The MSO explores Milwaukee’s relationship with water in a 3-week concert festival

MILWAUKEE, WIS.  January 11, 2023 – The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Ken-David Masur, along with community partners the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences and WaterMarks, will explore Milwaukee’s unique relationship with water in a three-week festival from January 20 through February 4 at the Bradley Symphony Center. The MSO has been celebrating the natural world and its relationship to humanity throughout the 2022.23 season.

The festival will open with Tan Dun’s Water Concerto performed by percussionist Christopher Lamb, who originally premiered the concerto under Ken-David Masur’s father Kurt Masur with the New York Philharmonic in 1999. He will be joined by MSO percussionists Robert Klieger and Chris Riggs. The festival will also include Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, Adolphus Hailstork’s American Port of Call, Handel’s Water Music, Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides Overture, Takemitsu’s Toward the Sea II (Umi e II), David Ludwig’s Pictures from the Floating World, Helen Grime’s Virga, and Debussy’s La mer. The performances will also include MSO musicians Ilana Setapen, Jennifer Bouton Schaub, Catherine Van Handel, Sonora Slocum, and Julia Coronelli.

Representatives from UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences and WaterMarks will be on hand at select performances to discuss their work with Milwaukee’s defining natural resource.

Water Festival:

Percussion & Interludes, January 20-21
              Ken-David Masur, conductor
Christopher Lamb, Robert Klieger, Chris Riggs, percussion
Tan Dun’s Water Concerto; Bedřich Smetana’s “Vltava” from Má vlast [My Fatherland];             Adolphus Hailstork’s An American Port of Call; and Benjamin Britten’s “Four Sea Interludes”              from Peter Grimes

              *Meet with representatives from UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences before the concert and               during intermission

Neptune & Water Music, January 27-29
              Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Ilana Setapen, violin
Jennifer Bouton Schaub, piccolo
Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Suite from Naïs; Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto in F major for Violin and     Concerto in C major for Piccolo; and George Frideric Handel’s Suite No. 1 from Water Music

              **January 27 and 28 – a Sound Bites pre-concert dinner is available for purchase


Toward the Sea, February 3-4
Ken-David Masur, conductor
Sonora Slocum, alto flute
Julia Coronelli, harp
Catherine Van Handel, bassoon
Felix Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides Overture; Tōru Takemitsu’s Toward the Sea II (Umi e II); David            Ludwig’s Pictures from the Floating World; Helen Grime’s Virga; and Claude Debussy’s La Mer

              *Meet with representatives from WaterMarks before the concert and during intermission


About UWM School of Freshwater Sciences
The School of Freshwater Sciences at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee is the premier academic and research institution on the Great Lakes and the nation’s only school dedicated to the study of freshwater sciences. Located on the shore of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem, the school offers a unique opportunity to study complex freshwater ecosystems, weather patterns and climate change. Our students and faculty scientists address challenges related to human and ecosystem health, sustainable fisheries, water-related climate change, water contaminants and pollutants, water policy, invasive species and more to promote healthy freshwater systems worldwide. The School of Freshwater Sciences offers bachelor’s, master’s, accelerated master’s and doctoral degree programs in freshwater sciences and atmospheric science. Learn more at

About WaterMarks
WaterMarks: An Atlas of Water for the City of Milwaukee is an initiative to develop a city-wide network of engagement, to help people on the streets and in their neighborhoods better understand their relationships to the water systems and the infrastructure that supports their lives. WaterMarks works with artists, scientists, and community members to — organize walks, share stories, and create artworks – to encourage local residents and stakeholders to think about the social and ecological challenges their communities face, and how these challenges can be overcome. A series of illuminated WaterMarkers in neighborhoods across the city — will act as a portal to elevate our collective understanding with regards to the value of water. This network of WaterMarkers will be connected with each other and the many communities of the city in an ongoing process of community engagement to communicate that water is a shared resource that connects us all. Learn more at

About the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director Ken-David Masur, is among the finest orchestras in the nation and the largest cultural institution in Wisconsin. Since its inception in 1959, the MSO has found innovative ways to give music a home in the region, develop music appreciation and talent among area youth, and raise the national reputation of Milwaukee. The MSO’s 72 full-time professional musicians perform over 135 classics, pops, family, education, and community concerts each season in venues throughout the state. A pioneer among American orchestras, the MSO has performed world and American premieres of works by John Adams, Roberto Sierra, Phillip Glass, Geoffrey Gordon, Marc Neikrug, and Matthias Pintscher, as well as garnered national recognition as the first American orchestra to offer live recordings on iTunes. Now in its 51st season, the orchestra’s nationally syndicated radio broadcast series, the longest consecutive-running series of any U.S. orchestra, is heard annually by more than two million listeners. The MSO’s standard of excellence extends beyond the concert hall and into the community, reaching more than 70,000 children and their families through its Arts in Community Education (ACE) program, Youth and Teen concerts, and Family Series.