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April 2009 Hot News

          Guy Dangain Master Classes and Nicolas Fargeix in class and performing Weber Concerto

25 April 2009

Clarimania 2009 Festival in Wrocklaw, Poland at the Karola Lipinskiego Academy of Music 23 - 25 April 2009 with Alessandro Carbonare and other major Players, including Guy Dangain from Paris, Nicolas Fargeix, and  Directed by Jan Jacub Bokun

Wroclaw, Poland

            On April 23-25, 2009, Clarimania 2009 was held at the Karola Lipińskiego Academy of Music (Akademia Muzyczna im. Karola Lipińskiego) in Wrocław, Poland. Clarinetist and conductor Jan Jakub Bokun directed the festival and it was largely sponsored by Henri Selmer Paris. The artist faculty for the festival consisted of: Alessandro Carbonare, Nicolas Fargeix, Guy Dangain, and Timothy Phillips.

            The opening night concert consisted of performances by young clarinetists with burgeoning careers. These soloists were accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra from the Academy, conducted by Jan Jakub Bokun. Nicolas Fargeix wonderfully performed Clarinet Concerto No. 1, Op. 73 by Carl Maria von Weber. Students Przemysław Polak and Adam Eljasiński performed Il Convengo by Amilcare Ponchielli. Finally, student Borys Biniecki contributed the clarinet part to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante KV 297b.

           Friday began with two simultaneous master classes in different locations. One was conducted by Nicolas Fargeix and the other by Timothy Phillips. The afternoon included an illuminating presentation by Guy Dangain on Première Rhapsody by Claude Debussy. The evening concert featured Alessandro Carbonare and his pianist, Monaldo Braconi. They masterfully performed works by Tirincanti, Pasculli, Salvia, Giampieri, Kovacs, and Zappa.

          On Saturday morning, Alessandro Carbonare presented an historically enriching master class on Gioacchino Rossini’s Introduction, Theme, and Variations. In the afternoon, Guy Dangain gave an open master class and ended with impromptu performances of Variations on a Northern Chinese Folksong by Zhang Wu and the French Jeanjean showpiece, Guisganderie.

         The festival ended on Saturday evening with Nicolas Fargeix performing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Quintet in A Major KV 581 and Johannes Brahms’s Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115 with the Slovak String Quartet. The group performed these works with great sensitivity and ease. It was a fitting ending to such a fine festival.


Milano Conservatory Chamber Ensemble Performance of Unknown Italian composers

22 April 2009

Concert which took place at SALA PUCCINI, Milan Conservatory for the anniversary (200 years) of the foundation of the Milano Conservatory

Milano, Italy

        A landmark performance took place at this BiCentennial celebration of this great Italian Consevatory with music composed by relatively unknown quality composers from the past history possibly originating from this school.  Professor Luigi Magistrelli, a noted soloist and a WKA Artist VIP, was actively involved in this concert with several professor colleagues and students of high standing participating as well.  Chamber music including sextets and Septets were performed, including  Peter Von Lichtenthal  Septet, Alessandro Rolla  Sextet, and Bonifazio Asioli   ( first director of the Milan Conservatory)   Sextet.

                                                   Ohio Gala participants, Artist Faculty, and Michele Gingras and Director Rebecca Rischen

19 April 2009

Ohio University Clarinet Gala - Dr Rebecca Rischen, Director

Athens, Ohio USA

             This annual major Clarinet event at this University under Dr Rebecca Rischen was a major success for the benefit of all the students and participants who came out.  Over 50 were in attendance involved in 2 Master Classes given by Miami University Professor Michele Gingras and Dr Rischen.   An interesting aspect about Dr Gingras is her extensive background and love for Klezmer Music, inspired by her mentor Giora Feidman, in which it was love at first heard.  She has made several recordings and has written extensively about the art of Klezmer playing, as shown by a marathon class involving participants on how to play the technical and musical aspects of playing this music.  She gave a Master Class for students in dealing with performance issues, such as the importance of relaxation and hand position with intriguing demonstrations showing how tense the students were.  If one were to totally relax, you would collapse, but her demonstrating with students by having them be as loose as possible- totally dropping their arms after being held up, sent an interesting message.  After that happened, the natural hand position revealed itself and perhaps gave insight as to doing this as a pre-play of the horn.   During the Klezmer Class, tonal flexibility was key, in dealing with tone bending, scooping, overtone playing without use of the register key which opened up flexibilty in chirping out the upper partials.  Many of these ideas can carry over to basic tonal voicing.  Charles Neidich places emphasis on this ability to voice the Clarinet and loosen up and be able to play high notes with more ease.  The morning sessions with Gingras were very useful.

