Lights, Music, Sculptures, Action!

Present Music performs amid the artworks of Lynden Sculpture Garden.

By - Jun 20th, 2018 05:18 pm
Sound and Light

Sound and Light

I understand that Peg Bradley used to sit on the patio behind her home on Brown Deer Road admiring the view — of her dozens of monumental contemporary sculptures spread out into the distance. From that perspective she could ask to have the art works or lights moved to adjust the perspective until they were just right. Nearly 4,000 trees were also distributed by design across the 40 acres of her back yard. Flat farmland was transformed into an English country park.

Did Bradley imagine that dancers, musicians and others would occupy the space to build upon the magical environment she had created? Present Music has celebrated contemporary music on these grounds several times. The group returns early this Saturday evening to the now public Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W. Brown Deer Rd., bringing music to fit the environment, incorporating dance, lighting, theater and a roaming audience to share the multi-dimensional experience.

I often find it difficult to anticipate what a Present Music program will deliver. This one promises music that has not been heard before, by composers who have rarely written such music, with unusual mixes of musicians in a dynamic environment shaped by what may be last-minute decisions to place audience, background and theme together. I cannot guess what fine tuning Artistic Director Kevin Stalheim will do. We are invited inside Kevin’s brain, you might say, to experience whatever he has planned.

The music includes many surprising sources and combinations. The audience will move in groups from station to station to hear 13 performances.

Projeto Arcomusical offers two works for sextet on a traditional Afro-Brazilian bowed instrument, the berimbau. Composer Olivia Kieffer plays one of her solo percussion works “A Lightyear by Scale.” UW-Milwaukee woodwind and brass ensembles explore the unique sounds of their instruments to music written for the occasion by Stalheim. The Present Music Ensemble will reprise a clever minimalist work – the first movement of the work, “Garland Hirsch’s Cows,” by Phillip Bimstein and more ethereal piece “Carreteis II (Spools II)”,  by Alexandre Lunsqui.

Physical movement and music come together with separate collaborations featuring Danceworks performer Christal Wagner and Quasimondo Physical Theatre.

The round of sculpture-specific performances will be followed by more informal activities – performance art, up close experiences with unique instruments and artists creating new works inspired by the evening.

The Present Music preview of the program includes links to bios of performers, several musical performances and photos with descriptions of the sculptures surrounding each performance.

Single tickets are available for $25 (general admission) and are on sale now. Student tickets are half-price with a valid student id. Tickets are available for purchase by phone and online, as well as at the door the day of the concert. Online ticket sales end 24 hours prior to each concert. To purchase tickets go to or call 414-271-0711.

Patrons should park at the Park-and-Ride lot on Brown Deer Road just west of I-43 and take the provided shuttles to the Garden. The Garden will open for the event at 3:30 p.m. and light snacks and beverages will be available beginning at 3:30 pm (suggested cash-only donations appreciated). The concert starts at 5:00 p.m. as audience members are escorted in groups around the grounds.

In the event of inclement weather on June 23rd, the concert will be performed at 6:00 p.m. Sunday June 24th. Present Music advises that patrons check the web site at 3:00 p.m. to confirm that the date has been changed. “We will make every effort to perform the concert on June 23rd as scheduled,” Present Music advises. “Please to do not assume weather will dampen our sound (and sight!)”

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