The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Bach Around the Clock 2018 will be March 10. Here is a year-end update with impressive news and important changes

December 28, 2017

By Jacob Stockinger

Violist Marika Fischer Hoyt, who last March successfully revived Bach Around the Clock after Wisconsin Public Radio dropped it five years ago, has sent the following year-end update that is full of impressive news, including this year’s date and a smart change of hours to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. instead of noon to midnight:

“Bach Around The Clock,” the annual community celebration of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), exceeded all expectations in 2017.

“Approximately 80 performers were seen by almost 600 audience members. The performers ranged from beginning students (below top is a photo of the Suzuki Strings of Madison) to adult amateurs (below bottom is amateur pianist Tim Adrianson) to seasoned professionals including the Wisconsin Chamber Choir and the Madison Bach Musicians.

“The audience ran from around 300 persons at the church to 267 live-stream viewers, some from as far away as London, England.

“BATC gratefully acknowledges the valuable support received from Early Music America (EMA). In registering as a Partner of Early Music Month (an EMA initiative), BATC joined nearly 270 individual and organization Partners across the country whose events during the month of March were showcased on EMA’s website and social media.

“The enthusiastic Madison community response to BATC 2017 furnished strong supporting materials for an application for EMA’s coveted Outreach Grant. BATC, one of five organizations to win the award, received $500 and national recognition.

“As artistic director, I flew to Boston in June to attend the award ceremony, presided over by EMA Executive Director Ann Felter (below).  The award will help cover the cost of the sound engineers who record and live-stream the 2018 event.

“While in Boston Marika was able to consult extensively with harpsichordist and internationally recognized Bach scholar Raymond Erickson (below), who kindly offered insights and perspective on how to build a successful Bach festival.

“BATC 2018 — to mark Bach’s 333rd birthday — is scheduled for Saturday, March 10, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., again at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (below), 1833 Regent Street. Local luminaries will again take shifts as onstage emcees.

“The program will open once again with individuals and ensembles from the St. Andrew’s congregation, and continue with musicians from the Madison community and far beyond.

“In 2017, BATC attracted performers (below) from Milwaukee, Dubuque, Oshkosh and Chicago. For 2018 we’ve already been contacted by a pianist from North Carolina who wants to come perform The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II. It’s safe to say that the festival’s impact has expanded!

“New this year is the Ensemble-In-Residence, Sonata à Quattro, which will perform as a featured ensemble, and also play a supporting role for singers wanting to perform an aria, or solo instrumentalists wanting to play a concerto. (In the YouTube video at the bottom, you can hear the gorgeous slow movement of the Keyboard Concerto No. 5 in F minor.)

Led by violinist Kangwon Kim (below), the core ensemble includes strings and harpsichord, and will add obbligato instruments as necessary. Sonata à Quattro will also offer a Fringe Concert during the Madison Early Music Festival at the UW-Madison in July.

“Partner organizations this year will include EMA, as well as the UW Chazen Museum of Art, where BATC ensembles will perform a preview concert on March 4, on the “Sunday Afternoon Live” series.  Radio interviews on WORT-FM 89.9 and Wisconsin Public Radio are also in the works. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.

“St. Andrew’s will again make their beautifully remodeled Parish Hall available as a place for performers and audience members to enjoy refreshments, fellowship, restrooms, comfortable couches, and free wi-fi. Many thanks are due to the church staff and congregation, for providing BATC with a home.

“BATC is also in the process of establishing its status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which should help secure donations and funding. Completion of this process is expected in the next week or so, and will be announced on the BATC website and Facebook page.

“In addition, a board of directors is also being assembled, which should help ensure the survival on BATC by sharing the workload and responsibilities.”

Here is a link to the website, which has other links and information:

Classical music: Wisconsin Public Radio announces the annual Neale-Silva Young Artists Competition for 2013. Fortepiano house concert of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert is almost sold-out.

January 14, 2013
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AN ALERT: Word comes from early music master Trevor Stepehenson (below): “We have only eight seats remaining for the upcoming house concert with foretpiano on this coming Sunday afternoon, January 20.  I’ll play and talk about: Mozart’s Fantasy in C minor, K. 475, Haydn’s Sonata in F major, Hob. XVI:23, Beethoven’s Sonata in C minor op. 13 “Pathétique,” Chopin’s Nocturne in F major op. 15 no. 1, and a couple of Schubert’s Moment Musicaux. The concert starts at 3 p.m.; the house opens at 2:40 p.m. Drinks and treats will be served. Admission is $35. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you’d like to attend.  Very best wishes in the New Year! Trevor and Rose Stephenson, 5729 Forsythia Place, Madison WI 53705. Trevor Stephenson, Artistic Director of the Madison Bach Musicians. Contact and  Or call 608 238-6092.

Prairie Rhapsody 2011 Trevor Stephenson

By Jacob Stockinger

Every year, Wisconsin Public Radio offers young classical musicians a chance to win a statewide competition that brings both public exposure and prize money.

The contest, which many years ago started out for soloists, is open to soloists, duos, trios, quartets and quintets.

The deadline for entering is Jan. 25, 2013. Judging from live performances is on March 24. The winners’ concert and live broadcast on WPR’s “Sunday Afternoon Live From the Chazen” is April 7, 2013. (Below is the 2013 poster for the competition.)

Neale-Silva Poster 2013

Here is a link to the 2012 winners pictured below:

Neale-Silva winners 2012

Here is a link to general information:

Here is a link with rules and other information for this year’s competition:

And here is a link to an application you can download:

The winners’ concert this year will be broadcast from the “Sunday Afternoon Live at the Chazen” series (below, at the Chazen Museum of Art) rather than at the Wisconsin Union Theater, which is undergoing major renovation.


Some wonderful musicians get known through this competition and get heard far and wide. I know because I have heard them more than once. One noteworthy performer I particularly remember is Minnesota-raised violist Daniel Kim (below), who was a winner in 2011, while he was studying with Professor Sally Chisholm at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (where she is also the violist of the Pro Arte String Quartet) and while he was playing with the Madison Symphony Orchestra; and who is now studying at Juilliard with Samuel Rhodes, the retiring violist of the famed Juilliard String Quartet.

neal-silva Daniel Kim

Another winner who went on to a large carer in music is tenor and composer Steven Ebel, who was a winner in 2001. Here he is during a recital and interview on WPR’s “The Midday” show:

And finally, here are some very young audience members and listeners with their reactions to the Neale-Silva Young Artists Competition’s winners recital in 2010:

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