Tag Archives: ICA

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.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, Performances, Recital

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, lecture

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, Lagniappe Recital, Performances

Conversations with Weber: A lecture with Jenny Maclay

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, lecture

What Every Classical Clarinetist Needs to Know About Jazz with Elizabeth

In her presentation, Elizabeth Gorman sought to cover many of the fundamental elements that are needed for a basic understanding of jazz theory and performance. She began with the basic rhythmic concept of swing, with its emphasized, irregular offbeat accents, but she noted that as tempi increase, swing becomes less and less pronounced, so that somewhere around 250 beats per minute, the swing feel tends to disappear. She also noted that Latin styles, such as salsa and samba, along with some fusion styles, tend to emphasize straight eighths as well. Gorman continued by discussing styles of jazz articulations, including styles that are particular to jazz, such as ghosted notes and falls. She then showed how jazz articulations can be used to “bop the top” of a melodic line, bringing out the important notes of a melody, which she even linked to the concept of Schenkerian analysis and structural notes. She spoke briefly about sound concept and vibrato in jazz, emphasizing that playing jazz does not mean playing with a “bad” sound. She suggested that jazz can be approached either from a saxophone-type tonal concept or from modifying a classical clarinet tonal concept.

Gorman suggested some methods for beginning to improvise, beginning with listening and transcribing favorite solos and continuing with a basic understanding of common jazz progressions, such as the ii-V-I progression. She suggested using classical excerpts that relate to jazz scales, such as the pentatonic scale featured in the excerpt from Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony, to begin practicing useful patterns in all keys. She also pointed out similarities in the classical concerti of Weber and Mozart, which, by using the lowered seventh and the raised seventh, actually offer opportunities to practice the scale known to jazz players as the dominant bebop scale (the familiar diatonic major scale with an added flat seventh). She then suggested some practice patterns to assist classical players in learning octatonic patterns, known to jazz players as diminished scales, beginning by emphasizing the diminished seventh chord that structures the scale and then adding in the adjacent half-steps. She went on to suggest different practice strategies to become more flexible with different keys, patterns and rhythms.

Gorman delivered her in lecture good spirits, not even becoming distracted when some video difficulties delayed the start of her presentation. This was a valuable introduction to jazz concepts, with some innovative links to classical literature that were especially insightful.

–Notes by Michael Rowlett
Michael Rowlett is the assistant Professor of Clarinet at The University of Mississippi. You can find his CD Close to Home: Music of American Composers on Amazon and Albany Records.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, lecture

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, Performances, Recital

Lagniappe Recital: Lulich-Luzembourg Duo

This recital of all contemporary music provided a wide variety of styles within the modern medium. Benjamin Lulich of Cal State – Fullerton performed Five Easy Pieces by Bacewicz, which turned out to be not so aptly named. Lulich’s fast tempos provided for a lively interpretation. As a special treat Lulich performed the second movement of Lutoslawski’s Dance Preludes.  This charming and recognizable movement was performed with great energy and style.

One of the highlights of all the conference performances was the Luxembourg Duo. Sebastien Duguet (clarinet) and Simone Weber (bass clarinet) began their portion of the program with Meeting by Alfred Prinz. From Ms. Weber’s first note, I was struck by her carefully shaped and beautifully refined bass playing. Each note took on special meaning. Sebastien Duguet executed the work’s many dangerously high entrances with grace and perfection. His smooth connections between wide intervals were especially noted in the first movement of Gunther Schuller’s Duo Sonata. Duguet masterfully performed the tricky arpeggiated flourishes of the second movement. Jonathan Russell’s KlezDuo finished this portion of the program, a tasty work more understated than most of his compositions for various clarinet ensembles. The Luxembourg Duo presented this work with great authentic style, yet had a refinement not often heard in the Klezmer setting. The extremely high level of communication demonstrated by this duo throughout the program was thrillingly evident during the last note of their performance — a tremolo that started slow, sped up, and ended perfectly together, with exact synchronization. The performers achieved this feat by facing each other and following the movement of their fingers. Bravo Luxembourg Duo for a spell-binding performance!

–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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 4, Lagniappe Recital, Performances

Body Mapping as Teaching Tool – Dr. Jessica Lindsey

lindseyDr. Lindsey gave a thoughtful, entertaining, and informative presentation with useful tools for teachers of all student levels.  She covered four main areas: clarinet-specific approaches to body mapping,  jargon, incorporation of body mapping in teaching, and how to become a licensed Andover Educator (a body mapper).  Perhaps the most helpful, Dr. Lindsey discussed the concept of the body map — the brain’s concept of personal physical structure.  Injury occurs when the map doesn’t match the anatomical structure.  She demonstrated this through audience activities namely locating the Atlas Occiput or AO joint, and through discovering awareness of movement.  She concluded her lecture with helpful tips on how to incorporate body lindsey2mapping into teaching.  Namely, through enabling fluid finger function (natural curve of hand, movement from the back of the knuckle, and understanding the relation of the finger/hand/arm to the clarinet) through the awareness of the motion of the wrist.  She encouraged exploration of the hand position in front and behind of the clarinet, and strongly advocated discovering a relationship, not a place for the fingers.  Through discovering a relationship, the musician can better understand and create quality movement.

For more information, Dr. Lindsey suggested exploring bodymap.org, and contacting her directly with any further questions.

–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.  

1 Comment

Filed under Day 4, lecture

Lagniappe Recital: Fraioli String Quartet-McCowen Clarinet Quartet

To open the recital, Mr. Fraioli performed the world premiere of his composition Suggestioni for Clarinet and String Quartet with the Ritz Chamber Players.  At times quite jazzy, this piece moved through several different moods such as a lovely unison duet with the clarinet and first violin, a poignant counterpoint duet between clarinet and cello, and a sustained and lyrical clarinet line against constant pizzicati from the quartet. At one point Mr. Fraioli moved so excitedly he almost flew out of his chair! As the piece came to an end, he tore through virtuosic passages embellished with several well-placed smears. A final series of sharply accented chords led the listeners to expect a calculated cadential sequence, but instead, the quartet stopped as Mr. Fraioli held a single note, stood up, and walked off stage.   Still playing behind closed doors, his sound faded to niente, a delightful and unexpected conclusion!

Next, John P. McCowen’s Clarinet Quartet No. 1 was performed, from memory, by the composer with Mr. Emch, Mr. Fitzgerald, and Mr. Goodman. It opened with barely audible notes moving slowly in and out of the texture, creating a feeling of swimming through a calm, unbroken lake of sound. The quartet began to gingerly add pitch bends and quavering trills. Use of multiphonics created the illusion of electrical interference or feedback, and with an expanded range, dynamic contrast, and harsher, growling timbres the music vacillated in and out of intensity. Eventually calmed, the placid levels suddenly end. Throughout the work, the group stayed as still as possible, adding a visual element to the performance. At the end, and desperate for movement, they quickly bounded out of their seats, breaking the spell created by this intriguing piece.

–Notes by Sam Davies
Sam Davies recently completed his first year of DMA study with Dr. Guy Yehuda at Michigan State University. At MSU Davies can be heard performing with the Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, chamber ensembles, and new student compositions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, Lagniappe Recital, Performances

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Day 5, Performances, Recital