Madison Symphony Orchestra League

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Madison Symphony Orchestra League

Parties of Note

The MSOL’s Parties of Note is a series of themed parties to benefit the Madison Symphony Orchestra. The 2021 Parties will be a combination of new events and parties previously scheduled in 2020. Visit the Parties of Note page for party information, registration details, and our FAQ on our 2021 events.

Concert on the Green 2022

We have decided to postpone the event that was planned for summer 2021 until June 20, 2022. We hope that you will join us to celebrate summer and support the Madison Symphony Orchestra at this special event featuring a daytime golf tournament and evening concert. Learn more about this event.

MSOL Connect

MSOL Connect is a series of one-hour online events created during the pandemic to keep MSOL members connected and engaged. Each event is an informative and entertaining presentation related to classical music.

MSOL 2021 Annual Meeting

You’re invited to the 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 20, 2021 — 7:00 p.m.

Join MSOL President Beth Rahko for a year-end wrap-up and special musical performance by Sophia Jiang winner of The Final Forte 2021. Music Director John DeMain and Executive Director Rick Mackie will recap the past year and talk about the season ahead. We will report on the results of the Board election and introduce the 2021–2022 president. While we can’t come together in person yet, we can meet virtually. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from Symphony leadership and enjoy the music of our talented young winner — all from the comfort of your home!

The meeting is open to MSOL members and guests. Please register to receive the Zoom invitation with instructions about attending the event. Registration will close Tuesday, May 18 at 3:00 p.m.

Watch any of these outstanding MSOL Connect programs again or experience them for the first time by clicking below. Please feel free to share with friends who also love classical music.

If you have enjoyed these programs and have not yet become a member, please consider joining the MSOL or consider making a donation. Donations benefit the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s nationally-recognized Education and Community Engagement Programs. Learn more about the benefits of MSOL membership.

View Past MSOL Connect Events
4/22 — Movie Music — Its Beginnings, Its Evolution, and Its Composers

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Watch Video Recording

Film scores have been a major part of popular culture for almost 100 years, and they also represent some of the most compelling musical work during the last century. We’ll explore the history, development, and composers of that rich world of movie music with our host Steve Kurr.

View the slides used in the presentation.

3/25 — The Development of our Modern Orchestra and its Instruments, Part 2

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Watch Video Recording

The Madison Symphony Orchestra is part of a centuries-long tradition of instrumental ensembles in Western Classical Music. But how did we get to where we are now? Last November, Steve Kurr presented a fascinating talk tracing the development of the modern orchestra, from its roots in ancient music a thousand years ago, as well as the evolution of the instruments themselves. The Part One presentation brought us up through the mid-1700s (the Baroque and Classical musical eras). On March 25, Steve moved closer in time to the orchestra we have now and the (somewhat) standardized group of instruments we have seen on the Overture Center stage. Continue to explore the musical evolution at out next MSOL Connect that took place on March 25, when Steve Kurr presented “Part 2: The Development of our Modern Orchestra and its Instruments.”

View the slideshow used in the presentation.

2/25 — An Evening with Tamera and Leotha Stanley

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Watch Video Recording

Leotha & Tamera Stanley, the husband-and-wife team who lead the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Choir, are fixtures in the Madison music scene. They conduct programs for local school music students, present the Gospel Carols Concert each year, and collaborate with the Madison Symphony Orchestra for the annual Christmas concert. Leotha and Tamera will present behind the scene insights about a variety of programs they have been engaged in, including MSO Christmas productions, Gospel Carols, MLK Community Choir “Lovely Day” production, their “Be A Friend Challenge” and more. Come spend an evening getting to know these incredibly talented and giving musicians.

1/28 — The Evolution of the MSO Education Program
Thursday, January 28, 2021

Watch Video Recording

What are the origins, plans and innovations for the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s nationally-recognized Education and Community Engagement Programs? Look into the past and future with MSOL Connect on Thursday, January 28 at 7:00 p.m. Join a conversation with Music Director John DeMain, Education Director Kathryn Schwarzmann, and Associate Conductor Kyle Knox, who is taking over much of the youth concert conducting duties. They will discuss developments and new initiatives planned for the Symphony’s existing programs, how diversity will play a bigger role in MSO education efforts, and how the education programs are surviving and thriving during the pandemic. Kyle Knox, also Music Director of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras, will talk about how WYSO helped keep talented young musicians engaged and motivated during this abnormal time.

11/19 — The Development of the Modern Orchestra and its Instruments

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Madison Symphony Orchestra is part of a centuries-long tradition of instrumental ensembles in Western Classical Music. But how did we get to where we are now? Spend an evening tracing the development of our modern orchestra: from its roots in ancient music a thousand years ago, through the evolution of the instruments themselves, and to the (somewhat) standardized group of instruments we have seen on the Overture Center stage.

