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April 2012 Hot News


30 April 2012

Zurich, Switzerland

From Matthias Mueller, President of the ECA



The below galleries continue the contents of the full newsletter given its extensive content.


22 April 2012

Ohio University 10th Clarinet Gala - Dr Rebecca Rischin, Director

Athens, Ohio USA

               On Sunday, April 22, 2012, Ohio University hosted its tenth clarinet gala, a full day of clarinet events for all ages and interests. Teachers, students, parents, amateurs, and professionals attended. New this year was the inauguration of the Honors Clarinet Choir, featuring outstanding high school students selected competitively through live and recorded auditions from all over Ohio. All events took place in Robert Glidden Hall, the School of Music, on the campus of Ohio University in Athens.

              The featured guest artists were Kelly Burke and Anthony Taylor, both professors of clarinet at the Univeristy of North Carolina-Greensboro. They presented a wonderful master class featuring Ohio University students, and a super recital with pianist James Douglass, featuring works by Burgmuller, McAllister, Mandat, and Rutty.

             In addition to Burke and Taylor's recital and master class, the day included a master class with Rebecca Rischin, Professor of Clarinet at Ohio University, featuring students from the Honors Clarinet Choir, and a host recital featuring Rischin performing works by Tower and Carnicer y Battle. The Honors Clarinet Choir presented a fantastic concert performing works by Cardon and Mozart. Joining them for the last piece on the program were Burke and Taylor, who performed Mendelssohn's Concertpiece No. 2 with clarinet choir accompaniment. Current Ohio University students and guests of the gala also participated in this last piece. The day ended with a big pizza party.

Hear the Grand Finale Honors Clarinet Choir 2012 Concert!

20 - 21 April 2012

Chicago Clarinet Collaborations with Guest Artists Jon Manasse (Solo Clarinetist in the New York City Ballet Orchestra, The Mostly Mozart Orchestra, Faculty at the Juilliard School and the Eastman School of Music), and Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr and the Verdehr Trio, at Northeast Illinois University, Dr Rose Sperrazza, Director with Performance with the Chicago Clarinet Ensemble

Chicago, Illinois USA

            The weekend of these dates featured the famed Chicago Clarinet Ensemble with VIP Director Rose Sperrazza with two major Clarinet icons, both Artist VIP's Jon Manasse with renowned Pianist Jon Nakamatsu, and Dr Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr and her Violinist husband Walter Verdehr participating in Master Classes each and special concerts, all posted in this summary in the galleries.   Every time there is an event like this, the performance standard is quite outstanding with what is offered to everyone who comes and this is no exception.   Students who played the classes could see their improvement technically and musically as they were paced intensely by Mr Manasse and Dr Verdehr.  There was also a Master Class done for pianists with Jon Nakamatsu, with near spectacular results with the pianists participating.  One incredible pianistic quality from Nakamatsu was the dynamic power at the keyboard and the students sensed it like the attending audience. The Manasse Duo with him makes the whole scene very special.

Jon Manasse Master Class

Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr Master Class

Katherine Pirtle Reedual Seminar

Along with the classes and the two concerts, there was a seminar on Reed making using the Reedual machine invented and sold for years by Goerge Crossman, who recently passed away.  Katherine Pirtle, a professional Orchestral player and teacher, gave an extensive presentation and thorough demonstration on the whole reed process using this machine with participants involved.  Now that Crossman is gone, serious efforts are being done to see that this machine continues to be available with her and associates.

            Although this was only a two day event, it was well worth the coming in for it.  Because of the Chicago Symphony Russian tour, John Bruce Yeh, the Co-Director and Clarinet Ensemble Conductor, was unable to be here this weekend, but the show went on without a hitch thanks to Rose Sperrazza and students supporting this effort.  At the Final Concert consisting of ensemble music and the Clarinet Choir, David Tuttle conducted a memorial tribute to the late Lorin Levee, Solo Clarinetist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic who passed away in February by Percy Grainger.   On the Clarinet Ensemble concert, the Verdehrs performed a Concerto for Violin and Clarinet, scored from a String Orchestra to Clarinet Ensemble by James Niblock, composer at Michigan State University.  Of interest, the Verdehr Trio next year will have been active for 40 years, in the performance and commissioning of new works by major composers to expand the repertoire for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano and other combinations, a major feat for any ensemble.  Several volumes of recordings have been produced, and it is hoped this will increase performance and appreciation of this work. 

