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November 2009 Hot News

27 - 29 November 2009

Master class by Eva Wasserman – Margolis

Dom˛ale, Slovenia

          Report by Robert Pirc

            The music school Dom˛ale and it's kind principal Anton Savnik in cooperation with Jo˛e Kotar organized a traditional seminar for clarinet teachers. Guests of the seminar in the past years were very acknowledged pedagogues and soloists such as Mr Robert Spring, Mr Joszef Balogh, Mr Robert Riseling, Ms Sylvie Hue, Mr Jakob Bokun etc.

           This year Ms Eva Wasserman – Margolis an American clarinet player, who lives in Israel shared her rich experiences and abundant pedagogical knowledge with us. Audience was from Slovenia, Croatia and even from Hungary. At the seminar she worked mostly with young clarinet students as its purpose was to show teachers how to work with their students – and she made a big impression. It was obvious that she has had a lot of experiences as a professional clarinetist and also as a pedagogue to young clarinet players. The students were comprehending very quickly and we saw an immediate improvement in their playing. They actually played better, which we can hardly see at the similar seminars. This fact proves that Ms Wasserman has great pedagogical capabilities, that she combines experiences of American and European tradition of teaching and at the same time she adds a bit of her own pedagogical philosophy to it.

          Ms Wasserman believes that level of clarinet playing and pedagogics is very high.  She did also a lecture about tone and introduced us her book “Time for tone” which most teachers found as very useful for their work.

         Mr Gabor Varga from Hungary was also present and introduced us his custom made barrels. He demonstrated several of them and it was more than obvious that they are excellent choice for any style you play.

         After the master class Ms. Wasserman stayed in Slovenia for few days more and did some sightseeing. She found our small country as a very beautiful and variety of natural and cultural sights enchanted her. She visited some Spa and did a short trip to see some mountains and lakes and was amazed by it’s beauty.

      She liked Slovenian people very much, found them nice and kind and commented that this is the place she could live.

      Thank you Eva for sharing us all those knowledge and experiences to us. We hope to see you some more.


22 November 2009

Rutgers University Woodwind Day - Dr Maureen Hurd, Director

New Brunswick, New Jersey USA

         A week later, after a very successful Master Class Day, as posted immediately below with Caroline Hartig, the Annual Woodwind Day featuring the Wind Faculty of this University School of Music took place to a very large enthusiastic quorum of players of all the wind instruments.  Again Dr Maureen Hurd, Woodwind Chair of this Department, was host for this event.  Jessica Phillips, 2nd/Eb Clarinetist in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Lincoln Center in New York, and a faculty member also at Rutgers, performed with Maureen Hurd (along with the other Woodwind faculty).  Information posted on the Official Notice of this event.  The day was very informal and friendly, encouraging everyone to soak in the benefits of the performances, Master Classes, held simultaneously by instrument in various rooms in the Music Center, and Music Exhibits given by Music Stores, Rico Reeds, and Instrument makers, and sheet music sellers.   Instruments and accessories and music were available for sale.

              Maureen Hurd Class session with Student

Jessica Phillips Master Class

Kristin Bertrand, acclaimed Clarinet Technician in New York

Exhibits from the Music Industry

                  The photo galleries give a glimpse of the intangible value of this conference, the master classes, the common high interest of everyone who came, and the student enthusiasm to learn and be part of something special.  Conferences like these should be a special priority for all serious players and students to come and become better just for the quality exposure.  Due credit goes to Dr Hurd and Jessica Phillips, both WKA Artist VIP's for an outstanding day, and to Dr Hurd for the Hartig Master Class day as well.

21 November 2009

Larry Combs, Solo Clarinetist Emeritus in the Chicago Symphony, Honorably inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia USA

                    Larry Combs, one of the most acclaimed Orchestral and Chamber Music artists, and also a major artist in Jazz as well, was honored in being inducted into the West Virginia (his native State) Music Hall of Fame, along with several other Musicians of note in other venues.  Mr Combs was born and raised in Charleston, and as his biography below states, he was very early successful which built his reputation and credentials.  The recognition was presented by West Virginia Conductor and Music Director Grant Cooper, who in the last season had Mr Combs on tour with the Orchestra to 4 cities in the state performing the Weber 1st Concerto Op 73.  Both Mr Combs and Maestro Cooper are WKA Artist VIP's.

                    The third set of musicians/performers were inducted into to the WV Music Hall of Fame on November 21, 2009 in Charleston, West Virginia. They included: The Bailes Brothers, Frank DeVol, Larry Combs, Doc and Chickie Williams, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Don Redman and Nat Reese.

