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Spring Arts Guide 2017 Calendar: Music in April

Feb. 21, 2017
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Florentine Opera: The Billy Goats Gruff (family friendly)
Sharon Lynn Wilson Center for the Arts
April 1

“Bohemian Rhapsody”
Wisconsin Philharmonic
Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts
April 4

Given this concerts’ moniker, you might anticipate the subheading “The Wisconsin Philharmonic Plays the Music of Queen,” but that is not quite the case. Rather (and much more interestingly) you can hear three great works from Czecho-Bohemian composers set in that time-honored overture-concerto-symphony concert format. First is the sprightly overture to the opera The Bartered Bride by Bedřich Smetana. Then we have the immortal, tuneful Cello Concerto in B Minor by Antonín Dvořák featuring cellist Joshua Roman. Finally, the somewhat bizarre (and definitely riveting!) Sinfonietta for Orchestra by Leoš Janáček (1854-1928). (John Jahn)

Imani Winds
UW-Whitewater Young Auditorium
April 5

“Florentine After Dark”
Florentine Opera (At The Center Series)
April 7

La Périchole
UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts
Helene Zelazo Center for the Arts
April 7-8

UWM Opera Theatre, with direction by Jun Kim and lighting and scenic design by LeRoy Stoner, present the delightful opera bouffe La Périchole. This three-act operetta, with libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy and music by the German-born French composer Jacques Offenbach, is loosely based upon the life of a popular 18th-century Peruvian singer who also was, more infamously, mistress of the Viceroy of Peru. These characters influenced Offenbach’s work, wherein we follow a pair of poor street singers and their fortuitous (perhaps?) encounter with Don Andrès de Ribeira—yes, a Peruvian viceroy. (John Jahn)

“Rachmaninoff and Beethoven”
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
April 7-9

“Ltd featuring Livingston Taylor and Tom Chapin with Eva”
Sharon Lynn Wilson Center for the Arts
April 8

“Masterworks Season Finale”
Racine Symphony Orchestra
UW-Parkside Frances Bedford Concert Hall
April 8

The Racine Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Pasquale Laurino will be joined by the winner of the orchestra’s Young Artists’ Competition for the concert finale of their 85th season. In addition, young instrumentalists will join their adult counterparts on stage for the RSO’s Side-by-Side Youth Invitational. One featured work on the program is by the Austrian classical master Joseph Haydn—Symphony No. 94 in G Major, the “Surprise Symphony,” so-called given a rather startling fortissimo chord appearing suddenly amid calm serenity. (John Jahn)

“Barrage 8”
Oconomowoc Arts Center
April 8

Irish Cultural and Heritage Center
April 21

Polly Gibbons
Sharon Lynn Wilson Center for the Arts (Club Series)
April 21

Of Mice and Men (student production)
UW-Washington County
April 21-22

Infusion Baroque with Early Music Now
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
April 22

Early Music Now’s description of this concert deserves quoting in toto: “Grand Prize winners in the 2014 Early Music America Baroque Performance Competition, this young ensemble of Baroque flute, violin, cello and harpsichord players [Infusion Baroque] weaves a lively investigation of the murder of Jean-Marie Leclair into stellar performances of his trio sonatas and a work by his talented rival, Jean-Pierre Guignon.” Murder? Indeed; French composer and violinist Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764) wrote an opera as well as other demi-operas and numerous suites, sonatas and concertos. He was found stabbed to death on a Paris street —a murder never solved…until now? (John Jahn)

“Bunch, Martinů, Schubert”
Prometheus Trio
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Helen Bader Recital Hall
April 24-25

The Prometheus Trio (Margot Schwartz, Scott Tisdel and Stefanie Jacob) have embarked upon their seventh season as the resident string trio of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, continuing with their successful mission to entertain and challenge local audiences with the familiar chestnuts as well as the obscure and unfairly neglected chamber music of the classical repertoire. Their April concert features the Trio in E-Flat Major, D. 929 of Austrian composer Franz Schubert , Trio No. 2 in D Minor by Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů and Swing Shift by American violist and composer Kenji Bunch (b. 1973). (John Jahn)

“Honor Recital”
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
April 28

“Time, Nature, Culture, Sound”
Present Music
Milwaukee Public Museum
April 29

Present Music has always been keen to find new performance spaces and with its April concert, Milwaukee’s ensemble of living music tailored the program to fit the venue. Artistic Director Kevin Stalheim promises performances in the museum’s planetarium theater as well as the rainforest, pre-Columbian, Wisconsin woodlands and dinosaur exhibits. “The audience will be divided in groups that will move from exhibit to exhibit,” he says. “Musical instruments that were used more than 20,000 years ago through the most advanced instruments of our time will be heard in brand new compositions and sound installations.” (David Luhrssen)

“Schumann, Abril, Villa-Lobos and Mignone”
Fine Arts Quartet
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Helen Bader Recital Hall
April 30

As Ralph Evans of the Fine Arts Quartet stated: “I’ve asked our guest piano duo to perform three short works for piano-4-hands in between our two Schumann masterpieces.” Of the latter, Evans refers to the Piano Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 47 and Piano Quintet in E-Flat Major, Op. 44 of that quintessential German Romantic composer, Robert Schumann. The guest pianists, Fabio and Gisele Nacif Witkowski, will play the aforementioned “three short works for piano-4-hands.” These take on a certain Latin American theme: Zapateado by Antón Garcia Abril, The Gaiety of a Children’s Band by Heitor Villa-Lobos and Congada by Francisco Mignone. (John Jahn)

“A Flute Festival”
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
April 30

“Johann Sebastian Bach’s Magnificat
Wisconsin Chamber Choir and UW-Whitewater Chamber Choir
UW-Whitewater Young Auditorium
April 30

Led by Robert Gehrenbeck, the 40-member Wisconsin Chamber Choir joins voices with UW-Whitewater’s Chamber Choir, accompanied by members of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra for a performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s immortal Magnificat in D Major. This work originated in 1723, but Bach reintroduced the work a decade later with changes to instrumentation and alteration or expansion of some of its movements. It’s this later version that will be performed by the assembled multitude on the UWW campus; the version that has long been one of Bach’s most popular and beloved choral works with orchestra. (John Jahn)

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