Until Next Year

2014-08-07What a whirlwind of a conference! With a record of more than 1400 registrants, this has been said to be the largest ClarinetFest to date. Bravo to Mr. Robert DiLutis and his team on an extremely successful conference, and bravo for choosing such a relevant topic. With workshops on navigating social media, marketing, and creating your own business along with traditional classes on reeds, masterclasses, and excerpts, clarinetists were given a wealth of information to help make them more well-rounded and prepared professionals of today. In today’s musical marketplace, musicians are not only expected to play styles from jazz to classical, but they must be able to create a concert series, build an audience, and function as an educator in order to remain relevant. Does this seem daunting? Of course it does, but none of these things in and of themselves are impossible, it’s about finding your voice, and with the tools from this year’s ClarinetFest, young and established professionals alike are more prepared for the changing face of our field.
All that being said, in addition to navigating a “business model,” we have to have the goods. The best marketing strategy, most inventive ideas, and attractive personalities are meaningless if you do not have the artistic skills and technique as a foundation for your musical endeavors. With inspiring concerts and recitals throughout each day and closing each evening, we were constantly reminded of the fierce dedication we must have to our craft and the level of excellence we must strive for.
For more details about entrepreneurship and the world of clarinet, search this blog. Each blog is tagged with topics such as entrepreneurship, bass clarinet, jazz, the names of specific artists performing and presenting, etc. See you at ClarinetFest 2015 in Madrid, Spain hosted by Pedro Rubio and Justo Sanz!

–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 witThe Candid Concert Opera’s Orchestra Nova and the Chicago Symphonic Winds.

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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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Building the Audiences of the Future: Creating Educational Concerts for the Very Young with Barbara Hankins and The Licorice Allsorts Clarinet Quartet

Canadian clarinetist Barbara Hankins and her quartet the Licorice Allsorts Clarinet Quartet (Cathy Erskine, Lynne Milnes and Carla Perrotta) presented a lecture about building audiences and creating educational programming. This presentation was one of the single most practical and worthwhile demonstrations of the entire conference. Hankins and her group played excerpts from programs of their own creation, developed for elementary-aged children. These original “mini music dramas” contained text, poetry, costumes, singing, motions, imagery, and carefully selected musical excerpts delightfully arranged for the quartet.  The incredible effort that went in to creating these programs seems overwhelming.

My favorite story that the group presented during this lecture was “The Three Musical Pigs and the Wolf.” Connecting with a well-known children’s story, the three little pigs in this version each had a favorite composer: Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. The quartet performed an excerpt from famous music from each composer whenever each individual pig was referenced in the story (e.g. Rondo Alla Turca, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony). The performers sang, used props (piggy ears on headbands, fuzzy brown gloves for the wolf), and encouraged audience participation through hand motions allowing the children to play a part in the drama (students were asked to help by blowing each time they heard the well-known phrase “I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down”). The performers kept up fast-paced action by incorporating variety in short snippets: playing their instruments, singing, acting, and allowing the audience to participate; no giant chunks of narration allow boredom to creep in for young children with their short attention spans.

There is a huge educational push these days for student engagement, and lecturing from the front of the classroom is no longer acceptable. Teachers must plan interactive activities to encourage active participation in learning. This impressive presentation by Barbara Hankins and the Licorice Allsorts Clarinet Quartet should be a model presented to elementary teachers of all subjects, as it incorporates almost every identified learning style: auditory, visual, kinesthetic and linguistic. Ladies, have you thought of publishing/copyrighting your programs? Teachers everywhere would line up to buy a copy!

–Notes by Melissa Bowles Snavely
Melissa Bowles Snavely holds degrees in performance and music education from The Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins, Shenandoah Conservatory, and James Madison University. She currently teaches and performs in the Washington DC area.

