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Hot News June 2007


24 June 2007

United States Military Academy Band 28th Alumni Reunion and Concert Weekend with Performance at Trophy Point Amphitheatre at West Point

West Point, New York USA

           The 28th Annual reunion and concert weekend with veterans and retirees was held with a turnout of over 100 past members from as far back as the 1940's.  Several social events were held which integrated the members in meeting others who maybe haven't been seen in decades while they served in this Band.  A major rehearsal was held with a comprehensive program conducted by past commanders and the Band command officers. Two Previous Commanders Lietenant Colonel David Detrick, Retired, Colonel Thomas Rotundi (Present Leader and Commander of The US Army Band (Pershing's Own) in Washington, DC, USMA Band Commander Lietenant Colonel  Timothy Holtan, Executive Officer Captain Treg Ancelet, Chief Warrant Officer Douglas Hammond, Alumni Saxophone Soloist Harvey Pittel, and Trumpet Jazz Soloist Ken McGee. Soloists included past Alumni including Harvey Pittel, renowned Saxophonist, Joseph Mariani, Clarinetist and Saxophonist, and others to be named.  This Band has a rich history encompassing over 190 years, and is the oldest Military Band in the United States as documented in its history.  This Band is one of the finest concert bands in the country, part of the US Army Premiere Band system along with The US Army Band  (Pershing's Own) in Washington, and the US Army Field Band.   One important reason for covering these events as this is a Clarinet site, is the emphasis on making known the high level performance prestige and how opportunities for Clarinetists can be made known.  The Aumni Association, Sergeant Major Robrt Moon, Retired, President, has organized the past reunions and is involved in an archive research endeavor to bring back as much valuable archives to highlight the history, and encourage past members to come forward and reconnect with past colleagues.  Some of the finest musicians in the US were members during the 40's - present.


24 June 2007

University of Edinburgh logo



Meeting organised by the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments

Reid Concert Hall, Edinburgh, 22-24 June 2007

Clarinet and Woodwind Colloquium 2007 - Edinburgh University, United Kingdom

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

       During this week a great symposium detailing the historical evolution of the clarinet from its earliest days to the present was presented by some of the most acclaimed in this field. Noteworthy was the showing of the Collection of Sir Nicholas  Shakelton who recently passed away in May and whose Collection is part of the University Instrument Collection.   Details of this event is posted below by each presented shown.

The Neapolitan "School" of Clarinet

Antonio Caroccia
Naples, Italy

This presentation will analyze the influences and innovations brought forth by the "Neapolitan school" to the construction of the clarinet and its technique. In particular innovations pioneered by Ferdinando Sebastiani, clarinetist for the Reale Capella Palatina and professor of the Royal College of Music in Naples, who with his treatise Method for Clarinet (1855) influenced the virtuosic style associated with the instrument, whether orchestral or soloistic, and created an actual and valuable "school" with outstanding students such as Labanchi and Pontillo.


Stubbins SK System Clarinet

Nophachai Cholthitchanta
Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences, University of Arkansas, U.S.A.

The clarinette à anneaux mobiles, known as the "Boehm System" clarinet, was invented as a collaboration between the clarinetist Hyacinthe Klosé and maker Louis-Auguste Buffet, and was first introduced at the Paris Exhibition in 1839. Since then there have been several attempts to "perfect" the Klosé/Buffet clarinet.

The majority of these attempts have concentrated on the upper joint; one attempt was to improve the "fuzziness" of the throat Bb. The defect of the throat Bb note has been a problem for the clarinet ever since the beginning of its development. It was known that the problem was due to the dual function for the speaker key to produce both the overblown twelfth and throat Bb. However, not until the beginning of the twentieth century did makers finally attempt to solve this problem by creating two separate tone-holes, one for for each purpose, and by designing two separate keys to cover them.

The Stubbins SK System was invented by William H. Stubbins, an acoustician and a former professor of clarinet at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Stubbins ingeniously and successfully adapted ideas from earlier approaches to solving the throat Bb "fuzziness" problem for the Boehm System clarinet. He patented his "S-K Mechanism" invention in 1950.

My paper, addressing the approach in the Stubbins SK System, is especially significant for me on this occasion because only shortly before he passed away Nick Shackleton was in correspondence with me precisely about an SK System clarinet.


Clarinets and Tárogatók used in the Viennese Court Opera under the direction of Gustav Mahler

Beatrix Darmstaedter
Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

The fundament of the announced contribution is the interpretation of archival documents belonging to the inventory of the files named "Generalintendanz" and "Hofoper" preserved by the Austrian State Archives (Österreichisches Staatsarchiv) and evaluated for the first time. The material includes for instance correspondence of Gustav Mahler, who became the artistic director of the Viennese Court Opera in 1897, of renowned instrument makers, like Wilhelm Heckel, Georg Berthold, József Schunda and of the musicians Felix Weingartner, Heinrich Hiekisch, Franz Schalk etc. The archival documents provide information about technological details, pricing, delivery conditions, instrument repairs and the musician's individual preferences concerning the choice of instruments. Moreover the authorities interacting within the administrative board of the Court Opera deciding the acquisitions of musical instruments become clear. As far as the tárogató is concerned it was Gustav Mahler himself who invited Mr. Hiekisch, a musician working for the Opera in Budapest, to introduce a new designed tárogató in Vienna. Although his appearance in Tristan and Isolde in 1902 was quite a success, further engagements seemed to be impracticable mainly because the instrument needed was a special construction with an additional lower key which was neither delivered nor received in Vienna, furthermore the Viennese clarinettists - as the documents tell us - never got used to the difficult intonation of the tárogatók.


The Late Eighteenth-Century "Dramatic" Clarinet in Italy: the San Carlo Opera Orchestra of Naples

Anthony DelDonna
Georgetown University, Washington DC

Recent research (most notably Albert Rice's The Clarinet in the Classical Period) has identified and meticulously documented copious evidence of interest and the subsequent development of the clarinet in the 18th century, resulting in a more thorough understanding of the instrument. This research has also stimulated renewed investigation into the history of the clarinet on the Italian peninsula, where knowledge of its development remains incomplete, especially its cultivation in contemporary opera orchestras. Among the most significant Italian ensembles that featured clarinets was the orchestra of the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. Sources reveal the utilization of the instrument as early as 1772 while archival documents verify the enlistment of two fulltime clarinetists by 1775. Knowledge of this history promotes a more accurate context for the renown of Naples in the 19th century as a locus for the promotion of the instrument by composers such as Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti and the presence of virtuosi such as Ferdinando Sebastiani.

