The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: This weekend sees vocal music, band music, woodwind music and orchestral music at the UW-Madison. Plus, a FREE concert of early music for viola da gamba is on Friday at noon

March 9, 2017

ALERT: This week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, features Eric Miller (below) playing early music for viola da gamba by Le Sieur de Machy, Johann Schenk and Carl Abel. The concert runs from 12:15 to 1 p.m.

By Jacob Stockinger

This week brings four major public events at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music: one on Friday; two on Saturday; and one on Sunday.


On Friday at 5:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall, the students in the studio of soprano and UW-Madison voice professor Mimmi Fulmer (below) will present a FREE concert. Sorry, no word on the program.

For more information, go to:


On Saturday at 4 p.m. in Morphy Hall the four winners of the annual Irving Shain Wood-Piano Duo Competition will give a FREE recital.

The pairs of winners are: bassoonist Chia-Yu Hsu with pianist Kangwoo Jin; and bassoonist Eleni Katz with pianist Rayna Slavova.

The program features music by Noël-Gallon (1891-1966); Henri Dutilleux (1916-2013); Gabriel Grovlez (1979-1944); Eugène Bourdeau (1850-1926); Robert Schumann (1810-1856); Gabriel Pierne (1863-1937); Eugène Bourdeau (1850-1926); and Charles Koechlin (1867-1950)

For more information, including the works on the program and biographies of the performers, go to:


On Saturday at 5 p.m. in Mills Hall, there is a FREE concert by University Bands. Conductors are Darin Olson (below), Nathan Froebe and Justin Lindgre. Sorry, no word on the program.


Sunday at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Symphony Orchestra will perform with soloist and UW-Madison alumnus, bassoonist Anthony Georgeson  who is Principal Bassoon of the Florida Orchestra. Retiring UW-Madison professor James Smith (below top) will conduct, but the former clarinetist will NOT be a featured performer.

The program is:

Concerto for Bassoon Concerto in B-Flat Major, K. 191, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with alumnus Anthony Georgeson (below bottom) as bassoon soloist. (You can hear Anthony Georgeson talk about music and the cadenzas in Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

“Un Sourire pour Orchestra” (A Smile for Orchestra) by Olivier Messiaen

“Scheherazade” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

For more information, go to:


Classical music: The Ear turns matchmaker – and helps amateur musicians to connect

January 8, 2016
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

It started out simply as a desire to help.

But now The Ear has turned out to be a matchmaker.

You may recall that a University of Wisconsin-Madison bacteriology professor Kenneth Hammel is an amateur baroque bassoonist. He asked if The Ear might have suggestions for his finding a chamber music partner.

So The Ear suggested posting his request, and he agreed.

Here is the original link:

Now it turns out the experiment worked and was a success.

So The Well-Tempered Ear now serves as a sort of online dating service for classical musicians who seek musical partners to play with. And as a fierce advocate of amateur music-making, he likes that role!

Here is the follow-up letter that Hammel sent to The Ear:

“Hi Jake:

“I wanted to let you know that it worked. Two people contacted me after you posted my letter and picture. One of them you certainly know — Paul Baker. He and I played together on cello and bassoon this weekend.

“The other person, named Betty Cohen, is a recorder player who says she’ll contact me shortly to arrange a session.

“So, many thanks to you for getting the word out on your blog.”

“In case you want to hear a sample of baroque bassoon playing, I’ve attached an mp3 (not for dissemination!) of me playing a short fantasia by Jean Daniel Braun, ca. 1730.

“Best wishes for the new year,


“PS: The music, and an interesting commentary on it (at the end of the score) is at:

The bass line for the sonata was long thought to be lost, but was then discovered in a different library than the one that holds the original solo part.

A very good YouTube performance on baroque bassoon (4 separate links for the 4 movements) is at:

A quick search for the ensemble, Concordi Musici, indicates that their bassoonist is named Josip Casadella.

ken hammel baroque bassoon

And The Ear also heard about success from the other chamber music partner, Paul Baker (below), who wrote with his usual sense of self-deprecating humor.

Paul Baker, you might recall, is a jazz fan in addition to being a radio host for WSUM, the student radio station at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He hosts a program and writes a blog called Only Strings:

Here is a link to his blog:

“My friend:

I thank you for posting Ken Hammel’s request for baroque practice buddies. We are now working independently on sections of a Sonatina in A Minor, TWV 41, by Georg Philipp Telemann and will meet soon to begin rehearsing.

Yo-Yo Casals

Paul Baker at WSUM

Forgive The Ear’s pride.

But now he may have to seek out a violinist or cellist or another pianist for himself, as an avid amateur pianist, to play with.

Anyone interested in playing with The Ear?

Anyone else want to find a different music partner?

Leave word in the COMMENT section.

Or maybe it should be called the PERSONALS?

Classical music: Calling all oboists, bassoonists and woodwind fans! This coming Saturday is Double Reed Day — with master classes, workshops and FREE concerts — at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

January 7, 2014
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

Calling all players and fans of the oboe (below top) and the bassoon (below bottom), those woodwind instruments with such beautiful and distinctive tonal qualities! (At the bottom is a YouTube video of the last movement from 20th-century French composer Francis Poulenc’s lovely Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon.)



Even though the second semester hasn’t started yet – and won’t start until Jan. 21 — this coming Saturday afternoon and evening offers a day of master classes, workshops and concerts during the annual “Double Reed Day” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This year, the hosts are UW-Madison visiting oboist Kostas Tiliakos and UW-Madison bassoon professor Marc Vallon (below left and right, respectively).

Kostas Tiliakos and Marc Vallon horizontal

“Double Reed Day is an event that has taken place at the School of Music for the last 15 years,” says Vallon. “We invite middle-school students and high-school students and all double reed enthusiasts of all levels to join us for an informal and fun event that includes master classes for both instruments, a faculty concert and a final Double Reed concert in which every participant takes part.”

Adds Vallon: “We had something like 20 oboes and 18 bassoons on stage last year. The goal is to give double-reeders a chance to break from their usual isolation and play with their fellows colleagues, improve their skills and enjoyment.” (Below is a vintage print from the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, an 18th-century drawing of “Le Chevalier de Liroux playing the bassoon.”)

Bassoon playing %22%22Le chevalier de Liroux jouant le bassoon%22 from Bibliotheque Nationale de France

The events run from at-the-door registration ($20 with a $5 fee for each additional dinner guest) held from 1 to1:30 p.m. to dinner and a short evening concert at 7 p.m. in Mills Hall.

(You can also register by mail. Include payment and mail to Double Reed Day, in care of Marc Vallon, School of Music, UW-Madison, 4122 Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706-1483

From 2:30 to 3:45 there will be master classes, then exhibits from 3:45-4:15. From 4:15 to 5:30 there will be readings of the double reed repertoire as well as rehearsals.

Dinner is 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

A final Festival Concert, open to the public free of charge but with a program yet to be decided, will be held from 7 to 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall.

A faculty concert is free of charge, and the program will include some French music by Gabriel Pierné and “Five French Folk Songs” by Marc Vallon.

The final concert is also free of charge. It will last 30 minutes and will involve all the participants. 

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