The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Who should be Musician of the Year for 2017 and why? | December 9, 2017

By Jacob Stockinger

At the end of each year for the past nine years, The Ear has named a Musician of the Year.

It can be an individual, a small group or a large ensemble. But it must be a local music-maker, not just a presenter.

In past years, The Ear named the mostly amateur Middleton Community Orchestra; the long-lived and thoroughly professional Pro Arte Quartet; the recently formed and always impressive Willy Street Chamber Players (below); and the veteran and always reliable summer chamber music group, the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society.

He has also named retired UW-Madison professor and conductor James Smith; Madison Bach Musicians founder and director Trevor Stephenson; Madison Symphony Orchestra and Madison Opera conductor John DeMain (below, in a photo by Prasad); and UW collaborative pianist Martha Fischer.

If you want to check out those postings, you can use the blog page.

Just enter Musician of the Year in the search engine. Or go to the calendar and look it up by the date it appears, which is usually Dec. 30 or 31.

To be honest The Ear already has a nominee in mind for this year.

But it is not set in stone and definite yet. And he thought it would be informative and entertaining to open up the process and ask readers for their suggestions.

So if you have a name to nominate for Musician of the Year for 2017, please use the COMMENT section to leave the name of the recipient you propose and why they deserve the honor.

The Ear wants to hear.


  1. Everywhere I look, I see Sarah Marty doing something extraordinary. Four Seasons Theatre, early music, the Savoyards, classes on Hamilton, UW band spring concert… and on and on. Last night I was surprised to find her playing accordion in the Spitfire Grill ensemble.
    Could you stretch “musician” beyond singing and playing?

    Comment by Janet M — December 9, 2017 @ 3:58 pm

  2. I’ll put in a vote for Marika Fischer Hoyt, who in the past year has spearheaded a revival of the Bach around the Clock event, in addition to her many other activities as a Violist. I also believe that one of the Choral directors should be considered, because Madison is exceptionally rich in Choral groups. Possibly Beverly Taylor? But it could be a number of others as well.

    Comment by Tim Adrianson — December 9, 2017 @ 8:04 am

    • Hi Tim,
      These are excellent suggestions about outstanding individuals.
      That you for the thoughtful response.
      The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — December 9, 2017 @ 1:15 pm

  3. Mikko Rankin Utevsky, the future James Levine. Levine’s early prowess and progress at the Cleveland Institute of Music and his conducting internship with George Szell mirror Mikko’s superlative musical accomplishments in Madison and the respect for his talents and efforts by his respected masterly musical mentors. He is one to watch.

    Comment by Peter E Johnson — December 9, 2017 @ 6:31 am

  4. FOR MY MONEY, IT’S ALWAYS YUJA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Terry Baer — December 9, 2017 @ 2:33 am

    • I like Yuja Wang too.
      But she is not local, as the criteria require.
      Happy listening!
      The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — December 9, 2017 @ 7:49 am

      • LOCAL?
        THE WORLD IS YUJA’S “LOCAL” !!!!!

        Comment by Terry Baer — December 9, 2017 @ 5:32 pm

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