The Madison Symphony Orchestra was thrilled to welcome American Players Theatre actors to Overture Hall for our March 19 concert, Beyond the Score®. Read reviews from the concert weekend, hear what the audience had to say, and view pictures below!


Bill Wineke / Madison Independent Arts Review: “Mahler Comes Alive at MSO”

The Madison Symphony Orchestra Sunday did something I never expected it to do: It convinced me to enjoy Mahler.

The MSO’s annual “Beyond the Score” concert featured Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 4 in G major.

The entire first half of the concert was a multi-media explanation of the symphony, featuring Madison Soprano Emily Secor and American Players Theatre actors James Ridge, Colleen Madden and Gavin Lawrence.

Then the orchestra came back and played the entire symphony, including Secor’s solo, which comprised most of the fourth movement.

Secor, who has been a frequent artist in Madison Opera productions, was in her element. I truly think her voice might have been what Mahler had in mind when he wrote the movement.

He might have had Kyle Knox, the MSO associate director who conducts many of the “Beyond the Score” concerts, in mind, too.

The symphony in Knox’s hands was light, friendly and, it seemed to me, youthful.

The fact that Mahler never seems to come across that way to me is, obviously, due to me and not to Mahler.

Also obviously, spending an hour learning about the music and about Mahler’s thoughts on it at the hands of some of the state’s best actors and Secor’s introduction should help anyone appreciate the symphony.

Still, I’ve seen most of the “Beyond the Score” presentations and this, to me, was by far the best.

A surprising number of patrons left after the first part of the program, thus depriving themselves of experiencing the symphony in a new way.

That was their loss – and I am coming to realize that my previous rejection of Mahler may well have been my loss, too.


Hear what the audience had to say…

“We love Beyond the Score. The composer’s life and art are integral to understanding the music and enjoying it to the maximum.”

“I’ve never seen a multi-media presentation at a symphony concert. I enjoyed this format.”

“The multimedia and educational dialog prior to the full symphony. This transformed my understanding of the composer, the era and circumstances in which it was written, and the music itself.”

“This was a beautiful combination of explanation and performance. Very different from others.”

“I liked the first part of it and I really appreciated how they kept switching between orchestra and acting, it was a great change of pace.”

“Great performance of a great piece, combined with great multimedia addition.”

“The beautiful soprano.”

“I can’t tell you how many times I have listened to Mahler’s 4th. What I really enjoyed was learning all sorts of interesting things about the symphony itself, for example, 4 flutes playing in unison, the extra violin tuned down a full step, etc. Those kinds of things really helped me hear the symphony in a new way!”