Hot News June 2006

Manhattan School of Music


Competition Program

Finals session


27 June 2006

2006 Buffet-Crampon Young Artists Clarinet Competition Finals

Manhattan School of Music

 New York City USA


         The first Major Clarinet Competition by this major Clarinet Maker was held in the distinguished setting

of the Greenfield Recital Hall at this major Conservatory.  Forty-eight applicants sent in CD’s to qualify and hope

to engage this competition.  Information contained in the galleries above regarding details and Preliminary audition

details indicate the high standards and procedures.  The finals of this competition were adjudicated by Stanley Drucker,

Solo Clarinetist in the New York Philharmonic and Chairman of the Committee, Mark Nuccio, Associate Solo Clarinetist,

Greg Raden, Solo Clarinetist in the Dallas Symphony, and Michael Webster, Professor at Rice University in Houston,

Texas. This entire Competition project was organized and managed to very high standard by Mitchell Estrin, Creative

and Educational Manager of Buffet-Crampon, and Professor of Clarinet at the University of Florida.


        Four outstanding finalists were tasked to perform the following works in their entirety with Piano accompaniment –

Brahms 1st Sonata, Debussy Rhapsodie, Nielsen Clarinet Concerto through the first Cadenza, and the Donald Martino

Set for Solo Clarinet.  During the entire session, there was no coaching, just a performance, with the performers rated in

conference after each performed. The pressure on the finalists was very high stress given the stakes here and it was evident. 

The four contestants performed to 1st tier standards making it difficult to make final decisions.  In the final analysis, the

judges evaluated based on several combinations of factors, including technical fluidity and security, tone, pitch, rhythm,

musical interpretation, creativity, clarity of musical style and concepts, including subtle tonal inflections, sensitivities, and

intangibles.  One could not imagine performing for a more critical panel.   This factor places this competition  to the same

artist standard as the Nielsen and the Munich Competitions.  As an irony, it is interesting that a contestant is performing

the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto before a judge who recorded the same work with the New York Philharmonic under Bernstein

in one take.

Competition Ashley Ragle and Stanley Drucker

Drucker congratulates 2 winners

Winner acclolades

Group photo

Competition winners and Jury and Buffet

           Two winners after this grueling round were named: Ashley Ragle from Naples Florida, who won the 1st Prize with a

Gold Medal, a Buffet R13 Clarinet of her choice, and $1000.   The 2nd Prize was awarded to Alexey Gorokholinsky from

New York, who received a Silver Medal and $500. The presentations were awarded by Bruce Silva, Vice President of Buffet,

and Francois Kloc, Marketing Manager and Director of Artist Relations in the USA. 


       Under the proactive engagement of Mr Estrin, this is a landmark event involving the finest Clarinetists in the country. 

Last October 2005, in Atlanta, Georgia, a successful Clarinet Choir Festival was held, and the 2nd Clarinet Choir Festival

is scheduled to take place at the Eastman School of Music October 14-15 2006.  This array of outstanding events is worthy

of the attention of all players.

Claremont Clarinet Festival group

Master Class

David Howard- Bass Clarinetist - Los Angeles Philharmonic

Vicky Reyes Clarinet Performance

Steve White Solo performance

Gary Robertz and Pianist Twyle Meyer

Student Nikki Pacquing and Ms Thornhill

18 June 2006

Claremont Clarinet Festival

Pomona, California USA

The first annual Claremont Clarinet Festival, featuring participants and coaches at Margaret

Thornhill's Summer Clarinet Workshop, took place on the Pomona College campus, in Claremont,

California. June 11-18, 2006.

Five public concerts included a recital by master teacher Margaret Thornhill and collaborative pianist,

Twyla Meyer featuring the Guastavino "Sonata," the Finzi "Bagatelles" and the Hindemith Quartet for

violin, clarinet, cello and piano with guest string players Alyssa Park, violinist, and Armen Ksajikian,

cellist. A recital by guest coach David Howard, bass clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, 

demonstrated his proficiency on three different clarinets in a program of the Hindemith "Sonata"

for Bassoon played on bass clarinet; the Lutoslawski "Dance Preludes" and the Poulenc "Sonata"

on B-flat clarinet; and the Mendelssohn Concertpiece #1, for bassett horn, clarinet and piano with

Margaret Thornhill and Twyla Meyer as assisting artists.

A concert of "New Music for Clarinet Ensembles" included local premieres of original works by California

composers Edward Cansino and Spencer Dorn; one movement of Steve Reich's "New York Counterpoint";

quartets by Mike Curtis and Gordon Jacob, and "Monochrome 3 for Nine Clarinets" by Peter Schickele.

The concert was performed by workshop participants and conducted by Margaret Thornhill and assistant

conductor Lori Musicant.

Two participant concerts on the weekend were billed as a Clarinet Marathon, with ten clarinetists performing

blockbusters of the clarinet recital repertoire.  Kaili Curry, Johanna Hyun, Joseph Limacher, Wendy Mazon,

Lori Musicant, Nicole Paquing, Victoria Ramos, Gary Robertz, Alex Sramek and Steve White presented works

that had been coached during the workshop. Composers represented were: St. Saens, Osborne, Weber, Debussy,

Rosza, Rota, Arnold, Schumann, Brahms, Mucynzski, Kibbe, Frackenpohl, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Messager

and Poulenc.

