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May 2012 Hot News

27 May 2012

James Gholson, Solo Clarinetist in Memphis, Tennessee Symphony, and Professor at the University of Memphis, Retires at end of this season

Memphis, Tennessee USA

               This weekend's performances of "Carmina Burana" by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra will be a farewell for one of the MSO's longest-serving members, as well as its concertmaster.

                James Gholson, who will retire as principal clarinetist, arrived in Memphis in 1972 to be professor of clarinet at Memphis State University. By chance, there was also a second-chair opening at the MSO that he secured, so for four decades, he's been teaching and performing. "It's always a challenge, but I've been able to cobble together a decent living," he says.

                This weekend's Masterworks performances will also be a farewell performance for the MSO's concertmaster, Susanna Perry Gilmore, who has taken the position of concertmaster of the Omaha Symphony. She says Gholson has been treasured for his good spirits as well as the joy he takes in making music.

               "One of my first memories at one of my first concerts here 15 years ago was with Alan Balter conducting Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and I remember being very moved by the clarinet. That was my first impression of Jim: He knows how to spin a melody like only a clarinet can."

                When Gholson was appointed first-chair clarinetist in 1979, he became one of the earliest African-American principal musicians among American orchestras, as well as the first African-American principal clarinetist at the MSO.

                 His career includes working with all four of the MSO's music directors, starting with Vincent deFrank. Later, when Alan Balter took over, Gholson says, "It was a little strange at first." Balter was also a clarinetist and, as it happened, there was a little history between the two.

                "I'd known Alan Balter when I was at Interlochen International Music Camp, and I hadn't seen him for a long time," Gholson says. "I was surprised and a little nervous too because we were competitors at music camp." But they worked together well, Gholson calling Balter "cool and classy."

                "When David Loebel came in as music director, we read a lot of the music literature," says Gholson, who enjoyed the new conductor's emphasis on doing new music. It was also the time when the orchestra moved into the Cannon Performing Arts Center. Since then, he's performed with music director Mei-Ann Chen in the two seasons she's been at the MSO's helm.

                While much of the symphony's emphasis in recent years has been on reaching out to the community, it's something that, Gholson notes, has been around since deFrank's tenure when the orchestra played at schools, and in Balter's days when it played at different venues around town.

                For Gholson, both as an educator and a performer, the outreach is essential to widening the audience. "The musical classics are so enduring," he says, "but in Memphis and in most of the United States, a lot of people don't grow up hearing them. ... (What the symphony is trying to do is reach a broader range of individuals and acclimate them to the sound of the orchestra and the intellectual basis and weight of the ideas used in music."

                It's about conveying the passion for classical music to children, Gholson says, including "thinking about ways kids can learn about skill sets that make classical musicians people that have done well in school, who read well and people that are generally well cultured and good learners."

                That's one reason Gholson made sure his son Christopher took clarinet lessons. Now 28, Christopher Gholson has carved out a name for himself as the award-winning record producer and rapper Drumma Boy.

                "We'd talk about listening to the music," Gholson says of the days when he'd take young Christopher to orchestra rehearsals. "Now we have constant discussions and debates about some of the lyrics in rap music!"

                The senior Gholson, who has a master's of music and a doctorate of musical arts from The Catholic University in Washington, also is author of a Civil War novel that grew out of his interest in that great conflict.

                "Feets" is the story of a young African-American from Memphis in the latter days of the Civil War. Gholson has visited battlefields and has done considerable research on the issues facing African-Americans in that time.

                 And there may be another book brewing once Gholson closes out his time with the university and the symphony.


