STEPHANIE JUTT AND JEFFREY SYKES - ARTISTIC DIRECTORS

Board of Directors

Larry Bechler grew up playing music: first piano, then trumpet all the way through college marching band and into post-college bands. He has a love of live chamber music, spawned by BDDS and the Spoleto Festival in Charleston. He practices law at Murphy Desmond S.C and has served on various committees and commissions throughout his life.

 

Sarah BestSarah Best is the award winning CEO/chief strategist of Sarah Best Strategy, a social media company.  She has been invited to speak at various conferences around the country, and is an avid traveler, foodie, and multi-faceted creative.  Sarah is also a poet who has been published in The Yale Review.  She is a visual artist and film curator who has shown work at many significant Chicago institutions as well as the Echo Park Film Center, in Los Angeles.  She is a Madison Downtown Rotarian and is secretary of the board of New Harvest Foundation.

 

Michael Bridgeman is the retired Communications Director for Wisconsin Public Television where he oversaw promotion, public relations, design, special events and online services. He has been active in historic preservation and neighborhood organizations and served for ten years on the Madison Arts Commission, including two as chair. Michael has attended BDDS concerts since the first season and also enjoys orchestral music, opera and theater.

 

Beth LarsonBeth Larson has a wealth of experience in nonprofit administration, fundraising, program development, and education as well as performance. As a violinist, Beth has performed with numerous ensembles including the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Willy Street Chamber Players, and Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She is Director of Development-Corporate Partnerships at Overture Center for the Arts in Madison. She loves spending time with her husband, and son Elliot, born in May 2020.

 

David PoletDavid Polet was born in Holland, Michigan into a family of Dutch immigrants.  One of his passions was living in Russia, studying language and literature, and attending the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.  Having worked at Epic Systems, and CUNA Mutual Group, he is currently employed at the State of Wisconsin Investment Board as a project manager.  He likes to attend Chamber Orchestra concerts and is a member of the Salon series at Farley’s House of Pianos.

 

Claire Ann Resop

Claire Ann Resop is a partner in the Downtown Madison, Wis., office of Steinhilber Swanson LLP, where she concentrates her practice in bankruptcy, real estate, and commercial and claim litigation.  In 2005, she was recognized as one of the “Top 25 Female SuperLawyers,” and has been named a “SuperLawyer” in Law & Politics and Milwaukee Magazine. She enjoys theater, symphony orchestras, museums, entertaining, and travel.

 

Miriam Simmons served as the Assistant Dean for Professional Development in the Graduate School at UW-Madison. A major responsibility was directing the Wisconsin Idea Seminar, a five-day tour of the state that immerses forty faculty and academic staff members in the realities of Wisconsin. She is on the board of the Madison Civic Club and considers BDDS her new BFF.

 

Sarah Siskind is an attorney who specializes in class action and other complex litigation. She has represented clients in trial, mediation, and arbitrations in front of a variety of federal, state and local forums, and served as lead counsel in numerous large-scale class action lawsuits. She’s a champion for children in the arts and joined the BDDS board in 2014.

 

Norma Sober, now retired, had a long career as an arts administrator in Madison as the director of outreach at the Madison Civic Center and as director of development and education at Madison Repertory Theatre. She is a member of the Madison Arts Commission and is an occasional consultant to cultural organizations, for which she sometimes gets paid.

 

Teri Venker has led arts marketing as the director of marketing for the Madison Symphony Orchestra, from which she recently retired, and for the Wisconsin Union Theater.  Teri enjoys bicycling and international travel.  She also volunteers at Lakeview Elementary School and with the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation.

 

Joseph VargaJoseph Varga has been designing sets professionally at theatres all over the country and in our own back yard for over three decades, including Forward Theater, Madison Opera, CTM, University Theatre, Fresco Opera Theatre, and Madison Ballet. He is UW-Madison professor emeritus with the Department of Theatre and Drama.

 

Anne Taylor Wadsack, an attorney in private practice in Madison, is a shareholder with DeWitt Ross & Stevens, S.C., which has been a supporter of BDDS for several years.  Anne describes herself as an amateur musician “who has the benefit of never having to perform in public.”

 

 

Trumpet MATTHEW ONSTAD A Wisconsin native, Dr. Onstad serves as assistant professor of trumpet at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he teaches applied trumpet, coaches chamber music, and performs with the Whitewater Brass Quintet. While earning his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from UW-Madison, Dr. Onstad performed with the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, a faculty ensemble-in-residence. He holds the rank of staff sergeant in the 132nd Wisconsin Army National Guard Band and has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Iowa, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, and the Isthmus Brass. He held the position of principal trumpet with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra from 2016-2021. Dr. Onstad has previously taught trumpet at St. Ambrose University, UW-La Crosse, and UW-Oshkosh. He has served as a master clinician with the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, the 132nd Army Band, and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Onstad received his Bachelor of Music degree from UW-Oshkosh. matthewonstad.com

