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September 2020 Hot News




15 September 2020




Senior VIP David Shifrin, Renowned Clarinet Soloist and Director for 40 Years with the Northwest Chamber Festival, Retires with Honors


Portland, Oregon USA


By Angela Allen

                    Even the most ardent classical-music enthusiasts may not know several details about clarinetist David Shifrin, who retired this summer after 40 years as Chamber Music Northwest’s artistic director.

                    He uses synthetic – not cane – reeds.


Shifrin’s love for the clarinet was reinforced by the dazzling impact of Benny Goodman.

                      Shifrin is one of three wind players to win the Avery Fisher Prize, established in 1974 to recognize outstanding soloists. He was given an honorary membership by the International Clarinet Society in 2014 for lifetime achievement. As a young man, he won the top prizes at the Munich and Geneva international competitions, which helped to launch his career.

                      His accolades are manifold, but he was more interested in talking about the “clarinet geek week,” as he called it, at Chamber Music Northwest in 2019: More than 100 clarinetists – pros, proteges and students from all over the world – played a raucous finale of Vivaldi, Edgar, Mahler, and Sousa on Portland’s mid-city Park Blocks to end a week of clarinet collaboration. “I’ll never forget it,” he said of that festival highlight.

                     This year’s virtual concerts, which sent Shifrin digging through archives, marked the end of his CMNW tenure. “It was quite a nostalgic journey if a great deal of work,” he said. “It was shock to be in a position to replace something that we’ve done for almost 50 years (CMNW started in 1971 under violinist Sergiu Luca), but everybody is doing that, adapting to the changes the virus has brought.”

                    The 2020 online festival pulled in 50,000 people – the most ever to hear its music – for 18 live streaming concerts, according to CMNW executive director Pieter Bilotta. On the last festival evening July 26, Shifrin soloed in American composer David Serkin Ludwig’s swansong to Shifrin called Berakah, which means “blessing” in Hebrew. Ludwig, who is the grandson of pianist Rudolf Serkin, introduced his composition by saying that “David is a blessing for his incredible musicianship.” And at the end of the concert, longtime CMNW musicians bid him an online farewell. All Shifrin could say, brushing away a tear, was, “You got me.”

Shifrin, in 2019, performing with CMNW’s new co-directors Soovin Kim (violin) and Gloria Chien (piano.) The new team is planning the 2020 season.

                   Pianist Gloria Chien and her husband, violinist Soovin Kim, are taking over CMNW’s artistic leadership and planning the next season. Both former CMNW protégées and performers, they have run chamber music events including the 12-year-old Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, VT, and Chien’s String Theory at the Hunter  in Tennessee. Shifrin helped launch Chien’s first String Theory in 2009 by performing there.

                  Kim, a teacher at New England Conservatory, says that he and Chien hope to stress young people’s musical education and carry on Shifrin’s legacy, adding that the Oregon festival is “among the most important chamber music organizations of the last 50 years. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build on its legacy and help to shape the cultural landscape of Portland for another generation.”

                  Shifrin has faith the Boston-based couple will “brilliantly meet the challenges” of CMNW’s future. “Either one alone would have been a great choice,” he said. “Together, they are a powerhouse team. They do so much great work without seeming that they are strained or stressed. I have utmost confidence leaving CMNW in their hands.”

                 “We’ll take care of the house you built,” Chien told Shifrin in her virtual farewell.

A well-loved leader

                 What has made Shifrin such a beloved leader of the year-round program with its flagship summer season that has burgeoned into a prestigious, well-attended festival? A number of Shifrin’s music colleagues answered, many of whom have known and played with him for decades. The most consistently mentioned characteristic, in concert with his artistic vision and superior musicianship, was his generosity.

“               For four decades,” said festival executive director Peter Bilotta, “David has shared his passion, his enthusiasm, his friendship and himself with so many audience members, so many musicians, so many composers, so many young emerging artists. He’s been a constant mentor, teacher, collaborator, advocate and supporter of others to help CMNW and the whole field of American chamber music grow from a kernel of an idea 50 years ago to an incredibly exciting, vibrant, and thriving art form.”

                 Steven Tenenbom, violist and Orion Quartet member who has been playing with the festival since 1988, said Shifrin has “the combination of a very strong artistic vision and the willingness to ask for suggestions from others. So many people today are micro managers, unwilling to reach out. David has no musical detractors because there is nothing to detract. He is a mensch.” Tenenbom premiered contemporary works by Aaron Jay Kernis and Marc Neikrug, among others, at CMNW.

                Violinist, violist and composer George Meyer, son of the renowned bassist Edgar Meyer, said his dad “has been in my ear to make sure that I pay attention to David’s mastery of phrasing. He has an uncommon beautiful fineness of control that made an impression on my dad.”

               Cellist Peter Wiley, a former member of the Guarneri Quartet and Beaux Arts Trio, and former principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, cited “first and foremost (Shifrin’s) exceptional musicianship. He has a knowledge of the repertoire and connections to great musicians worldwide. His creative programming is key.” He has played often with Shifrin at the festival since 1990.

              Shifrin expanded the clarinet repertoire through commissioned works by Stephen Albert, Bright Sheng, William Bolcom, Joan Tower, Ellen Taafe Zwilich, David Schiff, Bruce Adolphe, Lalo Schifrin, and many others.

             “He is a master of taking us on a journey while making us feel safe at the same time,” said flutist Valerie Coleman, founder of Imani Winds quintet. “I am among those who know and trust David’s artistic vision, which has led audiences to being introduced to not only other women composers such as Hannah Lash and Nokuthula Ngwenyama, but wind ensembles and percussionists like Andy Akiho.” Coleman is the composer of Shotgun Houses, commissioned by Shifrin. She was named 2020 Classical Woman of the Year by Performance Today.