19 May 2012

MIKOLOW MUSIC FESTIVAL - 19 May 2012 PREMIERES CONCERT – CLARINET MASTERS with Krzesimir Dębski  conductor / composer  (POLAND), Dr Woytek Mrozek  clarinet - (POLAND),  Prof. Charles Neidich - clarinet and basset horn  (USA), Karel Dohnal  clarinet    (CZECH REPUBLIC) with the LVIV PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA  (UKRAINE) -

Mikolow, Poland




K. Dębski                                                                                                                                                                                           Landscape for clarinet and orchestra                  W. Mrozek clarinet  (11 min)

Ch. Neidich                                                                                                                                                                 Scherzissimo for clarinet and orchestra             Ch. Neidich clarinet  

O. J. Garcia                                                                                                                                                                             El viento distante – na klarnet i orkiestrę – World Premiere  W. Mrozek (12 min)

W. Mrozek                                                                                                                                                                                           Humoresque for 3 clarinets  - World Premiere  (5 min )                                                                             W. Mrozek, Ch. Neidich, K. Dohnal

F.  Mendelssohn –Bartholdy                                                                                                            2 Konzerstucke for clarinet, bassethorn  Op. 113 i 114                                                                      K. Dohnal clarinet, Ch. Neidich bassethorn   (Nr.1  Op. 113)                                                                                              W. Mrozek clarinet, Ch. Neidich bassethorn  (Nr.2 Op.114)                                                                                                   

K. Dębski                                                                                                                                                                                      Concerto for 3 clarinets and orchestra – World Premiere  (47 min)                                                              W. Mrozek, Ch. Neidich, K. Dohnal


                  Preparation of the entire program lasted for 3 years. Woytek  Mrozek commissioned by the renowned Polish composer Krzesimir Debski new concert for three clarinets and orchestra. This concert is an extraordinary achievement. A brilliant and great talent of the composer, helped to create modern works which the world had never heard before. The wealth of creativity, the color of the orchestra and clarinest, the use of modern techniques of regulation, expression, drama and grotesque feature a concert for 3 clarinets. The work lasts 47 minutes and reminds symphonic poem for three clarinets and orchestra. The Concerto was written for the Polish virtuoso clarinetist Woytek Mrozek. Mrozek received many avant-garde compositions from contemporary composers. The artist for 18 years is just a solo clarinetist.  He also created and still creates many new musical projects for the clarinet and the various teams. Mrozek is also a composer. On may 19th 2012 in the concert was also performed his composition Humoresque for three clarinets. Humoresqe is a work of great expressive in dynamics, articulation, glissandos and rhythm. For the project also joined Prof. IUOM in Miami Orlando Garcia. Gracia dedicated his song El viento Distante for Woytek Mrozek. The song in Garcia is completely different. Subtle form of the song used usually dynamic ppp-p. The composer uses a lot of different multifoniks and quartertons. St.Wojciech Cathedral in Mikolov was a great place for this work. Charles Neidich also presented his own composition for clarinet and string orchestra S cherzando. This work is very avant-garde and difficult to implement. The composition presents many interesting effects and clarinet sounds  that other composers do not use. Maestro Neidich played her own compositions masterfully. It was a firework, which at the concert did not lack.

               The beginning of the concert opened Debski K. Landscape composition. This song is amazing. It refers to the music of Debussy. The concert attracted about 2,000 people, who for almost 3y hours remaining in their places. The audience came to the concert from across Poland and from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Ukraine and Russia. Among the audience was about 100 clarinetists. The concert ended with a huge standing ovation and the president of the city Mikolow gave for the artists a great dinner, which ended at 4 am. Ch. Neidich personally found that this was an important historical moment. It was a concert of unusual and unique. Made for the first time new works for 3 clarinets and orchestra, and new compositions for solo clarinet and orchestra deserve the attention of the world.

              The concert in Mikolov was recorded by Polish TV.   As soon appear on Polish TV and international TV Polonia report from the concert with fragments of music.

Krzesimir Debski is a prominent Polish composer who is also a virtuoso violinist, pianist, and a celebrated orchestral conductor. Equally at home in the world of jazz and classical music. Debski is chiefly known in Poland for his numerous and highly popular film scores. In addition , he is also a famous as a songwriter and arranger, and composer of music for theatre.

