Join Login COVID-19 Updates

Photo by Richard Hurd

Keeping music alive: WCO unveils new look, more digital concerts and 20/21 season series

May 18, 2020

For Immediate Release

Media contact:
Jake Miller, 608-957-4797,

Keeping music alive: WCO unveils new look, more digital concerts and 20/21 season series
With its musicians at center stage, the WCO aims to bridge classical music and community

MADISON –  The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra today unveiled its new look and feel, an upcoming digital concert and several new programs – all with the goal of bringing the community closer to classical music and the musicians behind it.

As many art and music organizations nationwide have been forced to hit pause, the WCO has worked tirelessly to march forward, ensuring the 60-year-old organization, famous for its Concerts on the Square series and top-tier musicianship, remains relevant and engaged with its audience.

Focused on the artistry, richness, quality and intimacy of its performances, the WCO has captured that essence in a new look, including an updated logo and website, More importantly, though, is what the new look stands for during this time. The WCO is putting its musicians in the spotlight, bridging the gap between audience and artist and making classical music accessible without sacrificing what makes it magical.

“Experiencing music is about so much more than just what you hear,” said Joe Loehnis, WCO CEO and a professional cellist. “It’s about getting to know the musicians, diving into the stories behind them, what inspires them. When you go deeper, the music means more. It sounds even better. That’s the connection we want to make with existing and new audiences.”

The WCO worked with Suz Brewer of SUZCO, to capture the brand’s soul in its new image. Brewer is known nationally for her work with Duluth Trading Company’s now famous advertising. She also positioned EatStreet for its rapid growth, and is known for her ability to unearth what audiences want to experience.

Online concert series expanded

As part of the effort to better connect musicians and audience, while making classical music more accessible and enjoyable, the WCO is ramping up its new digital concert series.

At 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 21, the WCO will air a recorded PBS Wisconsin rebroadcast of one the  most popular Concerts on the Square on The concert, like Concerts on the Square, is free to everyone.

“For 37 years, we’ve been the orchestra that instigated and hosts these magical summer concerts with 250,000 people attending each year,” said Maestro Andrew Sewell, WCO’s music director for 20 years. “Concerts on the Square means a lot to this community and while we work to bring back the live performance, we wanted to find a way to keep the music coming while keeping everyone safe.”

Additionally, the WCO will continue to showcase its Coucherto Series, featuring home performances by its musicians, Sewell and Loehnis. The Coucherto Series launched within two weeks of the Safer at Home Order and compelled musicians to perform from their homes – and sometimes doing so in flannel lounge pants.

20/21 season, Friends of the WCO announced

Keeping the music going is more critical than ever, which is why the WCO also is unveiling its 20/21 season, which includes Masterworks I on Nov. 20. The concert will feature John O’Conor on Piano at the Capitol Theatre, Overture Center for the Arts.

“We’re optimistic that we’ll be able to have live performances as the months progress, and that includes a number of concerts this fall,” Loehnis said. “But, if we have to pivot we will. Ultimately, our goal is to make sure everyone is safe, our musicians can play, and our community can enjoy the WCO – no matter the platform.”

To view the entire schedule, visit the WCO’s event calendar.

As part of its focus on connecting with its supporters, the WCO has launched Friends of the WCO, a new program that makes it possible for the WCO to employ some of the best musicians in the nation.

While donations and the Payroll Protection Plan has allowed the WCO to pay its musicians despite having to cancel performances, it’s the community support that keeps the organization going.

As a member of Friends of the WCO, you receive discounted concert tickets, invitations to member-only parties, gifts and other perks. To donate, visit the Friends of the WCO page online.

About the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

Founded in 1960, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (WCO) is one of the elite chamber ensembles in the United States and is dedicated to advancing Wisconsin communities through the transformative power of music. Under the direction of Maestro Andrew Sewell, the WCO leverages the unique characteristics of chamber music to bring a wide variety of repertoire to audiences in settings that range from the formality of the concert hall to the intimacy of smaller community venues and the open accessibility of parks and other public spaces. Through collaborations with regional performing arts groups and touring performances, the WCO extends its artistic programming to broader audiences and communities across Dane, Columbia, Jefferson, Waukesha, and Sauk counties.

The WCO is nationally known for its summer series Concerts on the Square®, drawing 250,000 patrons annually to downtown Madison. Via its annual education programs, including the bi-annual Side-by-Side concert with the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra, WCO provides artistic development opportunities for young musicians.

To learn more about the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra visit