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August 2008 Hot News

Safed Israel

Safed hills

Cafe along Old Town Safed

Safed City walking Street

Walking Tour thru Safed

                                        Philippe Cuper in Master Classes and Performance

                                        Ilan Schul in Clarinet Ensemble and Performance

18 August 2008 

Clarinet & Klezmer in the Galilee Music Festival with Giora Feidman - Israel

Safed, Israel

Klezmer- a universal musical form and way of life, expressing our inborn desire to create music and dance

          One of the most comprehensive Clarinet Festivals  was held in Safed, a Holy City in Israel known as an origin of Kabbala (Jewish Mysticism) and connected to Klezmer Jewish folk music which originated in Eastern Europe and has its connections in Israel.  The seven days (11 - 18 August) was comprehensive in substantial training with lessons exceeding 14 hours a day, Master Classes, Clarinet Choir rehearsals and ensemble rehearsals with students, five Potpourri concerts held at the outdoor courtyard at the Sariah Center lasting 2 -3 hours each night, for audiences numbering in the thousands, and including performances by faculty and students alike in high powered performances.   The most special aspect of this festival was the emphasis on the Klezmer approach to playing as focused by Giora Feidman, the Director of this event, and by exposure all week the hope that the concept takes root in the students. In addition to this aspect, the festival included broad coverage of Classical and Jazz as taught and performed by such luminaries as Philippe Cuper, Solo Clarinetist in the Paris Opera,  Ilan Schul, Head of Clarinet at the Jerusalem Academy of Music, Eva Wasserman-Margolis, and several others listed on the Faculty Roster.  This Festival was held with collaboration with a major Klezmer Festival also held in Safed.  Robert Majeric, a Clarinetist from Germany, has posted a site with galleries from this Festival which can show the tradition and value of this program. The site is:

          As the galleries above will indicate, the excitement and enthusiasm is well evident, as all the participants were well taught and inspired by the faculty, and performed in conjunction with them all week.  Legend Giora Feidman performed to incredible levels all week.   This is the 5th year of this Festival and it has attracted many of the most important clarinetists worldwide, and has become a prime cultural opportunity for players to learn their craft and be exposed to the fusion of Classical, Jazz, and Klezmer, making for a well rounded approach to musical approaches and styles.  This Festival is one of the most important to be involved in given its extensive credibility.

                                              Josef Balogh in rehearsal and Combo Performance

16 August 2008

Windland Music Festival and Master Classes with Josef Balogh

Budapest, Hungary

           Josef Balogh, a renowned Solo Clarinetist Internationally and well known for Klezmer and Hungarian Ethnic Music, held his annual Music Festival under the wings of the Windland Foundation which is active in present restoration of a castle for the purpose of holding Music Festivals and Workshops during the year.  As can be seen in the above galleries, many student levels are seen studying and benefitting from the training here.  Performances were given in the Hungarian taste with outdoor performances, and also the acclaimed InterClarinet ensemble, consisting of artists from Vienna, Augsburg, Germany, Mr Balogh, and Berlin.  As the Fall Newsletter points out, festivals like these are eye-openers to grow in the International taste of musical performance.

Buffet Academy Students

Forteza Lesson

Bloom Bass Clarinet Lesson

9 August 2008

Buffet-Crampon Summer Clarinet Academy -  4 - 9 August 2008

Jacksonville, Florida USA

        The 2nd Buffet Clarinet Academy, held at the campus of the North Florida University, was a major artistic building ground for the 14 pre-auditioned students who qualified to attend, and being involved in intensive private study, master classes on several subjects relating to high performance, a workshop class on vital instrument maintenance given by Artisan Francois Kloc, and recital concerts presented by both faculty and students.  This, unlike many other Master Class courses, comprises the best of the best in performers as faculty and students.  This year's Academy Artist Faculty was again an unparalleled assembly of some of finest clarinetists in the world! Students accepted to the Academy had the opportunity to study with J. Lawrie Bloom (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Pascual Martinez-Forteza (New York Philharmonic), Eugene Mondie (National Symphony Orchestra) and Ronald Van Spaendonck (Mons and Brussels Royale Conservatoire, Brussels, Belgium), and Victoria Luperi (Fort Worth Symphony. 

Artist Faculty Collage 2008 copy 3.jpg

               Below is a student summary account of this great week from her perspective.  She is Jenny MacClay, a gifted grassroots clarinetist to become a Freshman student at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she will be studying with Mitchell Estrin, a renowned Professor and longtime touring member of the New York Philharmonic.     This is my recital on Saturday night.    This is the "performance" of Cage's Story from Living Room Music by Kali, me, Kevin, and Stephen.

