On the occasion of his 80th birthday, Madison honors composer John Harbison & expresses gratitude for his contributions to the cultural life of our community, including the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival, co-directed by John & Rose Mary Harbison for the last 30 years.
This exhibit celebrates Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur Fellow John Harbison’s amazing – and ongoing – musical career, with a focus on his Madison connection, including works composed and premiered here, his new book on Bach, and the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival which he co-directs with Rose Mary Harbison held at the end of each summer in the refurbished barn on family property just outside the city.
Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) and WORT Community Radio offer broadcast retrospectives throughout the month of February, showcasing the breadth of Harbison’s work, from large symphonic to intimate chamber and vocal music, and jazz. Tune in on your radio dial, or stream from the stations' websites.
www.wpr.org & www.wortfm.org
This schedule will be updated frequently, as hosts determine their programming. Check back often.
John Harbison: A Composer's Voice
Wisconsin Public Television Documentary
Linda Clauder narrates this handsome 1994 WPT documentary that generously profiles the Harbisons' life at
their Wisconsin farm, together with John's approach to composition, the state of classical music, and words of wisdom for future generations of musicians.
Especially welcome are Rose Mary's profound insights into John's music and its place within contemporary composition. 27:21
Harbison’s Wind Quintet, a work of abundant imagination, is considered one of the modern masterpieces in the genre. One of his best known and most-often played works, Harbison here “unleashes the full power of the woodwind quintet.”
Performances by Mead Witter School of Music Faculty & Friends, including a preview of the upcoming Viola Sonata that receives its world premiere on February 17. Harbison will read from his new book, What Do We Make of Bach?, and will autograph copies (books will be available for purchase).
Considered one of Harbison’s most engaging orchestral works, his sparkling Most Often Used Chords was inspired by the “fundamentals of music” pages found on the covers of Italian music notebooks. An ingenious piece of spirited wit and generous humor, it is also a touching personal tribute to the raw materials of music. Enjoy a pre-concert conversation with the composer one hour before the concert begins.
The CD of The Most Often Used Chords and Harbison's book, What Do We Make of Bach?, will be available for purchase at intermission.
Bassoonist Marc Vallon, a native of France and prize-winner of two Premiere Prix from the Paris Conservatoire, includes Harbison's witty Canzonetta on his faculty recital. The New York Times characterized the work as "a light diversion, a four‐way conversation piece that seems to end on a note of grudging agreement.” (Free)
Harbison conducts the Society Choir in his
own choral settings of Emily Dickinson and his O Magnum Mysterium.
Generously funded by a secret admirer in honor of Harbison’s 80th birthday, the Sonata for Viola and Piano
receives its world premiere performance by lead commissioner
Sally Chisholm, viola and Timothy Lovelace, piano.
The Pro Arte Quartet offers chamber works of Harbison and Haydn,
one of the composers Harbison most admires.
Harbison will review and critique select student compositions.
Mosaic Chamber Players—with guest artists
John Harbison, piano and Rose Mary Harbison, violin— offer
chamber works of Harbison, Mozart, and Schoenberg.
Music of Bach, performed by John & Rose Mary Harbison
Harbison’s vocal music a rarity in Madison, together with companion
works of Bach and Schütz, and the world premiere of a new motet.
Gayle Worland, Wisconsin State Journal, Feb 10, 2019READ MORE HERE
Greg Hettmansberger, Madison Magazine/Channel 3000, Feb 5, 2019READ MORE HERE
Jacob Stockinger, The Well Tempered Ear, Jan 30, 2019READ MORE HERE
Greg Hettmansberger, Madison Magazine, February 1, 2019READ MORE HERE
Mead Witter School of Music, December 17, 2018READ MORE HERE
Mike Muckian, Isthmus, December 6, 2018READ MORE HERE
Events subject to change. Check here for updates.
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