vienna-boys-choir-comes-to-south-milwaukee.html Classical Music trivia questions: What do composers Mozart, Caldara, Biber, Salieri and Bruckner have in common? Or: What do composer Franz Schubert and conductors Hans Richter, Felix Mottl and Clemens Krauss share in common? There’s but one direct link...]]> Florentine Opera Presents ‘Tosca’: Puccini’s Superb Shocker - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8893-florentine-opera-presents-lstoscars-puccinirss-superb-shocker-classical-preview.html Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) first came across Victorien Sardou’s play La Tosca while it swept Europe’s theaters in the late 1880s, featuring Sarah Bernhardt in the title role. He immediately thought it most apropos for opera. With a larger-than-life villain, distressed heroine and doomed romantic hero, indeed he was right, but...]]> MSO, Renes’ Emotional Bruckner Symphony No. 8 - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8894-mso-renesrs-emotional-bruckner-symphony-no-8-classical-review.html When guest conductor Lawrence Renes was last at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra he led a questionable account of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Based on that, I did not know what to expect with his return to MSO last weekend to conduct Anton Bruckner’s...]]> Turtle Island Quartet, Luna Negra Dazzle at Wilson Center - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8895-turtle-island-quartet-luna-negra-dazzle-at-wilson-center-dance-review.html In a move of programming both bold and innovative, the Turtle Island Quartet came to the Wilson Center for the Arts for two nights last weekend. The sold-out performances kept audiences spellbound, whether the quartet played solo or in collaboration with...]]> Bruckner’s Eighth: A Whale of a Symphony - Classic Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8673-brucknerrss-eighth-a-whale-of-a-symphony-classic-preview.html The symphonies of Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) are often compared to things huge and noble, like mountains and forests and sunrises and sunsets. They are so expansive they seem to suggest vast glorious landscapes. Like whales, though big and weighty, they’re also supremely graceful. A poet once wrote that Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony would make a good peace treaty between humans and whales. Bruckner lived in landlocked...]]> Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Adrift in Shostakovich, Mozart Works - Classic Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8674-milwaukee-symphony-orchestra-adrift-in-shostakovich-mozart-works-classic-review.html The young South Korean conductor Shi-Yeon Sung had the unenviable position of being the first guest conductor in this MSO season. In all other concerts before this, including regional touring, the musicians have essentially been through a bracing orchestral boot camp led by new music director Edo de Waart. The discipline and ensemble improvements in balance...]]> Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Sensational ‘Bluebeard’s Castle’ - Early Music Now showcases Kirkby, Lindberg http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8592-milwaukee-symphony-orchestrarss-sensational-lsbluebeardrss-castlers-early-music-now-showcases-kirkby-lindberg.html As a critic I don’t come across many breakthrough events that go far beyond expectations into sensational territory, showing what’s possible. Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s concert performance last weekend of Béla Bartók’s opera Bluebeard’s Castle was electrifying and magnificent, the first watershed achievement of the Edo de Waart era at MSO...]]> Photography and Animals: ‘Simone Ferro and Friends II’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8598-photography-and-animals-lssimone-ferro-and-friends-iirs.html Danceworks is presenting “Simone Ferro and Friends II,” a concert of related dances by Ferro, including an excerpt from the wild Urrou, Urrou (which premiered last June at UW-Milwaukee) and four brand-new works. The unifying piece, I think, is Snapshots, created for two men and six women, all fine, from the...]]> London Symphony Orchestra - Bluebeard's Castle (LSO Live) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8473-london-symphony-orchestra-bluebeards-castle-%2528lso-live%2529.html Simone Ferro’s Dance Without Boundaries - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8476-simone-ferrorss-dance-without-boundaries-dance-preview.html Dancing with ‘Cinderella’ at Milwaukee Ballet - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8477-dancing-with-lscinderellars-at-milwaukee-ballet-dance-review.html The pastel kingdom painted on the front drop revealed a world of substance and feeling in Michael Pink’s humane, new version of Cinderella for the Milwaukee Ballet. His choreography was a perfect match for the chromatic melodies and complex harmonies of Prokofiev’s score, played gorgeously by the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra...]]> Milwaukee Symphony Chorus’ Moving ‘In Memoriam’ - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8480-milwaukee-symphony-chorusrs-moving-lsin-memoriamrs-classical-review.html MacDowell Club Showcases Young Composers - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8401-macdowell-club-showcases-young-composers-classical-preview.html MSO, Joyce Yang’s Dazzling Rachmaninoff - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8402-mso-joyce-yangrss-dazzling-rachmaninoff-classical-review.html I continue to marvel at what I’m hearing at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. In only four programs, plus some regional touring, since beginning as music director, Edo de Waart has fundamentally changed...]]> Alverno Presents Molly Shanahan’s World Premiere - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8391-alverno-presents-molly-shanahanrss-world-premiere-dance-preview.html Frankly Music’s Knockout Performance - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8456-frankly-musicrss-knockout-performance-classical-review.html Frankly Music, Milwaukee’s best chamber music series, began a new season last Monday in a concert at Wisconsin Lutheran College. It was a near sellout, despite the Packers-Vikings-Favre drama playing out on television. Some Wisconsinites apparently prefer Brahms to football. Violinist Frank Almond, concertmaster at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Frankly Music artistic...]]> Rachmaninoff Masterpieces at MSO - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8302-rachmaninoff-masterpieces-at-mso-classical-preview.html “A composer’s music should express the country of his birth, his love affairs, his religion… I compose because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.” That succinct statement given in an interview with an American journalist perfectly encapsulates the whole career...]]> ‘Cinderella’ Worthy of Love at Milwaukee Ballet - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8300-lscinderellars-worthy-of-love-at-milwaukee-ballet-dance-preview.html Michael Pink, Milwaukee Ballet’s artistic director, has choreographed an entirely original version of Cinderella to open his company’s 40th season. He speaks with great feeling for the fairy tale, which may be the world’s oldest. A 2,000-year-old Sanskrit version exists...]]> Cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s Gorgeous Tone at MSO Concert - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8232-cellist-yo-yo-marss-gorgeous-tone-at-mso-concert-classical-review.html Yo-Yo Ma is the biggest draw in classical music. In a gala concert with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last Wednesday he delivered everything we’ve come to expect from him in the Schumann Cello Concerto: gorgeous tone, heartfelt commitment and obvious joy in passionate...]]> Edo de Waart’s Vibrant MSO Debut - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8148-edo-de-waartrss-vibrant-mso-debut-classical-review.html Standard repertory is often performed in a generalized mix of style and tradition. Even good results are undistinguished as a result. A better, higher route is fresh and vibrant consideration. This requires rehearsal time, but also intellectual insight and evolved aesthetic taste. Edo de Waart has both those qualities and more...]]> WCM’s ‘Music and Times of Jane Austen’ - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8142-wcmrss-lsmusic-and-times-of-jane-austenrs-classical-preview.html Among classical composers, there are many who achieved widespread fame only after their deaths. For the most part toiling in relative obscurity, their works came to be known to a few close friends, perhaps a patron or fellow composer or two during their lifetimes. But among writers...]]