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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.

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
5/5/22 — Symphony No. 5: So Many Good Examples!

Thursday, May 5, 7:00 p.m.

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View Slides from the Presentation

Join us on 5/5 as we talk about symphony No. 5s – Beethoven’s famous No. 5, to be performed by the MSO in May, and other No. 5’s from Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, and more. It’s a number that seems to be the sweet spot for composers!  We’ll speculate why and listen to a few of these well-known “fives” with host Steve Kurr.

3/10/22 — Gil Shaham Plays the Beethoven Violin Concerto

Thursday, March 10, 7:00 p.m.

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The inimitable Gil Shaham will perform the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Madison Symphony Orchestra in March. Learn more about our soloist and the concert at the MSOL Connect event presented by Steve Kurr. Mr. Kurr will also discuss the other works being performed during the concert weekend — the delightful Kodály Háry János Suite and the haunting Rachmaninoff tone poem Isle of the Dead.

1/20/22 — Western Art Music & Composers From the African Diaspora

Thursday, Jan. 20, 7:00 p.m.

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Hosted by educator Steve Kurr, our first MSOL Connect event of 2022 will investigate, emphasize and celebrate musical composition by Black men and women. We’ll look at their contributions to western classical music, a field historically dominated by discussion of white male musicians.

11/10/21 — Grand Panorama: Conversations with Thomas Mesa & Stephen Lias

Wednesday, Nov. 10, 4:00 p.m.

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In November, the Madison Symphony Orchestra will perform an engaging program of Arthur Honneger’s Rugby, Antonin Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, George Walker’s Lyric for Strings, and Ferde Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite. Come learn about this wonderful repertoire from Steve Kurr and meet Thomas Mesa, our cello soloist, and Stephen Lias, who is providing beautiful imagery to accompany Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite.

9/23/21 — String Spirit

Thursday, September 23, 2021

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The MSOL Connect featuring the September String Spirit program took place on Thursday, September 23, 4:00 p.m. The event celebrated the long-anticipated return of live performances from the Madison Symphony Orchestra by discussing their upcoming program (Elgar’s Introduction & Allegro, Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Timpani, and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings), chatting with the evening’s organ soloist Greg Zelek (Principal Organist and Elaine and Nicholas Mischler Curator of the Overture Concert Organ), and setting these three works in a larger context of string orchestra repertoire.

View the slides used in the presentation.

5/20/21 — MSOL Virtual Annual Meeting

Thursday, May 20, 2021

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Watch MSOL President Beth Rahko present a year-end wrap-up and see a special musical performance by Sophia Jiang, winner of The Final Forte 2021. Hear from Music Director John DeMain and Executive Director Rick Mackie as they recap the past year and talk about the season ahead. Also, find out the results of the Board election and introduce the 2021–2022 president. Hear from Symphony leadership and enjoy the music of our talented young winner — all from the comfort of your home!

4/22/21 — Movie Music — Its Beginnings, Its Evolution, and Its Composers

Thursday, April 22, 2021

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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.

3/25/21 — The Development of our Modern Orchestra and its Instruments, Part 2

Thursday, March 25, 2021

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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 slides used in the presentation.

2/25/21 — An Evening with Tamera and Leotha Stanley

Thursday, February 25, 2021

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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.

1/28/21 — The Evolution of the MSO Education Program

Thursday, January 28, 2021

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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 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.

11/19/20 — The Development of the Modern Orchestra and its Instruments

Thursday, November 19, 2020

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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.

View the slides used in the presentation.

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

Thursday, October 22, 2020

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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.”

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9/24/20 — Music and the Brain

Thursday, September 24, 2020

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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.

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

Thursday, August 20, 2020

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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. Other resources from the evening:

View the slides used in the presentation.

7/23/20 — Performance and Q&A with Michael Wu

Thursday, July 23, 2020

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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 slides used in the presentation.

Watch Michael Wu’s performance:

6/29/20 — Humor & Classical Music

Monday, June 29, 2020

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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.

View the slides used in the presentation.

6/15/20 — The Life, Music and Legacy of Beethoven

Monday, June 15, 2020

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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.

View the slides used in the presentation.