March 21: Madison Bach Musicians

On Saturday, March 21st Grace Presents welcomes back the Madison Bach Musicians. You won’t want to miss this concert…on J.S. Bach’s 330th birthday!

Madison Bach Musicians (MBM) was formed to foster a love of music and to provide education about great music within the community. MBM is dedicated to presenting the music of Bach-as well as works by other great composers of the Baroque, Renaissance, and Classical periods-to both the general public and to educational institutions through performances, lectures, and workshops. Bach’s music was chosen as a focal point because of its outstanding beauty, variety, and profundity and because it speaks with urgency to modern audiences. In pursuit of the greatest clarity of musical texture, MBM performs primarily on period instruments, and ensemble sizes are typical of those used by Bach himself. MBM provides a unique forum for experienced professional and exceptionally talented young professional musicians to work together in an exciting period performance style.

Rediscovering Rameau

Rediscovering Rameau

A Year-Long Series Examining the Music and Theories 

of Baroque Composer Jean-Philippe Rameau

Rameau the Theorist

Wednesday, March 11, 7:00 p.m.

1315 Chemistry Building, 1101 University Avenue

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Rameau’s contributions as a music theorist still influence modern discussions of tonality, harmony, and harmonic progressions. Chemist Rod Schreiner will demonstrate the principles of string vibration and sound propagation that influenced Rameau, and music theorist Lee Blasius will explain how Rameau used these principles to construct a comprehensive view of music. John Chappell Stowe will discuss how Rameau’s observations led him to investigate new tuning systems, including the now commonly used equal temperament.

Future events will feature conductor Marc Vallon, director of the Madison Bach MusiciansTrevor Stephenson, and opera director David Ronis.

The full schedule, including performers and presenters, is here:

Announcing 2015 Concerts

We are excited to announce our upcoming concert series for 2015. Please check back as we add more dates!

February 21 – Xtring (World Music)

March 21 (Bach’s Birthday!) – Madison Bach Musicians

April 18 – Tairis (Celtic Harmonies)

May – TBA

June 20 – Jessica Giese Baetz (Opera) and Lindsey Giese Juarez (Musical Theater)

August 15 – Wilder Deitz Jazz Trio

September 12 – The Dang-Its (Folk/Americana)

Dec 13: Black Marigold Woodwind Quintet

It’s hard to believe we’re winding down 2014 and looking to 2015. Black Marigold Woodwind Quintet will be our last concert of the year on Saturday, December 13th from Noon – 1pm.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.19.17 AM Five musicians with a desire to perform  woodwind quintet music at a high professional  level founded Black Marigold in June of 2012. As  advocates of new music and living composers,  they present captivating concerts introducing  new music, while also highlighting classis  woodwind quintet repertoire.

Black Marigold strives to foster fresh perceptions  of new music by showcasing pieces that are  equally enjoyable for performers and audiences  alike. With a strong investment in the lifelong  pursuit of music education, members of the ensemble present thoughtful verbal program notes to engage the audience and liven the concert experience.

By performing creatively programmed concerts with personality, flair and audience interaction, Black Marigold breathes new life into the woodwind quintet setting. You will leave their concerts smarter, happier and more inspired than when you arrived!


Nov 8: Russian Folk Orchestra

Welcome back to Grace Presents, Russian Folk Orchestra!

The Orchestra, now in its 16th season, is a unique ensemble performing Russian and other East-European folk music on authentic Russian instruments, balalaikas and domras. The orchestra was founded and is directed by Victor Gorodinsky.

Russian Folk Orchestra
Russian Folk Orchestra

Made up of two groups of authentic Russian stringed instruments: balalaikas and domras, the Orchestra also uses accordions, bayans (button accordions), as well as various woodwind and percussion instruments.

The repertoire consists mainly of Russian and other Slavic folk songs, dances, ballads, etc. The orchestra also plays music of Russian classical composers, such as Tchaikovsky. Occasionally, selections of Western music are introduced. The orchestra conductor and founder, Victor Gorodinsky, has written several original compositions for the ensemble.

October 18: Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble

On Saturday, October 18th we welcome back Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble to our concert series.

Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble is an instrumental acoustic jazz group based in Madison, Wisconsin. Primarily influenced by the legendary Gypsy guitarist, Django Reinhard, the ensemble also pulls influences from jazz, swing, European folk, traditional Latin, Parisian waltz, and other vintage-jazz sources. Expect a range of tunes from the Hot Swing” repertoire, originals and standards done in uniquely arranged styles.CGSE Brink


What is Gypsy Swing?

Gypsy Swing was mostly instrumental jazz music created in the 1930s through a unique musical union. When the Manouche Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt met French violinist Stephane Grappelli, something magical happened! The music of the American standard songbook of the ’20s and ’30s, European folk music, Parisian waltzes, and traditional Gypsy music were merged to form “Gypsy Swing” or “Hot Jazz.” Their group, “Quintette du Hot Club de France,” quickly became a sensation! They offered a fiery improvisational alternative to the more arranged Big Band sound of the day. They are the defining ensemble in the genre and are looked to for inspiration by countless groups that came after. Although many instrumental lineups exist, a group modeled on the original Reinhardt/Grappelli quintet, including one lead guitar, violin, two rhythm guitars, and bass, is often the norm. Guitar and violin are the main solo instruments, although clarinet and accordion are also regularly used. The rhythm guitar is played using a specific unique percussive technique, called “la pompe,” that essentially replaces drums. This rhythm technique is paramount to the style and largely defines its sound.

-Written by Chris Ruppenthal – leader of Caravan

Up Next at Grace Presents: Clocks in Motion

On Saturday, September 20 at noon, Grace Presents welcomes Clocks in Motion, a percussion ensemble that Cleveland Classical describes as, “nothing short of remarkable.”


The group performs new music, builds many of its own instruments, and breaks down the boundaries of the traditional concert program. Formed in 2011, Clocks in Motion began as an extension of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Graduate Percussion Group, and now serves as the ensemble in residence with the UW-Madison percussion studio. Among its many recent engagements, the group served as resident performers and educators at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Rhapsody Arts Center, University of Michigan, Baldwin-Wallace University, and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

Learn more about Clocks in Motion (and check out their recently-released CD) at their website.

August 9: Celtic Music by Alan Ng, Tes Slominski, and Josh Perkins

Join us on Saturday August 9 at noon for an hour of Celtic music with three of Wisconsin’s most talented folk musicians.

Alan Ng has been playing exclusively Irish traditional music since 1993 at concerts, weddings, dances, and sessions. His chief specialty is fiddle, well-versed in a number of native Irish regional styles and repertoires, but he also maintains a repertoire of Irish polkas and slides on the melodeon.

Fiddle player and ethnomusicologist Tes Slominski has over fifteen years of experience as a performer and scholar of Irish traditional music. Tes is an active performer and teacher who specializes in the regional repertoire and style of Sliabh Luachra, an area at the border of counties Kerry and Cork. She especially delights in playing for contradances as well as for Irish set, step, and céili dances.

Time spent in the North East, Midwest and Dublin, Ireland have made Josh Perkins a powerhouse of Irish music and song. A magical guitar player and song interpreter, his lilting voice will carry you to times gone by.