This paper examines the cultivation of the clarinet in Naples in the late 18th century, c 1770-1800. The characteristic usage of the instrument (typology, technique, and musical qualities) is established through examination of selected excerpts of works performed at the San Carlo Theater. I incorporate source materials which offer information about the compensation of musicians, identities thereof, and the specific introduction of the instrument and fulltime clarinetists to the ensemble. The intent of this investigation is to provide a more complete history of the clarinet in Italy during the late-18th century and to offer a context for its important status in Naples during the 19th century.


The Home Key of the Clarinet

John Dick
Rothesay, Isle of Bute, U.K.

"Home Key" refers to a concept well understood by baroque and early classical wind players, makers, bandmasters and composers. Written sources advise on the selection of a size of clarinet and the principles followed by composers can be inferred from opera scores, Scottish Military band parts, and transcriptions. Tonal quality has often been over-emphasised as the reason for the selection of a particular size of instrument and digital facility or precision of tuning has been wrongly assumed to be the aim of early additions to keywork. When the reasons why instruments have a home key are understood, these factors are seen to be secondary. The Home Key provides the explanation for many apparent anomalies and raises the issue of whether it is unhelpful to think of the instruments as having "good" and "bad" notes or "improvements" in design. These changes are developments in response to changed operational requirements. Focus on the home key can lead to challenging the current attribution of an instrumental part. This is illustrated by two very well known pieces. One is, and the other is not, currently considered clarinet repertoire.


The Early American Clarinet: Makers, Sellers, Players

Jane Ellsworth
Eastern Washington University, Spokane, Washington, U.S.A.

The clarinet's role and status in early American musical life has received little scholarly attention until now. Yet clarinets were being made in America by 1761 and imported by 1764. Military documents, newspaper advertisements, tutors, and existing instruments provide ample evidence for the kinds of clarinets that were in use. Makers such as Wolhaupter, Anthony, Callender, Catlin, Whiteley, Meacham, Eisenbrandt, Gütter, Ashton, and many others were active in all of the major cities, as were merchants who sold clarinets from England and elsewhere. This paper examines the activities of these makers and sellers, identifies several heretofore unknown makers, and considers some of the ways in which the clarinet was used in America in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.


The Sir Nicholas Shackleton Collection in the Edinburgh Collection of Historic Musical Instruments: an Overview

Heike Fricke

The late Sir Nicholas Shackleton collected about 800 clarinets in over more than 40 years and his bequest has come to the Edinburgh Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. The talk of the curator will give an overview of the clarinets chosen for the exhibition. Starting with early examples of eighteenth century instruments, made, for example, by Rottenburgh, Brussels, Cahuzac, London, and Buehner & Keller, Strasbourg, the author takes a closer look at English clarinets of the early nineteenth century comparing them with continental instruments of the same period. Lyon with the instrument makers Bernard, Simiot, Piatet et Benoit, and Jeantet seems to have been a place of outstanding instrument making as some examples will show. Other important centres of clarinet making in the 19th century were Paris, Brussels, Munich, Vienna, and Dresden. Regional differences and developments will be shown with selected clarinets made by Baumann, Buffet jeune, Adolphe Sax, Jacques Albert, Bachmann, Stiegler, Hess, Osterried & Gerlach, Griesbacher, Ziegler, Uhlmann, and Grenser. Finally the instruments of Fritz Wurlitzer are objects of examination as Nicholas Shackleton admired them much.


The Clarinet in works of Franz Xaver Süssmayr (1766-1803): Anton Stadler and the Mozartian example

Martin Harlow
Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, U.K.

The paper will examine the clarinet and basset horn parts of Süssmayr's extant works.

On many levels the relationship between Mozart and Süssmayr is of interest: Süssmayr was Mozart's pupil from around 1790; he enjoyed close relations with Mozart family; he probably supplied secco recitative for La Clemenza di Tito and completed the Requiem after Mozart's death. Through Mozart he forged a friendship with Stadler whose artistry made such a significant impact on that composer in his last years, resulting in, amongst other pieces, the Clarinet Quintet K.588 and the Clarinet Concerto K.621 written for Stadler's basset clarinet and the substantial obbligati for basset clarinet and basset horn in La Clemenza di Tito.

Süssmayr's move to Vienna in the later 1780s and his associations with Mozart excited his interest in the clarinet and basset horn. Mozart encouraged Süssmayr to write a work for Stadler in 1791. Evidence suggests that, at least by 1794, Süssmayr had completed a concerto for the clarinettist. From extant examples of Süssmayr's clarinet writing, drawn from archival sources particularly in Budapest and London, it would appear that it was Stadler, rather than other Viennese clarinettists, who inspired Süssmayr to write virtuosic parts in the Mozartian manner.


The Origins of French and German Clarinets

Eric Hoeprich
Totternhoe, Bedfordshire

Today, the schism between French and German clarinettists is profound, and occasionally even engenders animosity. It certainly defines potential employment in various countries; currently, no player of the French clarinet can sit in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, nor will any German clarinettist ever be welcome in Paris, or for that matter, London or New York City.

Already by 1800, specific, national characteristics in clarinet design had emerged, establishing nascent characteristics of French and German instruments. In fact, by the 1820s, clarinets in each country possessed qualities that were entirely unique, and playing styles adapted accordingly. In Paris, Frédéric Berr, for example, mentioned specific local makers in his Traité (1836), as did several others, such as Fröhlich in Würzburg, Backofen in Darmstadt and Fahrbach in Vienna.

The origins of this division and its influence on musical life is a fascinating subject with an unlimited number of international repercussions, a variety of which will be discussed.


The Basset Horn in France in the 18th Century

Jean Jeltsch
Université de Lille 3 Charles-de-Gaulle, Lille, France

We often read that Paris was a very important centre in the developemnt of larger clarinet family instruments, for example the appearance of the bass clarinet (Gilles Lot) or the first use of low clarinets (Missa pro defunctis of Gossec). But no example is known today of any bass or "alto" clarinet bearing the stamp of a Parisian workshop and made in the 18th century. Only two basset horns made in Paris are known today (Michel Amelingue and Dominique Porthaux), and a third made in Strasbourg (Bühner & Keller).

