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12 December 2006

In Memoriam - Kenny Davern - Jazz Clarinetist

Sandia Park, New Mexico


John Kenneth Davern (born January 7, 1935, died December 12, 2006) better known as Kenny Davern is one of the premier jazz clarinetists of his generation. Kenny died of a heart attack at his Sandia Park, New Mexico home.

He was born in Huntington, Long Island to a family of mixed Jewish and Italian-Catholic ancestry. His mother’s family originally came from Vienna, Austria, were his great-grandfather Alfred Roth had been a colonel in the Austro-Hungarian cavalry, the highest rank accessible to a Jew in the Habsburg Imperial army.

After hearing Pee Wee Russell the first time, he was convinced that he wanted to be a jazz musician, too; and at the age of 16 he joined the musician's union, first as a baritone saxophone player. In 1954 he joined Jack Teagarden's Band, and after only a few days with the band he made his first jazz recordings. Later on, he worked with bands lead by Phil Napoleon and Pee Wee Erwin before joining the Dukes of Dixieland in 1962. The late 1960s found him free-lancing with a.o. Red Allen, Ralph Sutton, Yank Lawson and his life-long friend Dick Wellstood.

At this time, he had also taken up the soprano saxophone, and when a spontaneous coupling with fellow reedman Bob Wilber at Dick Gibson's Colorado Jazz Party turned out be a huge success, one of the most important jazz groups of the 1970s, Soprano Summit, was born. Co-led by Wilber and Davern, both switching between the clarinet and various saxophones, during the next five years Soprano Summit enjoyed a very successful string of record dates and concerts. When the group disbanded in 1979, Davern devoted himself to solely playing clarinet, preferring trio formats with piano and drums. His collaboration with Bob Wilber was revived in 1991, the new group being called Summit Reunion. Leading his own quartets since the 1990s, Davern has preferred the guitar to the piano in his rhythm section, employing guitarists Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden and James Chirillo.

In 1997, he was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame at Rutgers University, and in 2001 he received a honorary doctorate of music at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York. In addition to the jazz greats that inspired him, Kenny Davern indicates classical clarinetist David Weber, principal solo clarinetist with the New York City Ballet Orchestra, as his most important teacher.

Although playing mainly in traditional jazz and swing settings, his musical interests encompass a much broader range of styles. In 1978 he collaborated with avantgarde players Steve Lacy, Steve Swallow and Paul Motian on a free jazz-inspired album appropriately entitled Unexpected. In addition to his accomplishments in jazz, his ardour and knowledge of classical music is encyclopaedic, particularly of the work of conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler.

Especially since he has been concentrating on exclusively playing the clarinet, Kenny Davern has been calling his own an unmatched mastery of the instrument. A full, rounded tone, especially "woody" in the lower chalumeau register, combined with highly personal tone inflections and the ability to hit notes far above the conventional range of the clarinet, have made his sound immediately recognizable. In the late 1980s, the New York Times hailed him as 'the finest jazz clarinetist playing today'.


26 September 2006

 Sir Malcolm Arnold - In Memoriam

Norwich, England

     Sir Malcolm Arnold
Sir Malcolm Arnold was most famous for his film scores


British composer Sir Malcolm Arnold has died in hospital after a brief illness at the age of 84.

Sir Malcolm, who won an Oscar for the musical score to the Bridge on the River Kwai film in 1958, was suffering from a chest infection. He is most famous for his film scores, composing 132 including Whistle Down the Wind and Hobson's Choice.

Sir Malcolm, who lived near Norwich, also composed seven ballets, nine symphonies and two operas.

Sir Malcolm, one of the most famous composers of the 20th Century, leaves behind two sons and one daughter. He died at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

Sir Malcolm, you could be responsible for my lifelong love of real music
Kath, UK

Anthony Day, his companion and carer for the last 23 years, praised Sir Malcolm as "the most wonderful man".

"People didn't see the man that I knew because he had frontal lobe dementia over the last few years which slowly developed but, being with him, he was a happy, lovely man who enjoyed his music and enjoyed his life," he told BBC News.

Mr Day also paid tribute to Sir Malcolm's achievement in winning an Oscar for Bridge on the River Kwai.

"They couldn't find anybody else to do the music in time because they wanted to release it to the Oscars," Mr Day said.

"They gave him 10 days and he managed to write the complete score in 10 days."

He was a happy, lovely man who enjoyed his music and enjoyed his life
Anthony Day


Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber described Sir Malcolm as a "genius" who was never entirely appreciated.

He said: "I think he was a very, very great composer but uneven in his output.

"Because he had humour in his music he was never fully appreciated by the classical establishment."

Lord Attenborough, the director and actor, said Sir Malcolm was a "totally outstanding composer".

Sir Malcolm's music continues to be performed and recorded extensively by leading orchestras both nationally and internationally.

He was awarded the CBE in 1970.

Saturday night was the premier of his version of the Three Musketeers at the Alhambra in Bradford.

The performance, which was dedicated to him, went ahead as planned


I am a clarinettist who has played some of Malcolm Arnold's work ... which is some of the most challenging and yet most rewarding I have worked on. He was a great composer and knew my instrument well.
Eleanor Smith, Edinburgh

As one of Malcolm's biographers I got to know him very well in his final years. In spite of his shameful treatment by the music critics who berated him for being popular, he lived to see virtually all of his output recorded and what is more selling well! More than any other composer I have known, the music was the man. He may no longer be with us but listen to his music to know what we have lost.
Paul RW Jackson, Winchester, Hampshire

Malcolm Arnold was one of the greatest symphonists that this country has been fortunate to have had. He combined excellent technique with a vast amount of humour (humour is a difficult object to achieve in music, unless one wishes to indulge in pure pastiche), to create symphonies and other works that will last. Arnolds technique included extremely subtle tonality and key-play within this framework, along with highly original orchestration that is challenging to play (I played French Horn in amateur orchestras and brass bands, and have played in some of Arnolds works). The humour, I feel, was not an attempt to cock a snook at the musical Establishment, rather it was an expression of a man, a vital man and an insouciant man, confident in his own abilities and not one who fawned on approval, who lived, breathed and sweated music, and was not worried if the sweat produced a bit of a stink.
Steve Robey, Harwich UK