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Lagniappe Recital: Gythfeldt-Watson- Myth-Science Ensemble

sundaymorning3It was no sleepy Sunday for ClarinetFest 2014 at Shaver Theater this morning, where another Lagniappe Recital showcased several excellent performers and their eclectic choices of music, including several works with electronics and visuals and a world premiere piece for solo bass clarinet. Marianne Gythfeldt, Anne Watson, and the Myth-Science Ensemble all performed for a supportive and patient audience despite the recital’s late start.

Dr. Marianne Gythfeldt, an Assistant Professor of Music at Brooklyn College, started the hour with Mikel Kuehn’s Rite of Passage followed by Gene Pritsker’s Modified #4. The audience was surrounded by stereo electronic sounds while Dr. Gythfeldt played live passages from the center of the stage. Her use of a laptop and panel of foot pedals enabled her to change the electronic sounds as the music progressed.

Dr. Anne Watson of Northeastern State University (Tahlequah, Oklahoma) continued the recital with the world premiere of Theresa Martin’s Grit n’ Grind for bass clarinet. Dr. Watson briefly described an intense exercise routine, involving crawls through the mud, which prompted Theresa Martin to compose the work. The piece’s call for steady technique throughout the bass clarinet’s registers was highlighted wonderfully by Dr. Watson’s playing.

The final works of the concert were presented by the Myth-Science Ensemble of Dwight Frizzell and Thomas Aber on bass clarinet, zwoom, and electronica. Their first work Slippages III was accompanied by brilliantly-colored visual presentations as a backdrop for the performers. Frizzell discussed the directional approach to the work’s amplification, where a unit of sound may be played live by Frizzell or Aber and then repeated behind them on electronics or vice-versa. The use of zwooms, a long circular tube with bass clarinet mouthpiece, produced a dark and shrill sound similar to a contrabass clarinet, though their movement of the instruments varied the timbre. The second work Oceans of Kansas was aptly named for the audio samples of certain reactive minerals and chemicals used in the piece. Aber provided whimsical bass clarinet sounds and passages while the visual and audio presentation of the piece carried on.

–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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Lagniappe Recital: Haney-Alder

Jason Alder

Jason Alder

One strong point of ClarinetFest 2014 has been the array of excellent performances on bass clarinet, often showcasing new music for the instrument. This Lagniappe Recital was a shining example of that. Barbara Haney and Jason Alder performed Daniel Dorff’s In a Deep Funk: Dance Set for Solo Bass Clarinet and Stockhausen’s Solo für melodieinstrument und Rückkopplung, respectively.

In a Deep Funk featured four movements with a play on popular dance crazes from the middle of the last century, called Hustle Misterioso, Twist Variations, Bear Hug, and Funk Scherzo. The music was sometimes raucous and sometimes singing, but always had an underlying groove. Barbara Haney played very convincingly, executing the large leaps and use of the full range of the bass clarinet with great ease.

Solo für melodieinstrument und Rückkopplung (Solo for a melody instrument and feedback), although composed in 1966, was still new to most people in the audience. In the day and age when Stockhausen finished this work, it required at least four people in addition to the soloist to create the feedback that is key to the piece. Through countless hours of computer work, Jason Alder created a system in which to perform the piece by himself. Alder surrounded himself with a laptop, his phone, which provided an audio and visual metronome to cue him for the beginning of each musical cycle, and a microphone attached to his bass clarinet. The third time was a charm; technical difficulties required Alder to start the piece a few times before everything worked properly, but once it got off the ground, Solo took over the recital hall. At times, the feedback from the bass clarinet sounded like a string section. Other times, feedback that was a more exact copy of Alder’s original sound accompanied him to form unusual chords and polyphonies. Before beginning to play, Alder pointed out that there will never be two identical performances of Stockhausen’s Solo since he provides several musical sets which are to be paired together through the feedback in any combination of the soloist’s choosing. We have Alder to thank for the ability now to perform this very interesting work as a true solo, as well as for bringing it to our attention.