> MSO to Perform Mahler’s Fifth Symphony http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8094-mso-to-perform-mahlerrss-fifth-symphony.html Early Music Now Presents Galileo’s Daughters http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8095-early-music-now-presents-galileorss-daughters.html Early Music Now embraces this season’s theme (Across Borders—Across Time) with an enveloping grasp in its first concert of the season, highlighted by the appearance of New York City-based Galileo’s Daughters. This trio (Sarah Pillow, Mary Anne Ballard and Ronn McFarlane) found inspiration in former New York Times...]]> Skylight Opera Theatre’s Richly Detailed ‘Barber of Seville’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8096-skylight-opera-theatrerss-richly-detailed-lsbarber-of-sevillers.html The Barber of Seville, Rossini’s frothy favorite, opened the Skylight Opera Theatre (which previously called itself simply The Skylight) season last weekend. Director Bill Theisen’s production, conventionally set in the 18th century, is rich in detail...]]> Wild Space Dance Company’s Ambitious ‘Elements’ - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8097-wild-space-dance-companyrss-ambitious-lselementsrs-dance-review.html Wild Space Dance Company opened its season last weekend with the premiere of Trace Elements, a generous, daringly ambitious and wholly successful reflection on Milwaukee’s Historic Turner Hall that made the building again a home to working visionaries...]]> Wild Space Dance Company’s ‘Trace Elements’ of Milwaukee’s Past - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7974-wild-space-dance-companyrss-lstrace-elementsrs-of-milwaukeerss-past-dance-preview.html Nineteenth-century German Romantics anguished over the discrepancy between what the unfettered mind can imagine and the earthbound body can achieve. Physical training programs, which included rhythmic movement and gymnastics, were cultivated in an effort to bridge that gap and bring individuals closer to ideals of health, harmony...]]> Turner Hall Suits Present Music’s ‘Gnarly Buttons’ - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7975-turner-hall-suits-present-musicrss-lsgnarly-buttonsrs-classical-review.html Present Music has settled into Turner Hall for four of its six 2009-10 concerts. The funky space suits the group, and acoustics are satisfying, but Turner Hall is not without its problems. A low rumble came through the floor on the right side of the hall at the concert last Saturday evening, a constant distraction. Light was scarce; I resorted to reading...]]> Skylight Opera Presents ‘The Barber of Seville’ - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7976-skylight-opera-presents-lsthe-barber-of-sevillers-classical-preview.html Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), he accepted a contract to work for Naples’ theaters, but other cities, too, clamored for his considerable felicity, and it was for a Roman audience that he composed Il barbiere. Though he was but 24 at the time and eventually composed some 32 operas, this work swept the theaters of Europe like few others...]]> Performance Art Showcase: 9/9/09 - Performance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7936-performance-art-showcase-9_9_09-performance-review.html Mozart’s Operas on CD - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7819-mozartrss-operas-on-cd-classical-review.html For classical music lovers, there's something special about owning a great composer's complete works or particular genre (symphonies, concertos, etc.). In a sense we feel we own a piece of the composer's very being, come closer to his soul, find comfort in knowing that we are not missing any hidden gems. For the legion of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart... ]]> Adventures with Number 9 at Performance Art Showcase - Performance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7820-adventures-with-number-9-at-performance-art-showcase-performance-preview.html Here's a quick history of Milwaukee's indispensable Performance Art Showcase, founded by Pegi Taylor/Christiansen in 2004 and co-produced annually by Taylor/Christiansen and John Loscuito. The 2004 and 2005 showcases at Vogel Hall in the Marcus Center took the form of vaudeville revues, introducing audiences to the rich variety of local performance art and proposing many definitions for it. The subtly competitive aspect... ]]> Alan Hovhaness’ Dawn Hymn at UW-Parkside - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7821-alan-hovhanessrs-dawn-hymn-at-uw-parkside-classical-preview.html Vladimir Horowitz at Carnegie Hall - Sony Masterworks issues the pianist's private collection http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7744-vladimir-horowitz-at-carnegie-hall-sony-masterworks-issues-the-pianists-private-collection.html Nowadays a concert can be recorded on someone's cell phone. Quality may be dismal, but in the YouTube era the quantity of homemade recordings is overwhelming. It wasn't always so. In classical music, until recently, great performances evaporated into the air every night. However, some performers managed to record themselves...]]> Shostakovich’s First and Last Symphonies - Mariinsky Orchestra showcases triumph and tribulation http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7665-shostakovichrss-first-and-last-symphonies-mariinsky-orchestra-showcases-triumph-and-tribulation.html In 1925, at the age of 19, Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his first symphony, and in 1971, at age 65, he completed his last, No. 15. In between were years of triumph and tribulation as Soviet oppression waxed and waned. Under Stalin, Shostakovich traded the hero's mantle for the pall of suspicion; surviving the dictator, he regained the approval of the regime. Outside the Soviet Union...]]> Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s Tribute to Francisco Trrega - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7416-wisconsin-conservatory-of-musicrss-tribute-to-francisco-t%25E1rrega-classical-preview.html The story of Spanish composer and guitar virtuoso Francisco The story of Spanish composer and guitar virtuoso Francisco Trrega (1852-1909) shows the power of persistenceand a little parental encouragement early in life... ]]> Andreas Delfs’ Farewell Record - MSO, Roberto Sierra's solemn Latin fanfare http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7250-andreas-delfsrs-farewell-record-mso-roberto-sierras-solemn-latin-fanfare.html Andreas Delfs conducted several recording sessions with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra during his 12-year tenure as music director. Although he was sometimes criticized for cautious programming, his final CD with the MSO ventured into the less familiar symphonic world of contemporary music. Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra infuses the Caribbean rhythms of his island home into the classical symmetry... ]]> Summer Arts in the Park at Wisconsin Lutheran College - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7188-summer-arts-in-the-park-at-wisconsin-lutheran-college-classical-preview.html In the fifth installment of its Summer Arts in the Park concert series, Wisconsin Lutheran College plays host to a veritable smorgasbord of visual and aural entertainment. There will be fine art on display, craft booths to peruse, a silent auction to consider and food and drink to enjoy. The Steve Lewandowski Jazz Trio starts the day's musical performances...]]> Mahler: The Complete Symphonies - Leonard Bernstein's modern take on the maestro http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7189-mahler-the-complete-symphonies-leonard-bernsteins-modern-take-on-the-maestro.html Nowadays conductors and their orchestras scramble for the opportunity to perform the entire cycle of Gustav Mahler's symphonies. They are drawn to the dark and sublime beauty of his music, the emotional and formal twists and turns, the scale and unconventional instrumentation. Mahler is a challenge classical musicians gladly accept...]]> Philip Glass, Dmitri Shostakovich Get Modern - Recent takes on “The Juniper Tree” and “The Nose” http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7067-philip-glass-dmitri-shostakovich-get-modern-recent-takes-on-ldthe-juniper-treerd-and-ldthe-noserd.html When he emerged as part of New York's edgy "downtown scene" in the 1970s, Philip Glass became the target of vituperative put-downs by the older generation of modernist composers and critics in their thrall, who composed and appreciated music according to the dictates of increasingly sterile intellectual theories. Fortunately, the spirit of those composers migrated to university...]]