Hot News March 2007

Michael Lowenstern in Master Class coaching and the ClariFest Clarinet Choir conducted by Dr Diane Barger

30 March 2007

MidWest ClariFest,  Dr Diane Barger, Director,  held at the University of Nebraska 30 March 2007.

Lincoln, Nebraska USA

                   This outstanding Clarinet event, held at this major University every year under the Directorship of Professor Diane Barger, is responsible for inviting major Clarinetists and pedagogues to benefit participants with extensive Master Classes, student performances, Clarinet Choir activity and Concert with the latest in literature, and this year Guest Artist Bass Clarinetist Michael Lowenstern, who made a major performance and coaching of players invited to play in coaching sessions.

 A review by Kristen Denny (DMA candidate, University of Colorado-Boulder)

                   The 11th annual Midwest ClariFest, hosted by Dr. Diane Barger (Associate Professor of Clarinet), took place on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus on Friday, March 30, 2007. Michael Lowenstern, renowned bass clarinetist and one of the country’s leading producers of creative electro-acoustic music, served as the guest artist and clinician. Over 60 participants were involved in the event including high school and college students along with teachers and guests.

                  The day was ushered in with a performance by the UNL clarinet choir conducted by Dr. Barger which opened and closed with lively works by Gordon Jacob and Rimsky-Korsakov. Monochrome III for nine clarinets by Peter Schickele was certainly the highlight. With a clever combination of chromatic-rich clusters and soaring solo lines executed by DMA student Pance Zaev, it was a crowd favorite.

                 Michael Lowenstern lead two masterclasses where performers ranged from 9th grade students to DMA students and teachers. Aside from emphasizing the importance of developing strong fundamentals, other topics included the use of physical movement to build internal rhythm, voicing exercises combined with moving the head up and down, keeping the fingers strong yet supple, exercises to strengthen lip muscles and prevent air leakage, and a demonstration of circular breathing. While working with 12th grader Celeste Case-Ruchala on the Osborne Rhapsody, Lowenstern mentioned that once the printed music is mastered and the lines have been carefully “colored in,” musicians can allow for a bit of freedom to explore the piece in new ways. This concept is especially crucial as we attempt to “sell” new music, as he explained to UNL sophomore, Jamie Meyer, when she performed the same piece on bass clarinet. Overall, Lowenstern held the attention of the audience with his natural quick wit and consistent interaction.

                 Mr. Lowenstern concluded the master classes with a brief discussion of a challenge that performing artists now face: the dwindling “classical” audience. He explained that musicians need to be proactive by discovering our audience and then target them directly. Lowenstern also stressed the significance of saying “yes” to every opportunity and emphasized that a successful career often incorporates music with other interests and creative talents.

                Additional ClariFest activities included a clarinet choir reading session conducted by UNL Graduate Student Kristi Michael, and an afternoon potpourri recital provided entertainment as UNL students and alumni performed works by Lefebvre, Rosemary Lang, Osborne, Eric Mandat, Messiaen, Roberto Sierra, Scott McAllister, Crusell and Schumann.

              The end of day was punctuated with an energetic concert as Michael Lowenstern presented compositions from all four of his compact discs. The general mood of the concert was defined as he opened with 1985, a piece that folds humorous comments about Lowenstern from former schoolmates into fierce musical lines and electronic dance beats. Drift, Hum and Ten Children demonstrated one of Lowenstern’s signatures of looping and layering musical lines with vocal and body percussion all recorded and performed in a live setting. But Would She Remember You? showed a tender side of the composer while Sha allowed him to express his roots with Klezmer-influenced gestures. Spasm concluded the performance with a final burst of intensity. Michael Lowenstern’s diverse palette of sound combined with excellent technical ability and execution provided an extremely successful and inspiring performance.

             Next year, Midwest ClariFest is scheduled for Friday, March 28, 2008 with guest artist Nathan Williams. For further information, please contact Dr. Barger at

Information on Mr Lowenstern below:

           Michael Lowenstern, considered one of the finest bass clarinetists in the world, has performed,
recorded and toured the U.S. and abroad as a soloist and with ensembles of every variety. His career
has traveled across equally diverse territory, and Lowenstern has enjoyed performing with musicians
and groups such as The Klezmatics, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Steve Reich and Musicians, The
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and John Zorn.

          As a composer, Michael has written music for concert, film, dance and the other new media. Actively
involved with new technology in sound and music, Michael is one of this country's leading producers
of creative electro-acoustic music, both for his own works and in collaboration with other composers.
To date he can be heard on over forty recordings, including three solo discs: the critically acclaimed
Spasm, 1985, and his newest Ten Children, which garnered a "Parenting Pick" award in Parenting
Magazine's music listing for 2004.

