Click over Logo to return to Home Page

 Clarinet Choir News 2008

Welcome to the Clarinet Choir Archive News Page.  Given the popularity of this ensemble medium and the many ensembles operating throughout the world, this page provides for a special emphasis to learn about events and Festivals.  All such organizations are invited to submit important event information and Festivals to spread the interest and encourage more performance and composition.

 13 August 2006

Clarinet Choir Performances at ClarinetFest 2006

Atlanta, Georgia USA

           As part of the myriad of events held every year at this major showcase festival, several Clarinet ensembles and choirs take part from various colleges and universities Internationally.  Programs indicate a wealth of literature, both transcribed and original works, including premieres, that increase the interest and growth of this medium.  Announcement was made by Buffet_Crampon USA of the 2nd Clarinet Choir Festival to be held at the Eastman School of Music October 14-15.  Information available on the WKA Newsletter Page by date.   Below are Clarinet Ensembles and galleries on each.

Oklahoma University Clarinet Choir

OK Choir with Andy Firth, soloist

Firth soloist

Dr Etheridge, conductor and ICA President Lee Livengood

Oklahoma University Clarinet Choir - David Etheridge, Director

University of Florida Clarinet Ensemble

Composer James Paul Sain and Director Mitchell Estrin

Choir bow at concert ending

University of Florida Clarinet Ensemble - Mitch Estrin, Director

University of North Carolina-Greensboro Clarinet Ensemble -

Kelley Burke, Edwin Riley, faculty Supervisors, Dr Kevin Geraldi, Conductor

ClarinetFest College Clarinet Choir

Julie DeRoche, Conductor

ClarinetFest College Clarinet Choir - Julie DeRoche, Conductor

Festival Clarinet Choir

Carbonare soloist

Carbonare soloist in Tartini Concerto

Carbonare and Conductor Etheridge

Festival Clarinet Choir - David Etheridge, Conductor,  Allesandro Carbonare, Clarinet Soloist

ASCC Programs

Seung Yoo Conducts ASCC

Clarinet Soloist

ASCC Concert Program

Strathmore eve concert

Conductors John Stephens and Sophia Yoo

Yoo Conducting

ASCC with Conductors Yoo and Stephens

Yoo conducting ASCC

7 June 2006

American Symphonic Clarinet Choir Summer Program at Strathmore Performing Arts Center

Bethesda, Maryland USA

               This performance at the Strathmore Performing Arts Center, site for concerts involving major Orchestras such as the Baltimore Symphony, the Washington National Symphony, and other ensembles, and sponsored by grants from WGMS Radio and the Maryland Arts Council, drew a large audience with a performance of quality literature, both transcription and original works for Clarinet Choir.   This group is a professional ensemble of musicians with distinguished backgrounds as posted in the programs.  The ensemble was conducted by John Stephens and Sophia Yoo, a distinguished pianist and conductor in the Washington area who also conducts in Europe. 

               Of interest for other choirs, this venue of concerts which serve the public awareness and benefit of hearing this literature provide hopefully incentive for more performances in as many places as possible.  The work of these ensembles can increase interest in clarinet performances and open doors of opportunity for more players and their audiences.  Director Mike Kelly is to be commended for the huge effort in opening the doors.




19 February 2006

A Concertante of Clarinets Concert

Bethpage Library- Oyster Bay, New York USA

        This recent Clarinet ensemble, formed and performing for the 40th Anniversary of the American Chamber Ensemble at Weill Recital Hall in New York, consists of some of the finest New York Clarinetists, including as Guest Artist Stanley Drucker of the New York Philharmonic.  This performance is held in conjunction with the Distinguished Artist Concerts held here in Oyster Bay.   The program included the following works featuring performers in Clarinet ensembles of various sizes as stated below:    

                Gordon Jacob - Concertino ; arranged from Sonatas from Tartini

                 Irwin Swack - Allegro for Clarinets

                 Elliott Carter - Canonic Suite for 4 Clarinets

                  George Gershwin-  3 Preludes for Piano ; arranged for 6 Clarinets by Matthew Lipson

                   Dana Paul Perna - Wilder Syntax for Clarinet Quartet  *Celebrating 2006 Festival of Long Island Composers

                    Peter Schickele - Monochrome III for 9 Clarinets

                     Karl Stamitz - Clarinet Concerto #1 in F -  Stanley Drucker, Soloist

                       Meyer Kupferman -  O KKKannon PPPhodder (1998)

      Future plans are being formatted in giving concerts and recordings.  More information will be upcoming as plans become known and confirmed.

