The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The early music group Ensemble SDG will perform psalms by Heinrich Schütz and other composers as well as sonatas and a canticle this Saturday night at Luther Memorial Church.

November 20, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

The Madison-based duo Ensemble SDG will perform a concert of early music on this Saturday night, November 22, 2014, at 7 p.m. in the Luther Memorial Church (below), 1021 University Avenue, in Madison, Wisconsin.

luther memorial church madison

The concert will feature special guests William Hudson, tenor, and Katherine Shuldiner, viola da gamba.

The program includes settings of Psalm texts by Heinrich Schütz (below with his psalms at bottom in a YouTube video), Johann Hermann Schein, and Jacques de Bournonville, with a setting by Johann Philipp Krieger of the anonymous canticle Laetare anima mea, as well as sonatas by Giovanni Battista Fontana, Dieterich Buxtehude and Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre.

Heinrich Schutz

Ensemble SDG (below) features Madison musicians Edith Hines, baroque violin, and John Chappell Stowe, professor of harpsichord and organ at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. The duo has performed across the United States, and their recording of the complete works of J. S. Bach for violin and keyboard is soon to be released by Arabesque Records.

William Hudson is a founding member and director of LIBER: Ensemble for Early Music and was recently appointed Assistant Professor of voice and diction at Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, Ill.).

Katherine Shuldiner recently graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, specializing in viola da gamba performance. She lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.

ensemble sdg new USE

Admission to the concert on November 22 is $15; admission is free for students with a valid ID.

Ensemble SDG, a baroque violin and keyboard duo formed in 2009, performs music spanning the entire Baroque period, with a particular focus on the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. The duo has presented works by German, French and Italian composers of the 17th and 18th centuries in recitals from the Midwest to the East Coast. Venues include Fringe Concerts at the 2009, 2011, and 2013 Boston Early Music Festivals; a recital featuring the Brombaugh organ at First Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Illinois; the biennial meeting of the American Bach Society and the annual joint conclave of the Midwest and Southeastern Historical Keyboard Societies; the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music; Wisconsin Public Radio’s Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen; and multiple appearances at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, one being a performance of J.S. Bach’s six sonatas for violin and obbligato keyboard. This fall the duo will release a recording of Bach’s complete works for violin and keyboard.

Ensemble SDG takes its name from the epigraph (below top) used by Johann Sebastian Bach (below bottom) to sign many of his works. Soli Deo Gloria (“to God alone the glory”) represents the members’ common approach to music and to life, and it is with this grounding that they approach their technique, choice of repertoire, and interpretative decisions.



Highly sought after as a specialist in historical performance, tenor William Hudson has been described as “positively hypnotic” by Gramophone magazine.  An accomplished ensemble singer, Mr. Hudson has performed with many of the nation’s leading early music ensembles including the Boston Early Music Festival Opera, The New York Collegium, The Waverly Consort, The Rose Ensemble, Boston Bach Ensemble, and Ensemble Project Ars Nova (PAN).

As a founding member and director of LIBER: Ensemble for Early Music (formerly Liber unUsualis), he has performed extensively throughout North America and abroad at international music festivals in England, Wales, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, France, Latvia, Estonia, and Spain. Mr. Hudson also enjoys an active solo career, singing the Evangelist in Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion, Apollo in Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo, the title role in Giacomo Carissimi’s Jephte, Lucano in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Mercury in Eccles’ Judgment of Paris, and Alessandro Stradella’s oratorio San Giovanni Battista with the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra.

An active scholar and clinician, Mr. Hudson (below, in a photo by Tall & Small Photography) was the winner of the 2009 Noah Greenberg award and has presented at the International Congress of Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo. He has led master-classes and given lecture-demonstrations in medieval performance practice at universities throughout North America. He has recorded with Naxos, Passacaille, Arsis, Titanic and Dorian. Mr. Hudson holds a Master’s degree in Historical Performance from the Longy School of Music and a Doctor of Music in Early Music from Indiana University. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor of voice and diction at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois.