          In 1989, Michael was the recipient of a Fulbright grant to study in Amsterdam, and in 1991 was the
top prizewinner at the International Gaudeamus Competition in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. A graduate
of the Interlochen Arts Academy, he received further training from the Eastman School of Music
(BM, Performer's Certificate), the Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam (Artist's Certificate), and the State
University of New York at Stony Brook (MM, DMA), studying clarinet and bass clarinet with Charles Neidich,
Harry Sparnaay, Richard MacDowell and John Bruce Yeh, and composition with Daniel Weymouth. Michael
has served on the faculties of the Juilliard School and New York University, and travels regularly as a guest
lecturer at universities around the country.

         Lowenstern is also an award-winning designer and enjoys a second career as an web developer and animator
for McCann Erickson in New York City, having designed and produced both online and offline advertising for
clients such as Maybelline, Warner Brothers, Intel and Wendy's, among many others. He lives in Brooklyn with
his wife, clarinetist Katherine Cooke, and daughter Ariel.

24 March, 2007

Charlene Zimmerman (Principal Clarinet in the Lyric Opera of Chicago) and master class participants in the Annual University of N. Illinois Cornucopia Directed by Dr Gregory Garrett held 24 March 2007

DeKalb, Illinois USA

        Charlene Zimmerman (Principal Clarinet Lyric Opera of Chicago) and the master class participants.   70
clarinetists were in attendance at this annual Cornucopia, headed by Professor Dr Gregory Garrett, a very proactive advocate and effective teacher of this instrument. A clarinet quartet from Northwestern University won the clarinet quartet competition.  Charlene gave a recital of works drawn or related to opera.  The Clarinet Cornucopia choir performed  transcriptions of works by John Adams, Wagner, Bizet, and Mozart.

Residence with Wind Ensemble and Performance / Recording and Master Classes with Students from 3 Universities

19-24 March, 2007

 John Bruce Yeh  in residence at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University in Columbus, GA

 Columbus, Georgia USA

         John Bruce Yeh, Associate Solo Clarinetist in the Chicago Symphony,  was in residence at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia  from March 19-24, 2007. Clarinetist Lisa Oberlander, Professor of Clarinet at the Schwob School,  hosted a regional master class for Yeh with performers from Columbus State University, Florida State University, and the University of Georgia. 

         He also performed a concert with the CSU Wind Symphony and conductor Robert Rumbelow including Scott McAllister's Black Dog, Michael Daugherty's Brooklyn Bridge, Michael Burritt's Duo Concertante for Clarinet and Percussion (with his daughter, percussionist Molly Yeh), premiered last year with the Northshore Concert Band in Evanston, Illinois,  and a brand new work for clarinet, basset  horn and chamber ensemble by James M. David (with Yeh's wife, clarinetist Teresa Reilly). 

         The next four days were spent recording this repertoire for a CD to be released next year. 

Craven Master Class in Hong Kong

Craven demonstrating Ridenour ATC Reed device

Craven working embouchure issue with student

Hong Kong at night

Hong Kong Cultural Center

22 March 2007

Leslie Craven, Solo Clarinetist in the Welsh National Opera Orchestra on tour convening Master Class at the Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts 22 March 2007

Hong Kong, China

        On a recent trip to Hong Kong with the Welsh National Opera, I was invited to play and teach some master classes and clinics at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts - invited by Head of Winds and Percussion Alan Cumberland, Timpani pedagogue and former Principal Timpanist in the London Philharmonic.

        The Academy is a very impressive building on the Hong Kong Island a short boat-ferry trip (or newly - built underground train) from the Mainland  housing many departments - including Media, Dance and Music.

        The students I saw all had great skill and one in particular a 14 year old was one of the most talented young players I have had the privilege to teach during my 47 years playing clarinet.   This young person played with a maturity and conviction and solidity of technique surpassing many students 10 years her senior.

        The classes were well attended by the faculty  and the Hong Kong students were full of fun and good humour and showed keen interest in all topics of discussion. They also had a unique ability to take on board new ideas and concepts, in my opinion faster than their European counterparts - whether this is genetic or simply a coincidence I am not sure.

        Alan Cumberland wined and dined me Royally and I left Hong Kong feeling I had done some great work with the students and had made many new friends.

