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June 2009 Hot News

27 June 2009

Oklahoma University  34th Clarinet Symposium - 25 - 27 June 2009 - Dr David Etheridge, Director

Norman, Oklahoma USA

             The 34th Symposium originally organized and evolved over this career time by Dr David Etheridge is probably the most prestigious Clarinet showcase event in the United States.  All the major performers and teachers of our time at one time were faculty here and as a result, has attracted a huge following of everyone from beginner to Professional.  The atmosphere at this University is most informal and outreaching to all who come to make contact and make friends with the faculty, and each other.  Many from all over the country come almost every year, and many students have made their future marks as players by participating here.  Location near the center of the country makes it attractive (except for the extreme hot weather outside) but air conditioning always saves people.  Anyone who has visited this School will notice the super quality facilities especially the Sharpe Concert Hall which is world class acoustically.  All class and exhibition areas were close by making ease in going to events and browsing for all the wares including instruments, accessories, printed music and recordings, and areas to try instruments out.  The galleries show it all in what is offered, and this conference should be a required place for all truly serious about playing and getting to associate with the best in the field.


           The three days started with Recitals covering every gamut of performance including standard literature, New Music including premieres, chamber music, and Master Classes with pre-registered participants who played for critiques with Artist Faculty Jon Manasse, Elsa Ludwig-Verdehr, Prodigy Julian Bliss, and Tom Martin.  Specifics are galleried above.  All the classes in the Recital Hall were packed with students and prepared performing students were treated one on one with important teaching tips for their individual issues and needs.  Positive reinforcent was consistent, and improvement was noticed quickly.  One can imagine the nerves playing for a world class master performer before a 200 crowd of clarinetists staring one down.

Elsa Verdehr Master Class

Jon Manasse Master Class

Julian Bliss Master Class

Tom Martin Master Class


                    Exhibits were self explanatory for what was displayed in two rooms, and much time was spent on the shopping of everything in sight.  In addition, Classes were held covering equipment and accessories, such as seminars on Reeds given by David Gould of Vandoren, and James Pyne on Mouthpieces in regard to tone production and acoustics. 

Vandoren Reed Class with David Gould and Pedagogy Class with Christy Banks     

     James Pyne Class on Mouthpieces and Acoustics

               Participation in the Clarinet Choir, conducted by Mitchell Estrin from the University of Florida, had 58 players who performed a solid program in two rehearsals.  Enthusiasm was evident as this group is over double size from the previous year.

              Every year there is a Clarinet Competition with prizes for young students, directed by Ben Redwine, an Oklahoma University graduate and Eb Clarinetist in the US Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Maryland. Prizes included products from Exhibitors, notably Ben Armato and Muncy Winds and others.  Standards were high and much decision migraines  took their toll.   All the students were well prepared.

Julian Bliss Recital

Jon Manasse and Tom Martin Recitals

Verdehr Trio Performance

Diane Barger and Denise Gainey Recital

Ciotti Solo and Trio Recital

Nichael Norsworthy and Eric Mandat Recitals

Androvino and Kevin Schempf Bass Clarinet Recitals

Alcides Rodriguez Latin Jazz Concert


             It has been mentioned in previous Newsletters and Hot News Pages how important it is to come to every event possible to expand the Clarinet horizon.  There are 2 important showcase programs in the United States, this program and the ClarinetFest, which this year is in Porto, Portugal, in which every third year they go to another country.  Both these festivals are showcase where several artists give recitals, have exhibitions, Master Classes and seeks a broad view of the Clarinet field.    Many others are smaller and more concentrated on workshops, more individual attention, and both venues are vitally important. It is recommended to attend both and get a taste of everything, and meet a diverse array of players, and most important learn all that can be sponged in.  Young players in High School and College need to concentrate on these studies to develop their goals; the real world profession is not far off.  Attending this Symposium should be an obligation for all Clarinetists to attend.

