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Performing Arts Weekly: March 9, 2017

Mar. 7, 2017
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Andrés Cárdenes


Chamber Orchestra Extravaganza @ Schwan Concert Hall, Wisconsin Lutheran College, Monday, March 13

“We are very aware that the survival of the first few years of any organization is crucial to its longevity in existence,” says violinist Jeanyi Kim of our area’s newest chamber music orchestra, Milwaukee Musaik, continuing: “We are hoping that this concert will galvanize the steadily growing, loyal support that seems to be out there and give us the momentum we need to bring in more major financial support.” A ticket to this event, in fact, not only provides such needed support to this excellent ensemble, but also grants access to an evening of fine chamber works.

Milwaukee Musaik’s concert features guest conductor Andrés Cárdenes—Cuban-born violinist, violist, educator, concertmaster and current professor at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music. Cárdenes, who led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for more than 20 years, is joined on the program by violinist Jeanyi Kim and all the Milwaukee Musaik Chamber Orchestra regulars. 

Works they’ll be performing are the melodic String Sonata No. 3 in C Major (1804) by Gioacchino Rossini, the splendidly evocative Trittico Botticelliano (1927) by Ottorino Respighi; the harmonically rich Sinfonia Concertante (K. 364; 1779) by Wolfgang Mozart; and the sparklingly upbeat chamber music suite Much Ado About Nothing by Erich Korngold. This latter piece is a five-movement derivation of the incidental music Korngold composed for a 1918 Viennese staging of William Shakespeare’s famous play.

Elijah @ St. Monica Parish, Whitefish Bay, Sunday, March 12

Bel Canto Chorus’ next concert is entitled “Conviction,” a word the dictionary defines as “a firmly held belief or opinion.” That description, in our current context, refers to two things: composer Felix Mendelssohn’s own religious faith, which inspired a work such as his 1846 oratorio, Elijah, Op. 70, or his nearly religious reverence for his Baroque Era predecessors, Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel. Milwaukee’s Bel Canto Chorus—along with soprano Mathilda Edge, alto Nicole Warner, tenor James Doing and baritone Gerard Sundberg—perform this choral masterpiece. Though undoubtedly influenced by and modeled upon works of Bach and Handel, Mendelssohn’s Elijah yet reflects its Romantic Era milieu with its orchestral colors and lyricism.

A German Requiem @ Carroll University, Sunday, March 12

Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45, was begun in 1865 by Johannes Brahms after the death of his mother and completed in 1869 (Brahms, ever the perfectionist and hyper self-critical, was wont to take his time with his compositions). As Malcolm MacDonald observed in his masterly biography of the German master, this wasn’t the first non-Catholic “German” requiem, but it was the very first “in which a composer had selected and shaped his text for essentially personal reasons to speak to a contemporary audience in a shared tongue, transcending the constraints of ritual.” The Waukesha Choral Union and other featured vocalists perform this mighty work of German Romanticism for free (yes, free!) at Shattuck Music Center, 218 N. East Ave.


TXT U L8R @ Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, March 10-19

First Stage Young Company members perform Eric Coble’s TXT U L8R at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center (325 W. Walnut St.)—a play he wrote specifically for this award-winning theater training program for teenage actors. Set in a high school, the plot centers on modern communication—in particular, how face-to-face encounters are replaced by digital means. “It’s a mystery, and there are a lot of laughs,” Coble explains. “I hope the characters we follow feel real, like people we know, even as they’re coming from backgrounds that may not be our own. It’s a rollercoaster ride. With cellphones.” The play will be directed by frequent First Stage collaborator Matt Daniels. It’s recommended for families with children ages 12 and up.

Proyecto Bembé: Latino Carnival @ Latino Arts Auditorium and Gallery, Friday, March 10

Milwaukee’s Latino Arts (1028 S. Ninth St.) hosts Proyecto Bembé’s youth performance ensemble—along with professional musicians and dancers from our Latino community—in what they describe as a “carnival show,” explained further as “a historical, cultural and rhythmic voyage throughout Brazil and Puerto Rico’s carnival celebrations.” As for Proyecto Bembé (“Project Bembé”), it’s an Afro-Latino, percussion-based, performing arts program led by co-founding members Johanna de los Santos and Cecilio Negron Jr. available as an after-school program for youth that utilizes applied ethnomusicology techniques. The “Dinner and a Show” special includes a pre-performance fish buffet courtesy of Café el Sol.


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