I had a nice chat with long-time Madison music and arts critic and reporter Jakob Stockinger today, which has been posted on his excellent blog, The Well Tempered Ear. Jake’s blog is a fantastic musical resource for the city, and Madison is very lucky to have someone with such vast professional experience writing it at a time when papers are offering less and less coverage of the arts. Here’s a snippet of our conversation. Read the whole thing here.
“It was very, very good professional preparation I got at the UW,” Woods adds.
“My dad is a chemistry professor at the UW, so it’s especially nice for me to be conducting the same UW orchestra that I think was the first orchestra I ever heard.
The level of investment by the faculty in students here is fantastic,” he recalls of his doing his master’s degree at the UW. (He did his undergraduate work at Indiana University and doctoral work at the University of Cincinnati.)
“It’s great to be in town, in my home town, doing this,” he says. “It’s something I always wanted to do, so I was thrilled when I was invited to return. I’ve had a tremendous time. It’s wonderful to work on the Elgar with young musicians who are open-minded and so skilled.
“It’s also great for the city. Making these concerts free is a tremendous thing. Where else can you hear a concert this good and this adventurous for free?
Plus, he adds, “The level of playing is really going up, particularly in the strings, since I was here. We always had some very strong players, but now we have only strong players.”
Have a look around his blog. If nothing else, you may be astounded at the range and vitality of the classical scene in my home town these days. It’s a proud time to be a cheesehead (if you don’t count football).