Category Archives: Recital

ClarinetFest 2014 Festival Choir

ClarinetFest 2014 started to wrap up on Sunday afternoon with a marvelous performance by the Festival Choir, consisting of many eager performers who were registered for the conference. Students, professionals, and aficionados alike all took the stage to form one of the largest clarinet choirs seen at the conference this year. Conductors Mitchell Estrin and Raphael Sanders were warm and friendly with both the audience and the choir, and the variety of music performed was sure to leave everybody with a new favorite piece.

The choir opened with a commission, Paul Basler’s Dr. Boda’s Magical Spinning Machine. Professor Estrin mentioned that the work was specifically composed for this year’s Festival Choir. The work’s tonal language was dense and constantly swarming, making interesting use of all different sections of the choir. This was quickly followed by an arrangement of Vaughan Williams’ English Folk Song Suite. The performance was no less effective than the standard band arrangement, with each and every line brought forth easily through the choir’s balance.

Raphael Sanders then took the stage to replace Professor Estrin, and the choir continued with a charming arrangement of Jan Van Der Roost’s Rikudim, a set of Israeli folk dances in two movements. Mr. Sanders’ warm personality lent itself nicely to the piece, as he encouraged the audience to chant along with the choir itself during the rousing tune. The remainder of the concert consisted of an arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody, a Guido Six arrangement of Mugssorsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, and a spritely rendition of William Krell’s Mississippi Rag. The hard work of these choir members during ClarinetFest was very noticeable!

–Notes by Joel Auringer
Joel Auringer is a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He currently maintains a private studio in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas metroplex, and will begin doctoral study at the University of North Texas in the fall.

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Professor’s Choir

IMG_20140803_150625195Ending the week of clarinet entrepreneurship was the ICA Professors Ensemble.  The ensemble, led by Robert Walzel, opened the concert with the upbeat, Ronald Scott arrangement of Poco Allegro from Five Bagatelles, Op. 47 by Dvorak.  Masters of their instrument, it is no surprise that these clarinetists put on a final concert that was a smashing success.  The theme was light and clear, bouncing through the ensemble with ease regardless of dynamic or tessitura.

Piero Vincenti took the stage to lead the ensemble in three pieces he brought from Italy.  The choir’s full sonorous sound filled the hall like a church organ during the Donizetti and Rossini arrangements by Pontini.  The Klezmer rhapsody following added a wonderful color to the concert, especially in the E-flat stylings of Diane Barger who played with secure intonation and a warm tone most becoming but often absent in E-flat playing.

Of all the pieces, none were as jovial and  becoming as the World Premiere of Guido Six’s arrangement of Souvenir of The Piano Man: “Grenadilla Rhapsody.”  Even ensemble members Larry Guy and Julia Heinen could not contain their excitement as they bobbed and jaunted in their seats to the jazzy harmonies and rhythms.  The pinnacle of surprise came when an entire section played the Rhapsody in Blue solo in a roarous smear.  In an effort to respect the time of the performers, the final piece (another Six arrangement) was abbreviated.  Bravo Maestros Vincenti and Walzel on a superb concert!

–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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Texas A&M University – Kingsville Clarinet Choir and Clarinet Madness Clarinet Choir

Both clarinet choirs in Sunday morning’s 8:00 a.m. Shaver Theatre performance played admirably. The Texas A&M University – Kingsville Clarinet Choir featured several lively pieces with solid solos in Everett Gates’s Seasonal Sketches by the principal clarinetist, and a beautiful  feature of the front row later on. The TAMU-K Choir was professional in every aspect, down to the coordinated lifting of their instruments before beginning to play each piece. With a wide repertoire prepared, they continued with solid renditions of Bruce Ronkin’s Episode for Clarinets, Maria Theresia von Paradis’s Sicilienne, and Paul Harvey’s Jollipop. The 17 talented young clarinetists showed exuberance in their playing and demeanor, putting the fun back into clarinet choir.

The Clarinet Madness Choir represented a refreshing group of 10 adult clarinetists, also running the gamut of repertoire with a wide variety of pieces. All three performed Sunday morning — William F. Funk’s Grenadille du Trisque, Henry Tucker and Louis Lambillote’s Fantasia on Two Songs: Sweet Genevieve and On This Day O Beautiful Mother, and an arrangement by Jack Knowles of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville — were written specifically for the Clarinet Madness Choir. The first piece featured both the first clarinetist and the E-flat clarinetist in solos and a charming duet. The highlight of the recital, however, was The Barber of Seville, a work frequently arranged for clarinet choir. The Clarinet Madness Choir took the piece at a lively tempo and maintained the energy for the duration of the work. A technically challenging piece to tackle, The Clarinet Madness Choir handled it well, finishing the recital with a bang.