18 March 2007

Anat Cohen Jazz Quartet performs virtuoso Concert at the Monmouth Library Concert series in New Jersey 18 March 2007

Monmouth, New Jersey USA

          The Anat Cohen Jazz Quartet gave a concert at this Headquarter Library to a full house and mostly an audience of over 50 years old, an irony given the incredible performance given.  Information about the quartet on the Cohen site.  Ms Cohen, from Tel Aviv Israel, has handled all the styles with virtuosity and the group was interwoven and very much alive.  Many projects, both recording and tours by this group are ongoing. Cohen has been named as one of the top jazz clarinetists by Downbeat Magazine. 

Lane and Mozart Concerto

Artie Shaw Concerto

Master Class students and Ted Lane

5 March 2007

Ted Lane, Soloist in Performance of the Artie Shaw Clarinet Concerto with the South Texas Symphony 1 March and the Mozart Clarinet Concerto K 622 with the Monterey, Mexico Symphony 5 March 2007

Austin Texas and Monterrey, Mexico

         Ted Lane, Solo Clarinetist in the American Sinfonietta in Austin Texas, and a major figure in that area having been Juilliard educated and major student of Stanley Drucker of the New York Philharmonic, performed 2 major Soloist engagements between 1 - 5 March as summarized below.  He performed the Artie Shaw Concerto with the South Texas Symphony on March 1st to an enthusiastic response as stated in this review:

         Artie Shaw's Concerto for Clarinet showcased Shaw and his band in the film Second Chorus. The clarinet part was improvised in its entirety and has been transcribed from the recording for subsequent performances. Thursday night's performance featured the VSO's principal clarinetist, Ted Lane. Lane's beautiful tone, technical prowess and mastery of the extreme registers of the instrument made for a fine rendition. The final clarinet cadenza was sheer joy, with Lane handling the extreme upper register of the clarinet with brilliance. The audience responded with a mid-concert standing ovation.     -     

Gene Holkup, The Monitor

        Mr Lane also performed the Mozart Concerto and Debussy Rhapsody with the Monterrey, Mexico Chamber Orchestra on March 5th. Performance was as successful as the concert 4 days earlier.  Master Classes were held at the Monterrey Conservatory and Dance with the top students covering the important technical basics and musical points of importance. Three key students took part as part of the event.


4 March 2007

Udi Nave,  Mercandante Clarinet Competition winner (Italy)  and Soloist in Performance of the Carl Maria von Weber Concertino Op 26 with the 'Meastro Young Guests' with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Meastro Zubin Mehta  4 March 2007.

Tel Aviv, Israel

         The Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta conducted a program entitled ' Meastro Youth Guests' with outstanding music performers from all over the country.   Of special note is the emergence of young Udi Nave, a high school student and student of Sarah Elbaz, a noted teacher and performer in Israel.  Nave recently won in the Mercandante Clarinet Competition in Bari Italy the past year, judged by such notable artists as Karl Leister, Antonio Tinelli, Luigi Magistrelli, and others.  Information about the winner, who performed the Weber Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra, Op 26 is below.

             Udi Nave was born in Israel in 1989 and has been playing the clarinet since he was 10.  He is studying at the Israel Conservatory of Music in   Tel Aviv with Sarah Elbaz and is in his senior year at the Thelma Yellin High School. He is a regular recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarships both in clarinet and chamber music and also won second prize at the Mercadante Competition in Italy and first prize at the David Weber Competition in Jerusalem, the Ashdod Competition and the Israel Conservatory of Music Competition.  Udi Nave is a member of the Young Musicians Unit at the Jerusalem Music Center and playes with several chamber ensembles directed by Avi Abramovic, Mauricio Paez and Sarah Elbaz.  He had participated in masterclasses and worked with renowned artists such as Sabine Meyer, Antony Pay, Karl-Heintz Steffens, Guy Deplus, Eli Eban and Sharon Kam.  Udi Nave has appeared with the Israel Chamber Orchestra and the Thelma Yellin Symphony Orchestra, were he serves as Principal Clarinetist.  This is his first appearance with Israel Philharmonic Orchestra


UAB Performing Arts Center

Dr Barger and Dr Willett in discussion

Dr Gainey and Student

Class dicussion on opportunities and organizations

Hulsey Music Building

ContraBass Clarinets in rehearsal

Charles Willett and Dr Diane Barger

Master Class with Willett and Barger

Faculty- students discussion session

Dr Gainey, Pam Gordon, Pianist, Dr Barger, Charles Willett

4 March 2007

5th Annual  UAB Clarinet Retreat - University of Alabama - 3 - 4 March 2007

Birmingham, Alabama USA

           Over the past weekend at this major university was held the 5th Annual Clarinet Retreat, attracting over 60 students from all over Alabama and other states in the USA Southeast region.  Professor Dr Denise Gainey Directed the weekend with a very high standard of challenge for the attendees with master classes given by 4 guest artist faculty including Dr Diane Barger from the University of Nebraska, Senior Gunnery Sergeant Charles Willett from the US Marine Band (President's Own), Osiris Molina from the Alabama Symphony, and Dr Gainey who was personally involved in Clarinet Choir preparation with both the University Clarinet Choir and the Participant Choir which performed to high standard this weekend. 