Krzesimir Debski studied composition and conducting at the Poznan Academy of Music and since 1980 toured all of Europe and North America as violinist with the celebrated String Connection ensemble. Winner of the First Ptize in the International Jazz Competition in Belgium, Debski was also honored by the Jazz Forum Magazine with the Best Violinist and Arranger Prizes. Listed in 1985 as one of the 10 best jazz violinists by Down Beat Magazine, Debski had since then scored over 70 feature films, and numerous TV series. Among his more recent feature film credits are Ogniem I Mieczem ( With Fire and Sword”, In Desert and Wilderness, and An Old Tale. He also scored hundreds of episodes of popular Polish TV Series, including Klan, Zlotopolscy, Ranczo, and Na dobre I na zle,. His most recent film-scoring project in the USA included writing new soundtracks for the early short and length films of Charlie Chaplin.

In recent years Krzesimir Debski received a number of commissions for large-scale orchestral works from outstanding soloists and major symphony orchestras in Poland and abroad. His ever-growing catalogue of orchestral compositions currently includes two symphonies, an opera, ballet music, and eleven concertos for various solo instruments and orchestra. In great demand as conductor and performer, his recent tours included performances in Mexico, India, Brazil, and the United States.

Charles Neidich (U.S.A.) Hailed by the New Yorker as " a master of his instrument and beyond a clarinetist,  Charles Neidich has been described as one of the most mesmerizing musicians performing before the public today. He regularly appears as soloist and as collaborator in chamber music programs with leading ensembles including the Saint Louis Symphony, Minneapolis Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, I Musici di Montreal, Tafelmusik, Handel/Haydn Society, Royal Philharmonic, Deutsches Philharmonic, MDR Symphony, Yomiuri Symphony, National Symphony of Taiwan, and the Juilliard, Guarneri, Brentano, American, Mendelssohn, Carmina, Colorado, and Cavani String Quartets. Mr. Neidich has performed throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States, and is a sought after participant at many summer festivals such as the Marlboro and Sarasota festivals in the USA, the Orford and Domaines Forget festivals in Canada, BBC Proms in England, Festival Consonances and Pontivy in France, Corsi Internazionali di Perfezionamento in Italy, Kuhmo, Crusell Week, Turku, and Korsholm festivals in Finland, the Apeldoorn Festival in Holland, Music from Moritzburg in Germany, the Kirishima and Lilia summer festivals in Japan, and the Beijing Festival in China. When Charles Neidich began studying clarinet with his father, Irving Neidich at the age of 7, he had already started piano lessons with his mother, Litsa Gania Neidich. He continued studying both instruments, but the clarinet gradually won out, and he went at the age of 17 to continue studying with the noted clarinet teacher, Leon Russianoff. After 4 years at Yale University where he majored in Anthropology, Charles Neidich went to the Moscow State Conservatory as the first recipient of a Fulbright grant to study in the Soviet Union. He studied in Moscow for 3 years as a student of the clarinetist, Boris Dikov, and the pianist, Kirill Vinogradov. Known as a leading exponent of period instrument performance practice (he is the founder of the noted period instrument wind ensemble, “Mozzafiato") Charles Neidich was one of the first soloists to improvise cadenzas and ornament classical concertos. He has performed his restoration of the Mozart Concerto throughout the world both on modern and period instruments. Mr. Neidich has been influential in restoring original versions of works and bringing them before the public. A list of the clarinet classics he has restored to their original form includes works as diverse as the previously mentioned Mozart Concerto, Concerti of Weber and Copland, the Soireest cke of Robert Schumann and the Andante and Allegro of Ernest Chausson. Mr. Neidich is also an ardent exponent of new music and has premiered works by Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Edison Denisov, Helmut Lachenmann, William Schuman, Ralph Shapey, Joan Tower, Katia Tchemberdji, Vasilii Lobanov and others. He has championed John Corigliano's Concerto, performing it throughout the United States notably with the Syracuse and Jacksonville Symphonies in performances many have called definitive. His recordings are available on the sony Classical, Sony Vivarte, Deutsche Grammophon, Musicmasters, Hyperion, and Bridge labels. For Aaron Copland's centennial, he released the world premiere recording of his reconstruction of the original version of Copland's Clarinet Concerto with “I Musici di Montreal for the Chandos label.
Mr. Neidich has turned his attention in a serious way to conducting, and has appeared with the Avanti chamber Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Helsinki, at the B??stad Festival in Sweden, the Kirishima Festival in Japan, with the New World and the San Diego Symphonies (in a triple role of conductor, soloist, and composer), and in Bulgaria with the Plovdiv State Philharmonic. Very active in education, Charles Neidich is on the faculties of the Juilliard School, Queens College of the City University of New York, the Manhattan School, and the Mannes College of Music, and has held visiting positions at the Sibelius Academy in Finland, the Yale School of Music, and Michigan State University. He is in demand for master classes around the world and for innovative lecture concerts he has devised such as "Old is New: how playing old music on period instruments is like playing new music on modern instruments," and "Craft and Drama: how understanding how Brahms composed makes for a more compelling performance." With his wife, Ayako Oshima, he has published a book on the basics of clarinet technique for the Japanese publisher, TOA Ongaku inc. Last Spring, Charles Neidich was the recipient of the William Schuman Award given by the Juilliard School for outstanding performance and scholarship.

