Green Bay’s orchestra says farewell after a century of symphonies

Written by Julie Steinbach,
Contributing writer
Friday, 27 March 2015 06:44

The Green Bay Symphony Orchestra is one of Wisconsin’s longest standing regional orchestras, founded in 1913. In its heyday, GBSO members commuted from across the state and as far away as Chicago to rehearse and perform. Even now, performing at UW–Green Bay’s Weidner Center, the orchestra is a professional company with a dedicated youth symphony orchestra program, filling a vital role in its community.

On April 11, it will perform what may be its final concert. Facing a climate of declining ticket sales and “donor fatigue” — with former beneficiaries who have financially supported the organization throwing in the towel — the organization announced last year that 2014–15 would be the orchestra’s final season.

Music Reviews: Madonna, Van Morrison, Twin Shadow, more

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 26 March 2015 14:46

The cover of Van Morrison's latest. — PHOTO: Courtesy

Van Morrison :: Duets: Reworking the Catalogue

WCO concert features historic Casals cello

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 13 March 2015 11:24

When the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra takes the stage March 20 at Madison’s Overture Center, the attraction won't just be the guest musicians, it'll be the guest instrument.

Guest cellist Amit Peled will join maestro Andrew Sewell and his musicians for the concert, along with the prized Goffriller cello, an 18th-century instrument considered one of the rarest and greatest of its breed. 

Music Review: Madonna’s ‘Rebel Heart’ is lovely

Associated Press
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 12:46

Madonna’s 13th studio album, “Rebel Heart,” beats with romance and rebellion.

At 19 tracks, it’s an overstuffed triptych through the iconic performer’s life, careening between uplifting dance tracks, like the percolating “Living for Love” — her 44th No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart — and corrosively bitter tunes such as the Avicii-produced “HeartBreakCity.”

Nearly 40 years strong, the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus sings its own tune

Written by Kirstin Roble,
Contributing writer
Friday, 27 March 2015 06:41

Since 1976, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Chorus has been a valued partner to its orchestra, performing alongside it whenever needed. On March 28 and March 29, the stage is their own. In "MSO a cappella," the chorus will perform a series of vocal works without the usual orchestral accompaniment.

“This is not the first time we’ve done a concert like this,” said chorus director Lee Erickson in a recent phone interview. But, he adds, the last such installment was five years ago, making the upcoming concert something of a special occasion.

Review: Modest Mouse ramp up the weird on new album

Written by MATTHEW KEMP,
Associated Press writer
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 08:39

It’s been eight years since Modest Mouse’s album “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank” smashed onto the U.S. charts at No. 1. Will lightning strike twice for frontman Isaac Brock with the long-gestating “Strangers to Ourselves”?

Stranger things have happened.

Music reviews:
Kelly Clarkson, Brandi Carlile, of Montreal, The Bang Bang

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Friday, 13 March 2015 03:36

One of Kelly Clarkson’s greatest strengths is her restlessness. With her career at a pop pinnacle in 2007, she dove headfirst into dark self-analysis on My December, with mixed results. Now, in the wake of regaining her pop crown with Stronger, Clarkson is again exploring new territory on Piece By Piece. “Someone” sounds like past hits — until it’s drenched in big synths. “Invincible,” co-written by Sia, features the rising star’s background vocals. “Run Run Run” opens as a simple piano ballad with John Legend and then becomes something slightly sinister by the end. Just when the new sounds may seem a bit overwhelming, Clarkson returns to familiar territory on “Nostalgic” and lead single “Heartbeat Song.” Through it all, one of the best voices in pop rings through clear and sharp. 

The Sets List, February 26, 2015

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer
Thursday, 26 February 2015 14:57

Ariana Grande. — PHOTO: Courtesy

Ariana Grande

At South by Southwest:
Must-see acts in Austin

Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 17 March 2015 05:51

Preparing for the South by Southwest music festival is like shopping without a budget: there are just too many options.

The annual SXSW is jam-packed with thousands of performers and events - ranging from official showcases by Pandora and Spotify to unofficial ones, such as Raptor House and Roc Nation's weekend event that featured Spike Lee, Nick Jonas and Big Sean - kicking off the music portion of SXSW, which officially begins on March 17.

The Sets List:
Alabama Shakes, TV on the Radio, Group of the Altos, more

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer
Thursday, 12 March 2015 23:40

A thunderbolt dressed in blue jeans. That’s what a New York Times critic called Alabama Shakes after the band's breakout debut at the CMJ Music Marathon in 2011, opening up for a bunch of bands who haven’t had a tenth of their meteoric success since. The gig was a game-changer for the blues rock act, fronted by lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard, and after two Grammy noms in 2013 (they lost a tighter-than-usual race for best new artist to fun.) they band is starting 2015 with a big tour and a bigger album, Sound & Color, on the horizon.

Music reviews, February 26, 2015

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 26 February 2015 14:50

Imagine Dragons :: ‘Smoke + Mirrors’

Imagine Dragons is known for a joyfully bombastic stage performance and sophomore album Smoke + Mirrors is its perfect translation. The band retreads the most successful musical ideas from Night Visions — “Gold” is as anthemic as “Radioactive,” and the first single, “I Bet My Life,” recalls the band’s first hit, the neo-folk-rock “It’s Time.” The band also stretches in new directions, trying on Coldplay’s sound in “It Comes Back To You” and embracing pop and EDM on “Summer.” Through it all, Imagine Dragons retains its skill in moving from whispers to screams, even within a single song.