Token Creek Festival

by Brianna Collins
The festival's artistic directors also perform most years.

The festival's artistic directors also perform most years.

Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images

The Token Creek Chamber Music Festival offers opportunities near Madison, Wisconsin, for guests and visitors to come and appreciate music performances. Taking place over the course of a week and a half in late summer, the annual celebration has been going on since 1989 and was still going strong as of 2011.

History and Overview

John and Rose Mary Harbison have served as artistic directors for the festival since they first established Token Creek in the late 80s. Each year, the festival involves intimate events at a furnished barn at the couple's summer home. Festival organizers intend for these events to inspire communication and interaction between the artist and audience, and festival offerings typically include concerts, open rehearsals, lecture-recitals and group forums.


The music featured at each festival spans many centuries of chamber music. In 2011, musical offerings included celebrations of Bach and baroque music, classical pieces by world-renowned composers like Mozart, and more contemporary jazz programs. In the past, music by famous composers such as Haydn, Beethoven and Schumann has also been highlighted at the festival.


Artists from across the country converge at the Token Creek Festival each year. This includes symphony orchestra members, graduates of prestigious music colleges across the nation and some of the country's most accomplished music performers. John and Rose Mary Harbison not only serve as artistic co-directors of the festival, but also perform most years, with John playing the viola and piano and Rose Mary playing the violin. In 2011, other prominent performers included Kendra Colton, a soprano soloist singer who has performed with symphony orchestras in Europe and the United States, and Whitacre Hill, a horn player who graduated from the Eastman School of Music.


Each year, all performances are held at The Festival Barn, located at 4037 Highway 19 in DeForest, Wisconsin, about 11 miles from Madison. As of 2011, ticket prices for each performance or event cost between $30 and $40, depending on seating, although students received a major discount. Doors open 30 minutes prior to each event, and each festival generally consists of four different music concerts, along with Token Creek's other music-themed events.

About the Author

Brianna has been writing professionally since 2009. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and is excited to be part of a community that contributes to the free sharing of information and ideas.

Photo Credits

  • Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images