FOR RELEASE March 8, 2023
Samantha Crownover, Executive Director
BACH DANCING & DYNAMITE SOCIETY
32nd CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL: OFF THE CUFF
Chamber Music Festival, Madison, Stoughton June 9 – 25, 2023
Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society (BDDS) presents its 32nd summer chamber music festival, OFF THE CUFF, June 9 – 25, 2023. This festival features nine concerts over three weekends, each weekend offers three different programs. The venues are intimate: the state-of-the-art new Collins Recital Hall, in the Mead Witter School of Music, on the UW-Madison campus and the jewel box historic Stoughton Opera House.
BDDS’s 32nd season, OFF THE CUFF, ranges from traditional riches of the chamber music repertoire—masterpieces of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Debussy—to great chamber music that has long been undervalued—masterpieces by women composers (Dora Pejacevic, Madeline Dring, Karalyn Schubring, Florence Beatrice Price, Rebecca Clarke), BIPOC composers (Manuel de Falla, Miguel del Aguila, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor), and a new commission by composer John Wineglass.
Concerts are spiked with stories about the music, mystery guests, and even door prizes. Artistic directors and performers Stephanie Jutt, flute, and Jeffrey Sykes, piano, are joined by 15 musicians from Madison and around the country including violinists Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio (Reno Symphony Orchestra) and Axel Strauss (McGill University, Montreal); Stoughton’s own violist Madlin Breckbill, soprano Emily Birsan (Chicago Lyric), pianist Randall Hodgkinson, (New England Conservatory, Boston Chamber Music Society); clarinetist Alan Kay (Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Juilliard School); cellists Lachezar Kostov (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra) and Bion Tsang (University of Texas at Austin); oboeist Lindsay Flowers (UW-Madison); bassoonist Adrian Morejon (Curtis Institute, Longy School of Music Baird College), hornist Karl Kramer Johansen (Dorian Wind Quintet) and Madison’s own violinist Leanne League, pianist Christopher Taylor, and percussionists Dave Alcorn and Mike Koszewski.
Our new Incendiary Artist Spotlight series gives audiences a chance to connect with some of their favorite artists on a more personal level. Interviewed by our Artistic Co-Directors, our featured artists this season will talk about their musical pathways, their foibles and aspirations, and what draws them to the music they perform. QUINTUPLE AXEL features violinist Axel Strauss performing and discussing music by Jessie Montgomery, Fritz Kreisler, and others. Collins Hall, Friday, June 9, 7:30 – 8:30 pm. In EMINENTLY EMILY, soprano Emily Birsan will sing music of Poulenc, Purcell, Liszt and Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Collins Hall, Friday, June 16, 7:30 – 8:30 pm. STEFFY BY STARLIGHT will feature violinist Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio performing the work of Bright Sheng, David N. Baker, Florence Beatrice Price, and more. Collins Hall, Friday, June 23, 7:30 – 8:30 pm. Each spotlight concert is only one hour long and a reception in the lobby follows each performance.
HANGING BY A THREAD features Haydn’s great “Miracle” symphony in a contemporaneous arrangement for flute, piano, and string quartet. At the end of the premiere performance of the symphony, the audience was so enthusiastic, they rushed the stage—and miraculously avoided the massive chandelier that crashed to the floor where they had been seated previously! Clearly the chandelier had been hanging by a thread! The centerpiece of this program is the world premiere of the piano quintet we commissioned from Black American composer John Wineglass, “And the summer was over.” This quintet was inspired by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker’s powerful short story The Flowers. We round out the program with a sparkling piano concerto of Mozart and the sensuous Le rire de Saraï of French composer Guillaume Conneson. Collins Hall, Saturday, June 10, 7:30 pm.