Riderwood Community Concert Hall

William Wright, Mike Kelly in rehearsal

Harvey Hermann conducting rehearsal

Dr Stephens conducting his Nonette in preparation

William Wright rehearsing

Lynda Dembowski as soloist with Choir

Calliett Solo rehearsal

Bass Clarinetist in Choir rehearsal

Clarinet Choir after concert

Performers in preparation

8 January 2006

American Symphonic Clarinet Choir Riderwood Maryland Concert

Riderwood, Maryland USA

          This concert marks a new dimension for this professional ensemble and a first performance in a new concert hall on this retirement community campus.  Diverse repertoire, as listed below, and a work written by composer/ conductor John Stephens were all performed to professional standard.  A special guest, and pioneer of the Clarinet Choir movement spanning over 5 decades Harvey Hermann, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Champagne, conducted from his vast library of orchestral transcriptions the complete Symphony #5 of Franz Schubert to critical acclaim.  The ensemble, with very limited rehearsal, performed with impressive skill and sensitivity.    Mr Hermann will be directing another Choir at the University of Illinois at DeKalb 21 January for their annual Cornucopia.  

          Dr John Stephens conducted his Nonette for Clarinet Choir written in 2000, based on an opera he composed.  The work was extremely difficult in structure, rhythmic intracity, and form.  It was one of the more interesting pieces on this program.  The Debussy String Quartet, transcribed by Wayne Petersen was also performed. Dr Stephens is an accomplished advocate of contemporary music, having studied with Pierre Boulez, and for many years Music Director of the American Camerata for New Music in Washington.

          William Wright, a former member of the Washington National Symphony, performed and conducted 3 works for this ensemble, the last 2 Holiday music for the audience after the New Year.   Lynda Dembowski, Solo Clarinetist in the US Navy Academy Band in Annapolis, was soloist in Lucien Calliett's Caprice Sentementale which started the concert on a high standard.

           With this concert, comes about a growth which will expand rapidly in the future, as more information will indicate later. Dealing with professionals as in the Washington area, as all the players are, makes for complicated logistics and it is a credit to all the players who love music and want to play and make this ensemble a success.  The managing music director Mike Kelly is especially deserving of praise for the advocate sacrifice to make this group one of the finest ensembles in the Eastern United States.

                        Riderwood Village Performing Arts Center

                                American Symphonic Clarinet Choir

  John Stephens - conductor

    Harvey Hermann - Guest Conductor

  William Wright - conductor


Caprice Sentimental                                         Lucien Cailliett

                     soloist  Lynda Dembowsky


Symphony No. 5                                              Franz Schubert

            Allegro                                                     arr. Harvey Hermann   

            Andante con moto


            Allegro Vivace   


Nonette                                                            John Stephens


Quartet in G minor                                           Claude Debussy

                                                                          trans. by Wayne Peterson


Suite of Carols                                                 Arranged by Kermit Peters                                                     


