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September 2014 Hot News





 23 September 2014


New York Philharmonic Premiere of Unsuk Chin Clarinet Concerto with Soloist Kari Kriikku, Alan Gilbert, Conductor -  (U.S. Premiere–New York Philharmonic Co-Commission with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra) 23, 26, 27, 30 September 2014


New York City USA


                    The conductor Alan Gilbert, exuding excitement, looked almost relieved to be on the stage of Avery Fisher Hall with the musicians of the New York Philharmonic on Tuesday night. The occasion was the first of the orchestra’s subscription series programs this season, offering the American premiere of Unsuk Chin’s haunting Clarinet Concerto and a formidable account of Mahler’s First Symphony.

                  Just a week earlier, Mr. Gilbert had been on that stage for the Philharmonic’s opening-night gala, “La Dolce Vita,” a star-studded and superficial tribute to music from Italian cinema. That wasted program, videotaped by public television for later broadcast, was the official start of the Philharmonic’s season.

                 On Tuesday, though, from the moment Mr. Gilbert took microphone in hand to welcome the audience and discuss Ms. Chin’s concerto, he was in his element. The concert was terrific.

                Ms. Chin, 53, best known for her boldly inventive opera “Alice in Wonderland,” was born and educated in South Korea. She traveled to Germany in the mid-1980s to study with the modernist master Gyorgy Ligeti and has lived there since. When Mr. Gilbert, as he told the audience, learned that Ms. Chin was writing a concerto for the brilliant Finnish clarinetist Kari Kriikku, he wanted the Philharmonic “to get in” on that commission, as he explained. The piece was eventually commissioned by five orchestras, including the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden, where Mr. Kriikku played the premiere in May.

              Before performing the piece, Mr. Gilbert was joined onstage by Mr. Kriikku to play excerpts and discuss some of the special clarinet techniques the score calls for. Mr. Gilbert has always been very good at explaining music to audiences, especially when dealing with a challenging new work. Most listeners seemed engaged by the discussion and applauded after excerpts were played. More of this should happen at all concerts.

             Ms. Chin often tries to render in sound the visions, colors and images of her dreams. And as she explained in a recent interview with The New York Times, she is fascinated by technical virtuosity, though not the conventional kind.

            This concerto, especially at the opening of the slow movement, titled “Hymnos,” used the technique of multiphonics, in which the clarinetist, through special fingerings and a way of blowing into the instrument, can produce more than one note at a time. Mr. Kriikku demonstrated by playing the ethereal solo that opens the movement, which sounded like two distant voices mingling in a pungent blend of chanting and sighing. Mr. Gilbert also highlighted passages that have the allure of Asian folk music, though he explained that Ms. Chin writes her own cryptic kind of folkloric tunes. And, for contrast, Mr. Kriikku and the orchestra played some of the slashing outbursts that form the intense climax of the first movement.

           Then the 25-minute concerto was performed. At the opening, the solo clarinet plays breathy, staggered phrases, soon joined by quizzical stirrings in the orchestra. The effect is not spooky, but spellbinding. The music unfolds in fits and starts, with the clarinet breaking loose like some avant-garde jazz improviser, and the orchestra erupting in dense chords that sound like drive-by whooshes.

           The last movement, true to its title, “Improvisation on a Groove,” is fractured, restless and brash. Mr. Kriikku, backed by Mr. Gilbert and the impressive orchestra, gave a vivid, colorful and technically stunning account of this elusive concerto. Ms. Chin received a rousing ovation when she came onstage.

           Mr. Gilbert conducted Mahler’s First Symphony from memory with unflagging stamina and command. Those who like their Mahler played for a maximum of drama and mystery might have found this performance lacking. But it was refreshing to hear the work conducted with such attention to revealing inner details and overall structure. I have seldom heard the score played with more rhythmic vigor, incisive attack and surging energy, especially in the finale, in which Mr. Gilbert drew brassy, triumphant playing from the Philharmonic. The audience responded with an ardent standing ovation.

          So why was this concert not the official opening of the Philharmonic’s season? Where were the public television cameras?






20 September 2014


Senior VIP and Living Legend Stanley Drucker, Solo Clarinetist Emeritus of the New York Philharmonic, revisits Corigliano Clarinet Concerto with John Corigliano and the Manhattan School of Music Symphony Orchestra for revised updated Edition with rehearsals and complete performance with Conductor George Manahan


New York City USA


              After over 37 years after the the composing of this great Clarinet Concerto in New York, written for Stanley Drucker, Leonard Bernstein, and the New York Philharmonic, a special day of rehearsal and performance of this work was done, with intention to improve the score and cueing aspects between soloist and conductor, supervised by John Corigliano, who presided over the whole day.    Goerge Manahan, conductor of the Manhattan School of Music Symphony, rehearsed the work.  Amazing is that after this long time since 1977, Dr Drucker was in complete control and remarked that you don't forget this piece, having performed it several times in and out of the Philharmonic, the last time played it with the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans in 2006, with Corigliano present and involved in rehearsal preparation for that concert.   With the upcoming Schirmer Edition coming, it should be easier, if that word applies to this work, to navigate the complicated interfaces between Orchestra and soloist, especially the first and third movements


             The entire day was a near historic affair at the School between the Orchestra members, and especially Clarinet students who saw the sessions. 





















14 - 19 September 2014


VIP Charles Neidich Acuff Chair of Excellence Residency at Austin Peay State University - Professor VIP Dr Mingzhe Wang, Host

Clarksville and Nashville, Tennessee USA


Summary by VIP Dr Mingzhe Wang


               It was a fantastic week for clarinetists and musicians in general in the middle Tennessee area because world renowned clarinet soloist, educator, composer, and conductor Charles Neidich was in residence at Austin Peay State University for 7 days as an Acuff Chair of Excellence from 9/12-19. This residency was sponsored by the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts and the APSU Music Department. During Mr. Neidich's stay, he gave four performances, including two performances of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra and Gregory Wolynec, conductor, the Mozart Clarinet Quintet with the Parker Quartet, and a recital with pianist Nathan Carterette and myself as a guest performer.

              Mr. Neidich also gave three master classes, two lectures, one woodwind class visit, and finally a informal open interview moderated by me in the Woodward Library on the APSU campus. Mr. Neidich shared his expertise and artistry with APSU music students, faculty, middle TN high school clarinetists, and community members. His performance was flawless, dazzling; his teaching was insightful. He was generous, caring, and humorous. We were very honored to have him here and were thankful for all he did during his stay.




4 September 2014


University of Delaware  Clarinet Day with VIP Julian Bliss, Christopher Nichols, Hosting


Newark, Delaware USA 


              On September 4, 2014, the University of Delaware Department of Music hosted a clinic sponsored by Conn-Selmer, Inc. with internationally renowned clarinetist Julian Bliss in Gore Recital Hall at the Roselle Center for the Arts. Mr. Bliss opened the clinic with a spotless performance of Tiberiu Olah’s Unaccompanied Sonata from memory. Following his performance, he discussed his life as a clarinetist from its beginning at the age of four to present, sharing a number of inspiring and amusing anecdotes. He proceeded to work with three members of the University of Delaware Clarinet Studio, (Kourtney Bastianelli, Dalton Ringey, and Casey Wilkes) on various aspects of their playing such as projection, practice of challenging technical passages and interpretation. He concluded the clinic with a performance of excerpts from Rossini’s Introduction, Theme and Variations with an improvised jazzy ending!








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