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The Friday Five for March 21, 2014
Beethoven, Beethoven, Boswell Books and more.

This weekend, most roads lead to the Marcus Center for the first concert of the MSO's Beethoven Festival. Here are the details, along with some valuable stops along the way.

#5: Cooperative Performance Milwaukee's "Choose Your Season" at Wherehouse.

Because CPM, a newish theater company that includes several well-known local actors and artists, takes its name seriously. To wit: they will select their 2014-15 season based on Pecha-Kucha-style presentations by their members. That's right, each proposal has 20 slides (20 seconds each) to make a case to the CPM board. And you can be there to watch it all.

#4: Angela Sorby at Boswell Books.

Why? Because Marquette University Professor Sorby is an accomplished poet, a curious scholar, and an engaging speaker. She’ll wear all three hats in this special “prequel” to National Poetry Month. (Alas, do we really need a calendar-driven reason to talk about poetry?) The topic is children’s poetry of the 19th century, and Sorby will surely draw on the recently published collection Over the River and Through the Wood, which she co-edited.


#3: Carey Ott at Wilson Center for the Performing Arts.

Why? Because Ott has one of those great (but modest) singer-songwriter stories. He grew in small town just outside of Chicago, started writing songs and then moved to Nashville, where a lot of songwriters go. Almost ten-years later, he’s got a career, including two albums and some TV-soundtrack work (Grey’s Anatomy). He’s back in the Midwest promoting his latest album, Muddy Water.

#2: The Concord Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew Evangelical Church, Wauwatosa.

Why? Because Jamin Hoffman’s fine ensemble pays homage to the season of spring—in a way—with a program of work that turned the music world upside with bold innovations. Beethoven is here, of course—the centerpiece of the concert is the “Eroica” Symphony. But there’s also an excerpt from Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E-Minor, featuring the winner of the Concord’s annual Oestreich Concerto Composition, Brookfield native Wyatt Underhill.

#1: The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the Marcus Center.

Why? Well, because it’s Beethoven’s “Ninth,” that’s why. But that’s not the only reason to make a trip to her our beloved orchestra and chorus perform one of the centerpieces of Western music. It’s the first installment of the MSO’s three-week Beethoven mini-festival, which includes three of the master’s symphonies paired with three pieces by a living American master, John Adams. This concert pairs Beethoven’s call to universal brother- (and sister-) hood with Adams’ beautiful and somber The Wound Dresser, a musical setting of Walt Whitman’s Drum Taps, based on his experience nursing the injured during the Civil War. 

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