21 June 2009

Clarinetopia - SUNY Stoney Brook - 18 - 21 June 2009 - Directors Michael Webster, Alan Kay, Stephen Williamson

Stoney Brook, New York USA

           Probably one of the most spectacular inaugural Clarinet workshops to be born here at this near Ivy League University, this program has quickly proven itself to be one of the most important programs for an aspiring player to attend.  The most inspiring aspect of this program is the artistic intensity engaged by a world class performing faculty,  Stephen Williamson, Solo Clarinetist in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Lincoln Center, Alan Kay,  Artist Faculty at the Juilliard School and Artist teacher at Stoney Brook, and Solo Clarinetist in the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and many other important ensembles in New York, and an avid advocate of the teaching of the late Leon Russianoff, and Director Michael Webster, former Solo Clarinetist in the Rochester Philharmonic and Professor at the Shepard School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas, along with his wife Leona Buyse, flutist, and former member of the Boston Symphony, and artist Pianist Sophia Patey, who accompanied all the recitals and master classes spanning 3 solid days of real work. 

                There were over 20 pre-screened students who enrolled after submitting audition CD's and were regimented with critically high standard master classes, covering all major gamuts of playing, including technical aspects, musical perceptions to grasp to make a piece more lucid for an audience to accept the performance, several sessions dealing with Orchestral audition preparation, covering over 5 hours covering all the standard excerpts, with helpful coaching from all 3 Artist Clarinetists, and trading opinions on how how to make the playing acceptable to an audition committee.  Covering the Clarinet repertoire was approached and coached by all the faculty, and the coaching made a difference by the time the students performed the final recital, comparing how they played in the Master Class to when they presented their finished product.  The difference was quite remarkable. All the students who came, from a long distance throughout the country, were all advanced and professionally near the point of being professional. During this week, there were sessions dealing with making reeds, with both Dr Webster and Alan Kay providing Reed-Dual machines and showing all interested how to make reeds and make them work.

                Michael Webster Class on Group Tuning

Brahms Sonata Seminar and Performance on his  Clarinet Sonatas

Several innovative sessions and ideas were introduced that can serve an interesting benefit to players.  Each morning at 9 am, there was a Yoga session given by Dr Webster, one who has studied this area for several years, and gave an Introduction for all to exercise it for a 1/2 hour to educate folks on the benefits of doing this to help the body and make it more relaxed and flexible.  Each day there was a new topic covered with everyone participating in the rigors and relaxations of it.  Such a practice can certainly help one's perspectives, attitudes, and make one feel more whole.  Other sessions covered Intonation, a Alan Kay session each morning on effective warmups, including tone development, technical drills to make one agile especially covering scales as prescribed in the Klose Method, and more.  During the whole week, there were handouts to reinforce the sessions.    Other sessions included from Stephen Williamson on concepts of Bel Canto, addressing how Opera singers handle their sound projection, and how one can learn from it.  Michael Webster presented a musical and practical talk about Brahm's Sonatas with a Powerpoint Presentation, and he also presented a Tuning analysis presentation with how to make several clarinetists adjust their pitch to make the group in tune.

Michael Webster Master Classes

Alan Kay Master Classes

Steven Williamson Master Classes

              Several galleries will show how these sessions happened.   Plans are underway to continue this Clarinetopia and expand as well.  From the total perspective, this was a breakthrough.  This is the most artistically important workshop.   A program now in it's 3rd year with the Buffet Clarinet Academy, is the only other of its type.  

