Stoughton native Madlen Breckbill orchestrates more than the viola.
The 2010 Stoughton High School graduate is the face behind the city’s first chamber music festival at the Stoughton Opera House, set for Aug. 17 and 19.
The first program at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, is called “Bach and Brahms: Immersed in a golden glow” and the second program at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, is titled “From Stoughton with love: a musical fusion of Norway and America.” The suggested donation is $15 but attendees are welcome to pay what they can.
Breckbill has been playing string instruments since she was four years old, first violin and then viola. She participated in the Madrigals, Stoughton choir, American Players Theater and numerous orchestras around Madison. She now lives in Berlin, Germany, playing for a large string orchestra.
Breckbill said Stoughton has an appetite and space for a chamber festival like this.
“The community always has a sense of excitement for an event that makes the community come together and for the opportunity to invite neighboring communities to enjoy Stoughton,” Breckbill said.
The first program, will present the core classical musicians like Bach and Brahms. Breckbill describes the music as “wholesome,” and something that simply comes over you.
The second program is less rooted in the classical style but more of a love letter to the Stoughton community, Breckbill said. It is specifically designed with the Norweigian heritage in mind.
The pieces are written by American composers with a little bit of jazz, minimalistic tones and lots of joyful and exciting energy, Breckbill said.
Throughout the program Breckbill plans to have small, playful interjections in between pieces. She said she’d like to give information about the musicians, composers and anything else that she or others might find interesting.
All the musicians are Wisconsin based people who Breckbill has gotten to know over the years of living and working in Dane County.
Although Breckbill said this festival is open to anyone, she does recognize that some people will be weary at a classical music experience so she has set the ticket price as a suggested donation of $15.
“The vibe of this kind of thing is really important. My intent it to keep it fun and interesting,” said Breckbill. “(I want people to) feel like they are experiencing something and learning something new.”