Karel Dohnal (1973)- Clarinet , Czech Republic

            He is laureate of many prestigious international competitions (Prague, Roma, London, Sevilla, Ostende, Bayreuth). Studied in Prague, London, Berlin, Hilversum and St.Petersburg.          During his career up to now, he has given concerts not only in the Czech Republic, but also in many countries in Europe, USA and China. He has performed concertos not only of standard repertoire as Mozart or Weber but also concertos by Francaix, Nielsen, Copland, Penderecki, Tucapsky etc. with orchestras as  Prague Philharmonia,  Prague Chamber Orchestra, Talich Chamber Orchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic.  Karel Dohnal also regularly engages in chamber music, cooperating with Tokyo, Haas, Talich, Wihan String  Quartets, Prague PhilHarmonia Octet, famous soprano Edita Gruber  and others. In 2009 -2010 was gest co- principál clarinettist at The BBC Symphony Orchestra London. He is a member of Prague Clarinet Ensemble, Trio Amadeus, PhilHarmonia Octet.

             Last but not least, he intensively studies and performs contemporary music. His doctorate was focused on contemporary clarinet techniques. Regularly gives masterclases both in Czech and abroad. He has numerous recordings in Czech Radio and on CD’s.  Karel plays on Selmer Recital clarinets and is an Selmer official artist. Since 2007 plays on Rico Reserve reeds and is an Rico endorsee. This season includes concerts with Chamber Orchestra Pardubice, Talich Chamber Orchestra, Berg Chamber Orchestra, Benewitz Quartet and apperances at festivals in the Czech Republc, Poland, USA, Peru.



 ‘... since 1992 Mr. Mrozek has collaborated with the Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now ( LMN ), giving many concerts. What characterizes his play is an excellent technique, remarkable musical intelligence, warm sound, as well as spontaneity and emotionalism. He has performed twice at the renowned Prinzregentertheater in Munich in official concerts in the presence of Lord Yehudi Menuhin and Professor August Everding. I strongly recommend Mr. Mrozek to all colleagues, impresarios and sponsors, not only for his outstanding qualifications but also because of his authentic and agreeable manner “.

( Yehudi Menuhin , Munich  10 March 1997 )“…. The performance by the clarinetist Woytek Mrozek was most fascinating. He is quite well known Bavaria …. He has matured into a much sought-after virtuoso of an international format. In Music Festival in Iffeldorf - Germany he presented himself as an excellent chamber musican and charismatic soloist with a fantastic sound and wide spectrum of expression”.

(Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich 22 June 1998 )

            One of the most eminent contemporary clarinettist, consistently going beyond the traditional attitude towards the musician’s profession – the instrumentalist extending the range of his creative activity almost every month.

             The artist, famous for unconventional ideas and unrestrained imagination, continuously looks for new means of expression. With characteristic dynamics, he goes beyond conventions that divide music into popular and elitist music; in his amazing projects he combines the roles as an all-round instrumentalist, composer, arranger and conductor.

             He commenced clarinet at age 15 and, from the age of 17, began concertising with the Pomeranian Philharmony Orchestra. He studied in the Warsaw Music Academy, after completion of which, continued learning  in Master Classes in Munich Hochschule für Musik.

             He was the winner of the prestigious International Clarinet Competition, in Poznan, and the First Prize at the Interacademic Clarinet Competition in Munich - Geramany. The German Federal Government, awarderd him a bursary for 2 years’ study, and the Yamaha Foundation for remarkably talented artists gave him a scholarship.

             Since 1998, Mr. Mrozek has been associated with the record producers KOCH International München. In November 1999 Mrozek played a concert in the National Theater in Warsaw with the Violin Virtuoso - Niggel Kennedy.

             Since 2003, he has been the artistic director of the International Music Festival in Sandomierz, where in 2007 he was granted the title of eminence – ”The Honorary Citizen and Patron of Culture of Sandomierz Land” for his actions aimed at propagation of culture and for his composition of the Grand Paps Mass - in 15 Movements for John Paul II, commissioned by the Polish Government, to commemorate 1000 years of the Polish Catholic Church – Missa Solemnis Sandomiriensis – Beati Mundo Corde” ( “Blessed Are the Pure in Heart”).

             Woytek Mrozek mastery of the instrument as well as extraordinary gift for music enables him to co-operate with excellent and world-known Orchestras and Artists such all Polish Philharmonic Orchestras and Artists: Sinfonia Varsovia, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Capella Bydgostiensis, Leopoldinum Orchestra, Polish Nationaly Radio Orchestra in Warsaw, National Philharmonic Orchestra in Warsaw, Camerata String Quartet, Prima Vista String Quartet, Henschel String Quartet, Prag String Quartet.

 Artists - K. A. Kulka,  A. Ratusinski, K. Herdzin, K. Debski, M. Nesterowicz, A. Jagodzinski, Z. Namyslowski, W. Niedziela, J. Niedziela, E. Bem, B. Harasimowicz, Agata Sava, and with the Berlin Chamber Orchestra, Europa Union Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Santiago de Chile, Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra Kiev, Philharmonic Orchestra Lviv, Moscau Virtuoso Orchestra, Classic Avangarde Orchestra –Minsk, and more,  artists – Eddie Daniels, Charles Naidich, Niggel Kennedy, Aleksandro Jusakos Mardones and more.

In the years 2002 – 2006, he was the main conductor of the Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Leopolis – Lviv Ukraina. He made his conductorial debut in Paris, where the artist was offered, besides concerts, recording of the first ever CD for the Parish music company EROL with the repertoire: Dvorak and Tchaikovsky – Serenades for strings.

Woytek Mrozek permanently gives concerts all over the world: Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, South America, and North America. He participates in many international music festivals, as well as TV programs and recordings for radio stations in Europa.

Since 2007, he has been managing the clarinet class at the Frederick Chopin University of Music in Warsaw at the instrumental-pedagogical faculty in Bialystok. Since 2010, he has been a doctor of musical arts - clarinet. 

