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Welcome to the Clarinet Choir 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.

Clarinet Choir News 2011

11 December 2011

Clarinetist/Bass Clarinetist Don Ambler, Retired from the Denver Symphony and Director of the Colorado Clarinet Choir for 40 years, honored by both the Clarinet Choir and the Colorado Symphony

Denver, Colorado USA

          A heartfelt tribute to one of the most influential Clarinetists and Teachers and member of the Denver Symphony as Bass Clarinetist for over 30 years, and founder/Director of the Colorado Clarinet Choir for 40 years, was honored by both organizations at a special event held 11 December before a multitude of former students and professionals who came especially to this event.  As the hyperlinked article here linked indicates, the accolades speak for themselves.  It is hoped, like so many other great influences as teachers in the Clarinet Community that he like the others will not be forgotten.

4 - 5 November 2011

Chicago Clarinet Collaborations at NE Illinois University with Guest Artist Charlene Zimmermann, Solo Clarinetist in Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra, John Bruce Yeh (Associate Solo Clarinetist/Eb Clarinet in Chicago Symphony), and Dr Rose Sperrazza (Professor at NE Illinois University) and Artistic Director of the Chicago Clarinet Ensemble

Chicago, Illinois USA

            This semi-annual Clarinet Collaboration weekend under VIP Dr Rose Sperrazza, Artistic Director of the Chicago Clarinet Ensemble, conducted by John Bruce Yeh of the Chicago Symphony, and in cooperation with several Clarinet Studios from the major Universities in this city including Vanderbilt, DePaul, Northwestern Universities, took on 2 days of Master Classes with guest Artist Clarinetist Charlene Zimmerman, Solo Clarinetist in the Chicago Lyric Opera in teaching and coaching Opera Orchestra players with a Mock behind the screen audition process for all to evaluate and improve the applicants trying out for a position covering the major excerpts required to master.  In addition, there were exhibits to look at instruments and music and accessories to check out and buy.   The climax of course is the Clarinet Ensemble concert to finish this event and under VIP John Bruce Yeh.  A Vandoren reception followed for all to socialize and have fun and talk.  The next event will take place 20 - 21 April 2012 with Jon Manasse and Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr as Guests which should be an event not to miss.  Credit is due to all who made this event happen, especially Rose Sperrazza, David Tuttle, John Bruce Yeh, and the students who assisted in the logistics, and Michael Skinner of Vandoren.


1 – 2 October 2011

Vandoren/Buffet Clarinet Ensemble Festival held at Michigan State University, Mitchell Estrin, Caroline Hartig Directors

East Lansing, Michigan USA

              The annual Vandoren/Buffet Clarinet Ensemble Festival convened at this prime stature University with a super high quality array of programs encompassing several ensemble combinations and performances with many Michigan University ensembles and Clarinet Choirs.  Almost the entire administrative and artist faculty including Directors Mitchell Estrin, Creative and Education Manager with Buffet-Crampon and Vandoren Artist as well as Full Professor at the University of Florida, Dr Caroline Hartig of Michigan State University, and several other notable icons including David Gould, Artist Relations Director with Vandoren, and President of DANSR Michael Skinner Chad Burrow and Daniel Gilbert from the University of Michigan, no less the other great faculty, are WKA Artist VIP Officers.  Admission to all participants was free of charge, and the 2 days were relaxed but high in activity including Master Classes, rehearsals, Exhibits, where all could try Clarinet products, accessories such as mouthpieces, reeds, other related equipment such as tuners, ligatures, sheet music, et al, There was not a dull moment at any time during these festival days.   Programs contained in the above galleries describe all the concert programs, biographies of each of the faculty and leaders.  Of special significence is the Festival Clarinet Choir open to all and numbering 61 players of all the clarinet ranges and conducted by Clarinet Choir Pioneer and legend Harvey Hermann who along with others in the United States developed this medium and expanded its value to all.  Dr Hermann is responsible for the instrumental makeup of the ensemble and has transcribed important Orchestral literature for that grouping and has published it and all is available to groups to enhance their repertoire and quality programming.

Clarinet Connexions and University of Illinois Duo

University of Florida Clarinet Ensemble, Mitchell Estrin, Conductor

Western Michigan University Clarinet Quartet and Rolf Tidwell Duo

   Major chamber music performances were held with the artist faculty from the Michigan region with two world premieres performed with Professors Chad Burrow and Dr Justin O’Dell of Michigan State University.  Performances of further interest included a program of Klezmer Music and an appearance of a Jazz program with the Anderson Twins, two identical twins who are Juilliard trained and well versed in the Big Band era of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and other notables of that era.  The entire two day program was well balanced in terms of quality programming.   This Clarinet Ensemble Festival has been in annual progress for 7 years now, with past programs held in Atlanta, Seattle, Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, Northeast Illinois University in Chicago, Washington DC at the United States Air Force Band, and here this year at Michigan State University.  As can be assessed, attendance at these meetings, which is open to all, is an important opportunity to be totally immersed into Clarinet Playing at its highest level and like many times before mentioned too important to miss.

