Program Notes by Michael Allsen
Terms and Pricing
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Dr. J. Michael Allsen has been writing program notes for orchestral, choral, chamber and festival programs for over 35 years—as of January 2020, he has written notes on over 2100 individual pieces by over 600 composers.  Allsen is an  Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater, where he taught courses in Music History, World Music, and Interdisciplinary Arts prior to is retirement in 2018. He holds a Ph.D in Musicology (1992) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Allsen’s scholarly writing has been published in Plainsong and Medieval Music, the Journal of the American Musicological Society, the Journal of Musicology, and elsewhere, and he has contributed to reference works that include The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, and others.  A professional trombonist, Allsen has been associated with the Madison Symphony Orchestra—one of America's leading regional orchestras—since 1983, and was the orchestra's bass trombonist from 1990-2018.  He has been the Madison Symphony’s program annotator since 1984, and over the last 25 years he has been commissioned to write concert program notes and liner notes for many other orchestras, festivals, ensembles and artists around the United States.  References are available on request. You can view samples of his program notes here.

Pricing  and Terms of use for commissioned program notes (2022):


Other issues:

  1. In the past few years, I have used a fairly "busy" format, including a brief introductory section and bullet points, for the Madison Symphony Orchestra and a few other clients. Feedback from patrons has been very positive, though I'll note that this takes up a lot of space in the printed program books, and is not really practical for programs with more than four-five pieces.  Sample
  2. A brief “vital statistics” paragraph listing details of composition and premiere for each work, followed by a more substantial note on the work's history and music. Sample
  3. For concerts with more than four-five pieces, or where space is an issue, I usually adopt a more concentrated format. Sample or Sample
  4. If you have a particular "house style" that you would like me to follow, please send a sample program.


I look forward to hearing from you, and, I hope, working with you.


J. Michael Allsen

4209 Hegg Avenue

Madison, WI  53716

(608) 221-8827


last update: 3/5/22