A composer of great courage, who stuck to his principles despite the fashionable barrage of atonality. Of composers born in the 1920's, virtually all gave in to the pressure of the establishment. Malcolm Arnold stood firm, and he alone kept the flame of classical music alive until a younger generation came along to breathe new life into the genre once more. Good though his film music is, his concert music is his real contribution. Among many works, maybe the Second and fifth Symphonies stand out, together with many of the concertos. He paid a terrible price for standing firm against the tyranny of the establishment, but all who care about serious music should be grateful to him for helping contemporary serious music to survive to our day.
Michael Holley, Goring on Thames, Reading, UK

Sir Malcolm was a unique voice in dramatic and concert work, with a distinctive bittersweet yet tingling way with his harmony and orchestration. He was a great musical satirist and educator too, a tonal 'people's composer' who nonetheless never dumbed-down. He also weathered the vortex of many personal challenges in his inner and outer life. His music increasingly appeals and will continue to do so, no doubt outlasting the canards of a musical establishment who frequently underrated him.
William McCrum, Templepatrick, N. Ireland

When I read the news I took the score for the Symphony No.6 from my shelf, the first major score by Malcolm Arnold I ever studied, which I still regard fondly. In America, his legacy will certainly be kept alive in his marvellous compositions for wind ensemble, whose orchestrations never cease to amaze. He will be missed.
Bill Sisson, Onalaska, Wisconsin, United States

I became enamoured of Sir Malcolm's music when in college in Wisconsin in the early 1980s. I was classical music director of the local 10 watt radio station, and a couple who were patrons and supplemented our meagre budget had me over to listen to their $20,000 system at various times. It was on one of those occasions that I heard my first Lyrita recording. It was Malcolm Arnold's "Dances," and after that I bought every recording of his works I could lay my hands on, and I was never disappointed. He may not have been as well known or widely appreciated by Americans in general, but among those of us who appreciate the wonders of 20th Century British Classical, his name has always been a standout. He will be missed.
Victor Davis, Napa, California, USA

"Four Cornish Dances" - Shivers down me spine - Especially the march where it pictures walking down to the chapel on a Sunday morn, Methodist style with the sea in the background and a pint of cider waiting at the bar... In fact all of his dances.... Genius...
Gaz, Manchester

Anyone who has ever watched What the Papers Say on TV will be familiar with his suite of English Dances.
Kevin, Liverpool

An extremely fine craftsman of music who suffered unjustified neglect during this life. Time will tell whether it is Arnold's music or that of his Serialist detractors that continues to be played and enjoyed by the public. A crime that he wasn't celebrated and better commissioned - the BBC and Arts Council should hang their heads in shame.
Matthew Woolhouse, Cambridge

One of the last true links with what most people think of as 'Englishness' in music is gone. And with him a great artist, much misunderstood and maligned by the progressive musical establishments of the day during his lifetime. I think of him as the John Betjeman of British music, a people's composer, one with total integrity, originality and professionalism, and to those who take the trouble of exploring his music more deeply will be revealed unmistakeable genius.
Adrian Williams, Hereford, England

Now at last he will get the recognition from the serious music community he certainly deserved.
Daniel Robinson, London

I am a member of the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra, of whom Sir Malcolm Arnold is the patron. We performed a concert entirely comprising the works of Arnold earlier this year to celebrate his 85th birthday. We are also to perform Peterloo overture and A Grand Grand Festival Overture amongst other pieces at a charity concert at Symphony Hall this coming Wednesday 27th September. Personally I love playing Arnold's music and feel that his passing will be greatly felt in our orchestra.
Jo Stubbs, Birmingham, West Midlands

Though we mourn the very sad loss of Sir Malcolm today we must celebrate, the unique and wonderful legacy of his music left to us. Sir Malcolm touched everyone who listened to his music, as he wrote in a very personal yet public manner. Never, ever frightened of writing a 'good tune', his music was full of his humanity, warmth and most importantly fun. We should be all very thankful that Sir Malcolm was given to us and we must all celebrate his birthday this year as he would have wanted with lots of concerts of his wonderful music. God bless Sir Malcolm and many, many thanks to Anthony Day for his untiring help and support to Sir Malcolm in his last years.
Lawrie Dunn, Burnham on Sea, Somerset


A true gent of music who has left a great legacy. From wonderful film music to the inspired Guitar Concerto he will be sadly missed but forever remembered.
John Elliott, York, Uk


Sir Malcolm Arnold was president of Rochdale Youth Orchestra, and until they left to go to university, my two youngest daughters played in it for several years. I was always impressed that Sir Malcolm took on the patronage of what would seem to many to be an insignificant, small town orchestra. He attended many concerts in spite of age and failing health, and that never failed to impress me, that a world renowned musician and composer would take the trouble to do that. I think that he was an innovative and interesting composer, and I am sorry to hear of his passing.
Sonia Wilson, Rochdale, England


One of my fondest memories of the Proms was of Malcolm Arnold conducting Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. He was almost bent double coaxing the most out of the orchestra - no mean feat for a man of his physique - and clearly having a wonderful time himself. As, indeed, were we Prommers!
David Brooks, Redmond, WA, 98053


I was fortunate enough to meet Malcolm Arnold a number of years' ago when the BBC Philharmonic were performing some of his works. I remember his almost equal pride over his extremely "loud" ties and the fact that few critics had noticed that a movement in his (I think) sixth symphony had been composed in strict serialist mode. A warm, witty and funny man who leaves an astonishing and under-rated body of work. Though his film scores were wonderful, we should not forget the quality of his concert music.
Steve Rouse, Manchester, England


I am a supporter/staff member of Rochdale Youth Orchestra, of which Sir Malcolm was the president. We are sorry to hear of his passing.
Sian, Rochdale, Lancs




21 February 2006

Sir Nicholas Shackleton - In Memoriam

Edinbirgh, United Kingdom

With the recent death of Sir Nicholas Shackleton, paleoclimatology lost one of its brightest pioneers. Over the last ~40 years, Nick made numerous far-reaching contributions to our understanding of how climates varied in the past, and through those studies, he identified factors that are critically important for climate variability in the future. His career neatly encompasses the birth of the new science of paleoceanography to its synthesis into the even newer science of 'Earth Systems'; he made major contributions to these evolving fields throughout his life, and his insightful papers are required reading for students of paleoclimatology.

