The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Oboist Marc Fink retires after 40 years of teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and announces his local “Farewell Tour” this spring.

February 18, 2013

By Jacob Stockinger

Starting this Tuesday, with a FREE 45-minute concert at 12:15 p.m. in Seminar Room 1315 at the Chemistry Building, University of Wisconsin-Madison retiring oboist Professor Marc Fink (below) will be playing a series of local “farewell” concerts that includes performances with double reed students and faculty colleagues.

marc fink big

Specifically, Fink is being honored by UW-Madison  chemistry professor Bassam Shakashiri for their collaborations over the years. Shakashiri has been a champion on the UW campus for integrating the sciences with the arts, and Fink says he has “very much enjoyed working with him.”

Possessing a beautiful tone, consummate technique and a congenial personality, Fink, who is much loved by his students, colleagues and the public, has taught at the UW-Madison School of Music for 40 years. He is a member of the Wingra Woodwind Quintet (below) and is principal oboe of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, which is a post he says he will continue after his retirement.

Wingra Woodwind Quintet 2012

For a biography of Fink, visit the UW School of Music website. Here is a link:

Take out your calendar or datebook.  Here are Marc Fink’s other  stops on his local “farewell tour” this semester:

Wednesday, March 20, 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, Mozart’s Oboe Concerto with the UW Chamber Orchestra.

Sunday, April 14, 2 p.m. in Mills Hall. Faculty Recital (these are a few of my favorite things) with music of J.S. Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Francis Poulenc, Ludwig van Beethoven, Bela Bartok and Benjamin Britten.

Sunday, April 21, 2 p.m. Mills Hall, with UW Wind Ensemble in James Stephenson’s “Duels and Dances” a concerto for oboe and wind ensemble)

Sunday May 5, 12:30 p.m., Chazen Museum of Art, Recital (Fink and Friends), to be broadcast live over Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen” (below) from 12:30 to 2 p.m.


In addition to Fink, the players for Tuesday’s concert include: Marc Vallon, Professor of Music (bassoon), Wingra Quintet; Richard Lottridge, Professor Emeritus (bassoon); 
Linda Bartley, Professor of Music (clarinet), Wingra Quintet, MSO; James Smith, Professor of Music (clarinet), 
WYSO and University Orchestras Music Director; 
Daniel Grabois, Professor of Music (horn), Wisconsin Brass Quintet; Douglas Hill, Professor Emeritus (horn). 
And members of the UW-Madison oboe and bassoon studios.

The program includes “Ole Guapa” by Arie Malando (1908-1980), as arranged for double reed band by Jan Joris Nieuwenhuis; the Marche Militaire No. 1 by Franz Schubert (1797-1828) as arranged for double reed band by Marc Vallon; the Serenade No 11 in E-flat Majorm KV 375 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) for 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, and 2 horns: Allegro maestoso, 
Menuetto (Tempo moderato)
, Adagio
, Menuetto (Allegro) 
Allegro; “Etudes for Oboe” by Gilles Silvstrini (b. 1961) 
III. Boulevard des Capucines (Monet, 1873): Allegro tragico IV. Sentier dan les Bois (Renoir, 1874): Très doux, calme VI. Le Ballet Espagnol  (Manet, 1862): Prelude/seguedille; and the  “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) arranged by Marc Vallon (below, with baroque and modern bassoons in a photo by James Gill).

Marc Vallon 2011 James Gill (baroque & modern)[2]

Fink has had a close association with Professor Bassam Shakhashiri and the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literary, and was appointed a WISL Fellow in 2005. Fink’s career has taken him around the world, including tours of the North Slope of Alaska with the Arctic Chamber Orchestra; the South Bohemian Music Festival in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic; the Colon Theatre in Buenos Aires; and the Kremlin Kazan International Festival in Kazan, Russia.

He has recorded with the Pro Arte Quartet, the University of Wisconsin Russian Folk Orchestra, and with the Wingra Quartet.

His former students are active in the professional world, in both orchestral and teaching positions, and he served as former president of the International Double Reed Society, an organization of more than 4,000 double reed enthusiasts all over the world.

Marc Fink (below in a photo by Katrin Talbot) and his wife Marcia have three daughters, Leah, Anna and Eleanor, and two pugs, Yoda and Jimi. After retiring from the UW, Marc Fink will continue to reside n Madison where he enjoys tennis, golf, rooting for the Chicago Cubs and international cuisine.

Marc Fink Talbot

Here is a statement by Fink about his collaboration with the sciences:

“I am deeply honored to be featured in the Concert at Chemistry. My association with Bassam Shakhashiri and Rodney Schreiner goes back many years to Professor Shakhashiri’s “Science is Fun” presentation to our high school students at our Summer Music Clinic, and it has continued with many collaborations in his Christmas lectures and many other outreach projects.

“I am very proud to be a Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy Fellow, which has brought together the science and arts communities on this campus in projects that demonstrate the close relationship between our disciplines. In one such memorable example, the Madison Children’s Choir performed a beautiful arrangement of the periodic table, arranged for young voices.

Bassam Shakhashiri use

“Many great composers and performers have distinguished backgrounds in science, and some of our most outstanding music students have also been outstanding double majors in chemistry, physics, and many other disciplines. If I have, in any small way, contributed to this collaboration, I am especially proud of this.

“I have also enjoyed teaching a Music in Performance class which has been very popular with non-music majors and allows them to experience the great joy of hearing and learning about music through live performance. I would like to thank all of my faculty colleagues and students for participating in today’s performance. I have been so fortunate for the past 40 years to be surrounded by wonderful colleagues and students at this university.”

For more information about the science literacy program, visit:

Here is a YouTube video with a performance by Marc Fink:

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