October 1, 2022 (updated 10/12/22)

October Madison Symphony Orchestra Concerts this Weekend & Overture Concert Organ Performance

October 14, 15, 16 MSO concerts feature the return of James Ehnes, violin
October 25 Organ Performance features the Overture Hall debut of Christopher Houlihan

Madison, Wis. 
The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s (MSO) 22/23 Subscription Symphony Season continues in Overture Hall this month with “Sublime Violin & Journeys” as the great violinist James Ehnes makes a much-anticipated return to perform Samuel Barber’s beautiful and exciting Violin Concerto. The program opens with Richard Strauss’ tone poem, Death and Transfiguration, and closes with Felix Mendelssohn’s Scottish” Symphony No. 3.

“I cannot imagine the Barber Violin Concerto more beautifully played than what we anticipate from James Ehnes,” Music Director John DeMain said. “Barber is often referred to as the American romantic, and this concerto has achieved a unique place among his many fine compositions. I have always been a special fan of Strauss’ tone poems, and the moving Death and Transfiguration will take us on a spiritual journey. It’s been quite a while since the MSO has performed Mendelssohn’s dramatic and exciting “Scottish” symphony. You will clearly hear references to Scottish folk music to add to your listening delight as we complete the evening. Three major works on the same program!”

 About James Ehnes
James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after musicians on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favourite guest at the world’s most celebrated concert halls. Throughout the 22/23 season, Ehnes continues as Artist in Residence with the National Arts Centre of Canada. Ehnes has an extensive discography and has won many awards for his recordings, including two Grammys, three Gramophone Awards and eleven Juno Awards. In 2021, Ehnes was announced as the recipient of the coveted Artist of the Year title in the 2021 Gramophone Awards which celebrated his recent contributions to the recording industry. A devoted chamber musician, he is the leader of the Ehnes Quartet and the Artistic Director of the Seattle Chamber Music Society.

Symphony Concert, Ticket and Event Details
The lobby opens 90 minutes prior to each concert. The Symphony recommends concert attendees arrive early for each performance to make sure they have time to pass through Overture Center’s security stations. All ticket holders are welcome to attend a free half-hour pre-concert talk one hour before each performance by Randal Swiggum in Overture Hall. A limited number of CDs Mr. Ehnes has recorded will be available for purchase at the concerts.

Single tickets are on sale now through the Overture Center Box Office. Tickets can be purchased online at overture.org, in-person or by phone by calling (608) 258-4141 during Box Office hours. $15 student rush tickets may be purchased beginning the Friday of the concert weekend through the performance time on each day at the Overture Box Office. 

Three performances of the “Sublime Violin & Journeys” concerts will take place October 14, 15 & 16 and ticket prices range from $20 to $98. More information is found at https://madisonsymphony.org/sublime 

Symphony Subscriptions
New 22/23 symphony season subscribers save up to save up to 50% of single ticket prices. Subscriptions are available through October 2022. Discover more at madisonsymphony.org/22-23

 Christopher Houlihan, Organ
On Tuesday, October 25, world-renowned organist Christopher Houlihan will make his Overture Hall debut, opening with J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in A minor and closing with Franz Liszt’s towering Fantasy and Fugue on Ad nos, ad salutarem undam. “This masterpiece will not only showcase all of the different colors and dynamic range of our Klais, but also Mr. Houlihan’s virtuosity and creative interpretation,” Principal Organist Greg Zelek said. “Mr. Houlihan will also perform a work by Robert Edward Smith that includes a narrated ‘tour’ of the organ, with variations based on an American folk tune, and I will have the pleasure of narrating as the organ is explored,” Zelek added.

The organist Christopher Houlihan has established an international reputation as a “passionate and intelligently virtuoso musician” (Gramophone), hailed for his “glowing, miraculously life-affirming performances” (Los Angeles Times). In 2017 Christopher Houlihan was appointed to the John Rose College Organist-and-Directorship Distinguished Chair of Chapel Music at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. succeeding his former teacher, John Rose. In addition to his studies at Trinity College, Houlihan studied with the Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs at The Juilliard School, where he earned a master’s degree. In 2015 he was selected for The Diapason’s “20 Under 30,” a distinguished list of leaders in the organ world. 

Organ Concert, Ticket and Event Details
The lobby opens at 6:00 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. The Symphony recommends concert attendees arrive early for each performance to make sure they have time to pass through Overture Center’s security stations.

All single tickets are $25 and on sale now through the Overture Center Box office. Tickets can be purchased online at overture.org, in-person or by phone by calling (608) 258-4141 during Box Office hours. $10 student rush tickets may be purchased on Tuesday, October 25 during box office hours. More information is found at https://madisonsymphony.org/houlihan 

Greg Zelek at Overture Hall CDs available for purchase
Greg Zelek, MSO’s Principal Organist and Elaine and Nicholas Michler Curator of the Overture Concert Organ recently recorded his Overture Hall debut album — released at the 22/23 Organ Series premiere performance in September, 2022. The CD is available for purchase during all Symphony concerts and Organ performances prior to each event, and at intermissions. The cost is $20. 

Health & Safety precautions
Masks are optional but encouraged in the lobby, during all performances, and at the post-concert receptions. Proof of vaccination is no longer required to enter Overture Center. More information about the many safety protocols can be found at overture.org/health, and madisonsymphony.org/health.

Money Back Guarantee
The MSO will continue to offer a refund for tickets to any concert that cannot be performed for any reason. The MSO will adhere to all public health guidelines and cooperate with Overture Center for the Arts for the safety of its audiences, musicians and staff. Programs, dates, and artists subject to change.

About the Madison Symphony Orchestra
The Madison Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 97th season in 2022–2023. The MSO has grown to be one of America’s leading regional orchestras, providing Madison and south-central Wisconsin with cultural and educational opportunities to interact with great masterworks and top-tier guest artists from around the world. 2023–2024 is Music Director John DeMain’s 30th anniversary season. The MSO’s 100th anniversary season celebration will take place during the 2025–2026 season. Learn more at madisonsymphony.org

The presenting sponsor for “Sublime Violin & Journeys” is Marvin J. Levy. Major funding is provided by Madison Magazine, Rosemarie and Fred Blancke, Martha and Charles Casey, and the Kenneth A. Lattman Foundation, Inc.. Additional funding is provided by James and Joan Johnston, Steinhilber Swanson LLP, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Major sponsors for Christopher Houlihan, Organ are Shirley Spade, in memory of Gerald Spade, and the Walter and Karen Pridham Charitable Fund. Greg Zelek is the Principal Organist and Elaine and Nicholas Mischler Curator of the Overture Concert Organ.

Contact: Peter Rodgers, Director of Marketing

Phone: (608) 260-8680 x226
Mobile: (415) 713-0235
Email: prodgers@madisonsymphony.org
Web: madisonsymphony.org
Link to 22-23 Symphony Season photos: https://bit.ly/mso-22-23-season-photos

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