I just got back from the first day of BCA, and it's looking like it might be better than last year! There are only fourteen students this year, so that means longer lessons, more individual attention, and more free stuff! When I got to the airport on Sunday, Matt Vance from Buffet picked me up, and we got a call from Lawrie Bloom saying he flew in on the CSO (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) 1 instead of the Air Force 1, so that's why we didn't see him at first. He never fails to crack me up! After we dropped him off at his fancy hotel, we got to the apartments, and Professor Estrin gave me a Buffet swag bag full of CD's, reeds, articles, shirts, hats, and lots more! The apartments are very accomodating - I'm staying with Kali and Christina from UF, and we each have our own room and shower, and we have a shared living room and kitchen! After I unpacked, a few friends and I decided to go to Rita's for a dinner consisting of gelato and shaved ice. :-)
Today was clarinet-packed and lots of fun! At breakfast, we found a hungry duck and named him "Darkwing" after the cartoon. I had the instrument technology class next with Francois, and we only had four students total. Even though we took all the keys off the clarinet last year and I've been practicing on my plastic clarinets, it was still frightening, but Francois can fix anything! Unlike last year, we had more time and fewer students, so he taught us his secrets of polishing and making the clarinet look brand new again! I've had a problem with spit leaking out of a tonehole, and he told me to put almond oil in it, because oil and water don't mix, and the problem's gone! He's a genius, and the clarinet world would be nowhere without him!
After that, I had an hour to practice before lunch, so I befriended some new people from UCLA and played duets with them. By far the best part of the day was my lesson with Ronald van Spaendonck, my favorite teacher from last year. We worked on the Paganini and Weber Polacca, then he put me in his "extended techniques" master class on Wednesday. I am excited to have this opportunity, but I found out that he wants me to learn how to circular breathe in two days! I got it a few times, but it will take many more hours. Thankfully, he scheduled another lesson with me tomorrow to help me. Wish me luck!
Victoria Luperi gave an exciting masterclass on orchestral excerpts. I heard Peter and the Wolf, Capriccio Espagnol, Galanta Dances, and Beethoven 8. She had lots of interesting ideas and quotes, and I took tons of notes just today! The concert by the Jacksonville Symphony clarinets was after that, and we heard everything from classical to Klezmer!
Today was long, but definitely rewarding. I met lots of new people and heard more interesting viewpoints. This is definitely the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am glad for everyone's continued support and encouragement.

Hello all!
Today was SOOO much fun! I had a lesson with Eugene Mondie this morning, and he taught me a lot of interesting practice techniques for the Debussy Premiere Rhapsody. He is an amazing Eb player, as we all found out at his masterclass this afternoon. I had lots of practice time scheduled, so I caught up with some people for more duets and trios. I hung out with Francois and Bruce Marking during one break, and they told me about fixing pads and replacing corks. I got some more free reeds from Professor Estrin, so that was great! While we were in the Buffet room (where the show clarinets and repair classes are), Francois showed me a clarinet in the key of D! It was a lot of fun. I also had my first run-through with my accompanist, Mr. Watkins, who is amazing! I feel really good about my recital on Saturday and am excited for the chance to play in front of so many clarinetists. Finally, I had another lesson with Ronald, and I am getting better at approaching circular breathing, but I cannot do it consistently. We toasted our plastic cups to us. :)
Tonight was the best part of the day. The annual pool party was scheduled, but since nobody swam last year, I planned on sitting around and talking. Before we left, Kali talked me into wearing my swimsuit, which I am very thankful for now. Kali, Christina, and I were sitting at the edge of the pool when Francois and Ronald snuck up behind me and picked me up and threw me into the pool! It surprised me, and when I could breathe again, I couldn't stop laughing! We had a lot of fun watching Francois flip Ronald and Pascual off of his back and let them "surf" on his back. When I got out, Ronald gave me his towel and Faculty BCA polo shirt, so now I'm an official faculty member here! ;-)
I'm excited about playing in the "extended technique" masterclass tomorrow and hearing the faculty concert. Thanks to all for the continued replies, support, and advice. Until tomorrow!
P.S. A student asked what to do if you had to choose between tuning to a section that was really flat or a really sharp section, and Lawrie Bloom replied, "Whoever plays louder!"

