Present Music
Press Release

New Traditions in Present Music’s Online Thanksgiving Concert


By - Nov 10th, 2020 02:53 pm
Thanksgiving: Wherein Lies the Good

Thanksgiving: Wherein Lies the Good

November 10, 2020 (Milwaukee, WI) – Present Music, Milwaukee’s internationally-acclaimed new music ensemble, continues its 2020-2021 Ensemble Series with Thanksgiving: Wherein Lies the Good, an interactive online concert forging new directions for PM’s longest running tradition. The concert will take place on Zoom video conferencing on Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 5:00 pm Central and will be available to ticket holders on-demand for three months following the concert.

The program includes Alex Weiser’s 2020 Pulitzer Prize finalist work and all the days were purple, which sets wise aphorisms in Yiddish and English to poignant music, sung by soprano Eliza Bagg. The concert also features a special performance by instrument builder and composer Mark Stewart along with music by Robin Holcomb, Angélica Negrón, and Milwaukee native and another 2020 Pulitzer finalist, Michael Torke. Favorite guests The Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group and Reagan High School Choir return for special remote performances.

An essential fixture of Milwaukee’s cultural landscape, Present Music’s annual Thanksgiving concert is a musical embrace of our differences and shared humanity. This season’s online program will explore new ways of connecting people, inviting audience participation from home. Participants will be invited to sing, dance, and even play an instrument made with a popsicle stick. After the performance, audience members will be invited to ask questions of artists and composers and enjoy one another’s company.

Thanksgiving: Wherein Lies the Good — Online concert
Sunday, November 22, 2020 | 5:00 pm CDT
Zoom Video Conferencing
Available on-demand through February 22, 2021

$10 Online Tickets
Tickets and subscriptions are now on sale at and (414) 271.0711.

Thanksgiving: Wherein Lies the Good is made possible with generous support from the United Performing Arts Fund, the sponsorship of Saint John’s on the Lake, and grants from the Milwaukee Arts Board, the Milwaukee County Cultural, Artistic and Musical Programming Advisory Council, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Eliza Bagg is a Los Angeles and New York-based experimental musician, working primarily as a vocalist in the field of contemporary classical music. Along with producing her own work, she has collaborated across genres with such prominent artists as Meredith Monk, John Zorn, Michael Gordon, Daniel Fish, Ellen Reid, Caroline Shaw, David Lang, Nick Zammuto, Helado Negro, Bryce Dessner, Chris Cerrone, and Julianna Barwick. Bagg sings regularly as a member of Roomful of Teeth and ModernMedieval trio and has performed as a soloist with the New York and Los Angeles Philarmonics, Chicago, San Francisco, and North Carolina Symphonies, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Trinity Wall Street Choir, A Far Cry, NOW Ensemble, and TENET. Bagg writes, produces, records, and performs a solo future-pop project as Lisel, whose singing Pitchfork has compared to “a lovelorn alien reaching out from the farthest reaches of the galaxy.”

Mark Stewart is a Wisconsin-born multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, and instrument designer. He has been Paul Simon’s Musical Director for over 20 years, is a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and has worked with Steve Reich, Sting, Anthony Braxton, Bob Dylan, Wynton Marsalis, Meredith Monk, Stevie Wonder, Phillip Glass, Iva Bittová, Bruce Springsteen, Terry Riley, Ornette Coleman, Don Byron, Joan Baez, Paul McCartney, Cecil Taylor, Bill Frisell, Alison Krauss, Bobby McFerrin, David Byrne, James Taylor, Bette Midler, and many others. He is the inventor of the WhirlyCopter, a bicycle-powered choir of singing tubes, and the Big Boing, a sonic banquet table that seats 30 children playing 490 found objects. He lives in Brooklyn and North Adams, MA, playing and writing popular music, semi-popular music and unpopular music, whilst designing instruments that everyone can play.


With a full slate of online and in-person happenings, Present Music’s 2020-2021 season transcends the limitations imposed upon artists and audiences, creating a bold, new paradigm of live performance. The 4 headline performances, 3 In the Key of Now piano concerts, and 2 free events in the new Community Series make this PM’s most ambitious season to date. Limitless answers physical distancing with radical connectivity, creating seriously fun programs both at home and in-person. The whole season will be available worldwide online, and starting in December, PM will invite live audiences into performances throughout Milwaukee, with physical distancing measures as necessary.

Upcoming Events:

Virtual Hootenanny — Online concert and community gathering
Friday, December 4, 2020 | 7:30 pm
Zoom Video Conferencing
Free with registration

In the Key of Now: Michael Mizrahi — Online piano recital
Saturday, February 20, 2021 | 7:30 pm CDT
Zoom Video Conferencing
$10 Online tickets
Available on-demand through May 20, 2021

Out with the Cold, In with the New — Online Ensemble Series concert
Friday, March 26, 2021 | 7:30 pm CDT
Zoom Video Conferencing
$10 Online tickets
Available on-demand through June 26, 2021

Single tickets and subscriptions are on sale at and (414) 271.0711.

Present Music is one of the nation’s leading ensembles specializing in the commissioning and performance of new music. Its mission is to engage artists and audience members in imaginative and provocative experiences with new music through ensemble performance and education. Founded and based in Milwaukee since 1982, Present Music has worked closely with many of the nation’s most exciting and important composers, and has firmly established one of the largest audiences for new music in the country.

The ensemble has made a significant contribution to contemporary classical music, having commissioned and premiered over 70 new works from composers around the world and recorded many of them for the Argo, Albany, Aoede, Northeastern, Naxos, and Innova labels. The ensemble nurtures the next generation of composers through its education program, the Creation Project, in which students in Milwaukee public schools have the opportunity to learn how to compose and to hear their works performed by professional musicians.

In 2019, violinist/composer Eric Segnitz and conductor David Bloom became Present Music’s Co-Artistic Directors, following conductor and musical community builder Kevin Stalheim’s 37 years of service as founder and Artistic Director. More information:

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