A Celebration of All Things Cultural, Artistic, and Entertaining in Madison
Jun 29, 2011
The Sound of Summer
Whenever I’ve spoken with Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra music director Andrew Sewell or any of the musicians who perform in their Concerts on the Square, I’ve been struck with two things: They love this summertime event as much as any other Madisonian. And they embrace the fact that for many audience members, music is one of several elements that make the concerts so magical.
Sewell, who’s been with the WCO for ten years, understands that some people come to listen intently to the concerts, while others want to eat, chat and soak up the ambience of summer on the Capitol Square lawn as well. “Some are real music lovers, some are there for a picnic,” he says.
Accordingly, Sewell plans each Concerts on the Square season to provide a variety of music for the eclectic crowd. “I try to make it for a general audience,” he says. “I think the thing is, it’s really developed into its own genre.”
Here’s a look at what he has in store for audiences the next six Wednesday evenings, starting tonight:
June 29: Young at Heart
• Guest artists: Amy Hua, winner of the 2011 Young Artist Concerto Competition, and Madison Ballet
Mendelssohn: Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 16
Ravel: "La Mere L’Oye Suite" ("Mother Goose Suite")
Tchaikovsky: "Waltz of the Flowers" from The Nutcracker
• Says Sewell: “It’s music written when the composers were young.”
July 6: A Down Home 4th of July
• Guest artist: Above the Town bluegrass band
Copland: "Buckaroo Holiday"
Ungar: "Ashokan Farewell"
Wendel: "Orange Blossom Special"
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture
• Says Sewell: “It’s our traditional Fourth of July concert, with the 1812 Overture and an armed forces salute.”
July 13: Film Noir Classics
• Guest conductor: Huw Edwards
Rodgers: "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue"
Steiner: "Casablanca Suite"
Custer: Themes from 007 (James Bond)
• Says Sewell: “It’s music from movies from the ’40s, James Bond, a mixture of pops and classics.”
July 20: Arrival ABBA
• Guest artist: Arrival, an ABBA tribute band
• Says Sewell: “It’s a twelve-piece band from Sweden—with a backing orchestra.”
July 27: American Heroes
• Guest artist: Susanna Phillips, soprano
Williams: "The Mission" theme
Copland: "Hoedown" from Rodeo
Bernstein: Overture to West Side Story
Gershwin: "Summertime" from Porgy & Bess
• Says Sewell: “It’s well-known American composers. That’s a really cool concert.”
August 3: España!
• Guest artist: Suzanne Beia, violinist
De Falla: Three Cornered Hat Suite No. 2
Rodrigo: "Tres viejos aires de danza"
Rimsky-Korsakov: "Capriccio espagnol"
• Says Sewell: “The last concert celebrates Spanish music.”
“What we’ve found is people like to know the thematic element ahead of time,” Sewell says, adding that some audience members plan picnics around it. It all adds up to an event that matters to the city—and to Sewell and the WCO.
“With all the other events, it makes Madison a great place to be in summer,” he says.
For more information on Concerts on the Square, visit wcoconcerts.org.
Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.