The Well-Tempered Ear

The UW-Madison’s Wingra Wind Quintet performs a FREE online virtual concert this Wednesday night. Plus, local music critic Greg Hettmansberger has died

December 8, 2020

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NEWS ALERT: Local music critic and blogger Greg Hettmansberger (below) was killed in a car accident on Dec. 2, near Wichita, Kansas. Hettmansberger, 65, was driving when he hit a deer and then another car hit him. His wife survived but remains hospitalized in Wichita in critical condition. Here is a link to a news account:

By Jacob Stockinger

This Wednesday night, Dec. 9, the UW-Madison’s Wingra Wind Quintet (below, in 2017) will perform a FREE virtual online concert from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Here is a direct link to the pre-recorded video premiere on YouTube at:

Due to the pandemic, the Wingra Wind Quintet has been unable to perform chamber music in a traditional way since March 2020. (You can hear the quintet play “On, Wisconsin” in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

In response, the quintet put together a program that allowed each member to record parts separately and have those parts edited together.

Current faculty members (below) are: Conor Nelson, flute; Lindsay Flowers, oboe; Alicia Lee, clarinet; Marc Vallon, bassoon; and Devin Cobleigh-Morrison, horn

The engineer/producer is Kris Saebo.

The program is: 

The first piece “Allegro scherzando” from Three Pieces by Walter Piston (below, 1894-1976)

The Chaconne from the First Suite in E-flat for Military Band by Gustav Holst (below, 1874-1934)

“Retracing” by Elliott Carter (below, 1908-2012)

Selections from “Mikrokosmos” by Bela Bartok (below, 1881-1945)

“A 6 letter letter” by Elliott Carter

Intermezzo from the First Suite in E-flat for Military Band by Gustav Holst

“Esprit rude/esprit doux” by Elliott Carter

Since its formation in 1965, the Wingra Wind Quintet at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music has established a tradition of artistic and teaching excellence.

The ensemble has been featured in performance at national conferences such as MENC (Miami), MTNA (Kansas City), and the International Double Reed Society (Minneapolis). 

The quintet also presented an invitational concert on the prestigious Dame Myra Hess series at the Chicago Public Library, broadcast live on radio station WFMT.

In addition to its extensive home state touring, the quintet has been invited to perform at numerous college campuses, including the universities of Alaska-Fairbanks, Northwestern, Chicago, Nebraska, Western Michigan, Florida State, Cornell, the Interlochen Arts Academy, and the Paris Conservatoire, where quintet members offered master classes.

The Wingra Wind Quintet has recorded for Golden Crest, Spectrum, and the UW-Madison Mead Witter School of Music recording series and is featured on an educational video entitled Developing Woodwind Ensembles.

Always on the lookout for new music of merit, the Wingra has premiered new works of Hilmar Luckhardt, Vern Reynolds, Alec Wilder, Edith Boroff, James Christensen and David Ott. The group recently gave the Midwest regional premiere of William Bolcom’s “Five Fold Five,” a sextet for woodwind quintet and piano, with UW-Madison pianist Christopher Taylor (below).

New York Times critic Peter Davis, in reviewing the ensemble’s Carnegie Hall appearance, stated “The performances were consistently sophisticated, sensitive and thoroughly vital.”

The Wingra Wind Quintet is one of three faculty chamber ensembles in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music. 

Deeply committed to the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea, the group travels widely to offer its concerts and educational services to students and the public in all corners of the state. (Editor’s note: For more about the Wisconsin Idea, which seems more relevant today than ever, go to:

Portions of this recording were made at the Hamel Music Center, a venue of the Mead Witter School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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Classical music: UW oboist Aaron Hill performs world premieres and little known composers in a FREE recital Sunday afternoon

October 20, 2017
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By Jacob Stockinger

This is Homecoming weekend at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and it is busy on many counts, including several classical music concerts in the city on Sunday afternoon.

But one of the more intriguing is a FREE recital at 3 p.m. in Mills Hall by UW-Madison Professor Aaron Hill (below), who teaches oboe and also performs in the Wingra Woodwind Quintet.

Hill will be joined by collaborative pianist Daniel Fung (below), who is also a vocal coach at the Mead Witter School of Music at the UW-Madison.

Particularly noteworthy is the number of world premieres and relatively unknown contemporary composers on the program.

Here is the program:

“Poem,” for oboe and piano (1953) by Marina Dranishnikova (1929-1994, below). (You can hear it in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

Oboe Sonata (1947) by Jean Coulthard (1908-2000)

  1. Gently Flowing
  2. Sicilienne
  3. Allegro


* Soliloquies (2013) by Andre Myers (b. 1973)

  1. To be or not to be
  2. There’s Rosemary, that’s for remembrance
  3. In the Month of May
  4. Spring Discourse

   * world premiere performance

* After Manchester (2017) Aaron Hill and Michael Slon (b. 1982 and 1970, respectively) * world premiere performance

Four Personalities (2007) Alyssa Morris (b. 1984)

  1. Yellow
  2. White
  3. Blue
  4. Red

Here are some program notes by Aaron Hill:

“This program highlights five different ways to program previously unfamiliar music, as explained below.

“Poem” by Marina Dranishnikova came to me through our local community. Oliver Cardona, currently a junior music major at UW-Madison, initially brought it to my attention. The work was discovered and edited by my predecessor, Professor Marc Fink (below), during his travels in Russia.

I first heard the Oboe Sonata by Jean Coulthard (below) at the 2017 International Double Reed Society conference at Lawrence University  in Appleton, Wis.

Charles Hamann, the principal oboist of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, edited and recorded it as part of a large project to bring international attention to masterpieces by Canadian composers.