I had a GREAT time today!  I had a few hours to practice this morning, so we read a Klezmer trio and John Cage voice quartet, which we plan to rehearse with Ronald and Pascual sometime on Friday.  I had another rehearsal with my accompanist, and I am excited to play at my recital on Saturday.  My accompanist said that my piece was the most fun to play!  After lunch, I had a lesson with Victoria Luperi, who is a Curtis alumnus.  I played the Prelude to the Paganini 24th Caprice, and she helped me a lot with the air, directions, and shaping the phrases.  I really enjoyed listen to her talk (she's from Argentina), and we worked really well together.
Also this afternoon was the highlight of the day - Ronald's master class on circular breathing.  He called me up to demonstrate, and I actually managed to do it a few times, but it will take a lot more practice.  We also talked about other cool techniques: flutter tonguing, "double stack-it-toe" (as he pronounces double tonguing), dinosaur sounds, "mad cow" where you take off the mouthpiece and buzz into the horn, and glissandos.  He was so hilarious to watch, because it all comes so naturally to him.  He had to get Francois to translate for him sometimes since his English is not fluent, and it was neat hearing them converse in French.
Tonight, the faculty had their recital, and I was so impressed!  I heard Lawrie Bloom play the Cahuzac Arlequin on his bass clarinet, Pascual play the Premiere Rhapsody, and Ronald play the Widor piece.  I loved everyone's stage presence, technique, and overall mastery of the instrument, and it was very inspiring to see so many professionals play one after another.  They also premiered a new clarinet quintet, which was really cool!  After that, we had a few group pictures, which I'll send out as soon as I get them. 
Tomorrow is our "free" day (Professor Estrin has jokingly hinted that we should practice all day).  I'm going on a visit to the Buffet HQ in North America, and then everyone's going to the huge shopping center here.  After that, we're going to go to the beach.  It will be a well-deserved break from clarinet all day, even though I've had a great time being in clarinet mode all day every day.

Greetings from Jax!

Today was a much-needed break from clarinet.  Everyone slept in late, but as soon as we got up, we all felt obligated to practice for a little while.  Jason's Deli catered all the meals today, and apparently money isn't a big factor at Buffet, because the total tab was over $500!  The Buffet workers are great people, and I'm thankful for all the work they've put into this academy.

After lunch, we went on a tour of the Buffet HQ in North America.  We saw all the offices of the people who make the company run so smoothly, and it was funny hearing all the clarinetists getting excited.  When we walked by the bathroom, one guy said, "Oh my gosh, it's the Buffet bathroom!"  The snack room was dubbed the "Buffet buffet", and we especially loved Francois' office and Bruce's repair room.   I think what everyone liked most about the tour was when we were all given a Buffet laptop bag and posters of all our clarinet heros to fill the bags up! 

The town center (aka huge outdoor shopping mall) was next on the agenda, so we walked around in the heat until dinner.  Having had a break most of the day, we got back and decided to practice!  I had a nice practice session, and I tried out a lot of the ideas I've heard this week.  I have tons of new notes and concepts, and I can't wait to try them all out!  The usual bunch of us got together and read through duets, trios, and John Cage voice quartets (which we might perform at the recital), and I'm having a great time playing with other talented students from around the country.

I have a lesson with Pascual tomorrow, so I need to start using the coffee straws and Power Breather now, since he's all about air and how to maximize it!  I also get to have another class with Francois, and I'll get to clean the lower joint of my clarinet.  Another fun, exciting day!

Hello all!

Today was the second to last day at the academy, and I will be so sad to see it end so soon.  This morning, I had my lesson with Pascual, and it was one of the best lessons of the week.  He said I've improved a lot since last year with my air, and he was really impressed with my embouchure and posture.  We worked on the Polacca, and he gave me lots of helpful hints and advice.  He let me use his Breath Builder for a while, and I forgot how much it helps - I'm definitely getting one!  He also showed me a new way to breath.  Take the mouthpiece off the horn and breathe through the clarinet with as much air as possible.  Even he runs out of air in about four counts!  I forgot how nice it feels to breathe correctly!  I guess I've been doing it wrong all this time.  ;-)

This afternoon, we had instrument technology, part two.  Again, this was scarier than the top joint because it had more springs, rods, posts, and pivot screws to be lost!  Francois waited until we had all the keys off, then he said, "I'm sorry, I will leave you now!"  Of course he was just kidding, but I was scared for a minute!  Now all of my clarinet looks brand new and plays extremely well, so my recital tomorrow will be amazing!  After that, we had Lawrie Bloom's master class, which cracked me up.  I could write a book full of his sarcastic comments.  When one student came in early, he said, "I guess you think Weber just wanted to waste ink when he wrote those squiggly lines.  What are they called again?  Oh yeah, rests.  No, I think he was being serious about not playing there!"  He never fails to make everyone laugh!