Waltz and Beguine                                           Robert R. Roden

            Jean-Francois Bescond - Bb and A clarinet

      Susan Churchill - Bb and A clarinet

      Lynda Dembowski - Bb and Eb clarinet

      Nancy Genovese - Bb clarinet

      Michael Getzin - Eb and Bb clarinet

      James Hurd - Bass clarinet   

      Michael Kelly - Eb and Bb clarinet, basset horn

      Denis Malloy - Bb and A clarinet

      Millie Martin - String bass

      Charlene McDaniel - Bb and Bass clarinet

      Maurice Saylor - Eb alto clarinet

      Paul Skinner - Eb contra alto and Bb clarinet  

      Evan Ross Solomon -  Bb clarinet   

      Nancy Switkes - Bass clarinet

      William Wright - Eb and Bb clarinet, Asst. conductor

Claribel Clarinet Choir at MidWest

Clarinet Soloists with Claribel

Eddie Vanoosthuyse as soloist

Guido Six giving Seminar

Robert Spring as Soloist

15 December 2005

Claribel Clarinet Choir Performance at MidWest Band Clinic 2005

Chicago, Illinois USA

          From Ostend, Belgium appears this refined Clarinet Ensemble of 29 players directed by Guido Six, giving a Seminar/ Concert of their own music with 2 Clarinet soloists, Eddy Vanoosthuyse, renowned soloist and director of his own renowned ensemble, and Dr Robert Spring, Professor of Clarinet at the University of Arizona. This ensemble was founded in 1992 and has been continuous ever since and has performed all over Europe and in the USA at DePaul University in 1994 at their ClarinetFest hosted at that University under Professor Julie DeRoche.  Guido Six has been very active in Clarinet festivals, having hosted in Ghent, Belgium the Clar/Fest 93 and also the ClarinetFest in Ostend in 1999, both very highly successful programs.  Both Festivals were collaborated with the International Clarinet Association (ICA). Mr Six is also Director of the Belgian Clarinet Academy which is held each summer in Ostend. The Claribel has its own published works on their catalog in Belgium, and several composers have written works for this group, including  Warren Barker, Roland Cardon, James Cohn, Norbert Goddaer, and Willy Soenen.

         Guest conductors for this program included Gary Hill and Dr Richard Strange, both from the University of Arizona, and Charles Menghini from Vandercook University in Chicago.

         Clarinet Soloist Eddy Vanoosthuyse performed a recent work written by Mr Six entitled ‘Vito’s Opus’ for Vito Pascuzzi, former President of G LeBlanc Corporation with melodic material summarizing his past musical interests.

         Robert Spring performed another work written by Mr Six named ‘Springtime’ , The Olympics for Clarinet Soloist and Clarinet Choir, which explores several styles ranging from Classic, Jazz, and basically crowd entertainment.  Virtuosity by Dr Spring was well stated and the audience reacted enthusiastically.

         The Clinic emphasized the improvement of the quality of your Ensemble Through a Real Choir Approach.    Basic fundamentals in achieving this approach entails in summary the following factors:

You need only one pair of good ears, a real team spirit and a perfect balance

Every note is important, not every note is the most important

Music is a language, the only language that every human being can understand

       Thorough explanation of the above with demonstration using ensemble pieces were used to emphasize the points covered.  In regard to balance, it was emphasized that all the ensemble members must be sensitive to balance and mutually contributing to the common goal of music-making as opposed to self exploitation for show.  This presentation was very successful with a strong showing by the ensemble, soloists, and guest conductors.  

Mitchell Estrin Introduction

Mitch Estrin, Mike Getzin, Luan Mueller, Harvey Hermann

Mitch Estrin, Lori Arden, Francois Kloc

Vandoren Publication

Francois Kloc (Buffet) and Mike Skinner (Vandoren)

Luan Mueller and student

Francois Kloc (Buffet) and Mike Skinner (Vandoren)

Harvey Hermann and Dr Mueller

Mueller and Mike Drapkin

Estrin, Lori Arden (Atlanta Symphony), Kloc, and Skinner

17 October 2005

 Buffet-Vandoren Anniversary Clarinet Choir Festival

 Atlanta Georgia USA

Hermann conducting Mass Clarinet Choir

Clarinet Choir performance

Hermann conducting rehearsal

Kloc, Estrin, Mueller, Hermann, Getzin

Mitchell Estrin and Harvey Hermann


 The father of the clarinet choir was Gustave Poncelet (1844-1903).  In the late nineteenth century he formed the first true clarinet choir at the Brussels Conservatiore.  We are here today, more than a century later, to celebrate his musical legacy.   It was from hearing Poncelet’s ensemble in 1896 that the great German composer, Richard Strauss became acquainted and enamored with all of the members of the clarinet family. As a result, Strauss used large and diverse clarinet sections in many of his large scale orchestral works and operas.

 Several of Poncelet’s students came to the US at the turn of the 20th century and began forming clarinet choirs in the US.   The most famous clarinet choir in the US was the Bellison Clarinet Ensemble founded in 1927 by the great Simeon Bellison, who was principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic.  Bellison’s choir was 75 players strong and often performed in Carnegie Hall.  In addition to a huge complement of each member of the clarinet family, his instrumentation often included trumpet, harp, concertino, piano, guitar, organ, and percussion.  The group played its final concert in 1938.

