Category Archives: Evening Concert

Buffet Crampon Gala Concert

10556216_857259564285448_2699921473091380692_n[2]On the final evening at ClarinetFest 2014, we enjoyed incredible works for clarinet and orchestra.  Alcides Rodriguez and Gabor Varga give a jovial opening to the concert playing Krommer’s Concerto for Two Clarinets and Orchestra, Op. 35.  With bubbling lines and a beautiful blend, the duo played with poise and grace. The two clarinetists displayed great sensitivity to throughout the second movement, playing with great control and intonation over a subdued Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.

Following was Ralph Skiano with his poignant interpretation of Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsodie.  The clarinet weaved its way in and around the orchestra with incredible ease, wafting through elongated phrases and impish flourishes.  In these moments the interplay between soloist and and the orchestra’s principal winds was delightful, particularly with the oboist.

Taking the stage, Greg Raden performed Weber’s Concerto No. 1.  His first note stilled the room with his pure sound floating high above the orchestra.  The third movement was lively with delicate inflections and a variety of colors which made for a lovely contrast between themes.

Antonio Saiote gave a lively performance of Canongia’s Clarinet Concert No. 3 in E-flat.  With wild technical demands, Saiote took command of the stage and played with abandon.  Taking some artistic license, his virtuosic performance of Canongia’s work was a memorable performance from the night.

In a last-minute change of performers, Robert DiLutis took the stage instead of the programmed David Drosinos to perform Ben-Haim’s Pastoral Variee for Clarinet, Harp and Strings.  A consummate professional and profound musician, none would have assumed he was not the originally programmed artist.  In many respects, it was the most impressive performance of the evening.

A full, lush string section cued the start of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, and the final piece of the evening. Paul Cigan delivered an inspiring performance of our cornerstone work.  His pianos seemed to draw you in, peering into intimate moments of repose.

–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.

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Filed under Day 4, Evening Concert, Performances

Vandoren Chamber Music Night

McCullough

In a night of clarinet chamber standards, the audience heard classical masterpieces ranging from Mozart to Mandat.  Master Sergeant Reis McCullough opened the concert with Spohr’s Fantasy and Variations on a Theme of Danzi, Op. 81.  His lively and bubbly tone invigorated

Chris Pell

Chris Pell

the air, filling us with anticipation for the upcoming works.  Starkly contrasting in every way, Chris Pell and the Ritz Chamber Players changed the tone of the evening with Eric Mandat’s 2 teez.  The energy in this piece captured the audience’s attention in a way that changed how one would experience the rest of the concert.  The fragmented lines danced through the ensemble with all musicians playing with excitement and vigor. Bravo indeed to Mr. Pell on his excellent execution of this incredible work.

D.  Ray McClellan and the Ritz Chamber Musicians

D. Ray McClellan and the Ritz Chamber Musicians

Ending the first half of the evening, D. Ray McClellan performed Brahms’s Quintet in B Minor for Clarinet and String Quartet, Op. 115 bringing the night’s attention back to more familiar standards.  His tone and legato was smooth and seamless, and with sensitivity to match, the intimacy of the performance lingered throughout the night. Next, Jon Manasse performed Crusell’s Quartet for Clarinet and Strings in E-flat Major, Op.2, No. 1.  With frequent quips and laughter between Manasse and the Ritz Chamber Players, the audience eased into their seats to enjoy a performance from a clarinetist who never disappoints.

VincentiIn a world premiere, Piero Vincenti performed Claudio De Siena’s Italian Movies for Clarinets (E-flat, B-flat and G Clarinet).  With quotes from The Godfather and rich Italian harmonies, the sweetness of Vincenti’s playing provided another splendid taste of newness to a concert of established standards.  Continuing with Italian works, Henry Jones (piano) and Philippe Cuper (clarinet) gave a superb performance of Carlo Della Giacoma’s Cavaleria Rusticana Fantasia.  Cuper played with excitement and fire, inspiring technical facility, and with a sweet thickness to his tone.

FortezaEnding the concert with Mozart’s Quintet for Strings in A Major, K. 581, Pascul Martinez Forteza gave a sensitive and evocative performance.  His personality sparkled with each phrase leading the audience through Mozart with ease.  In a day filled with excellence in abundance, this was one of yesterday’s highlights.