Dr Howard Klug (Indiana University) in Master Class with Bass Clarinetists and Clarinetist

Dr Sheri Roth and Dallas Tidwell on Medical lecture on Breath support issues and Hand issues in Performance

         Three major sessions and Master Classes were convened covering the below stated topics with leaders in their field.  A seminar involving the Michigan heritage of Clarinetistry featured 8 Professors from all the major Music Schools in the University system in Michigan including host School Michigan State, the University of Michigan, Eastern, Central and Western Michigan Universities, and Mitchell Estrin as commentator discussing in detail the contributions of the major past and present teachers who have graduated so many important players and teachers spread throughout the country.  Luminary names such as Keith Stein at Michigan State University, William Stubbins, John Mohler, and Fred Ormand from the University of Michigan, and present legends as Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, founder of her Verdier Trio which has attained International prominence with over 200 commissioned works for the Clarinet/Violin/Piano combination.  In past Clarinet Ensemble Festivals, similar seminars had as their agenda, as at Northeast Illinois University preparation and opportunities in the Orchestral and College/University teaching field, with what to do to prepare for the profession including academic completion of degrees including the Doctorate, what to expect with teaching responsibilities including teaching extra courses, methods teaching, etc.  In Washington at the USAF Band, Military opportunities and requirements were covered including audition preparation, benefits, and the military Band life.   At these crafted Festivals, many factors of agenda are thought out and pursued to benefit the incoming participants.   When Mitchell Estrin took on his position at the University of Florida, a stated goal was to make proactive growth of the Clarinet Choir movement, and the past Festivals with Vandoren and Buffet have certainly made that happen. 

              At the end of this Festival, exhibitor donated items were raffled out to all who signed in to participate, including gift certificates, accessory items, and a big surprise donated by Buffet in a black bag so no one was prepared for it, a new Buffet R13 Professional Clarinet to the lucky one. Required was that all prizes could only be given to those present in the auditorium.

          Of interest, this next June 2012, the annual Clarinetopia, held the last 3 years at the State University at Stony Brook, will be held here at Michigan State University.  Checking for further information can be seen on the WKA Newsletter for June 2012.

            Credit for this incredible success certainly points at the Directors Mitchell Estrin, Caroline Hartig, David Gould, Michael Skinner, Francois Kloc, Vice President of Buffet-Crampon USA, and the student team carrying out the logistics to make the program smooth running.  Information about next year will be upcoming as developments resound in the near future.

27 – 28 May 2011

Chicago Clarinet Ensemble Careers and Premieres Concert with Stanley and Naomi Drucker and Master Class with Advanced Students - Rose Sperrazza and John Bruce Yeh (Chicago Symphony), Artistic Directors at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois USA

            For Clarinetists, an inspiring weekend including a major performance by the Chicago Clarinet Ensemble conducted by Chicago Symphony Solo Clarinetist John Bruce Yeh presented a program of transcription works including the Percy Grainger ‘Molly on the Shore’, Mendellsohn’s Concertpieces 1 and 2 with Stanley and Naomi Drucker,  Jeffrey Kowalkowski’s  ruth, rubric-rational, realisms-relationals for Clarinet Choir, conducted by Eric Roth,  and the Gustav Holst Jupiter from the Planets.  Of special interest were 3 Premieres for varying sized ensembles including Eric Mandat’s Pursuits of Paradise and  Zadzinsky’s Hasty Fragments for 8 Solo Clarinetists with Narrator who recited poems before each Fragment.  Performance was exemplary with the soloists and each had their special quality to bring to the piece performed.  Programs galleried above point out all the details. 

            On Saturday, Stanley Drucker gave an extended Master Class for several advanced students covering Clarinet Solo literature and major Orchestral  excerpts under a critical scoping of their playing.  As with many of these Classes held at many other schools and festivals, the intent is to make a influence for the students to see themselves in what they are doing and improve their musical and style perceptions and technical skills, and coaching like this under a critical scope is what students need to advance.  The value for all to see this in action is critical.  With a legend such as Dr Drucker, the affect should speak for itself.

            This Chicago Ensemble has had a successful series of concerts, Clarinet Collaboration Workshops, and has within itself fine players spanning several Universities in the Chicago area and has hosted several major Clarinet icons.  The combination of Artistic Director Rose Sparrazzo and Conductor John Bruce Yeh is a powerful force advancing this medium.  Of interest, Dr Sperrazzo was presented for her dedication and accomplishment with this ensemble by Stanley Drucker  WKA Artist VIP stature with the Official Polo Shirt worn by several others.  John Bruce Yeh has been VIP for several years.  Everyone should keep close contact with this Ensemble as many events are continuously planned.


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Revised: December 14, 2011