 In 1950, a movement started in the US that began the golden age of the clarinet choir.   This movement was started and promoted by a number of prominent clarinet performers and educators including James DeJesu, Harold Palmer, Lucien Cailliet, Donald McCathren, Alfred Reed, Russell Howland, and Harvey Hermann.   The movement was further stimulated by music educators who were trying to improve their ever-expanding clarinet sections. This inspired many new compositions and arrangements for the clarinet choir.  During this era, most major university and high school music programs boasted large clarinet choirs.  Some notable examples were the choirs at the University of Illinois, Iowa State University, Fresno State College, Montana State University, Duquesne University, and Lebanon Valley College.  Strong support for the clarinet choir movement was given by all of the leading instrument manufacturers of the time.  Clarinet choirs were often featured at state, regional, and national music conferences, and often included the formation of conference mass choirs.

 Due to a number of factors including dwindling music school enrollments, lack of adequate budgets to purchase and maintain instruments, and a great deal of out-of print repertoire, the clarinet choir has been relatively silent since the 1970’s. 

 I am strongly committed to a revival of the clarinet choir in the US.  This festival is a shining example of this resurgence. Thanks to the generous support of Buffet Crampon and Vandoren, we are all a part of writing a new chapter in the history of the American clarinet choir.


             The presentation of this highly successful pilot program with the generous support of Buffet-Crampon and Vandoren has started a revival of interest in this medium in this part of the USA, with a dedicated program to further the ensemble format.  Many Clarinet Choirs function worldwide, and it is hoped that they will all be brought together with this proactive undertaking.  Mitchell Estrin, WKA Performing Organization Chair, Professor of Clarinet at University of Florida, and Educational and Creative Manager for Buffet-Crampon, and a performing member at the New York Philharmonic for tours and larger orchestral requirements, is the spearheader of this program.  Several important advocates, including the Atlanta Clarinet Association with Michael Moore and Luan Mueller (Festival Coordinator), have increased interest and will trigger rapid future growth.  Harvey Hermann, a leading conductor and transcriber of Orchestral works for Clarinet Choir, led an intensive program with the total enrollment Mass Choir, which performed literature from his personal ensemble library.  The 2 day program had several invited Choirs and chamber groups such as Clarinet Quartets and other chamber music.  Many of the groups were community groups of high quality, and University Choirs.  Specific information about guest artists who gave master classes and talks are mentioned herein.


Festival Administration:

Mitchell Estrin - Festival Director

Vandoren Performing Artist    
            Educational & Creative Development Manager, Buffet Crampon USA

Michael Skinner - President, Dansr, Inc., U.S. importer for Vandoren Products

François Kloc - Director of Marketing and Artist Relations, Buffet Crampon USA

Luan Mueller - Festival Coordinator, High School Honors Choir Director

Harvey Hermann, Festival Mass Choir Director

Laura Bauer, Festival Mass Choir Assistant

Michael Moore - President, Atlanta Clarinet Association



Mr. Michael Drapkin

Prof. Mitchell Estrin

Mr. Michael Skinner

Mr. Harvey Hermann

Mr. François Kloc

Clarinet Music display

Clarinet tryouts and Kloc working with player

Buffet display

Carere Music display

Francoise Kloc in Clarinet repair

Exhibitors for this weekend included Buffet-Crampon, Vandoren, and Carere Music of Atlanta, who brought instruments, accessories such as mouthpieces, reeds, tuners, sheet music and offered free repair and adjustment of clarinets from participants.


Performing Ensembles

Georgia Southern University Clarinet Quartet

Dr. Linda A. Cionitti, Director

Linda A. Cionitti

Vanessa Arnett

Demetria Malcom

April Saxton

 Linda A. Cionitti performs at international, national, and regional events such as the International Clarinet Fest, the International Competition for Musical Performers in Geneva (semifinalist), the Music Teachers National Association Conference, the College Music Society Convention, the Univerity of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, and at universities throughout the United States. She received the BM degree from the Crane School of Music at S.U.N.Y. Potsdam, studying with Alan Woy. Her MM and DMA degrees are from Michigan State University where she studied with Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr. Dr. Cionitti is Professor of Music at Georgia Southern University and Co-Coordinator of Music Department Advising.

The Atlanta Clarinet Association Clarinet Choir

Dr. Robert Janssen, Director

 Clarinet                                                                          Bass Clarinet

David Highsmith                   John Snellings                       Mike Moore

Dyann Ryans                         Earl Haltiwanger                 Leslie Minor

Jimmy Lee                           John Lauer                           Ellen Nesheim

Joseph Binney                         Ralph Cromer                    Brandi Sheridan

Robert Janssen teaches at Clayton State University and the State University of West Georgia. Previous teaching positions include Georgia State University and Brooklyn College. Dr. Janssen has been teaching and performing for over twenty years and in addition to free lance, solo and chamber music activities, has performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Columbus, Carroll, Toccoa and Gainesville Symphonies. He holds a D.M.A. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, a M.M from the University of Massachusetts and a B.M. from the Manhattan School of Music. His primary teachers have been Leon Russianoff, Michael Sussman, Charles Neidich and Laura Ardan.

