Press Releases

FOR RELEASE March 1, 2020
Samantha Crownover, Executive Director

June 7 – 28, 2020, 4 weekends, 2 cities, 7 programs

Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society (BDDS) presents its 29th annual summer chamber music festival, RICHES TO RAGS, June 7 – 28, 2020. This festival features eight concerts over four weekends, each weekend offers two different programs. The venues are intimate: the state-of-the-art Collins Recital Hall in the new Hamel Music Center on the UW-Madison campus, The Playhouse at Overture Center, and the jewel box historic Stoughton Opera House.

In a rousing four-weekend festival, you’ll hear great classical masterpieces and the best of contemporary works. A roster of musicians with national and international reputations guarantees fantastic performances. Concerts are spiked with stories about the music, mystery guests, and even door prizes. It’s chamber music with a bang! Artistic directors and performers Stephanie Jutt, flute, and Jeffrey Sykes, piano, are joined by 21 musicians and one visual artist.

This season will be special for two reasons.  First, the RICHES.  Concert societies around the world will celebrate Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday by programming complete cycles of his most famous works: the piano sonatas, string quartets, and symphonies. BDDS is celebrating too, but with a twist: we are stretching our season by a week in order to perform all nine of Beethoven’s piano trios scattered across five programs. We’re pairing the trios with readings from Beethoven’s letters and diaries that give deep insight into his life. The trios, each of which is musically rich, were among Beethoven’s best-selling works during his lifetime. They span a greater portion of his composing career than his sonatas, quartets, or symphonies, ranging from his opus 1 (1795) to his opus 121a (1824). Despite this, they tend to be undervalued and underperformed today, and rarely do you hear all nine trios in close succession.

For the RAGS, we’re ending our festival with the great rags of Scott Joplin and his contemporaries performed by the New England Ragtime Ensemble (NERE).  The great composers of ragtime and early jazz, most of whom were African-American—Scott Joplin, James Scott, and Jelly Roll Morton, for example—never enjoyed even a fraction of the financial success of Beethoven, certainly not the level of success that their artistic achievements warranted.  NERE will present two programs showcasing this monumental American musical achievement.  Formed by Gunther Schuller in the early 1970s and reconstituted recently by one of its original members, flutist Stephanie Jutt, the ensemble is the leading ragtime chamber orchestra in the world.


We launch the Beethoven trio cycle with a special concert at the Hamel Music Center’s Collins Recital Hall, the first time BDDS has performed in the new state-of-the-art hall.  The only one of our seven programs exclusively dedicated to the Beethoven trios, the program features Beethoven’s first- and last-published multi-movement trios.  Entitled “Sow’s Ear, Silk Purse,” the program shows how Beethoven was the supreme master of turning the most banal musical elements (sow’s ears) into towering masterpieces (silk purses). We start with the Piano Trio in E-flat Major, op. 1, no. 1.  This is followed by the great “Archduke” trio, the Trio in B-flat Major, op. 97, the last multi-movement trio Beethoven wrote. The concert will be preceded by an introductory talk and demonstration led by the performers, the San Francisco Piano Trio (Axel Strauss, violin; Jean-Michel Fonteneau, cello; and Jeffrey Sykes, piano).

“Sow’s Ear, Silk Purse” will be performed at Collins Recital Hall, Hamel Music Center, UW-Madison Campus, Sunday, June 7, at 2:30 pm.  Introductory talk and demonstration at 1:30 to 2:15 pm.


In “For Love and Money,” Russian accordion virtuoso Stas Venglevski joins Stephanie Jutt, flute, and the San Francisco Piano Trio in a program that features music written in the hope of making a quick buck.  The concert will feature Beethoven’s Serenade for flute and piano, op. 41and his virtuosic Piano Trio in G Major, op. 1, no. 2, a spectacular trio dedicated to one of Beethoven’s most generous patrons.  Stas Venglevski will perform a solo sonata by Vasily Zolotaryov, plus his own takes on Eastern European and Latin American tunes, many composed by Stas, arranged for accordion, flute, violin, cello, and piano.  Visual artist Lisa A. Frank will create an exquisite video installation behind the performers on stage in The Playhouse at Overture Center. 