Among the compositions, the following are particularly worth mentioning:

Missa Solemnis Sandomiriensis – “Beati Mundo Corde” - for Symphony Orchestra, Choir, 5 Soloists

Kantata Culmiensis  - for Strings, Harp, Violin solo, Trumpet solo and Mezzosoprano

Gaude Mater Polonia   - for Symphony Orchestra, Choir, 5 Soloists

Totus Tuus   - for Symphony Orchestra, Choir, 5 Soloists

Symphony nr 1 “Galileo” - for Symphony Orchestra, Choir, Soloist

Clarinet concerto nr 1

Dances for clarinet solo and Symphony Orchestra

7 Pieces for Clarinet Solo

Humoresque for 3 clarinets and orchestra

 Woytek Mrozek Premieres:

Witold Rudziński               Sonata Plejady (Munich 1993) – recorded for Bayerische Rundfunk

Harald Heilman                 Clarinet Quintet (Munich 1998)

Krzesimir Dębski               Clarinet Concerto (Warsaw 2000)

Krzesimir Dębski               Landscape for Clarinet and Orchestra (Warsaw 2001)

Bohdana Frolyak             Concerto for clarinet, piano, cello and orchestra   (Lviv, Kijew 2002)

Bohdana Frolyak             Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra ( Kiev 2005 )

Krzesimir Debski               Concerto for 3 Clarinets and Orchestra ( 19.05.2012) with dr Woytek Mrozek,                        Prof. Charles Neidich, Karel Dohnal

Woytek Mrozek                Humoresque for 3 clarinets and orchestra ( 19.05.2012) with dr Woytek Mrozek, Prof. Charles Neidich, Karel Dohnal

O. J. Garsia                         El viento distante for clarinet and orchestra (19.05.2012) 

Letters of Recommendations:   

Sir Yehudi Menuhin / Prince Biron von Curland / Ms Susan Strauss / Prof. Gerd Starke/

Krzesimir Dębski / Prof. L. Kurkiewicz / Eddie Daniels / Wojciech Kilar /

 He has recorded 27 CD’s, and 8 DVD’s



19 May 2012

California Clarinet Day at Los Angeles Valley College with Guest Artists Gary Gray, William Powell, and Robert Spring,  Julia Heinen, Director

Northridge, California USA

               The first annual California Clarinet Day was held on May 19, 2012 on the campus of Los Angeles Valley College with Gary Gray, Julia Heinen and William Powell serving as the hosts. The day featured special guest artist, Robert Spring, professor of clarinet at Arizona State University.

                Registration began at 9am after which 97 participants had time to visit exhibitors from RDG Woodwinds, Rico Reeds and Nick Rail Music.

                A faculty artist recital opened the day at 10am with solo performances by William Powell performing the Nolan “Cat Suite’” Gary Gray performing his own version of Gershwin’s “Three Preludes’” Julia Heinen playing the Widman “Fantasie” and Lacome’s “Rigadoun” and Robert Spring’s blazing performance of Bazzini’s “Round of the Goblins.” The 4 artists joined forces at the end of the program for two clarinet quartets by Desportes and Owen.

                The first of the two clarinet choir rehearsals took place after the opening recital and featured 4 works arranged by James Mack and Christin Hablewitz.  The group of 65 already sounded polished and professional!

                A quick lunch provided by a local Italian restaurant led everyone into the jam packed afternoon which began with 3 simultaneous clinics by the 3 hosts. Gary Gray’s clinic, “The Multiple Personalities of the Clarinet - Jazz, Ethnic & New Age Styles” was entertaining and informative. William Powell’s clinic, “Yoga for Clarinetists” helped clarinetists play with more comfort and better focus. Julia Heinen’s clinic, “Clarinet Fun(damentals)”       explained how proper basic playing techniques can help you in becoming a better clarinetist.

               A master class by Robert Spring was next on the schedule.  Dr. Spring heard three clarinetist of different ages and abilities: Sasha Mitrushina (high school) performed the Artie Shaw Concerto; Ryan Espinosa (Cal Arts College Student) played the Spohr 1st Concerto and Shannon McNeely (adult) performed etudes by Rose & Langenus to demonstrate issues with articulation speed and accuracy. Dr. Spring finished the masterclass with an informative lecture on proper warm up techniques and why they are important.