–Notes by Alaina Pritz
Alaina Pritz is a recent graduate from The University of Maryland and currently plays with The United State Air Force Band – Band of the Golden West.

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Lagniappe Recital: Ackerman-Phillips-Carter

Phil&friendsThe first performer on this morning’s concert was Timothy Phillips (Troy University), accompanied by Adam Blackstock (marimba) with Lisa Canning conducting a pop-up interview prior to his performance. It was most interesting to hear about his work in developing the Troy Clarinet Day, and through his recently syndicated radio show, Clarinet Corner (episodes currently available online via soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/timclarinet). Phillips performed an interesting work inspired by Sylvia Plath’s poetry for clarinet and marimba. Originally for saxophone and marimba, the composer, L.Mark Lewis, adapted it at Dr. Phillips’ request. The first movement was a real romp, featuring excited marimba playing by Adam Blackstock. Phillips sounded particularly lovely in the second movement, as his first entrance seemed to effortlessly emerge from the marimba sound. The unusual pairing of these instruments was really interesting and enjoyable. The mellowness of the marimba truly complimented and supported Phillips’ dynamic clarinet playing.

The final piece, Hietor Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras, was performed by David and Angela Carter (both of the Tulsa Symphony), with Katherine White (mezzo soprano), Ricardo Coelho de Souza (vibraphone) and Christine Souza (marimba). This interesting instrumentation brought this familiar piece to new life. Particularly of note was the sensitive playing by David Carter (clarinet), and the lovely support and leading of the bass line by Angela Carter (bass clarinet). Their sounds melded together well, sounding as one. Throughout both movements, the great interplay of parts and excellent communication between performers was appreciated.

–Notes by Nora Shaffer
 Nora Shaffer,  a recent DePaul University graduate (CER ‘14, MM ‘12), is a passionate performer and dedicated teacher in the ChicagoLand area. Additionally, she is Principal and E-flat Clarinetist with the Lake Effect Clarinet Quartet.

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Shared Recital: Stephan Vermeersch and Jacques Merrer

MerrerRecitalIt appears bass clarinet is the new black when it comes to new music. Stephan Vermeersch performed four very different yet very new and exciting works featuring the instrument during his shared recital at 4:00 p.m. in Shaver Theatre, Saturday. The first, Eric Honour’s Quirk for Bass Clarinet and Computer, made audiences want to get up and dance, wondering  if DJs would soon begin lugging basses to their gigs, along with turntables and other electronica.

Vermeersch played along with a click track, executing slap tonguing passages and other extended techniques as the piece jived through a catchy prerecorded hip hop beat, along with a bevy of distortions and computer-generated sound effects. Audience members recognized the sound of a record scratching on the prerecorded track, whereas the distorted bass clarinet sound was reminiscent of the Mario Brothers Nintendo game circa 1992 or alien-esque sounds à la The X-Files. At other times, it was hard to tell which sounds were acoustic, which were distortions and which were prerecorded. Vermeersch was truly in his element, executing a flawless rendition.

When introducing the next two pieces, Vermeersch charmed the audience by divulging that the two men to be performing with him were his soul mates. He played Dan Becker’s Better Late for Two Bass Clarinets with Richard Nunemaker, which started out in perfect unison, gradually broke apart into a telegraphing, minimalist riff resembling a skipping record, and culminated in a warmhearted high five and hug between the two friends. Rocco Parisi joined Vermeersch for Marc Mellits’s bluesy Black for Two Bass Clarinets next.

Vermeersch ended with the U.S. premier of his own composition, WE for Bass Clarinet and 5 Desk Bells, published just this year. Flying through harmonics, slap tonguing and other extended techniques with circular breathing to keep up the momentum, Vermeersch tapped the five desk bells—each one a different color, like a child’s glockenspiel—with his left foot. A true test of coordination on top of the skill it took to simply play the bass clarinet the way Vermeersch did, WE held the audience captivated.

The second half of the recital showcased the other auxiliary instrument we all know and love, the E-flat (and D) clarinet. Jacques Merrer played three baroque transcriptions of works by Vivaldi, Albinoni and Johann Melchior Molter with a sweet sound as his faithful collaborator, Dianne Frazer, kept steady time on the harpsichord. The music was a welcome change from the newer, albeit beautiful, music that audience members had been enjoying the rest of the week up to that point. With performances of works hot off the presses and classics predating the clarinet, this recital proved to be an interesting look at the chronological bookends of music.

–Notes by Alaina Pritz
Alaina Pritz is a recent graduate from The University of Maryland and currently plays with The United State Air Force Band – Band of the Golden West.

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Douglas Graham Tribute Recital

Former students of Douglas Graham's performing in his tribute recital.

