Attending Ax is Back this weekend? Still need to buy your tickets and interested in learning more about the performances? Here’s everything you need to know about our upcoming concert weekend, September 28-30:

Ax is Back!

Friday, September 28 | 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 29 | 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 30 | 2:30 p.m.
The concert will be approximately 2 hours long and includes a 20 minute intermission.

John DeMain
, Conductor
Emanuel Ax, Piano

Higdon, Fanfare Ritmico
Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet Suite
Brahms, Piano Concerto No. 2


  • A contemporary piece, written by a leading woman composer, Jennifer Higdon, on the eve of the new Millennium, reflecting on the rhythm and speed of modern life.
  • Six movements from Romeo and Juliet, hand-picked by John DeMain, that illustrate the vast emotional range present in Prokofiev’s ballet score.
  • A collaboration between John, the orchestra, and Mr. Ax to showcase Brahms’ second piano concerto — a work known to blend beauty with fire, tenderness with drama.

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Guest Artist: Emanuel Ax

Emanuel Ax is considered one of the best-known concert pianists of the 21st century. Mr. Ax has received Grammy awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. Mr. Ax is currently a faculty member of the Juilliard School of Music, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of Yale University’s Sanford Medal. Discover more.

Media Appearances

Catch Emanuel Ax on NBC15 during the 5:00 p.m. newscast on Thursday, Sept. 27!

John DeMain also appeared on NBC15 on Sunday, Sept. 23 to talk with Amy Carlson about the concert weekend. Watch the video interview.

Buy Emanuel Ax CDs at the concert!

Two Emanuel Ax CDs will be available for $20 each at the MSO Courtesy Table in the Overture Center Lobby: Variations and Brahms Piano Concertos. The table will be open 90 minutes before each concert and during intermission. Regrettably, Emanuel Ax will not be available for CD signing.

Attend the Prelude Discussion

Enjoy a 30-minute talk by Michael Allsen, MSO program notes annotator, starting one hour before each concert in Overture Hall. Free to ticketholders.

Read the Program Notes

These insightful notes, written by Michael Allsen, are available to read online and are always in the program book at the concert.

Security and Parking Note

Arrive early!
So that you may have peace of mind at the concert this weekend, we recommend you arrive early enough to find parking and for security purposes. The Overture lobby opens 90 minutes before the concert begins. We recommend parking in a city lot and arriving as early as your schedule allows so that you are able to relax before the concert begins. Click here for more information on the Overture Center’s security measures.

The Star-Spangled Banner: An Opening Weekend Tradition

In keeping with a tradition dating back to the 1950s for the MSO and observed by orchestras around the country, you’ll hear the National Anthem at the beginning of each performance.

WATCH: John DeMain, A Life in Music, The Early Years, Part One

Watch the first part of a film featuring the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director John DeMain. It celebrates the years in his career leading up to his arrival in Madison in 1994. The film was premiered at the Madison Symphony Orchestra League’s Silver Anniversary Gala celebrating Maestro DeMain’s 25th anniversary year on September 21st at The Madison Concourse Hotel. The second part of the film will premiere at the beginning of this weekend’s performances.

See you at the Symphony!

With any further questions, please call the MSO Office at (608) 257-3734.

Learn more and buy tickets or subscribe