Fundamentally, Nick was a geologist, with a research focus on changes in ocean chemistry recorded in the marine sediments and the calcium carbonate shells of tiny organisms (foraminifera) commonly found in them. Nick was among the first to recognize that changes in the oxygen isotope ratio(18O/16O) was not simply a function of temperature, as had been previously thought, but rather a reflection of global scale ocean chemistry which changed as ice built up on the continents during glaciations. This resulted from the fractionation of oxygen isotopes in water molecules, following evaporation from the ocean surface. As water vapor is carried towards higher latitudes, and condensation occurs, the precipitation that forms contains more of the heavy isotope (18O) which is thus returned to the ocean, leaving the vapor isotopically lighter. When precipitation forms as snow, and remains on the continents to form ice sheets, the overall composition of the world ocean gradually changes, becoming isotopically heavier (enriched in 18O) compared to periods when there are no ice sheets on the continents.

Benthic foraminifera (those forams living in the deep ocean where temperatures change very little) incorporated the isotopically heavier water into their structure as they formed their shells. Thus, by measuring the oxygen isotope ratios in benthic foraminifera, Shackleton effectively had a measure of how much ice had accumulated on land—a “paleoglaciation index”. Furthermore, because the deep ocean composition is fairly well mixed, benthic forams from all parts of the ocean recorded these changes more or less synchronously. Thus, the variations could be used to correlate marine records wherever they were recovered, providing a universal index of past earth history. Variations in the oxygen isotopes gave rise to what are now termed “marine isotope stages”; we are currently in isotope stage 1 (the Holocene) and the last glaciation is represented by isotope stage 2 (when the world ocean was more enriched in the heavy isotope). Notably, Shackleton (1969) was the first to make the (correct) identification of 'isotope stage 5e' with the Eemian interglacial identified in land-based pollen records (see figure). At that time (~125,000 years ago), the isotopic composition of the ocean indicated there was even less ice on the continents than there is today. This corresponded to higher sea-levels (~6m higher than today) largely because the Greenland ice sheet was much diminished. (It is now thought that there was a much smaller ice cap on the island at the peak of the last interglacial; these changes were brought about by orbital variations, whereas today there are concerns that higher levels of greenhouse gases may have a similar result).

Shackleton 1969
Figure 1 from Shackleton (1969) showing the breakdown of the last 120,000 years into isotopic 'stages'.

Earlier stages show the slowly evolving nature of glaciation (and the intervening interglacials) on the earth. Nick teamed up with Neil Opdyke, a paleomagnetist who was able to recognize (and date) reversals of the earth’s magnetic field, to provide a timescale for these changes in oxygen isotopes, and this provided a chronology that could then be used to understand the frequency of glaciations and rates of change. Once a fairly reliable timescale was established, it soon became apparent that there had been regular sequences of glaciations and interglaciations that were related to orbital forcing (changes in the earth’s position in relation to the sun, as elaborated by Milankovitch). This was described in a landmark paper in Science (1976) “Variations in the earth’s orbit: pacemaker of the ice ages”, co-authored with colleagues Jim Hays and John Imbrie. From this many more studies of orbital forcing, extending far back beyond the Quaternary period also evolved from the marine oxygen isotope stratigraphy. In particular, the CLIMAP (1981) project emerged, in which paleoceanographers mapped ocean conditions at the height of the last glaciation, by identifying in each sediment core the position where the isotopes in benthic forams were most enriched (indicating maximum ice on the continents). While many of the initial CLIMAP conclusions have been substantially revised, Shackleton's isotope chronology remains as an essential tool in understanding earth history.

Having identified a universal chronometer for continental glaciation—not in the moraines and outwash deposits that provide the direct evidence of former ice sheets, but far away in the deep ocean basins—researchers were then able to better understand the history of other terrestrial records, such as the vast loess (wind-blown silt) deposits of China, and the emerging ice core records from Antarctica and Greenland. Furthermore, since the isotopic record in the oceans registered ice growth and decay on land, it effectively provided a proxy for sea-level changes that could be checked with sea-level terraces from areas where the land had risen (such as on the Huon Peninsula of New Guinea, and in Barbados), preserving a record of past sea-level changes in the coral reefs now exposed on land. By comparing the reef-based sea-level history with the benthic foram-based record, Shackleton (with colleagues John Chappell and others) was able to assess the extent to which deep ocean temperatures may have changed over time, which would have confounded the simple paleoglaciation index he originally formulated. Shackleton subsequently argued that changes in glaciation could not be fully explained by orbital forcing, and that feedbacks involving carbon dioxide must have played a critical role, thereby highlighting the importance of changes in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, in the past and in the future.

Nick Shackleton’s research, arising from his original Ph.D. thesis on isotopic variations of tiny marine organisms, had an enormous impact on earth sciences. He had the insight to understand the implications of his measurements and they literally transformed how we now view earth history. For his discoveries he received many honors and awards. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Foreign Member of the U.S. Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and numerous other societies also honored him. He was knighted for his “services to science”; with Willi Dansgaard (who made similarly far-reaching studies of oxygen isotopes in precipitation and applied these to ice cores) he received the Crafoord Prize (considered as earth sciences’ “Nobel Prize”); he was also awarded Japan’s Blue Planet Prize, the Milankovitch Medal, and most recently the Vetlesen Prize.

Though he always considered himself, “just a geologist”, Nick had many other talents, most notably in music. He was an accomplished clarinet player and had a passionate interest in the history of that instrument. He was considered a world expert for his knowledge of antique clarinets and he had his own unique collection. At Cambridge University, where he spent his entire career, Nick gave lectures on Quaternary geology and paleoclimatology, but he also taught the physics of music. Perhaps it was his knowledge of harmonics that played a critical role in his understanding of orbital forcing and its impact on earth history. At the tri-ennial ICP conference, Nick would always organise a Paleo-musicology concert where the many musically talented scientists (and occasionally their more-talented children) would entertain the rest of us. Nick was a true Renaissance man and he leaves a very important legacy to both musicology and the earth sciences. Besides all this, he was a nice guy and an inspiration to all who came into contact with him.


