The Wingra Wind Quintet
Since its formation in 1965, the Wingra Wind Quintet (WWQ) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) has established a tradition of artistic and teaching excellence, and an ambitious commitment to the Wisconsin Idea. Following on the success of prior artist residences – painter John Steuart Curry appointed in 1936, pianist Gunnar Johansen in 1939, and the Pro Arte Quartet in 1940 — the Wingra became the first faculty woodwind quintet in the state, introducing the first full-time professorships in flute, bassoon, horn and oboe on the UW campuses, making it possible for the School of Music to hire outstanding woodwind artist performers and teachers, and cementing UW-Madison’s reputation for excellence in the woodwind field. The Wingra’s founding members—Robert Cole, flute; Glenn Bowen, clarinet; Harry Peters, oboe; Richard Lottridge, bassoon; and John Barrows, horn — gave the state five years of creative musical performance and established a level of playing that subsequent ensembles have continued to build upon.
Since its founding, 22 musicians have served as members of the Wingra Quintet. Its fifty years have seen several periods of relative personnel stability: 1965-71 with its founding members; 1974-1983, with the additions of Marc Fink, oboe and Douglas Hill, horn; and the decade 2004-2013 with the arrival of bassoonist Marc Vallon. With the 2013 retirement of long-time oboist Marc Fink, who was a Wingra member for forty years, the longest tenure of anyone in the quintet’s long and distinguished history, the quintet welcomed its newest member to fill that vacancy.
Praised for performances that are “consistently sophisticated, sensitive, and thoroughly vital” (Peter Davis, The New York Times), the ensemble has appeared at Carnegie Hall and its excellence has been recognized by invitations to perform at international conferences including the Marseille International Woodwind Quintet Festival (Marseille, France), the International Double Reed Society (Minneapolis), the Music Educators National Conference (Seattle & Miami), and the Music Teachers’ National Association conference (Kansas City). The quintet also presented an invitational concert on the prestigious Dame Myra Hess series at the Chicago Public Library, broadcast live on 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 masterclasses.
The Wingra Wind Quintet has recorded for Golden Crest (an album that includes the premiere of Alec Wilder’s Woodwind Quintet, Op. 11) and Spectrum, and most recently released an album of Dvorak string quartets arranged for woodwind quintet (on the UW-Madison School of Music recording series). The group’s educational video, Developing Woodwind Ensembles, offers an introduction to the techniques and challenges of performing in small woodwind ensembles, offering numerous musical examples.
Always on the lookout for new music of merit, Wingra has premiered new works of Helmut 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 pianist Christopher Taylor.
In 2015, the Wingra Quintet celebrated its 50th anniversary with a reception and short concert at the University Club. They expect to continue a tradition that reaffirms the quintet’s mission of outreach and service to the Wisconsin Idea, the philosophy that “the boundaries of the campus are the boundaries of the state.” The Wingra Quintet maintains an ambitious touring schedule throughout the state, travelling to Wisconsin high schools and concert halls, working with young musicians and performing for local concert series patrons, and often heard on live on Wisconsin Public Radio state-wide broadcasts, including the former Sunday Afternoon Life from the Elvejhem (subsequently Chazen) concert series.
In 2015, the Wingra Wind Quintet bade farewell to clarinetist Linda Bartley and hornist Linda Kimball, and welcomed two new members: Wesley Warnoff, new adjunct professor of clarinet, and hornist Joanna Schulz, who will pursue her DMA while at UW-Madison.
Current Wingra Wind Quintet members are:
Stephanie Jutt, flute (1990- )
Wesley Warnhoff, clarinet (2015- )
Joanna Schulz, horn (2015 -)
Marc Vallon, bassoon (2004- )
Kostantinos Tiliakos, oboe (2013- )
Above: The Wingra Wind Quintet, 2013. From left: Wesley Warnhoff, clarinet; Stephanie Jutt, flute; Kostas Tiliakos, oboe; Marc Vallon, bassoon; and Joanna Schulz, horn. Photograph by Michael R. Anderson.
Find a Wingra Wind Quintet concert in your area of Wisconsin, or sponsor a concert. Check this website for details.