Forging Your Own Path to a Clarinet Career, a Lecture with Sean Osborn

Mr. Osborn began the lecture with a summary of the important lessons that he’s learned in his career. He lists these as playing well, schmoozing, looking good, being discreet, honest, direct, kind, and patient, honoring your commitments, reciprocating, following up with phone calls, personally inviting people, and not reminding people of your mistakes.

The next portion of the presentation included advice on creating resumes and press kits as well as information on how to get involved in orchestral freelancing and make good recordings. Mr. Osborn also suggested the performers get more involved in chamber music and the performance of new music to increase their visibility and publicity. He provided a brief synopsis of important information about increasing visibility through performances at churches, unusual venues, and festivals. The information provided about internet publicity was helpful and insightful especially the portion on a new model of crowdfunded, sustained support called Patreon.

The Ritz Chamber Players String Quartet joined Sean Osborn at the conclusion of his lecture for a performance of his Quintet for Clarinet and Strings – The Beatles. The work was composed in 2004 and includes 21 songs in four movements. The piece incorporated many melodies from Beatles songs but often in fragments or with augmented figures. Some portions were more contrapuntal or had complex harmonies and fast modulations. Some more modern elements were included starting in the third movement including double stops, portamento, and spoken dialogue along with figures in the clarinet line with klezmer influence. The fourth movement was particularly charming and was often reminiscent of the Serenade for Three by Peter Schickele. Overall the piece was beautifully played by Osborn and the string counterpoint was executed with great drive and rhythmic vitality.

–Notes by Dr. Mary Alice Druhan
Dr. Mary Alice Druhan is the Associate Professor of Clarinet, Texas A&M University-Commerce and a Buffet performing artist.

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