The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Here is a wrap-up of The Best Music of 2014 in Madison, thanks to Isthmus critic John W. Barker.

December 30, 2014

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear hates duplication, especially when it is unnecessary.

Still, I often do a wrap-up of the past year, something most media have traditionally done as the new year approaches.

That is increasing less the case, now that short-staffed major media outlets in the Madison market have given up regular reviewing of the performing arts, even of concerts by the Madison Symphony Orchestra (below top) and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (below bottom).

MSO playing

WCO lobby

But this year, John W. Barker (below), the regular classical music critic who writes for Isthmus and also contributes a lot to this blog, did a fine job. It is very  hard to be both short and comprehensive.


So all I will do is give you a link to what John – an experienced teacher and reviewer — says.

John — who also sits on the board of directors of the Madison Early Music Festival and who hosted a Sunday music program for WORT 88.9 FM for more than 20 years —  and I have our disagreements, our points of contention.

Our differing opinions about the pianist and University of Wisconsin-Madison alumnus Thomas Kasdorf (below) when he performed with the Middleton Community Orchestra provide one major example.

thomas kasdorf 2:jpg

Middletopn Community Orchestra Thomas Kasdorf playing

Nonetheless, John works very hard, writes very well and has a vast knowledge of music of all ages and in all genres.

Overwhelmingly, I trust and agree with John’s seasoned views –- and so should you. You can check out his reviews for The Ear by using the search engine on the website.

For his Isthmus writing, go to The Daily page and plug his name in that search engine:

So here is what Barker says in the Isthmus annual summary for 2014.

If you have something to say — to add something or to disagree or agree – please leave something on the section for Reader Comments.


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