Former students of Douglas Graham’s performing in his tribute recital.

Sunday morning, ClarinetFest was awakened by glorious sounds in the SOM Recital Hall with students of Douglas Graham presenting him with a tribute recital at 8:00 a.m. Graham served as principal clarinetist of the South Carolina Philharmonic and taught at the University of South Carolina.

The last movement of the Lalo Piano Trio was performed with LSU pianist Willis Delony. He was joined by Jeremy Cohen (clarinet) and Wendy Cohen (flute). Both played with beautiful depth of tone and a wonderfully expressive dynamic range. Delony played with great integrity and flowing lines.

David Gresham’s performance of Karel Husa’s Three Studies showed excellent execution of the clarinet techniques of the 20th century while maintaining lyricism and fun. Gresham took the third movement with a firm resolve!
Peregi Verbunk by Weiner was performed by Mark Brandon with Willis Deloney.  These performances highlighted one of the strengths of Doug Graham’s teaching: evenness of tone.
Seven Deadly Sins by Goodwin for clarinet and marimba provided the audience with some humor at both the melodic features of the piece and the commentary from the composer. The brevity of the final movement brought about a chuckle from many in the audience. The piece was performed by John Bittle (clarinet) and Matthew Jones (marimba).
David Callaway performed Czardas by Monti. This was a fun and entertaining addition to the program, especially for an early Sunday morning.
Don’t be that Way was featured next and performed by Gary Buss and Willis Delony.  Local audiences always love performances by Delony but this pair was a match made in heaven and allowed both performers to sparkle with a charming and comfortable style.
GrahamCanonic Suite for 4 B-flat clarinets by Elliott Carter was performed as a mixed service member ensemble. Performers represented the Air Force, Army, and Navy. The ensemble had a strong finish to an absolutely charming piece.
Students of Douglas Graham combined to present their beloved mentor with a framed photo and message and a closing performance of I’ll be Seeing You, arranged for clarinets by Dick Goodwin. The program was beautifully organized and executed and was a moment of great pride and appreciation for Professor Graham.–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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Universidad Distrital ASAB Colombia and Houston Symphonic Band

columbia2ClarinetFest 2014 continued into the weekend, with two outstanding groups this Saturday morning in Shaver Theater. The dazzling clarinet choir of the Universidad Distrital Francisco Jose de Caldas from Bogota, Columbia brought some South American styles to the stage, followed by some more traditional (but no less entertaining!) offerings from the Houston Symphonic Band Clarinet Ensemble. Universidad Distrital’s program consisted of tunes with idioms from multiple places in South America, including Venezuela and their native Columbia. Their rapid, powerful technique was matched by the precise conducting of their leader, Jorge Andrés Vélez Ospina. Many ensemble members stood for easygoing, powerful solos, including bass clarinetist Marian Marcela Trujillo. Audience members and clarinet choir alike were clapping in rhythm during multiple pieces. At least one of the wonderful works was arranged by a member of the choir, Juan Carlos Castañeda, and the conductor mentioned the group’s need for a publisher. What a shame if these fine arrangements are not heard by many more!

houstonFollowing Universidad Distrital, the audience was treated to a larger clarinet choir known as the Houston Symphonic Band Clarinet Ensemble. Formed from the clarinet members of the Houston Symphonic Band in Texas, this group presented a wide variety of pieces from the Western literature, including works of Gordon Jacob, Camille Saint-Saëns, and J.S. Bach. Conductor Fred Angerstein maintained easy control of the ensemble, which sported good balance despite the large number of performers.

–Notes by Joel Auringer
Joel Auringer is a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He currently maintains a private studio in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas metroplex, and will begin doctoral study at the University

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I.C.A. Winners Recital

Alec Manasse

Alec Manasse

On Saturday at 4:00 PM in the School of Music Recital Hall, the I.C.A. Competition Winners Recital took place. John Warren, professor of clarinet at Kennesaw State University, welcomed the audience and introduced the first performer, Alec Manasse. Alec was the winner of the High School Competition and he performed Solo de Concours by André Messager with pianist Henry Jones. Alec played with drive and intensity from the very start. The audience enjoyed his controlled, enthusiastic performance.

Next, the Composition Contest Winner took the stage to make some remarks about his piece. Jason Lim described his thought process when composing After Pear blossom dwindled… for solo bass clarinet as a journey of overcoming personal emotional pain. Excellent bass clarinetist Sauro Berti then came to the stage to perform this work, which features techniques such as flutter tonguing, key clicks, foot stomps, playing on the mouthpiece and neck only, singing while playing, multiphonics, and moments of actual speech. His performance was nuanced and well received.