> Fine Arts Quartet’s “Summer Evenings of Music” - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6990-fine-arts-quartetrss-ldsummer-evenings-of-musicrd-classical-preview.html Paris-born pianist Miklos Schn has steadily been collecting prizes in chamber music and solo piano at several international competitions and has appeared at many music festivals and concerts in Europe, Asia and the United States. He founded the Weber Trio in 1994 and is currently artistic director of France's Festival aux Chandelles. The Fine Arts Quartet, artists-in-residence...]]> Present Music Hypnotizes with Spice Wave - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6929-present-music-hypnotizes-with-spice-wave-classical-review.html Andreas Delfs’ Last Concert - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6930-andreas-delfsrs-last-concert-classical-review.html Andreas Delfs’ MSO Legacy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6859-andreas-delfsrs-mso-legacy.html A few weeks ago I said that more than any other composer, Brahms is the sound of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra during the Andreas Delfs era. Last Saturday night's performance of Brahms' Symphony No. 1 supported that statement. The combination of Delfs and the MSO...]]> Present Music Heads East for Season Finale - Kala Ramnath adds raga mastery to bill featuring Glass, Nyman and Riley http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6857-present-music-heads-east-for-season-finale-kala-ramnath-adds-raga-mastery-to-bill-featuring-glass-nyman-and-riley.html 2008-2009 has been an interesting season for Milwaukee's premier exponents of recent classical music, Present Music. Despite economic woes, attendance has been affected slightly, if at all. And Present Music expanded its scope of venues to include Discovery World, the Wherehouse and Turner Hall Ballroom...]]> From Mozart to Radiohead at Anderson & Roe Concert - Plus: Andreas Delfs' grand finale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6858-from-mozart-to-radiohead-at-anderson-roe-concert-plus-andreas-delfs-grand-finale.html Anderson & Roe, which by now has traveled frequently, performing across the country. In 2008 they release their first CD, Reimagine, and indeed, "reimagine...]]> French Sophistication - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6756-french-sophistication-classical-review.html Of the top pianists touring the world playing recitals and concertos, Jean-Yves Thibaudet achieves something that is increasingly elusive in contemporary classical music. Instead of standard-issue mastery of the keyboard-no small accomplishment, however lacking in individuality it may be-he plays with distinctive sound and style. His return engagement last weekend with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra was brilliant...]]> Coming to the Milwaukee Symphony: Mahler's Eighth - Imagine the Whole Universe Bursts into Song http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6639-coming-to-the-milwaukee-symphony-mahlers-eighth-imagine-the-whole-universe-bursts-into-song.html Lively Pirates - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6680-lively-pirates-classical-review.html

The Skylight has a long tradition of Gilbert & Sullivan, which has often been some of the company's best work. Such was the case with The Pirates of Penzance, which opened last Friday. I happily recommend this production to anyone who likes operas, operettas or musicals. The good cast features a nearly ideal Frederic in lyric tenor Robert M. Boldin, charming and believably openhearted. Niffer Clarke...

]]>
Centennial Celebration - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6681-centennial-celebration-classical-review.html Appeals to Eternity - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6662-appeals-to-eternity-classical-preview.html Weltschmerz in Music - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6596-weltschmerz-in-music-classical-preview.html The tumultuous events of the 20th century had a profound effect upon Western music, sweeping Romanticism away and leaving the last of its adherents to become increasingly anachronistic or embrace rapid change. The next Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert under guest conductor Pietari Inkinen explores...]]> Exotic Mysteries - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6521-exotic-mysteries-classical-review.html Two Early Music Now concerts this season diverted into folk music, a broader definition of what comprises "early music." And why not? Last fall Trio Mediaeval presented a program of Nordic folk songs. Music from the opposite end of Europe was featured in a concert Saturday night by Kitka at the Basilica of St. Josaphat. Kitka, a women's vocal ensemble based in San Francisco, specializes in music from southeastern Europe, particularly from Bulgaria. Music of this...]]> Reflecting on the Past - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6522-reflecting-on-the-past-dance-preview.html

Ferne Caulker, founder and artistic/executive director of Ko-Thi Dance Company, pauses before responding to the question of how she generated the idea to celebrate 40 years of history for her dance company. Then her candor steps right up. "We had no money," she says jokingly, but with a serious undertone. "And then I said, 'How can we celebrate our 40th year without any...

]]>
Dance Along with the Common People - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6430-dance-along-with-the-common-people-dance-preview.html For better or for worse, big-budget arts groups like the Milwaukee Rep and the Milwaukee Ballet are obligated to offer an annual repertoire of standards like A Christmas Carol or The Nutcracker, respectively. The guaranteed box-office returns enable them to finance the production of riskier pieces outside of the audience's comfort zone that...]]> Magical Tapestry - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6423-magical-tapestry-classical-review.html

Rene Fleming is without question the opera diva of the day. She appeared in a gala concert at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last Thursday evening, celebrating the long tenure of her old friend Andreas Delfs as music director. Richard Strauss' lush and poignant Four Last Songs especially suit Fleming's voice...

]]>
Edgy and Exciting - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6367-edgy-and-exciting-classical-review.html Two little known and innovative Vivaldi violin concertos (so obscure that orchestra parts previously did not exist) were featured on the season finale of Frankly Music last Monday at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Series director Frank Almond played the solo line with sparing vibrato, used primarily only on long notes as a color device. At its best it was rhythmically sizzling, edgy and exciting, and appropriate on the period violin he plays. I think Almond ]]> Brahmsian Color - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6368-brahmsian-color-classical-review.html More than in any other music, Brahms is the sound of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in the era of Andreas Delfs, which ends in June. A favorite of Delfs, Brahms' Symphony No. 4 returned one more time in the concert I heard on Saturday evening.

The lush, warm sound of the orchestra-the sound that Delfs built-is at its apex in Brahms. The tempo of the first movement was a little...]]>
Aura of an Opera Star http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6348-aura-of-an-opera-star.html Rene Fleming is one of the most glamorous and renowned opera stars in the world. Now at the pinnacle of her spectacularly successful career, her public image highlights a generation of performers who are evolving from the traditional role of opera singer into the more contemporary view of "singing actress." Yet, in one of the most difficult of the vocal arts, challenging...]]> Missing the Magic - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6288-missing-the-magic-classical-review.html

Mozart's The MagicFlute is a fantastical product of the 18th-century Age of Enlightenment. Besides high-minded ideals, it is full of humor and a vast array of character types. Unfortunately, these diverse aspects struggled to come together in the Florentine Opera production of last weekend. The basic elements of music, direction and design all were less than fully realized. Joseph Rescigno's conducting could have...

