Wes Luke, Concertmaster of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, was named the Madison Area Music Association’s 2019 “Classical Performer of the Year.” During that season, the string quartet he serves as first violin, the Ancora String Quartet, completed a highly successful and critically-acclaimed tour of southern Germany and the upper Midwest U.S., working with mezzo-soprano Melinda Paulsen. With the Ancora String Quartet he has made numerous live appearances on Wisconsin Public Radio since 2018, including earlier this year, just days before the pandemic shutdown.
A frequent recitalist, Wes performs with the Avanti Piano Trio, Madison New Music Ensemble, and Mosaic Chamber Players, with whom he recently presented the complete Beethoven Violin Sonatas. He is a regular guest of the Rhapsody String Quartet in the Madison Symphony’s nationally-lauded “Heartstrings” outreach program. A member of the Madison Symphony and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, he has served as a guest Concertmaster in the Dubuque Symphony and Wisconsin Philharmonic, and performed in the Gardener Chamber Orchestra and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
He has appeared as a regular guest artist in summer music festivals including the Green Lake (WI), Caroga Lake (NY), Galena Festival of the Performing Arts (IL), and the Maverick Concerts (NY). In the summer of 2020 he founded the Courtyard Ensemble, a masked, socially-distanced ensemble that presented dozens of outdoor chamber music and chamber orchestra concerts throughout the Madison area. In addition to performing traditional repertoire, including the complete Bach Violin Concertos and the complete Vivaldi Four Seasons, the group emphasized the work of unjustly neglected black composers of the past and present, including Joseph Boulogne, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, William Grant Still, Florence Price, George Walker, Jonathan Bingham, and Daniel Bernard Roumain.
He has served on the teaching faculties of Clark University, Divine Word College, the University of Dubuque, Loras College, and Beloit College. He holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied under Boston Symphony Concertmaster Malcolm Lowe, and UW-Madison, under former Miami Quartet first violinist Felicia Moye. His principle early studies were with Suzuki Viola School author Doris Preucil.