(above): Maestro Ken-David Masur, Music Director and Polly and Bill Van Dyke Music Director Chair for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Credit: Adam DeTour
Since its founding in 1959, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) has continued to be one of the country’s most artistically vibrant and innovative orchestras. This tradition has been enjoyed by millions nationwide since 1971 with the MSO’s radio series – the country’s longest-running national classical radio series. The MSO’s full-time, professional, virtuosic musicians excite listeners with over 140 live concerts across Wisconsin each season. A selection of these are featured on the orchestra’s broadcasts, which feature exclusive behind the scenes and backstage musician commentary.
Now a part of the WFMT Orchestra Series, the 2022 series of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra – On Stage begins with Music Director Ken-David Masur leading a program featuring Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Duke Ellington’s New World A-Comin’ with Aaron Diehl at the piano. The broadcast also includes Eric Nathan’s Opening and James B. Wilson’s Green Fuse, and closes with Stravinsky’s suite from The Firebird. Other highlights of the series include:
- Andrea Delfs conducts a gorgeous program featuring Olga Kern in Grieg’s Concerto in A minor for Piano and Orchestra, with Wagner’s “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey” from Götterdämmerung, Humperdinck’s Orchestral Suite for Hansel and Gretel, and Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Something for the Dark. (22-03)
- William Eddins takes the podium for a concert presenting Nino Rota’s Concerto Per Archi and Respighi’s The Fountains of Rome, coming to a stunning climax with violinist Karen Gomyo performing Shostakovich’s Concerto No. 1 in A minor. (22-04)
- Pianist Jorge Federico Osorio performs Mozart’s Concerto No. 23 with Ken-David Masur at the podium, complemented by Bruckner’s awe-inspiring seventh symphony. (22-08)
- A fantastic program full of exceptional conductors and the too-rarely heard saxophone! Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s Sinfonietta No. 1 for Strings conducted by Yaniv Dinur begins the program, with Harris’s Symphony No. 3 in One Movement and Hanson’s Romantic Symphony No. 2 conducted by Thomas Wilkins. Also featured are two excellent soloists: Timothy McAllister performs Schulhoff’s Hot Sonata for Alto Saxophone, and violinist Ilana Setapen plays Bolcom’s Concerto in D with Ken-David Masur at the podium. (22-09)
- Pianist Alessio Bax joins Ruth Reinhardt and the orchestra for Brahms’s second piano concerto in B-flat major. Also included are Wennakoski’s Flounce and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 5 in F major. (22-11)
- And many more fantastic performances! See the complete listings for all details.
The MSO is a pioneer among American orchestras. The orchestra has performed world and American premieres of works by John Adams, Roberto Sierra, Phillip Glass, Geoffrey Gordon, Marc Neikrug, and Matthias Pintscher. In 2005, the MSO gained national recognition as the first American orchestra to offer live recordings on iTunes, and continues to offer over forty albums available for download.
A cornerstone of Milwaukee’s art community, and as Wisconsin’s largest cultural organization, the MSO provides enrichment and education activities for audiences of every age, economic status, and background. The MSO’s education and outreach programs are among the most highly regarded of any American symphony and locally reach over 40,000 children and their families through initiatives such as Youth & Teen Concerts, Meet the Music pre-concert talks, Friday Evening Post-Concert Talkbacks, and MSO Stars of Tomorrow. The Orchestra’s signature, nationally-acclaimed Arts in Community Education (ACE) program is the most comprehensive education initiative ever undertaken by an American orchestra and for over a quarter of a century has been the model program for countless U.S. orchestras.
On November 12, 2018, Maestro Ken-David Masur was named the seventh Music Director and Polly and Bill Van Dyke Music Director Chair for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Congratulations to the MSO and to Maestro Masur on this exciting development! You can find more information, including a bio, press release, and critical praise, at this link.