            It is so important for players and students to be acutely aware and attend as many of these events as possible to broaden their concepts and inspire their self improvement.   Credit is always out to those who pay a high price in effort to make these activities possible.

16 April 2012

Clarinetist Amitai Vardi, an avid soloist, Orchestral, and Chamber musician, recently appointed Assistant Professor of Clarinet at Kent State University

Kent, Ohio USA

              Clarinetist Amitai Vardi, an avid soloist, orchestral, and chamber musician, was recently appointed Assistant Professor of Clarinet at Kent State University. Vardi made his solo debut at the age of sixteen 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, The Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competition, and the Agnes Fowler Competition. In addition, Vardi has been a featured soloist with the Spoleto Symphony Orchestra, and performed the North American premiere of Srul Glick's concerto, The Klezmer's Wedding, with members of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

             Vardi began his studies with Eva Wasserman-Margolis, James Smith, and Linda Bartley. He later received his Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University, where he studied with Eli Eban, and his Master of Music degree at The Cleveland Institute of Music, as a student of Franklin Cohen. Mr. Vardi pursued his post- graduate studies with Yehuda Gilad in Los Angeles. 

             Vardi has extensive teaching experience both at the college level and with youth.   Since 2008, Vardi has been on the faculty at the University of Akron teaching both clarinet and chamber music.   During that period he has also been the Director and Conductor of CityMusic Kids, an El Sistema program in inner-city Cleveland.

              His enthusiasm for chamber music has led to performances across the United States, South America, Europe, and his native Israel. Vardi is a member of the Black Squirrel Winds featuring the woodwind faculty at Kent State University. He is featured in several chamber music CDs, and later this year will appear on a recording with his father, cellist Uri Vardi.

               As an orchestral player, Vardi served as principal clarinetist of Red {an orchestra}, and Lyric Opera Cleveland. He currently holds positions with Opera Cleveland, Blue Water Chamber Orchestra, City Music Cleveland, and Blossom Band and Orchestra. Vardi has performed with many orchestras, including the American Ballet Theatre, Jeoffrey Ballet, The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra, with which he performed dozens of concerts and has toured to New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Miami.

10 - 13 April 2012

International Masterclass Apeldoorn 2012 with Charles Neidich

Apeldoorn, The Netherlands

              For some years World Class Clarinetist Charles Neidich has been involved in world tour Master Classes and Festivals and judging Competitions in addition to his performance activities in New York including the New York Woodwind Quintet, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and his teaching at several major Schools such as Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, etc.  The Apeldoorn Masterclass just held involved interaction with many of the most promising advanced players with a future waiting to open up for them.  The above galleries atest to the personal commitment shown in Mr Neidich's activities.   Many of the most successful students were and are students of Mr Neidich, who appears to be the next Higher bar in performance after his teacher Leon Russianoff.  Of interest,  Charles Neidich teamed up and co-designed a new Clarinet in Bamberg, Germany with the firm Schwenk & Seggelke resulting in the C1000 Clarinet with French bore with many tech improvements.  He plays on a Boxwood model which produces a very warm sound and suitable for Soloist and Chamber Music.   These Clarinets are hand made and must be ordered in advance.  Such quality cannot be mass produced.