“For Love and Money” will be performed in The Playhouse, Overture Center for the Arts,  Saturday, June 13, at 7:30 pm.  The concert will be preceded by a Young Professionals Mixer (info below).  To reserve:

“Fortune Favors the Bold,” will features the first of Beethoven’s many ventures in the stormy key of C minor: the Piano Trio in C minor, op. 1, no. 3. The program also includes the “Kakadu” Variations, op. 121a, a work that Beethoven tinkered with almost his entire adult life. Stephanie and Jeffrey will perform Dick Kattenburg’s no-holds-barred, jazz-inflected Sonata for flute and piano. The second half of the concert again features accordionist Stas Venglevski in bold works by Stas and composers from Eastern Europe.

“Fortune Favors the Bold” will be performed in The Playhouse, Overture Center for the Arts,  Sunday, June 14, at 2:30 pm.


Like many of us throughout time, Beethoven worried about money. Once in a while he would come across a musical project that promised high return for a relatively low investment of time. We feature some of those projects in “Cash Cow” during our third weekend of concerts. The Piano Trio in B-flat Major, op. 11, and Beethoven’s folk song arrangements will be performed. Madison’s favorite soprano, the magnificent Emily Birsan, will join BDDS in performances of the folksongs as well as Three Irish Folksongs dramatically set by John Corigliano for flute and soprano. The program concludes with Beethoven’s Piano Trio in E-flat Major, op. 70, no. 2, one of the great works of Beethoven’s middle period. Again, Visual artist Lisa A. Frank will create an exquisite video installation behind the performers on stage.

“Cash Cow” will be performed in The Playhouse, Overture Center for the Arts,  Saturday, June 20, at 7:30 pm.

“Trash to Treasure,” shows how some composers are masters at turning musical “garbage” into gold. The program starts with Beethoven’s brilliant Variations in E-flat Major, op. 44, based on one of the trashiest tunes ever to grace the opera stage. The music of Maurice Emmanuel, strongly influenced by his studies of Hindu music, was derided as trash by his contemporaries. We include his Trois odelettes anacréontiques for soprano, flute, and piano, a ravishing treasure of the art song repertoire. Composer Dick Kattenburg died at the age of 24 at Auschwitz, his musical manuscripts left in a trunk in his aunt’s attic. Only recently recovered, his Quartet for flute, violin, cello, and piano shows his extraordinary talent. John Harbison created one of the masterpieces of 20th century art song, his Mirabai Songs, from poems of the 16th century Indian mystic Mirabai. The program, and the trio cycle, concludes with Beethoven’s great “Ghost” trio, the Piano Trio in D Major, op. 70, no. 1, a work that is built out of materials other composers would discard: four notes of the D major scale. It is one of his most powerful compositions and one of the greatest trios of all time.

“Trash to Treasure” will be performed in The Playhouse, Overture Center for the Arts,  Sunday, June 21, at 2:30 pm.


In the fourth weekend of concerts, BDDS turns to ragtime and the great New England Ragtime Ensemble (NERE). In “Share the Wealth,” performed at the Stoughton Opera House and Madison’s Collins Recital Hall, the focus is on the “classical” composers of ragtime like Scott Joplin, Joseph Lamb, and James Scott—and also on famous classical composers they influenced, like Claude Debussy and Samuel Barber. Pianist John West, another original member of NERE and a brilliant ragtime performer, will join Jeffrey Sykes in a performance of Samuel Barber’s ragtime-influenced Souvenirs for piano four-hands.

“Share the Wealth” will be performed at the Stoughton Opera House on Friday, June 26, at 7:30 pm; and at Collins Recital Hall, Hamel Music Center, UW-Madison Campus, on Sunday, June 28, at 2:30 pm. 

