Friday, May 20, 2011

ClarinetMike Blog

A new blog by Michael Dean is one of our latest discoveries.  In the short time span of only a couple of months, he has already written twenty-five posts on his site ClarinetMike Blog.  An active performer and clinician, Dean is also the Associate Professor of Clarinet and Saxophone at Southeast Missouri State University. His variety of posts include educational entries, time management tips, posts on clarinetists (including a list of famous people who have played clarinet), and video links. One point of interest is a link to Michael Rusinek's video on developing articulation speed found on the Rico website. Dean also includes entries which direct viewers to various articles by him. Although he mainly writes about the clarinet, he has also included a few saxophone posts. Don't forget additional blog sites can be found on the "Links" button on our home page!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Musical Chairs: Steve Williamson and the Chicago Symphony

The word from Facebook's "Clarinet Jobs" is that Steve Williamson has been offered the position of principal clarinet in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  This may be the final chapter of a saga that has been ongoing since January of 2008 (!) when preliminary auditions were first held to fill the vacancy left by Larry Combs' retirement at the end of that season.  Steve Williamson, trained at Eastman and Juilliard, has been principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera since 2003.  He has not yet accepted the position and there has been no official announcement from the CSO.

If you're on Facebook, you can view the discussion here.

This thread on the Clarinet BBoard continues the conversation, including a cameo from Anthony McGill.

The selection of the next CSO principal clarinet has generated much discussion in the three and a half years since the audition process began.  Clarinetists at the BBoard and Clarinet Jobs (not to mention late-night ClarinetFest debates) have had plenty to say about those who auditioned, those who didn't, Ricardo Morales declining the position, and the state of orchestral auditions and performing positions in general.  For further reading, you might wish to check out this Clarinet BBoard thread from 2008 - an interesting look back at the history of this process.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sean Osborn

We'd like to direct your attention today to the personal website of Sean Osborn.  A clarinetist and composer, Osborn was the youngest clarinetist to play with the Metropolitan Opera when he joined the orchestra in 1989.  His teachers include Stanley Hasty, Frank Kowalsky and Eric Mandat. 

The "Educational" section of Osborn's website features several articles of interest to clarinetists and teachers, such as an article about establishing a daily warm-up routine, and another on tips on fingerings from Stanley Hasty.  Especially notable are the instructional articles on individual orchestral excerpts including the Beethoven symphonies and Mendelssohn "Scherzo."  Some of the articles have links to videos demonstrating the excerpts -- Osborn's video of himself playing the Mendelssohn excerpt was featured here as one of our top ten videos of 2010.

Video augments several other articles as well; a "legato fingers" article includes videos of incorrect movements that students might make as they try to learn the technique, and an interesting video from inside Osborn's mouth helps to illustrate articulation principles.  He has also uploaded his copy of the solo part to Mozart with phrasing markings written in.

And just for fun, Osborn has developed an extensive collection of "Musician Jokes," including gems like the following:

Q: What do clarinetists use for birth control?
A: Their personalities.