The basset horn was not played in France as it was in neighbouring countries, particularly in South Germany and Austria, and this paper will examine the reasons for this. Detailed study of the construction of these three surviving curved french basset horns (all different from each other) will allow us to assess their musical function, and also reveals some relationships with other curved basset horns. The entire corpus of these sickle-shaped basset horns was thoroughly examined by Sir Nicholas Shackleton in 1987*: this study will complete the French part of this remarkable work, taking into account the discovery of the important Amelingue basset horn in 2002.

* Nicholas Shackleton, `The Earliest Basset Horns', Galpin Society Journal, 1987, pp.2-23.


The Clarinet in the Edinburgh Enlightenment

David Johnson

An investigation into the early years of the clarinet in Edinburgh (c 1755-c 1805) - its composers, players amd repertoire. Works to be discussed include the Earl of Kelly's Symphony in E flat (c 1766), John Mahon's Clarinet Concerto in F (c 1774), and J.G.C. Schetky's 24 Scots Airs for military band (c 1795).


Clarinets of the Clinton Family

James Joseph

This paper seeks to provide a re-appraisal of the work done by Arthur Clinton and his two sons George and James in the field of clarinet design. Having lived for 35 years in Newcastle upon Tyne which was the Clintons' native city, the author had a unique opportunity to access local sources of information. Other valuable sources include patents, instruments in major collections and practical performance experience by the author on his own Clinton instruments.

Patents were from Arthur (the father) in 1884 and 1891, and James in 1891 and 1898. George offered no patent applications. However, as a pre-eminent clarinettist and professor in major London conservatoires he also acted as a clarinet consultant with Boosey and Co. In this role, helped by the eminent acoustician David Blaikley, he developed the models of clarinet which bear his name - the Clinton System and the Clinton-Boehm. The former of these models enjoyed considerable popularity into the mid-twentieth century. Examples of both of his instruments will be available for examination at the presentation of the paper.

James Clinton, also a fine player tended to concentrate more on instrument design, especially a Combination Clarinet with models in the Albert and Boehm Systems. For this he enlisted the services of J.B. Albert of Brussels and formed a company for its manufacture and distribution chaired by Sir Arthur Sullivan.

Personal circumstances are described where germane to the investigation and where they differ from the published literature. Finally the influences on design, mutual and otherwise, are explored.


Musical History: Historical Music

Colin Lawson
Royal College of Music, London

"I am convinced that 'historical' performance today is not really historical; that a thin veneer of historicism clothes a performance style that is completely of our own time, and is in fact the most modern style around; and that the historical hardware has won its wide acceptance and above all its commercial viability precisely by virtue of its novelty, not its antiquity". Richard Taruskin's once notorious yet now widely-accepted views can justifiably be applied to those most tangible of artefacts - the instruments themselves. As long ago as 1932 Arnold Dolmetsch's pupil Robert Donington remarked of his teacher's reconstructions; "the old harpsichord has certain limitations [and produces] a jangle, slight in the treble but audible in the bass. The new instruments, which remedy these historical oversights, have proved both purer and more sustained than any previous harpsichord". Two generations later Robert Barclay drew attention to the finger-holes often placed on copies of the Baroque trumpet, so that "the so-called out-of-tune harmonics of the natural series will not be unpleasant to modern sensitivity. The result is a trumpet which resembles its baroque counterpart only superficially." During the heady days of recording activity in the early 1990s Clive Brown issued a timely warning that the characteristics of some of the orchestral instruments employed in Beethoven cycles by The Hanover Band, Christopher Hogwood and Roger Norrington would certainly not have been familiar to musicians in Beethoven's Vienna and that the public was in danger of being offered "attractively packaged but unripe fruit".

During Nick Shackleton's lifetime the worlds of the collector and professional period instrumentalist sometimes diverged in quite radical fashion. Clarinets were among the instruments that began to be widely copied within a musical environment where few period conductors showed much organological interest, ever anxious to be acceptable to modern ears. The regularisation of historical pitches, (for instance to A=415 or A=430) has been ironic, given that Quantz in 1752 lamented the lack of a uniform standard, which he reckoned was detrimental to his work as a flautist and to music in general. For today's players it is perhaps unfortunate that organological evidence in the public domain has tended to focus upon such matters as key mechanisms, bores and visual impact, with insufficient attempt to communicate the subtle quality of different instrumental sounds. Of course, words struggle to communicate certain aspects of art, whether quality of timbre or those tiny differences in emphases and timing that distinguish a great performance from a merely good one. As Daniel Türk put it in 1789, "certain subtleties of expression cannot really be described; they must be heard". The fascination with different nationalities of instrument which was a central focus of Nick's life as a collector has been largely ignored in the studio, with composers as diverse as Cherubini, Rossini and Beethoven routinely recorded on the same set of "period" instruments. Unripe fruit indeed!


The Reform Boehm system: Right Compromise Between French and German Systems ?

Luigi Magistrelli

In spite of the good tone qualities, hand forged mechanism, flexibility and evenness over all the registers, Reform Boehm system clarinets so far have not received a wide acceptance in the clarinet world. Is this system considered, perhaps, a sort of hybrid between the french and german Oehler system clarinets without its own identity ?  My personal opinion is just the opposite !  I would consider this instrument to be an ideal compromise between the dark, compact and warm sound of the german Oehler system and the more flexible, brighter and technically easier to handle, French Boehm system. My aim is to show the Reform Boehm and German system clarinets, to compare them and let their distinctive (but also in a way similar) tonal characteristics be heard, trying also to find some connections with the French system clarinets. Fritz Wurlitzer, father of Herbert Wurlitzer, was the first maker (before World War II) to make good Reform Boehm system clarinets, on the basis of the teaching of Schmidt and Kolbe. I still consider them the best Reform Boehm clarinets ever made.


