Those who attended our performance of Missa Solemnis enjoyed an unforgettable performance together in Overture Hall. The concert began with Haydn’s Violin Concerto in G major led by Concertmaster, Naha Greenholtz. In the second half, The Madison Symphony Chorus, Sara Duchovnay (Soprano), Briana Hunter (Mezzo-soprano), Clay Hilley (Tenor), and Kenneth Kellogg (Bass) joined the orchestra for a spectacular performance of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis. Read the reviews and view photos from the amazing performance below!


Matt Ambrosio / The Cap Times: “From intimate concerto to grand masterwork, MSO’s concert was celebratory”

“The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Friday night performance had the intimacy of a parlor concert and the grandeur of a celebration. The warming music of the program, Haydn’s Violin Concerto No. 4 and Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis,” the title work of the concert, was a perfect remedy for the cold April evening.”

“Following historical practices, Greenholtz led the ensemble without a conductor, effortlessly balancing the roles of soloists and leader. Greenholtz was attentive to the ensemble, and her gestures energized and directed the MSO throughout the performance. At times, it was as if she was gracefully dancing around the stage as she played, cueing the other players and grooving to the music.

With warm tone and breathless technique, Greenholtz is a master at shaping a phrase, which shined when she performed the endearing melodies of the second movement. In the third movement, the tutti ritornello felt like the return of a close friend, and Greenholtz embraced its every restatement with a grand gesture, arching her back and opening to the musical moment, and the ensemble matched her energy.”

“During the second act, John DeMain joined the orchestra for Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis,” a work often lauded as the one of the composer’s greatest masterworks. The enormous scale of the performance was palpable. In addition to the full force of the orchestra, the MSO was joined by the MSO chorus, Overture Hall’s signature organ, played by Greg Zelek, and four vocal soloists: Sara Duchovnay (soprano), Briana Hunter (mezzo), Clay Hilley (tenor), and Kenneth Kellogg (bass). It is a rare treat to have so many musicians share a stage.”

“After her remarkable performance during the first act, Greenholtz again was featured as a soloist during the “Sanctus.” Perhaps the most magical moment of the evening came when Greenholtz joined the vocal quartet during an extended soli section, performing a descant over the ensemble.

Closing the concert, the “Agnus Dei” concluded with a magnificent fugue that had the soloists, orchestra and choir pulling together for a grand ending.”

Read the full review.

Bill Wineke / Channel 3000: “Naha Greenholtz is an MSO Treasure”

“The first thing we have to recognize about the weekend’s Madison Symphony Orchestra concerts is that concertmaster Naha Greenholtz is a civic treasure.

Greenholtz stepped out of her usual role as lead violin to perform as soloist and conductor for Haydn’t “Concerto No. 4 in G Major for Violin and Orchestra.”

It was as fine a performance as I have heard at the MSO (and, honestly, I have been attending concerts here longer than Greenholtz has been alive).

She joined the MSO in 2011 at age 26, is concertmaster of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and performs on a 1788 Antonio Gragnani violin.

In addition to the Haydn piece, Greenholtz also was soloist for one of five movements in the orchestra’s principal offering, Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis.”

One result is that she received standing ovations for two separate performances, something I don’t recall seeing at an MSO concert.”

““Missa Solemnis” is a spectacular production, featuring the Madison Symphony Chorus, about 100 strong, and four outstanding soloists, soprano Sara Duchovna, mezzo-soprano Briana Hunter, Tenor Clay Hilley and bass Kenneth Kellogg.

The Mass is, of course, a fitting piece with which to begin Holy Week and this 70-minute production seemed to be over in no time at all as the combined efforts of musicians and singers blended into a moving production.”

Read the full review

Hear what the audience had to say…​

The chorus and the music was absolutely beautiful! I had goose bumps when it began. Naha is such a gem and how fortunate we are to have her as our Concertmaster. Exquisite playing!

The violin concerto was lovely. the Beethoven was exciting with particular kudos to Naha Greenholtz with the violin solo section. The soloists were excellent.

The Haydn concerto was outstanding. Ms. Greenholtz led the orchestra with great skill and fun interaction with the orchestra. I am impressed at the versatility of MSO, creating an intimate chamber orchestra experience in the first half of the concert and a presenting a grand sweeping choral work in the second half.

The range of emotion was almost overwhelming. We left exhausted and quite literally stunned, after one of the most profoundly stirring experiences in our decades of attending MSO concerts. Truly a triumphant performance.

The degree of professionalism is superb!

The majesty of the Missa Solemnis was very moving. Experiencing Naha work her violin is always inspiring.

I was deeply impressed by Naha Greenholtz’s great performance. And I absolutely loved the Beethoven. I was concerned about its length, but I was riveted the whole time. Both pieces were beautiful.

It was very unusual and quite refreshing to see a chamber-sized ensemble perform without a conductor, at least for the MSO. I very much enjoyed the Haydn. Of course, the Missa Solemnis was as magnificent as ever.

The violin soloist was exquisite in the Haydn concerto and also the Beethoven. The beauty of tone nearly brought me to tears. I enjoyed the entire concert, but the violin soloist was the high point for me.

The first piece was beautiful. Watching Naha play and conduct was captivating.

I was expecting the Beethoven to be wonderful and it was. But the Haydn with Naha Greenholtz was a treasure.

The violin piece was so intimate and so well preformed. Of course the chorus is always wonderful. The soft sections were particularly well done.

The ensemble as well as the soloists played wonderfully! Both pieces were compelling and played beautifully.

Missa Solemnis is a fantastic piece of music, especially because of the soloists and the Madison Symphony Chorus. I was overwhelmed by its performance.

The Missa Solemnis was profound and I loved the timing at the beginning of Holy Week. For me, it was a deeply religious experience. Everyone played and sang well. I also appreciated the attention to performing the Haydn in an historically aware manner, with the harpsichord and with the violinist conducting. Naha Greenholtz is a wonderful player!

It was a great program. Both pieces were compelling. Ms. Greenholtz’s performance was wonderful, and the magnitude and gravitas of the not often heard Beethoven piece was awesome.