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Home Is Where the Art Is

Young Artist Series, Pianists Jessica and Sophia Jiang, music and story

Our latest addition features Sophia and Jessica Jiang, sisters who have both performed as soloists with the Symphony in our Young People’s Competitions and Concerts. Most recently, they performed together, with Jessica accompanying Sophia at The Final Forte on March 3, 2021. Sophia went on to win the competition! They share a duet — one of Dvorák’s four-handed Slavonic Dances — followed by a conversation.

Young Artist Series, Flutist Holly Venkitaswaran music and story

Our next story features Holly Venkitaswaran, a Bolz Young Artist Competition finalist who performed in The Final Forte 2019. She plays the “Introduction and Variations on ‘Trockne Blumen’ D.802” by Franz Schubert and shares insights about her passion for the flute and classical music. Experience her story now!

Young Artist Series, Emily Hauer music and story

Emily Hauer was one of four finalists in The Final Forte 2020. Emily performs J.S. Bach ‘s Sonata No. 3 in C Major and Niccolò Paganini’s Caprice No. 1. Following the four minute Bach Sonata, Emily shares memories about preparing for the Bolz competitions and more. She finishes with a three minute performance of the Paganini Caprice.

Greg Zelek shares a performance and stories from his home​

Greg Zelek is the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Organist and the Elaine and Nicholas Mischler Curator of the Overture Concert Organ. He shared a short performance Bach’s “Gigue” Fugue from home this summer played on an instrument designed for practice. Our conversation with Greg spans a wide range of topics — from MSO’s Mighty Klais organ — to his passion for music and being here in Madison sharing this instrument and his gifts.

Young Artist Series, Sophia Jiang music and story

Sophia Jiang, is a winner of the 2017 Madison Symphony Orchestra Fall Youth Concerto Competition. Sophia performs Beethoven’s Bagatelle in C major, op. 33, no. 5. Following her performance, is a four minute interview where she shares feelings about playing piano and violin, and how she was inspired to learn piano from listening to her older sister Jessica practicing, and more…

Young Artist Series, Jessica Jiang music and story

Jessica Jiang, is a Steenbock Youth Music Award winner of the 2018 and 2020 Madison Symphony Orchestra Bolz Young Artist Competition (The Final Forte). Jessica’s story opens with an eight minute performance of the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 4 in Eb major. Following her performance, is a seven minute interview where Jessica shares feelings about music and the vast emotions that are possible to express playing the piano. She reflects upon moments when she realized music was vital in her life, and more…

Young Artist Series, Grace Kim music and story

Grace performs two works. The first is “Londonderry Air,” an Irish folk song. The second piece is an excerpt from the 4th movement of Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto. Between performances Grace shares her passion for playing music and the energy she felt playing with our orchestra in The Final Forte, her views about the power of classical music as something everyone can enjoy in their own way, advice for aspiring young musicians, and dreams she has for the future.

Young Artist Series, Julian Rhee music and story

Our second “Young Artist Series” story that is part of our “Home Is Where the Art Is” collection features Julian Rhee, winner of The Finale Forte 2017. Julian begins with a lovely two minute performance of Méditation from Thaïs by Massenet, and finishes with a four minute excerpt from the second movement of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto following an interview. Watch for more stories brilliant young artists shared with us in the coming weeks.

Young Artist Series, Michael Wu music and story

We’re excited to share stories brilliant young artists shared with us from their homes this summer. The first in this series features Bolz Young Artist Competition participant Michael Wu, winner of The Finale Forte 2020. Michael performs an arrangement by Grainger and shares insights about music and life. Enjoy our debut Young Artist Series story. We will be sharing more stories in the coming weeks!

Matthew Dahm — Violin

“There are so many special qualities of playing with the Madison Symphony and John DeMain. For all of us, playing in Overture Hall is of first importance… I think we all appreciate the warmth and clarity of sound in Overture Hall and the opportunities it affords the MSO.” In our latest #HomeWithArtists Musician Q&A, Violinist Matthew Dahm talks about how he’s adapting to virtual lessons and what he’s practicing at home.

Lisa Bressler — Cello

In our latest #HomeWithArtists Musician Q&A, Cellist Lisa Bressler talks about growing up in a musical family, what it’s like to prepare for the rehearsals and play with the Orchestra, a 2018 trip to Australia, and more.