The Derivation of Contemporary Performing Techniques

Ian Mitchell
Trinity College of Music, London

Many of the extended techniques for woodwind that are found in modernist music from the 1950s onwards, and that became easily recognisable and archetypal contemporary music gestures for twenty years or so, are usually assumed to have been developed as a consequence of, and alongside, the demands of avant-garde music itself. These novel performing techniques created a whole new repertoire of sounds and ways of playing wind instruments. One of the earliest and most influential compositions was Berio's Sequenza 1 for solo flute, which, on the final page, requires the performer to produce more than one pitch simultaneously. However, some of these techniques that were thought to be current inventions, such as multiphonics, glissandi, flutter tongue, microtones, circular breathing, colour fingerings and more are actually far from new; indeed, in some instances they derive from practices thousands of years old.

This practical paper will demonstrate some of the techniques for clarinet in their avant-garde guise and uncover their antecedents, which might range from the ancient Greek aulos to twentieth century Albanian folk music.


Iwan Müller's Soprano Clarinet: Structural Evolution towards Adolphe Sax's Bass Clarinet

Juncal Diago Ortega
University of Valladolid, Spain

José-Modesto Diago Ortega
Professional Conservatory of Music of Soria, Spain

Iwan Müller's developments demonstrate important elements and ideas influencing most of the clarinets manufactured subsequently in Europe (and in the world). Rarely is this heredity recognized in designs and patents. We can view Adolphe Sax's 1838 bass clarinet as the evolution and improvement, in the low register of the family, of the constructive system which was developed by the Russian inventor.


The Clarinets in the Collection of the Royal College of Music, London

Ingrid Pearson
Royal College of Music, London

Founded in 1882, the Royal College of Music enjoys a reputation as one of the world's leading conservatoires. Due partly to the vision of its founders, particularly Sir George Grove, the RCM holds research collections of international significance.

The Royal College of Music's Museum of Instruments, forming part of the Centre for Performance History, houses an internationally-renowned collection of over 800 instruments and accessories from c 1480 to the present (700 European, keyboard, stringed and wind; 100 Asian and African). This collection embraces some sixty instruments from the clarinet family, including specimens by Doleisch, Griesbacher and Scherer.

In using the RCM instruments as a case study, this paper examines the nature of such collections and the way in which objects interact within them.


Geometry Versus Performance of a Clarinet Mouthpiece

William Peatman

The playing characteristics of a clarinet such as tone, ease of blowing, tuning in the various ranges, brightness, carrying power are dependent upon many factors, not the least of which are the mouthpiece and the reeds used. Strangely the mouthpiece is the one main part of a clarinet which is no longer permanently associated with the instrument itself. Furthermore, it is well known, that nominally identical mouthpieces perform with differing results!

Over the past 20 years the measuring instruments and methods presented here have been developed in an attempt to objectively evaluate a mouthpiece. With these instruments/methods the physical dimensions of a clarinet mouthpiece can be precisely determined: lay, rail widths, baffle, table, chamber, bore, window, angle of the lay and of the baffle with respect to the bore etc.

It is essential, however, that the parameters measured be compared objectively with the playing characteristics. This can be accomplished by comparing nominally identical mouthpieces and correlating their differences in performance with the differences in the physical parameters measured. The cooperation of experienced clarinettists is essential if the ultimate goal of these studies is to be achieved.


The Viennese Wind Instrument Maker, Theodor Lotz (c 1747-1792)

Melanie Piddocke
The Hague, Netherlands and Santes, France

This paper commences with an examination of the current knowledge of Lotz's biographical details. Particular emphasis is placed on his career as a performer, maker and composer in an attempt to highlight possible influences which may have had an impact on his later career. As Freemasonry was a significant aspect of intellectual life in Vienna in the late eighteenth century, involving several significant musical figures - including Lotz - his involvement in the movement is therefore discussed in the context of the broader social significance of Freemasonry.

The main body of the paper concentrates on Lotz's activity as a maker, with particular reference to clarinets and basset horns. Lotz's instruments are placed in the context of contemporary wind instrument making through a brief discussion of the development of the clarinet and basset horn. The representation of Lotz's instruments by modern instrument makers is then discussed, using a comparative approach. Three modern copies of Lotz clarinets by different makers are contrasted with one another, and with the original instrument. The same methodology is then applied to two basset horns. Finally the legacy of Lotz is examined, with particular emphasis on the careers and instruments of his two pupils, Kaspar Tauber and Franz Scholl.


Clarinet Forked Eb/Bb; a New Approach

John Playfair

L-hand forked Eb/Bb remains one of the few advantages of the simple system clarinet over the normal Boehm. Several successful solutions will be reviewed, including a novel one involving less alterations than most.


The "Melba Gift": the Role of Woodwind and Brass Instruments in the History of the Stabilisation of Pitch Standards in Melbourne in the early Twentieth Century

Simon Purtell
Norman Macgeorge Scholar, University of Melbourne, Australia

In December 1908, when a variety of pitches were used in Melbourne, the celebrated Australian soprano, Dame Nellie Melba, purchased a set of "normal pitch" (A4=435) woodwind and brass instruments from the London instrument manufacturer, Rudall, Carte & Co. In March of the following year, Melba presented these instruments to the Marshall-Hall Orchestra. This short presentation describes the instruments (including the four clarinets) and considers the important role played by the "Melba Gift" in the history of pitch standards in Melbourne in the early twentieth century. It will draw upon my ongoing research into the history of pitch standards in Melbourne and throughout the State of Victoria, an area of study not yet considered in histories of music in Australia.


A Prescription for the Clarinet's Sore Throat: Throat B-flat Mechanisms as Illustrated by Clarinets from the Nicholas J. Shackleton Collection

Deborah Check Reeves
National Music Museum, University of South Dakota, Vermillion

It has been described by Leon Leblanc as "inferior," producing "a tone less good than the others around it." It has been depicted by Rosario Mazzeo as "the problem note," and by William Stubbins as a "difficulty" and "has not been any secret from makers or players at any time in the history of the evolution of the clarinet." Most succinctly put by Geoffrey Rendall, "the real bug-bear is the middle b-flat."