            There was a Clarinet Choir reading session covering several pieces to cover ensemble playing, conducted by Dr Rischen and a Graduate student in Wind conducting. 

A Master Class for High School and one College student followed covering basic fundamentals and pointers as to improvement and problem solving.

            Michele Gingras gave a recital covering major literature and Klezmer music she is so expertly versed.  The evening concert featured a Potpourri Recital with guest Faculty and a Clarinet Choir from Wright University conducted by Dr Randall Paul.

           The entire day was without a boring moment, and was a way to meet others with parallel interests.  Quality of performances were first rate and diversified, giving broad insights for all to expand upon.  Dr Rischen is to be commended for this dedication.   She is an Artist VIP with WKA.



                        Artist Guest Faculty Dr Caroline Hartig and Amitai Vardi

18 April 2009

University of Akron Clarinet Day - Kris Belisle, Director

Akron, Ohio USA   

            On Saturday, April 18, 2009, the NorthEast Ohio Clarinet Association at the University of Akron hosted UA's Seventh Annual Clarinet Day.  Nearly 40 high school students attended with full attendance reaching 70, so it was a very exciting day!    Clinics and recitals were performed by UA clarinet faculty Dr. Kristina Belisle and Amitai Vardi and by the featured guest artist, Dr. Caroline Hartig of Michigan State University.   Hartig performed a recital, collegiate-level masterclass and also gave a clinic on circular breathing,  Other events included a performance by the Jackson High School Clarinet Choir, led by Michele Monigold and a clarinet choir reading session, led by Mark Tryon of Lake High School, a former UA clarinet alum.

Caroline Hartig is associate professor of clarinet at the Michigan State University College of Music.

Acclaimed as a clarinet soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan, Hartig has appeared with orchestras and contemporary music ensembles in major concert halls including Carnegie Hall, where she also made her solo debut; Merkin Concert Hall, Symphony Hall (Boston), and the Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music. She has performed as a guest artist for the International Clarinet Association and has been heard on National Public Radio’s "Morning Edition" and "Center Stage from Wolf Trap." Widely recognized and sought after for numerous new-music collaborations, Hartig recently performed the world premiere of Chalumeau for Solo Clarinet by Pulitzer-Prize-winning composer William Bolcom in Tokyo, Japan. She also can be heard on the compact disc Dancing Solo (Innova Records 512, featuring the solo and chamber clarinet works of composer Libby Larsen. “It is in Dancing Solo that Ms. Hartig really demonstrates her musicality and prodigious technique…simply virtuosic”(The Clarinet).

Other collaborations with Larsen include the world premiere of “Bally Deux,” a jazz/classical hybrid double concerto composed for Hartig and jazz clarinetist Eddie Daniels. Additionally, Hartig is heard on the compact disc Clarinet Brilliante (Centaur Records #2572 It was honored as a “Critics’ Choice” by the American Record Guide, which stated: “Hartig dazzles with numbing, blazing fluidity and rich, luxuriant fervor…coiled virtuosity.”

In a recent "Overview of Woodwind Recordings," American Record Guide cited Clarinet Brilliante as one of the “best of the best” for the performance of clarinet recital literature: “For some sweet-sounding barnburners, Caroline Hartig weaves a spellbinding recital.” Also selected as “Editor’s Choice” by Clarinet & Saxophone Magazine of Great Britain, Hartig’s artistry is described as “positively breathtaking in its scope and performance.” Hartig’s most recent CD, Clarinet Brilliante II (Centaur Records 2808) was released in September 2006.

