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Symphony Gems

Venue: Overture Hall

Friday, November 17, 2023
7:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 18, 2023
8:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 19, 2023
2:30 p.m.

Buy Single Tickets

$15 – $102
Only through the Overture Center Box Office, 201 State Street

Mozart, Schumann & Dawson

November brings two great staples of the symphonic repertoire, Mozart’s “Haffner” Symphony in our first performances in over twenty years, and another all-time favorite of mine, Schumann’s Piano Concerto. I am so looking forward to welcoming back the brilliant pianist Jonathan Biss who has a special affinity for this concerto. It is also with great excitement that we will perform William Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony for the first time. This work, which was greeted with great acclaim when it premiered under the baton of Leopold Stokowski in 1934, was all but forgotten until recently, and has been heralded as a masterpiece. Using folk melodies and spirituals as its thematic source, the work is colorfully orchestrated and an absolute delight to listen to. I wanted to perform this work with the orchestra the minute I first heard it and so look forward to sharing it with you.  – John DeMain, Music Director



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385 “Haffner”
Robert Schumann, Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
William Levi Dawson, Negro Folk Symphony

Read the Program Notes


John DeMain, Music Director
Jonathan Biss, Piano


Enhance Your Concert Experience

Watch video interviews with Jonathan Biss, John DeMain, and more!

Go behind the music of our November 17-19 concerts, Symphony Gems! We sat down with Guest Artist Jonathan Biss, Music Director John DeMain, and MSO Marketing Associate Sebastian Jimenez to discover more about this dynamic program and what you can look forward to hearing in Overture Hall. Plus, get a preview of the prelude discussions with Randal Swiggum, learn more about the MSO’s connection to Clara Schumann with Steve Kurr, and watch Jonathan Biss’ interview on NBC15 with Leigh Mills.

Watch All Videos

Take Note: Drinks Allowed in Overture Hall

As of this season, drinks are allowed inside Overture Hall during all Madison Symphony Orchestra concerts. Refreshments may be purchased at bars and concession stands located around the Overture Hall lobby before each concert and during intermission. Please enjoy food in the lobby and unwrap any candy or cough drops before the performance begins. Thank you!

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

Particularly notable was the imaginative breadth of Biss’s sonic palette, his way of deploying color not merely as a decorative effect but as a narrative and expressive device within the work’s classical frame.
– The Boston Globe

Meet the Performers

mso music director john demain

John DeMain, Conductor

View Biography

Jonathan Biss, Piano

View Biography

Thank You To Our Generous Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor

Myrna Larson, in memory of James F. Crow


Major funding provided by

university research

David and Kato Perlman

Additional funding provided by


Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.


Ronald J. and Janet E. Johnson


Prairie Trust


Sharon Stark, in memory of Peter Livingston

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

Sponsor Spotlight Message

As this community’s energy company, MGE is pleased to sponsor the Madison Symphony Orchestra. We gratefully acknowledge the many individuals and organizations that continually contribute their time and talents to making Madison’s cultural arts district the best it can be. – Madison Gas & Electric Foundation, Inc.


Event Category:


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