The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: A new blog about the future of classical music has been launched in Madison by Lydia Sewell. It is called “A View From the Stage” and features interviews with prominent musicians | March 24, 2018

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has received the following announcement to post:

As the classical music industry continues to shift and adapt to changing cultural patterns, many performers, administrators, educators, journalists, and music enthusiasts are tracking these changes and exploring best practices to keep the institution alive.

In December 2017, Madison native Lydia Sewell (below) – an accomplished  violinist and daughter of Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra artistic director Andrew Sewell — launched a blog that seeks to address those issues in a comprehensive, timely fashion.

“A View From the Stage” features the voices of world-renowned classical musicians, educators and arts administrators and their thoughts on the future of classical music and symphony orchestras.

The blog arose out of Sewell’s research on the strike by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 2016.

Says Sewell: “As a graduate student at Duquesne University prepping for auditions, I was trying to answer the question, ‘If orchestras like the PSO are struggling to survive, what does that mean for regional orchestras who don’t have the donor bases that the majors rely on?”

“A View from the Stage” currently features interviews with musicians including Noah Bendix-Balgely, concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic; Scott Pingel, principal bass of the San Francisco Symphony; David Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra who performed this fall at the UW-Madison; and Eric Nowlin, principal viola of the Detroit Symphony, as well as administrators including Paul Hogle, Dean of the Cleveland Institute of Music, and critic and composer Gregory Sandow.

With more than 30 interviews to roll out in the coming months, Sewell plans to continue interviewing classical thinkers and document their perspectives in “A View From the Stage,” in hopes to initiate further conversations surrounding 21st-century musicianship, concert reinvention and the sustainability of symphony orchestras.

Here are links to featured interviews, with photos below the link:

Noah Bendix-Balgely:

Scott Pingel:

David Kim (photo by Ryan Donnell):

Eric Nowlin:

Paul Hogle:

Gregory Sandow:

Mike Block:

Upcoming interviews include:

Steve Hackman (conductor, composer, arranger)

Rachel Barton Pine (violin soloist)

Tracy Silverman (electric violin soloist)

Kate Sheeran (Dean, Provost of San Francisco Conservatory)

Philip Setzer (Emerson String Quartet)

Aaron Dworkin (Founder of Sphinx, Detroit)

Stanford Thompson (Founder Play on Philly!)


  1. Six white males. Time’s up!

    Comment by Ron MCrea — March 25, 2018 @ 1:49 pm

  2. Hi, Jake,

    Long time, no see. I’ve known about the WTE for a long time but until recently looked at it only rarely. Then I added my address to your list and now can keep up with what’s going on musically in my beloved Madison and elsewhere. You’re doing important work here, as you no doubt know. Keep it up, and thanks.

    John Holzaepfel

    Comment by john callan — March 24, 2018 @ 12:20 pm

  3. Let’s be a little encouraging, folks. Interviewees won’t answer a question they don’t like no matter how often you ask it. Sewell has gathered an interesting and impressive group of people. I hope she includes more women in future posts.

    Comment by Ronnie Hess — March 24, 2018 @ 9:01 am

  4. Moorhouse. Balances in Jim rev trust. Family trust. And Jim ira still open. Ask Nicole to fix

    Comment by Mudd, David — March 24, 2018 @ 7:04 am

  5. I looked at the blog. It’s a good idea but I am not sure that Ms. Sewell is an effective questioner.

    Take her interview with : Paul Hogle, Dean of CIM. She asked him a simple question: what percentage of your concert goers tend to be over the age of 50? And he never answered the question (or for that matter, any of the other questions she put). One simply has to have a bit more umph and follow-up than Sewell seems to possess.

    Also, lots of the questions are softballs.

    My conclusion having read most of the blog interviews: nothing new here.

    Comment by fflambeau — March 24, 2018 @ 1:35 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,268 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 2,374,513 hits
%d bloggers like this: