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February 2009 Hot News

MacDowell Class

Gregory Oakes in Class

Etheridge Master Class

Etheridge Recital

MacDowell in Recital

28 February 2009

Iowa State University Big 12 Clarinet Day  - Gregory Oakes, Director, with Guest Artists Dr David Etheridge (University of Oklahoma) and Richard MacDowell (University of Texas in Austin) 

Ames, Iowa USA

             The inaugural Big 12 Clarinet Day, held on February 28 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, gave clarinetists the opportunity to hear masterclasses and performances from professors from three of the Big 12 Universities. David Etheridge from the University of Oklahoma, Richard MacDowell from the University of Texas at Austin, and host Gregory Oakes from Iowa State University each gave presentations throughout the day.

             Dr. Etheridge began the day with his class, "How to Sound like a Million Bucks and Tongue like a Snake." He focused on the fundamentals of sound production, explaining some of the physics behind vibrations and how our interaction with the instrument affects the sound. He went on to explain how these principals work in cooperation with easy articulation. 

            The second class of the day was Dr. Oakes's presentation on extended techniques. He demonstrated fluttertonguing, glissando, circular breathing, microtones, and multiphonics by playing excerpts from well-known contemporary literature. For each technique, he explained the approaches to learning each one along with suggestions of alternate ways to learn them.

            For his master class, Richard MacDowell coached three different student performances. Calla Olson performed the Messager Solo de Concours, Shannon Rabideau performed the Sutermeister Capriccio, and Ryan Baker performed the Finzi Five Bagatelles. 

            Following the morning's classes, guests Etheridge and MacDowell performed a final concert with pianist Michiyo Hattori. Etheridge opened the first half of the recital with the Brahms Sonata in f minor, the Tailleferre Arabesque, and Lutoslawski's Dance Preludes. MacDowell rounded out the performance with Dana Wilson's Liquid Ebony and Brahms's Trio, joined by Iowa State cello professor George Work. The performances were an excellent cap to a great day of clarinet!



Kansas Clarinet Day Students and Faculty and Director Stephanie Zelnick, Fred Ormand, and Frank Kowalsky

26 February 2009

University of Kansas Clarinet Day

Lawrence, Kansas USA

          Frank Kowalsky of Florida State University gave a masterclass and performed a solo recital at the University of Kansas on February 26, 2009. The event was very well received and the audience numbered about 150 attendees and included several noted clarinet luminaries including Fred Ormand, Larry Maxey, and Diane Barger. Dr. Kowalsky played works by McAllister, Guastavino, Stravinsky, and Baermann. He concluded the program with Mendelssohn Concertpiece Number one, which he performed with Stephanie Zelnick, Assistant Professor of Clarinet at the University of Kansas.

20 February 2009

Fang Man: Resurrection - Clarinet Concerto (World Premiere, ACO/Underwood Commission) performed by Soloist Derek Bermel and the American Composers Orchestra at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York 20 February, 2009

New York City USA

            Fang Man’s Resurrection is a result of the 2006 Underwood New Music Readings and Commission. The work is a clarinet concerto influenced by Kandinsky’s Composition V–Resurrection in which Eastern and Western music traditions are juxtaposed. In two continuous movements, the work first utilizes Western techniques and then material from a Beijing opera titled The Battle of Jiu Jiang Kou, along with electronic manipulation of various sounds. For this premiere, ACO’s Music Alive Composer-in-Residence, Derek Bermel, is the featured soloist.

       Originally from China, Ms. Fang received her undergraduate degree in composition from Beijing Central Conservatory in 2000. She was subsequently awarded a fellowship from the Cecil Effinger Foundation to pursue further studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since fall 2002, she has been pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Cornell University, where she studies composition with Steven Stucky and Roberto Sierra, piano with Xak Bjerken, and digital/computer music with David Borden. In 2006, she was one of ten composers chosen by IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique, Centre Pompidou Paris, France) to participate in the computer and composition program.

Derek Bermel, clarinet

          Derek Bermel’s clarinet playing has been hailed by The New York Times as “brilliant” and “first rate.” He premiered his own critically acclaimed clarinet concerto, Voices, with the American Composers Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, and revisited it with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the BBC Symphony in London, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic (John Adams conducting). Bermel is the founding clarinetist of Music from Copland House, a creative center for American Music. He has premiered dozens of new works for clarinet in appearances as soloist throughout the U.S. and Europe, including recitals in New York, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Detroit, Jerusalem, The Hague, Paris, and radio broadcasts on the BBC (London), NCRV (Amsterdam), and WQXR (New York). Bermel is also the ACO Music Alive Composer-in-Residence and will have a new orchestral work premiered on the May 1 ACO Orchestra Underground concert.