Tonight was round one of the student recitals, and it was great.  I heard pieces from Weber Concertino, Rabaud Solo de Concours, and even a piece called Gnarly Buttons - Mad Cow movement!  We all had fun watching them, and the performers had fun performing.  I can't wait until my concert tomorrow!

Along with all the other free stuff I've received so far, Professor Estrin gave me another Buffet banner and a $20 gift certificate to clarinetstop!  I'm excited at all the stuff I've got so far.  This morning, I even got my own special catered breakfast, since I don't eat eggs.  It's great here.

Sorry for the delayed email about Saturday, but I wanted to wait until I had some pictures to send and my recital was on youtube!  I had a great time at the Academy this year!  My recital was incredible, and I had a blast performing for all the students, faculty, and administration from Buffet.  Saturday was bittersweet, since we all knew the academy was nearing its end, but we still had lots of fun.  I played trios all morning (including Mario themes for my accompanist, who stopped by the practice room!), and I had a lesson with Lawrie Bloom that afternoon.  I learned a lot overall, and I can't wait to implement them into my practice routines!  Pascual had his masterclass on air, and I knew a lot of his approaches from last year, but he has a new one this year - the candle exercise!  He made students blow out just the orange part of the flame and not let the blue center die away, which really enforces focused air for pieces like "Pines of Rome".  After the recital, we had a farewell barbeque (completed with veggie burgers for me and the other vegetarians), and Professor Estrin's wife, who was a finalist in the Pillsbury Bakeoff, made some amazing brownies!  There were lots of pictures taken, many autographs received, and lots of hugs and promises to keep in touch.  I made some really great friends at the academy, learned SOOO much new ideas and techniques, and had a great time with the faculty.  It's great that we got to see such renowned clarinetists as normal people - Ronald threw me in a pool, Lawrie challenged everyone to tennis matches, Pascual talked about baseball, and I found out that they don't practice 24/7!  It was another amazing year, and I hope to return again next year for more fun!

            As can be noted by the enthusiasm stated by Ms MacClay, this program is too important to ignore for the most serious of students and players. Not only is this Academy a benefit, it is a major example of commitment by Buffet Crampon, which champions itself as one of the most important firms supporting the Clarinetist, both student and professional.

Logo TicinoMusica

2 August 2008

Ticino Music Festival Master Classes with Sabine Meyer

TICINO MUSICA is a workshop for young musicians from all over the world who, through study and performance together with internationally renowned musician- teachers, widen their cultural horizons and deepen their artistic experience as a preparation for their professional life.

Lugano, Switzerland

            This annual Festival held in this major Swiss city and all-inclusive covering all areas of Chamber Music, Opera, Professional training, had, as its offering between 27 July - 2 August, Concerts and Master Classes offered by Sabine Meyer, Reiner Wehle, both renowned soloists and Professors at the Hochschule of Musik in Luebeck, Germany, where their Clarinet Studio is one of the most prestigious in Europe.  46 Clarinetists from all over the world came to participate, as Master Class active participants, by audition, the remaining viewing as passive auditors.  Only 20 could be active in the Classes.  The Meyers performed as part of this Festival with standard and especially Mozart with in addition Bassett Horns.  Mendellsohn Concertpieces were performed with klarinette and Bassett Horn.  As can be noted, performances were high level.  The beauty of this relatively unknown Festival is the beautiful location in Lugano, Switzerland, with a high powered artist environment with many performers on all Orchestral instruments and singers.  For Clarinetists wishing to make connection with the Meyers, they are pinnacles of the Klarinette in Germany with a developed program. 


1 August 2008

Quarteto Vintage (Portugal)  Workshop with Master Classes and Concerts in Banco, Portugal 30 July - 1 August 2008

Banco, Portugal

          A 3 day Workshop for young and advanced students in Banco led by this elite Clarinet Quartet providing intense attention in lessons, Master Classes, Clarinet Exhibits, Clarinet repair checks, and concerts by both students and the quartet.  The attendees came from all over Portugal and the prestige of the group and program are posted on the quartet website above.  The ensemble recently performed in Kansas City and are in August performing at the Japan Clarinet Festival in Tama, Tokyo, Japan.



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Revised: September 30, 2008