Festival participants were in residence at Pomona College for six days, in morning master classes Margaret

Thornhill and David Howard,  afternoon individual coaching with pianist/coach Twyla Meyer, and ensemble

rehearsals. The general take on the workshop was that it was a "blast" with participant sJohanna Hyun declaring

"never a dull moment!" and Steve White writing that he "never thought that I could have so much fun playing

clarinet for a week!"

Next year's Workshop and Festival will take place June 11-18, at Pomona College, with concerts on June

15, 16, 17 and 18. There will be space for a maximum of twenty clarinetists, so early inquiries are advised.
For more information, please visit the website:

These programs were made possible in part through the generosity of Amateur Chamber Music Players and

the Clinton B. Ford Fund of its ACMP Foundation, an organization that promotes chamber music activities

for amateur musicians.

Symposium Faculty

OK Faculty including David Shifrin, Donald Montanero, and Russell Dagon

Donald Montanero and Buffet's Francois Kloc

Selmer's Jean-Francois Bescond, Todd Levy, and Edwin Riley

Ben Armato and David Etheridge

Brad Behn Mouthpiece table

Forte Clarinet display with new C Clarinet

Muncy Winds display

Ted Lane Mouthpiece table with Mr Girko

Buffet display with Mr Kloc servicing Clarinets

Heinen Recital

David Etheridge Recital

Connie Rhoades Recital

Walter Grabner Bass Clarinet Recital

Druhan Trio Performance

Bil Jackson Recital

Stephen Girko Recital

David Shifrin Recital

Druhan Duo

Michelle Keic Recital

17 June 2006

Oklahoma 31st Clarinet Symposium

University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma USA

          The 31st Annual Symposium was held before an enthusiastic following of players including students, teachers,

and professionals from all over the USA.  Faculty as posted on the promotions led a high quality level of performances

from leading players as David Shifrin, Bil Jackson, Stephen Girko, and several College teachers including Connie Rhoades,

Julianne Kirk, Thomas Josenhans, Michelle Kiek, Steven Hanusofski, Walter Grabner (Bass Clarinetist), Amanda

McClandis, Patricia Martin, Mary Alice Druhan, Julia Heinen, and Jared Davis.  Major teachers including Russell Dagan,

Donald Montanero, and Stephen Girko, held Master Classes covering important fundamentals with a similarity from past

backgrounds, covering the teachings of the principal concept movers such as the Tabateau approach leading to the playing of

Ralph McLain in Philadelphia as taught by Mr Montanero, Bonade concepts and practices as taught by Mr Dagon based on

the teaching of Robert Marcellus and Stanley Hasty at Eastman, and reinforced teaching reflecting the teaching of Leon

Russianoff (a student of Bonade and close associate of Bassoonist Simon Kovar) with fundamentals which paralleled all 3.

The classes, spanning 1- 2 hours each with selected students, caught attention to the full enrollment.

Russell Dagon with Clarinetist

Dagon lesson

Dagon Class

Girko Master Class

Montanero lesson

Girko Clarinet Debussy Class

Montanero demonstration of concept

Montanero coaching

Dagon student coaching

Girko coaching young student on Mozart Concerto

Leslie Redwine giving Presentation to Competition winners

David Etheridge giving Presentation to Muncy

Presentation of loaned Gennusa Clarinets to Clarinet Competition by Ben Redwine

OK Symposium Clarinet Choir

Clarinet Choir concert

         Recitals were all high tier, and the repertoire included standard and contemporary music.  Every year exhibits from the

industry is present.  The Clarinet Choir conducted by James Mieller was well performed. Program information is posted on the

Gallery above.  Dr Etheridge is to be highly credited for the success of this effective 3 days.

Vienna Connection artists

Vienna Party concert

8 June 2006

 vienna clarinet connection  10th Anniversary Celebration

Vienna, Austria

        The Vienna Connection ensemble celebrated its 10th year as a virtuoso group with this performance party at the Sargfabrik

in Vienna.  This ensemble has toured throughout Europe and has performed in the USA at the New Orleans ClarinetFest in 2001

to great acclaim.  Information about this ensemble and its players stated below.

More Helmut Hödl
More Helmut Hödl
More Helmut Hödl
More Helmut Hödl

A chamber music ensemble that reaches beyond the narrow confines of traditional stylistic genres.

In the space of only a few years
vienna clarinet connection has developed into a renowned chamber

music group that is increasingly in demand internationally.

“Four individuals and at the same time one single entity of the highest musical quality” was how

one music critic put it.   Immense virtuosity, creativity and joie de vivre are the hallmarks of this young

quartet which comprises two clarinets, a basset-horn and a bass clarinet.

The group’s original inspiration was the desire for a totally new chamber music concept.

“It was our wish to combine all the various musical styles we grew up with and feel emotionally attached

to in one programme.” Multifaceted and perfectionist, the ensembles interpretative influences metamorphose

into original compositions whilst existing works are influenced anew.

A truly kaleidoscopic repertoire ranges from Bach to Bartok and from full score to free improvisation -

performances are characterised by strength and depth of expression, virtuosity and a lot of good fun.

vienna clarinet connection
is a musical event of international stature, as witnessed at the Rheingau Festival,

the Carinthischer Sommer and many other international musical festivals.

Further a field the group has already toured (Spain, Germany, Turkey, Poland, Norway, Finland, Sweden,...)


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Revised: October 13, 2007