A New York Times Review is below --

Music Review | American Composers Orchestra

Computer Effects? Add With Drama



Published: February 22, 2009

In a video posted on the American Composers Orchestra Web site, Derek Bermel demonstrated how he learned the solo clarinet part in Fang Man’s “Resurrection,” a work included in a program the orchestra presented at Zankel Hall on Friday night. The video (at showed Mr. Bermel mimicking, Berlitz style, flamboyantly curling phrases derived through a computer analysis of vocal lines from “The Battle of Jiu Jiang Kou,” a traditional Beijing opera.

Enlarge This Image

Derek Bermel performing on clarinet in Fang Man's "Resurrection," at Zankel Hall.

The similarity to acquiring a new language seemed pertinent, since three works in the program prominently featured electronics. “This is the struggle of our age,” Mr. Bermel said in the video, also shown during the concert, “how to incorporate technology into a dramatic context. And it’s not often that a composer can reconcile these two things.”

You could as easily say that every composer of consequence has developed that skill. The history of orchestral music has always been linked to the implementation of new instruments. In a sense laptop computers and sampling keyboards are just the latest keyed flutes and valved horns.

During the first part of Ms. Fang’s 17-minute work Mr. Bermel leapt, slurred and growled over roiling instrumental textures, jagged rhythms and electronic effects that hissed and jabbered around the hall through loudspeakers. Amid the din — and despite a soloist amplified to occasionally ear-splitting effect — you heard constant evidence of Ms. Fang’s inventive palette.

A barking clarinet line, distantly echoed by the concertmaster and a muted tuba, is followed by a limpid solo melody set against tingling harp and metal percussion. The second part, more densely electronic, includes a breathtaking passage that suggests phantom voices lost in a purple-gray Ligetian fog.

In Rand Steiger’s achingly lovely “Cryosphere” Mr. Steiger and Miller Puckette used computers to manipulate sounds meant to evoke the formation and dissolution of glaciers and icebergs. Rolling cymbals stretched into enveloping hums that swirled around the hall. Clattering vibraslaps and brittle synthesizer notes ricocheted; long tones wobbled through microtonal inflections. The effect was like sitting in a huge, resonant Tibetan prayer bowl.

Ronald Reagan and “Reefer Madness” shared screen time in “Breakdown,” billed as a “sample-based hybrid opera in one act.” Kasumi, a video artist, plundered old films for an uproarious bricolage of alien-invasion panic, financial distress, military might and patriotic sentiment. The composer Margaret Brouwer responded with speech-inflected melodies and sharp-witted musical puns. A contemporary political resonance was obvious, but robust humor deflected any hint of preachiness.

George Manahan, the conductor, asserted admirable control in holding these intricate works together. The playing was less convincing in David Schiff’s “Stomp (re-lit)” a James Brown homage that stuttered when it should have strutted. “Pearls,” by Kati Agócs, was filled with attractive ideas, but the work’s six tiny parcels scarcely allowed them room to breathe.

Go here, and when you see a photo you want, click  on “All Sizes” at the top, then click on “Original,” then click “Download Original Size.” There are about 28 photos to look through.


13 February 2009

Katy Ayling winner of the Buffet Crampon Clarinet Prize 2009 - Royal Academy of Music

London, United Kingdom

Adjudicator Andrew Webster and Katy Ayling

Buffet Crampon Clarinet Prize 2009

          Katy Ayling started learning the clarinet at the age of seven and her keen interest in music was developed at Christ’s Hospital. She joined the Schools Military Band in her third form and by her Grecians year was made Band Captain. During her years at Christ’s Hospital she learnt Clarinet with Monica Leiher and was encouraged to go into music for Higher Education. Katy feels she has gained valuable experiences from going to Christ’s Hospital and the support she was given by the Music department in particular was fantastic. She attained a place at Junior Trinity whilst in the Sixth Form and was granted a Scholarship, along with the position of Principal clarinettist, in their Symphony Orchestra for her final year. Then Katy graduated at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with professors Barnaby Robson and Andrew Webster.

          Katy, now a 1st year postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music, has had a lot of performing opportunities from solo, to chamber to orchestral works. She was asked to play Stephen McNeff’s clarinet concerto in November of last year with the conservatoire’s wind band she has played solo clarinet in their symphony orchestra on numerous occasions, who she will be touring with in Italy this Easter. Katy is also a member of two established ensembles; a woodwind quintet and a trio, both of which have performed several times to the public and for dinners in and around London.

She is also solo clarinet of the ULSO - University of London Symphony Orchestra.

