Thursday, December 18, 2014

Clarinet Crowdfunding (December 2014 column)

In recent years, a new model has emerged for artists and entrepreneurs looking to raise money for their projects. Crowdfunding, in which the Internet is used as a resource for fundraising small amounts of money from a large number of people, has revolutionized the way many musicians approach recording projects. Kickstarter.com is the most popular platform for this type of fundraising, so in this column we’ll explore several recent Kickstarter campaigns by clarinetists.


David Gould
In May of 2013, clarinetist David Gould finished fundraising for his project The Forgotten Clarinet, a recording of lesser-known French works for clarinet and piano. Currently bass clarinetist for the American Ballet Theater Orchestra in New York City, Gould recorded more familiar works like Raymond Gallois-Montbrun’s Concertstucke and Marc Delmas’ Fantaisie Italienne, along with obscure works such as Paul Ladmirault’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano and Rene de Boisdeffre’s Three Pieces. Using a common tactic for Kickstarter campaigns for recording projects, Gould offered a copy of the completed CD as a reward for donating at least $20 -- allowing the campaign to function as a preorder for the CD. Funding obtained from Kickstarter covered Gould’s costs for recording, mastering, and production of the recording, which is now available for purchase.


Paul Cantrell
Composer Paul Cantrell used Kickstarter back in September of 2012 to help fund the manufacture and publicity of his work The Broken Mirror of Memory for bass clarinet and piano. Receiving first prize in the 2012 I.C.A. Composition Competition, the work was premiered at ClarinetFest in Lincoln, Nebraska with great success, and with the help of supporters through donations on Kickstarter, Cantrell was able to print and distribute recordings and scores. Exceeding his initial fundraising goals, he was able to provide additional promotion of his work with the extra funds. Originally conceived as a piece for piano and cello, Cantrell worked with bass clarinetist Pat O’Keefe to breathe new life into the piece. Commentary by Cantrell and snippets of the piece can be heard on the video posted on his Kickstarter page.


Michael Lowenstern
Michael Lowenstern’s unique Kickstarter project funded a set of recordings of each work in the popular Rubank Concert & Contest Collection book of solos for bass clarinet. Unlike many musicians who use Kickstarter to raise funds to create a recording for commercial release, Lowenstern’s goal was to provide these recordings for download online for free as a resource for bass clarinetists. In July 2013 he met his $4,500 goal to cover the recording costs, and the tracks are now available on his website at Earspasm.com.


GremlinsDuo
The most recent project we took a closer look at was a CD and method book project by GremlinsDuo (Tim Fitzgerald and Jonathan Goodman). The clarinet/bass clarinet duo raised $1,700 this past August to release a CD of commissioned works and publish their two new method books, the first focusing on quarter-tone exercises and the second comprising a “Buddy System” warm-up book. As with many of the other campaigns, the finished products are offered as rewards at various levels of backer support.

Among the other Kickstarter campaigns to reach their fundraising goal are projects by clarinetists Laura Carmichael, Jorge Variego, Andrew DeBoer, Gleb Kanasevich and the Sqwonk Duo, to name a few. Visit Kickstarter.com to explore these successful campaigns and learn more about this method of fundraising. You might just be inspired to become a backer yourself!

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