If you think spring is colorful, just wait for the music coming to Madison stages this season.
From the stirring sounds of the Madison Symphony Orchestra performing with the Madison Symphony Chorus, to the eclectic music of David Byrne, the quirky virtuosity of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, or Black Violin’s high-energy hybrid of classical and hip hop, there’s plenty to choose from. Some of it is even free.
A sampling of highlights to consider between now and Memorial Day:
Cabaret with Brandon Uranowitz: Overture Center’s cabaret series continues April 5 with Tony nominee Brandon Uranowitz singing “The Songs of William Finn & More,” plus hors d’oeuvres and a gourmet dinner on the stage of Capitol Theater starting at 7 p.m. $90; tickets at the Overture box office, 201 State St., 608-258-4141 or overturecenter.org.
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain: After a performance here in 2015, popular demand is bringing this group back to Union Theater’s Shannon Hall at 8 p.m. April 8. Tickets $20-$45. More information at union.wisc.edu/visit/wisconsin-union-theater/.
“Words [and music] by Stephen Sondheim”: Four Seasons Theatre brings alive the work of Stephen Sondheim through songs and readings in this free series at area libraries April 9-26. Held at 6:30 p.m. April 9 at DeForest Area Public Library; April 11, E.D. Locke Public Library, McFarland; April 17, Sun Prairie Public Library; April 18, Middleton Public Library; April 23, Verona Public Library; April 25, Mount Horeb Public Library; and April 26, Deerfield Public Library; and at 1 p.m. April 20 at Fitchburg Community Center. More information at fourseasonstheatre.com/library.
Philharmonic Chorus of Madison: The Philharmonic Chorus of Madison, under the direction of Dr. Patrick Gorman, welcomes spring with three free concerts, performed at 7 p.m. April 11 at the Arts Center, Oakwood Village University Woods, 6209 Mineral Point Rd.; 7:30 p.m. April 13 at Christ Presbyterian Church, 944 E. Gorham St.; and 2 p.m. April 15 at Bethany United Methodist Church, 3910 Mineral Point Road. philharmonicchorusofmadison.org.
MadCity Sessions: The Overture Center’s free local music series features Kyle Megna & The Monsoons and the Lucas Cates Band on Thursday, April 12. Drop by Capitol Theater at Overture, 201 State St., between 7:30-10 p.m. for the no-cost, all-ages show. Drinks available for purchase. overturecenter.org
Stoughton Opera House: The historic Stoughton Opera House, 381 E. Main St., Stoughton, has a range of spring acts on the way, including Rosanne Cash with John Leventhal (April 12-13), UW Russian Folk Orchestra (April 14), Patty Larkin (April 19), An Evening with Rodney Crowell (April 20), Del McCoury Band (April 21), Joan Shelley (April 26), Asleep at the Wheel (April 28-29), An Evening With Sam Bush (May 12), and more. Show times and tickets ($15-$60) are at www.stoughtonoperahouse.com.
Madison Symphony Orchestra: Under the direction of Maestro John DeMain, the MSO performs “String Fever” April 13-15, featuring violinist Augustin Hadelich; and “Mass Appeal” May 4-6, with the Madison Symphony Chorus, pianist Christopher O’Riley, and vocal soloists Rebecca Wilson, Julie Miller, Rodrick Dixon and Benjamin Sieverding. Overture Hall, Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St. Concerts are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets $18-$90 at the Overture box office, 608-258-4141 or overturecenter.org. More concert information at madisonsymphony.org.
The King’s Singers: The Grammy-winning vocal group founded 50 years ago at King’s College in Cambridge, England, performs a range of styles at Union Theater at 7:30 p.m. April 14. Tickets $20-$45. Details at union.wisc.edu/visit/wisconsin-union-theater/.
Organist Isabelle Demers: Madison Symphony Orchestra welcomes back Isabelle Demers in recital on the Overture Hall organ. 7:30 p.m. April 17. Tickets $20; purchase at the Overture box office, 201 State St., 608-258-4141 or overturecenter.org.
UW Varsity Band: Catch the UW Varsity Band in its spring concert under the legendary baton of Mike Leckrone at the Kohl Center at 7 p.m. April 19-21. Tickets are $23 at badgerband.com/varsity-band-concert/
Pro Arte Quartet: UW-Madison’s famed string quartet performs free concerts at 7:30 p.m. April 19 in Mills Concert Hall, UW Humanities Building, 455 N. Park St.; and 12:30 p.m. May 6 at the Chazen Museum of Art, 750 University Ave. Information at www.music.wisc.edu/pro-arte-quartet/.
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra: The WCO continues its Masterworks concert series with special guest soloists Ilya Kaler, violin, April 20, and John O’Conor, piano, May 11. Both concerts at 7:30 p.m. in Capitol Theater at the Overture Center, 201 State St. Tickets are $15-$80 at the Overture box office, 608-258-4141 or overturecenter.org. The WCO also will host a free concert titled “Beethoven Lives Next Door,” for families with children ages 4-10 at Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., on May 19; see wcoconcerts.org for tickets and details.
Scrap Arts Music: Children of Metropolis: Anything can make music in this high-energy show at 7:30 p.m. April 26 in Capitol Theater, Overture Center, 201 State St. Tickets $35-$45 at the Overture box office, 608-258-4141 or overturecenter.org.
