John W. Barker


Michael R Anderson

Madison Symphony Orchestra delivers a dazzling tribute to Leonard Bernstein at Overture Hall this weekend. It features John DeMain conducting the works of his mentor and magnificent piano playing by Christopher Taylor. more

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James Gill

Madison Opera delivers a passionate and lavish double bill of “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci.” It plays once more on Nov. 4. more


While Freakfest raged outdoors, the Pro Arte Quartet delivered an exploration of Schubert, Bolcom and Mendelssohn at Mills Hall on Oct. 27. more


The Madison Symphony Orchestra hosts guest conductor Tania Miller and cellist Zuill Bailey for its fall concerts. more

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Betty Liang

Madison Bach Musicians kick off their 15th season with a program devoted to Bach and Handel, two powerhouse composers and contemporaries who never met. more



Lisa Marie Mazzucco

The Madison Symphony Orchestra launched its 25th season with John DeMain with a visit from the extraordinary pianist Emanuel Ax, who delivered a muscular yet tender performance. more


The Pro Arte Quartet opened its fall season on Sept. 21 with a superb concert demonstrating some of the finest examples of the quartet spanning three centuries. more


When it comes to the arts, Madison keeps upping the ante. Our arts writers help you narrow it down with their picks for the most promising events in theater, comedy, dance, visual art and classical music. more

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On Sept. 9, Ancora Quartet completed the final leg of a tour that involved concerts in the U.S. and Germany with the magnificent mezzo-soprano Melinda Paulsen. more


Token Creek Chamber Music Festival debuts 29th season with program also featuring works by modern composer James Primosch. more


The excellent Willy Street Chamber Players launched their fourth annual season of Friday evening concerts on July 6. The program included guest vocalist Jazimina MacNeil, who brought three works by young American composers. more



Dick Ainsworth

Summer has arrived with the launch of Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society’s chamber music festival. Isthmus classical reviewer John Barker caught the opening program at Taliesin on June 10. more



Photos by: Benjamin Ealovega, Lisa Marie Mazzucco, Chris Hynes

Madison Symphony Orchestra celebrates two landmarks in its upcoming 2018-19 season: It’s maestro John DeMain’s 25th season conducting, and it’s the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late, great Leonard Bernstein, one of DeMain’s collaborators. more


The audience delighted in the showy moments of Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s all-Beethoven season finale. But classical critic John W. Barker also delighted in soloist John O’Conor’s understated moments. more



Dan Williams

Madison Symphony Orchestra finishes off its season with a study in contrasts: Mozart and Janáček. more



James Gill

Strong performances and superb production make Madison Opera’s “Florencia en el Amazonas” an excellent season-ender. more


The fantastic Russian-born violinist Ilya Kaler returns to Madison, delivering a perfect Paganini with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. more


The King’s Singers pass through Madison on their 50th anniversary tour, presenting a diverse program of songs, ranging from Renaissance-era pieces to modern pieces composed for the occasion. more


What timing. The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s penultimate concerts include odes to pacifism and spring. more



Kent Sweitzer

Isthmus classical music critic John W. Barker has seen productions of “Dido and Aeneas” in major opera houses. But his favorite so far was Madison Bach Musicians’ masterful production last weekend. more