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April 2019 Hot News



17 April 2019

Manhattan School of Music Celebrates its 100 Year Anniversary at Carnegie Hall with Gala Concert

New York City USA

Manhattan School of Music celebrates its Centennial with a Gala Concert hosted by Alec Baldwin and conducted by Leonard Slatkin. The program features classical, jazz, operatic, and musical theatre works performed by artists drawn from the ranks of the MSM Community, including mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard, violinist Glenn Dicterow, pianist Olga Kern, organist Kent Tritle, violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, pianist André-Michel Schub, MSM Director of Orchestral Activities George Manahan, and many more.


Alec Baldwin, Host
Leonard Slatkin, Conductor
MSM Symphony Orchestra
MSM Precollege Philharmonic Orchestra
MSM Symphonic Chorus and Chamber Choir
American String Quartet
Susan Graham, Mezzo-Soprano
Terence Blanchard, Trumpet
Glenn Dicterow, Violin
Olga Kern, Piano
Kent Tritle, Organ
André-Michel Schub, Piano
Kelly Hall-Tompkins, Violin
George Manahan, Conductor
J'Nai Bridges, Mezzo-Soprano
Raehann Bryce-Davis, Mezzo-Soprano
Dominic Cheli, Piano
Mark Delpriora, Guitar
Blake Friedman, Tenor
Nathan Hetherington, Conductor
Thomas Lausmann, Piano
David Leisner, Guitar
Yunpeng Wang, Baritone


ANNA CLYNE <<rewind<<

SHOSTAKOVICH Festive Overture

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Serenade to Music

VIVALDI Selections from Concerto in A Minor for Two Violins, Strings, and Continuo from L'estro armonico, Op. 3, No. 8

TERENCE BLANCHARD "Mantra" from A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina)

BORODIN Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor

STEPHEN GOSS "Gypsy Song" from Carmen Fantasy

WAGNER The Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walküre (arr. Chevillard)

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV "Flight of the Bumblebee"

BERLIOZ "Je vais mourir" from Les Troyens, Part II, Op. 5

BARBER Quintet from Vanessa

BOCK/HARNICK “When Did I Fall In Love” from Fiorello!

JOHN KANDER “Perfectly Marvelous” from Cabaret

SAINT-SAËNS Finale from Symphony No. 3, "Organ"






14 - 18 April 2019

Gran Canaria International Clarinet Festival - VIP Radovan Cavallin, and Kristin Dizon, Directors

Canary Islands, Spain


15 April 2019

Music from the Heart from the Musicians of the Chicago Symphony (On Strike for a month)

Chicago, Illinois USA

Video of concert and explanation of the Strike action by VIP John Bruce Yeh

Chicago Symphony Orchestra clarinetist John Bruce Yeh speaks on musicians strike

By George Marlowe
15 April 2019

                            Musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) are currently in the sixth week of their longest-ever strike. Last week, they courageously rejected the intransigent “last, best and final” offer of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA), which could destroy their pensions and lower the artistic standards of the symphony.

                            At last week’s free concert at St. James Cathedral, which was one of many widely attended and successful free concerts performed by the musicians, the WSWS spoke with striking CSO musician John Bruce Yeh about the issues at stake in the strike.

                            Yeh joined the CSO in 1977 at the age of 19 and is the longest-tenured clarinetist in the orchestra’s history. Yeh has been the assistant principal clarinetist and E-flat clarinetist. In 1979, he became the founder and director of the chamber ensemble, Chicago Pro Musica. The first recording of the ensemble of Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldatwon the 1985 Grammy award for the best new classical artist. Yeh also taught at DePaul University’s School of Music for more than two decades and joined the faculty of Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts in 2004.

Interview with John Yeh at St. James Cathedral. Video edited by Michael Walters


                    Yeh, a charismatic performer and music educator, spoke about the strike last week and its broader implications. “We’ve been on strike into the fifth week,” he said. “This is unprecedented in the 128 years of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It is a very serious and dire situation that we have been put into.

                   “When I joined in 1977, we were clearly the leaders in all aspects of conditions, compensation, pension benefits and, of course, artistic quality. Our music director at the time, Sir Georg Solti, would always come to us and give us a pep talk and say, ‘My dears, we must maintain our standard. And we must raise our standard! This is a very difficult thing, but we must do it!’”

                   Solti was one of the more influential conductors of the CSO, from 1969 to 1991. He was replaced by world-famous conductor Daniel Barenboim, from 1991 to 2006. The current music director is Ricardo Muti, who directed the CSO musicians after Barenboim’s departure.

                   “Solti understood the importance of keeping the standard high, both musically and with respect to our conditions that allow us to be musically the greatest,” Yeh noted.