                    It was a night that West Virginians honored our own -- from blues to country to classical to film and television scores to jazz and back again.

                    Previous inductees inductees include: George Crumb, composer; Billy Edd Wheeler, singer/songwriter; Hazel Dickens, singer; Johnnie Johnson, rock 'roll pianist; Molly O'Day, country singer; Little Jimmy Dickens, singer/entertainer; Blind Alfred Reed, singer/songwriter; Leon "Chu" Berry, jazz saxophonist; Clark Kessinger , oldtime fiddler; Bill Withers,singer/songwriter; Ann Baker, jazz singer; Robert Drasnin, composer; Maceo Pinkard, songwriter; Charlie McCoy, musician; Red Sovine, singer; The Lilly Brothers & Don Stover, singers/musicians; Phyllis Curtin, opera singer; Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, bluegrass duo; Frankie Yankovic, polka king.

                   As demonstrated by the names above, there is an extremely rich and diverse musical tradition in West Virginia. A tradition that belies its small population and largely rural nature.

                   The festivities began with a reception at the Governor's Mansion, then moved next door to the Culture Center Theatre when the awards were presented and music was performed, then an after-reception in the Great Hall of the Culture Center that ended at midnight and finally a private party at the Marriott that wound down at 4 AM.

                  The event was hosted by Charlie McCoy & Kathy Mattea, with a house band that included: Tim O'Brien (stringed instruments), Don Dixon (bass), Butch Miles (drums), Bob Thompson (piano) and Wayne Moss (everything else).

                  Other performers and presenters included the great Phil Wiggins (harp), Earl White (fiddle), Bill Withers (songwriter/performer extraordinaire) and the great country singer Jean Shepard.

My personal high point came when Phil Wiggins and Charlie McCoy did a duet on harp!

It was quite a night --- and morning.

Larry Combs - Solo Clarinetist Emeritus in Chicago Symphony

Born 1939. South Charleston, Kanawha County

                 One of the world’s leading orchestral clarinetists, Larry Combs has also been active in chamber music and in the Chicago jazz scene. He began to play clarinet in Charleston at the age of 10 and, by the time he was 13 had a strong enough technique and reputation that he was regularly asked by the Charleston Symphony to play with them when an additional clarinet was needed and, at age 16, he was the orchestra’s principal clarinetist. While in high school his clarinet quintet entered the nationally televised “Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour.” The group placed second on the show, after a one-legged tap dancer.

                During the summer, he attended the National Music Camp at Interlochen, MI, where he worked with professional musicians and the most talented musicians from around the country in his age group. In 1957, he entered the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he was a pupil of Stanley Hasty, a leading clarinet teacher. After graduating from Eastman, Combs joined the New Orleans Philharmonic as third clarinet/bass clarinet player. This job was interrupted when he was drafted into the military. After basic training he was sent to West Point and assigned to be a member of the United States Military Academy Band. This enabled him to travel to New York City for continuing studies with clarinetist Leon Russianoff. The New Orleans Philharmonic welcomed him back after his enlistment, this time as the orchestra’s principal clarinetist.

               In 1968, Combs became Principal of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and, in 1974, he joined the clarinet section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, one of the leading orchestra’s in the world. In 1978, the orchestra’s music director appointed him Principal Clarinet. As such, Combs can be heard playing on two decades worth of the CSO records in virtually every important solo clarinet passage. He has won two Grammy Awards for “Best Chamber Music Performance.”

               Combs is also a founding member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians. He has performed the Brahms Trio in A minor with Daniel Barenboim and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and has appeared at the Ravinia Festival with its musical director, Christoph Eschenbach. Other appearances have been with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Smithsonian Chamber Players.

               Also a jazz player, his Combs-Novak Sextet was one of the headliners at the 1999 Chicago Jazz Festival and Combs recorded an album with jazz clarinetist Eddie Daniels (“Crossing the Line”). Combs is a clinician for the G. Leblanc Company, which makes the Opus II clarinets he helped to design, and the Larry Combs models of clarinet mouthpieces.


