Redefining the Classical Music Concert Experience
The sun was setting and there was a cool lakeside breeze relieving the summer heat. My family and I were sitting around a Terrace table enjoying conversation and absorbing energy from the surrounding activities. Suddenly, our attention was brought to the stage as a chamber ensemble began performing. The live music in the midst natural beauty was not only stimulating, but also an unexpected experience being outside of a theater.
As an intern with the Wisconsin Union Theater, I currently have the exciting opportunity to create similar experiences for future patrons through the Summer Serenades series. The series is only three years old, and therefore there is flexibility in the process with no major precedent to strictly adhere to regarding content or method. This gives me freedom to explore a variety of classical music performances to share with the Madison community.
Summer Serenades takes place outdoors on the Terrace instead of inside on a traditional concert hall stage, providing a wider audience with access to classical music. Many Terrace-goers are unaware a concert is about to take place and are pleasantly surprised as they are introduced to the music being shared. Ensemble groups performing to an audience in the setting of a Lake Mendota sunset is an enjoyable collaboration for the senses.
As a UW music student, I have seen first-hand how valuable live performances are in developing skills as a musician. Music is a form of expression which demands an audience. This is why I made an effort to highlight student musicians from the School of Music to share what they have been developing; I find it exciting for the community to be aware and engaged with the growth that is occurring at the university. It is this connection between the greater Madison community and the students that I am striving to enhance.
My aim is to communicate that classical music is full of vitality. While it has a rich past, it is also contemporary and remains a dynamic flow for creativity, exploration, and interpretation.
One of my goals in this intern position is to expose the Madison community and my UW student peers to one of my lifelong passions— classical music. This genre title “classical” often carries stigmatized associations with pretentiousness, and recondite subject matter. That is why the relaxed outdoor setting can help alleviate misconceptions that classical music has to be formal or stiff in tradition.
Throughout the Summer Serenades series, the musicians have been featuring a variety of formats. We have featured performances including female composers’ work, transcriptions of Debussy piano solos for brass ensemble, and many contemporary compositions. My aim is to communicate that classical music is full of vitality. While it has a rich past, it is also contemporary and remains a dynamic flow for creativity, exploration, and interpretation. Giving the stage to both professional musicians as well as talented students is exciting and motivating. It reminds people of the value that arts and music bring to a community, whether as a seasoned performer, an up-and-coming artist, or a member of the audience.
Adalia Hernandez Abrego
Summer Serenades Coordinator
Learn more about Summer Serenades.