BLUE VELVET features music that oozes smoothness. Our program opens with one of the great American cellists, Bion Tsang, performing Manuel de Falla’s Suite populaire espagnole. It continues with the dramatic and unjustly neglected Piano Quartet in D minor of the great Croatian composer Dora Pejacevic. American composer Ned Rorem, who died in 2022 at the age of 99, is represented by his spectacular work for flute, piano, and strings Bright Music. And to conclude the program, what could be more suave than George Gershwin’s incredible Rhapsody in Blue? We perform it in an arrangement for piano four-hands made by Gershwin’s friend and colleague Henry Levine. Collins Hall, Sunday, June 11, 2:30 pm.
In our second week, KID GLOVES features masterpieces written by composers when they were young. It opens with Schubert’s glorious song for soprano, horn, and piano Auf dem Strom, written during the last year of the composer’s tragically short life. Three-time Grammy nominee Miguel del Aguila, one of the most active Latin composers of today, is represented with his second wind quintet. This exciting work won the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award for excellence in chamber music composition. The program concludes with Beethoven’s own arrangement for clarinet, bassoon, and piano of the most popular composition of his youth, his Septet. *Stoughton Opera House*, Saturday, June 17, 7:30 pm.
DRESSED TO THE NINES features music that will leave you feverish and panting. It begins with Madeline Dring’s Trio for flute, oboe, and piano, a sparkling and heartfelt work inspired by Poulenc. It continues with the brooding and sensuous Shéhérazade of Maurice Ravel, inspired by Ravel’s love of the 1001 Tales of the Arabian Nights. We perform the work in a masterful arrangement for soprano accompanied by wind quintet and piano. Our program concludes with Dvorak’s heart-on-the-sleeve piano quintet in a thrilling arrangement for piano and winds. Collins Hall, Sunday, June 18, 2:30 pm.
Our third week begins with IRON FIST, VELVET GLOVE, a program featuring sensuous music that really packs a punch. The program begins with young American composer Karalyn Schubring’s luscious Lua Azul for flute, percussion, and piano. It continues with Beethoven’s great Piano Trio in E-flat Major, op. 70, no. 2, one of his most tuneful compositions and one of the great masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire. CPE Bach, the most famous son of JS Bach, is represented with the Quartet in D Major for flute, viola, and piano (a quartet for three instruments!), the last piece he wrote in his long compositional career. The program concludes with the original two-piano version of Gershwin’s An American in Paris, one of the greatest pieces ever written by an American composer. Saturday, June 24, 7:30 pm.
Our last program, A STITCH IN TIME, features music that’s all about rhythm. Black British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor is represented with his evocative Ballade for cello and piano. Dutch composer Dick Kattenburg was murdered in Auschwitz at the age of 24. The last work he wrote before his death, the Quartet for flute, violin, cello, and piano, shows the astonishing creativity of this young composer. Kenji Bunch’s Concerto for piano trio and percussion is a short work full of intricate rhythms, and Black American composer Kevin Day’s Ecstatic Samba is a thrilling dance for flute, cello, and piano. The program concludes with Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story arranged for two pianos and percussion. Collins Hall, Sunday, June 25, 2:30 pm.
BDDS will perform five community engagement concerts at senior centers and during UW-Madison’s Summer Music Clinic. It’s also continuing its series of virtual bedside concerts for patients in isolation at SSM Health/St. Mary’s Care Center.
Locations: Collins Recital Hall, Mead Witter School of Music, UW-Madison campus (740 University Avenue) and the Stoughton Opera House (381 E. Main Street).
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
Series tickets, starting at $123 for three different concerts, are available through Campus Ticketing until May 1. For tickets visit Artsticketing.wisc.edu. For information visit www.bachdancing.org or call (608) 255-9866.
Single general admission tickets can be purchased at Artsticketing.wisc.edu. Single tickets start at $47. Student tickets are always $10! Tickets are available at the door at all locations.
Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society always features great music played with joy, creativity, spontaneity, and a technique that is second to none. BDDS is aimed at people who are curious, open-minded, and up for anything. People who want to have serious fun.