Friday, July 4, 2008

Kansas City: Day 2

Thursday was jam-packed, a day full of great concerts. Although the event organizers have done a fantastic job of programming this year, we can't make it to everything, so feel free to comment and share your ClarinetFest experiences!

The day began at 9 AM with some electronic clarinet duos: the World Woodwind Duo (Dwight Frizzell and Thomas Aber) and Clarion Synthesis (Gerry Errante and D. Gause). The works on this program each used electronics in slightly different ways, although they were all composed within the past six years. Several works were interactive, keeping Gerry Errante busy with foot pedals, Max/MSP cues, and microphones.

The electronic extravaganza continued later with the session "Making Multimedia Manageable" with Mary Alice Druhan. After a short presentation about the issues of performing on multimedia works (synchronizing your part with fixed electronic accompaniment, programming effects pedals, working with visuals) Druhan gave an excellent performance of three multimedia works. Especially notable was "A Dream Fantasy" (1973) by Merrill Ellis, an electro-acoustic pioneer who left a lasting legacy at our very own University of North Texas. Quite a lot of work went into putting on this piece - the film projections were adapted to VHS, the slides were converted to PowerPoint, and the audio tape was transferred to CD (not to mention the extensive percussion setup). Well worth the effort, this twenty-five-year-old work still holds its own with the multimedia works of today.

The exhibit hall was somewhat of a zoo, with people crowded in narrow aisles - some even continued to test instruments as the fire alarm was going off!

The afternoon featured a concert of new works from Latin America, with Kathleen Jones and the D2 clarinet duet. Jones and several of her colleagues and former students at the Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico played Klarinet 3.2 by Alfonso Fuentes, in which each movement of the duet series was written specifically for her to play with each person. Rounding out the Latin program, Colombian duet D2 played lively rhythms native of their country. Two of the programmed pieces were written by one the clarinetists, Mauricio Murcia.

A few other highlights from the day for us were Paolo Beltramini's performance of the Francaix Tema con Variazioni, and Evan Ziporyn on bass clarinet performing David Lang's Press Release.

The evening concert of all-star clarinet ensembles was a real treat. Francois Houle performed his own clarinet quintet Of Spheres Unbound, along with Bonnie Campbell, Roger Cole, Eric Mandat, and Evan Ziporyn. The five were placed in different locations on the stage and balcony for a compelling antiphonal effect. Ziporyn (who had a very busy day!) also performed in his own clarinet quartet Hive, a very well-received piece involving a great deal of trilling used to somewhat minimalist effect.

The Chicago Clarinet Trio of Wagner Campos, Larry Combs, and Julie DeRoche closed out the program with works by Bermudez and Combs himself. The concert finished much earlier than Wednesday night so that everyone could get to the "post-concert entertainment" sooner, according to Combs.

We're looking forward to what today brings, and wish everybody a happy Fourth!

1 comment:

Paul said...

I agree, Beltramini's performance of Francaix was a major highlight, and unexpected since he wasn't a huge headliner.