]]>
Maybe Angels Will Help Them - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6265-maybe-angels-will-help-them-dance-preview.html Few things are as unsettling as falling: the sudden loss of balance, the awkward microsecond of trying desperately to right the ship, the icy rush of vertigo as you go ass-over-teakettle toward the pavement, hoping to God that your insurance premiums are paid up. The universality of this event is the basis for Danceworks Performance Company's The Wide Sky is Falling...]]> Lessons Learned - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6196-lessons-learned-classical-preview.html By his middle years as a composer (often dubbed his "Heroic Period"), Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) had found his own voice to the extent that he was no longer considered a mere extension of Mozart and Haydn. In 1808 he produced two groundbreaking symphonies (the Fifth and Sixth), as well as a set of piano trios (Op. 70), that represent a return to the intimacy of chamber music that Beethoven had set aside for grander forms. Of the Piano Trio in E-Flat Major, Op. 70, No. 2, noted scholar...]]> From Mozart to Minimalism - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6197-from-mozart-to-minimalism-classical-review.html Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Terry Riley were composers who expanded the range of music. What else do they share? Both are filed together under the heading of classical music, even though their music is separated by two centuries and sounds as unalike as imaginable. Sony Classical has just issued CDs of music by Mozart and Riley. The former is a new recording by a veteran virtuoso, pianist Leon...]]> Triumph Over Adversity - Online Exclusive http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6053-triumph-over-adversity-online-exclusive.html Secret Messages - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6031-secret-messages-classical-preview.html In 1899 Finland was just another province of the Russian Empire, but Finnish patriotism was ever on the rise. Even so, movement toward independence had to be cautious. That year, Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) responded to a request for music ostensibly for festivals to be held in aid of the journalists' pension fund. In reality, the effort was aimed at the struggle for freedom. Sibelius composed several short...]]> Genesis Under Pressure - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5933-genesis-under-pressure-dance-preview.html One can only hope that Milwaukee Ballet hired a film crew to document the production of its latest offering, Genesis. It is not difficult to imagine the dramatic potential in taking a performance piece from sketchbook to stage in just three weeks, yet such was the gauntlet thrown down by Milwaukee Ballet Artistic Director Michael Pink. From 30 submissions proposed by artists across...]]> Choral Classic http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5875-choral-classic.html Carl Orff's secular oratorio Carmina Burana is an obvious audience favorite. It is also clear that Andreas Delfs has a strong personal connection to this colorful music. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performance he led in 2005, with minimal costumes and staging, was the best overall performance I have ever heard of it. The MSO performance last weekend, conducted by Delfs, was not quite as engrossing, but had...]]> Keeping Things Loeki - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5787-keeping-things-loeki-classical-preview.html The recorder has wide-ranging and unique qualities, given its pure tone. An instrument of pastorals and love scenes, enormously popular during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, it was gradually supplanted by the flute. Though it no longer has a regular seat at the orchestral table, the recorder has many devotees, finding a decent home in many...]]> Heralding Spring - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5788-heralding-spring-classical-review.html Memorably Baroque http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5704-memorably-baroque.html Baroque opera needs an especially inventive director to relate to contemporary audiences. John La Bouchardire presented a deeply witty staging of Handel's Semele at Florentine Opera last weekend, a run of three performances at the Pabst Theater. The production combined stylized period movement with video projection. The scenery, a recreation of designs by Giuseppe Di Iorio, became a vital part of the direction...]]> Uncharted Venue - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5608-uncharted-venue-classical-review.html Lute Revival - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5609-lute-revival-classical-review.html Few of us have ever encountered a lute quartet. The chance to remedy that void came last Saturday evening at Early Music Now in a concert held at Cathedral Church of All Saints on Juneau Avenue. The Venere Lute Quartet presented a varied program of 16th century original music for this instrumentation, and since the repertory is slight, also arrangements of music of the period. Despite the snow, there was a sizable audience of music...]]> Bring Your Own Commentary - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5610-bring-your-own-commentary-dance-preview.html Semele on the Town - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5533-semele-on-the-town-classical-preview.html Though German-English composer George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) is most widely known for the Messiah, the Water Music and the Royal Fireworks Music, his operas were what his fame rested on in his own time. Today, however, Handel's operas are mainly the province of Baroque enthusiasts and specialists. Semele, HWV 58 (1744), though conceived...

]]>
Unexpected Tribute - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5534-unexpected-tribute-classical-review.html Lukas Foss, composer and music director of Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra 1981-86, died on Feb. 1 at the age of 86. By an odd coincidence of programming planned months ago, Foss' Ode for Orchestra was performed by MSO last weekend. It became a tribute to him. The Ode was composed in 1944 by the German-born Foss, who settled permanently in the United States in 1937. Originally conceived as a memorial for war dead, the music is understandably anguished and...

]]>
Czech Mates - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5488-czech-mates-classical-preview.html The next Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert program contains two rather substantial works by Czech composers and a smaller one by an American. Normally larger pieces outweigh the smaller works on concert programs, but this time the small, opening piece has taken on a sad and unexpected meaning. This is the Ode for Orchestra by Lukas Foss, the Berlin-born pianist... ]]> Sensual Scheherazade http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5306-sensual-scheherazade.html Radiant Rachmaninoff http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5307-radiant-rachmaninoff.html Essential Elegance - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5248-essential-elegance-classical-review.html Bra Burner - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5257-bra-burner-dance-preview.html "I'm actually sitting on my couch researching bra burning right now," says Kelly Anderson, choreographer for Danceworks' upcoming The Bra Project. "In 1968, underground radical women needed a target. The Miss America pageant was live on TV, so they showed up in Atlantic City with a 'freedom' trash can for lipstick, girdles, bras and other 'items of torture.' "They even... ]]> Weekend Chamber Music - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5168-weekend-chamber-music-classical-review.html The Hunt is On! - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5143-the-hunt-is-on_-classical-preview.html Composers often find inspiration for the concertos they write from the instrumentalists they befriend. Witness the four horn concertos of Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791), which are impossible to envision without his close friendship with horn player Joseph Leutgeb (1732-1811). Contemporary press reports concerning Leutgeb's artistry attest to a great and innovative talent-attributes Mozart explored fully in these concertos wherein solo passages...]]> Barreling Through Beethoven http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5103-barreling-through-beethoven.html Symphony No. 9, one of the icons of Western art music, should have a sense of occasion about it. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performance last Saturday night fell short of that. The guest conductor, Lawrence Renes, obviously had a theory about the historical period of the piece, evidenced by a reduced string section and a smaller chorus than usual. ]]> Ready for Your Close-Up? - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5100-ready-for-your-close-up-classical-preview.html Be Embraced, Ye Millions! - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4940-be-embraced-ye-millions_-classical-preview.html Though some rudimentary sketches for a Tenth Symphony were eventually found among his belongings, it is hard to imagine where Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) could have taken the symphonic genre after the completion of his D Minor Symphony-a work written a dozen years after his Seventh and Eighth Symphonies and a fitting culmination of Beethoven's symphonic output. Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 has been called the "Choral Symphony," but that is misleading and a mistake in emphasis, undervaluing the three purely orchestral movements that precede the choral finale. But the title (which was not Beethoven's) understandably...]]> A Mexican Christmas - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4866-a-mexican-christmas-classical-review.html Last Saturday evening Early Music Now returned to a seldom used performance venue, the St. Joseph Center Chapel on Layton Boulevard. A majority of Milwaukeeans have no idea of the existence of this ornate chapel, consecrated in 1917 and adorned with Austrian stained glass and mosaics. In a city of noteworthy church and chapel designs, this distinguished space stands out. Considering the demographics of...]]> A Classical Season - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4775-a-classical-season-classical-preview.html The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops concerts are a well-known and fine annual tradition, but what about a more classical-music-oriented program? The MSO, thankfully, provides us with just such a gift. What better way to start off than with a spirited overture? The MSO (under Resident Conductor Stuart Chafetz) performs the Overture to Le Nozze di Figaro, K. 492 by Mozart (1756-91). Perhaps Mozart's most beloved curtain raiser, its style is based upon the fast-slow-fast form of the Neapolitan sinfonia, nicely setting...]]> Contagious Joy - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4723-contagious-joy-classical-review.html Worried about sounding like the bland sentiments of a Hallmark card, I would not normally use the words love and joy to describe a performance. However, they richly apply to Nicholas McGegan's work as guest conductor with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last weekend. His love and joy in music making is contagious, spreading to the orchestra and the audience. Though I have only heard the last half of the MSO's 50 years, I would guess that McGegan has been the most successful guest conductor...]]> Let it Snow - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4724-let-it-snow-dance-preview.html Madama Misses the Mark - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4608-madama-misses-the-mark-classical-review.html You know that something's not right when you feel no rise of tears at the end of Madama Butterfly, and observe no emotion in anyone in the audience within view. This is despite Puccini's masterfully melodramatic music, and the suicide of a Japanese bride who made the mistake of trusting in the love of an American naval officer. The Florentine Opera production of last weekend missed the mark. The problem probably was not the cast, which was competent to good. On Saturday evening Barbara Divis appeared in the title role. (Robin Follman played the part on Friday and Sunday.) Divis has enough vocal color and...]]> Folk Evolution - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4609-folk-evolution-classical-review.html What is early music? Once in a while an innovative concert on the excellent Early Music Now series raises that question. The vocal ensemble Trio Mediaeval, from Oslo, pushed boundaries and definitions in a program of Norwegian folk songs last Friday night at All Saints' Cathedral. Folk music is old music by nature, its anonymous origins lost in time, passed from one singer to another, and undoubtedly undergoing changes along the way. I recall folk music as incidental content on past Early Music Now concerts, but...]]> Greatest Hits of 1830 - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4610-greatest-hits-of-1830-classical-preview.html On Aug. 7, 1829, 20-year-old Felix Mendelssohn boarded a steamer to visit a group of islands off the west coast of Scotland called The Hebrides. "Towering green waves were rolling into a cavern that was strange beyond belief, its many pillars resembling the interior of a monstrous organ, black, resonant and serving no other purpose than just being there," he wrote of the Isle of Staffa's most famous feature: Fingal's Cave. The encounter inspired him to compose his greatest concert overture...]]> Music To Dream To - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4527-music-to-dream-to-classical-review.html A great piano performance of almost any literature excites me. Somewhere in my adult reaction are the dreams of my 12-year-old pianist self, who listened to recordings by famous artists then ran to the instrument to attempt imitation. Once in a blue moon a gripping performance brings up those delusional boyish hopes, an embarrassing but oddly awakening memory. Sometimes we need to be reminded that music can inspire us to dream. Such thoughts were provoked by Horacio Gutirrez's performance of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Milwaukee...]]> Carulli & Company - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4528-carulli-company-classical-preview.html "Back by popular demand!" is so often misused that people tend to tune it out, but it perfectly fits two upcoming concerts. First there's the pairing of Ensemble Musical Offering (EMO) Artistic Director Joan Parsley with Cuban-born classical guitarist Rene Izquierdo (their joint venture last season was by all accounts a great success). The concert, titled "Baroque Beauty and Classical Gas," takes listeners to EMO's Baroque heart and soul and also through the classical guitar repertoire. Izquierdo performs the Preludio from Partita for Solo Violin No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006 by...]]> Romanticism’s Long Shadow - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4441-romanticismrss-long-shadow-classical-preview.html Classical music is replete with stories of composers who gave us many great works for which posterity is most grateful, but for whom we are left to wonder what might have been had they lived longer. One such story is that of Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940). Born in Durango, Mexico, Revueltas studied in Mexico City, Austin, Texas, and Chicago, spending much of the 1920s in the United States. He spent the '30s in his native Mexico (apart from a tour of Spain in 1937), and was assistant conductor of the Orquesta Sinfnic...]]> Balance and Expression - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4414-balance-and-expression-classical-review.html A fundamental strength of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is the high artistry of a few key musicians. Among them is Todd Levy, soloist in the concerts of last weekend in Carl Maria von Weber's Clarinet Quintet. (The string quartet parts were given to a reduced string section.) With masterful technique Levy demonstrated why the clarinet is the most richly multi-faceted of woodwind instruments. Levy presented arresting contrasts and colors: bubbling fountains of sound, plaintive melancholy, athletic leaps and scales, ethereally birdlike ornaments, the...]]> Sit Down and Dance - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4415-sit-down-and-dance-dance-preview.html Quartet for Our Time - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4268-quartet-for-our-time-classical-preview.html Like many composers plying their trades throughout the 20th century, France's Olivier Messiaen (1908-92) was profoundly affected by war-in his case World War II, which raged across Europe from 1939 to 1945. But few composers were as completely immersed in the calamitous event as Messiaen. Messiaen joined the army upon the outbreak of war, but when the German Blitzkrieg overran France in the spring of 1940, he found himself a prisoner of war. While in a German prison camp (Stalag VIII-A outside Grlitz in Silesia) he composed...]]> Intellect and Emotion - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4254-intellect-and-emotion-classical-review.html There is never a shortage of extremely talented, elite young musicians who want to tour the world playing concertos and recitals. Almost none of them have the complete artistry of American violinist Stefan Jackiw, who made his debut with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last weekend. Jackiw played the Stravinsky Violin Concerto with refined and deep technique, freshness, consistent and warm tone, incisive rhythm and tasteful grace. The sophisticated performance was an ideal balance of intellect and emotion. Even at 23, Jackiw has the assurance of someone who knows who he is and what he has to say. His choice of encore on Saturday evening-a slow solo Bach movement-and his spaciously poetic, intensely quiet interpretation... ]]> Friends in High Places - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4179-friends-in-high-places-classical-preview.html There's a familiar saying about the key to business success: "It's not what you know but who you know." To some degree, the same can be said of composers, a point made quite evident in the next concert of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under Music Director Designate Edo de Waart. Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826), one of the great figures of early German Romanticism, grew up in a traveling family of musicians, picking up his musical education mostly on the road (though later he would study with Michael Haydn as well). As with many composers of his age, he fell under Mozart's spell, but remained largely ignorant of...]]