Sunday, July 25, 2010

Clarinetfest 2010 - a few impressions

Richard MacDowell and I
Here are a few quick impressions from Clarinetfest in Austin:
  • Amazing playing by dueling virtuoso hosts Richard MacDowell and Nathan Williams: they sounded more like the headliners than the guys organizing the conference! 
  • New discoveries: Spanish clarinetist José Franch-Ballester delivered a flawless and invigorating Copland Concerto.  Bulgarian clarinetist Vanguel Tangarov is the upcoming clarinetist to watch - fantastic control of the instrument and gorgeous sound. 
  • American clarinetists need to take a lesson from Sergio Bosi on how to keep an audience entertained.
  • I never tire of the Mozart, Weber, and Brahms quintets when they are played well.
  • Chris Howard persuaded me that Roshanne Etezady’s Glint for clarinet and saxophone IS worth learning.
  • I was almost convinced to take a second look at the second Spohr Concerto - quite a stretch for me - thanks to the magnificent artistry of Philippe Cuper. Word of advice: don’t yell “Philippe” in the hallway when Philippe Cuper is walking by, because he might actually hear you and turn around.
  • Young Artist Competition: every one demonstrated great accomplishment and excellent sounds - yay! A little advice, however: learn the Baroque - early Classical style of Johann Stamitz, and make sure your cadenza reflects the harmonic and melodic style of the period. 
  • Mike Lowenstern is the bomb (on harmonica too), and he left the audience wanting more with a late afternoon recital under 30 minutes. Class act!
  • And one really sad note: David Etheridge, the beloved organizer of the beloved annual Oklahoma Symposiums at OU died Thursday after a shockingly short bout with cancer. He was very kind to me in past conventions, sending me my misplaced camera, and even providing me with a tape recorder and tape when I interviewed Tony Gigliotti for my doctoral treatise. David will be greatly missed, and his shoes will be difficult to fill.
There is so much more I heard and loved, and I’m sorry that I didn’t include others. It was great to see and hear so many old friends and meet and hear some new ones at the school I did my doctorate! I am so proud of earning my DMA from the UT Austin School of Music. There are so many fine people there and I learned so much there. It really means a lot to me that the Clarinetfest was at UT - despite the humidity and almost 100 degree heat outside!
The photo above is my teacher and friend Richard MacDowell and I on Friday, the day I played. I look so happy - it must have been after I played!

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