Tag Archives: Raden

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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A Masterclass with Gregory Raden

Fresh from his performance of the Weber Concerto No. 1 on Saturday night, Dallas Symphony principal clarinetist Gregory Raden gave a masterclass on orchestral excerpts and solo literature Sunday morning at 11:00 in the School of Music Recital Hall. First was Alec Manasse, winner of the 2014 High School competition, who played the first movement excerpts from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol.  Raden focused on finding a brilliant, “celebratory” quality referencing a word that Manasse used to characterize the excerpt. This included focusing on an intense airstream and using rhythm as an anchor, including mimicking the percussion rhythm to lightly emphasize the final sixteenth of the pair found at the end of the beat. Raden suggested that while a double trill is possible, it should not be attempted at the expense of the fundamental rhythm, and noted that a single trill, especially if “spread out” a bit in the second solo, can still have “plenty of flourish.”

Next, Caitlin Poupard played the cadenza from the Copland Concerto. Here, Raden worked to bring out the contrasts of the piece, beginning with the legato of the opening that “melts” one note into the next. He encouraged Poulard to listen carefully to the quality of each of the fast-moving notes, even as she allowed the rhythm to flow more, without too many phrase breaks.

Finally, Zachary Dierickx played the excerpts from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9. In the slow movement, Raden worked with Dierickx to bring out a contemplative, lonely quality to the solo.  He noted the difficulty of tuning the throat B-flat that ends the second and third phrases of the solo. Raden worked to even out some of the “bumps” that often creep into the line, suggesting a one-and-one B-flat in the phrase that leads to the high F-sharp. He suggested seeking a variety of options for the altissimo notes in the passage, using whatever vocabulary of fingerings best suits the player’s instrument and personal playing style. In the fast-movement excerpt, he congratulated Dierickx on choosing a slightly slower tempo, favoring clarity and brilliance over blind speed. He suggested that Dierickx continue to work on crisp articulation, but also congratulated him on keeping energy right to the end of the solo.

Raden suggested at the start of the masterclass that it is helpful to write a single word or short phrase at the top of an orchestral excerpt, to help call up a musical character when moving rapidly between excerpts in an audition situation. He also emphasized the importance of learning excerpts off original parts whenever possible and not out of excerpt collections that often include mistakes or missing measures. All three performers played brilliantly, and it was fascinating to hear Raden’s helpful and practical insights into this literature.

–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.

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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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