               Marguerita Levy morning session Master Class on fundamentals and Altissimo ranges

 Ralph Skiano Master Class covering more fundamentals and Orchestral audition coaching

                                                              David Gould Master Class

                           Vandoren Reeds and Mouthpiece session with Participants trying products

8 February 2009

2nd Towson State University Maryland Clarinet Seminar

Towson, Maryland USA

          The second Clarinet Seminar held in conjunction with the Music Department and the Band program was held at this Baltimore suburban University and Directed by Dr Marguerite Levin, who was responsible for the successful ClarinetFest 2004 held at the University of Maryland at College Park.  The 12 hour day was packed with 4 Master Classes given by herself, David Gould, Artist Director for DANSR Vandoren USA from New York, and Ralph Skiano, Solo Clarinetist in the Richmond, Virginia Symphony.  A main emphasis in the Master Classes, with handouts, was fundamentals in tone production, breath support and its supreme importance, especially covered in two sessions with Dr Levin.  Her first session included Tonal warmups and Tonguing excercises that students can use to develop these skills, and Altissimo register studies to improve upper ranges, and using skills on partials.  Participation was extensive which made these sessions very worthwhile.  Levels of students ranged from High School and College students and adults.      Mr Skiano gave an in depth class covering auditions and the Mozart Clarinet Concerto and how it is played in certain audition circumstances with surprising insights in context between playing it as a performance as compared to an audition.  Major excerpts asked for included the Beethoven 6th and 8th Symphonies with how to play critical parts.   David Gould gave a session about Vandoren's company goals and making of reeds, and mouthpieces and noting that the firm makes all in-house including machinery and tools, and the employees are trained in all aspects of both.  This makes it a unique quality oriented firm.   Gould also gave a Master Class with several students especially on fundamentals.   Many seminars and workshops consistently stress the importance of solid training on fundamentals, as without this emphasis, what is the point of even playing?

                                 Ralph Skiano Recital and explanation of works on program

                                                                  David Gould Recital 

              Harbor Winds Clarinet Quartet from The United States Navy Band in Washington, DC     

           As the printed program above indicates, there were 3 major performances featuring guests Gould and Skiano, with an evening concert with the US Navy Band's 'Harbor Winds' Clarinet Quartet, who performed a first class diversified concert including serious and light music, many of which were arranged.   This gave an insight about how much music can be applied and used in this medium.

          Credit is due to Dr Levin for this quality program; it is held annually at this school.  Dr Levin is a WKA Artist VIP in recognition for her accomplishments and vision supporting the Clarinetist.

4 February 2009

University of Portland (Oregon) Clarinet Symposium -  Igor Shakhman, Director

Portland, Oregon USA

       The first Clarinet Symposium, held at the Performing & Fine Arts: University of Portland and under Professor Igor Shakhman, Director, offered a full day of intensive interest activities for playerws of all levels, including performances, master classes, and instrument demonstrations and tryouts.

Featured Performers:
  • Michael Anderson (Eugene Symphony, Santa Fe Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra)
  • Gregory Barrett (Northern Illinois University)
  • William Blayney (recording artist, teacher, Seattle)
  • David Gould (Vandoren Artistic Advisor, Brooklyn College Conservatory)
  • David Hattner (Conductor, Portland Youth Philharmonic; principal clarinet, Princeton Symphony)
  • Barbara Heilmair (Portland State University)
  • Cary Lewis (pianist, Lanier Trio)
  • Patrick Murphy (University of Portland)
  • Igor Shakhman (University of Portland; principal clarinet, Vancouver (WA) Symphony)
  • Todd Kuhns (Oregon Symphony Orchestra)


  • 12:30-1:30 Clarinet Recital featuring the guest clarinetists.  Mago Hunt Center Recital Hall.
  • 2:00-5:00 Master Classes and instrument displays.  Buckley Center room 163.
  • 5:00-6:45 Demonstration of instruments and equipment from Backun, Buffet, Selmer, and Vandoren. Buckley Center room 163.
  • 7:30 Concert featuring the guest clarinetists and the University of Portland Concert Band. Buckley Center Auditorium.

           Many of the artist faculty came from all over the United States and are active in many areas of performance and pedagogy, including William Blayney from Seattle, Washington, and member of the Seattle Symphony and Director of the Northwest Clarinet Choir, and a Director of the Vandoren Clarinet Choir Festival held last year in Seattle.  David Hattner, from Princeton. New Jersey and Solo Clarinet in The Princeton Symphony, and a Youth Orchestra Conductor, adds to the high standard of playing at this event.  The famed Monologue III of Peter Schickele for 9 Clarinets was performed by all the faculty at a concert. 

           This event is surely to be repeated, and it is gratifying that many events like this are happening in many locales throughout the United States.  Credit is due to all who made this a success especially Igor Shakhman and Vandoren, a sponsor who made this possible.



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Revised: March 28, 2009