The compromise in placement of the clarinet tone hole to produce an acceptable throat B-flat and yet facilitate easy production of the twelfths has been the subject of debate and experimentation since the invention of the clarinet. In his book The Clarinet, Rendall elaborates the problems encountered with the dual functioning speaker hole: "The basic cause of the trouble is the speaker. The air-column cannot be divided into the segments necessary to give the twelfths without a speaker, and strictly every separate note requires a different position of the speaker for perfect results ... one speaker in one fixed position has to do the duty of several ... the problem is aggravated by the necessity of using the speaker as a note-hole for middle b-flat as well. For this purpose the hole, to give an adequate note, must be of a certain diameter, and this diameter does not happen to be the ideal for overblowing ... [The maker is] forced to compromise in making the speaker-hole of a size to serve its dual purpose as adequately as possible." Lee Gibson, in his book Clarinet Acoustics, outlines the acoustical problems: "Frequency ratios between the first two harmonic modes of a closed pipe are more or less radically altered by the inverted hemispheric arc of errors induced in the opening of a speaker vent for the production of harmonic modes, particularly when this vent also functions as a primary producer of the tones of the third-line B-flat." Gibson concludes that "these faults prompted a century of searches for methods of separating the speaker function from that for the B-flat and for methods of reducing frequency ratios mistuned by the dually functioning speaker-B-flat vent ..."

This paper will survey the various methods that makers have prescribed for curing the clarinet's "sore" throat B-flat. The clarinet collection of Nicholas J. Shackleton is a phenomenal source of examples that illustrate many of these methods. Instruments designed and/or made by Conn, Wurlitzer, Mazzeo, Romero, Kolbe, Leblanc, Boosey, Albert, and Heckel will be examined.


Clarinets by Adolphe Sax

Thomas Reil
Uhingen, Germany

Most books on the clarinet have been paying tribute to Adolphe Sax's achievements for this instrument. His 1840 and 1842 patents relating to the soprano clarinet are often described in detail, nevertheless there has been no illustration of these or other Ad. Sax clarinets in any of the well-known publications yet, nor is there more information to be found in listings of public collections. Even the most important Catalogue des Instruments Sax au Musée Instrumental de Bruxelles by Malou Haine and Ignace de Keyser will describe and show only clarinets by Charles-Joseph Sax. The here included list of 400 Sax instruments gives report only about a 13-keyed clarinet shown in 1890 at the London Royal Military Exhibition.

Nicholas Shackleton's dicovery of a Sax clarinet corresponding to the 1842 patent can therefore not be rated highly enough. Unfortunately he could no more present his paper on this subject at the Herne symposium in 2005. This was done then by Ingrid Pearson in Vermillion in 2006 and will appear in Galpin Society Journal this year.

This clarinet being obviously a very rare and outstanding example of the Sax manufacturing, the question remains what a clarinet of Adolphe Sax's every-day production has been looking like?

Fortunately I could acquire last year a nice and interesting 13-keyed clarinet marked "AD.SAX et Cie. / PARIS" which must date from Adolphe Sax's very early years at Paris, c 1842-1850. This find encouraged me to do more research in this field. The information I could gather so far will be presented both in words and pictures including some thoughts on the remarkable fact that there are so few woodwind instruments extant of such a large production as it came out of Adolphe Sax's factories.


The Bass Clarinets of Adolphe Sax and their Historical Importance

Albert Rice
Fiske Museum, Claremont Colleges, California

One of the most important advances in the evolution of the bass clarinet is manifest in an instrument made by the brilliant player, maker, and inventor Antoine Joseph (Adolphe) Sax (1814-1894). This paper presents a short review of 18th and early 19th century bass clarinet designs that precede Sax's 1838 bass clarinet, briefly reviews Sax's career, discusses the design innovations reflected in Sax's surviving bass clarinets, compares his bass clarinets to those by his contemporary Parisian rivals Louis August Buffet and Widemann, and shows the influence of his designs on instruments made by later makers.

In Brussels, Sax grew up learning instrument making from his father Charles Sax, a skilled and very successful woodwind and brass maker. By 1835, Charles was hailed as the foremost wind instrument maker in Europe, and in that same year his twenty one year old son exhibited in Brussels an improved clarinet with twenty four keys. From 1835 to 1842, Sax held the commanding position of "contremaîstre" in his father's factory which by that time employed about 250 workers.

Sax produced his first bass clarinet and received a Belgium patent for its design in 1838. Three surviving bass clarinets were made in Brussels and are presumed to have been made by Adolphe Sax or under his supervision. In late 1842, Sax established his instrument making factory in Paris. Only eight examples made in Paris are known today. Four of these are stamped and four others are attributed to Sax. They are made of boxwood, African black wood, or maple with brass ferrules and feature large plateau keys and open standing keys designed to cover large tone holes placed in their acoustically correct position. Sax's key mechanism actually consists of the usual thirteen or fourteen keys of the soprano clarinet, including a second Eb/Bb key to provide an option in fingering, and a second register key covering a small tone hole in a brass key seat placed high on the front side of the brass crook. The latter key was a genuine innovation and brilliant idea by Sax since with its use the response and equality of tones in the upper register were greatly improved. Most of the surviving bass clarinets are made with a straight body but three later instruments were made with an upturned bell and these were ultimately the most popular and successful models.

During the 1840s and 1850s, Sax's bass clarinets were used in orchestras and bands in Brussels and Paris. So the question arises, why are there so few extant Sax bass clarinets? Their scarcity is most likely due to their high price of 200 francs, documented in a price list of around 1845, higher than any other instrument offered by Sax except a bass saxophone, which is listed at 300 francs. In addition, the majority of Sax's instruments produced in Paris were brass instruments and saxophones. He appears not to have emphasized production of his woodwind instruments. Also, it must be noted that Sax was involved in at least three major court proceedings where he was sued by Parisian musical instrument makers whom he counter sued. This activity no doubt limited his time in producing and selling woodwinds.

In summary, Adolphe Sax produced superior playing bass clarinets which were copied by some makers but their greatest importance was in the use and modification of several of Sax's designs in the later bass clarinets by the important Parisian makers L.A. Buffet and Buffet-Crampon. By the 1870s, the modern bass clarinet had evolved and adopted worldwide.