Black Violin: Classical Boom Tour: Wil Baptiste, viola, and Kev Marcus, violin, bridge the gap between classical and hip hop in this 7:30 p.m. show May 3 in the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater, 201 State St. Tickets $30-$75 at the Overture Center box office, 608-258-4141 or www.overturecenter.org.
Le Vent du Nord: Take a musical trip to Quebec with the French Canadian folk of Le Vent du Nord. The concert takes place outdoors at the Union Terrace at 8 p.m. May 5 (rain location: Der Rathskeller). Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St. Free admission.
Verona Cinco de Mayo: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with live music and other festivities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 5 at Hometown Junction Park on Main Street in Verona. Free; details at visitveronawi.com/event/verona-cinco-de-mayo-festival.
Trampled By Turtles: Experience the bluegrass-meets-rock and roll sound of Trampled By Turtles with Dead Horses at 7:30 p.m. May 6 in Capitol Theater, Overture Center, 201 State St. Tickets $30 advance; $35 day of show at the Overture box office, 608-258-4141 or www.overturecenter.org.
Brit Floyd: Eclipse World Tour 2018: Witness “the world’s greatest Pink Floyd show” on the 45th anniversary of “Dark Side of the Moon” with this 7:30 p.m. show May 7 in Overture Hall, Overture Center, 201 State St. Tickets $38.50-$59 at the Overture box office, 608-258-4141 or www.overturecenter.org.
Madison Night Market: Find live music along with vendors, food, games and more at the p.m. market, held from 6-11 p.m. May 10 along West Gilman Street and at businesses on State Street and Capitol Square. Free.
Organist Greg Zelek: Madison Symphony Orchestra presents Greg Zelek in recital at 7:30 p.m. May 11 in Overture Hall, Overture Center, 201 State St. Tickets $20 at the Overture box office, 258-4141 or www.overturecenter.org.
A Terrace Tribute to “Funky Drummer” Clyde Stubblefield: The Clyde Stubblefield All Stars perform popular James Brown songs that longtime Madison resident Clyde “Funky Drumer” Stubblefield famously drummed on, as well as some of the late Stubblefield’s original tracks. The music happens outdoors at 9 p.m. May 12 on the UW-Madison Memorial Union Terrace, 800 Langdon St. Free. www.facebook.com/wudmusic.
New Horizons Concert Band: Bring mom to smell the flowers and then celebrate music at Olbrich Botanical Gardens’ annual Mother’s Day Concert on May 13. New Horizons Concert Band performs a special 2 p.m. show in the Evjue Commons, Olbrich Gardens, 3330 Atwood Ave. $2 suggested donation. olbrich.org.
David Byrne: David Byrne brings his American Utopia Tour with Benjamin Clementine to the Orpheum Theater, 216 State St., at 8 p.m. May 16. Tickets start at $85; madisonorpheum.com.
Oakwood Chamber Players: The professional six-member Oakwood Chamber Players present their program “Legacy” at 7 p.m. May 19 and 2 p.m. May 20 at The Oakwood Center for Arts and Education, 6209 Mineral Point Road. Tickets $25; $20 seniors; $5 students at www.oakwoodchamberplayers.com.
Syttende Mai: This annual festival of all things Norwegian from May 18-20 in Stoughton includes music, traditional dance, and more. The Edvard Grieg Chorus performs at 11:30 a.m. May 19 at the Stoughton Opera House, 381 E. Main St., and at 10:30 a.m. May 20 at Christ Lutheran Church, 700 County Road B, Stoughton. Hear the Fykerud’n Spelemannslag Hardanger Fiddle Group play Norway’s national instrument, the Hardanger fiddle, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 19 at the Chorus Public House, 154 W. Main St. $5 festival entry. www.stoughtonfestivals.com/performances/
WORT Block Party: WORT community radio holds its annual fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 20 on the 200 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. with music, food, beer, kids’ activities and more. Music schedule: 11:15 a.m., Old Tin Can String Band (bluegrass); 12:30 p.m., Gentle Brontosaurus (indie pop); 1:45 p.m., Orquesta Salsoul del Mad (Latin rhythm and soul); 3 p.m., November Criminals (hip-hop polka); 4:15 p.m., VO5 (funk and disco); 5:50 p.m., The Congregation (Chicago blues). Free admission. www.wortfm.org.
Queens of the Stone Age and Royal Blood: Rock into spring with QOTSA at Breese Stevens Field, 917 E. Mifflin St. The all-ages show will be held rain or shine at 6:30 p.m., May 22. Tickets $39.50-$150 VIP. breesestevensfield.com/qotsa/.
New Glarus Music Festival: Lots of music and other fun is on tap throughout “Swiss” New Glarus May 25-27. Check back at www.swisstown.com for an updated music schedule and details.
World’s Largest Brat Fest: Along with food, sports, carnival fun, fireworks and more, Brat Fest’s music headliners this year include Aaron Lewis, Gin Blossoms, Blackstone Cherry, Bobaflex and Stryper outdoors at the Alliant Energy Center. Brat Fest takes place Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28. Free admission. www.bratfest.com.