Tag Archives: ICA

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


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

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

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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Lagniappe Recital: Miami Clarinets—Hinckley—Smith—Shumway—Zewald

As ClarinetFest winds down, attendees were entertained Saturday with a potpourri of chamber music.

The first ensemble to perform was the ‘Miami Clarinets’ whose members are Margaret Donaghue Flavin, Dawn McConkie, Michael Walsh, and Danielle Woolery Scalia. Dr. Flavin is Professor of Clarinet at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and the three remaining members are all doctoral alumni of the program. They performed two pieces: Fugue and Prelude by Choi and Of Living Sapphire by Mulligan.

To contrast the timbre of the quartet Jaren Hinckley, clarinet, Christian Smith, bassoon, and Jeffrey Shumway, piano, performed Hinckley’s work Hinterlands in 3 movements, I. Eas Coul Aulin (Sutherland, Scotland), II. Rocky Ridge (Wyoming, U.S.A.), and III. Nordkapp (Finnmark, Norway). The first movement was a wonderful dialogue between the two as they traded off the energized main motive. The second movement truly highlighted the warm timbre of the bassoon as it soloed over the clarinet accompaniment. The piece closed with an animated movement that again highlighted the bassoon’s charming character and left the listener invigorated.

Dutch clarinetist Céleste Zewald performed Rudolf Escher’s Sonata for Clarinet Solo before being joined by members of the Ritz chamber orchestra in the final ensemble of the recital. They performed Alexander Glazunov’s quintet Oriental Reverie.

–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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Versatility and Virtuosity: The 21st Century Woodwind Doubler a lecture by Bret Pimentel

In a unique look at the special niche of doubling, Bret Pimentel describes the current trend and expectations associated with this particular career. While doubling is still a very active and demanding profession, greater expectations are being placed on developing even greater skill sets. These can include being required to play and perform on non-traditional instruments at an extremely high virtuosic level.

In preparation to enter this field, one must become familiar with the specific styles of music and seek out the proper training beyond their primary and secondary instruments. By doing so, the musician can truly benefit from this industry. These benefits can lead to greater opportunities as they diversify a musician’s portfolio. In general, should one decide to pursue this career and thrive, musicians should be very aware that doubling skills have greatly increased with the turn of the century, and with its many challenges come great and unexpected rewards.

–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: Wilkens-Wang-Bartnik

Opening the concert, Crowl’s work was performed with energy and enthusiasm. Jairo Wilkens, from the Symphony Orchestra Campinas-Sao Paulo, displayed a wonderful command of the contemporary techniques required. This work was extremely challenging both technically and endurance-wise. Bravo to both performers for sharing it with us.

Next up was clarinetist Alice Wang with soprano Misook Yun. They performed James Sclater’s Four Songs on Texts by Emily Dickinson. They blended wonderfully and both the voice and clarinet had a pleasant warmth. They were then joined by pianist Cicilia Yuhda for Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock, a cornerstone of the repertoire. This was a beautiful performance, sensitive and emotional.

The recital concluded with two pieces performed by Louisiana native and professor from Nicholls State, Dr. Michael Bartnik. First up, Rosita Iglesias by Carlos Guastavino performed alongside Luciana Soares (Steinway Artist, Nicholls State University). Bartnik had a very expressive color palate and it suited the work. He then performed Liduino Pitombeira’s Suite for Clarinet (which was commissioned by Patty Martin). This work is in three movements for solo clarinet. The first and third (“Maracatu “and “Frevo”) are Brazilian dances used for carnaval. The second, “Acalanto,” is a lovely lullaby. Bartnik’s sensitivity and beautiful colors and tones were shown off here most of all. This was a lovely work and a perfect ending to a wonderful recital on this beautiful day in Baton Rouge!

–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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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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Jacobson Masterclass and Audition Preparatio​n Suggestion​s

Lauren Jacobson and student during her masterclass

Lauren Jacobson and student during her masterclass

Renowned Marine Band clarinetist and University of Northern Colorado instructor Lauren Jacobson presented an exciting master class on a topic of interest to virtually every clarinetists: audition preparation and specifically, preparation for an audition with the “President’s Own” Marine Band, an ensemble in which she played with from 2006 to 2010. To begin the master class, Jacobson discussed the audition process from walking in the door to signing the contract. She explained that each round of the audition is screened and that before the final round candidates are interviewed and asked a series of routine questions to verify their eligibility for enlistment in the United States military. She encourages candidates to avoid playing like “robots” and that if the performance is not compelling, success is highly unlikely. She elaborated that many candidates would benefit from listening to the score in pursuit of a better understanding of their part within the ensemble. She said that there is no ideal tone quality or desired sound required from any member of the section but that clarinetists should play with their own, best sound. Clarinetists in this ensemble perform on many different models of mouthpieces and clarinets without a single set-up favored more than any other. While every clarinetist’s audition routine varies, she encourages arriving early and relaxing into the space. While she generally chooses to sign up for the third spot, this is simply a matter of personal preference.

