Arts from Africa and everywhere
Three of the biggest stars of African pop are coming to Alverno College Friday (March 11).
Malians Habib Koité and Afel Bocoum and Zimbabwean Oliver Mtukudzi, all international stars in their own rights, have joined forces on an International Music Network North American tour. All three crafted their own sounds out of Western jazz, pop and rock influences combined with varied traditional African and African pop styles. They have influenced and won the respect of many Western musicians; Bonnie Raitt has been a particular admirer and champion of Mtukudzi.
The Acoustic Africa show is part of the Alverno Presents series, held in the Pitman Theater on the school’s campus, on S. 34th Street at Morgan Ave. Showtime is 8 p.m. Friday, March 11. Tickets are $25. Order online or call 414 382-6044.
The guitar program within UWM’s music department has become a national hub for all styles of guitar playing. Its attendant presenting series brings some of the best young players to Milwaukee for concerts and workshops. At 7:30 p.m. Saturday (March 12), for example, 22-year-old sensation Florian Larousee will make his Milwaukee debut. Larousee, a classical guitarist, has laid waste to the international competition circuit, with wins including the Jose Tomás, the Koblenz International and the Guitar Foudation of America competitions. The French guitarist will play in the UWM Recital Hall. Tickets are $12, $10 seniors, faculty, staff and alumni, and $8 for students, at the UWM Peck School of the Arts box office, 414 229-4308.
Jose Franch-Ballester, a rising young star of the clarinet world, will give a recital on the Wisconsin Lutheran College Classic Series at 8 p.m. Friday, March 11. A native of Moncofa (Valencia, Spain) Franch-Ballester received a coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant. In 2007 he was one of a handful of participants selected for a Carnegie Hall Professional Training Workshop with Emmanuel Ax and Richard Stoltzman. Wow, he’s good. Tickets are $20, $18 and $12 right here and by phone at the WLC box office, 414 443-8802.
Gil Shaham, an important international violinist, will join music director Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in William Walton’s Violin Concerto. Shaham tells a bizarre tale of Walton writing a tarantella movement for this concerto after have been bitten by a tarantula; check it out. Delius’ rarely heard (OK, never heard, at least by me) Walk in a Paradise Garden shares this program with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, which is no less hallucinatory for being so familiar. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Marcus Center Uihlein Hall. Tickets are $25-$95 at the MSO website, at the MSO ticket line (414 291-7605) and at the Marcus Center box office, 414 273-7206.
Dan Mooney, the well-known Milwaukee actor, will play a sleuth at the Festival City Symphony‘s American Tales program at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 13, at the Pabst Theater. Mooney figures in Nathaniel Stookey’s The Composer Is Dead. The detective must interrogate instruments of the orchestra to find out Who Done It. Lemony Snicket — yes, that Lemony Snicket — wrote the libretto.
Music director Monte Perkins has dedicated the whole program to American music that tells a story. It also includes Virgil Thomson’s Louisiana Story, a suite drawn from Thompson’s film score for Robert Flaherty’s 1948 film, and Douglas Moore’s Pageant of P.T. Barnum, describing the life of one of America’s great showmen.
Festival City concerts low-cost, family and kid-friendly concerts begin with Jayne Perkins’ Children’s Program Notes sessions at 2:45 p.m. Tickets are $14, $8 for children, students and seniors at the Pabst Theater box office, 414 286-3663, and at the Pabst website.
The Bel Canto Chorus will mount a very intriguing program at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 13, at Christ King Parish, 2604 N. Swan Blvd., Wauwatosa. The BCC and music director Richard Hynson have reached near and far for collaborators for this Civil War-themed concert. The Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra will play and the Baptist College of Ministry Concert Chorale, of Menomonee Falls, will join the BCC in Dudley Buck’s 1879 Festival Overture and National Air. The BCMCC’s young director, Daniel Van Gelderen, has composed a piece, A Remembrance, for the occasion and will be present. Composer Joseph Baber is traveling from Kentucky to hear the BCC et al. perform his An American Requiem. At 2 p.m., dancers from the West Side Soldier’s Aid Society will demonstrate social dances from the Civil War era, with commentary from experts from the Civil War Museum, in Kenosha.
Tickets are $20 and $25; visit the BCC website or call 414 481-8801.
Call the Marcus box office, 414 273-7206, for ticket info.
The Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Children’s Choir will get together at 3 p.m. Sunday (March 13) for a massive celebration of youth music. It will take place at Elmbrook Church Auditorium, 777 S. Barker Road, Brookfield. MYSO’s Senior Symphony, the MCC, the Heritage Chorale and the Hartford Union High School Choir will participate. Tickets: $12 (adults); $8 (seniors 65+ and students any age). Call MYSO, 414 267-2950, or MCC 414 221-7040.
Traditional Chinese dancers, singers, acrobats, drummers and an orchestra will fill the stage of Marcus Center Uihlein Hall Sunday, as New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts adds Milwaukee to its tour list of more than 100 cities. Click here for a whole bunch of Shen Yun videos to get an idea of what the company does – which is roughly analagous to what Riverdance did for traditional Irish culture. Tickets are $60-$160 at the Marcus box office, 414 273-7206, and online. Curtain times are 2 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 13.
Choreographer Betty Salamun and her collaborators, artist Sue Lawton, sonic sculptor Bill close and singer Jacob Hay, will show the results of their work in Catching Air, a “talk-dance” all about clean air, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 11-13, at the Danceworks Studio Theatre 1661 N. Water Street Milwaukee. Tickets for this Dancecircus production are $25 premium, $20 general, $15 student/senior/artist. Call the Danceworks box office, 414 277-8481.
La Rossignol, an Italian troupe specializing in Renaissance music and dance will touch down in three American cities, and Milwaukee is one of them. The company of six will perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 14, in the Danceworks Studio, 1661 N. Water St. The will perform in period costumes and employ period instruments. Typically, such troupes focus on courtly dances. Rossignol has gone to some lengths to research and recreate peasant dances from the 15th and 16th centuries. This company’s Dance to My Music: Renaissance Music and Dances will recreate two contrasting worlds: the common people’s world, and the nobility’s world, where the wealthy amuse themselves with music and dance.
Tickets are $10. Call Danceworks, 414-277-8480, ext. 6025.
Milwaukee Repertory Theater: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Quadracci Powerhouse through March 27.
Fireside Dinner Theater: Annie!, through March 27.
Sunset Playhouse: Tuesdays with Morrie, through April 3.
All closing March 13:
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre: Mauritius.
First Stage Milwaukee: U:Bug:Me.
Boulevard Theatre: Becky Shaw.
The Milwaukee Rep: Speaking in Tongues, Stiemke Theater; Nobody Lonesome for Me, Stackner Cabaret.
In Tandem Theatre: Murder at the Howard Johnson’s.
Note to Readers and Producers: The On Stage column is not comprehensive. If your event is not listed here, please consult our events calendar, a free service for both presenters and readers. Also, feel free to add events I have not included above in the comment box below. — Tom Strini