Anthony Di Sanza — Principal Percussion

“Percussion serves a unique role in the symphony orchestra. As we often create sounds that supplement or ‘color’ the orchestration, we are very used to waiting extended periods until that perfect moment when our color contributes in impactful ways. It is very possible that we may only play a couple of notes in a piece or movement… our job is to be fully prepared for that one note.” Principal Percussionist Anthony Di Sanza talks about the process behind preparing for that one note — and the epiphany he had in 9th grade that led him to pursue a career in music — in our latest #HomeWithArtists Musician Q&A. 

Cindy Cameron — Principal Bassoon

Did you know that most professional double reed musicians make their own reeds? Our Principal Bassoonist Cindy Cameron talks about this unique challenge — plus all the additional instruments she plays for fun, and how she’s been staying connected with colleagues from across the Orchestra — in our latest #HomeWithArtists Musician Q&A.

Jordan Allen — Cello

“I don’t think it was a choice that I had to make. When I first heard the sound of the cello, I knew it was a sound that I wanted to hear and/or make everyday.” Read our latest #HomeWithArtists Musician Q&A with Jordan Allen, who talks about how the cello came to be a part of his life and the teachers who inspired him along the way.

Greg Smith — Bass Clarinet

Bass Clarinetist Greg Smith has been performing with the MSO since 1975! In our latest #HomeWithArtists Musician Q&A, he shares insights into rehearsing and performing with the Symphony — and how he’s been connecting with his neighbors through Friday Fish Fry over the past months!

Johanna Wienholts — Principal Harp

In our latest #HomeWithArtists Musician Q&A, Principal Harpist Johanna Wienholts talks about what makes the pedals of the harp so unique — and what she focuses on during rehearsal as a section of one, from counting for entire movements to finding balance between the high and low registers of the instrument.

Derek Handley — Cello

“The MSO is, simply put, a world class organization. And the city of Madison is so blessed to have an orchestra with so many outreach programs and talented musicians.” Derek Handley, cello, has been performing with the Madison Symphony since 2013. Learn more about what he enjoys doing in his free time, and what he’s watching and listening to these days, in our latest #HomeWithArtist Q&A.

Rick Morgan — Percussion

Have you ever thought about how the percussion section of an orchestra prepares for performances? It’s not simply practicing cues — it’s a process that involves making judgment calls about composer notes, choreographing movements between instruments, and a trial and error of sound that sometimes can’t be resolved until rehearsals with the full orchestra. In our latest #homewithartists Musician Q&A, Rick Morgan tells all.

Chris Dozoryst — Principal Viola

“I am a die-hard road tripper and fitness enthusiast. While travel is completely on hold for the time being, I still start the day with a five mile run.” Read more from Chris — including how homeschooling his son and daughter is going, and how he’s been practicing  — in the latest addition to our #homewithartists story series.

Carl Davick — Bass

From washing hands to Strauss, virtual lesson plans and collaborating with his students to create lyrics for a new song “Covid Blues” he wrote, Bassist Carl Davick reflects upon what he’s doing now, to the joy of making music with friends in the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and his love of playing music for audiences.

Stephanie Jutt — Principal Flute

“I loved the sound of the flute from the very beginning and couldn’t wait until I was old enough to start learning to play.” Read more from Stephanie — including how she prepares for rehearsals and what shows she’s watching these days — in the latest addition to our #homewithartists story series.

Olga Pomolova — Violin

Violinist Olga Pomolova expresses how she feels about being a musician in the Madison Symphony Orchestra and playing music together, with her friends. She also shares what she’s doing with her time now, including learning Italian!

Marc Fink — Principal Oboe

Marc Fink shares reflections of his 32-years with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and recent experiences during this time, beginning with the orchestra in 1973.

John DeMain — Music Director

Madison Symphony Orchestra Maestro John DeMain shares performances of Brahms Intermezzos and thoughts of music, the orchestra — “what we live for” . . . “that collective response” . . . and why people find live classical music food for the soul.

Katrin Talbot — Assistant Principal Viola

Katrin Talbot shares four poems that express a range of feelings she is experiencing about what music means — from emotions about missing playing with her colleagues and moments of dissonance — to the hope of gathering again to share live performances with our audiences.