For candidates anticipating a long wait, she advises taking a walk, having a cup of tea and relaxing until it is time to warm up. While warming up in the large group room with many other candidates, she advises that one play scales quietly and avoid playing the excerpts. Instead, one should play scales easily and do their best to avoid any unnecessary overstimulation. She explained that it is a common error to think of an audition with any military ensemble as a different experience from that of an orchestral audition. Throughout the master class she strongly emphasized that the character of the music is critical to success at the audition. Each of the master class participants played very well and she presented some fantastic pedagogical approaches to common problems. The first, and most challenging idea she presented is to practice technical passages with the metronome beeping on the off-beat instead of the customary on-beat. This approach quickly fixes uneven sixteenth notes. Each student struggled with this problem initially but quickly saw vast improvements in evenness of their passages. Jacobson also advocated singing through one’s part as an opera singer might both with the metronome and with a recording. This master class presented a unique perspective and some solid advice for taking auditions. Very well done, Ms. Jacobson!

–Notes by Dr. Joshua Meitz
Dr. Joshua R. Mietz teaches clarinet at both Fort Lewis and San Juan Colleges and serves as Co-Director of Choirs at the First United Methodist Church in Durango, Colorado.

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Masterclass with Larry Combs and Julie DeRoche

combs deroche 1On Thursday afternoon, well-known clarinetists and pedagogues Larry Combs and Julie DeRoche presented a master class. The event began with Lisa Canning interviewing the pair about why they initially picked the clarinet, past experiences in the music industry, and their thoughts on general entrepreneurship. Both Combs and DeRoche stressed the importance of clarinetists having a wide variety of marketable skills. They also agreed that if you have reached the age of 20, for example, and you have not reached your ultimate career goal, this should not be viewed as a “failure.” They discussed the fact that there are many different ways to be successful and in the music world, and it is very rare for a person to have only one area of expertise.

After Canning’s interview, DeRoche began the masterclass with both she and Combs chiming in with ideas for the participants. She noted that this is often the format for clarinet studio classes where they teach together at DePaul University. As this particular class progressed, it appeared that Combs was first to offer musical suggestions about phrasing, note direction, and practical suggestions about performing with an orchestra. Meanwhile, DeRoche’s comments tended to focus more on physical aspects of playing, such as finger posture, embouchure, and articulation.combs deroche 2

The first participant in the master class played a very prominent cadenza from Scheherezade by Rimsky-Korsakov. Combs began with comments about what is happening in the orchestra in and around this passage. He commented on this participant’s use of the side B-flat fingering and how it might be causing him some lack of evenness from note to note. DeRoche then echoed that comment about finger precision and emphasized the importance of embouchure stability at the beginnings of tongued notes.

The second participant played the exposition of the first movement of the Mozart Concerto. Combs complimented him on his control of the instrument and mentioned that since the original manuscript of this piece was lost, we can only guess what Mozart wanted in terms of articulations, for example.  DeRoche commented on the importance of tongue position when articulating saying, “Where your tongue is when you’re slurring… that’s where you want to leave it when you’re tonguing.”combs deroche 3

The final participant was only able to play the cadenza from the Copland Clarinet Concerto due to time restrictions. Both Combs and DeRoche were quite complimentary of her fine playing. Their main comments addressed the importance of the accents in the cadenza. Combs even played the “Charleston” on his clarinet to emphasize the importance of rhythmic vitality in the cadenza.  As always, Combs and DeRoche communicated clearly and effectively leading excellent masterclasses.


–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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Middle Tennessee State University Clarinet Choir

mtsuChoirThis concert showcased the twenty-two member ensemble from Middle Tennessee State University under the baton of their teacher Dr. Todd Waldecker. For many of the performers this is their first attendance at ClarinetFest and many of them are music education and music industry majors.

The group’s aim for this performance was to entertain with the theme “Everything is a Dance!” Indeed, they had the crowd moving in their seats.

The concert opened with the first movement Jig from St. Paul’s Suite, Op. 29, No. 2 by Gustav Holst. This work allowed the group to begin with a beautiful deep core sound, wonderful balance and blend, and clarity of articulation. There was also lovely dynamic contrast from the entire ensemble, but I was especially captured by the dynamic control of the three lower bass voices throughout this work.

The second work on the program was Guy Woolfenden’s multi-movement work, Three Dances for Clarinet Choir.  This work opens with a calm, reflective motive that quickly shifts into a mixed meter rhythmic groove. The group did well to highlight this slightly accented rhythmic section while maintaining a light dance feel. In the Finale the ensemble displayed terrific balance and blend as they transitioned seamlessly through the rolling lines being traded between every voice during which the group sounded as one large instrument.