13 June 2009

Claremont Clarinet Festival,  Margaret Thornhill, Director

Pomona, California

               Margaret Thornhill's 2009 Claremont Clarinet Festival took place June
7-13 on the beautiful Southern California campus of Pomona College. A
week-long intensive residential workshop for advanced players,
culminating in three public performances, the Festival brought together
clarinet performance graduates from Colorado State University,
University of Southern California, Northern Arizona University, the
University of Arizona, the University of South Florida, and CSU Los
Angeles, as well as music educators, adult amateurs and young artists
from the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles areas. Intensive daily
masterclasses and coachings with founder/teacher Margaret Thornhill, her
guest, LA Philharmonic bass clarinetist David Howard, and
pianist/coaches Twyla Meyer and Althea Waits were followed by evening
rehearsals of clarinet ensembles, led this year by Victoria Ramos and
Wendy Mazon. In addition, certified Alexander teacher Frances Marsden
offered a hands-on Introduction to Alexander Technique for
Clarinetists group class that was very enthusiastically received.
            Held in the historic Bridges Hall of Music and Lyman Recital Hall on the
Pomona College campus, in Claremont, California, the three public
concerts on June 11, 12, and 13 offered a diverse repertoire of
standard and new works:

            On Thursday, June 11,"An Evening of Clarinet Ensembles" included the
California premiere of Chuck Fernandez's "Circus Stroll" for clarinet
choir, plus Sammy Nestico's "A Study in Contrasts," Gordon Jacob's "The
Wind in the Reeds", Andy Scott's "Paquito" with Lynne Snyder, soloist,
and an arrangement of Mancini's "The Pink Panther". Clarinet quartets
included Ian Holloway's hilarious "Colonel Bogey Variations", Turkish
music arranged by participant Christin Hablewitz, and Latin American
music. The clarinet ensemble of participants was assisted by guests Alex
Sramek, Joel Kabakoff, and Don Gross on harmony clarinets.Victoria
Ramos, Wendy Mazon, and Margaret Thornhill conducted.
            Friday, June 12, a Participant Recital of "Masterworks for Clarinet"
featured David Beech, Christin Hablewitz, Nicolina Logan, Wendy Mazon,
Victoria Ramos, Ann Satterfield, Lynne Snyder and Stephen White
performing works by Schumann, Mendelssohn, Cahuzac, Seiber, Kibbe,
Widor, Weber, Francaix and Guastavino with
Twyla Meyer and Althea Waites, pianists.
           Saturday, June 13, a concert of "20th Century Masters" included faculty
clarinetist and artistic director,Margaret Thornhill, joined by Pomona
faculty cellist, Roger Lebow and pianist Twyla Meyer in the west coast
premiere of Daniel Schnyder's "A Friday Night in August:"
Bass clarinetist Steve White performed David Loeb's "Sonata #1 for Bass
clarinet solo", Nicolina Logan performed Willson Osborne's "Rhapsody"
for clarinet solo, Wendy Mazon, recent DMA graduate from Arizona State
University, offered Kovacs' "Hommage a Manuel De Falla", Ann Satterfield
played Debussy's "Premiere Rhapsodie", Christin Hablewitz performed
D'Rivera's "Vals Venezolana y Contradanza", and sonatas by Hindemith,
Poulenc, Horovitz, Howells were presented by David Seta, Vicky Ramos,
Lynne Snyder, and David Beech. The pianist was Twyla Meyer.
          The 2010 Claremont Clarinet Festival will be held June 14-21 at Pomona
College. For further information or to download an application (available Dec. 1,
2009) visit the website:

          New this year is a category for participants who only wish to prepare
and perform only one solo work, but who wish to take part in all other
activities, at a somewhat reduced tuition rate.










1st Prize:     Olli Leppäniemi, Finland
2nd Prize:    Christelle Pochet, France
3rd Prize:     Daniel Ottensamer, Austria
4th Prize:     Balazs Rumy, Hungary

9 June 2009

4th Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition

Odense, Holland

            This world-class Competition, with the Clarinet featured every 3rd year convened on Odense, Holland with probably one of the most critical standards to be found worldwide, to be matched only by the Munich Competition and few others.  The Nielsen website has details about the requirements, jury, headed this year by Hans Dienzer, one of the most important pedagogues from Germany.  What makes this such an impressive event is the celebration of composer Nielsen, who was one of the most important composers of the 20th Century, who wrote concertos for several instruments, the Clarinet Concerto one of the most difficult ever.  Imagine performing this work for a hyper critical jury and public with no mistakes allowed.   The winners of this great competition certainly have a performance future as soloists as it opens doors to productive careers.  Management and performances along with cash award prizes are part of the incentives along with the world prestige coming out in the results. This is one very important event to follow for players setting high goals for themselves.