                   “The two major issues in our strike are our retirement benefits, which we have been guaranteed now for 50 years. We have a defined-benefit pension plan that our management has been insistent on removing. What we can deduce from that is they don’t really care about the money issue, I believe. It is becoming increasingly clear that this is an ideological agenda of our Board of Trustees. Our arts organization is a cultural jewel of the world.”

                    “It seems to be class warfare,” he added, “and we will not accept that.”

                     What the musicians confront in the strike is even bigger, in fact, than the issue of pensions and salary, as vital as that is, and bigger than the problem of the individual oligarchs and billionaires who control the CSOA board, such as Helen Zell, the wife of multi-billionaire real estate mogul, Sam Zell.

                    CSO musicians confront the aristocratic principle in defending not only pensions and salary, but music and art in general. Art, music and culture cannot survive under a society where the financial aristocracy and the ruling class determine what is acceptable, even as three billionaires control more wealth than half of the population in the United States.

                    Life under capitalism today is characterized by immense global social inequality, endless wars, attacks on democratic rights, police violence, poverty conditions for millions of workers and increasing authoritarianism and the danger of fascism. Funding for arts and education in the US has been decimated, with the support of both parties of big business, the Democrats and the Republicans, and with the complicity of the trade unions and their boosters.                    Such conditions make life for millions intolerable and certainly will not allow art and music to flourish, let alone allow the preservation of a good pension for musicians. Most orchestra musicians today make around $30,000 a year, on par with the poverty wages of teachers, who emerged into mass struggles in the last year in the United States and globally.

John Bruce Yeh


                  “Salaries,” Yeh noted, “have not kept pace with other major orchestras, our peer orchestras. We are trying to maintain and preserve and raise the standard of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.” CSO musicians have had to accept salary increases below inflation in previous contracts and are currently demanding higher raises than the proposals by management, which would continue to be below inflation.

n               “It is so heartwarming and amazing to see great support worldwide, from Chicago and the public, the teachers, the construction workers, the stagehands of course,” he added, about the immense support the musicians have received.

                  “If there is a silver lining to this terrible cloud,” he said about the strike, “it has brought the musicians even closer, we have greater solidarity. Because we not only fight for ourselves, for our successors, for our tradition, but for all orchestras throughout the United States. If we give out, if we give in, we will have let everybody down. We don’t intend to do that.”

                   Daniel Gingrich played the horn at the St. James Cathedral free public concert last Wednesday. Dennis Michel played the bassoon, Mio Nakamura played the piano and William Welter played the oboe. The musicians performed stirring renditions of the Sonata in B Flat Major, HWV 357 by George Frideric Handel, the Sonata in F Minor, Op. 120, No. 1 by Johannes Brahms and the Quintet in E Flat Major, K. 452 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

                 “We played music that is very, very dear to our hearts,” Yeh reflected. “I played the Brahms Sonata for clarinet and piano, the first of two sonatas that he wrote.

                 “They were the last instrumental pieces that Brahms wrote,” he added. “They are both autumnal in their beauty and also very optimistic in their end. That encapsulates the emotions we face today.

                 “And we played Mozart, which is always happy music. The Mozart quintet we played is reputed to be the favorite piece that he wrote. The Handel oboe sonata was played by one of our newest members, William Welter, a fabulous young oboe player. And I have to give a tip of the hat to our pianist Mio Nakamuro, who has been such a champion to join us in this concert and many concerts throughout the city during this time that we have been out of orchestra hall.”

                Continuing to speak on the strike, Yeh noted, “The way we feel that the fight that we carrying on right now is that we are demanding to be valued for what we are and what we do. We really feel that we are being devalued on a constant basis—not enough money. When we have discussions, negotiations, it’s always about them trying to take away from us. In doing so, they take away from our ability to provide society with what we need to nurture and nourish our society. Our traditions need to be examined.”

                When asked what he thought about the rise of nationalism, fascism and increasing forms of authoritarianism internationally and the role of the musician, he said, “Music, the arts, all sorts of arts, are food for the soul. We need to nurture and nourish our soul. We need to continue to fight to have the opportunity to do that. If we have massive inequality, poverty and rising authoritarianism, then that is just antithetical to have a society that is raised up, where everybody is raised up with cultural benefits, with music, art, with just joy. Unfortunately our society today is going in the opposite direction.”

               “We are committed to fighting for continued growth in the arts and the ability to have music for everybody,” he said about the importance of broad access to arts and culture. “Our music director Maestro Muti is very keen on taking our message all around the world to people who don’t have access to it. We played in prisons, in places where people don’t ordinarily have the chance to hear our music at this level.

