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Grofé, Dvořák,
and more…

Grand Panorama

Buy Single Tickets

Fri., Nov. 12, 2021
7:30 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 13, 2021
8:00 p.m.

Sun., Nov. 14, 2021
2:30 p.m.

Music Program:

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

John DeMain
, Conductor
Thomas Mesa, Cello

Program Notes
Read now

Prelude Discussion
Enjoy a 30-minute talk with Randal Swiggum starting one hour before each concert in Overture Hall. Free to ticketholders.

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 2019 Madison recital, 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.

View the Program Book

The Grand Canyon in Wisconsin? The debut of Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite was scheduled for November 22, 1931, at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago. With just two weeks to go, Ferde Grofé knew that he wanted to end the suite with a cloudburst, but he had no idea how to write it. A musician friend invited him up for a stay at Lake Chippewa in Wisconsin’s north woods, where an obliging storm was the inspiration. “It just shook the cabin,” Grofé wrote. “It was early in the evening but it didn’t last very long, and the storm subsided. I went out, and the moon was just coming out from behind a cloud . . . Gee, it was beautiful then. You could see the moon’s reflection in the undergrowth and the bushes just glistening.”
– Norman Gilliland

About Thomas Mesa

Thomas Mesa, Cuban-American cellist, is the winner of the 2017 Astral Artists Auditions and the 2016 Sphinx Competition. He has performed in a wide variety of solo engagements across the United States including with The Cleveland Orchestra and the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl as well as at the Mainly Mozart Festival, Carnegie Hall, The Supreme Court of the United States, and at the International Beethoven Project. As an enthusiastic interpreter of music for choir and cello, Mr. Mesa was one of the featured instrumentalists on The Crossing Choir’s album called “Bonhoeffer” that was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2017. As a chamber musician, Mr. Mesa has toured with Itzhak Perlman both nationally and internationally and is a member of St. Petersburg Piano Quartet who are in high demand for the most important series in America. Mr. Mesa received his bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School and his master’s degree from Northwestern University where he was the recipient of the Richard and Helen Thomas Fellowship and Graduate Program Honors for extraordinary contributions to the String Department. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

. . . Mr. Mesa’s playing had a musical intensity that was commanding in every detail. – New York Concert Review

Walker’s musical language is richly communicative . . . music that deserves to be celebrated and performed.  – The Guardian

The Dvořák Cello Concerto is a piece of epic proportions that has made it an audience favorite since 1896 when it was first premiered. – The Columbian


Health and Safety Information

○ Overture Center’s Health Protocols: All who enter the Overture Center building must wear a face mask and show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test. Patrons not vaccinated, including children under age 12, are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from within 72 hours prior to the performance. Please visit overture.org/health for more information on masks, vaccination proof, negative COVID test criteria, and more.

○ New Overture Security Measures: Overture will be utilizing new walk-through security screening technology that you will be required to move through on arrival. This should eliminate lines and allow foot traffic to quickly flow into the spaces. Additionally, large bags and backpacks are prohibited from entering the theater and can be checked after being inspected. For your convenience, we suggest you make other arrangements for these items before arriving. Visit overture.org/security for more information on these policies.

○ Read MSO’s Health and Safety Policies: We guarantee a refund for tickets to any concert that cannot be performed for any reason. We will adhere to all public health guidelines and cooperate with Overture Center for the Arts to assure your safety. We understand you may have questions about safety protocols and what to expect this fall when we resume presenting live concerts. We’ve created a Frequently Asked Questions page to provide answers. If you have any further questions about subscriptions, single tickets, or our 21/22 season plans, please call (608) 257-3734, or email us at info@madisonsymphony.orgPrograms, dates, and artists subject to change.


Major funding provided by

capital lakes

John A. Johnson Foundation, a component fund of the Madison Community Foundation

Howard Kidd and
Margaret Murphy

Elaine and
Nicholas Mischler

Additional funding provided by

Skofronick Family
Charitable Trust

Dr. Thomas and
Leslie France

Wisconsin Arts Board

with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts

Sponsor spotlight message:

At von Briesen & Roper, s.c. we’re committed to giving back to Madison. The Madison Symphony Orchestra continually engages, enriches and inspires the lives of the people in our community and we’re proud to sponsor this great organization.


Event Category:


Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703 United States