              The second clarinet choir rehearsal took place next to prepare for the clarinet ensemble concert. Student clarinet ensembles from UCLA, Cal Arts and CSUN opened the program and the Festival Clarinet Choir finished it with 4 wonderful arrangements by James Mack and Christin Hablewitz.

               The last concert of the day was with the Valley Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Arshagouni (who also conducted the festival clarinet choir) and featured Robert Spring and Julia Heinen in a sparking and ornamented performance of Krommer’s Concerto for Two Clarinets, op. 35.

                Special thanks for sponsorship of this festival goes to the Buffet Group, Inc., Nancy Huang from RDG Woodwinds, Rico Reeds, Nick Rail Music, Valley College, CSUN Band Department and CSUN Distinguished Speakers Fund.


12 May 2012

St Thomas Chamber Orchestra of White Plains Concert with Soloist Stanley Drucker in Performance of Weber Clarinet Concerto #1, Op 73 - details on above website

White Plains, New York

               Legendary Soloist Stanley Drucker, still young and going strong,  appeared in performance of Weber's 1st Clarinet Concerto Op 73 with this Orchestra of students and music loving aspirants. As can be seen, the soloist delivery and virtuosic communication is nearly unmatched anywhere just as he was when Soloist with his New York Philharmonic.  The performance is nothing less than a tribute to his committment as a soloist no less that of supporting a worthy Orchestra and inspiring them.

              The St. Thomas Orchestra was co-founded by Bernard Tamosaitis and Peter Arike in 2002. Among its ranks today can be counted a broad spectrum of professionals in the arts, sciences, law, finance, medicine, and business. Members in the orchestra range in age from 15 to 85 and are united by a common commitment to the pursuit of musical excellence. Over the years, we have evolved into a uniquely diverse organization of remarkable depth and it is our privilege to perform great symphonic music for our community. The power of music is to transport us outside of day-to-day concerns and into an unfettered realm of private and communal epiphany. It is our hope that the orchestra will serve as a bridge to make great symphonic music more accessible.

6 May 2012

Clarinet Convention at School of Music Cardiff University - Leslie Craven, Director

Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

 A report by Wil Jones – a former student at Cardiff University

                 Arriving at the University of Cardiff Music Department building in Corbett Road on a sunny Sunday in May took me back nearly 50 years to my student days studying music at the University. At that time the music practice rooms were housed in a couple of 3 storey houses in this same street before the present fine building was built. I well remember my weekly clarinet lessons here with the ex-military band and ex-BBC orchestra player Fred Clements with his stories of playing under Beecham. What a character he was!  I am retired now, after a career in teaching, with time to practice again and pursue my interest in all things clarinet. This is the 5th Cardiff Convention for me, the first in this new venue, the others were held in the College of Music and Drama.

We gathered in the main hall for course leader Leslie Craven’s introduction to the day and to meet his fellow course leader Peter Fielding and the other tutors. The assembled group seemed to be of all ages but mostly young students and members of clarinet choirs. The carefully arranged programme for the day catered for all interest, - large groups, chamber groups, jazz and contemporary improvisation classes as well as reed classes, master and exam preparation classes with trade stands to visit.

I joined the morning master class under the masterly guidance of John Reynolds the senior examiner with the ABRSM and waited my turn to play my piece. He was patient and helpful with all the players, young and old, - his comments always constructive. He gave us an insight into the role of an examiner and his guidance on technique and musical interpretation was very instructive. Chris Williams the skilful and sensitive accompanist was superb as usual.

Time for a packed lunch on the lawn outside, then a stroll round the trade stands; buying a box of reeds, some cork grease and taking my mouthpiece to try out some of the clarinets on display.