The concert concluded with a performance by the Young Artist Competition winner, Jose Pinto. With Henry Jones as the pianist, Jose performed movements two and three of the Sonata, Op. 129 by Charles Villiers Stanford. Jose has a beautiful tone and excellent control, and his performance showcased his overt musicality. I particularly enjoyed the contrast between his breathtaking pianissimo and the dynamic intensity of the peaks of his phrases. Jose Pinto is an excellent clarinetist and his performance was extremely well done.

–Notes by Timothy Phillips
Timothy Phillips serves as Associate Professor of Clarinet at the John M. Long School of Music at Troy University in Troy, Alabama, and manages Clarinet Corner, weekly program on Troy University Public Radio.

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Brandon University Clarinet Choir and University of Delaware Clarinet Ensemble

The 1pm concert in Shaver Theater began with Catherine Wood and the Brandon University Clarinet Choir from Brandon, Manitoba (members include: Christopher Byman, Eric Calrow, Danning Chen, Alyssa English, Amanda Forest, Alexandra Harrington, Iris Hwang, Vanessa Klassen, Stevie MacPherson, Gregory Monias, Joelle Nielsen, and Preston Rocan). They opened the program with the U.S. premiere of Jeff Presslaff’s Subtranslucence. The work featured active parts for all players with several small solo moments throughout. Ensemble member Christopher Byman composed the second piece, Signs VII, which is based on the Zodiac sign Libra. The dense textures and thick harmony in both pieces worked well with the ensemble, which played with good balance and tone. They ended their set with Klezmer Suite – a fun set of two traditional pieces and one newly composed kelzmer piece that highlighted three student soloists.

The University of Delaware Clarinet Ensemble is directed by Christopher Nichols and includes members Caroline Aylward, Kourtney Bastianelli, Rachelle Dizon, Matthew Fischer, Eliza Goldman, Heather Heacock, Samantha Hitchell, Robin Lamel, Joanna McCoskey, Sarah Miller, and Samantha Romero. The two-part work Chorale and Danza by Vaclav Nelhybel displayed the ensemble’s versatility of styles, from the organ-like blend in the opening chorale to the rhythmic dance finale. Recent composition Summoning, by Michael Scott-Nelson, acted as a theme and variations on a 16th century chorale. Changes in the melodic treatment, tempo, style, and harmony kept the melody fresh through the whole piece. The concert concluded with the premiere of Anthony O’Toole’s Technodrone. The work opened energetically and made great use of the colors and articulations possible in a clarinet choir.

–Notes by Jennifer Tinberg
Jennifer Tinberg is currently Adjunct Clarinet Faculty at Troy University and a doctoral student at Florida State University.

 

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Patty Martin Memorial Concert

Ben Redwine and Willis Delony.

Ben Redwine and Willis Delony.

In the fall of 2008 LSU Alumna Dr. Patricia A. Martin passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 46. This morning’s recital was a tribute to her by fellow LSU clarinetists and students Victor Drescher, Mary Alice Druhan, Ben Redwine, Tia Perdomo Turner, and Jody Webb. The concert was open to all family, friends, and community members with over 150 in attendance including retired LSU Director of Bands Frank B. Wickes.

In addition to a spectrum of 20th century works, the program also featured recordings of Patty including the first movement of Stravinsky’s Three Pieces, the Rondo from Mozart’s Concerto, and the first movement of Bartok’s Contrasts. Especially unique to this memorial were the performances of the Sigma Alpha Iota Chorale sung by fellow SAI members as well as a vocal selection by Kerry Evenden. Every performer and piece had special meaning to Patty’s legacy. For example, Ben Redwine remembers how she always wore a jean jacket so he wore jeans today in her honor. Kerry Evenden, a fellow clarinetist and vocalist remembers how Patty would help pick up her spirits when she missed Mother England. Kerry was not able to be in attendance, but was here in spirit through her poignantly somber rendition of Don’t Explain by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog.

Victor Drescher

Victor Drescher

As Patty’s recordings were played, photos, letters, and stories were displayed on the screen and included fond memories about her. Particularly, Dr. Elsa Ludewig-Verhder remembers that Patty would write her as an 8th grader asking about what it was like to be a female clarinetist in those days. She would later write to tell Dr. Ludewig-Verhder of her acceptance to Eastman and eventually request to study at Michigan State.

There is no doubt Dr. Martin was a brilliant performer and teacher. It is also evident that she was an exceptionally warm and loving person, always helping others and giving of herself. Although she is probably in heaven somewhere getting ready to play a gig with Johnny Dodds (the topic of her doctoral dissertation), her love of people, music and life will continue to live on.

–Notes by Senior Airman Jennifer M. Daffinee
Jennifer is a member of the United States Air Force Band of the West and is also finishing her DMA at the University of North Texas with Kimberly Cole Luevano.

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