–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.

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Filed under Day 3, Evening Concert, Performances

ICA Awards Gala

galaEach year when a new ClarinetFest is held, it is the results of several hundred hours of planning, work, and preparation.  This year’s festival peaked at over 1400 registered attendees, making this possibly the most highly attended ClarinetFest to date.  In recognition of all of the team’s efforts, President John Cipolla and the ICA board gathered to honor the artistic team for the year’s ClarinetFest. They are:

  • Robert DiLutis, Artistic Director
  • William Blayney
  • Robyn Jones
  • Michael Bartnik
  • Ben Redwine
  • Kate Young
  • John Coppa

At this time, the board also took the opportunity to thank sponsors, conductors, coordinators, induct the honorary members, and present competition winners with their prizes.

Honored Conductors
ICA Professors’ Choir-Piero Vincenti
ICA Professors’ Choir-Robert Walzel
Baton Rouge Symphony-David Hattner
Festival Choir Conductor-Mitch Estrin
Festival Choir Conductor-Raphael Sanders

Honorary Members
David Shifrin
Michele Zukovsky
Antonio Saiote

Honored Deceased
Laura Ezinwa Onwudinanti
John Patrick Stewart

COMPETITION RESULTS

High School
Coordinated by Elizabeth Crawford
1) Alec Manasse, $1000 prize
2) Paul Park, $750 prize
3) Julia Choi,  $500 prize

Young Artist
Coordinated by Maxine Ramey
1) Jose Pinto, $4000 and Selmer professional model clarinet
2) Jose Viana, $2000 prize
3) Hila Zamir, $1000 prize

Composition
Coordinated by Michael Norsworthy
After Pear blossom dwindled… for solo bass clarinet
by Jason Lim

Research
Coordinated by Dr. Douglas Monroe
1) Erica Low, Examination of Embouchure Force During Clarinet Performance, $1000 prize
2) Jeremy Wohletz, East Meets West: Transcribing Balinese Gamelan for Clarinet Choir, $500 prize

Orchestral Excerpts
Coordinated by Jeremy W. Reynolds
1) Jackie Glazier, $1000 prize and a Gregory Smith mouthpiece
2) Shih-Wen Fan, $500 prize and a Gregory Smith mouthpiece

–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.

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Filed under Competitions, Day 4, Evening Concert

A Night of Jazz

Gregory Agid and Evan Christopher

Gregory Agid and Evan Christopher

Tonight was a night of true charm. The entrepreneurial clarinet experienced the drama and fancies of classical music by day, and the ‘down in da Parish’ nitty-gritty bayou jams by night. The evening started with several tunes by local kings of New Orleans jazz, Evan Christopher and Gregory Agid assisted by local musicians Tom Mitchell (guitar), John Previti (bass), Troy Davis (drums), and Willis Delony (piano). Christopher and Agid shared several standards and originals for the audience this evening each displaying their mastery, furthering their reputations as our generation’s local legends. Christopher opened the evening by introducing charts (“Blues in the Air” and “Banjo Noir”) by pioneers of New Orleans clarinet Sidney Bechet and Alvin Batiste. Their excitement was infectious. As solos were passed between the featured guests and supporting musicians, there were whoops and hollers from musicians and the audience members alike. As Christopher led tunes “La Ciudad Criolla,” “Tande’ Sak Fe Loraj Gwonde,” and “Waltz for All Souls,” all penned by himself, his natural leadership took center stage. An entertainer through and through, his control, originality, and playful personality shone as bright as a full moon on the Mississippi at night. When Agid’s tune “Summer’s Song” (dedicated to his deceased, young student) and “Swag” were performed, his bag of tricks revealed greater depth than the crowd could have hoped. His funky rhythms, riffs, and colors infected and affected us. In the final number of the first half, Harry Skoler and Felix Peikli joined Agid and Christopher for a jazz clarinet quartet arrangement of “The Mooche” by Duke Ellington. The room’s applause hardly ceased. Transitioning from New Orleans rock to classic swing, their power and prowess was palatable.