14 February 2006

In Memoriam - Hans Olof Wickman  ( Putte Wickman)  Jazz Clarinet Legend in Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

         Hans Olof Wickman, better known as Putte Wickman, born September 10, 1924 in Falun Kristine Assembly, Falun, February 14, 2006 in Grycksbo, Falun Municipality, was a Swedish musician and clarinetist, especially in jazz. He was self-taught clarinet player, which did not prevent that he was regarded as one of the best in the world.
Wickman grew up in Big Tuna outside Borlänge. After secondary studies in Stockholm in 1944, he was a summer in Hasse Kahn orchestra. Later in the 1940s he started his own sextet, which played Benny Goodman-jazz but also more modern music. This sextet was up to the mid-1960s.
In recent years, did Wickman, but are not believers, church concerts with guitarist Goran Fristorp and pianist Jan Lundgren. In 2004 he participated in the tribute show, A tribute to Putte, held on the occasion of his 80th birthday, with, among others, Povel Ramel, Svante Thuresson, Jan Lundgren, Anders Berglund's big band. In 2005 he appeared on the Jazz Festival in Norrtälje, and on tour Wickman Wanner, together with Anders Berglund big band with, among others, Sheeba, and Jill Johnson as a singer.

         Putte Wickman was one of the few in the world forward, who played jazz on the clarinet. His game can not be compared with Benny Goodman or Artie Shaw, for he created his own way to play the return to traditional modern jazz on. Had it not been for so had Putte Wickman clarinet existence of jazz never really existed. Putte Wickman is one of the greatest jazz clarinetist of all time and we will all remember him in a very long time to come



23 January 2006

David Weber – In Memoriam

New York City USA

January 26, 2006

David Weber, a clarinetist, who was one of the last remaining links to the pioneers of American woodwind-playing and went on to become a master teacher, died on Monday at
Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan. He was 92.

His son Michael Weber announced the death. He had continued giving lessons until June.

Mr. Weber played for conductors likeToscanini, Stokowski and Leinsdorf. His students occupy chairs in orchestras around the country, including the
Milwaukee Symphony, the Dallas Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra. Benny Goodman took lessons (but never paid and took his best reeds, Mr. Weber once said), and so did the jazz clarinetist Kenny Davern.

But his most profound influence may have been on the sound of the instrument.

Mr. Weber's great gift, and his constant goal for students, was beauty of tone. His sound was full, rich, resonant and pure.

"It had a unique bell-like quality, that kind of clarity," said Jon Manasse, a soloist and principal clarinetist of American Ballet Theater. "The resonance of the sound, when it was correct, was enough to communicate the music without adding special effects or gimmicks."

As recounted by Mr. Manasse, Stokowski once called Mr. Weber over and said: "You, sir. Your tone, it's like a dove cooing."

Mr. Weber himself, in an article in The Clarinet, described good tone this way: "Think of colors: it's got to be gold, silver, blue velvet. You have to reach out and touch it."

Mr. Weber was a dogmatic teacher but deeply devoted to his students, and did not suffer fools gladly. He had a reputation for being contentious, standing up to conductors and sometimes alienating colleagues. He once argued with the conductor Bruno Walter, who tried to make peace by giving an inscribed copy of his book about Mahler.

"I don't think it succeeded," his son Michael said. "My father never spoke well of Bruno Walter in my hearing." His survivors also include another son, Robert, and his wife, Dorothy.

David Weber was born on Dec. 18, 1913, in
Vilnius, Lithuania, and moved with his family to Detroit. He took up the clarinet and studied with a member of the Detroit Symphony. One day he arrived for a lesson and was sent home; his teacher had committed suicide. The incident was searing, he told The Clarinet.

He went to New York to study with Simeon Bellison, the Russian principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic, who along with Daniel Bonade of France — another Weber teacher — helped establish modern clarinet-playing in the United States.

In the late 1930's, he auditioned for Toscanini and was immediately brought into the NBC Symphony. He also had stints with the
New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, CBS Symphony and Symphony of the Air, the NBC Symphony's successor. He was principal clarinet of the New York City Ballet Orchestra from 1964 until 1986, when he retired from performance, and taught at the Juilliard School.



Donald Martino, sheet music, stringograph, Bach chorales
8 December 2005
In Memoriam - Donald Martino,  noted American composer
Newton, Massachusetts, USA

DONALD MARTINO (1931 - 2005) : Born in Plainfield, New Jersey, May 16, 1931, he began music lessons at nine – learning to play the clarinet, saxophone, and oboe – and started composing at 15. He holds degrees from Syracuse and Princeton Universities. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, his many awards include two Fulbright scholarships; three Guggenheim awards; grants from the Massachusetts Arts Council, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Brandeis Creative Arts Citation in Music; the 1974 Pulitzer Prize in music for his chamber work Notturno, First Prize in the 1985 Kennedy Center Friedheim Competition for his String Quartet (1983), and most recently, the Boston Symphony's Mark M. Horblit Award. Mr. Martino has taught at The Third Street Music School Settlement in New York, Princeton, Yale, The New England Conservatory of Music, where he was chairman of the composition department from 1969-1979, Brandeis, where he was Irving Fine Professor of Music, and Harvard, where he is the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music, Emeritus.  He has been active as guest lecturer and has been Composer-in-Residence at Tanglewood, The Composer's Conference, The Yale Summer School of Music and Art, The Pontino Festival (It.), May in Miami, The Atlantic Center for the Arts, The Warebrook Festival, The Ernest Bloch Festival, The Festival Internacional de Musica de Morelia (Mex.), and has been Distinguished Visiting Professor at many institutions of higher learning.  Commissions for new works have come from, among others, the Paderewski Fund; the Fromm, Naumburg, Koussevitzky, and Coolidge Foundations; the Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco Symphonies; and a number of musical societies and organizations. According to the New Grove, "Martino's music has been characterized as expansive, dense, lucid, dramatic, romantic, all of which are applicable. But it is his conjure up for the listener a world of palpable presences and conceptions...that seems most remarkable."