13 April 2012

7th Millersville University Single Reed Symposium - Dr Christy Banks Director

Lancaster, Pennsylvania USA

             The 7th Single Reed Symposium held at this University under Dr Christy Banks, Clarinet Professor here, with a fine Artist Faculty including Anthony Costa from Penn State University, Beverly Butts, Faith Shiffer, and Michele Gingras from Miami University in Ohio, who is an authority on Klezmer Music, and Russell Peterson, from Concordia Cillege in Indiana and an authority on Jazz Improvization and a fabulous virtuoso.  All these teachers and performers were availed all day for Master Classes, Seminars on their key subject area, and gave outstanding performances.  All events took place at the Ware Center in the middle of Lancaster away from the main campus, a facility with an outstanding hall and many areas for rehearsal and classroom space.   This day covered both Clarinet and Saxophone with classes simultaneous to cater for those interested in the instruments.  The above photo galleries give an insight about the happenings all day.

Anthony Costa Master Class

Michele Gingras Klezmer Class

             Master classes given by Anthony Costa and Michele Gingras covered diverse areas including fundamentals and individual attention to the issues from each student.  Ms Gingras held a major class fully covering some history of Klezmer, referencing the great Giora Feidman (King of klezmer) who in fact rejuvonated the interest in performance of this music. 

The US Army Field Band Sax Quartet

Faith Shiffer in Recital and Millersville Clarinet Choir and Saxophone Choir

Christy Banks with Millersville University Big Band (Artie Shaw Concerto and Russell Peterson Trio

            Several performances during the day included recitals from Ms Gingras,  Anthony Costa, a Clarinet Quartet with the above Clarinet faculty, The US Army Field Band Saxophone Quartet, and in the evening the Millersville Big Band performing their program including the Artie Shaw Clarinet Concerto with Christy Banks as soloist.

             As intangible as things seem, not much can be said except that the participants who came surely benefited from the total experience being with such great artist/teachers and witnessing great performance which hopefully will follow them to new levels of performance and quality perceptions.  Great credit is owing to Dr Banks and the faculty and students supporting this program.


 10 April 2012

Scott McAllister - Epic  Concerto World Premiere - SSG Timothy Sutfin, The US Army Band (Pershings' Own) - 10 April 2012  

Fort Myer, Virginia USA

SSG Tim Sutfin Premieres New Work for Clarinet

On Tuesday, April 10, 2012, at 7:30pm, SSG Tim Sutfin performed the world premiere of a new work for clarinet and piano by the American composer Scott McAllister, as part of the Army Band-hosted Brucker Hall Chamber Music Series.

The new concerto, given the title "Epic Concerto" by the composer, is the result of a co-commission by 11 professional clarinetists. At nearly an hour in length, the piece is conceived as an entire recital program divided into seven movements. McAllister intended the work to be either performed in its entirety, or with individual movements performed as stand-alone works.

"The Epic Concerto is inspired by some of my life experiences as a clarinetist and composer," writes McAllister in a note included in the score. The seven movements draw on influences from former teachers and legendary clarinet performers.

Several "premieres" of the work have been planned, but Sutfin will give the official world premiere at the April 10 concert. In August, he will travel to Lincoln, NE, to perform the first three movements of the piece, alongside other clarinetists involved in the commission (who will perform the remaining movements), at the International Clarinet Association's Clarinet-Fest.

Timothy Sutfin was joined by pianist SSG Yalin Chi of the U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point. Live audio from the event will be broadcast via

SSG Timothy Sutfin has been a member of The U.S. Army Band "Pershing’s Own" since 2010. Prior to joining The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own", SSG Sutfin began his military career in 2008 as the Eb clarinetist with The United States Military Academy Band at West Point. In addition to a successful military career, SSG Sutfin served as second clarinet with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic from 2005-2008. He has also performed with the Richmond Symphony, Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, Winston-Salem Symphony, Texas Festival Orchestra, Quartz Mountain Music Festival Orchestra, and served on the faculty at Oklahoma City University from 2007 to 2008. SSG Sutfin received a Bachelor of Music Magna cum Laude from Northwestern University in 2004, and a Master of Music with High Honors from Oklahoma City University in 2007. His primary teachers include Russell Dagon, Jane Carl, Charlene Zimmerman and Chad Burrow.

4 April 2012

Mika Yoshida and Richard Stoltzman at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall performing Classic/Jazz

New York City USA

by Mike Engle


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