               “Our very, very good friend, Yo-Yo Ma, is another one who has really used his ability and artistry to draw people towards understanding that art and music is really food for the soul. And we can rise above strife, above poverty, if we use art as a means of communication. It’s a means to connection.”

              On Saturday, musician Ma performed Bach’s Suite No. 1 for the cello at the Juarez-Lincoln international bridge at the US-Mexico border to oppose the attacks on immigrants by the Trump administration and the political establishment.

Striking musicians at St James


                 “We have an international orchestra,” Yeh said about the world-class musicians in the CSO. “When I joined the orchestra in 1977, I was the first Asian member of the orchestra, but I was born in America. Now we have about 20 musicians who are immigrants, from South America, from Scandinavia, from all corners of the world. We are an international group of musicians. To devalue anybody because they are not born in America is antithetical to common sense. We reject the notion that immigrants should be devalued in any way. We will continue to stand up for that.”

                Speaking about the recent wave of teachers strikes, Yeh added, “What we as musicians, as artists do, is encourage this sort of activity by reaching out and giving strength to the uprising of the working class. I really want to emphasize that. We are with the working class. We are the working people!”

                While there is a constant refrain by the CSOA board and the rest of the political establishment that there is no money for pensions and other social programs, trillions of dollars continue to be spent to carry out criminal wars and boost the profits of Wall Street and the super rich. The fortunes of just the Zells ($5.5 billion) alone could fund a 100-person orchestra making $150,000 a year for the next 367 years.

                The United States is home to 540 billionaires, with immense wealth concentrated in a few hands at the expense of the vast majority. Resources exist, but it poses the question of who controls society—the vast majority of the world’s working class that produce society’s wealth, or a tiny handful of social parasites who control it?


14 April 2019

University of Maryland Clarinet Day and Sidney Forrest Clarinet Competition - VIP Robert DiLutis, Director, with VIPs Laura Grantier and Julia Heinen

College Park, Maryland USA




13 April 2019

East New Mexico Clarinet Celebration with VIP Timothy Phillips








4 - 14 April 2019

Samnium International Competition

Benevento, Italy



13 April 2019

Radovan Cavallin Žerjal performs world premiere of  Tomislav Antun Šaban Concerto for Clarinet and Strings written as a present for my 50th Birthday at 30. Music Biennale Festival in Zagreb, Croatia with a brilliant Chamber String Orchestra of Slovenian Filharmonic wonderfully conducted by Steven Loy

Zagreb, Croatia




12 - 13 April 2019

University of Oregon Clarinet Symposium and Competition - VIP Wonkak Kim, Director

Portland, Oregon USA







10 April 2019

VIP Jorge Montilla Master Class at the University of California at Northridge - VIP Julia Heinen, Host

Northridge, California USA


David Gilbert
Daniel Gilbert
Jeff Lederer
Jeff Lederer
Levana Cohen
Levana Cohen
Anat Cohen
Anat Cohen
Christine Altman
Christine Altman
Christine Doré
Christine Doré
















6 April 2019

Long Island University (LIU) Clarinet Fest

Brookville, New York




6 April 2019

VIP Simon Reitmaier Master Class

Kulmbach, Germany



6 April 2019

4th Annnual Southeastern Louisiana University Single Reed Day




5 April 2019

Renowned Clarinetist and Clarinet Maker from Argentina Luis Rossi appointed to the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University

Bloomington, Indiana USA

                         The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of clarinetist Luis Rossi as visiting professor of music in clarinet, effective Aug. 1, 2019.

                         In her book “Clarinet Virtuosi of Today,” British clarinet historian Pamela Weston described Rossi as the “only top player in the world performing with instruments of his own design and construction.”

                       He is the founder and owner of L. Rossi Clarinets, which produces a complete line of renowned clarinets.

                      Hailed by critics as “a first-class soloist” for his “supple, soaring melodic lines” and “effortless technique” (The Clarinet), Rossi received the Konex Prize in 1989, an honor he shares with fellow Argentines Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim. Most recently, he was honored alongside Karl Leister and Charles Neidich by the International ClarinetFest 2018.

                     “It is with great pleasure that the Woodwinds Department at the Jacobs School of Music welcomes legendary clarinetist and instrument designer Luis Rossi,” said Kathleen McLean, associate professor and chair of the department. “He brings a wealth of expertise on so many levels—as a brilliant clarinetist, a world-class pedagogue and an instrument acoustician.”

                     Born in Viedma, Argentina, Rossi began his clarinet studies at age 13, studying in Buenos Aires and London, where he was a pupil of John McCaw. Rossi moved to Chile in 1978, where his clarinet workshop and solo career continued to flourish.