In demand as a master teacher and clinician, Hartig has presented sessions at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, Band of America, and was on the faculty of the 2006 All State Band and Orchestra at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. She served as an adjudicator for the 2006 International Clarinet Association Young Artist Competition and is the Michigan state-chair for the International Clarinet Association. Hartig is a Buffet artist/clinician and performs on the Buffet Festival clarinet. For more information visit


          Clarinetist Amitai Vardi , an avid soloist, orchestral, and chamber musician, made his solo debut in 1995 with the Madison Symphony Orchestra as a first place winner of the Steenbock Young Artist Competition. He has since won several concerto competitions, including the Round Top International Festival Competition, Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competition, and Agnes Fowler Competition. In addition, Vardi has soloed with the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, and performed the North American premiere of Srul Glick's concerto The Klezmer's Wedding with members of the Pittsburgh Symphony. Currently serving as acting principal of Cleveland Opera, Vardi has substituted with several professional orchestras, including the New World Symphony, American Ballet Theatre, Monte Carlo Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and the Cleveland Orchestra, with which he toured to New York, Philadelphia, and Boston in 2003. His enthusiasm for chamber music — particularly in collaboration with string and piano players — has enabled him to perform concert tours in the United States, South America, Europe, and his native Israel. Vardi received his Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University in 1999, where he studied with Eli Eban, and his Master of Music degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, as a student of Franklin Cohen.

Credit is due to Professor Kristina Belisle for the success of this Day.  She is former Secretary of the International Clarinet Association and a WKA Artist VIP.


Mensi Clarinet Competition group and Artist Jury

From left Alfredo Vena , third price, Giuseppe Recchia, second prize, Giovanni Punzi, first prize

Jury with the winners (in the middle) of the “Excellence “ category  

9 April 2009

“Fabio Mensi” International Clarinet Competition in Breno (Italy) held April  7-8 -9  2009

Breno, Italy

        This annual competition involving various student levels with an International jury of acclaimed performers and Professors convened in Breno with Professor Luigi Magistrelli in a major role of ensuring its success.  

Jury :  Silvio Maggioni, Fabio di Casola, Nicola Miorada, Primo Borali, Luigi Magistrelli

9 April 2009

Ocala Symphony Orchestra 18th Annual Young Artist Competition held 24 January 2009  - Conductor Dr James Plondke, and Jennifer Suzanne MacClay, Freshman at the University of Florida with Winner's Performance 4 - 5 April performing Carl Maria von Weber's Clarinet Concerto No 2, Op 74

Ocala and Gainesville, Florida USA

            A major Soloist accomplishment is noted here with University of Florida Freshman Jennifer MaClay, who has won 2 competitions within a span of a few months, with the 18th Ocala Symphony Young Artists Competition and within her own University the 8th University of Florida Clarinet Studio Competition winning a Solo Performance with that ensemble, that has achieved International stature.  She won the 2009 Ocala Symphony Young Artist Competition and performed the Weber Concerto No. 2 in two concerts with the orchestra on April 4 & 5, 2009. She received $1,000 for winning the competition.

            Jenny also won the Eighth Annual University of Florida Clarinet Studio Concerto Competition and was soloist with the UF Clarinet
Ensemble in the Crusell Concerto No. 2 on April 9, 2009. We will be hearing a great deal about this brilliant young performer in the months and years ahead.

            Jenny MaClay has been a rapid developing up and coming player with an example setting quality having studied with solid teachers, and achieving notoriety as a soloist winner in many earlier young artist competitions in the Southeast United States.   What is vitally important for any young player is the drive and constant awareness and follow-up of pursuing opportunities leading to a cumulative success, and Ms MaClay has achieved that, in attending diligently Clarinet workshops, Symposiums, ClarinetFests, and achieving the distinction of attending the Buffet Clarinet Academy at younger age as a High School student against the competition to enroll by college students much older than her.

            Ms. Maclay is a graduate of Sparkman High School, Class of 2008, in Huntsville, Alabama.  She was the only North American high school student selected to participate in the inaugural year of the Buffet Crampon USA Summer Clarinet Academy.  She has appeared as soloist with the Huntsville Symphony and is currently a member of the University of Florida Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra and Clarinet Ensemble.    