> Defining the Audience - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4098-defining-the-audience-classical-review.html    Who is the audience? It is the most often recurring thought I have as a critic. The place of classical music in culture is central to the pondering, but the question also boils down to local issues. As someone who attends more than most, it is endlessly interesting to ponder why and how our top Milwaukee professional performing groups attract different audiences. Is it venue? Marketing? Is it the musical literature programmed? The performances? Are the reasons social? Is the answer about a comfort zone of familiarity that formed years ago for reasons long forgotten?]]> Rachmaninoff’s Romantic Vision http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4034-rachmaninoffrss-romantic-vision.html The Sound of Tango - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4077-the-sound-of-tango-classical-review.html Fiftieth-Year Festivities - Classical Reveiw http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3797-fiftieth-year-festivities-classical-reveiw.html Any organization that survives 50 years deserves to celebrate. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra crosses that milestone this season, and kicked off commemorations with a 50th Anniversary Gala last Thursday evening. The unsentimental truth is that at 50 the ensemble is almost certainly at its peak in quality. Its best years are likely yet to come. Itzhak Perlman was guest artist for the Beethoven Violin Concerto. The audience was excited by his presence, and perhaps did not notice that there was lagging energy in most of Perlman's first movement. His playing woke up in the cadenza at the end of the movement, but it wasn't until the high, pure melodies of the second movement that... ]]> Monumental Classics - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3798-monumental-classics-classical-preview.html Cirque du Soleil’s Arena Show - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3799-cirque-du-soleilrss-arena-show-dance-preview.html    A series of fast-paced, kaleidoscopic images that blend light, motion, color and sound has long been the essence of the venerable organization Cirque du Soleil. Now, Milwaukee-area audiences will have a rare opportunity to see a restaging of Cirque's very first traveling show, Saltimbanco, which opens a five-day run at the Bradley Center on Oct. 1.  Cirque du Soleil's style borrows heavily from theater, dance and music to create a unique entertainment form, and Saltimbanco promises to make use of these distinctive elements. Cirque, which originated in... ]]> Twentieth-Century La Bohme - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3682-twentieth-century-la-boh%25E8me-classical-review.html Industrial Dance - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3683-industrial-dance-dance-preview.html Beethoven for Five - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3593-beethoven-for-five-classical-preview.html Fate was kind to us in that a singular genius such as Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827) was in the right place and time to so enrich the world of music. His composing career fits into three musical periods. ]]> Eclectic Mix - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3594-eclectic-mix-classical-review.html This past Saturday evening Present Music added Turner Hall to its list of previously unexplored concert venues. The stage, space and acoustics are inviting. With needed refurbishing Turner Hall could become a jewel for classical performances. ]]> The Edge of Classical - Present Music's season opener http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3502-the-edge-of-classical-present-musics-season-opener.html "It's exciting to play new music there," Stalheim says. "You feel the history, and it's like the place is brought back to life." Bringing the feel of old Turner Hall back to life is Sofia Gubaidulina's Witty Waltzing and Igor Stravinsky's Ragtime, two compositions that turn back the clock to the days when the ballroom hosted formal dances. Caroline Mallonee's Keeping Time In a Bottle, a variation on 100 Bottles of Beer in which musicians play empty beer bottles, is a tongue-in-cheek throwback to the old German beer hall tradition. Elena Kats-Chernin's Charleston Noir and Randall Woolf's Hee Haw are digitally sequenced modern variants of antiquated dance numbers . . . ]]> Brahms Revisited - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3439-brahms-revisited-classical-preview.html From March 17-26, 2006, Andreas Delfs led the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in a remarkable Brahms Festival, a series of concerts canvassing the great German master's symphonies, concertos and immortal Deutsches Requiem. Now, as Maestro Delfs begins his 12th and final season as MSO music director, he has chosen not only to revisit all four Brahms symphonies, but also to record them for release on CD. Why does Brahms deserve special attention? "[2008-'09] being my last season in Milwaukee, I wanted to do one more . . . ]]> The Ormandy Sound - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3333-the-ormandy-sound-classical-review.html "Any conductor reflects clearly the instrument he played. My sound is what it is because I was a violinist." So explained Budapest-born American conductor Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985). He was one of the last great giants of conducting whose name became inseparable from the ensemble he led-the Philadelphia Orchestra. His association with Philadelphia began in 1936 and ended in 1980. During this lengthy tenure he fashioned what became known as the "Ormandy Sound"-silken strings, precision in details and overall voluptuousness. ]]> Rediscovering a Lost Pianist - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3105-rediscovering-a-lost-pianist-classical-review.html In an era of young classical titans, whose performances had a wider resonance in a world that was still listening, William Kapell was a rising star. The American pianist’s ascent was cut short by a plane crash in 1953. He was only 31. The last recordings he made have been located and collected on reDiscovered (released by Sony BMG), a two-disc set culled largely from radio broadcasts during Australian tours in the summer and fall of his final year. I say “largely” because the producers of this set weren’t content to leave history alone. A missing section from a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 was “patched” with a recording Kapell made five . . . ]]> Indian Octaves http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3055-indian-octaves.html India’s classical music is closer in spirit to jazz than its Western concert hall counterpart. Just ask Laxman Krishnarao Pandit what he’s going to perform at his upcoming Milwaukee concert. “I will decide only on that day,” he says. “It’s a performance art which is presented then and there. We can’t say beforehand.” ]]> Life, Death, Home, Love - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2920-life-death-home-love-dance-review.html Cinema Symphony - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2849-cinema-symphony-classical-review.html The symphonic tradition was a part of Hollywood even before sound pictures were invented. The pit orchestras that accompanied silent films in the movie palaces usually played swatches of classical music to underscore the mood. From the 1930s through the 1960s studio orchestras with original scores were integral even to many lesser movies. Some Hollywood composers, from Franz Waxman through John Williams, began in the symphony hall before moving to the soundstage.]]> Bach’s Music Lesson http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2714-bachrss-music-lesson.html From Russia with Love - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2654-from-russia-with-love-classical-preview.html A Collaborative Pleasure - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2655-a-collaborative-pleasure-classical-review.html Some classical soloists are distinctive in their idiosyncrasies. Violinist Gil Shaham, who performed with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last weekend, rarely plays to the audience. Rather, he turns to the musicians around him, but primarily to the conductor. You feel as if you are eavesdropping on a collaborative pleasure taking place onstage. Shaham played the Brahms Violin Concerto with an intense, large and colorful tone. He jumped in with both feet to attack formidable challenges and was wonderfully successful, from incisive drama to lyrical spin. Was humidity a factor in his not quite perfect tuning Friday evening? ]]> Talented Teens - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2552-talented-teens-classical-preview.html Contained Expression - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2551-contained-expression-classical-review.html The Power of Three - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2553-the-power-of-three-dance-preview.html Groundbreaking Classics - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2355-groundbreaking-classics-classical-preview.html “Fate blessed him when he was baptized with the perfect name—Felix,” said Robert Schumann when describing fellow composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47). Mendelssohn grew up in the midst of wealth and calm, and to a great extent his music reflects a Romantic spirit, but also great emotional tranquility. Few think him innovative, yet to a large degree Mendelssohn is to be credited with saving the piano concerto from being snuffed out. By 1830, composers like Hummel, Thalberg and Moscheles had brought the piano concerto to something of an artistic dead end, but Mendelssohn, sensing the crisis, drafted his own such effort in 1831, managing therein to breathe new life into a moribund musical genre.]]