Ode to Joy:
Beethoven & Beyond!

Ode To Joy: Beethoven & Beyond

Renewal and new subscriptions available now.

Our 20/21 season is your opportunity to celebrate the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven and share the excitement of music that made him one of the most beloved composers ever. Beyond Beethoven’s great violin concerto and treasures of the most popular works from his Heroic Period, you’ll experience masterpieces by Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Dvořák, Rachmaninoff, Ravel and more! To mark this special occasion, we’ve invited many of your favorite top-tier guest artists to join us. This is a celebration you’ll remember forever. Every concert is an “Ode to Joy” in its own way. Answers to your questions about subscriptions, renewals, seating, and plans for responding to Overture Center and health guidelines for our upcoming season, are found on our 20/21 FAQ page.

View the Season Brochure

Explore our new season below, and renew or become a new subscriber. You can subscribe online now, or call (608) 257-3734. We welcome the opportunity to answer questions and assist you with your renewal or new subscription.

Ode to Joy: Beethoven and Beyond

Infinite Joy: Beethoven’s Ninth

Mozart was Beethoven’s compositional inspiration. So, it is fitting to begin with his Oboe Concerto, performed by Marc Fink, as we recognize his brilliant tenure as principal oboist of the orchestra. Then we launch our Beethoven celebration with his iconic choral masterpiece and, of course the “Ode to Joy.”

September 25, 26 & 27, 2020

John DeMain, Conductor
Marc Fink, Oboe
Madison Symphony Chorus, Beverly Taylor, Director
Elizabeth Caballero, Soprano
Kirsten Larson, Mezzo-soprano
Edward Graves, Tenor
Matt Boehler, Bass

MozartOboe Concerto in C major
Beethoven, Symphony No. 9 in D minor

Ravishing Rhapsody

Anticipate another mesmerizing performance from one of the greatest exponents of Russia’s greatest music. The Rachmaninoff Rhapsody may be the most-listened-to piano favorite of all time, while Beethoven’s “Eroica” (Heroic) is an important landmark in the transition between the Classical period and the Romantic era.

October 16, 17 & 18, 2020

John DeMain, Conductor
Olga Kern, Piano


Ravel, Alborada del gracioso
Rachmaninoff, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Beethoven, Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, “Eroica”

Grand Panorama

The majesty of the Grand Canyon unfolds musically and visually in the spectacle of Ferde Grofé’s expansive musical palette accompanied by stunning projected imagery. Cuban-American cellist Thomas Mesa, a hit in his Madison recital last year, balances the program with the equally expansive and expressive Cello Concerto of Antonin Dvořák. Two Madison premieres, Arthur Honegger’s Rugby and Lyric for String Orchestra by African-American composer George Walker complete the program.

November 13, 14 & 15, 2020

John DeMain, Conductor
Thomas Mesa, Cello

Honegger, Rugby
Dvořák, Cello Concerto in B minor
Walker, Lyric for String Orchestra
Grofé, Grand Canyon Suite, Synchronized imagery assembled by Stephen Lias

A Madison Symphony Christmas

Beginning with caroling in the lobby, and the entire audience singing Christmas carols together for the finale, this beloved annual Madison tradition brings the holiday season to a glorious start! Embrace the spirit of the season with our orchestra, opera stars, and three choruses for a celebration sharing hope and joy with everyone who joins us.

December 4, 5 & 6, 2020

John DeMainConductor
Madison Symphony Chorus, Beverly Taylor, Director
Mount Zion Gospel Choir, Leotha and Tamera Stanley, Directors
Madison Youth Choirs, Michael Ross, Artistic Director
Adriana Zabala, Soprano
Nmon Ford

Beyond the Score®: Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring

A multimedia presentation starring American Players Theatre actors, visual projections and live musical examples with the entire work performed in the second half!

Transforming simple ancient folk music from Russia and Lithuania into a perfect storm of rhythm, harmony and melodies that were unlike any heard before its time, Stravinsky created the biggest scandal in the history of music in 1911. The Rite of Spring put him at the very forefront of the avant-garde and spread his name to the corners of the world. Experience this artistic masterpiece by discovering the history behind the groundbreaking composition during the first half of the presentation, then listen with a deeper understanding of the work from start to finish following intermission.

January 24, 2021

John DeMainConductor
James RidgeActor
Kelsey BrennanActor
Jonathan SmootsActor

Stravinsky | The Rite of Spring

Add this single performance to your subscription! This first-choice advance ticket opportunity is available ONLY to MSO subscribers (it is separate from the 20/21 subscription season). Purchase tickets along with your subscription for the best possible seats before single tickets go on sale August 15, 2020.

Beyond the Score® is a production of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Gerard McBurney, Creative Director for Beyond the Score®

Gil Shaham Plays the Beethoven Violin Concerto

The first piece of this varied program, Rachmaninoff’s evocative and powerful score depicts Arnold Bocklin’s famous painting of an oarsman rowing a white-clad figure across a dark expanse of water to the mysterious Isle of the Dead. The mood lightens when the Háry János Suite from Kodály’s comic Hungarian folk opera radiates exotic exuberance. Then the renowned Gil Shaham gives the crowning performance of the program when he breathes life and love into the Beethoven Violin Concerto.

February 12, 13 & 14, 2021

John DeMain, Conductor
Gil Shaham, Violin

Rachmaninoff, Isle of the Dead
Kodály, Háry János Suite
Beethoven, Violin Concerto in D major

His Greatest Hits

An all-Beethoven concert for the ages, charged with the energy and invention of the master’s Heroic Period and the spectacular pianism of a towering artist of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess.

March 12, 13 & 14, 2021

John DeMain, Conductor
Garrick Ohlsson, Piano

Beethoven, Egmont Overture
Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, “Emperor”
Beethoven, Symphony No. 5 in C minor

Ehnes Plays Sibelius

A luminary in a star-studded season, James Ehnes will again light up Overture Hall with Sibelius’ shimmering masterpiece. With the lyrical Tchaikovsky Suite, this is a concert not to be missed for sheer melodic bliss.

April 16, 17 & 18, 2021

John DeMain, Conductor
James Ehnes, Violin

Kabalevsky, Overture to “Colas Breugnon”
Sibelius, Violin Concerto in D minor
Tchaikovsky, Suite No. 3

Missa Solemnis

Yes, Mozart was his inspiration, but Haydn was Beethoven’s teacher. Concertmaster Naha Greenholtz performs the Violin Concerto in G major. The season closes with a monumental finale, Missa solemnis. A great work from the height of Beethoven’s composing career, the Missa is one of his supreme achievements and one of the most significant Latin Mass settings ever penned.

May 7, 8 & 9, 2021

John DeMain, Conductor
Naha Greenholtz, Violin
Madison Symphony Chorus, Beverly Taylor, Director
Alexandra LoBianco, Soprano
Briana Hunter, Mezzo-soprano
Rodrick Dixon, Tenor
Kenneth Kellogg, Bass

Haydn, Violin Concerto in G major
Beethoven, Missa solemnis