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.
It's amazing what a dream can do. In 1985, Royal Ballet School-trained dancer Patricia Sigurdson had a vision of a world-class ballet company serving the western suburbs of Chicago—and it was a vision she made into a reality. From the year of its founding until her retirement in 1998, Sigurdson led the company in a wide range of classic and contemporary works that entertained tens of thousands of local dance lovers and countless stagehands. Today, the ballet continues to thrive under the direction of Sergey Kozadavey and Zhanna Dubrovskaya, both trainees of the celebrated Vaganova School in Saint Petersburg. And Salt Creek Ballet's focus on sharing dance with the community remains as strong as ever—besides staging lavish ballets, the artists train performers of all ages, and schedule lecture demonstrations that offer a peek behind the curtain.
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.