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June 2013 Hot News





20 - 30 June 2013

ChamberFest Cleveland with World-Class Performers for 10 Days in its 2nd Year -  VIP's Franklin Cohen (Solo Clarinetist in The Cleveland Orchestra) and daughter VIP Diana Cohen (Concertmaster in the Calgary Philharmonic in Canada), Directors -

Cleveland, Ohio USA

               The second superbly successful Festival, featuring a diverse composite array of quality literature spanning three or more centuries,  and featuring some of the most notable virtuosi players alive today, with standards well documented by the superstar Directors, VIP's Franklin Cohen and daughter Diana Cohen, who have set a Lincoln Center track record almost impossible to match.  With the Cohens at the helms, nothing less in quality would be good enough, which establishes a standard many should strive for in their musical pursuits.  The venues where performed over the 10 days offered informality and a friendly atmosphere to mingle and enjoy the friendship of the performers and audience alike.  As the reviews indicate, the above stands for itself.


Violinist Yura Lee, left, pianist Orion Weiss, clarinetist Franklin Cohen and cellist Gabriel Cabezas performed Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time" on Thursday at the Cleveland Institute of Music's Mixon Hall during the opening concert in the second season of ChamberFest Cleveland.

ChamberFest Cleveland is back, and "(It's) About Time."

That can be read in two ways. Lovers of chamber music must be delighted that the compelling festival run by violinist Diana Cohen and her father, clarinetist Franklin Cohen, has returned for its second season. And this year's series of eight concerts revolves around -- you guessed it -- varied impacts of time in music.

The new season contains a rich assortment of works reflecting specific themes, such as "Continuum: The Divine Cosmos," the subject of Thursday's opening concert at the Cleveland Institute of Music's Mixon Hall.

The principal inspiration for the program's divine aspect was Olivier Messiaen, the French composer whose music is suffused with spiritual and ornithological wonder. Messiaen composed most of his "Quartet for the End of Time" during World War II in a Silesian prisoner-of-war camp. It is a work of mesmerizing beauty and power in which sacred and natural worlds intersect.

Scored for the clarinet, violin, cello and piano, the "Quartet for the End of Time" evokes visions of Messiaen's Catholic faith. Several sections take solo instruments to transcendent realms, such as "Abyss of the Birds," which clarinetist Cohen played Thursday with remarkable command of dynamics, nuance and color.

Cellist Gabriel Cabezas and pianist Orion Weiss came close to stopping time in the hushed lines of "Praise to the eternity of Jesus," while violinist Yura Lee added silver to the soaring phrases in the final "Praise to the immortality of Jesus." The four musicians played the work with exceptional detailing and expressive vibrancy.

To open the program, the Cohens and their brother-son, timpanist Alexander Cohen, gave the premiere of a work written for them, Matan Porat's "Start-time." As Diana noted, this may be the only piece in the chamber-music repertoire for violin, clarinet and timpani.

But it doesn't sound like a novelty. Porat uses the timpani as anchor for a sequence of fanfares and lyrical passages, upon which violin and clarinet expand to often virtuoso effect. The work packs a great deal of material into five minutes. The Cohens appeared to relish every freshly conceived flourish.

Violinist Diana Cohen, left, timpanist Alexander Cohen and clarinetist Franklin Cohen performed the premiere of Matan Porat's "Start-time" on Thursday at the Cleveland Institute of Music's Mixon Hall. Gary Adams

Few composers enter the cosmos as profoundly as Mozart, whose Quartet for Two Violins, Two Violas and Cello, K. 516, stood tall between Porat and Messiaen. Written in the key of G minor, the work explores dark territory, sustaining drama and pathos until the clouds part for the main body of the finale.

The performance Thursday honored Mozart's eloquence through seamless interaction of lines, especially with violists Lee and Dimitri Murrath adding tonal depth. Violinist David McCarroll led with a keen blend of energy and elegance, and he maintained close contact with his superb colleagues, which included Diana Cohen and cellist Julie Albers.

