Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick note to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

A sampling of things I am thankful for:

My wonderful friends and family
My two amazing sons and awesome husband
Talented and inspiring students
The best colleagues
Frost School of Music, University of Miami
Clarinet, Clarinetists, Clarinet rep....
Good Reeds!!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chamber Music

I am in the midst of some great chamber music making. It is truly one of my favorite things to do. I feel blessed to have the wonderful opportunities to perform amazing music with treasured friends and colleagues.

I think that what enamors me the most about chamber music is the ‘team spirit’ involved. Most musical decisions are made as a group; including larger issues such as tempo, structure, well as finer details like articulation length and dynamic shadings. At the same time, thousands of decisions are made by the individual in any given rehearsal or performance. I love that you can hear every line at all times; the blending of phrase, intonation and color is so fantastic. These decisions, both group and individual, come together for the greater good, so to speak. It is truly a case of the final product being greater than the sum of its parts. Gestalt. Love it.

I would love to hear some of the chamber music you are all playing these days! For those interested, here are some of the pieces I am currently involved with:

Rage against the machine, Scott Stinson. An exciting, new quartet for two Bb’s and two Bass clarinets

Sextet for Strings, Clarinet, Horn and Piano, Dohnanyi

Two, Scott Flavin. A brand new, beautiful duo for Clarinet and Violin

Quintet for Winds and Piano, Mozart

Suite for Clarinet, Violin and Piano; Milhaud

Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano, Khatchaturian

Trio for Clarinet, Horn and Piano; Gustav Jenner

Trio Pathetique, Glinka

Monday, June 28, 2010

Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium

Last weekend I performed at the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium. What a wonderful experience on so many levels! For those that may not know, it is a three day symposium filled with performances, clinics and exhibits. The evening concerts included, among others, Stanley Drucker, the Chicago Trio, Dmitri Ashkenazy and Alessandro Carbonare. As you would imagine, all were exciting and inspiring performances.

The exhibits were open all day - Backun, Luyben, Woodwindiana, Muncy, WoodwindBrasswind, Buffet, Yamaha, Selmer, Rico...the list goes on and on! It was such fun to look through all the music, try instruments, mouthpieces, bells, barrels...I am not one to experiment too much with setup. I play what I like and don't change very often. But---this was fun!!

I performed on the final day with the MiamiClarinet Quartet. This group is actually sort of an offshoot of this blog. The quartet included Danielle Woolery, Teaching Assistant and Mancini Fellow at the University of Miami, Dr. Dawn McConkie Courtney, Professor of Clarinet at Emporia State University, and Dr. Michael Walsh, Professor of Clarinet at South Dakota State University. Dr. Courtney and Dr. Walsh are both former students of mine and hold degrees from the University of Miami. They were once my students, they are now my colleagues and friends.

For anyone interested in clarinet quartet repertoire, we played some great new works. The first was Nebulous by Derek Sherron. He is also a former student of mine, and holds a degree from the University of Miami. He is currently pursuing the Master's Degree in Composition at New England Conservatory. It is a three movement work that is exciting, intense, beautiful...a great piece. We also played an amazing work by Scott Stinson, Professor of Theory and Composition at the University of Miami. It is entitled Rage against the machine, and is incredibly exciting. It is scored for two Bb's and two Bass Clarinets, giving it great depth of range and color. We thought we would end by bringing a little Miami to Oklahoma and played an arrangement of mine, Miami Beach Rhumba.

In short, we had a blast and look forward to the next time we can get together. The Symposium was terrific and I urge you to check it out for next year. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend ICA in Austin in a few weeks but I hope many of you will be going. If so, add a comment, I would love to hear about it!

Happy summer,
Dr D

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A New CD to listen to!

Listening to music is an amazing, enlightening, inspiring and emotion-provoking experience. As musicians we listen to music for so many reasons – to enjoy, to experience, to learn, to study, the list goes on. We should listen to those pieces that we love and cherish; we should listen to those pieces that we don’t yet know as well. We should always be striving to broaden our musical horizons. Listening is an ideal way to do this.

The reason I’m writing about this is that I just heard a new recording that is dear to my heart on many levels and I want to share it with you. It is entitled Wolf Rounds, and was just released by Naxos as part of their Wind Band Classics series. (NAXOS 8.572439) The performers are the Frost Wind Ensemble at the University of Miami, Gary Green, Director, with Glenn Basham, violin and Tim Conner, trombone, soloists.

The pieces on the CD are Ladder to the Moon, by Michael Daugherty; Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble, by David Maslanka; and Wolf Rounds, by Christopher Rouse. The performers are of course from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, so all of the clarinetists are/were my students. The conductor and soloists are friends and colleagues at UM.

The composers are all inspiring, the pieces fantastic and the performances incredible. Ladder to the Moon is based on the urban landscapes of Georgia O’Keeffe. It is scored for solo violin, wind octet, double bass and one percussionist. It is high energy, exciting music and Glenn Basham, solo violin, is fantastic. (as is the clarinet soloist!)

The Trombone Concerto is incredibly beautiful and heartfelt music. It was written as a memorial to Christine Nield-Capote whose passing was a terrible loss to all who knew and loved her. She was a very special musician, teacher and friend and she is terribly missed. Along with beautiful trombone playing by Tim Conner, there is a solo cello line, played by Ashley Garritson (UM graduate student) which is simply stunning.

The CD ends with Wolf Rounds, which was premiered by UM at Carnegie Hall in 2007. It is based on a series of circular musical ‘loops’, cycling and overlapping. Mr Rouse describes this idea of loops bringing to mind wolves (lupus) circling their prey, which in turn brings to mind the circular nature of the piece – hence the title Wolf Rounds.

I hope you will take a few minutes to listen to this wonderful new music. Each piece is a tremendous addition to our wind repertoire. And as a last thought I will say, since most if not all of us reading this blog are clarinetists – there is some GREAT clarinet playing on this cd!! And to those of you reading who performed on this recording – congratulations to all of you, I could not be more proud of you. 

Dr D

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Just a quick note to wish you all the very best in the new year. It was a year ago that I started this blog and it has been great fun for me to share some clarinet talk with you. I am thankful for those of you that return to check out new blogs and for those of you who are stopping by for the first time. I have had visitors from nearly every state and well over 50 countries. I am thankful for all of you.

We have so much more to talk about! Look for a new blog in the next week or so. As always I am open to suggestions, so comment or email your ideas about topics!

Have a healthy, productive and prosperous new year!!

Dr D