A short concert for all participants in the main hall after lunch and to me this was the highlight of the day, - Leslie Craven with guest artists Lana Trotovšek (violin) and Yoko Misumi (piano) in exciting performances of the Milhaud trio and Bartok’s Contrasts. We had an introduction to both pieces by Leslie and his playing was masterly, - flawless technique and of course that unique sound of his.

After that I visited a master class given by Leslie and Kevin Hurst with Pianist Yoko Misumi in which students had prepared pieces including the Brahms Sonatas, Schumann Fantasy pieces and the Poulenc Sonata. It was a joy to listen to two experienced professional clarinettists giving technical tips and sharing their musical knowledge and understanding of these great works with the young student players.

Finally, to end the day a concert in the main hall described in the programme as “a spontaneous showcase of the day’s activities” introduced by Peter Fielding. This featured items by various clarinet choirs and a fascinating spontaneous improvised composition by the contemporary music group led by Tom Jackson.

A successful day very well organized by Leslie Craven and his team and a very enjoyable day for all students and clarinet enthusiasts like me!



3 May 2012

Making Music: Jörg Widmann, Clarinetist

New York City USA

CARNEGIE HALL Zankel Hall  Presenting


Making Music: Jörg Widmann, Clarinetist

In addition to being one of the world’s top clarinetists, Jörg Widmann is among today’s most exciting composers. His music draws inspiration from 19th-century Romanticism, but is no mere pastiche. It instead invigorates the musical gestures and conventions we take for granted by using them in entirely new ways. On this concert, part of the Making Music series that explores composers’ works and processes, you can hear Widmann’s “volatile, energized, and expressive” (Guardian) music—and his virtuosic clarinet playing.

Performers included

  • Jörg Widmann, Clarinet
  • Claron McFadden, Soprano
  • András Schiff, Piano
  • Shai Wosner, Piano
  • The Parker Quartet
    ·· Daniel Chong, Violin
    ·· Karen Kim, Violin
    ·· Jessica Bodner, Viola
    ·· Kee-Hyun Kim, Cello
  • Jeremy Geffen, Series Moderator


  • JÖRG WIDMANN Fieberphantasie
  • JÖRG WIDMANN Intermezzi
  • JÖRG WIDMANN Fünf Bruchstücke
  • JÖRG WIDMANN Versuch über die Fuge


  • Jörg Widmann

    The 2011-2012 season will see Jörg Widmann as soloist with renowned orchestras worldwide, including the National Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. His great passion being chamber music, he will collaborate with the Hagen, Arcanto, and Minguet quartets; as well as with Tabea Zimmermann, Antoine Tamestit, and András Schiff. He performs at the Salzburg Festival, Salzburg Mozart Week, Schwetzingen Festival, and Amsterdam's Concertgebouw.

    Mr. Widmann's work as composer is at the core of his musical activities this season. In April 2012, his work Teufel Amor was premiered by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with Antonio Pappano, followed by last night's premiere of Zirkustänze performed by András Schiff at Carnegie Hall.

    Additionally, Mr. Widmann takes up the post of principal guest conductor with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. Alte Oper Frankfurt's Auftakt festival will present performances of his works by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Berliner Philharmoniker, as well as chamber music recitals that feature him as both instrumentalist and composer.

    Mr. Widmann has received numerous awards for his compositions, including the Belmont Prize for contemporary music from the Forberg-Schneider-Stiftung Foundation (1998), Schneider-Schott Music Prize (2002), Paul Hindemith Prize (2002), Encouragement Award from the Ernst von Siemens Foundation for Music (2003), Achievement Award from the Munich Opera Festival (2003), and Arnold Schönberg Prize (2004). In 2006, he received the Composition Prize from the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, as well as the Claudio Abbado Composition Prize from the Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Mr. Widmann has served as composer-in-residence of the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, The Cleveland Orchestra, Cologne Philharmonic, Vienna Konzerthaus, Salzburg Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, West Cork Music Festival, and Lucerne Festival.

    Mr. Widmann's works are published exclusively by Schott Music.

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