14 November 2009

Master Class Day and Concert with Caroline Hartig (Professor at Michigan State University) at Rutgers University at New Brunswick, New Jersey;  Maureen Hurd, Host and Director

New Brunswick, New Jersey USA

            The appearance here of soloist Caroline Hartig, a major Clarinet Professor icon from Michigan State University, proved to be an inspiring event for the Rutgers University students who witnessed the Master Class of 2 hours with many of the top students who played very close to the professional standard before one takes serious auditions.  The class agenda focused on specific prepared pieces from the students for coaching, and Dr Hartig gave intense working out of these works and made refinements that opened up the minds in their performance.  The galleries above list the works along with other programs.  Dr Maureen Hurd, Professor at Rutgers organized this day and is highly credited for it as it opened eyes and surely broadened the students knowledge base on playing the clarinet.  This next weekend, November 22, the annual Woodwind Day will convene including appearance of Jessica Phillips, 2nd- Eb Clarinetist in the Metropolitan Opera along with other Woodwind faculty performing, giving a master class, performances by both them and students, and instrument/music exhibits for those to check out.  THis has been a busy month here and the benefits will clearly play out.

           The evening recital performed by Ms Hartig was as virtuosic and refined as any heard, covering the broad literature as the program above indicates. All the critical aspects were as perfect as one could dream for.  Lucky are those to have the opportunity to work with her as a student or as a master class student.

Picture galleries are posted on Sergio Bosi's site

11 November 2009

Master Classes with Italian Virtuoso Sergio Bosi (“Il clarinetto all’italiana”) at the Vienna University of Music  held 9 - 11 November 2009

Vienna, Austria

          Sergio Bosi,  acclaimed Italian clarinetist, held a Master class in Wien at the Wien University of music in the days 9/11 November 2009. The master class was called  “Il clarinetto all’italiana” and covered an extensive range of Solo literature and more.  There were about 25 students who participated with intensive coaching by Professor Bosi.   The website of Mr Bosi tells more about what convened and the benefits the students accomplished.

11 November 2009

Master Class and Performance Residency with Richard Nunemaker (Houston Symphony Bass Clarinetist Emeritus) at Texas Tech University 8 - 11 November 2009

Lubbock, Texas USA

            A major 4 day Master Class residency with noted Clarinetist Richard Nunemaker from the Houston Symphony was held involving many students from this fine School of Music with Professor David Shea who was host for this week.  A major concert, galleried above notes the New aspects of his agenda, as he has commissioned a multitude of new music contributing to the Clarinet literature.  credit is due to the School and Mr Nunemaker.

           The four day residency was highlighted with a concert by Richard Nunemaker presenting (enclosed program). Everyone was delighted with Jody Rockmaker's Multiplicities for solo clarinet which is a piece commissioned by Nunemaker. The ability of Nunemaker's clarinet to produce such a variety of two-note and three-note multiphonics and the shear virtuosity of the piece was the buzz. Also, Nunemaker's bass clarinet playing ala Eric Dolphy in Arthur Gottschalk's Sonata for Bass Clarinet and Piano (also commissioned by Nunemaker) was another highlight of the concert.

USAF Band and Deputy Commander Major Scott Guidry, and Mitchell Estrin and TSgt J Blake Arrington

Participants and Faculty including Harvey Hermann, SMSgt Carl Long, William Wright, Hermann, Michael Kelly, and Mike Getzin, and Mitchell Estrin, Hermann, and Stanley Drucker

TSgt J Blake Arrington and Major Scott Guidry, Gregory Estrin and Michael Skinner, a Portrait of Past esteemed Commander Colonel Arnald Gabriel, Students with Stanley Drucker, and Active players in this Festival

8 November 2009

5th Vandoren/Buffet Clarinet Ensemble Festival - Mitchell Estrin, Artistic Director, held 7-8 October 2009 in conjunction with The United States Air Force Band at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, DC

Washington, DC USA

          This high point Clarinet Ensemble Festival, in its 5th year since its inceptions in Atlanta, Georgia, Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, Seattle, Washington, Northeast Illinois University in Chicago, and here at the United States Air Force Band in Washington, is probably the strongest statement yet made in this part of the Clarinet field.  The statement that the best things in life are free couldn't state it enough here as what happened here this weekend held historic proportions in having as guest artist the legendary Stanley Drucker of the New York Philharmonic and just retired after 61 years, 50 of which as Solo Clarinetist, and recognized in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest standing career Clarinetist in history.  Also noteworthy is the Band itself in having Mr Drucker as soloist on many occasions, especially in 1981 at the 1st Klar/Fest 81 under Colonel Arnald Gabriel, another legend Commander and probably the finest Conductor and Band builder in the history of this organization. The chemistry between Drucker and Gabriel was magnetic, as even after performing on campus at Catholic University for the Klar/Fest, Drucker performed again with the Band at the Jefferson Memorial the day after.  The professionalism of this Band speaks for itself as a world -class organization.  