 "Donald Martino, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer widely

respected for atonal works that combine intellectual rigor with
expressive freedom, died on Thursday aboard a cruise ship in the
Caribbean en route to Antigua. He was 74. During this trip, Mr Martino 
was actively involved in composing a work for Violin and 14 Instruments 
to the very day of his passing for the Tanglewood Music Center.
The cause was cardiac arrest following complications of diabetes, said 
Lora Martino, his wife of 36 years, who was vacationing with him. Mr. 
Martino lived in Newton, Mass.
A student of Roger Sessions and Milton Babbitt, he was an unapologetic 
Modernist steeped in 12-tone techniques. His works, typically, were  
dense and formidably complex. A skilled craftsman and comprehensive  
musician, he believed in challenging listeners. In moments of
frustration, he attributed the difficulties his music had in winning 
mainstream acceptance to concert promoters who cultivated a
"potty-trained audience," as he put it in an interview for his 60th 
For Clarinetists, he is well known for compositions such as his Set for 
Solo Clarinet, and his Triple Clarinet Concerto, for Contemporary Ensemble.  
His music publishing firm Dantalian, has a complete catalog of his works.


Donald Martino Public Memorial -- March 19, 2006.A public memorial to celebrate the life and music of Mr. Martino will be held on March 19, 2006 at 3:00 p.m. at Paine Hall, Harvard University.   Selections of his music will be performed, as will other pieces dear to the composer.  Family, friends, and colleagues will also speak briefly and share remembrances.

For directions and information on free parking, visit Harvard University's Paine Hall Directions website or email

Please Note: In honor of Donald Martino, an annual award will be given to a composition student at the New England Conservatory, where Mr. Martino was chairman of the Composition department from 1969 - 1981.  Memorial donations to fund this award may be sent to:

New England Conservatory
Regina Tracy
Development Office
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115

Please indicate "for Donald Martino prize" when sending donations.  For more details, contact Regina Tracy at (617) 585-1138 or Jennifer Hill at (617) 585-1169.


Josef Horak with Bass Clarinet colleague

Josef Horak, wife and Mike Getzin in Duesseldorf, Germany

World Bass Clarinet Convention

Horak on Bass Clarinet

23 November 2005

In Memoriam  Josef Horak

It is very sad to report the passing of this great pioneer of the Bass Clarinet, who just had a Festival held in honor of his legacy in Rotterdam, Holland this month. This Convention honored the 50th Anniversary of a Bass Clarinet Recital held at the beginning of this era. More information below about Horak's illustrious solo career and his influence on the entire Bass Clarinet world.

In March 1955, Josef Horák performed the world's first solo bass clarinet recital.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this great occasion the newly founded World Bass Clarinet Foundation held a 3 day bass clarinet convention from 21st-23rd October 2005 - the first event ever to focus solely on all aspects of bass clarinet performance.

Historical Event

On 23rd March 1955 the Czech bass clarinettist, Josef Horák, performed the first ever solo bass clarinet recital. This recital marked a turning point for the bass clarinet and provided me with the inspiration to organize the first World Bass Clarinet Convention in the 50th anniversary year. - Henri Bok


The DUE BOEMI DI PRAGA was founded in 1963.
It is the only ensemble of that kind that has systematically concentrated on the interpretations of music ranging from the Renaissance up to the present times. By this art activity the two Czech outstanding musicians have provoked a completly new sphere of music literature which has not existed up to their time.
Leading world composers, as e.g. Paul Hindemith, Bohuslav Martinů, Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Frank Martin, Klaus Huber, Henri Pousseur, Kazuo Fukushima, Pablo Casals or Alois Hába dedicated or authorised their compositions to DUE BOEMI DI PRAGA.
In 1955, Josef Horák revealed to musicians and audiences who uplifted this instrument from the orchestral ranks to the level of a solo instrument. Its soft singing tone has become a new sound ideal of the bass clarinet. The new starting and breathing technique has broadened its extent, its dynamic scale as well as possibilities of expression and technique. Horák has influenced the developmend of the bass clarinet playing in the world by this decisive way. Therefore world critics call him "Paganini of the bass clarinet".
His first evening concert in 1955 was at the same time the first bass clarinet recital in the history of music.


UNESCO - March 1988 - International Kolloquium
Festival Leoš Janáček - Paris 


Due Boemi made radio recordings for 42 radio studios in Europe and overseas.

Due Boemi played concerts on 4 continents.
  We can find in the repertoire of the Due Boemi also newly discovered music from the Renaissance period (suites of dances and songs by anonymous composers of the  15th, 16th and 17th century), barocs sonatas for a deep melody instrument and basso continuo (like Händel, Telemann, Purcell, Marcello and others). In addition, seldom heared classic a romantic pieces of Mozart, Beethoven, Dvořák, Smetana, Schumann, and indeed, there are great many for the Due Boemi di Praga specially composed, dedicated ot authorized contemporary opus of different styles.




























22 June 2005

In Memoriam David Breeden - Solo Clarinetist with San Francisco Symphony

San Mateo, California USA

         David Breeden, 58, Solo Clarinetist in the San Francisco Symphony, died June 22 of complications from multiple myeloma at a care center in San Mateo, California.

         Mr. Breeden is the son of Leon Breeden, the former Grand Prairie High School band director who went on to be the longtime head of jazz studies at what is now the University of North Texas.

         David Breeden was born in Fort Worth. He and his family later lived in Grand Prairie and Denton as his father's career progressed. David Breeden followed in his father's footsteps to play the clarinet.  The retired professor said his son was a natural.

         When David was in fourth grade, he heard his father practicing and told him he liked the sound. Mr. Breeden told his son that he would give him a clarinet if he learned to play. He heard his answer six weeks later.

        "I walked in our little house there in Grand Prairie one afternoon after band rehearsal, and I heard 'Stardust' going in the front room," Mr. Breeden said. "I said, 'David, that horn is yours.' "

         David Breeden received degrees from North Texas State University, now UNT, and Catholic University. He performed for several years with the Navy Band before joining the San Francisco Symphony in 1972.


17 February 2005

Munich, Germany - In memoriam  Marcello Viotti




Marcello Viotti, an Italian conductor with strong Swiss roots (


Swiss-born conductor Marcello Viotti, musical director of Venice’s La Fenice Theatre, has died at the age of 50.

 Viotti conducted renowned orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the English Chamber Orchestra, and performed at opera houses around the world.






Viotti died on Wednesday in a Munich hospital after suffering a stroke last week.

