Madison Symphony Orchestra’s 2016-17 Season Finale—an American Premiere and Brahms’ A German Requiem

by | May 2, 2017 | 0 comments

MADISON, WI – The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO), led by Music Director John DeMain, welcomes back Organist Nathan Laube and welcomes Soprano Devon Guthrie and Bass-Baritone Timothy Jones, making their MSO debut, as they join the orchestra for Brahms’ A German Requiem May 5, 6, and 7.

The concert will open with the American premiere of Stanford’s Concert Piece for Organ and Orchestra featuring Nathan Laube. The finishing touch to the 2016-17 season happens in the second half of the concert, when more than one hundred members of the Madison Symphony Chorus take the stage with the orchestra and organ performing Johannes Brahms’ A German Requiem, featuring Devon Guthrie and Timothy Jones as soloists.

The concerts are Fri., May 5, at 7:30 p.m., Sat., May 6, at 8:00 p.m., and Sun., May 7, at 2:30 p.m. at Overture Hall, 201 State St. 

Charles Viliers Stanford’s Concert Piece for Organ and Orchestra was completed on April 15, 1921. Stanford is one of the leading figures in what is sometimes called the “Second English Musical Renaissance”—which was a movement in the late 19th century, led by British composers. He believed in more conservative English contemporary music, rather than the music of Wagner, for example. He composed in all genres but had a great commitment to the organ. His Concert Piece for Organ and Orchestra was never performed or published during his lifetime. This is the piece’s debut performance with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and the American premiere of the work. 

Johannes Brahms’ A German Requiem was completed between 1857 and 1868. The word “Requiem” is Latin for “rest” or “repose” and in the Catholic faith the Requiem is the funeral Mass or Mass of the Dead. While usually filled with “terrifying visions of the Last Judgment and pleas for intercession on behalf of the souls of the dead and the living,” Brahms however puts death in a different light. He took sections of the Bible that are religious, but not necessarily Christian, and tells a story of salvation for all. Although upon its completion, Brahms called this piece, “Ein deutsches Requiem, nach Worten der Heiligen Schrift” (which translates to; “A German Requiem, from Words of the Holy Scripture”), he was quoted saying that his piece should really be called “A ‘Human’ Requiem.” It is believed to be dedicated to Brahms’ mother, and his musical father, Robert Schumann.

One hour before each performance, Beverly Taylor, MSO Assistant Conductor and Chorus Director, will lead a 30-minute Prelude Discussion in Overture Hall to enhance concertgoers’ understanding and listening experience. For more background on the music please visit the Program Notes at:

Groups of 15 or more can save 25% by calling the MSO office at (608) 257-3734. For more information visit,

Student rush tickets can be purchased in person on the day of the concert at the Overture Center Box Office at 201 State Street. Students must show a valid student ID and can receive up to two $12 or $15 tickets. More information is at: Students can receive 20% savings on seats in select areas of the hall on advance ticket purchases.

Seniors age 62 and up receive 20% savings on advance and day-of-concert ticket purchases in select areas of the hall.

Discounted seats are subject to availability, and discounts may not be combined.


The Madison Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 91st season in 2016-2017 and its 23rd season under the leadership of Music Director John DeMain. The MSO has grown to be one of America’s leading regional orchestras, providing Madison and south central Wisconsin with cultural and educational opportunities to interact with great masterworks and top-tier guest artists from around the world. Find more information at

Major funding for the May concerts is provided by: Kenneth A. Lattman Foundation, Inc., Larry and Jan Phelps, University Research Park, and BMO Wealth Management. Additional funding is provided by: WPS Health Solutions, Carla and Fernando Alvarado, and Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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