Olli Leppäniemi with conductor Christoph Eberle. Photo: Ulf Jeppesen

The four laureates

Left to right: Daniel Ottensamer, Austria, Olli Leppäniemi, Finland, Christelle Pochet, Frankrig and Balazs Rumy, Hungary. Photo: Ulf Jeppesen

Danish competitors

The two Danish competitors: Mathias Kjøller (left) and Nicolai Eghorst. The latter was awarded the prize as favorite semifinalist of the Young People's Jury. Photo. Ulf Jeppesen

Winner played on borrowed clarinet

On June 9, after four exciting rounds, the winners of this year's Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition were announced in front of the audience in the Carl Nielsen Hall, Odense at 10.30pm and live on Danish Radio.

One of the two competitors who unfortunately had their clarinets stolen on the train from Copenhagen Airport to Odense, Finnish Olli Leppäniemi actually won the competition and two special prizes as well - playing on clarinets borrowed from a colleague. After his last note in the final concert, he had to give the instruments back to the colleague. Since the stolen clarinets never turned up, he is now looking forward to buying himself a new set of clarinets.


1st Prize: Olli Leppäniemi, Finland
DKK 125.000 (sponsorered by "Solistforeningen af 1921")

2nd Prize: Christelle Pochet, France
DKK 80.000

3rd Prize: Daniel Ottensamer, Austria
DKK 50.000

4th Prize: Balazs Rumy, Hungary
DKK 30.000

Prize for Best Interpretation of Danish Works: Olli Leppäniemi, Finland
DKK 15.000

Odense Symphony Orchestra Prize: Olli Leppäniemi, Finland
DKK 10.000

Young People's Jury Prize: Christelle Pochet, France
DKK 5.000 and a gift voucher of €675
(Voucher sponsorered by Vandoren, Paris)

Young People's Jury Prize for a chosen semifinalist: Nicolai Eghorst, Denmark
A gift voucher of €675
(Sponsorered by Vandoren, Paris)

Copenhagen Artists A/S offers two years’ world-wide  management to the winner.

The winner will be offered an engagement as soloist (Mozart Clarinet Concerto) with the Odense Symphony Orchestra at the Opening Concert of The 4th Carl Nielsen International Flute Competition, May 30, 2010 at 4pm in the Carl Nielsen Hall, Odense.




6 June 2009

Final Concerto Performance with the New York Philharmonic June 4, 5, 6, and 9 June 2009 performing the Copland Clarinet Concerto with Loren Maazel conducting


New York Tribute for Stanley Drucker, shown on screen at Avery Fisher Hall before his Copland Concerto Performance

Barbara Jepson Interview with Mr Drucker from the Wall St Journal


New York Philharmonic Bids Farewell To Clarinetist Stanley Drucker, from National Public Radio (NPR) Morning Edition 2 June 2009 

By Jeff Lunden

Amy Shapiro, credited with total organization of Drucker Exhibit

Stanley Drucker Reception with guests including Alan Alda, the New York Philharmonic Clarinet Section and Francois Kloc, Mike Getzin, Jon Manasse Ted Lane, Mitchell Estrin, and 150 others

