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Getting to know the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra.
Getting to know the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra.

Three simple questions for the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra

I know next to nothing about chamber orchestra, much less our very own Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra. I have nothing against it, of course, just have no knowledge base whatsoever.

So, in anticipation of its concerts this weekend and in response to a request for a little coverage from, I went straight to the top and asked Richard Hynson, the MCO's music director, three simple questions. What's the difference between a chamber orchestra and a "regular" orchestra?

Richard Hynson: The primary difference between a chamber orchestra and a full orchestra is the number of players. While most full orchestras boast as many as 90 - 100 players, chamber orchestras have around a third that many -- from 25 to 35 players. That causes the more significant difference: while the larger, full orchestra concerts are grand, large-scale experiences, chamber orchestra concerts are intimate, close encounters with music.

OMC: What can I expect at a concert?

RH: Excitement! Emotional intensity! Heart-melting beauty! Up-close-and-personal musical experiences with some of the best artists in town! You never know... this might be that special concert experience that sticks with you for the rest of your life.

OMC: Wow. When is the next show and what can you tell me about it?

RH: The next show has two performances: On Saturday, May 16 at 3 p.m., come to the historic St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church on the southern end of Cedarburg. Then following the concert, stroll into downtown for some specialty coffee, delicious gelato or a gourmet dinner.

On Sunday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m., come to the "Big Red Church" on Wisconsin Avenue, just east of I-43 and the Marquette University campus, but come a little early so that you can enjoy a glass of wine or soda before the concert. When you get there, you'll hear some music that you'll recognize and some that you will discover.

Regardless, don't miss this riotous musical free-for-all featuring Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and Martinu.



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