Born to Italian immigrants in western Switzerland in 1954, Viotti studied the piano, cello and singing at the Lausanne Conservatory. He made his conducting debut in nearby Geneva with a wind ensemble that he founded in 1974.

In 1982 he won first prize at a renowned conducting competition in Italy, which launched his international career.

He rose to prominence as chief conductor of the Turin Opera. Viotti served as artistic director of the Lucerne Theatre in Switzerland and conducted orchestras in several German cities.

Last year he quit his position as conductor in Munich in protest at plans to shut down the orchestra in 2006. Viotti had notably directed a successful concert cycle with Munich’s Radio Orchestra, entitled Paradisi Gloria, devoted to 20th-century choral music.

 Venice, New York, Vienna

 At Venice’s La Fenice Theatre, where he had been musical director since 2002, Viotti won acclaim for his production of Jules Massenet’s Thais.

Other productions included Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata and Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.

Viotti made his debut at the Met in New York in 2000 with Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. He later returned for La Bohème and La Traviata.

He gave his last public performance on February 5, when he conducted Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma at the Vienna State Opera.

Viotti was due to conduct new productions in Venice, Salzburg and Zurich later this year.

The world of music praised Viotti as a leading light of his generation.

"He will live on not only because of his high professional standard and his musical talents, but also his warm personality and generosity," said Alexander Pereira, director of Zurich’s Opera House.






Portrait by Donna Granata

Emily Bernstein – in Memoriam (1959 - 2005)

At the time of her death, Emily Bernstein was the principal clarinetist of the Los Angeles Opera. She also played first chair with the Pasadena Symphony under the direction of Jorge Mester. She was a member of the acclaimed contemporary music ensemble, XTET, which has presented numerous world premieres. She performed with many southern California ensembles including the Angeles String Quartet, and the Pacific Trio. She enjoyed many happy summer seasons in Jacksonville, Oregon as principal clarinetist with the Peter Britt Music and Arts Festival. In addition to her busy performing career, Emily maintained an active private teaching studio and was affiliated with the Mancini Institute.

Ms. Bernstein graduated with honors from Stanford University and earned a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music.

Ms. Bernstein made frequent appearances as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the west and recorded for the Delos, Phillips, and Sony Classics labels. She was an active studio musician and has performed on hundreds of motion picture and television scores including, Catch Me If You Can, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sea Biscuit, and JAG. She was featured in the John Williams score for the movie The Terminal. An article in the La Cañada Valley Sun reported that after Emily recorded the clarinet solo for "The Terminal," director Steven Spielberg - a former clarinetist himself - insisted that Bernstein's name appear in the film's end credits, although traditionally individual musicians performing in studio orchestras remain anonymous.

2 January 2005

Raleigh, North Carolina USA - Herbert Blayman - in Memoriam

       The Clarinet world lost a hallmark Clarinetist and teacher in Mr Blayman, an established artist-teacher and celebrated Solo Clarinetist in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Lincoln Center in New York.  As a pedagogue, he taught at the Manhattan School of Music and other schools in New York and has been responsible for the effective mentorship of students who have achieved major successes in the music performance field. Since retiring from the Orchestra, he has pursued Clarinet mouthpiece making with an incredible quality control played by many professionals around the USA.  Blayman stands as one of the rare teachers who have left a benchmark to be emulated in this generation.


30 December 2004  

Artie Shaw – in Memoriam

The following biography was written in September of 1995. Artie Shaw was 94.

    On the eve of America's entry into World War II, TIME magazine reported that to the German masses the United States meant "sky-scrapers, Clark Gable, and Artie Shaw." Some 42 years after that, in December l983, Artie Shaw made a brief return to the bandstand, after thirty years away from music, not to play his world-famous clarinet but to launch his latest (and still touring) orchestra at the newly refurbished Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle, New York.

    Oddly enough, New Rochelle isn't all that far from New Haven, Connecticut, where Artie Shaw spent his formative years and at an early age became a compulsive reader, and where at 14 he began to play the saxophone (and several months later the clarinet), and at 15 left home to play all over America, and meanwhile study the work of his early jazz idols, such as Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer, and Louis Armstrong.


    At the age of 16 Artie went to Cleveland, where he remained for three years, the last two working with Austin Wylie, then Cleveland's top band leader, for whom Shaw took over all the arranging and rehearsing chores. In 1927 Artie heard several "race" records, the kind then being made solely for distribution in black (or "colored," as they were then known) districts. After listening entranced to Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five playing Savoy Blues, West End Blues, and other now-classic Louis Armstrong records from the late 1920's, Artie made a pilgrimage to Chicago's Savoy Ballroom to hear the great trumpet player in person. Back in Cleveland, Artie, now 17, won an essay-writing contest which took him out to Hollywood in 1928, where he ran into a couple of musicians he had known back in New Haven who were now working in Irving Aaronson's band. A year later, at the age of 19, Artie moved to Hollywood to join the Aaronson band.

    Shortly afterwards, the Aaronson band spent the summer of 1930 in Chicago, where Artie "discovered a whole new world" (as he would much later write, in a semi-autobiographical book The Trouble With Cinderella first published in 1952) when he heard several recordings of some of the then avant-garde symphonic composers' work: Stravinsky, Debussy, Bartok, Ravel, et al, whose work would eventually influence most of our contemporary jazz performers. This influence would soon surface in Shaw's own work when he began to use strings, woodwinds, etc. -- notably in a highly unusual album entitled Modern Music for Clarinet, selections of which were also featured in several of Shaw's Carnegie Hall concerts.

    When the Aaronson band came to New York in 1930, Artie decided to stay there, and within the year, at age 21, he became the top lead-alto sax and clarinet player in the New York radio and recording studios. After a couple of years of commercial work, he became disillusioned with the music business and bought some acreage with an old farmhouse in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He moved out there to spend the next year chopping wood for a living and trying to train himself as a writer -- of books rather than music -- since there seemed to be no way at that time to make a decent living playing the kind of music that interested him.