University of West Georgia Clarinet Choir
Prof. Luan Mueller, Director

Clarinet                                  Bass Clarinet
Tracy Ammons                       David Lojo
Jonathan Barker
Lacie Craig                            Contra Bass Clarinet
Tiffani Robinson                   Chris Barmore
Danielle Turbyfield

Luan Mueller is the North American Liaison of the International Clarinet Association, clarinet instructor at the University of West Georgia, Founding President of the Atlanta Clarinet Association, and a freelance musician in the greater Atlanta area. She has performed as principal clarinet of the Spanish Lyric Orchestra, New Sigmund Romberg Orchestra, New York Gilbert and Sullivan Touring Troupe, Annapolis Symphony, and the Cobb Symphony. She has also performed Eb through Bass Clarinets with the Florida Symphony and Baltimore Symphony.  Mrs. Mueller is a popular clinician and guest soloist for instrumental music ensembles throughout the Atlantic Seaboard. Besides Symphony Hall, she enjoys pop music and cool shoes.

Georgia State University Freshman Clarinet Quartet

Dr. Kenneth Long, Director

Steven Gooden
Marcus Brokenborough
Benjamin Clarke
Diana Marks

 Kenneth Long is currently serving his second year as woodwind coordinator/clarinet professor at Georgia State University.  He comes to Georgia State from New York City, where he was an active freelance clarinetist performing with several orchestras including the American, New Haven, and Princeton Symphony Orchestras, among others.  Summer engagements include Principal Clarinetist of the Breckenridge Music Institute, the Ashlawn-Highland Opera Orchestra, and the Utah Festival Opera; summer fellowships include Aspen, Tanglewood, National Repertory Orchestra, and Norfolk.  His research interest in the solo clarinet works of Elliott Carter was recognized by both the International Clarinet Association and the College Music Society; his paper "An Analysis of Elliott Carter's “Gra'" was selected for presentation and performance at both conferences

University of Florida Clarinet Ensemble

Prof. Mitchell Estrin, Director

 Eb Clarinets                                                   Basset Horns

Jennifer Schundler                                        Kyle Rowan

Jaclyn Surber                                                 Marjorie Shearer

 Bb Clarinets                                                   Bass Clarinets                                                           

Kira Bokalders, Concertmaster                    Peter Geldrich

Christina Cruder                                            Megan Machnik

Carolyn De Simone

Danielle Drapiza                                          Contralto Clarinet

Eric Lubarsky                                                   John Antmann

Kerry Regan                                                 

Heidi Schultheis                                            Contrabass Clarinet

Kathryn Shelton                                            Jennifer Burton

Jaclyn Surber                                                            

Ricky Williams                                              String Bass

Heidi Williamson                                          Rebecca Ward

Mitchell Estrin is Associate Professor of Clarinet at the University of Florida, Educational and Creative Development Manager for Buffet Crampon USA, and a Vandoren Performing Artist. Prior to his current appointments, from 1979-1999 he performed in more than 2,000 concerts and on 19 international tours as a clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic. He continues to perform periodically as a guest artist with the orchestra including several recent subscription series under Music Director, Lorin Maazel.  His discography includes over 100 recordings of solo, chamber, and orchestral music. During the past 25 years, he has recorded dozens of motion picture soundtracks, including such recent releases as: The Alamo, Intolerable Cruelty, The Score, The Rookie, and You’ve Got Mail.  Mr. Estrin received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the Juilliard School where he studied with Stanley Drucker.  

Georgia Clarinet Professors Sextet

Prof. Luan Mueller, Director

Linda Cionitti                                      Leslie Ann Minor

Bruce Geyer                                       Michael Moore

Kenneth Long                                      Luan Mueller

Columbus State University Clarinet Quintet

Dr. Lisa Oberlander, Director

John Inzetta
Mark Kleine
Steven Naimark
Brittany Wilson
Jason Thorne, bass clarinet

Lisa Oberlander, Professor of Clarinet at Columbus State University, has just returned from a tour of Japan with the Fountain City Ensemble.  She has performed at ICA conferences in Europe, Japan, and the U. S., and will perform the Nielsen Concerto with the CSU Symphony and the Brahms trio with renowned pianist Jon Kimura Parker during the 2005-2006 season.  Lisa's latest release as a soloist is on the Summit Records fall 2005 release Velocity with the CSU Wind Ensemble.