Felix Peikli (left) and Harry Skoler (left) playing Swedish Pastry by Barney Kessell

Felix Peikli (left) and Harry Skoler (left) playing Swedish Pastry by Barney Kessell

Nearly an hour and a half into the night’s performance, Peikli and Skoler took the stage despite a fatigued and fading crowd. Skoler, a consummate gentleman, played with class and old school swagger reminiscent of old New Orleans traditions. As Peikli followed, we heard his compositional chops with “Nocturnal,” a sensitive and moving ballad revealing that this young musician of 24 has more than incredible technique and seemingly natural instincts. He is also a creator of fine music and charm. In his last numbers alone on stage, his technical mastery was unleashed in full force with an unaccompanied improvisation on Gershwin’s “Summertime” which speedily zipped by and immediately transitioned into Grolnick’s “Nothing Personal.” The two pieces seemed to come together as one with the tune of “Summertime” weaving in and out hypnotically by Peikli and pianist Willis Delony.

It would be criminal not to mention the incredible presence and talents of the assisting musicians. The fineness of Delony and the raw power of drummer Troy Davis drove massive force of the ensemble allowing guitar John Previti and bass Tom Mitchell to outline subtle harmonies and nuance.

In the final moments of the evening, Peikli, Skoler, and Agid were joined on stage by none other than Dr. John Cipolla, I.C.A. President, for a final jam session on the blues chart “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” A true master of all styles, Cipolla led the jam, making every lick seem organic and fluid. The quartet of clarinet stars listened with intensity while Dixieland-style improvisations took place with typical busyness of polyphony and flirtatious character. Both exhausted and refreshed, the remaining audience approached the stage for congratulations, autographs, and the satisfaction of meeting these wonderful musicians and personalities. Laissez les bon temps rouler, indeed!

–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.

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Filed under Day 2, Evening Concert, Performances

D’Addario Woodwinds Evening Concert

Todd Cope performing Prokofiev

Todd Cope performing Prokofiev

The first day of ClarinetFest2014 has come to a boisterous conclusion with displays of artistry and athleticism from our performers, presenters, and competitors alike.  In similar fashion, the evening’s final performances did not disappoint.  Todd Cope began the recital with an intimate performance of Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes, Op. 34a.  The sensitivity in his phrasing and beckoning of his piano dynamics captivated the audience, enrapturing our senses with his tone and dynamicism.

Heinen being interviewedFollowing Cope, Julien Hervé flawlessly captured the mysterious mood of Penderecki’s Sinfonietta No. 2 with equal parts depth and direction.  The earthy basses and soloists of the Ritz Chamber Orchestra led by David Hattner expertly followed Herve’s lead and supported the expansiveness of his sound and interpretive subtleties.

In a drastic turn of style, Joseph Eller captures our attention with his first note, a pointed and clear altissimo.  His svelte tone whirled around the playful melodies and lush harmonies of Ferruccio Busoni’s Concertino Op. 48, BV with expert ease and convictionAfter a brief intermission, Julian Bliss enlightened the audience with his knowledge and understanding of Finzi’s Concerto for Clarinet & String Orchestra, Op. 13.  Drawing from interactions he’s had with Finzi’s son and a first hand look at his writing studio, Bliss constructed a lovely and polished performance.  Never have I seen an audience so eager to applaud the end of a performance, and I have never struggled so much with wanting to applaud between movements.  Bravo!

Soloist Joseph Eller and Conductor David Hattner

Soloist Joseph Eller and Conductor David Hattner

We were presented with a brief pause as Lisa Canning interviewed Julia Heinen, who displayed her humor and candidness to the audience.  After a few short questions, the evening’s music continued with Heinen’s performance of Scott McAllister’s Black Dog.  Her virtuosity and raucous, guitar-like imitations were displayed in McAllister bends, growls, and glissandi.  In a genre all his own, McAllister’s works always find eager listeners and performers.

Julian Blissand Julien Herve'

Julian Bliss and Julien Herve’

The evening came to a close with a duet by Julian Bliss and Julien Hervé.  Their U.S. premiere of Krystof Maratka’s Csardas No. 4 for Two Clarinets and String Orchestra left the audience thrilled to the brim with their folk-stylings of Martka’s dance-inspired work.  After an encore performance displaying their virtuosic range, technical facility, and speed, the recital came to a close and the audience slowly filed their way back to their hotels and homes to eagerly await the start of the next day’s music making.

–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.

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by | July 31, 2014 · 9:41 am