The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Meet Conor Nelson, the new flute professor at the UW-Madison | August 13, 2020

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By Jacob Stockinger

The UW-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music has a new flute professor who follows Timothy Hagen in taking the place of retired longtime predecessor Stephanie Jutt, who continues to perform locally with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society..

He is Conor Nelson (below) and he starts later this month at the UW-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music.

Here is the biography — impressive for both his performing and his teaching –that the university released: 

“Praised for his “long-breathed phrases and luscious tone” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Canadian flutist Conor Nelson is established as a leading flutist and pedagogue of his generation.

“Since his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, he has frequently appeared as soloist and recitalist throughout the United States and abroad.

“Solo engagements include concertos with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Flint Symphony, and numerous other orchestras.

“In addition to being the only wind player to win the Grand Prize at the WAMSO (Minnesota Orchestra) Young Artist Competition, he won first prize at the William C. Byrd Young Artist Competition. He also received top prizes at the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition, the Haynes International Flute Competition as well as the Fischoff, Coleman and Yellow Springs chamber music competitions. (Editor’s note: In the YouTube video at the bottom, you can hear Conor Nelson perform the second and third movements of the Flute Sonata by French composer Francis Poulenc.)

“With percussionist Ayano Kataoka (below left, with Nelson), he performed at Merkin Concert Hall, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan Hall and Izumi Hall. A recital at the Tokyo Opera City Hall received numerous broadcasts on NHK Television. Their CD entitled, “Breaking Training” was released on New Focus Recordings (NYC). His second CD, “Nataraja,” with pianist Thomas Rosenkranz, is also available on New Focus.

“He has collaborated with pianist Claude Frank on the Schneider concert series in New York City and appeared at numerous chamber music festivals across the country including the OK Mozart, Bennington, Skaneateles, Yellow Barn, Cooperstown, Salt Bay, Look and Listen (NYC), Norfolk (Yale), Green Mountain, Chesapeake, and the Chamber Music Quad Cities series.

“He is the Principal Flutist of the New Orchestra of Washington in Washington, D.C., and has performed with the Detroit, Toledo and Tulsa Symphony Orchestras. He also performed as guest principal with A Far Cry, Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, and the Conceirtos de la Villa de Santo Domingo.

“A respected pedagogue, Dr. Nelson has given master classes at over 100 colleges, universities and conservatories.

“Prior to his appointment at UW-Madison, he served as the flute professor at Bowling Green State University for nine years and as the Assistant Professor of Flute at Oklahoma State University from 2007-2011.

“His recent residencies include Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea; the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China; the Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico; and the Associacao Brasileira de Flautistas in Sao Paulo.

“He is also a regular guest of the Texas Summer Flute Symposium and has been the featured guest artist for 11 flute associations across the country. His former students can be found performing in orchestras, as well as teaching at colleges, universities and public schools nationwide. They have also amassed over 60 prizes in young artist competitions, concerto competitions and flute association competitions.

“Nelson received degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University and Stony Brook University where he was the winner of the school-wide concerto competitions at all three institutions. He is also a recipient of the Thomas Nyfenger Prize, the Samuel Baron Prize and the Presser Award.

“His principal teachers include Carol Wincenc, Ransom Wilson, Linda Chesis, Susan Hoeppner and Amy Hamilton. Nelson is a Powell Flutes artist and is the Assistant Professor of Flute at UW-Madison where he performs with the Wingra Wind Quintet.”


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  1. I am very excited about Conor Nelson’s appointment! I know Conor very well and he’s one of my very favorite flutists anywhere. His beautiful artistry will be apparent to everyone and you couldn’t have a more congenial colleague! Conor and I taught and performed together in the Cape Cod Flute Institute for several years. He appeared as my guest at UW-Madison and I’ve also been his guest at Bowling Green University. I’ve had a lot of opportunity to see him “in action” as a teacher and as a performer, and UW-Madison should be so pleased and proud to welcome him to the faculty! All my very best wishes to Conor! Hooray!!!

    On Thu, Aug 13, 2020 at 1:01 AM The Well-Tempered Ear wrote:

    > > > > > > welltemperedear posted: “PLEASE HELP THE EAR. IF YOU LIKE A CERTAIN BLOG > POST, SPREAD THE WORD. FORWARD A LINK TO IT OR, SHARE IT or TAG IT (not > just “Like” it) ON FACEBOOK. Performers can use the extra exposure to draw > potential audience members to an event. And you might even a” > > >


    Comment by Stephanie Jutt — August 13, 2020 @ 3:26 pm

    • How wonderful that you were able to use your influence to hire your predecessor! It’s great to know that, even though you have left the Madison music scene for New York City, your unique style remains with us via your installed heir. It’s no wonder your immediate predecessor was not even given an interview, when you provided UW this with Conor.


      Comment by Anonymous — August 13, 2020 @ 5:35 pm

  2. I don’t expect an apology for the earlier, inaccurate version of this story that erased my three years at UW, during which flute studio enrollment tripled and a studio wait list was established for the first time in at least 25 years, if not ever. That said, I would very much like to know why you initially decided to erase my time there, especially since you’ve attended my concerts and reviewed them favorably.


    Comment by Timothy Hagen — August 13, 2020 @ 12:11 pm

    • Dear Timothy,
      I don’t mind apologizing for the initial version.
      It had nothing to do some intent to disrespect you or demean your teaching and performing. You were an excellent addition to the School of Music, as the statistics you cite demonstrate.
      However, my understanding is that you were an interim, term-limited appointment when Stephanie Jutt, who was a full professor, retired.
      I also understand that this current appointment is not temporary or term-limited but tenure-track.
      That is why I said Mr. Nelson would succeed Stephanie Jutt is his duties.
      Also, I wanted to mention Jutt in case people who see her performing elsewhere here in Madison assume she is still teaching at the UW.
      That’s all I would add to it except that the UW press release also did not mention you. It seemed like two different levels of faculty membership were in question.
      None of us had the intention of “erasing” your three years at the UW, as you couch it. I think it has only to do with comparing apples with apples and not oranges.
      I am sorry if the earlier version or even the revised version hurt your feelings but I wish you only the best in your career after the stint at the UW-Madison.


      Comment by welltemperedear — August 13, 2020 @ 12:30 pm

      • Well, perhaps you and your contacts at the school of music need to learn to measure faculty contributions in data, not titles. Your apology is insulting.

        Best of luck.


        Comment by Timothy Hagen — August 13, 2020 @ 12:38 pm

  3. This is exciting news! I was a flute major at UW in the late 70s – studied with the late Robert Cole. Have played the Poulenc. I’m glad that the position is finally filled permanently for future UW flutists!


    Comment by Kathleen H Otterson — August 13, 2020 @ 7:57 am

    • What’s exciting is that they were finally able to scrape together enough funds to make the position more than one-year renewable status. It still pays less than half of what it used to, but maybe they will treat this professor with more respect than they did the extremely qualified candidate they were lucky enough to have for the past three years. He rebuilt that studio from literally nothing. Let’s hope it stays that way.


      Comment by Flutinliz — August 13, 2020 @ 1:30 pm

      • Agreed!!!!! UW Madison made a HUGE mistake letting Timothy go. But it is what it is. Do better School of Music.


        Comment by Anonymous — August 13, 2020 @ 2:28 pm

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