The New Clarinet in Japan

E. Michael Richards
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

A number of prominent, award-winning Japanese composers (Akira Nishimura, Hiroyuki Itoh, Hiroyuki Yamamoto) have recently completed new chamber music works for me that demonstrate startling new possibilities for the clarinet. Their musical language draws from traditional Japanese aesthetics and music (such as gagaku), combined with the latest research in extended clarinet techniques for the Boehm system clarinet that I have been working on for 25 years (this merging of Western and Japanese elements into a new music is just one example of a characteristic way of thinking within Japanese society that the Japanese call wa-kon-yo-sai - a Meiji era slogan that means Japanese spirit, or soul - foreign technology). This extended clarinet research, unlike previous studies which have generally consisted of mere catalogs of sound effects, is organized according to the peculiar acoustical principles of the clarinet. As a result, the music of the above composers can freely express micro-tonalities and timbral transformations such as microtonal sequences of multiphonics, fingered microtonal portamenti, vertical sonorities (multiphonics) where pitch components can be articulated in various ways, and numerous trills (multiphonic split trills and multiphonic timbre trills, split microtonal trills, and double trills affected [or not] by flutter tonguing and/or portamenti) that take on new coloristic qualities.

I will demonstrate these innovations through live performance and recorded excerpts from these works (Meditation on a Theme of Gagaku Kotoriso (1996) - Nishimura; Madoromi III (2003) - Nishimura; Aquatic Aura (1997) - Nishimura; Out of a Blaze of Light (2006) - Itoh; Edoma (2006) - Yamamoto ).


Clarinets by the Denner family of Nürnberg

David Ross
University of Texas - El Paso, U.S.A.

This will be an illustrated presentation on instruments which are certainly among the most important landmarks in clarinet history: those of the Denner family. Based primarily on personal examinations of these instruments in their museum homes, included will be numerous photographs, detailing these instruments as well as noting differences between these and clarinets by other early makers. Special attention will be drawn to mouthpiece design and evolution. Tuning and playing experiences on these instruments will be noted, along with biographical information and reports of additional Denner clarinets.


The Gaida Bagpipe in the Evros region of Greek Thrace

Haris Sarris
University of Athens

My paper presents the main points of my doctoral research, which is an organological ethnography that focuses on the construction, the playing technique, and the repertoire of the gaida bagpipe in the Evros region of Greek Thrace. Part of the old agricultural world, the gaida died out in the course of the post-Second-World-War rapid urbanization. This urbanization process eventually resulted in the reduction of the number of musicians, the discontinuing of the instrument-making tradition, and the displacement of the gaida by the clarinet. At the time when I started my research, in the late 1990s, the gaida was being reappreciated thanks to the activity of local folklore cultural clubs. Unfortunately, this did not lead to a passing on of the playing tradition to the younger generation.

In this context, I describe the instrument making process of the gaida using technological methodology and ethnographic data. I examine the playing technique from a Westerner's point of view as well as from the natives' perspective. I also explore the way natives perceive and categorize their repertoire. Moreover, I analyze some sample pieces in terms of their structure. Finally, I propose a theory of 'musical-geographical streams' that surface in the repertoire of the gaida.


Brazilian clarinet music by the composer Francisco Mignone and his "Concertino for clarinet and orchestra"

Fernando Silveira
Rio de Janeiro State Federal University, Brazil

This study aims to research, as a main objective, the freedom of interpretation taken by contemporary performers of the "Concertino para clarineta e orquestra" (Concertino for clarinet and orchestra), by the Brazilian composer Francisco Mignone, through the historical context and thoughts of the composer, from the genesis of the musical work itself and from the contemporary philosophy of interpretation. To determine the above objective the recorded performances of four outstanding Brazilian clarinetists were analyzed.

Through data analysis interpretative reflections were offered that justified and/or complement the information collected from the performances, trying to find reasons for those decisions taken by the interpreters and proposing, for future performances, interpretative ways.

As a secondary objective a critical edition of the score has been proposed.


Heinrich Grenser's Keywork Concepts

Eleanor Smith
University of Edinburgh

The Shackleton collection contains three clarinets by the German maker Heinrich Grenser (1764-1813), noted for his innovative clarinet keywork. This paper discusses the Grenser instruments in Shackleton's Collection: how they fit within his oeuvre, and how they reflect on Grenser's statement in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung of 1811 highlighting the importance of the basic five-key instrument.


Clarinet Resources in the Boosey & Hawkes Collection and Archive

E. Bradley Strauchen
Horniman Musuem, London

In 2004, the Horniman Museum became the new home of the instrument collection formerly housed in the museum at the Boosey & Hawkes factory in Edgware and also of the firm's instrument production and design archives. These collections represent an important resource to researchers of British clarinet design and performance practice. Clarinet making was the leading activity of woodwind production at Boosey. This is reflected by the unusual and innovative clarinets collected for the factory's museum, which was curated by Eric McGavin, an active clarinettist, from 1950 to 1970. Instruments in the collection include prototype clarinets designed for Boosey by George Clinton and Manuel Gomez. Some 330 technical drawings dating from the late 19th century to the 1970s detail aspects of clarinet design from tone hole placement and bore profile to mouthpiece and key design. Extensive manufacturing records allow clarinet production at Boosey to be traced from the late 19th century into the 1970s. This presentation will provide an introduction to resources available to researchers of clarinet design and history in the Boosey & Hawkes Collection and Archive at the Horniman Museum, London.


Louf system: Belgian and French patents in Comparison with a Prototype in the Shackleton Collection

Denis Watel

In 2004, there appeared for the first time in an exhibition a clarinet after "Louf system" in the Berlin Faszination Klarinette exhibition. Nothing is known about this maker and inventor, except a short reference to his 1933 German patent in W. Waterhouse: The New Langwill Index, 1993.

This paper compares a prototype in the Sir Nicholas Shackleton collection and the Louf patent, a very complex system of covered tone-holes and touches for semi-tones played with second phalanx of the finger, like a racket. Some biographical information is given about Gustave Louf (1888-1957), the French maker and inventor.


Nick Shackleton: Collector Extraordinaire

William Waterhouse
London and Cheltenham

What differentiates the Musical Instrument collector from collectors of other kinds of art-object? Noteworthy collectors of the past and present will be identified, and their differing achievements and motivations discussed. Nick Shackleton's status in this company will be examined, together with his outstanding contribution as researcher and author to organology.


Boosey and Company: Trade in Clarinets in the Late 19th Century

Kelly White
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Extant Boosey & Company Stock Books, covering the periods 1868-1873, 1874-1875, 1882-1885, and 1896-1899, account for the sales of woodwind, brass wind and percussion instruments. These records provide information about the sale of individual instruments and to whom the instruments were sold, which helps to paint a more complete picture of Boosey & Co not only as an instrument manufacturer, but as a supplier and retailer of instruments.

