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Spring Arts Guide 2017 Calendar: Music in May

Feb. 21, 2017
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My Fair Audrey and Cheek To Cheek (cabaret)
Sharon Lynn Wilson Center for the Arts
May 3

“All Our Own”
We Six
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music
May 4

Like Classical Music, jazz works with a relatively limited repertoire. The jazzman’s originality consists of infusing these “good old good ones” (as Louis Armstrong called them) with his own unmistakable voice. For their annual “All Our Own” program, We Six, the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s resident faculty sextet, bucks the standards for a concert of their own concoctions. These highly literate, always swinging tunes show the sextet to be steeped in the tradition and put to bed any concerns about jazz being dead. (Tyler Friedman)

The Barber of Seville
Florentine Opera
May 5 and 7

“Nights to Remember”
Waukesha Choral Union
May 6

Cantare Chorale
South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center
May 6

“Pioneers and Prodigies”
Festival City Symphony
May 7

“The Classical Era at Holy Hill”
Kettle Moraine Symphony
May 7

“Bloch, Brahms, Auerbach, Dohnányi”
Philomusica String Quartet
Wisconsin Lutheran College Schwan Concert Hall
May 8

This Philomusica String Quartet concert has that perfect balance of familiar and unfamiliar that is one of Classical Music programming’s greatest strengths. The best-known piece is undeniably that of Johannes Brahms—the String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 51, No. 2—so thoroughly evincing Brahms’ unchallenged mastery of traditional music forms, yet with that certain Romantic spirit. The lesser-known works are Landscapes by Swiss composer Ernest Bloch, the Piano Quintet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 1 by Hungarian composer Ernst von Dohnányi, and selections from 24 Preludes for Piano, Op. 41 by Russian-born American composer Lera Auerbach (b. 1973). (John Jahn)

“Jazz Institute Concert” (student production)
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music
May 10

“Symphony and Song” (student production)
Cardinal Stritch University
May 11

“Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4”
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
May 12-13

“Town Hall Stories” (world premiere)
Milwaukee Metropolitan Voices
May 12-21

“The Power of Love”
Concord Chamber Orchestra
St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
May 13

Love is the common thread that runs through this Concord Chamber Orchestra concert, especially the tragic kind. There are three different composers’ takes on the immortal tragedy Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare on the program. The earliest is one the most loved: Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s lush, late-Romantic fantasy-overture, Romeo and Juliet. Less well-known (but lovely, indeed) is the orchestral interlude A Walk to the Paradise Garden from Frederick Delius’ early-20th-century opera, A Village Romeo and Juliet. Finally, there are excerpts for orchestra from Leonard Bernstein’s famous score for West Side Story—a setting of The Bard’s tale in relatively recent times in New York City. (John Jahn)

“Celtic Celebration” (student production)
Milwaukee Children’s Choir
May 13

“Rhythm and Blues” (student production)
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
May 13

“Fanfare and Finale” (student production)
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
May 14

“Season Finale: Czech It Out!”
Frankly Music
Wisconsin Lutheran College Schwan Concert Hall
May 15

Duos and trios from the fine Czechoslovak Classical tradition take center stage when Frankly Music performs their season finale concert, “Czech It Out!,” wherein we find violinist Frank Almond joined by pianist Adam Neiman and cellist Robert DeMaine—the latter the principal cello for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Works on the concert program are the interesting and inventive Leoš Janáček Pohádka for Cello and Piano and Sonata for Violin and Piano, Antonín Dvořák’s famous Piano Trio in E Minor (the Dumky Trio) and—the most “modern” of the works—Bohuslav Martinů’s Duo No. 2 for Violin and Cello. (John Jahn)

Bel Canto Chorus
May 17

“I’ve Got Rhythm” (Pajama Jamboree)
Festival City Symphony
May 17

“Majestic Bruckner”
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
May 19-20

“String Serenade” (student production)
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
May 20

“Metamorphosis” (student production)
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
May 20

“Ode to Music” (student production)
Milwaukee Children’s Choir
May 21

“Symphonic Celebration” (student production)
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
May 21

“Lake County Orchestra Concert”
Oconomowoc Arts Center
May 21

“Yes, Yes, Nonets!”
Milwaukee Musaik
Wisconsin Lutheran College Schwan Concert Hall
May 22

The nonet is rather a rare bird in Classical Music. Quite simply, a nonet is a work for nine instrumentalists, making for a somewhat odd halfway house between chamber music intimacy and orchestral breadth. Milwaukee Musaik gives the nonet its due in its May concert, featuring the combined, glorious sounds of the harp, violin, viola, cello, oboe, flute, clarinet and bassoon. The works on the program are the Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet by Maurice Ravel, the seldom-heard and little-known Nonet in E-Flat Major, Op. 38 of Louise Farrenc and a nonet version of Johannes Brahms’ lovely Serenade No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11—a reconstruction undertaken by Christopher Nex. (John Jahn)

“Progressions: May Melodies” (student production)
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
May 24

“Edo de Waart’s MSO Finale: Mahler’s Symphony No. 3”
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, Uihlein Hall
May 26-28

Mahler’s Third Symphony is an appropriately epic work to conclude Edo de Waart’s eight-season tenure as music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Clocking in between 90 and 105 minutes, Symphony No. 3 is seldom performed for its length and unusual personnel requirements, which call for a women’s choir and boys’ choir in addition to traditional orchestral forces. The result, however, is spectacular. “Imagine a symphony so vast that it reflects the whole world,” wrote Mahler. “An instrument on which the universe plays.” (Tyler Friedman)

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