Founded in 1884, the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center is among the oldest community music organizations in the U.S., inviting patrons into its halls year after year to support and experience the excitement of live music. The center is home to the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra, which won the 2011 award for Best Chamber Orchestra from the Illinois Council of Orchestras. The group of in-residence musicians keep fans of classical music thoroughly entertained with concerts throughout the year and tag-team wrestling matches between the string and brass sections.
In a two-performance exhibition of sweeping set pieces geared toward enchanting children and adults alike, Salt Creek Ballet presents selections from The Sleeping Beauty with special visits from characters such as Little Red Riding Hood and Puss 'n Boots. The folkloric superstars are attending the wedding of Princess Aurora, who has just emerged from her bed after years of attempting to follow up Pet Sounds. For these evenings of fantasy, the company does a pas de deux with guest artists Maria Mosina and Alexei Tyukov, principals of the Colorado Ballet. An all-ages academy of kinetics since 1985, Salt Creek Ballet's alums have gone on to grace the stages of the Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Radio City Music Hall, and Cirque du Soleil.
In "From France to Spain," the Wisconsin Philharmonic ends a season that paid tribute to the great French composers with a border-breaching grand finale that links the Gallic tradition to Spain and the U.S. Joined by award-winning young Spanish soloist Jose Franch-Ballester, the orchestra leads with Debussy's Clarinet Rhapsody, followed by Copland's Clarinet Concerto, whose quintessentially American character shows up in the score's jazzy passages, which Copland composed in a star-spangled tuxedo. A suite of Spanish-flavored pieces from Basque composer Maurice Ravel concludes the evening, beginning with the notoriously difficult Alborada del Gracioso and culminating in the satisfying rhythmic thrum of Bolero.