Violinist Paran Amirinazari, an avid chamber musician, is a founding member and artistic drector of the Willy Street Chamber Players. She is a former member of the Hunt String Quartet and has recently earned her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Cello TRACE JOHNSON, a native of Madison, Wisconsin, has appeared as a chamber musician, soloist, and orchestral musician in a wide variety of settings in the U.S. and around the world. He is a cellist in the Sarasota Orchestra in Sarasota, Florida, and recently performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the Madison Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed in chamber recitals with faculty from SUNY Purchase, the University of Toronto, Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Florida International University, Shenandoah University, and Queens College in New York City. traceljohnson.com

Bass NICK MORAN, a veteran of the Madison, Wisconsin, music scene, performs on both electric bass and the double bass in varied genres including jazz, Afro-Latin, hip hop, reggae, and funk. Mr. Moran has toured internationally and performed with a diverse collection of acts, including Ben Sidran, Lee ‘Scratch‘ Perry, Clyde Subblefield, and David ‘Fathead‘ Newman (Ray Charles’s sax player). He has also worked with such Madison music institutions as Harmonious Wail, the Gomers, Tony Casteneda, Anna Laube, Joy and the Boy, and the Tim Whalen Nonet. As a freelance bassist, Mr. Moran has recorded tracks and albums for a wide-ranging roster of artists including Gerri DiMaggio, University of Wisconsin-Madison music professor Les Thimmig, Clyde Stubbelfield, Hanah John Taylor, and reggae giants Natty Nation. His playing can also be heard in various Afro-Cuban, hip hop, R&B and funk loop libraries from Sony Music and Apple. In addition to his music career, Mr. Moran works as a production and development consultant for the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium. In 2014, he was named "Jazz Personality of The Year" at the Isthmus Jazz Festival by mayoral proclamation. In 2016, he joined the UW-Madison School of Music as jazz bass instructor.

Conductor KENNETH WOODS was appointed artistic director and principal conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra in 2013, and was recently appointed artistic director of both the Elgar Festival in Worcester, England, and the Colorado MahlerFest. As a guest, Mr. Woods has conducted ensembles including the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, and the English Chamber Orchestra; has been featured on broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, National Public Radio, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; and has appeared at music festivals such as Aspen, Scotia and Lucerne. Under Mr. Woods’ leadership, the English Symphony Orchestra responded to the2020 Covid-19 lockdown, “Music from Wyastone," a series of virtual concerts including dozens of world-premieres of new works and new arrangements, such as a chamber version of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. Mr. Woods’s blog, “A View from the Podium,” is one of the 25 most popular classical blogs in the world. He has spoken on Mahler on NPR’s All Things Considered and is a regular speaker on BBC radio programs. Kennethwoods.net

Baritone TIMOTHY JONES has performed in opera houses and with symphony orchestras in the U.S., Ecuador, Mexico, and the Czech Republic. He has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, and the Jacksonville Symphony. In opera houses he has performed leading roles in "The Marriage of Figaro," "Carmen," Die Zauberflöte," "Cosi Fan Tutte," "Don Giovanni," "Don Pasquale," "La Boheme," "Falstaff," "Macbeth," and "La Traviata." He has been a frequent guest with the Victoria Bach Festival, New Texas Festival, Round Top Music Festival, Ars Lyrica Houston, Cactus Pear Music Festival, and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. As a committed performer of contemporary music, Mr. Jones has commissioned and premiered numerous compositions by leading composers of our time. He currently lives in Houston, where he serves on the faculty of the University of Houston.

Cellist KENNETH OLSEN joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as assistant principal cello in 2005. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and a winner of the school's prestigious concerto competition. His other awards include first prize in the Nakamichi Cello Competition at the Aspen Music Festival and second prize at the 2002 Holland-America Music Society Competition. His teachers have included Richard Aaron at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Joel Krosnick at New York's Juilliard School of Music and Luis Garcia-Renart at Bard College. He also has been a participant at the Steans Institute for Young Artists (the Ravinia Festival's professional studies program for young musicians) and at Boston University's Tanglewood Institute. A native of New York, Kenneth Olsen is a founding member of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, a conductorless string orchestra comprised of young musicians from orchestras and ensembles all over the country.

Violin SUZANNE BEIA is co-concertmaster of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, concertmaster of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and second violinist in the Pro Arte Quartet. A native of Reno, Nevada, she began her musical studies on the viola at the age of ten. Three years later, she shifted her attention to the violin and made her solo debut at the age of fourteen with the North Lake Tahoe Symphony. Since that time, she has performed as a soloist with orchestras throughout the U.S. and Germany. Before coming to Madison, Ms. Beia held the position of principal second violin in the Wichita Symphony and has held concertmaster positions with the Reno Chamber Orchestra, Bay Area Women's Philharmonic, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and Chamber Symphony of San Francisco. She also held the assistant concertmaster position in the New World Symphony. Her chamber music experience has been extensive: she has performed at festivals such as Chamber Music West, Telluride Chamber Music Festival, Token Creek, Festival de Prades, and Chamber Music at the Barn. Ms. Beia has served on the faculties of the Rocky Ridge Music Center and Florida International University.