> Divine Discipline - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2356-divine-discipline-classical-review.html I have thought about violinist Hilary Hahn more than any other musician who works the concerto circuit. She has played here often, nearly every season for many years now, returning last weekend to play with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. I certainly am intrigued by her phenomenal technique and the clarity of her musicality. Beyond that, she has a mystery about her that I find both fascinating and frustrating. I never feel as if I know her when she leaves the stage. At 28 this formerly waifish prodigy now understandably wants to be seen as a young woman. One only needed to look at her concert dress, black and decidedly adult, with a plunging neckline, to get the message. Hahn played the iconic Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, which she is performing with several orchestras through the coming fall . . . ]]> Baroque Masterpiece - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2275-baroque-masterpiece-classical-review.html The Mass in B minor by Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the marvels of musical accomplishments. Its composer seemed to believe that God is, among other attributes, the ultimate intellect. This music achieves its exaltation through rigorous depth, exploring the expansion of every Baroque musical form and compositional device. The Mass in B Minor, performed by Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last weekend, is a mountain Andreas Delfs obviously wanted to climb with the orchestra and chorus. It was an inspired journey. There are certain trade-offs that are givens when a traditional symphony orchestra and chorus present a major Baroque work such as this. ]]> Springtime Classics - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2276-springtime-classics-classical-preview.html Describing a piece of music that combines Russian folk music and Asian-inflected themes as “the peace-loving songs of the conquered and their conquerors joined in harmony” may be an almost alien thought to our 21st-century ears, but such was the thinking of many composers during the 19th . . .]]> Dona Nobis Pacem - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2195-dona-nobis-pacem-classical-preview.html When Johann Sebastian Bach set himself to work on a new composition, it was normally just a matter of days, at most a week or two, before it was finished. Such was certainly not the case with his Mass in B Minor, BWV 232. The fourth part (Sanctus) dates from 1724; the first two parts (Kyrie and Gloria) were completed in 1733; the third part (Credo), as well as the work’s final autograph score, date from 1748, just two years before . . .]]> Vibrant and Joyful - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2196-vibrant-and-joyful-dance-review.html The Milwaukee Ballet brought its season to an exuberant end with a finale that showcased the depth and breadth of the talent in this company, ranging from the classical to the modern, surefooted every step of the way. For sheer visual fun, Antony Tudor's take on the Moulin Rouge, "Offenbach in the Underworld" literally provided a glimpse of the "under" world of the can-can dancers (along with their frilly undergarments) as the different social classes meet up in an 1870s caf, rife with jealousy, flirtations and ensuing brawls. Drawing upon the music of Jacques Offenbach, Tudor . . . ]]> Electrified Presence - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2113-electrified-presence-classical-review.html There aren’t many real stars among instrumentalists in classical music today. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is at the top of the list. In a gala performance with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last Wednesday night Ma portrayed Cervantes’ demented hero in Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote as convincingly as any dramatized version. We expect beautiful tone and masterful phrasing from Ma. I wasn’t prepared for his depth of humanity in this piece and overwhelming musical acting, portraying the character’s swoons, groans and palpable longing. The Don’s aching idealism ended with a heartbreaking death scene from Ma. ]]> Milwaukee Ballet's Season Finale - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2114-milwaukee-ballets-season-finale-dance-preview.html Eclecticism will be emphasized at the season finale of the Milwaukee Ballet, according to Artistic Director Michael Pink. "We try to showcase a number of different styles,” he says. “My aim throughout the year is to find a balance between audience expectations, what everyone is used to and would like to see, and the production of challenging, fresh material."]]> Mysterious Voices - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2034-mysterious-voices-classical-preview.html They are called Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares, or translated, “The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices.” As enigmatic as the name sounds, they are best known for the incredible sounds they produce, particularly when singing the multi-choral folk songs of their native Bulgaria. Composed of 26 performers, this all-female a capella ensemble is touring for the first time in 18 years, making a rare appearance at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater, Friday, May 16. And the music they make is exceptional. Originally known as the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir, Le Mystere was first “discovered” . . . ]]> Imbalanced Collaboration - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1959-imbalanced-collaboration-classical-review.html Repertory Rarity - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1960-repertory-rarity-classical-review.html Vincenzo Bellini’s opera I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues) is the kind of repertory rarity that lifetime opera fans might never encounter. And for good reason. It is not one of the best Bellini scores, nor is it a shining example of Italian opera of its era. So why did Florentine Opera, which only produces three operas each season, feel the need to produce it? The Florentine production, which played for three performances last weekend, was titled Romeo and Juliet. However, the opera is not particularly based on Shakespeare, but rather on Italian novella sources. ]]> Wild Space’s History Lesson - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1961-wild-spacerss-history-lesson-dance-preview.html In 1870, immigrants from the Kaszuby region in northwestern Poland and Germany took up residence on a peninsula between the Milwaukee and Kinnickinnic rivers, finding it a suitable substitute for the Hel Peninsula on the Baltic coast. After digging a channel to create an isolated island, they lived for many years on this small patch of land, subsisting on the fishing industry which was not only a food source, but also made up their entire economy. By 1920, however, the city had begun to commandeer Jones Island for use in the development of a more lucrative and industrialized harbor. Considered “squatters,” the Kaszubian and German immigrants were forced to move from the area, their presence and impact on the city largely forgotten.]]> Strident Debut - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1819-strident-debut-classical-review.html Shakespeare, Italian-Style - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1781-shakespeare-italian-style-classical-preview.html Countless plays, operas and movies have been based on the works of the great Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare (1564-1616), varying from word-for-word adaptations to loose borrowing of plot or characters. Among those who owe a debt to Shakespeare is Italian opera composer Vincenzo Bellini (1801-35), whose I Capuleti e I Montecchi (The Capulets and Montagues) is based on the Bard’s immortal tale of love and death, Romeo and Juliet (1595), albeit several times removed. The libretto by Felice Romani that Bellini used was a reworking of Shakespeare’s legendary tale as first intended for use as Giulietta e Romeo by the composer Nicola Vaccai; and in doing so, Romani drew upon the 1818 play Giulietta e Romeo by Luigi Scevola!]]