Andre Myers (below) attended the University of Michigan with me and we first became acquainted when I performed one of his orchestral works. His beautiful writing for English horn started our friendship and 15 years later, he wrote his Soliloquies for me.

The first two are based on famous scenes from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” The third is based on a poem by Minnesota’s first poet laureate, Robert Bly, which will be read aloud from the stage. The final movement is inspired by a dream vision he had of centaurs playing in a meadow.

“After Manchester” was originally a free improvisation I recorded and posted to social media in the wake of the terror attack at Ariana Grande’s concert on June 4, 2017.

Later in the summer, Professor Michael Slon (below), the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Virginia, transcribed my improvisation and wrote a piano part to transform it into a piece of chamber music. The work was completed just days before the violent events in Charlottesville.

Professor Alyssa Morris (below) currently teaches oboe at Kansas State University and her compositions have become widely performed as standard literature for oboists in recent years.

She wrote “Four Personalities” to perform in her own undergraduate recital at Brigham Young University and I first heard it while searching for oboe music on YouTube. The piece is based on the Hartmann Personality Test.

In her words, the colors correspond to the following types:

Yellow: Yellow is fun-loving. The joy that comes from doing something just for the sake of doing it is what motivates and drives yellow.

White: White is a peacekeeper. White is kind, adaptable, and a good listener. Though motivated by peace, white struggles with indecisiveness. 

Blue: Blue brings great gifts of service, loyalty, sincerity, and thoughtfulness. Intimacy, creating relationships, and having purpose is what motivates and drives blue.

Red: Motivated by power. Red is aggressive and assertive. Red is visionary, confident, and proactive. 

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Classical music: Guitar, woodwind and trombone music is featured at the UW-Madison this week, while cello and piano music will be performed at the Unitarian Society’s Friday Noon Musicale.

November 20, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

There are some big events this week, including two performances by the UW Choral Union and UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. That event will be featured tomorrow.

But other music on a smaller scale is also available for FREE in the next several days.


The FREE Guitar Departmental Recital by Student Ensembles at the UW-Madison School of Music will take place tonight at 8:30 p.m. in Morphy Recital Hall under faculty director and guitar department head Javier Calderon (below).

Sorry, no word yet on the program.

Javier Calderon color


Then on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall, the Wingra Woodwind Quintet (below, in a photo by Michael Anderson) will perform a FREE concert on the UW Faculty Concert Series.

Wingra Woodwind Quintet 2013 Michael Anderson

The program includes 
the Quintet in C by
 Claude Arrieu (Louise-Marie Simon, 1903-1990, below top)
 — heard in a YouTube video at the bottom — and the Wind Quintet by György Orban (below bottom, born 1947).

Claude Arrieu

Gyorgy Orban

After intermission will be the “Little Musical Offering” by Nino Rota (below top, 1911-1979), famous for his soundtracks to films by Federico Fellini; and the String Quartet Op. 12, No. 1 , by Felix Mendelssohn (below bottom, 1809-1847) in a transcription by David Walter.

nino rota at piano


Founded in 1965, the Wingra Woodwind Quintet is ensemble-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. Since its formation, the quintet has established a tradition of artistic and teaching excellence. The ensemble has been featured in performance at national conferences of MENC (Miami), MTNA (Kansas City) and the International Double Reed Society (Minneapolis).

In addition to its regular statewide touring, the quintet has been invited to perform at such college campuses as the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Cornell University, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the University of Nebraska, Western Michigan University and Florida State University.

New York Times critic Peter Davis, in reviewing the ensemble’s Carnegie Hall concert, wrote: “The performances were consistently sophisticated, sensitive, and thoroughly vital.” The Wingra Woodwind Quintet has recorded for Golden Crest, Spectrum, and the School of Music recording series, and has released an educational video entitled “Developing Woodwind Ensembles.”

Currents members of the Wingra Woodwind Quintet
 are: Linda Kimball, horn; 
Stephanie Jutt, flute; 
Marc Vallon, bassoon; 
and Linda Bartley, clarinet. Replacing the retired oboist Marc Fink is oboist Kostas Tiliakos (below, in a photo by Kathy Esposito).

kostas tiliakos 2013


The FREE Friday Noon Musicale from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive, will feature cellist Ben Solomonow – seen below performing on the NPR show about young talent “From the Too” — and pianist Claire Mallory in the music of J.S. Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven.

Benjamin Solomonow playing cello on NPR's %22From the Top%22


The Trombone Choir will perform on Sunday afternoon at at 5 p.m. in Luther Memorial Church, 1021 University Ave. (A photo of the church’s interior is below.)

luther memorial church madison

Members of the Trombone Choir are Alan Carr, Michael Donatello, Joseph Greer, Dan Joosten, Tom Kelly, Ty Peterson, Toby Shucha, Brittany Sperberg and Holly Wilinski.

The group will perform under director and UW trombonist Mark Hetzler (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot).

The program includes: “O Mille Volte” by Luca Marenzio (1553-1599) as arranged by Jay Lichtmann; “Beati Estis” by Peter Philips (1560-1633) as arranged by Jay Lichtman; “Sweet Suffolk Owl” by Thomas Vautor (1579-1620) arranged by Jay Lichtmann; Two Movements (”Kyrie” and “Agnus Dei”) from the Mass in G minor by Ralph Vaughn-Williams (1872-1958) as arranged by Mark Hetzler; Fantasia in C Major by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750); “Elegy for a Lion” by David P. Jones (b. 1958); and Concerto for 4 by Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) as arranged by Alan Lumsden

Mark Hetzler 2011 BIG COLOR Katrin Talbot

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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