William Hudson Tall & Small Photography

Katherine Shuldiner graduated from Oberlin Conservatory in viola da gamba performance under the tutelage of Catharina Meints. She has performed with Chicago based ensembles such as The Newberry Consort, BBE: Bach and Beethoven Ensemble, and The OC (The Opera Company).

She has also performed with Washington Bach Consort and La Follia Austin Baroque. Katherine recently finished her two-year term on the board of the Viola da Gamba Society of America and was chosen to perform in the first Early Music America’s Young Performers Festival during Boston Early Music Festival. This past summer, Katherine taught at the Madison Early Music Festival as well as the VdGSA Conclave.

katherine shuldiner USE


Classical music news: Wisconsin Public Radio’s music director Cheryl Dring is leaving for an Austin, Texas radio station.

June 1, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear has some sad news to share.

Cheryl Dring (below), the music director at Wisconsin Public Radio, is leaving in a few weeks for a new post as head of programming for an all-classical music radio station in Austin, Texas.

Texas’ gain is our loss.

You may know Dring best as the listener-friendly. pleasant-voiced and quick-witted host of Morning Classics on WPR’s local FM station WERN (88.7) that airs from 9-11 a.m.

But Dring is especially important to me and many others as the person who started Bach Around the Clock three years ago. It is an annual free community event in mid-March, held from noon to midnight, to mark the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach. 

It has been a lot of fun for both participants – students, professionals and amateurs — and listeners. Dring recruited musicians and served as a gracious and knowledgeable host of the event at the Pres House off State Street.

Of course, the move sounds like a great opportunity for Dring, so please join me in congratulating her. And join me too in hoping that the survival of Bach Around the Clock – BATC – will be passed on the someone else, perhaps the new music director for WPR, and will survive.

Here is the press release that went out:


“May 25, 2012 (Austin, TX) -¬ After a nationwide search, Classical 89.5, KMFA-FM General Manager, Joan Kobayashi, announced today that Cheryl Dring has been named Program Director.

“As Program Director, Ms. Dring will oversee talent development and production quality, manage special programming/community engagement initiatives, and participate in the continued development of KMFA’s overall broadcasting service to the Austin (below, from Lady Bird Lake) ) and Central Texas community.  Ms. Dring will begin her position in August of 2012.

“I’m thrilled to be back at an all classical station,” said Ms. Dring about her appointment to the position. “Austin has such a vibrant arts community, and classical music is an important thread in that colorful tapestry.  I can’t wait to get started!”

Ms. Dring is currently the Director of Music Programming at Wisconsin Public Radio.  Previously held positions include Classical Music Director at Capital Public Radio in Sacramento and Classical Music Manager at WWNO in New Orleans.

“Ms. Dring holds a Masters in Music, Vocal Performance from Louisiana State University as well as a Bachelor’s in Music, in Vocal Performance, from Centenary College.  She got her start in radio as an Announcer/Producer at KDAQ in Shreveport, Louisiana as well as WRKF in Baton Rouge.

“Said KMFA General Manager, Joan Kobayashi, “We look forward to a continued commitment to quality arts programming in service to our community under Cheryl’s leadership and direction.”

“About Classical 89.5, KMFA:  Classical 89.5 KMFA, Austin’s all-classical public radio station, was founded in 1967 by a group of citizens who saw the need for a radio station devoted to cultural programming in the Central Texas Area. Today the station remains committed to this heritage. Relying on the majority of its funding from direct listener and business contributions, KMFA serves approximately 100,000 listeners each week and features both local programming and nationally-distributed programming from Public Radio International, American Public Media and National Public Radio. For more information on KMFA, visit

 Please join me in wishing Cheryl Dring well – and in leaving her a message of congratulations and farewell in the Comments section of this post.

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