5 April 2009

Larry Combs Reunion Tour and Master Classes with West Virginia Symphony

Charleston, West Virginia and on Tour

            A momentous and historic week occurred involving the West Virginia Symphony of Charleston with a four stateside city tour with West Virginia native from Charleston Larry Combs, Solo Clarinetist Emeritus from the Chicago Symphony, with a performance of the Carl M. von Weber 1st Clarinet Concerto Op 73 along with the Suppe Light Cavalry Overture and the Dvorak 8th Symphony.  On all concerts, the Orchestra was in top form making a meaningful array of events.  Maestro Grant Cooper, a proactive and inspired Music Director made this situation event with Combs possible, rendering deserved honors to this legend Clarinetist.  He has supported Clarinet performance with this Orchestra on several occasions including an appearance with Jazz great Ken Poplowski and with their own star Solo Clarinetist Robert Turizziani.  Performances of this tour included Princeton, Elkins, Charleston, and Lexington, all in fine halls.

              On Saturday 4 April at West Virginia State University in nearby Institute, a major Master Class with critical intense coaching took place involving 6 selected by audition students, who covered repertoire including the Artie Shaw Clarinet Concerto, the Weber Concertino Op 26, the Poulenc Sonata, the Mozart Concerto, and the Brahms 2nd Sonata, giving a diverse array for covering musical and technical points to benefit the students.  Each student had issues to be helped with and Combs coached with  positive suggestion and detailed covering of problems to be improved upon.  Result changes were seen very quickly in each of the students showing how they improved after this coaching. Logistical efforts by Education Manager Betty King made this class event well handled and attended.


           Immediately following this class, all were invited and came to a Music Shop in Charleston, Gorby's Music, operated by a longtime friend and Clarinetist Jerry Gorby, and included a reception and showing of many older Clarinets, including Boosey & Hawkes Symphony 10/10, noted in use in English Orchestras, the Wurlitzer Aeler System Klarinette, a Wurlitzer Reform Boehm Klarinette, a McIntyre Clarinet, and many others collected over the years.  In addition, there were books on Clarinet including Doctoral Papers on this subject.  Also shown were videos of the old days when both Combs and Gorby played together in High School, including an appearance on Nationwide Television in a Clarinet Ensemble.

           What is very unique and inspiring about this tour and Combs involvement here is the fact that the Orchestra took the charge to make this event possible, unlike a University initiating it.  This is a first and a great reflection on the Orchestra and its Music Director Maestro Cooper.  This Orchestra  is certainly a model to be benchmarked as a true supporter of music and musicians.

4 April 2009


The Isle of Raasay, Scotland, United Kingdom

               The Isle of Raasay, Scotland, UK became home to a solo bass clarinet course from 31st March – 4th April 2009.

               The course venue was supposed to have been Raasay House with the ensemble rarescale, but a major fire destroyed this wonderful 17th century building in January so the bass clarinet course transferred to the brand new community centre on the island whilst the rest of rarescale headed for the Isle of Skye.

               During the week, the participants played bass clarinet by day and the evenings were spent exploring the stunningly beautiful island and drinking the famous Scottish single malt whiskeys!

              The course content involved improvisation, technique, chamber music, individual lessons and concerts. Sarah’s pianist with her duo SCAW spent the Wednesday afternoon doing a session on bass clarinet and piano repertoire after a lunch concert in which SCAW performed core recital works.

              The Thursday afternoon saw rarescale visit Raasay for a concert of music for bass clarinet, alto/bass flute (Carla Rees) and electronics (Michael Oliva). There were several world premieres by Dan di Maggio and Iain Matheson.

              The highlight of the concert was a new solo work for bass clarinet by Sir Harrison Birtwistle called Roddy’s Reel. Birtwistle had lived on Raasay in the 1970s/80s and wrote Roddy’s Reel for Sarah to play on the island. Roddy was Birtwistle’s friend and Neighbour on the Island and Sarah was delighted that many of the islanders came to support the concert and to hear the piece that was written in memory of Roddy.