10/22 — Humor & (Classical) Music: The 20th Century Parodists

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Spend the evening with Victor Borge, Spike Jones, Anna Russell, Weird Al Yankovic, Tom Lehrer, and Peter Schickele as we explore “Humor & (Classical) Music: The 20th Century Parodists.” 

9/24 — Music and the Brain

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Music and our Brains have a special relationship. Explore the fascinating connection between the two when Steve Kurr presents “Music and the Brain.” Learn about music’s effects on how we learn, interact and age, and on the growing field of music therapy.

8/20 — A Brief History of Music: A Review of The 6 Periods in Classical Music

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Music has come a long way since the Gregorian Chants of the Middle Ages, and our August 20th MSOL Connect will tell you how! Steve Kurr will present “A Brief History of Music: A Review of The 6 Periods in Classical Music,” and share what defines each period and how each contributed to the music we listen to today. View the recording of the event and other resources from the evening:

7/23 — Performance and Q&A with Michael Wu

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Michael Wu, Bolz Young Artist Competition participant and winner of The Finale Forte 2020 shared a performance from his home this summer. This two minute work — ‘Country Gardens’ — is arranged for solo piano by Percy Grainger. It’s a traditional English folk tune that was collected by Cecil Sharp in the early 20th-Century. The piece was first shared at the July 23, 2020 Madison Symphony Orchestra League “MSOL Connect” Zoom event. View the full recording of the event.

Watch Michael Wu’s performance:

6/29 — Humor & Classical Music

June 29: Humor & Classical Music was the second event, featuring the amusing aspects of classical music and how comedy is expressed in music. Steve Kurr led an exploration of the intersection of these seemingly separate subjects. Ranging from Medieval chant to modern parodies, he presented numerous examples of humor on several levels and helpful explanations of their musical and historical context. A recording of the event is available here, and slides with links to the musical examples are here.

6/15 — The Life, Music and Legacy of Beethoven

June 15: Beethoven 250 was the inaugural event and featured Steve Kurr, a dynamic instructor, musicologist and conductor. He narrated an hour-long tour of the Life, Music and Legacy of Beethoven, with an in-depth review of the context and significance of his symphonic works. A recording of the event is available here.

Read the message from MSOL President Beth Rahko that was presented at the Madison Symphony Orchestra annual meeting on January 12, 2021.

Love the Symphony? Join the League!

Part of the Madison community since 1956, the Madison Symphony Orchestra League (MSOL) is an organization of more than 350 members committed to supporting the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s artistic, financial and educational mission. Membership is open to all, and new members are welcome at any time!

Benefits of Membership

As a member, you’ll receive:

  • Invitations to exclusive member events including parties, luncheons, and concert previews
  • Monthly MSOL Member E-news highlighting activities and opportunities
  • Score newsletter from the MSO and MSOL
  • Membership Directory (Annual printed version; Online version updated monthly)

Join the League or renew membership

Follow MSOL on Facebook!

MSOL Member Events

Members of the Madison Symphony Orchestra League receive access to special concert previews, lunches with musical performances, and other social events. Learn more about them below or volunteer to help plan an event.

Fellowship, Music, and More

Fall, Winter, and Spring Luncheons bring members together for food and fellowship, and feature MSO musicians or guest artists as performers or speakers. And a special Holiday Party is hosted by the League in December to celebrate the season.


Ladies Bridge Marathon, Men’s Bridge and Couples Bridge Marathon groups are popular with bridge-playing League members.

The MSOL Couples Bridge Marathon is gearing up for our 2019-2020 season! This group meets six times during the year between September and late April, ending with a dinner and bridge event at the Madison Club. If you are interested in joining our group, please call Marilyn Ebben (608-833-4683) for more information. Registration closes on August 15th.

Concert Previews

League members host these timely presentations, one or more each year, featuring a musician or music expert who highlights the concert repertoire.

MSOL Fundraising Events

The Madison Symphony Orchestra League is proud to support the award-winning Education and Community Engagement programs of the Madison Symphony Orchestra through a variety of annual fundraising events and activities. Learn more about them below.

Concert on the Green

Held at Bishops Bay Country Club each June, Concert on the Green features a golf outing in the morning followed by a cocktail party, concert, and gourmet picnic dinner in the evening.

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Symphony Gala

The Symphony Gala celebrates the opening of the Symphony season in September with a formal dinner, drinks, dancing, and live music. At this event, the John DeMain Award for Outstanding Commitment to Music is presented to recognize an individual or individuals for their longstanding and unwavering support of the League, the Madison Symphony Orchestra and music in the community.

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Parties of Note

Parties of Note are small parties, typically for 20-30 guests, with unique themes and venues. There are approximately 12 Parties of Note throughout the year.

Discover More | Volunteer

Non-Membership Gifts

We appreciate your gift to the MSOL, of any amount that is meaningful to you, to help support future Education and Community Engagement Programs of the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Thank you!

View photos…

from a variety of Education and Community Engagement Programs, MSOL fundraising events, and donor appreciation gatherings where MSOL Members and volunteers contribute vital support.