Soloists left to right: Randall Chapman, Clay Hensley, and Gordon Inman

The last piece on the program was the Promenade (Walking the Dog) by George Gershwin from the 1937 film Shall We Dance. In the film Fred Astaire’s character is in hot pursuit of Ginger Rogers’s character. After noticing that she walks her prize poodle on the cruise ship promenade, he decides to acquire a dog (or six!) in the hopes of a “chance encounter.” The three soloists featured were Randall Chapman, Clay Hensley, and Gordon Inman. All three captured this jaunty jazzy style with all the glamour, romance, and demure of the time and I could not contain my smile during their performance.

The ensemble received a standing ovation and subsequently charmed the audience with an encore in true Polka fashion. Fun was definitely had by all at this concert!

–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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Young Artist Competitio​n Semi-final​s

YAcomp1The I.C.A. Young Artist Competition Semi-Finals was held the morning of Thursday, July 31, 2014 in the School of Music Choir Room. This event was coordinated by Maxine Ramey and featured Amanda McCandless, Malena McLaren, Osiris Molina, Jana Starling, and Cathy Wood as judges.  The morning was filled with tremendously talented young musicians!

Prior to the start of ClarinetFest 2014, applicants submitted recordings of Charles Stanford’s Sonata, Op. 129, Eric P. Mandat’s Etude for Barney, and Aaron Copland’s Concerto. Twelve semi-finalists were chosen by Preliminary Judges Daniel Cotter, Jane Ellsworth, and James Schoepflin. These semi-finalists include Sara Eastwood, USA; Patrick Englert, USA; Kristi Hanno, USA; Roy Park, USA; José Pinto, Portugal; Caitlin Poupard, USA; Diana Sampaio, Portugal; Dana Sloter, USA; Kristen Thompson, USA; Rucha Trivedi, USA; José Viana, Portugal; and Hila Zamir, Israel.

For the semi-finalist round, the performers were asked to play pre-selected excerpts of the same program that was required for the preliminary round. They began with the second movement of the Stanford Sonata, which allowed each person to share their musical voice. The next piece was Mandat’s Etude for Barney. This piece is filled with quarter tones and multiphonics, which the performers played boldly and without reserve. Lastly, sections of the Copland were performed, which included a lead into the cadenza, the cadenza, as well as a portion  of the second movement.  The large leaps, legato passages, and articulation demands in all registers were especially exciting to hear these young musicians play with such ease.

Each performer had their own unique voice and conveyed their musicality with beauty and conviction. It was absolutely wonderful to hear young performers with not only excellent interpretations, but with full and dark tone qualities, overall control, and technical prowess.  Finalists were announced and include José Pinto, Diana Sampaio, Kristen Thompson, Rucha Trivedi, José Viana, and Hila Zamir.

The final round of the competition will be held Saturday, August 2, 2014 starting at 8:30 a.m. in the School of Music Choir Room.

–Notes by Dr. Jackie McIlwain
Dr. Jackie McIlwain is the Assistant Professor of Clarinet at the University of Southern Mississippi.  She currently plays with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Meridian Symphony Orchestra. 

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Fort Lewis College Clarinet Choir and The Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico Clarinet Choir

This morning’s concert  in the Shaver Theater featured two ensemble performances by the Fort Lewis Clarinet Choir and the Coro de Clarinetes del Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico (Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico Clarinet Choir).

The Fort Lewis performance debuted a delightful new arrangement by Dr. Joshua Mietz (Fort Lewis College, San Juan College) of the Beethoven String Quartet No. 1 Op. 18. This early work of Beethoven (actually the second quartet he composed),  was written between 1798 and 1800 and underwent many revisions.  The Fort Lewis Clarinet Choir performed three of the four movements, including the lovely second movement, which was inspired by the tomb scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  This performance showed how the clarinet quartet so easily and readily adapts string quartet literature.  The Fort Lewis Clarinet Choir demonstrated this well through use of the bass clarinet and alto clarinet, showcasing the many colors of the clarinet family.


Puerto Rico Clarinet Choir

Preceding the second half,  Lisa Canning did a pop-up interview with clarinetist Kathleen Jones (Principal Clarinet, Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, professor emeritus Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico).  Ms. Jones spoke of the massive fundraising by the Coro de Clarinetes and the impressive support of the community that enabled the choir to attend ClarinetFest14.  When asked what in her career she still wished to accomplish, Ms. Jones charmingly replied, “Sleep!”

The Coro de Clarinetes presented a passionate and energetic performance.  The first two pieces featured lovely vocals by member Yurina Berrios and guiro by Víctor Carrión.  Throughout the performance, the group maintained a lovely, cohesive sound, good balance, and fine rhythm. The communication was excellent across the conductor-less ensemble.  While much of the repertoire was Puerto Rican-inspired, the group premiered a new work by Alberto Guidobaldi, Three-Minute Rag.  The Guidobaldi featured jazzy E-flat solos by Janice Rivera, and a solid bass line led by Juan Soto.  The performance was well received and elicited an encore, which the Coro happily supplied.  Their enjoyment of playing clarinet and making music was obvious and contagious!

–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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by | August 1, 2014 · 10:04 am