              The final day again saw the rarescale course return to Raasay for the end of course chamber music concert, The bass clarinets all joined together for a bass clarinet octet and quartets with a grand finale of two Raasay folk songs!

              The 2010 Raasay solo bass clarinet course will be held from 12th -16th April 2010.  Tutors will be Sarah Watts and Antony Clare.

More information is on or email Sarah on

Cornucopia Artist Faculty Steve Cohen, Marjorie Shearer, Rich Moore, Ramses Bugarin, and Director Gregory Barrett and Klezmer Dance performance with Clarinet Choir

4 April 2009

Clarinet Cornucopia - DeKalb University  - Dr Gregory Barrett, Director

DeKalb, Illinois USA

            The seventh annual NIU Clarinet Cornucopia, Clarinets in Motion, was held April 4, 2009 in DeKalb with 60 student, amateur, and professional clarinetists participating. Inspired by Karlheinz Stockhausen’s In Freundschaft, Dr. Gregory Barrett, the festival director and host, led a clarinet clock-like and circling warm-up. Sliding into the next session, conductor Patrick Sheehan began the first of two Cornucopia Choir rehearsals in works by Galay/Barrett, Kostianen, and Grainger/Sheehan all related to dance or marching. Moving out of our seats we gained insight into how our bodies communicate to an audience as soon as we walk onto a stage and during a performance through a movement workshop given by mime artists T. Daniel and Laurie Willets.


After a break to visit with Walter Grabner’s Clarinet Xpress and Jack Mogan’s Brookdale Music, Steve Cohen, professor of clarinet and Kay Kim, lecturer in piano at Northwestern University gave the featured recital. Steve and Kay were joined by T. Daniel and Laurie Willets in an innovative program of music and physical theatre. Steve began with a performance of Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo from behind a white back-lit screen. Only his silhouette was visible to the audience. With Laurie he performed two movements of Libby Larsen’s Dancing Solo. T. Daniel offered a solo piece without music and then Steve and Kay showcased their beautiful musicianship with an arrangement for clarinet and piano from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, as well as Astor Piazzolla’s Oblivion. Steve and Laurie offered a humorous set of Bedtime Stories by Tom Johnson for clarinet and narrator. Greg Barrett, playing Eb clarinet, joined Steve, T. and Laurie for the premiere of a newly created piece, Simple Dynamics, with music composed by Piotr Behr, a former clarinet student of Dr. Barrett’s. The recital concluded with both clarinetists and mime artists in the B Minor Two-part Invention #15 by J.S. Bach. Steve Cohen’s appearance was made possible by Buffet Clarinets.


Professor Cohen’s master class included performances by NIU students Marjorie Shearer, Rich Moore, and Ramses Bugarin in works of Weiner, Weber, and Jeanjean. Steve used the music and performances to stress the importance of knowing exactly what you want to communicate musically and then having the control and technical ability to clearly show your musical ideas.


The first of the two evening events was a Trio/Quartet competition with both High School and Open Divisions. A trio from Woodstock High School was the first place winner in their division. First through third places in the Open division were won by the Coast to Coast Quartet from NIU, Central College Clarinet Quartet (Pella, Iowa), and the By B-flats from Quincy, Illinois. The judges were Cindy Doggett from Central College, Walter Grabner, and Dan Sheridan from Winona State University. Vandoren provided reeds and other prizes for the competition. Thank you, David Gould and Vandoren!

            The day concluded with performances by the Luther J. Wright Junior-Senior High School Clarinet Choir from Ironwood, Michigan, Steven Boyd director, and the Cornucopia Choir. The Cornucopia Choir was joined for the performance of the Klezmer Suite by twelve dancers from NIU’s School of Theatre and Dance under the direction of Professor Judith Chitwood.


All in all it was a unique day focusing on many aspects of clarinets and motion. The 2010 NIU Cornucopia is being planned to include featured artist Eli Eban from Indiana University School of Music. Hope you can join us.


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Revised: September 01, 2009