                    Accompanied by the Chile Chamber Orchestra, he has performed the canon of clarinet works throughout Europe and South America. Alongside the Simon Bolivar Symphony in Caracas, he gave the South American premieres of three contemporary clarinet concertos—by John Corigliano, Blas Atehortúa and Adina Izarra, the last two written in dedication to Rossi.

                  Regularly offering recitals, he has been a featured guest artist and pedagogue at institutions and venues such as Lincoln Center, New England Conservatory’s International Clarinet Connection, Lemmens Institute (Leuven), London’s Royal College of Music, Michigan State University, Indiana University, Western Michigan University, Oberlin College and Ohio State University.

                 A talented pedagogue, Rossi’s teaching activities in Caracas, Santiago and Buenos Aires have helped to produce an outstanding and unprecedented generation of clarinetists. His six acclaimed solo CDs are available for download.

               “It is a great honor to become part of the faculty at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music,” said Rossi. “This is one of the best music schools in the world, and I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues Howard Klug and Eli Eban to train the next generation of top-notch professional clarinetists.”

2 April 2019

VIP Julian Bliss Clarinet Workshop at Rowen University - Dr  Rie Suzuki, Host

Rowen, New Jersey USA




 1 April 2019

VIP and Solo Clarinetist Stephen Williamson performs Mozart Clarinet Concerto with Striking Musicians of the Chicago Symphony at the Teachers Union at the Benito Juarez Academy

Pilsen, Illinois USA

Video of the Concert with Steve Williamson playing the Mozart Concerto

             As day 22 of our strike comes to an end after playing our second orchestral concert at the Benito Juarez Academy in Pilsen, some images of the past week set to the beautiful playing of our principal clarinet Stephen Williamson’s performance of Mozart’s clarinet concerto with the Musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Chicago Teachers Union last Monday. I feel so inspired by the positivity and support from people on the picket line, on social media, on the street, at our performances and the San Francisco Symphony Musicians, Musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and I hope we will be back in Orchestra Hall performing soon

CSO review: Striking musicians play off campus

                             The standing-room-only crowd that packed Chicago Teachers Union Headquarters on Monday evening came to hear something unusual: the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in exile.

                            For the first time since calling a strike on March 10, the CSO instrumentalists convened en masse to reach an audience longing to hear them. That much was apparent from the duration and frequency of its standing ovations.

                          “We are here to say thank you,” veteran CSO bassist Stephen Lester told the crowd before the first notes sounded.

                         The gratitude was “for the tremendous support we have had, not just the past few weeks, but for our entire careers,” added Lester, who’s also chair of the musicians’ negotiating committee.

                      “Words can’t really describe how important it is to see a big crowd like this at an event like this.”

                      Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, told the audience that he and his colleagues were “very proud” to host the event. Then, while looking toward the musicians, Montgomery added, “We are honored to stand with you today in this room.”

                    The most eloquent statements in the free concert, however, came not with words but with music. For the CSO brought palpable fervor to Beethoven and Mozart, as if underscoring what this occasion meant to them.

                  Longtime CSO principal trombone Jay Friedman served as conductor, opening with Beethoven’s “Egmont” Overture. Even if you didn’t know that the work – like so much of Beethoven’s music – addresses the theme of resistance, there was no mistaking the ardor of the CSO’s message. The solemnity of the opening pages illuminated the gravity of these times, while the unstoppable crescendo that followed pointed to this orchestra’s corporate strength.

                 Friedman led a performance that was warm in tone and devoid of bombast, in essence tailoring the scope of the performance for the room’s size. Though it was unfortunate that what sounded like a noisy ventilation system provided an unwanted obbligato, the spirit of the occasion transcended this annoyance.

               Next, CSO principal clarinet Stephen Williamson stepped forward to play Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, without a conductor. This underscored the evening’s intimacy, listeners in effect hearing soloist and orchestra in what amounted to a chamber-music setting.

             The fluidity and gracefulness Williamson brought to the first movement served its innate lyricism, thanks to his elegant turns of phrase and delicate tonal shadings. It was easy to savor the sense of stillness and repose Williamson conjured in the second movement, the CSO strings providing the most tender playing of the night. Though the finale seemed hasty, there was no denying the clarity of Williamson’s articulation, even at such a clip.

             Conductor Friedman returned to the forefront for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, the reading straightforward, texturally lucid and free of histrionics. The orchestra’s depth of sound told the story here, the momentum of the performance interrupted briefly when the room’s overhead lights inexplicably went out during the scherzo. In a few moments they were back on, the musicians forging ahead. The gathering force of the finale reminded everyone of what a great orchestra can achieve under stress.

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  Revised: April 20, 2019