Madison, WI – As a part of its 2016-17 season offerings, the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is launching The Counterpoint Readings, a special event series where poets will respond to a selected symphonic piece, culminating in a reading in Overture Center’s Promenade Lounge the weekend the piece is performed.

The first reading focuses on Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, performed by the MSO as part of its “Paired to Perfection” concerts 11/11-13. The Counterpoint Readings debut will happen following the Sunday, November 13, 2:30 p.m. concert, beginning at approximately 4:30 p.m. Eight poets will perform original works—world premieres for each artist. Coordinated by MSO violist and poet Katrin Talbot, the series seeks to expand the audience’s musical experience and bring Madison’s poetry into a new light.

Katrin Talbot’s shares her vision of the how power of words can respond to this significant historical composition, “Stalin is trumpeting out Soviet dominance. Yet somehow, he (Shostakovich) overcame it to generate art. Deception to get his voice heard.”

Among the poets slated to appear include MSO bassist August Jirovec, former Wisconsin Poet Laureate Marilyn Taylor, former Poet Laureate of Madison Sarah Busse, Richard Merelman, Eve Robillard, Timothy Walsh, Marilyn Annucci and Rita Mae Reese.

A preview—August Jirovec’s inspiration leading up to the reading:

“If there be meaning in this world askew,

let toils and rhyming gripes slide—disappear

your cross of blood drawn in the dirt austere

and lavish canvases of nascent hue

with brilliant visions! Let your whimsy brew

brash, crazen potions inspired by this tier

of music hefted from chests, as time’s spear

pierces the heart that must love art—through you.”

Tickets for the event are $35 for a concert ticket and the poetry reading, $10 for the poetry reading only. A wine and cheese reception is included. For reservations, call (608) 257-3734, by Thursday, November 10, 2016.

The Counterpoint Readings, direct link:

Paired to Perfection concerts:

The Madison Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 91st season with the 2016-2017 concerts and its 23rd season under the leadership of Music Director John DeMain. The MSO has grown to be one of America’s leading regional orchestras, enriching lives through providing Madison and south central Wisconsin with cultural and educational opportunities to interact with great masterworks and top-tier guest artists from around the world. Find more information at