Madison favorite and world renowned pianist Emanuel Ax reunites for the third time with the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and conductor John DeMain for concerts March 11, 12, and 13 in Overture Hall. The concerts will feature Beethoven, beginning with his Coriolan Overture. Mr. Ax will then perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with the orchestra. The concert will end with Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No.4.

The program will begin with Ludwig Van Beethoven’s brief but stormy Coriolan Overture. The concert will continue with Beethoven’s lyrical and impressive Piano Concerto No. 4. Lastly, Gustav Mahler’s light and sunny Symphony No. 4, with its famous finale featuring a soprano singing folk poetry, will bring the program to an elegant conclusion with the help of soprano Alisa Jordheim.

The concerts are Fri., Mar. 11, at 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Mar. 12, at 8 p.m.; and Sun., Mar. 13, at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall, 201 State Street.

Born in Lvov, Poland, and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, pianist Emanuel Ax first came to the public’s attention in 1974 when he won the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. Mr. Ax concertizes extensively with the world’s top orchestras, and has been awarded seven Grammy Awards. A devoted chamber musician, Mr. Ax has worked regularly with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Peter Serkin, Jaime Laredo, and the late Isaac Stern.

Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture reflects the struggle of Roman general Coriolanus as he debates whether or not to invade Rome, a story told in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Coriolanus. The first part is introduced by explosive chords and almost violent strings representing the fires of war, while the second theme is much more graceful, inspired by the voice of his mother.

Piano Concerto No. 4 written by Beethoven in 1806 was one of the first piano concertos where the piano begins alone. Beethoven’s innovation of this concept was noted by scholars as was the rapidly developing technology behind pianos at the time.

Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 represents a kind of peaceful interlude in his series of works as it is almost completely upbeat and joyful. Scored for a fairly small orchestra by Mahler’s standards, the work is built around the song, “Das himmlische Leben,” which is finally sung in its entirety by a solo soprano in the fourth movement.

One hour before each performance, Anders Yocom, Wisconsin Public Radio Host, will lead a 30-minute Prelude Discussion in Overture Hall to enhance concertgoers’ understanding and listening experience. More background on the music can also be found in the Program Notes at: http://www.madisonsymphony.org/ax

Single Tickets are $16 to $85 each, available at www.madisonsymphony.org/ax and through the Overture Center Box Office at 201 State Street or call the Box Office at (608) 258-4141.

Groups of 15 or more can save 25% by calling the MSO office at (608) 257-3734.
For more information visit, www.madisonsymphony.org/groups

Student rush tickets can be purchased in person on the day of the concert at the Overture Box Office at 201 State Street. Students must show a valid student ID and can receive up to two $12 or $15 tickets. More information is at: www.madisonsymphony.org/studentrush. Students can receive 20% savings on seats in select areas of the hall on advance ticket purchases.

Seniors age 62 and up receive 20% savings on advance and day-of-concert ticket purchases in select areas of the hall.

Discounted seats are subject to availability, and discounts may not be combined.

The Madison Symphony Orchestra is in its 90th season with the 2015-16 concerts. The MSO engages audiences of all ages and backgrounds in live classical music through a full season of concerts with established and emerging soloists of international renown, an organ series that includes free concerts, and widely respected education and community engagement programs. Find more information at www.madisonsymphony.org.

Major funding for the March concerts is provided by The Madison Concourse Hotel & Governor’s Club, Stephen Morton, University Research Park, UW Health & Unity Health Insurance, and Marvin J. Levy. Additional funding is provided by James Gallegos and George Anglin, JP Cullen, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.