The concert was preceded by a free Young Artist Recital featuring Cabezas and Weiss in Janacek's "Pohadka" and Debussy's Sonata for Cello and Piano. There were moments when Cabezas was so restrained that his sound didn't penetrate Weiss' articulate pianism. But the cellist's sensitivity to phrasing and poetic inflection brought Janacek's quirky romanticism and Debussy's aristocratic panache to enchanting life.


Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer By Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer
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on July 01, 2013 at 11:14 AM, updated July 01, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Of all the lessons about time taught by ChamberFest Cleveland this year, one emerged as paramount: Time with chamber music is time well-spent.

Especially when it’s done right, as this series was. Between their creative conception and masterful execution, the final, copious programs Friday, Saturday and Sunday offered enough musical substance to keep one satisfied for weeks.

To list everything the musicians did correctly would be a waste of time. Here, under the auspices of clarinetist Franklin Cohen and his daughter, violinist Diana Cohen, talent was assumed, technical aplomb a given. Better to enumerate all that they accomplished.

As its title, “A Tempo,” suggested, Friday’s program at Harkness Chapel explored music’s subdivisions. Highlighting scores with fluid pulses, the artists illustrated beautifully how loose and transparent bar-lines can be.

Gershwin’s Three Preludes for Clarinet and Piano, with Franklin Cohen and pianist Orion Weiss, were syncopated delights, while violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley and pianist Matan Porat held listeners entranced with the seamless flow of Messiaen’s early Theme and Variations.

In the case of Schumann’s Piano Quartet, it was the performers who made the point about tempo. By pushing the edge daringly throughout, Weiss, in company with Diana Cohen, violist Dimitri Murrath and cellist Robert DeMaine, achieved exhilaration.

But perhaps Ravel’s Piano Trio said it best. Exceptionally diverse in terms of pacing, the piece -- as performed by Porat, violinist Yehonatan Berick and cellist Julie Albers -- was a spellbinding showcase of metrical possibilities.

Saturday’s program, by contrast, rested on Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” which turns 100 this year. Titled “Riot (Like it’s 1913),” the concert at the Cleveland Institute of Music highlighted works evincing a certain overt audacity.

The composer’s version of the “Rite” for two pianos is thrilling enough. Imagine, then, the impact of the version presented Saturday, which included percussionists Scott Christian and Alexander Cohen.

All the dissonance and severity of Stravinsky’s masterpiece were in glorious bloom with pianists Weiss and Porat. But with timpani, bass drum and other instruments in the mix, the music took on a fresh degree of raw brutality.

Different sorts of boldness were exemplified by Haydn’s E-Major Piano Trio and the Brahms Clarinet Quintet. There, the boundary-crossing occurred in the more subtle forms of harmonic twists and emotional outpouring.

Especially poignant was the Brahms. With Franklin Cohen at the center of a group including his daughter, Berick, Murrath and DeMaine, the performance behaved like a musical flood, repeatedly overflowing all banks that might have contained it.

Less consequential was the takeaway from Sunday’s finale, “Mirrors,” at Dunham Tavern in Cleveland. There, in a barn packed to the rafters, the theme merely seemed to be that composers derive inspiration from each other, across the years.

No matter. About an afternoon stuffed with worthy, underplayed music, no listener can begin to complain.

The “Mirrors” concept arose from two short pieces by Purcell and the Second String Quartet of Britten, composed in 1945 in honor of the Baroque master. That parallel, though, got lost in the frenzied Britten, performed with matchless intensity by Amy Schwartz Moretti, Diana Cohen, Murrath and Albers. A more heated, probing account is hard to fathom.

Similarly difficult to top would have been the final presentation, Mendelssohn’s Quintet No. 1, as performed by Moretti, Bendix-Balgley, Berick, Murrath and DeMaine. Fully imbued with the festival spirit, the five players brought all available discipline and virtuosity to bear on the music.