This paper discusses the sale of clarinets by Boosey & Co based on the accounts kept in the Stock Books. Elements of this paper include defining what makes and models of clarinets were sold; a discussion of to whom clarinets were sold and possible connections between the clients needs and the model of clarinet purchased; and creating a general image of Boosey & Co's niche in the later part of the 19th Century.

Claremont Festival Group

17 June 2007

Claremont Clarinet Festival

Pomona, California USA

             The Claremont Clarinet Festival, in residence at Pomona College, Claremont, California, took place June 11-17, 2007. Participants from Spain, Oberlin College, Arizona, the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas, and greater Los Angeles participated in five public concerts of solo and ensemble clarinet repertoire under the artistic direction of clarinet coach Margaret Thornhill. The festival week included daily master classes with Margaret Thornhill, coach/accompanist Twyla Meyer, and guest clarinetist David Howard, bass clarinetist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Activities included a clarinet choir conducted by Lori Musicant Koch. Among comments from participants after the event:

 “a transforming experience”; “a ten-fold increase in my enthusiasm for playing”; a “wonderful experience for me.”

Next year’s festival will take place June 9-15. For information, please visit the website:

Programs from the Claremont Clarinet Festival:
June 14 Faculty recital

Margaret Thornhill, clarinet and Twyla Meyer, piano--Herbert Howells
"Sonata"; David Howard, clarinet, Twyla Meyer, piano--Robert Muczynski
"Time Pieces"; Bohuslav Martinu "Sonatine"; Margaret Thornhill, John
Walz, cello, and Twyla Meyer piano--Brahms, "Trio" Op. 114.
June 15 Participant recital

Robert Goldstein--Schumann "Fantasy Pieces"; D'Arcy Weinberger--Milhaud
"Duo Concertante";
Wendy Mazon--Gabaye "Sonatine" on bass clarinet; Lucie Mc Gee--Hindemith
"Sonata";Lori Musicant Koch--Poulenc "Sonata"; David Beech--Berg "Four
Pieces"; Thomas Carroll--Honegger "Sonatine"; Vicente Ortiz--Brahms
"Sonata , Op. 120 #2"--mvt 1 and 2; Kovacs--"Homage a Manuel de Falla"
for solo clarinet
June 16 Festival Clarinet Ensemble directed by Lori Musicant Koch

Bach/ Johnston--"Fugue in G major";  Eliott Carter "Canonic Suite";
Elgar "Nimrod"; Weill/Rae "Mack the Knife" from Threepenny Opera; 
Dubois "Quatuor"; Ciesla "Klezmer Suite"
June 17 The Clarinet Marathon

Lucie Mc Gee--Poulenc "Sonata";Robert Goldstein--Osborne "Rhapsody" for
solo clarinet;David Beech--Finzi "Bagatelles"; Vicente Ortiz--Bernstein
"Sonata";Thomas Carroll--Mayer "Raga Music" for solo clarinet; D'Arcy
Weinberger--Schumann "Romances";  Nichole Pacquing--Lefebvre "Fantasie
Caprice"; Wendy Mazon--Spohr" Concerto #1" mvt 1; Lori Musicant
Koch--Horovitz "Sonatina"
June 17 (evening)

Guest performance by the Los Angeles Clarinet Choir
Music of Cansino, Dvorak, Grainger

Symposium Introduction with Etheridge and Clark

School of Music Dean Welcome

Buffet Presentation to Dr Etheridge

Redwine Presents Clarinets to Competition winner

16 June 2007

University of Oklahoma 32nd Clarinet Symposium

Norman, Oklahoma USA

         The acclaimed Symposium held here under Clarinet Professor Dr David Etheridge took place with a stellar faculty of established Professionals and noted University Professors from all over the USA as posted on the Official Announcement posted in the galleries.   Of interest at this festival is the exposure of relatively unknown high talent which is noted later here.  As is known every year at this conference, the informality and easy demeanor at master classes, social situations, and performing, makes coming here an attractive event not to be missed.  On any given time, a newcomer to this conference can be inspired by the performances and contacts and exposures made almost seeming to be catalysted.   Below is described some of the major high points of this Festival, unfortunately 3 days long.

Jessica Phillips performs Brahms Trio Op114

Phillips in Recital

Master Class

Phillips coaching

Master lesson

Ixi Chen in Recital

Ixe Chen with colleagues

Ixi Chen, Francois Kloc, Hakan Rosengren

Steve Cohen Master Class

Ben Redwine and Steve Cohen - Poulenc Sonata

Duet from far out in hall

Redwine and Cohen

Master Class

Mike Lomax in concert

John McClune in concert

Mouthpiece lecture

Mouthpiece Mapping

Description of Mouthpiece table on sheet

Ashley Ragle Stravinsky 3 Pieces

Ragle performing Weber Concerto #2

Clark Trio performance

Bartok Contrasts with Chad Burrow

Hakan Rosengren in recital

Solo performance

Master Class

Master Class

Suzanne Tirk in Recital

Ms Tirk Solo

Bradley Wong in Recital

Wong in recital

Dr Waldecker in concert

         The above photo galleries show the many great players who came and super-impressed the hundreds of students, teachers, advocates of the instrument who witnessed over 20 performances by such key players as Steve Cohen, Faculty at Northwestern University and former Solo Clarinetist in the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans, Jessica Phillips, Eb/ 2nd Clarinetist in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York, Alcidas Rodriguez, Bass Clarinetist, Chester Rowell, Bass Clarinetist, Hakan Rosengren, Ixi Chen, 2nd Clarinetist in the Cincinatti Symphony, Ashley Ragle, 2nd Clarinetist in the Naples, Florida Symphony and winner of the Buffet-Crampon Clarinet Competition 2006, Chad Burrow, Solo Clarinetist in the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Joze Kotar, International Soloist from Slovenia, and Jazz great Ken Peplowski.   Many more performed recitals and concerts within the 3 days from am to pm.

          Several Master Classes were held with arranged student appearances to packed halls covering fundamentals of technical skills and musical emphases as coached by Steve Cohen, Jessica Phillips, Hakan Rosengren, Ken Peplowski, showing how advanced many of the students were for their age.  The annual Clarinet Competition was held with prizes given out, and one special prize was the loan of a set of Buffet Clarinets used by the late Ignatius Gennusa of the Baltimore Symphony, presented by Ben Redwine, a graduate of this University and a member of the US Naval Academy Band at Annapolis, Maryland. 

Buffet Exhibit

Buffet Officers

Rico Reed Table

Lomax Mouthpiece makers

Tom Ridenour Clarinet Table

Campione Publication exhibit

Marcia Diehl and John McClune

Backun Exhibit

Forte Clarinet Table

Orsi-Wier Exhibit

Andino Clarinets

Gilliam Music display

Lomax Mouthpiece display

Selmer displays

Levi Tracy and Mike Lomax

Grabner and soloist Martinez at stand

Redwine Mouthpiece table

Tom Ridenour and Bradley Wong

Roadkill Clarinet Quintett

Roadkill bow

             Industry exhibitions were present to show the many instrument brands, new products, accessories, new music publications by publishers and retailers.   If ever there is an opportunity to meet the makers and see and buy new products, this is the place to make moves to purchase and see new things.

Jon Beer in rehearsal

Beer as Klezmer soloist with Choir

Beer introducing piece

In concert



          Participation by enrollees were possible in playing in the Clarinet Choir, conducted by John de Beer, eminent Clarinetist from the Netherlands and Conductor of the Capriccio Clarinet Choir.  He is considered one of the outstanding directors in the Choir movement.  A seniors Clarinet Quintet names the Roadkill Clarinet Quintett, consisting of retired and senior players who have taught and played professionally performed an exceptional program.  Annette Luyben introduced the ensemble.

Redwine jazz

Redwine Jazz performance

Martinez Solo

Martinez ensemble

Ken Peplowski with Soloist Martinez

Peplowski with OK Clarinet Choir


           The finale concert featured Ken Peplowski, one of the great Jazzers of our time.  This was a successful program that has built itself from insignificent to the world class over the last 32 years single-handedly organized and pursued by Dr Etheridge, who waas presented a 'gift' of significence by Vice President Silva and Francois Kloc of Buffet-Crampon for his achievement. One has to have attended this conference for several years to really understand this accomplishment of well connected interactions with some of the great Clarinetists of the world. This Symposium is a mecca that all players should attend every year.

Jonathan Cohler

Jessica Phillips

Valdemar Rodrguez

Robert Spring

Michael Norsworthy

31 May - 12 June 2007

International Woodwind Festival - Boston Conservatory

Boston, Massachusetts USA

         This intensive 2 week Festival including a world-class faculty of Clarinetists held at the Longo School of Music at Harvard University, was a success which should inspire growth opportunities for all serious professionally bound players and advanced students.  Jonathan Cohler, an established soloist and recording artist is Artistic Director who gathered the above faculty and handled the logistics and concert programs.  Detailed information including photo galleries are posted on the above website.



Fri Jun 1  20:00  22:00  Seully  CONCERT  Clarinetist Jonathan Cohler &
The Claremont Trio
in Recital

Jonathan Cohler, Clarinet; Emily Bruskin, Violin; Julia Bruskin, Cello; Donna Kwong, Piano 
Sat Jun 2  20:00  21:00  Seully  CONCERT  Clarinetist Jessica Phillips in Recital
Jessica Phillips, Clarinet; Yoko Kida, Piano 
Sat Jun 2  21:00  22:00  Seully  CONCERT  Clarinetist Robert Spring in Recital
Robert Spring, Clarinet; Shizue Sano, Piano; Michael Norsworthy, Clarinet 
Sun Jun 3  15:00  16:00  Seully  CONCERT  Clarinetist Michael Norsworthy in Recital
Michael Norsworthy, Clarinet; Stephen Olsen, Piano 
Sun Jun 3  16:00  17:00  Seully  CONCERT  Clarinetist Valdemar Rodriguez in Recital
Valdemar Rodriguez, Clarinet; Yoko Kida, Piano; Ranieri Chacón, Clarinet 
Tue Jun 5  20:00  22:00  Seully  CONCERT  Clarinet Contrasts:
A Chamber Recital featuring IWWF Faculty

Robert Spring, Clarinet; Valdemar Rodriguez, Clarinet; Jonathan Cohler, Clarinet; Emily Bruskin, Violin; Michael Norsworthy, Clarinet; Julia Bruskin, Cello; Shizue Sano, Piano; Eliko Akahori, Piano; Donna Kwong, Piano 
Wed Jun 6  20:00  22:00  Seully  CONCERT  The Claremont Trio in Recital
Emily Bruskin, Violin; Julia Bruskin, Cello; Donna Kwong, Piano 
Thu Jun 7  20:00  21:00  Seully  CONCERT  The Venezuelan Clarinet Academy in Recital
Shizue Sano, Piano; Aristides Rivas, Cello; Valdemar Rodriguez, Clarinet; Jesus Anton, Clarinet; Angel Subero, Cuatro; David Medina, Clarinet; Yoko Kida, Piano; Alex Alvear, electric bass; Ranieri Chacón, Clarinet; Benito Meza, Clarinet 
Thu Jun 7  21:00  22:00  Seully  CONCERT  A Night at the Improv:
Clarinetist Todd Brunel and Friends

Gary Fieldman, Drumset; John Funkhouser, Double Bass; Andrew Hickman, Tenor Sax; Robert Rivera, Cello; George Brunner, Electronics; Ara Sarkissian, Piano; Dean Brunel, Piano; Arvin Zarookian, Double Bass; Ken Field, Alto Sax 
Sat Jun 9  13:30  15:00  Seully  CONCERT  A Student Recital
Emil Hudyyev, Clarinet; Michele Spinelli, Clarinet; Arthur Lukomyansky, Clarinet; Shizue Sano, Piano; Eliko Akahori, Piano; Alexander Brash, Clarinet; Kathleen LeBlanc-Hood, Clarinet; Yoko Kida, Piano 
Sat Jun 9  20:00  22:00  Seully  CONCERT  The Closing Gala
Robert Spring, Clarinet; Valdemar Rodriguez, Clarinet; Shizue Sano, Piano; Michael Norsworthy, Clarinet; Jonathan Cohler, Clarinet; Emily Bruskin, Violin; Eliko Akahori, Piano; Julia Bruskin, Cello; Donna Kwong, Piano; Yoko Kida, Piano; Jessica Phillips, Clarinet 



Copyright © 1999 All rights reserved.
Revised: October 15, 2007