In “Buried Treasure,” the focus is on lesser-known composers of ragtime, like Louis Chauvin, James Scott and Joseph Lamb, and lesser-known classical composers influenced by ragtime like George Gershwin in his elegant Lullaby for string quartet. Jeffrey will perform a set of ragtime-inspired piano solos by one of our favorite Czech composers, Erwin Schulhoff, with titles as intriguing as “Tempo di Fox a la Hawaii.” John West and Jeffrey Sykes will again collaborate on Kattenburg’s “Tapdance” for piano four-hands—a rag written to accompany a tap dancer!

“Buried Treasure” will be performed at Collins Recital Hall, Hamel Music Center, UW-Madison Campus, on Saturday, June 27, at 7:30 pm. 

Included in the festival this year are several other events:

Hillside Theater in Spring green will be closed for restoration this summer, so instead, Stas Venglevski, on his bayan (Russian-style accordion), will perform with flutist Stephanie Jutt, as the Stasera Duo, at Slowpoke Lounge & Cabaret on Main Street in Spring Green, Friday, June 12, at 7:30 pm.  Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Limited to 100 guests. To reserve, visit

A young professionals mixer hosted by Sarah Best Strategy in Promenade Lounge at Overture Center will precede the concert, from 6:15 – 7:15, on Saturday, June 13.  Hors d’oeuvres provided, cash bar. To reserve a spot, please email

BDDS will perform two intimate House Sessions in the homes of patrons.  The San Francisco Piano Trio will perform in Spring Green on Thursday, June 11. They will perform a different program in Madison on Thursday, June 18.  Each event starts at 6 pm and music starts at 7 pm. Refreshments will be served. Attendance is $75 – 125 and is very limited. To reserve, please email

Locations: Collins Recital Hall, Hamel Music Center, Mead Witter School of Music, UW-Madison campus (740 University Avenue); The Playhouse, Overture Center in Madison (201 State Street); Stoughton Opera House (381 E. Main Street)


Various ticket packages, starting at a series of three different concerts for $109.50, are available through Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society until May 15. For information click here or call (608) 255-9866.

Single admission tickets start at $43. Student tickets are always $10!
All single tickets must now be purchased from Overture Center for the Arts, or (608) 258-4141 (additional fees apply), or at the box office. Tickets are available at the door at all locations.

Chamber music with a bang. More bang for your Bach. What Bach would be doing if he were more fun and less dead. However you describe what we do, 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.


Violinist Paran Amirinazari, an avid chamber musician, is a founding member and artistic drector of the Willy Street Chamber Players. She is a former member of the Hunt String Quartet and has recently earned her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A native of Madison, Wisconsin, cellist TRACE JOHNSON received his Bachelor of Music in cello performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2012 and was recently awarded his Master of Music degree at the Lynn Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida. As the first place winner in the conservatory's annual concerto competition, he performed the Brahms Double Concerto with the Lynn Philharmonia in 2014. Later that fall, he won first prize in the 2014 Lyric Chamber Society of New York's chamber competition, and in 2016 he performed in a New York debut concert with fellow Lynn Conservatory musicians at the Kosciuszko Foundation. For the past two summers, Mr. Johnson has appeared in both orchestral and chamber ensembles as a fellow with the Atlantic Music Festival. He has also participated in other summer festivals including the Meadowmount School of Music, Orford Centre d'Arts, and Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. Mr. Johnson is currently working in a variety of performing ensembles in South Florida and is a section cellist with the Symphony of the Americas in Ft. Lauderdale. Mr. Johnson is a member of the BDDS Dynamite Factory, a program featuring young artists. (Website)

Bass-Baritone TIMOTHY JONES has performed in opera houses and with symphony orchestras in the U.S., Ecuador, Mexico, and the Czech Republic. He has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, and the Jacksonville Symphony. In opera houses he has performed leading roles in The Marriage of Figaro, Carmen, Die Zauberflöte, Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, Don Pasquale, La Bohème, Falstaff, Macbeth, and La Traviata. He has been a frequent guest with the Victoria Bach Festival, New Texas Festival, Round Top Music Festival, Ars Lyrica Houston, Cactus Pear Music Festival, and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. As a committed performer of contemporary music, Mr. Jones has commissioned and premiered many compositions by leading composers of our time. He lives in Houston, where he serves on the faculty of the University of Houston. (Website)