The Well-Tempered Ear

Remember Marika with Bach Around the Clock 2023. The FREE five-day, in-person and online birthday celebration begins today | March 8, 2023

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NOTE: You can see and hear the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Final Forte concert with four youth concerto finalists at 7  tonight on PBS Wisconsin and Wisconsin Public Radio. For complete information, including other airings, go to these websites: and

By Jacob Stockinger

The seventh annual Madison-based Bach Around the Clock festival — a celebration of the March 31 birthday of composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1756, below) —- will start today and run through Sunday both in-person and online.

All events and streaming are free and open to the public.

As usual, it will feature professional and amateur performers of all ages and levels of proficiency in all kinds of repertoire and arrangements, including Bach on the Marimba.

It begins today, Wednesday, March 8, at noon with a Bach motet sung in Luther Memorial Church, 1021 University Ave.

The live portion, which will also be live-streamed, will end on Saturday, March 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with continuous performances at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (below) at 1833 Regent Street on the near west side.

Then on this Sunday, March 12, the virtual online festival will premier.

For more details — including a full schedule with times, venues, pieces, performers and other links — go to:

The Ear thinks of the entire festival as a life celebration and memorial not just for Bach but also for his avid local advocate, violist Marika Fisher Hoyt (below). 

Hoyt — who was also a member of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Madison Bach Musicians, the Ancora String Quartet, Just Bach and Sonata à Quattro — died Feb. 21 from cancer. She was one of the kindest and most caring persons, one of the hard-working and most energetic, talented musicians, that The Ear has ever known and worked with.

After Wisconsin Public Radio abandoned BATC in 2013, Fischer Hoyt rescued it in 2017, raised money and support, and expanded its offerings and performers as well as took it into a virtual online format as well as remaining an in-person event.

You can find many tributes online. You can also plug in her name on this blog’s search engine to get some idea of her overwhelming and inspiring contributions to the area’s cultural life. In 2017, The Ear named her Musician of the Year:

Classical music: For reviving and securing Bach Around the Clock, The Ear names Marika Fischer Hoyt as “Musician of the Year” for 2017

But the best tribute of all will be to listen to Bach’s extraordinarily inventive and beautiful music — her abiding passion and the gift she never stopped wanting to give to others — with Marika in mind.

You can also find videos from past BATC’s. But she once told me that the piece she loved most is the St. John Passion. So a YouTube video of the final chorus from that oratorio is posted at the bottom.

Have you attended or heard BATC before?

What did you especially like and would you recommend the event to others?

Did you know Marika Fischer Hoyt?

What would you like other people to know about Marika?

The Ear wants to hear.


  1. Jake, thank you for your moving tribute to Marika. With your permission, I will refer to it in my remarks at the BATC finale tomorrow.
    – AlanM


    Comment by Just Bach — March 10, 2023 @ 3:46 pm

    • Thank you Alan.
      Of course you have my permission to use it.
      It is a public document, after all.
      But it is also an honor that you even ask to do it.
      Might see you there.
      If not, hope it is the great success that it deserves to be.
      All best


      Comment by welltemperedear — March 10, 2023 @ 3:56 pm

  2. I met Marika through playing at Bach Around The Clock, and eventually served on the BATC board with her. What a dynamo, what administrative talent, and what fun!
    Though Marika was a consummate music professional, she really understood the importance of having a festival for all people, including amateur players like me. “All Bach. All Free. All Welcome.” captures her what she accomplished.

    Some of Marika’s friends are playing the finale at ~3:30 at Saturday’s Marathon Festival. We had so hoped she would join us.
    Please come. There will be Bach birthday cake!


    Comment by Janet Murphy — March 8, 2023 @ 5:54 pm

    • Thank you for your thoughtful reply
      Your portrayal and appreciation of Marika is spot on.

      Thank you also for the information and invitation about the final tribute concert and some of her friends.


      Comment by welltemperedear — March 9, 2023 @ 9:04 pm

  3. A wonderful tribute to Marika, Jake. Thank you. She was a wonderful musician with a deep insight into music.


    Comment by Sandy Tabachnick — March 8, 2023 @ 5:05 pm

  4. Ditto to what Orange and Dean said. Marika was a spectacular musician and lit up every room with her smile and enthusiasm for the art. She will be greatly missed.


    Comment by Jeff Turk — March 8, 2023 @ 11:57 am

  5. Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Marika. She was such a special person, in addition to being a talented and passionate musician. We treasure our memories of our friendship, and will always be grateful for her enthusiastic support of the Handel Aria Competition. In addition to accompanying the singers as a member of the Madison Bach Musicians, Marika (and her wonderful husband Bill) hosted one of our first fundraisers in their home. We’ll never forget the unique energy that Marika brought into our world, and send loving thoughts to her husband and daughters and others who mourn her passing.

    Orange and Dean Schroeder


    Comment by Carol Schroeder — March 8, 2023 @ 7:50 am

    • Thank you Orange and Dean. Your kind reply completes the portrait of Marika as a musician and a person. Best wishes to you both


      Comment by welltemperedear — March 9, 2023 @ 9:07 pm

  6. Thank you for this announcement and the tribute to Marika Fischer Hoyt. She was a force of nature! I give thanks for her life as a fellow musician and friend. I have also been surprised that neither MSO nor WCO have announced her passing. WPR has noted it several times, since Marika was the Saturday afternoon classical host for a number of years. A true loss for the Madison music community!


    Comment by KathyO — March 8, 2023 @ 7:34 am

    • Thank you for your grateful reply Kathy.
      Marika was indeed a force of nature.
      And I have the same questions about why tributes from the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra are missing or late.
      Marika deserves better. Much better.


      Comment by welltemperedear — March 9, 2023 @ 9:09 pm

      • Hi Kathy and Jake, All of us musicians in Madison Symphony received a letter from our manager, Ann Bowen, with the news about Marika. Where do you think the tribute should appear? I confess I hadn’t thought of that, and I don’t know anything about Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. I’ll look into this.


        Comment by Stephanie Jutt — March 10, 2023 @ 4:00 pm

      • Hi Stephanie. I would think something on the homepages of the MSO and WCO websites would be an ideal place. Maybe also a short acknowledgment in the next set of program notes. I also think it should come from the music directors (DeMain and Sewell) and not just the manager. Thank you for your concern and effort.


        Comment by welltemperedear — March 10, 2023 @ 4:16 pm

  7. I didn’t know Marika, but while I was still working I knew her husband Bill as a professor of counseling psychology. Interesting that I learn of her passing from you rather than the newspaper or School of Education. I wondered why I no longer saw her on stage with the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Thanks to your sad news, I now know.



    Comment by Ann Wallace — March 8, 2023 @ 4:41 am

    • Thank you Ann.
      We all wish Bill and their daughters and family members consolation and comfort in the coming days.


      Comment by welltemperedear — March 9, 2023 @ 9:10 pm

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