Ultimately, the real subject of ChamberFest Cleveland 2013 wasn’t “Time” so much as the bonding that time permitted. Those who attended regularly can now claim to know the performers, and yet almost no one spoke a word.





13 - 15 June 2013

Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, Dr Suzanne Tirk, Director - Tribute to Founder and Director for 35 Years, VIP Dr David Etheridge - 13 - 15 June 2013

Norman, Oklahoma USA

              After 3 years after the passing of Dr David Etheridge, the founder and continuing Director of this great symposium over 35 years, the Symposium has been restarted under the Directorship of Etheridge's successor Dr Suzanne Tirk, with a rebounding startup success, with a stellar faculty of major Clarinet icon teachers and performers, many world class, including David Shifrin, Charles Neidich, Gregory Raden, Larry Guy, Elsa Ludewig Verdehr and her Trio, and many more too numerous to name.   The format of programming and scheduling of only singular events rather than multiple events at a time, held this program well in place with a relaxed conducive atmosphere for everyone coming.  These factors were what made this Symposium in the past so successful under Dr Etheridge, who made this project his personal mission in his Clarinet life.  Many of his past Clarinet associates and connections rallied to this symposium.    As the photo galleries indicate, all the events were packed especially the master classes, the exhibits, and the concerts, no less the social activities around the campus after the conclusion of nightly events.


Gregory Raden Master Class 


Elsa Ludewig Verdehr Master Class


David Shifrin Master Class


Charles Neidich Master Class

             This symposium, for the total price to enroll for the 3 days, is an amazing bargain, given the totality assets offered, including the concert events, master classes with the top tier of faculty and the exhibit showings.   Costs to study privately with any of the faculty would be enormous, and for only $170 divide that by 3 days with 12 hours of activities...   Along with specialized workshops offered, every serious player must attend both activities to advance.







Symposium Evhibitors including Corporate Representatives, Dealers, and Accessory Makers




Numerous Recital concert performances with Artist Faculty and Ensembles


             A Clarinet Competition, with prizes was convened with faculty judges.  A special contribution to this Symposium included a special one year scholarship to a deserving OU student donated enthusiastically by Buffet Group USA and presented by VIP and President Francois Kloc, which will be continued each year as a show of support for the Symposium.  It was especially heartening to see David Etheridge's wife attending events in remembrance of her husband.   This symposium will continue again with the next one being held 12 - 14 June 2014.  Great credit is due for Dr Tirk for the outstanding event this June.  


  Clarinet Symposium Festival Clarinet Choir in rehearsal and performance



 9 June 2013

To Play is to Blow, To Blow is to Play Clarinet Recital with Senior VIP Richard Nunemaker and Studio - 9 June 2013 - University of St Thomas, Houston, Texas

 Houston, Texas USA

           The commissioned piece was Indifferent by Houston composer, Thomas Helton.

         After years of composing by trial and error, I came up with a style of writing that suits my personal aesthetic. Having no formal training it took some time to hash out what I wanted to hear. In this piece, I pulled from some more traditional concepts such as ostinato lines and some quartal harmonies as well as incorporating jazz ideas like solo sections and background figures. With Indifferent I wanted to expose young players to ideas of modal improvisation as well as employing unconventional techniques. Along with somewhat traditional classical, jazz, modern classical and free improvisations, Indifferent will be an interesting piece for the To Play is To Blow is To and give the performers another set of possibilities in the world of music.





 5 - 9 June 2013

5th Clarinetopia Residence Seminar -  Michigan State University with World-Class Faculty and Artist VIP's  - Dr Michael Webster and Leona Buyse, Directors

East Lansing, Michigan

                This Clarintopia program, one of the most important Advanced seminar workshops in the United States, is artist developmental in its design and provides hands down pragmatic in depth training for those lucky enough to qualify and attend.  The artist faculty is comprised of some of the most advanced teachers and performers in the country, the the training is student sympathetic in attention to their individual playing issues but steadfast in inspiring a high performance standard as they prepare for their performance at the end of week Student Recitals.  This year the Clarinetopia was dedicated to the memory of Leonard Getzin, son of WKA Founder and CEO Mike Getzin in recognition to Leonard who was an advisor and inspiration in the WKA website development.  He passed away 11 April at age 39.    The summary below by Senior VIP and Director Michael Webster is below: 

