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Hot News November 2006

3 November 2006

Mozart Clarinet Concerto with Soloist Julian Bliss

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Baltimore Maryland USA

The Baltimore Sun – Review - Tim Smith

           The list of totally sublime moments in Mozart is a long one. Every time I hear the Adagio from the Clarinet Concerto, a wordless poem of light and shadow, I think it has to be placed high up on that list, maybe right at the very top.
So it was Thursday night, during an exquisite account of that concerto featuring 17-year-old British clarinetist Julian Bliss. I should resist the temptation to call it a blissful performance, but, hey, some temptations are just too strong.
When the clarinetist reached the Adagio, all the things that characterized his playing in the preceding movement -- superb technical gradations, amazing control of dynamics, unaffectedly elegant phrasing -- became even more extraordinary.
What he achieved at the softest volume, in expressive feeling and tonal sweetness, proved particularly compelling. There was much to savor as well in the sunny finale, as Bliss kept the nuances flowing abundantly

         Through it all, Langree was a refined collaborator, ever attentive to the orchestra's pivotal role in balancing and gently playing off of the clarinet's lines. A magical performance.

         To close, the BSO was joined by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society and a quartet of vocal soloists for the Requiem. Langree opted for an edition of the score completed by Mozart's pupil, Franz Xaver Sussmayr, and for a seating arrangement that put singers and instrumentalists (most of them sans risers) close together.

        The conductor's tempos were fleet, but never unduly rushed. Explosive passages were given high impact, tender ones great care. The way Langree filed down the final chord, as if in reluctant leave-taking (Mozart's and ours), was especially inspired.   The chorus revealed admirable attention to accents, especially in the biting, bracing phrases of the Quantus tremor section of the Dies Irae, and to dynamic contrasts. As always, soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme sang endearingly, matched by mezzo Kelley O'Connor. Tenor Nils Brown and baritone Christopheren             Nomura brought  smallish voices to the table, but a good deal of expressive weight.
The orchestra once again did shining work, as Langree tapped into the universal fears and hopes that lie behind Mozart's musical last will and testament.

          At the age of 17, Julian Bliss is already establishing himself on the international concert scene having already made highly successful debuts at Wigmore Hall, Verbier Festival, Gstaad Festival – as well as appearing as soloist with orchestras such as Seattle Symphony, BBC Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, NHK Symphony, Munich Chamber, City of Birmingham Symphony, London Philharmonic, Malaysian Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Bergen Philharmonic. 

      In this and future seasons, Julian has also been invited to appear as soloist with a number of important orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, on tour with the BBC Philharmonic, Budapest Symphony, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Orchestra della Toscana, Lazio Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, Bournemouth Symphony and Orchestra of St. John’s.

        Having already appeared in recital at such prestigious venues as the Wigmore Hall, the Louvre in Paris and Montpellier Festival, Julian will make his recital debuts in Munich and at the Lucerne Festival and has been re-invited to Verbier Festival, as well as giving recitals in Italy, Switzerland and Germany. 

        Following the success of Julian’s debut recording for EMI with Julien Quentin, he has been invited to record exclusively for EMI on their main label.  He has already appeared on national television on numerous occasions; at the Golden Jubilee celebrations at Buckingham Palace in front of a live audience of 12,000 and a television audience around the world in forty countries, in a three-part documentary about his life for Channel 4 entitled ‘Gifted’, the Today program in the USA and on NHK in Japan. 

        A favorite of the Royal Family, Julian has performed several times at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and Covent Garden Opera House for HRH Prince Phillip and HRH Prince Charles and was among the distinguished artists invited to perform at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations at Buckingham Palace on 1 June 2002. 

        Julian balances his busy schedule of engagements with his clarinet lessons in Lubeck with Sabine Meyer, his studies in chamber music, conducting and studio technology at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the completion of his A level examinations next Summer.  In 2002 he graduated with a Post-Graduate Artists Diploma at Indiana University, Bloomington, studying with Professor Klug, where during his studies, he won first prize in the Concerto Soloists Young Artists Competition in Philadelphia.

1 November 2006

Stockholm Clarinet Summit hosted by Stefan Harg with Guest Faculty convened 30 October - 1 November 2006

Stockholm, Sweden

          For the second time the Clarinet Summit   30/10–1/11 2006, Stockholm was held at the beautiful venues of  Nordiska Musikgymnasiet in the middle of Stockholm  This time the participant were many coming from different background, ranging from professionals to amateurs.   This is also the idea of the Clarinet Summit setting the clarinet in centre without emphasizing a different music style.

 Tutors included Dr. Linda Merrick , professor RNCM, UK 

Stefan Harg,  Host and international artist  

Per Johansson , Swedish leading Jazz player and Alberto Pinton, Swedish leading Jazz player.

Eva Rosen –Lundquist ensemble and clarinet choir.

Laurent Sultan from Vandoren , Paris

Jonas Näslund leading woodwind shop in Sweden

 The Clarinet Summit consisted of exhibitions, concerts, seminars and clarinet choir. 

           The artists collaborated to bring out the instrument in such a way that the clarinet would be more popular to a wider circle. A discussion was held what to do about the situation in bringing more people to play the clarinet.

          On Monday Alberto Pinton and Per Johansson held an well attended master class/clinic about playing jazz and the clarinets in different settings.  They emphasised the importance about knowing what is going on under the musical line . A direct example was also shown from the Mozart clarinet concerto were the clarinet is more accompiament than solo line. They played and demonstrated on the whole clarinet family from e-flat to contra.

            Later in the evening they were joined by Stefan Harg who played Copeland concerto and talked about the ideas behind the piece.

           Dr. Linda Merrick from RNCM , UK held a master class on Tuesday. She spoke about importance of the airflow and how this is connected to the fingers.

           Laurent Sultan from Vandoren . Paris held during the afternoon a clinic in which he presented the manufacturing process and how to work and select reed.

           A discussion was held on the reed problems here in Sweden .Sultan help individually players from the course to find the right set-up.

Jonas Näslund talked about the importance of how to select a good instrument.

In the evening Dr Linda Merrick and professor  Katarina Ström-Harg performed music by Martin Ellerby. 

Stefan Harg and Katarina Ström-Harg also played the very seldom heard sonata by Sir Donald Tovey.

         On the Wednesday Stefan Harg held a master class on different topics such airflow and finger techniques. He also discussed the importance of working very slow with different technically problems.

         In the evening all the participants on the course together with the artist held a concert, ranging in repertoire from clarinet choir to solo pieces.

          The Clarinet summit was sponsored by Nordiska musikgymnasiet ,The T.W Howarth Clarinets  , Vandoren , Paris , Jonas Näslund music.

           The Clarinet Summit will return in the spring with a weekend for clarinet playing and concerts.  More info please contact Stefan Harg


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Revised: October 17, 2007