United States Army Ground Forces Band Clarinet Quartet
Staff Sergeant (SSG) Terrina Anderson, Noncommissioned Officer in Charge

Staff Sergeant (SSG) Terrina Anderson - Eb/Bb Clarinets
Specialist (SPC) Beth Selva - Bb Clarinet

Specialist Ester Valido - Bb Clarinet

Specialist Paul Aviles - Bb and Bass Clarinets

The Army Ground Forces Band is a well-trained, well-equipped, world-class organization that serves as the Musical Ambassador of the American Combat Soldier, instilling pride in our troops, promoting a spirit of patriotism within our Nation, and sharing a universal vision of freedom through music.

The Army Ground Forces Band serves as a public relations asset for United States Army Forces Command, headquartered at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia.  Each of the 58 Soldiers assigned to the Band has passed a highly selective audition, and are among the finest musicians in the United States Army Band Program. 

Chattanooga Clarinet Choir
.Stuart Benkert, Director


B-flat Clarinet                            E-flat Clarinet

Derrick Armstrong                      Nikolasa Tejero

Jay Craven

David Gibson                              Alto Clarinet

Nick Hartline                                  Steve Barrett

Traci Lamb

Pauline Martin                              Bass Clarinet                        

Tim Mercer                                      Alice Guider

Larry Nagle                                      Traci Lamb

Booker T. Scruggs

Jackie Shellabarger                      Contrabass Clarinet

Arlene Sneed                                   Jim Penning

Jimmy Stoloff

Nikolasa Tejero

Lesa Thomas

Jan Wilkinson

Stuart Benkert is currently Director of Bands for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  Prior to UTC Stuart was Director of Bands at St. Xavier University in Chicago, IL. Dr. Benkert attended graduate school at The University of Kansas where he earned a Ph.D. in Music Education and Aesthetic Philosophy. Stuart has conducted ensembles internationally and his genres include Concert/Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble/Symphony, Chamber Winds, and Orchestra. Active in the community, Dr. Benkert is Drum Major for the City of Chattanooga Pipe and Drum Band. Dr. Benkert enjoys many interests ranging from weight lifting and martial arts to chess and motivational behaviors/techniques. A perpetual student, Stuart continues to study various disciplines and philosophies. Dr. Benkert is the proud father of two lovely girls Genevieve (5) and Lillian (2) and enjoys reading and gardening with them both whenever possible.


Michael Drapkin played Associate Principal and Bass Clarinet with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and Principal Clarinet with the New York City Opera Touring Company and Lake George Opera Festival. He has spent summers Aspen and at Tanglewood, and performs regularly with fine chamber music groups in the New York City area.   He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Stanley Hasty. He is a lecturer, soloist, and a concert, jazz, orchestra and marching band music adjudicator/clinician; a prolific arranger and an author of numerous books and articles spanning multiple disciplines, including his successful "Symphonic                                     
Repertoire for the Bass Clarinet” series.

Harvey Hermann served on the University of Illinois Band Department faculty for 32 years as woodwinds assistant and most recently as director of the Illinois Summer Youth Music Camp.  The former solo clarinetist for the U.S. Army Far East Headquarters Band in Japan, Mr. Hermann also played principal clarinet with the Tokyo ABC and Yokohama Symphony Orchestras.  Mr. Hermann created and conducted the University of Illinois Bands Clarinet Choir for many years and is an internationally known expert in choirs and their repertoire.  He continues to maintain a large private studio of clarinet and saxophone students in the Central Illinois area.

François Kloc
is Director of Marketing and Artist Relations for Buffet Crampon USA. In this capacity, he is responsible for the development and implementation of Buffet Crampon marketing initiatives throughout the United States. He also manages the company’s network of performing artists and artist clinicians. A graduate of the internationally-recognized Institut Technologique European des Metiers de la Musique, the French native became an expert the old fashioned way. At age 15, François began the time-honored tradition of apprenticeship, turning his craft into art under the tutelage of masters. His career has spanned from manufacturing to marketing and all steps in between. He has worked at Mignot in Paris, France; Rigoutat, Paris; Loree, Paris; Bertet Music, Grenoble; and Buffet Crampon, Paris. François is an internationally acclaimed leader in the field of woodwind design and development. As a technical advisor, he presents clinics and is the author of technical articles.