              Shifrin started the festival’s protege program about 12 years ago, and, as he says,  “We formalized something that happened naturally with cross-pollination, inspiration, mutual admiration, and an opportunity to give young musicians who have finished schooling to play with luminaries.” The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York had a similar program since the mid-90s. Shifrin led CMLC from 1992-2004 and still plays with them.

             Festival director Bilotta credited Shifrin with integrating jazz into the classical repertoire, commissioning and premiering “dozens of jazz-based composers, including Portland’s David Schiff and Darrell Grant. [Shifrin] has commissioned more than 100 new works from composers ranging from Pulitzer Prize winner William Bolcom to emerging young composers [including George Meyer, Valerie Coleman, Katie Agocs, and David Ludwig] who are giving a new voice to chamber music.”

           Angela Allen writes about music for Oregon ArtsWatch in Portland, OR. She is a published poet and photographer, and on the board of the Music Critics Association of North America. Her web site is


15 September 2020




 VIP Anthony McGill, Solo Clarinetist in the New York Philharmonic, awarded the Avery Fisher Prize, one of the most coveted awards

New York City USA

Official announcement and recognition of Anthony McGill's Honor with the Avery Fisher Prize

                      Clarinetist Anthony McGill, a fall 2020 Artist-in-Residence at Montclair State University’s John J. Cali School of Music, has been awarded the 2020 Avery Fisher Prize, a prestigious award given in recognition of musicians who “represent the highest level of musical excellence and whose vision and leadership have expanded the reach of classical music.”

                 “It is an absolute honor to receive this award,” says McGill. “I’m also thrilled that I’ll get to spend time working with the students, staff and faculty of the fantastic Montclair State University as their Artist-In-Residence this year.”

                 “I’m so proud of Anthony’s accomplishments as a musician, an advocate for social change, and an artistic citizen,” says Anthony Mazzocchi, director of the John J. Cali School of Music. “This is why he is a perfect fit for the Cali School at the perfect time. He has so much to share with our school, and it’s no surprise to me that he is being recognized for his exemplary contributions to our world. I’m eager to continue to work with Anthony and be witness to the transformative effect that serving as our Artist-in-Residence will have this year on our University community.”

                 The unanimous decision to award McGill the 2020 Avery Fisher Prize was made in December 2019 by the Program’s Executive Committee, but the official announcement, originally scheduled with a celebration in April at Lincoln Center, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

                A virtual 2020 Avery Fisher Prize award ceremony will take place on Tuesday, September 15 at 6 p.m. EDT and will be publicly streamed online at

               As part of the prize, McGill receives $100,000 plus an additional $30,000 to be donated to the charitable organization of his choice, the Music Advancement Program (MAP) of The Juilliard School, where the funds will be earmarked for summer program scholarships, going directly to students and their families.

              Anthony McGill is the third clarinetist ever to be awarded the Avery Fisher Prize. Past winners have included legendary musicians such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianists Emanuel Ax and Andre Watts, violinists Midori and Joshua Bell, and the Kronos Quartet.

            Thank you to the Avery Fisher Artist Program for this incredible honor,” says McGill. “I never imagined as a young music student that one day I would be where I am today. None of it would have been possible without people truly believing in me. I’m grateful for this recognition of my life’s work as I continue to advocate for the next generation of young musicians.”

            The Executive Committee that chose McGill includes Wu Han, Artistic Director, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Wu Han is a previous Cali School Artist-in-Residence.

             McGill serves as the Principal Clarinet of the New York Philharmonic – that orchestra’s first African-American principal player – and maintains an international solo and chamber music career. Hailed for his “trademark brilliance, penetrating sound and rich character” (The New York Times), as well as for his “exquisite combination of technical refinement and expressive radiance” (The Baltimore Sun), McGill also serves as an advocate for music education for underserved communities and for addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in classical music.

            Notably, McGill took part in the inauguration of President Barack Obama. He also launched a protest in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd urging artists and citizens to #TakeTwoKnees, a video that went viral.

           A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, McGill previously served as the Principal Clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera and Associate Principal Clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In addition to being the Cali School Artist-in-Residence, McGill also serves on the faculty of The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, and Bard College Conservatory of Music. He is the artistic director for the Music Advancement Program at The Juilliard School, on the Board of Directors for both the League of American Orchestras and the Harmony Program, and on the advisory councils for the InterSchool Orchestras of New York and Time In Children’s Arts Initiative



12 - 13 September 2020





Amicitia Clarinet Extravaganza Virtual Online - VIP Diane Barger and Dr Denise Gainey, Directors




12 September 2020


Interview with Martin Frost and Andrew Simon




5 September 2020




 Interview with Renowned Bass Clarinetist Michael Lowenstern with Andrew Simon




3 - 6 September 2020




VIII Curso de Musica - VIP Radovan Cavallin - Clarinet Teacher


Vilaflor, Spaiin


                       Beautiful Masterclass magnificent me organized by the Tinerfeña Federation of Music Bands in the Environmental Camp Mother of Water, Vilaflor, Tenerife complying with all health regulations and safety measures of distancing due to the COVID-19. pandemic.
                  It has been a real pleasure and luxury to be able to work alongside great musicians, artists and colleagues: Javier Linares, Julian Elvira and
David Lacruz Martinez
My heartfelt congratulations to all the students and the Federation on the initiative of making this fabulous project possible in these committed times.
Bravo everyone, all the best, health and take care of yourselves!
A big hug!





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Revised: September 18, 2020