> Sparkle and Spirit - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1724-sparkle-and-spirit-classical-review.html The Fine Arts Quartet finished their spring season in fine form last Sunday, proving that well-known works can sound fresh and exciting when performed by master musicians. Violinists Ralph Evans & Efim Boico, violist Yuri Gandelsman and cellist Wolfgang Laufer were joined by pianist Gisele Witkowski in the Quintet in E Flat by Robert Schumann, a staple of the chamber music repertoire. This performance showed the Fine Arts at their best, with a rich sound and effortless musicality. Witkowski proved a fully expressive yet sensitive partner to the quartet, the two forces equal in technique and temperament. ]]> Music of the Spheres - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1687-music-of-the-spheres-classical-preview.html This weekend, concertgoers will get a peek into the future with a performance by conductor Edo de Waart, music director designate of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The concert’s first half consists of a work called In Praise of Music by Pennsylvania native Dominick Argento (b. 1927). Typical of many 20th-century composers, his style reflects many influences—tonality, atonality, 12-tone method—but never became “avant-garde,” unlike several of his postwar contemporaries. ]]> From Muscular to Meditative - Armitage is back http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1619-from-muscular-to-meditative-armitage-is-back.html Karole Armitage will bring her Armitage Gone! Dance Company to Alverno College for an evening of performance that will include Ligeti Essays and Time Is the Echo of an Axe Within a Wood, two works created by the estimable choreographer for inclusion in a current spring tour. Formerly referred to as the “Punk Ballerina,” Armitage has been a notable personality in the dance world since her first choreographed piece in 1978. She has found success not only in ballet and interpretive dance realms]]> Shades of Spring - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1572-shades-of-spring-classical-review.html Classical music is as much about acoustics and a sympathetic atmosphere as it is about literature and performance. I recently attended a Vienna Philharmonic concert in the famous Musikverein, a marvel of a Viennese concert hall. The warmth and intimacy of that great space leaves most modern halls, such as our Uihlein Hall, feeling vast and cold. What would our very good Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra—and its anonymous and coughing audience in the spacious dark—become in a better space? The sudden burst of spring weather matched the theme of the MSO concert last weekend. Andreas Delfs led Beethoven Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”), which began with restraint in its first movement, certainly pastoral in spirit]]> Spring Ballet Mix - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1494-spring-ballet-mix-dance-preview.html The Milwaukee Ballet will ring in April with a mixed repertory program as part of its annual “Milwaukee Ballet at the Pabst” series. Consisting of three movements from a trio of young, vibrant, talented choreographers, each section of the 90minute program will feature a different thematic purpose with each commissioned to showcase his or her unique vision. After capturing first prize at the 2nd Genesis International Choreographic Competition held by Milwaukee Ballet in 2007, French-born choreographer Nelly van Bommel has been asked to create another work for the company. “The piece is loosely based on the history of nomadic people or what people more commonly refer to as Gypsies . . . ]]> Influential Classics - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1390-influential-classics-classical-preview.html Composers do not live in a vacuum and thus cannot help but be influenced to some degree by their surroundings and even by the works of other composers. Indeed, some composers have deliberately sought out their cohorts to refresh their thinking or find a new approach. New York-born composer John Corigliano’s (b. 1938) music emphasizes musical architecture, color and dramatic effects, and though steeped in the post-Romantic aesthetic nevertheless shows the influence of the Minimalist and Serialist schools as well. The next Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concert opens with Corigliano’s Fantasia on an Ostinato (1986), a work he based on the Allegretto of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92 (1811). ]]> Champions of Classical Guitar - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1188-champions-of-classical-guitar-classical-preview.html Among the composers most well known to classical music lovers are probably not Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841) or Fernando Sor (1778-1839). The guitar has (as far as Classical Music is concerned) always been something of the ugly stepsister amongst the instruments. ]]> Sounds of the Street - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1187-sounds-of-the-street-classical-review.html Shameless Commerce” was an appropriate title for the annual Early Music Now concert featuring a fundraising auction at intermission. 16th and 17th century vendors’ tunes from London and the English countryside, selling everything from chimney sweeping to oysters, comprised the concert by the ensemble Hesperus at the UW- Milwaukee Zelazo . . .]]> Universal Truths - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1189-universal-truths-classical-review.html Blessed by Brahms - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1127-blessed-by-brahms-classical-preview.html After reading through the score of a brand-new work by a friend and fellow composer, the semiretired Johannes Brahms remarked: “Why on Earth didn’t I know that one could write a cello concerto like this? Had I known, I would have written one long ago.” High praise, indeed, from a man notoriously parsimonious with praise for his contemporary composers. ]]> Bumbling Brass - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1036-bumbling-brass-classical-review.html In their latest concerts (Feb. 24 and 26), the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra under Alexander Platt performed two works of Beethoven paired with a relatively unknown American piece and a quite obscure Estonian work, and Beethoven lost! The concert began with his Fidelio Overture, Op. 72b (1814). The sprightly overture— the fourth Beethoven composed for his only opera and the one that, in his perfectionist estimation, finally made the cut—is a fine choice for a concert opener as well. Platt lead a generally good performance of this work, with driving, sharp and crisp string passages, but there was trouble brewing in the brass section: The several horn calls were uneven and off pitch. Decidedly better was Fratres (1976) by Estonian composer Arvo Prt, a work for strings and percussion—something of an Eastern European counterpart to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Fratres consists . . .]]> Grant Them Rest, Oh Lord - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1039-grant-them-rest-oh-lord-classical-preview.html It was not false modesty that prompted Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) to write to thenfamous singer Maria Waldmann, inviting her to participate in the premiere of his 1883 Messa da Requiem. “You would gain neither reputation nor money from it,” he wrote, continuing that the work’s main attribute was simply that it commemorated a great man. It might, Verdi added, “make history,” not due to “the merit of the music but because of the man to whom it is dedicated.” One supposes he had reason to doubt its lasting value, given its difficult birth. The piece had originally been conceived as a requiem mass to be performed on the first anniversary of the death of the Italian opera master Gioacchino Rossini—a work to be contributed to by several different composers. Verdi wrote a “Libera me” portion for this work, but it just never came off. ]]> Fairies and Mortals - Dance Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1041-fairies-and-mortals-dance-review.html Tragic Seduction - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-959-tragic-seduction-classical-review.html Once in a great while someone comes along whose talent leaves you breathless. Swedish soprano Erika Sunngardh’s performance of the title role in Richard Strauss’ opera Salome last weekend at Florentine Opera was nothing short of magnificent in every regard. This opera, based on the play by Oscar Wilde, is the most disturbing in the repertory. Salome, beautiful princess of Judea, falls in love and lust with the captive John the Baptist (Jochanaan). ]]> Mid-Winter Relief - Dance Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-960-mid-winter-relief-dance-preview.html Guest choreographer Bruce Wells’ adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Milwaukee Ballet couldn’t come at a better time. With thoughts of post-snow warmer weather routinely tantalizing the mind of each Milwaukeean, this fanciful retelling of the Shakespeare play will surely be a welcome treat for those seeking escape in the arts. Facing the challenge of bringing a fresh perspective to a well-known story, Wells relishes finding new ways to engage audiences already familiar with the classic tale ]]> Seduced by Salome - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-865-seduced-by-salome-classical-preview.html Symphony for the Common Man - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-781-symphony-for-the-common-man-classical-preview.html Is he also nothing but a human being? He will…become a tyrant.” So fumed Ludwig van Beethoven (1770- 1827) upon first hearing that Napoleon Bonaparte had crowned himself Emperor of France. No doubt Beethoven felt Napoleon had . . . ]]> Present Music at the Milwaukee Art Museum - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-538-present-music-at-the-milwaukee-art-museum-classical-review.html Songs of Courage - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-701-songs-of-courage-classical-preview.html Musical Truths - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-702-musical-truths-classical-review.html Dominick Argento, a wise man and a major American composer, once said to me, “I’m a better person than I could ever be when I listen to Mozart.” ]]> Frankly Music at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-539-frankly-music-at-the-wisconsin-conservatory-of-music-classical-review.html Musical Storytelling - Classical Preview http://shepherdexpress.com/article-540-musical-storytelling-classical-preview.html Moody Mist of Sound - Classical Review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-454-moody-mist-of-sound-classical-review.html I admit it is somewhat of a relief every year when the holiday season ends and regular concert programming resumes. ]]> Seasonal Relief - Kho-Thi http://shepherdexpress.com/article-263-seasonal-relief-kho-thi.html