    In 1934 he returned to New York to pick up his formal education where it had been abruptly terminated when he left high school at 15, and resumed studio work to support himself. He made his first public appearance as a leader in 1936, in a Swing Concert (history's first) held at Broadway's Imperial Theatre. This proved to be a major turning point in his career, and would in fact ultimately have a significant impact on the future of American Big Band jazz. Shaw (who was then completely unknown to the general public) did something totally unorthodox to fill one of the three minute interludes in front of the stage curtain while such then established headliners as Tommy Dorsey, the Bob Crosby Band, the Casa Loma Band, etc. were being set up. Instead of the usual jazz group (a rhythm section fronted by a soloist), Shaw composed a piece of music for an octet consisting of a legitimate string quartet, a rhythm section (without piano), and himself on clarinet -- an extremely innovative combination of instruments at that time. Fronting this unusual group, he played a piece he had written expressly for the occasion, Interlude in B-flat, which the group presented to a totally unprepared and, as it turned out, wildly enthusiastic audience. (This, by the way, is the first example of what has now come to be labeled "Third Stream Music.")

   Shaw could scarcely have known that within a short time he would make a hit record of a song called Begin the Beguine, which he now jokingly refers to as "a nice little tune from one of Cole Porter's very few flop shows." Shortly before that he had hired Billie Holiday as his band vocalist (the first white band leader to employ a black female singer as a full-time member of his band), and within a year after the release of Beguine, the Artie Shaw Orchestra was earning as much as $60,000 weekly -- a figure that would nowadays amount to more than $600,000 a week!

   The breakthrough hit record catapulted him into the ranks of top band leaders and he was immediately dubbed the new "King of Swing". Today, Shaw's recording of Begin the Beguine sells thousands and has become one of the best-selling records in history.

  Superstardom turned out to be a status that Shaw (as a compulsive perfectionist) found totally uncongenial. Within a year he abruptly took off for another respite from the music business, this time in Mexico. In March of 1940 he re-emerged with a recording of Frenesi, which became another smash hit. For this recording session, he used a large studio band with woodwinds, French horns, and a full string section along with the normal dance band instrumentation -- another first in big band jazz history. Later that year he formed a touring band with a good-sized string section, with which he recorded several more smash hits, among them his by now classic version of Star Dust, plus a number of other fine musical recordings such as Moonglow, Dancing in the Dark, Concerto for Clarinet, and many others.

  Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the unpredictable Shaw quit the music business once again, this time to enlist in the U.S. Navy. After finishing boot training, he was asked to form a service band which eventually won the national Esquire poll. He spent the next year and a half taking his music into the forward Pacific war zones, playing as many as four concerts a day throughout the entire Southwest Pacific, on battleships, aircraft carriers, and repair ships, ending with tours of Army, Navy, and Marine bases (and even a number of ANZAC ones when his band arrived in New Zealand and Australia). On returning to the U.S. -- after having undergone several near-miss bombing raids in Guadalcanal -- physically exhausted and emotionally depleted, he was given a medical discharge from the Navy. His troubled marriage to Betty Kern (the daughter of composer Jerome Kern) ended in divorce, and in 1944 Shaw formed another civilian band -- featuring such great performers as pianist Dodo Marmarosa, guitarist Barney Kessel, and the phenomenal trumpeter Roy Eldridge -- with which he toured the country and made many excellent recordings.

  In 1947, during another hiatus, Shaw spent about a year in New York City in an intensive study of the relation of the clarinet to non-jazz (or, as he prefers to call it, "long-form") music. This culminated in a tour in 1949 of some of the finest musical organizations in America, such as the Rochester Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Eric Leinsdorf, the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., the Dayton Symphony, three appearances with New York's "Little Orchestra" (one in Newark, a second in Brooklyn's Academy of Music, and the last in Town Hall). After that Shaw recorded the aforementioned Modern Music for Clarinet album, containing a collection of remarkably well crafted symphonic orchestrations of short works by Shostakovich, Debussy, Ravel, Milhaud, Poulenc, Kabalevsky, Granados, Gould, along with Cole Porter and George Gershwin. About that time Shaw again appeared in Carnegie Hall, as guest soloist with the National Youth Orchestra conducted by Leon Barzin, where he received critical acclaim for his rendition of Nicolai Berezowski's formidable Concerto for Clarinet, which he had previously presented in its world premiere a few weeks earlier with the Denver Symphony. Around that time he performed the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein at a benefit performance, held at Ebbetts Field, for Israel's Philharmonic Orchestra. During that year, Shaw also played numerous chamber music recitals with string quartets, at various colleges and universities around the country.

  Another of Shaw's ventures during that period was his great 1949 band, which was virtually ignored by the general public until 1989, when an album of some of its work was released on compact discs by MusicMasters, and has since received remarkable worldwide reviews.

  In 1951 Shaw again quit the music business, this time moving to Duchess County, New York, where he bought a 240 acre dairy farm and wrote his first book, a semi-autobiographical work entitled The Trouble With Cinderella: An Outline of Identity, sections of which have appeared in many anthologies, and which is still in print.

  Throughout the early fifties, Artie Shaw assembled several big bands and small combos -- as well as his own symphony orchestra, (to play a one-week engagement at the opening of a large New York jazz club called Bop City). One such combo which was formed in late 1953 and recorded in 1954, a group known as the Gramercy 5 (a name he took from the New York telephone exchange of the time), maintain an amazingly high degree of popularity to this day despite the onslaught of Rock, MTV, and other such commercial phenomena.

  In 1954 Artie Shaw made his last public appearance as an instrumentalist when he put together a new Gramercy 5 made up of such superb modern musicians as pianist Hank Jones, guitarist Tal Farlow, bassist Tommy Potter, et al. The most comprehensive sampling of that group (as well as a number of others, going all the way back to 1936 and on up through this final set of records) can be heard on a four record album, now a rare item, released in 1984 by Book of the Month Records, entitled: Artie Shaw: A Legacy, which has also received rave reviews. Some of this music was re-issued on two double CD's by MusicMasters as Artie Shaw: The Last Recordings, Rare and Unreleased, and Artie Shaw: More Last Recordings, The Final Sessions.

  Artie Shaw packed his clarinet away once and for all in 1954. In 1955 he left the United States and built a spectacular house on the brow of a mountain on the coast of Northeast Spain, where he lived for five years. On his return to America in 1960 he settled in a small town named Lakeville, in northwestern Connecticut, where he continued his writing, and in 1964 finished a second book (consisting of three novellas) entitled I Love You, I Hate You, Drop Dead! In 1973, he moved back to California again, finally ending up in 1978 in Newbury Park, a small town about 40 miles west of Los Angeles, situated in what he refers to as "Southern California pickup-truck country."