           A major Master Class convened with several students of varying performance levels coached by Dr Barger and Dr Willett working together with the students, covering important fundamentals in tone production, breath support, musical issues in their performing various solo pieces for clarinet,  and pointers that would be useful in teaching and daily practice.  The enthusiastic manner carried by Dr Barger did much to break the ice about nerves where the student felt at ease to concentrate on the issues being covered.   Charles Willett made practical pointers supporting the concepts suggested by Dr Barger which made for a solid program benefitting all the students who played for them.

Bouffil Trio for 3 Clarinets

Diane Barger in recital

Denise Gainey in Recital

Judy Donaldson performing Stravinsky 3 Pieces

Charles Willett performing Brahms Sonata #1

Mozart Parto Parto

Robert Janssen in Recital

Glinka Trio Patetique

Daria Mosteller and Denise Gainey

Willett in Recital

        A major recital was co-performed by the faculty and guest artists as the galleried program will show.  Performances were artist class and delivered a repertoire array from Mozart to Contemporary music.  Chamber performance was a major part including performing  Mozart's Parto Parto with soprano and piano, Bernstein's Sonata,  Glinka's Trio Pathetique for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano, and more.

Middle School Choir rehearsal

MIddle School Clarinet Choir

UAB Clarinet Choir with Dr Gainey

UAB Choir conducted by Dr Gainey

Mass Clarinet Choir Concert with Participants conducted by Director Denise Gainey

         Three Clarinet Choirs performed, one Middle School ensemble for beginning and Intermediate students, the University Clarinet Choir, and the Mass Choir, both conducted by Denise Gainey, conducted with expert and efficient rehearsal preparation considering the difficulty of the music.  That factor made the ensembles focus on pushing for a good performance which did happen which even surprised most of the players.  Music performed included transcription repertoire including the Mozart Marriage of Figaro Overture, Debussy Petite Suite, and more to be posted soon. 

          This program is destined to expand given the success this week.  Conn-Selmer and Gadeston Music displayed instruments and accessories to benefit the attendees.  LeBlamc brought in for audition the new Backun Clarinets recently introduced with all 3 models along with Selmer and Buffet Clarinets displayed.  Next year's program will surely be announced soon with exact dates.


Mozart Clarinet Quintet with Leister and the Turin String Quartet

Mozart for Clarinet, Basset Horn and Strings

Bow after performance

3 - 5  March 2007

Major Mozart Performance with Karl Leister, Luigi Magistrelli,  Laura Magistrelli (Bassett Horn) and the Turin String Quartet in the Church of Trino Vercellese in Italy  3 March and Master Classes through 5 March 2007

Trino Vercellese, Italy

Concert in Trino Vercellese (North Italy)

         On Saturday,  3 March   Karl Leister performed the Mozart Clarinet Quintet  K 581 with the Turin String Quartet
the Quintet ( Allegro) Fragment K Anh. 90 for clarinet ,basset horn and string trio with Luigi Magistrelli
and the Adagio K Anh. 94 for clarinet and three basset horns with Luigi Magistrelli, Laura Magistrelli and Giuseppe Canone.
The concert has been taken in the principal church of Trino Vercellese , north part of Italy.
The large church was quite full of people   ( about 500 hundred) and clarinet players .

On March 4 and 5 Karl Leister will give Master classes  at the Conservatory of Rovigo ( near Venice)


3 March 2007

D. Ray McClellan Master Class and Recital with Atlanta Clarinet Association

Decatur, Georgia USA

         The Atlanta Clarinet Association  hosted  Dr. D. Ray McClellan for a master class and concert. Acclaimed for "a remarkable technique, tone and lyricism", clarinetist D. Ray McClellan is currently Associate Professor of Clarinet at The University of Georgia and a member of the Georgia Woodwind Quintet. He earned his bachelor, Master and Doctorate of Music degrees from The Juilliard School in New York City where he studied with the internationally renowned clarinet pedagogue, David Weber. He is an Artist for Buffet Crampon clarinets and is Co-Artistic Director and Host of ClarinetFest 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia.

        Events took place in the Columbus High School and included a near full day of coaching of selected students, with rehearsals of a 30 piece Clarinet Choir consisting of students, teachers, and professionals in the Atlanta area.    


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Revised: October 13, 2007