–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: DeBoer-Oberlander-Lacaille

Matthew Nelson

Matthew Nelson

The Lagniappe Recital in Shaver Theatre Sunday at 12:00 featured new music for the clarinet. Andrew DeBoer opened with Nikola Resanovic’s Sonata for B-flat Clarinet and Piano, a bluesy but modern work featuring everything from glissandos to flutter tonguing to sections that sounded like Baltic folk music. The piece is in four movements that blend together: “I. For the Money… II. To Go… III. To get Ready… and IV. Go Cat, Go!” DeBoer’s playing was clean, controlled and thoughtful.

Next, Lisa Oberlander performed Roger Zare’s Nocture étincelant and James Primosch’s Times Like These. Oberlander executed the soaring melodies and gentle chalumeau passages in the first work effortlessly. The second piece called for several adjustments to the piano including wrapping a piece of felt around two strings to achieve a wood block sound and wrapping a paper clip around another string. At times throughout the piece, pianist Tatiana Muzanova placed fingers on strings to bring out the harmonics. She also created an odd effect by pedaling slightly after playing a chord, which caught some of the notes and harmonics but not all. The duo played expressively to make for a successful pairing of works.

Maryanne Lacaille performed Nikola Resanovic’s Alt.Music.Ballistix next. A wild piece with prerecorded sound effects that were broadcast in stereo in the theater — including a fax machine, a dial tone, a car crash, a typewriter, a dial-up modem login, drums, a tambourine, an accordion, and an automated voice asking the caller to enter a password and the pound sign — accompanied Lacaille as she laid out several complicated passages on her clarinet. The vibrant music seemed to match the purple patent loafers she wore, and the LSU bell tower chiming the time in the distance during a pause in the music created a surreal effect.

Matthew Nelson and Vanguel Tangarov closed the recital with Bruce Quaglia’s After Milton: Three Vignettes for B-flat Clarinet and Bojidar Abrashev’s Recitative and Burlesque, respectively. The performers executed both very demanding pieces with great skill and musicianship, especially in regards to the delicate high notes at soft dynamics in each one. Audience members took away from this concert excellent additions to their lists of performance repertoire and a refreshed inspiration to pursue new works for our instrument.

–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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A Path to Inspired Teaching and Learning with Peter Stoll

Peter Stoll and Willis Delony

Peter Stoll and Willis Delony

Peter Stoll is one of Canada’s preeminent clarinetists with a distinguished performing career and recognized for his skills as a teacher. Using both of these gifts, Stoll has worked to create a comprehensive exam-based teaching series for clarinetists. The series includes volumes for technique and étude materials but also repertoire volumes which are divided into List A (technical) and List B (lyrical) for each level, starting with a young primer and advancing to collegiate/professional level repertoire. Features of the materials include playalong piano tracks (as well as a clarinet and piano track recording to study), a well-sequenced and programmatic approach to isolating specific issues (such as fingering choices), a variety of styles including classical, jazz, klezmer, and contemporary, and an opportunity to involve the student in the decision-making process.

For more information on these teaching materials, clarinetists can look for the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program or call 1.800.387.4013 or visit MusicDevelopmentProgram.org.
–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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Lagniappe Recital: Perevertailenko-Rodriguez-Josenhans

Alcides and Heather.

Alcides and Heather.

The recital opened with a delightful performance of Alexander Grechaninov’s Sonata No. 1 for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 161 by Dmitry Perevertailenko (clarinet) and Seong Eun (Grace) Kim (piano). The work was enjoyable, oscillating between a jolly and playful nature to a more melancholy yet still comedic one. Especially beautiful was the second movement, Canzona. The third movement contained many false endings that left the audience wondering how it would close.

Next up was Buffet Crampon and Vandoren Artist Alcides Rodriguez of the Atlanta Symphony. He was joined by Gail Novak at the piano performing the Widor Introduction and Rondo, which was not listed on the program. Alcides’ command of the technique was evident, as was his beautiful tone, especially at piano dynamics. His performance was extremely well received by all.