New York City USA

           Without exaggeration, this evening with Soloist Stanley Drucker performing the Aaron Copland Clarinet Concerto for the last time after over 60 years in the Philharmonic and soloist in this work over 60 times, is the most important and inspiring evening of the year.  The affection and admiration of his legacy is nothing less than awe-striking- to have a presentation at the concert before his appearance on stage, and given a standing ovation before he performed sends a telling message.  Like many other previous performances, he clearly owns the piece as stated in the National Public Radio coverage of his career.   The concert was  sold out, and the public had a generous opportunity to see in exhibit what Maestro Drucker was all about.   The numbers are on display at an exhibition in a corridor at Avery Fisher Hall that traces his career and provides clips of interviews and performances. It was organized by Amy Shapiro, Mr Drucker's biographer and a PhD candidate at the State University at Stoney Brook, a former student who is writing a doctoral dissertation about the Philharmonic through his experiences. At a private preview last week, a subdued Mr. Drucker seemed moved. “It’s overwhelming,” he said softly.

           After this incredible concert, Mr Drucker was honored at a reception at the nearby Empire Hotel, sponsored by Buffet-Crampon, the illustrious Clarinet makers, with a VIP by invitation attendance by 150 artists, and friends that lasted several hours with many of the most prestigious  performers, teachers in the country.  Many testimonials were read showing how Mr Drucker has had a major impact on their lives, including Franklin Cohen from the Cleveland Orchestra, Mitchell Estrin, a longtime student and Orchestral associate in the New York Philharmonic on tour for over 20 years, and many more.  A special commemorative gold coin honoring this event was given only to the invited dignitaries.  Mr Drucker's relationship with Buffet is historic.    It was Mr Drucker and the late David Weber who decided and made possible the Buffet R-13 to be made available in the USA and becoming one of the most standard setting professional clarinets used today, about 80% use these clarinets.

          Check this link for Reception photos after this historic evening: 


           A former Student and advocate of Mr Drucker, Ted Lane, has compiled a Reception Gallery celebrating this great event:



           Another forgotten fact is the innovation and teaching influence Mr Drucker has had, having edited 6 volumes of Orchestral excerpts with International Music Company, a major staple in the Orchestral training of students headed for professional careers.  The Solo recordings produced with the New York Philharmonic speak for themselves.

           Anyone who has had active contact with this great artist is the better for it.  I know very few who have had such an influence in one's life.

5 June 2009

Buffet Crampon New York City Grand Opening (162 West 48th St) and Festivities held 5 June 2009

New York City USA

          A long awaiting Grand opening event in New York took place this Friday afternoon with a large artist turnout from all over this city and around the country celebrating this major showroom event, a place where artists and instrument customers would come to select and maintain their instruments.  The Buffet Administration, including the President from Paris, France, Antoine Beaussant, were present to make this a major event in New York.  Major USA Officers including Artist and Marketing Manager Francois Kloc, Woodwind Manager USA Matt Vance, Mary Marshall, Bruce Silva, Vice President of Buffet USA, Kristin Bertrand, acclaimed Woodwind Technician,  and many others from the firm, were on hand to be part of this day.  Many important artist dignitaries, including the Clarinet section from the New York Philharmonic, Pascual Martinez-Forteza, and Mark Nuccio, Jazz great Ken Peplowski, Mitchell Estrin, longtime associate performer with the Phil when on tour, and Artist Professor at the University of Florida, and Buffet Educational Manager, and responsible for the planning and carry-out of the Buffet Clarinet Academy, David Etheridge, Professsor at Oklahoma Universirty and Director of the annual Clarinet Symposium there, Charles West, Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Michael Noresworthy, acclaimed New Music Clarinetist and Professor at the Boston Conservatory, Gary Whitman, Professor at Texas Christian University and current President of the International Clarinet Association, Ted Lane, from the American Sinfonietta in Texas, and a former Drucker student, and many others.  Stanley Drucker would have come if he wasn't occupied with Copland Concerto performances all week - check the above summary from his phenominal performance 6 June at the Philharmonic.  This social event, including refreshments and a cake cutting to celebrate the day, was quite meaningful for all who came and be inspired by the great artist fellowship. 


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