The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Which great maestro would you be? Take the WFMT quiz and see | June 6, 2016

By Jacob Stockinger

The Chicago classical music radio station WFMT has come up with a novel idea.

That is the radio station by the way, that brings us “Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin,” which airs every weekday night 8-9 p.m. on Wisconsin Public Radio. The insightful McGlaughlin himself is a former conductor, and The Ear suspects he had something to do with the quiz.

WFMT is the same radio station with The Beethoven Satellite Network that brings us host Peter Van De Graaff who chooses and comments on classical music overnight. A performing baritone singer who has sung George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra several times, the discerning Van De Graaff might also have had something to do with figuring out different and distinctive conducting styles.

Anyway, the WFMT staff devised a quiz and put it on the radio station’s official blog.

You answer questions and then you see which great symphony orchestra conductor you would mostly likely be.

Among the names mentioned are Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Leonard Bernstein (whom The Ear was pegged as!) and the three below (from left): Marin Alsop, Pierre Boulez and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who heads the Philadelphia Orchestra and last week was named the new music director of the Metropolitan Opera.

WFMT conductor quiz

Here is a link to the quiz and to the comments that its results have inspired:

Take the quiz and let The Ear and other readers know the results and what you thought of the quiz.

The Ear wants to hear.


  1. Marin Alsop. But I should live up to any of these conductors.

    Daryl Sherman

    Comment by Daryl K.. Sherman — June 7, 2016 @ 6:14 pm

  2. Well, I got the late Nikolas Harnoncourt — I consider that quite a compliment! Harnoncourt was instrumental (no pun intended) in the re-consideration of Baroque music using the original instrumentation and musical language. I realize that he spawned a band of supporters who then insisted it couldn’t be any other way, but he was pretty much the first to introduce period performances of Baroque literature.

    Comment by Tim Adrianson — June 7, 2016 @ 7:50 am

  3. Unfortunately, comments are now closed. Guess they don’t take into account those of us who live in the far west!

    Comment by Wini Bowen — June 6, 2016 @ 12:59 pm

  4. What fun and what a surprise. I was Carlos Kleiber. (I should be so lucky.)

    Comment by Robert Palmer — June 6, 2016 @ 10:18 am

  5. Bernstein. Although Zubin Mehta would have been OK, too.

    Comment by Ronnie Hess — June 6, 2016 @ 10:15 am

  6. Marin Alsop. Although I think there is a lot of play with these questions and answers it still was fun.

    Comment by fflambeau — June 6, 2016 @ 3:20 am

  7. Bernstein too

    Professor Beverly Taylor Director of Choral Activities University of Wisconsin-Madison


    Comment by Beverly Taylor — June 6, 2016 @ 12:27 am

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