Michael Skinner is a graduate of Berklee College of Music with a BME degree and received his Masters degree in composition from the University of Miami. He moved to New York where he wrote and performed commercials and production music for Footlocker, Max Factor, Revlon, Benihanna and Kodak.  Film credits include Yamaha, Time Warner and the Annenberg Foundation. Michael has performed with a diverse group of artists including Donald Byrd, Dean Brown, Tommy Campbell, Claudio Roditti, Al Martino, Danny Thomas, and Victor Borge.  In 1986, Mr. Skinner became the national clinician for Vandoren and a Yamaha performing artist. He later became marketing manager for J. D’Addario & Co., marketing Vandoren products as well as D’Addario education products. From 1991-2001 Michael served as the marketing manager for the Band & Orchestral Division, Yamaha Corporation of America. In July of 2001, Mr. Skinner returned to J. D’Addario & Co., Inc as Director of Marketing for Band & Orchestra products. In July, 2004, Michael formed DANSR and became the sole U.S. importer of Vandoren Products.

Riderwood Community Center

John Stephens in rehearsal

William Wright in rehearsal

American Symphonic Clarinet Choir

Stephens preparation reheasrsal

John Stephens talking to audience

ASCC Directors John Stephens, William Wright and Mike Kelly

Jean-Francoise Bescond, Clarinet Soloist and Selmer US representative

Rehearsal conference

Clarinet Choir in concert

16 January 2005

 Riderwood Village, Maryland, USA -  American Symphonic Clarinet Choir

         This community concert given by this evolving Professional ensemble of players from the Washington DC region performed for an enthusiastic educated audience at this retirement community, the same place resided by the late Clarinetist Ignatius Gennusa, who played for years in the Baltimore Symphony.   Works performed included several transcriptions and arrangements of composers as Samuel Barber, Heiter Villa Lobos, Peter Tschaikovsky, JS Bach, Maurice Ravel, Paul Hindemith, and also featured as soloist Jean-Francoise Bescond from France in a Rhapsody by Desire Dondeyne, brilliantly performed.  Many members are respected icons in the Washington area, including the Directors John Stephens, Music Director of the American Camerata for New Music, William Wright,  former member of the Washington National Symphony, Mike Kelly, a long-time player and managing Director of this group, and several Special Band players from the Premiere military bands in Washington and Annapolis.  Unlike many other Clarinet Choirs around the country and Internationally, this ensemble consists of working professionals.  This concert was provided a grant from the Maryland Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the US National Endowment for the Arts.

American Sym Clarinet Choir conducted by Dr John Stephens

ASCC in Concert in Riderwood, MD

John Stephens and Steve Bates in rehearsal

John Stephens in rehearsal


4 January 2004

American Symphonic Clarinet Choir

 Silver Spring, MD  USA

    The first Clarinet concert of 2004 was held in this small community with a fully professional ensemble consisting of interested players and teachers  from the Washington DC region and representing notable organizations including the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra, the National Symphony, the major Military Service Bands including the US Army Field Band,  The US Army Band (Pershing's Own), the Annapolis Navy Academy Band, and freelance musicians.  The Principal Conductor is Dr John Stephens, a noted conductor in the Washington area and also Director of the American Camerata for New Music which specializes in the performance and recording of New Music.  In 1981 at the Klar/Fest '81, Dr Stephens conducted this ensemble at the Library of Congress featuring Charles Neidich performing the Alvin Etler Clarinet Concerto with Brass & Percussion, and also Stanley Drucker performing the Boulez Domaines for Clarinet and Chamber ensemble.  William Wright, former member of the National Symphony, is Assistant Conductor and Principal Clarinetist in this ensemble. Ambitious plans are being mapped for the growth of this ensemble which invites participation from clarinetists who would want to benefit from their engagement.  Of interest, this concert was held at the same site honoring the late Ignatius Gennusa who passed away last year.  The Music Director of this ensemble is Mike Kelly, a major player in the Washington area.


Copyright © 1999 All rights reserved.
Revised: August 29, 2010