               In its fifth superlative year, Clarinetopia, the  Artist developing Residence Seminar for screened and high potential students heading for a professional career in performance and teaching, and open to interested players as well. convened with a world-class teaching and performing faculty, and had five days of intensive master classes, faculty and two prepared student recitals which culminated their training during the week.  Of most of the similar programs available to clarinetists, this is one of the most important to attend.  The upcoming galleries above and Senior VIP Dr Michael Webster's below summary give an idea of all the great work accomplished during this week.

              Thirty-four clarinetists, two pianists, one violinist and one flutist convened at Michigan State University June 5 - 9 for the fifth annual Clarinetopia Seminar.  Charles Neidich, Ayako Oshima, Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, Guy Yehuda, Theodore Oien, Michael Webster and Leone Buyse performed faculty recitals and gave master classes for students who hailed from as far away as California, Manitoba, New York, and Georgia.


             The opening recital on Wednesday was shared by Yehuda, Webster, and flutist Buyse, who also played aboriginal clapping sticks and crotale in Bingyang by Australian composer Ross Edwards, as well as piano in New Zealand composer Maria Grenfell’s Time Transfixed.  On flute, Leone played Icicles by Canadian composer Robert Aitken and Muczynski’s Six Duos with Michael. Guy Yehuda included a work of his own, Three Preludes for Solo Clarinet, surrounded by Weiner’s Peregi Verbunk and Bassi’s Rigoletto Fantasy.


           On Thursday Elsa and Walter Verdehr performed the new clarinet choir version of James Niblock’s Concerto No. 2 for violin and clarinet, followed by a retrospective of Verdehr Trio repertoire (clarinet, violin and piano) since the trio plans to retire this season after 40 eventful years commissioning and premiering well over 200 works. 


         On Saturday evening Charles Neidich and Ayako Oshima played music for one and two clarinets, including Neidich’s new work, Tempest (in a Teapot) for two clarinets, a 103rd birthday gift to Elliott Carter, whose solo piece Gra was also programmed.  Ayako played the Bernstein Sonata and Charlie played his own transcription of Mendelssohn’s Violin Sonata in F Major, featuring his unique altississimo register.  The program opened and closed with the fun and virtuosity of Bassi’s Fantasy on La Sonnambula and Ponchielli’s Il Convegno.








          Meanwhile, twenty-one of the students played in master classes with repertoire ranging from the standards (Mozart, Weber, Brahms, Stravinsky, etc.) to such recent works as Shulamit Ran’s Monologue: For an Actor and Karel Husa’s Three Studies. Theodore Oien, Principal Clarinetist of the Detroit Symphony, contributed an orchestral excerpt class and the master class students all played their repertoire on two student recitals, Saturday and Sunday.

         A welcome dinner, a free evening, an impromptu pizza party hosted by the Neidichs, and a farewell reception offered some social time during an otherwise intensive week of study.  Each day began with yoga, breathing, and clarinet warm-up sessions.   Shu-han Lu and Edisher Savitsky were the capable and empathetic collaborative pianists, and a team of MSU students led by Cody Grabbe, Sam Davies, and Jessica Harrie took care of organizational details ably and cheerfully.


        As the new Associate Professor of Clarinet at MSU, Guy Yehuda has invited Clarinetopia to return to MSU next year.  Those interested in attending will find detailed information at



31 May - 1 June 2013

 VIP Mark Nuccio, Acting Solo Clarinetist in the New York Philharmonic, performs Copland Clarinet Concerto with Alan Gilbert, conducting - 31 May  - 1 June 2013 at Avery Fisher Hall

 New York City USA

New Information coming soon


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Revised: August 28, 2013