In a short yet informative presentation, Jenny Maclay provided a brief outline of the life of Carl Maria von Weber. Her lecture was dense with information including career highlights, legacy, lesser known history, and professional affiliations. Taking great pains to uncover details and truths about Weber, her curiosity and intrigue led her to a rare find, a living descendant of Weber in her home state of Alabama.
The bulk of her research focused on tracking Weber’s lineage as told through Weber’s great-great-great granddaughter, Patricia Grover. Not a musician herself, Grover was thrilled when a member of the music community reached out to her to learn more about her family tree. Offering her resources freely, Maclay and Grover have forged an unlikely friendship that is sure to benefit the community as a whole. Most recently, Grover spoke about an old family trunk filled with generations of memorabilia and history. Maclay hopes to make a visit soon to see the trunk firsthand and examine its contents. Attendees immediately requested she compile her findings in a book in hopes that she finds rare Weber manuscripts and other historical pieces.
A large portion of Weber’s history was lost as a result of their immigration from Switzerland. It is Maclay’s belief that in order to better understand the future of the clarinet community, we must better understand our past. Traditions from the past influence our present and future, so it is the obligation of the performer and entrepreneur to make the past relevant to today’s musician.
–Notes by Melissa Morales
Melissa Morales is a master’s student at DePaul University studying with Julie DeRoche and Larry Combs. She currently teaches at The People’s Music School and performs with The Candid Concert Opera’s Orchestra Nova and the Chicago Symphonic Winds.