         The initiatives set forth to produce this weekend credits Mitchell Estrin, of the University of Florida and Buffet's Creative and Educational Manager,  Vandoren Performing Artist,  and as Performing Organization Chairman with WKA. Also of key coordination is TSgt J Blake Arrington, a Clarinetist in the Band who coordinated the logistics to make this event successful in every aspect.  The Command of this Band went overboard in supporting this program, and the results were incredible.    Bolling Air Force Base was an almost perfect place to hold this event, in a modern base with all needs including restaurants and facilities nearby, and an ultra-modern Band Hall.  Sponsors for this event were Vandoren, headed by DANSR President Michael Skinner, the official importers of Vandoren Products, with Associated support with Buffet-Crampon.

           Very probably the high point of this Festival was the performance appearance of Stanley Drucker, and his wife Naomi, an accomplished performer, who performed 2 works-  Kupferman's Double Features for 2 Clarinets, and Mr Drucker performing the Berio Sequenza IX for Solo Clarinet.  Performances were spellbounding.  After the performance, Mr Drucker took questions from the participants about anything and everything Clarinet, including his views on playing, a history of his career in many phases, and more.


Navy Band Harbor Winds Clarinet Trio and Quartet, and the Marine Band Clarinet Quartet

Army Band Clarinet Quartet and the USAF Band Clarinet Quartet

Proha Illinois University Clarinet Quartet and the Virginia Commonwealth University Quartet and Soloists

         As the above galleried programs will indicate, there were 4 Clarinet Choir Ensembles, including the USAF Band Clarinet Choir, the University of Florida Clarinet Ensemble, the Gennusa Clarinet Camerata (named in honor of Ignatius Gennusa, major Solo Clarinetist in the Baltimore Symphony), and the Conference Mass Clarinet Choir, Conducted by legend pioneer of this medium Harvey Hermann.   Several smaller Quartet and Quintet ensembles also performed, including Quartets from Proha Illinois University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and all 4 of the Premiere Bands in Washington, performing to a very high standard admired by all who came.

Military Band Opportunity Seminar with Military Clarinetists from the Washington Bands

         The Clarinetists from the Military Bands gave a seminar about playing in these Bands, the eligibility, the Auditions, and how to prepare for them, the work in the Bands, the pay and benefits, and the career opportunities and educational benefits, including College Loan paybacks by the Military upon entering the service.  This was a major plus at this Festival for young players to explore these professional options.

          Both Buffet and Vandoren gave lectures and historical summaries of their firms and their commitment in the making of instruments and accessories, especially reeds.  Exhibits were open to try and buy including Clarinets, mouthpieces, reeds, and sheet music, provided by Jeanne Music and Washington Music Center. 

University of Florida Clarinet Ensemble, Mitchell Estrin, Director

       Gennusa Clarinet Camerata, William Wright, Conductor

The USAF Band Clarinet Choir, SMSgt Carl Long, Conductor

Vandoren Mass Clarinet Choir in Rehearsal and Concert, Harvey Hermann, Conductor

            The photo galleries posted tell an intangible story about this great weekend,  and the great players who performed.  Next year it is planned to have this Festival in Los Angeles, California, dates yet to be fixed.  Credit is certainly due to Mitchell Estrin, Harvey Hermann, Mike Skinner, Carl Long, and J Blake Arrington.  Like many others who have made sacrifices and time and expense to make good things happen, appreciation is certainly deserved.

1 November 2009

Members of the New York Philharmonic Winds Chamber Concert at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania

East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania USA

         A Reunion Chamber concert took place at this Pennsylvania campus featuring Professor Robert Miller, longtime faculty here at this School of Music, along with four world class former and retired members of the New York Philharmonic, including J William Kyper, French Horn, Stanley Drucker, who just retired in October after a historic 61 years in the Orchestra and 50 years as Solo Clarinetist, Leonard Hindell, Bassoonist, and Marsha Heller, Oboist.   Program information is galleried above.   Performance was Lincoln Center Class performed to a full house knowing what was coming.  It is rare to have such a quorum of performers, and a note of inspiration that just because one retires from a position anywhere, if one loves their craft as music making and keeps active in performing, it all adds up to a longer life with all the joy coming with it, which is surely the philosophy of the performers here.




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                                                                                                      Revised: January 04, 2010