Next Alcides was joined by Heather Rodriguez (Rodriguez Musical Services) for Ponchielli’s Il Covegno.  Their tones blended exceptionally well and they made this tricky work seem effortless. Bravo.

The recital closed with a work by Thomas Drury, Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano. Thomas Josenhans, clarinet (Chair-University of Evansville), was joined by the composer at the piano. The first movement, “Driving but buoyant” was in ternary form and had a wonderful imitative quality. The second movement, “Quite slow but with a lilt” started with a beautiful (possibly Irish) folk song that then transformed into an anxious and dissonant section. Another three-part form, the melody returned to be performed by the piano and ending positively. The third movement was a jig that had running triplets before becoming fragmented and imitative once more.  The piece was performed with enthusiasm and would work well on recitals for students and professionals alike.

–Notes by Dr. Dawn Marie Lindblade
Dr. Lindblade is the Assistant Professor of Clarinet at the University of Central Oklahoma and is a Clinician at Clarinet Pro Workshops, Austin Texas.

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The 21st Century Musician: A Lecture with Kip Franklin and Jessica Harrie Holden

As performers, we all know how difficult it can be to fill concert venues with warm bodies. Kip Franklin and Jessica Harrie Holden presented a lecture, “The 21st Century Musician: Recruiting and Sustaining an Audience Through Social Media, Outreach, and Versatile Programming,” that shows musicians how to use social media and other similar platforms to create a strong following. However, aside from using the normal forms of outreach, it is important for today’s musicians to consider thinking outside of the traditional concert venues. By making performances more accessible to your local community, performers can build a strong following. By taking performances outside the concert halls and into uncharted territory, musicians can ensure that that their art is presented to a wider audience. –Notes By Dr. Victor Chavez, Jr. Dr. Victor Chavez, Jr. teaches at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville as Lecturer in Clarinet and currently performs with the Tri-Cities Opera Company in Binghamton, New York.

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Lagniappe Recital: Viliunas-Prewitt-Cavallin Zerjal

What an amazing recital!  This performance offered audiences a chance to hear many different selections showcasing the different timbres and extended techniques of clarinet. Unfortunately Sergio Reyes was unable to attend so the first performance was the Invisible Duet by Fredrik Högberg, executed from memory. This work is performed with a prerecorded track and has the soloist walk onstage with the clarinet in its case so it is assembled as part of the show. The performer is then called to speak the single line, “Meditation begins.” The meditation is quickly over and the performer is off to the races. This piece truly is a stage production that seems based on the premise that the clarinetist is playing a game trying to beat the level titled “Invisible Duet.” At the completion of the clarinet part, the voiceover track says, “Invisible duet complete. Well done.” The performer then walks off the stage as the track concludes.

Second on the program was Bug by Bruno Mantovani performed by contemporary music specialist Spencer Prewitt. This performance was virtuosic and demanded flutter tonguing, timbre trills, and quartertones from the performer. Prewitt played with fire under his fingers and definitely depicted the imagery evoked by the title.

Radovan Cavallin Zerjal closed the recital with three works: Pastoral Fantasy for Solo Clarinet by Croatian-born New York native Božidar Kunc, Monolog for Solo Clarinet by Andjelko Klobučar dedicated to Zerjal’s father, and 11 per 1 in 1 for Solo Clarinet by Dubravko Detoni dedicated to the performer. Zerjal’s stage presence and artistry captured the audience from the moment he walked onstage. His first piece truly highlighted his sotto voce range and dynamic dramaticism while subsequent works displayed his ability to flutter tongue while singing, circular breathe, and use body language for dramatic effect.

All three of these performers displayed extreme technical mastery while also making evident their compelling passion and individual musical statements.

–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 Lluevano.

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