Present Music
Press Release

Present Music brings museum exhibits to life musically with exploratory concert on April 29

Featuring first-ever collaboration with the Milwaukee Public Museum

By - Mar 20th, 2017 02:32 pm
Milwaukee Public Museum. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee Public Museum. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

MILWAUKEE, WI (March 20, 2017)—Present Music’s TIME, NATURE, CULTURE, SOUND on April 29 is the culmination of a year-long project with the Milwaukee Public Museum. Audience members will experience brand new compositions, existing works by living composers, and original sound installations in Wisconsin’s largest natural history museum.

Kevin Stalheim, Artistic Director of Present Music, and Dennis Kois, MPM President and CEO, conceived this concert as a way of creatively integrating live, new music into specific exhibits and in the Planetarium. The collaboration is made possible by a gift from Christine Rundblad and additional funding from the We Energies Foundation. Rundblad, a longtime supporter of both organizations, says “I have always imagined music playing in the Milwaukee Public Museum, and now I will finally hear sounds of science and culture from the inimitable Present Music.”

For this one-night only event, musicians will perform throughout the museum’s three floors. The audience will be divided in groups that will move from exhibit to exhibit, including the Rain Forest, Pre-Columbian America, Wisconsin Woodlands, The Third Planet (which features the Museum’s dinosaurs), and the Planetarium. Music will evoke the essence of these various exhibits. Stalheim explains, “The time span of this concert is enormous—we go from music representing the beginning of time to music of the future. We’ll explore ancient civilizations with the sounds of instruments that are over 20,000 years old, the timeless mystery of the cosmos in the Planetarium, and the fragility of nature in the Rain Forest. My hope is that the unique combination of new and ancient sounds within the exhibits will create an enticing and contemplative experience.”

Highlights of the program include:

  • New sound installation in the Pre-Columbian America exhibit using instruments and replicas of instruments dating as early as 20,000 BC, featuring local percussionists Julio Pabon, Bony Plog-Benevides, and Mitch Shiner
  • Chicago-based contemporary music collective Ensemble Dal Niente performing Ashley Fure’s Something to Hunt in the classic prehistoric Hell Creek exhibit
  • Commissioned work by composer and Grammy Award–winning pianist Cory Smythe in the Rain Forest, inspired by the sounds of nature
  • Present Music Ensemble performing George Crumb’s hauntingly beautiful Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale)
  • Traditional Hawaiian and Tahitian music and dance from Malia Chow and Hale O Malo in the Pacific Islands exhibit

In addition to music, the audience will experience pre-concert entertainment by 2016 Mary Nohl-award-winner Brooke Thiele.


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 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.

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