The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music education: This Thursday morning, WORT-FM 89.9 will air a lengthy tribute to retiring UW-Madison and Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras conductor Jim Smith | May 16, 2017

By Jacob Stockinger

Rich Samuels hosts the radio show “Anything Goes” every Thursday morning on WORT-FM 89.9.

But Samuels is also a documenter extraordinaire of the local classical music scene. Chances are you have seen him operating his computer and microphones at a recent concert.

Most recently, he brought the revival of Bach Around the Clock to his listeners.

Now he has done it again.

Here is what he wrote to The Ear, who is grateful for his many efforts:

“I just finished editing a 52-minute tribute to Maestro James Smith (below, rehearsing at the UW-Madison) who conducts his final Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra concert this coming Sunday at the Overture Center in a joint appearance, called “Side by Side,” with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.

“This segment will air this week at 7:08 a.m. on my Thursday WORT broadcast.

“Listeners will hear Maestro Smith (below, conducting WYSO students) prepare his young musicians for the Sunday event and hear him reflect on his 32 years on the WYSO podium.

“Also contributing to the segment are WYSO alumni violist Vicki Powell (now based in Berlin), violinist David Cao (a joint music and pre-med major at Northwestern University) and Beth Larson (of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Willy Street Chamber Players, to name a few of her many affiliations).”

Smith’s final WYSO concert is in Overture Hall of the Overture Center on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. The concert is FREE and open to the public. No tickets are required and seating is general admission. Doors open at 3:45 p.m. (You can hear a short sample of a 2015 Side by Side in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

The program includes music by Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov, Georges Bizet, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Niccolo Paganini, Ottorino Respighi and Dmitri Shostakovich.

For more information about the Side-by-Side concert by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and WYSO, go to:

https://wisconsinchamberorchestra.org/performances/side-by-side-1/

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2 Comments »

  1. My older daughter was in the WYSO Youth Orcheatra and enjoyed it. Prof. Smith is an excellent conductor and director. Good luck to him in retirement.

    Comment by Genie Ogden — May 16, 2017 @ 2:18 pm

  2. Maestro Smith has done a tremendous job. I’d give him an A plus. He’s a great educator, well-liked and respected by students and his peers, and he has a vast repertoire. In fact, in my opinion, Madison would be something of a wasteland in terms of underplayed composers and musicians without him and the various university groups.

    Best wishes to him in retirement, which I understand will not be complete (so he will make some appearances again at the podium) and let’s hope the university hires someone equally as good, another fine musician who appreciates a vast range of music, and who shows the intense commitment that Mr. Smith does.

    Bravo for the many highlights over the years.

    Comment by FFlambeau — May 16, 2017 @ 1:25 am


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