  Since then, aside from a brief venture into film distribution (1954 to 1956), and a number of appearances on television and radio talk shows, Artie Shaw has had very little to do with music or show business. He still gives occasional interviews on television, radio, and newspapers and lectures all over the United States. He still conducts seminars on literature, art, and the evolution of what is now known as the Big Band Era. He has given lectures at Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the California State University at Northridge, and Memphis State University. He has received Honorary Doctorates at California Lutheran University and the University of Arizona. His home contains a library of more than 15,000 volumes, including a large collection of reference works on a wide variety of subjects ranging from Anthropology to Zen.

  Artie Shaw has been a nationally ranked precision marksman, an expert fly-fisherman, and for the past two decades has been working on the first volume of a fictional trilogy, dealing with the life of a young jazz musician of the 1920's and 30's whose story he hopes to take on up into the 1960's.

  Shaw's own life is the subject of a fine feature-length documentary by a Canadian film-maker. Artie Shaw: Time Is All You've Got is a painstakingly thorough examination of Shaw as he is today and as the leader of some of his great bands, including an appearance from one of his two earlier motion pictures, Second Chorus (1940). (Scenes from his other motion picture, Dancing Coed (1939), were not included in the documentary due to prohibitive cost.) In a review of the film at Los Angeles's Filmex Film Festival in the summer of 1985, Variety commented: "A riveting look back at both the big band era and one of its burning lights." The film has received glowing reviews wherever it has been shown -- Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Minneapolis, Toronto, Boston, and on Cinemax -- as well as in England, where it ran twice on BBC. It has also appeared at Film Festivals in Belgium, Switzerland, Australia, and Spain (where it took first prize in the documentary category). In 1986 it opened the San Francisco Film Festival, and in 1987 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded it the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature of 1986.

  On first meeting Artie Shaw, young Wynton Marsalis remarked, "This man's got some history." Shaw is regarded by many as the finest and most innovative of all jazz clarinetists, a leader of several of the greatest musical aggregations ever assembled, and one of the most adventurous and accomplished figures in American music.

  As Artie Shaw goes on into his nineties, he has also developed a crusty humor, as evidenced by an epitaph for himself he wrote for Who's Who in America a few years ago at the request of the editors: "He did the best he could with the material at hand." However, at a recent lecture to the music students of the University of Southern California, when someone mentioned having read it, Shaw said, "Yeah, but I've been thinking it over and I've decided it ought to be shorter, to make it more elegant." And after a brief pause, "I've cut it down to two words: 'Go away.'"


 7 December 2004

Siesta, Florida USA  -  In Memoriam  Frederick Fennell









In Memoriam
Maestro Frederick Fennell
Principal Guest Conductor, Dallas Wind Symphony
July 2, 1914 - December 7, 2004

Dr. Frederick Fennell passed away peacefully at his home in Florida on December 7. 
The maestro served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Wind Symphony
for many years and we are profoundly saddened by this loss.  The band world has
truly lost one of its greatest.  Our prayers go out to him and his family.

Home - People

Dr. Frederick Fennell is one of the world's most active and innovative maestros. This globe-trotting nonagenarian is principal guest conductor of the Dallas Wind Symphony, principal conductor of the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra in Japan, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Miami School of Music.

The internationally-acclaimed conductor is widely regarded as the leader of the wind ensemble movement in this country, is one of America's most recording living American classical conductors, and is a pioneer in various methods of recording.

While maintaining obvious devotion to the band and its music, he has pursued such illustrious and wide ranging activities as conductor of orchestra, opera, and popular repertoire. He has made guest conducting appearances with symphony orchestras and bands all over the world, is a member of many organizations, and has won numerous awards.

Born July 2, 1914 in Cleveland, Ohio, the maestro studied at the Eastman School of Music on the University of Rochestrer campus, earning a Bachelor of Music degree in 1937 and a Master of Music degree two years later. He became a member of the Eastman conducting faculty in 1939, founded the Eastman Wind Ensemble in 1952, and received an Honorary Doctorate from Eastman in 1988.

High-fidelity and stereo performances on 22 albums for Mercury Records grant him a unique position in the annals of the recording art. He was conductor of the Cleveland Symphonic Winds when he made the first symphonic digital recording in the United States for Telarc Records in 1978. The maestro also pioneered high definition compatible digital (HDCD) recordings with the Dallas Wind Symphony. The maestro has also recorded for CBS-Sony, Nippon-Columbia, King and Kosei labels.

Dr. Fennell has served as conductor of the Columbia University American Festival, the National Music Camp, the Yaddo Music Period, the Eastman-Rochester Pops Orchestra and the Eastman Opera Theatre, among others.

He has been principal guest condluctor of the Interlochen Arts Academy, and other guest conducting stints include frequent appearances with the Boston Pops Orchestra as well as performances with the Carnegie Hall Pops Concerts and the Boston Esplanade concerts. He has appeared with the Denver, San Diego, National, Hartford, St. Louis and London Symphonies; the Buffalo, Calgary and Greater Miami Philharmonic Orchestras, the Cleveland Orchestra and the New Orleans Philharmonic.

He was also previously Musical Director of the School Orchestra of America with which he toured Europe in the mid '60s.

Through the years, Dr. Fennell has risen to legendary stature in the world of music and this is reflected in the honors bestowed upon him. These include an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Oklahoma City University, membership in the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, honorary chief status in the Kiowa tribe, and a fellow in the Company of Military Historians.

In 1961, he received a citation and a medal from the Congressional Committe for the Centennial of the Civil War for two volumes of recordings of the Music of the Civil War.

Also, he was the recipient of the 25th Anniversary of Columbia University Ditson Conductor's Award in April of 1969, and of the New England Conservatory's Symphonic Wind Ensemble Citation in 1970. He was also awarded the Mercury Record Corporation Gold Record in 1970, and the National Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts Oscar for outstanding service as a conductor in 1975.

The Fennell/Eastman Wind Ensemble recording of Percy Grainger's Linconshire Posy was selected as one of the Fifty Best Recordings of the Centenary of the Phonograph, 1877-1977, by the Stereo Review. In 1977, he was named consultant to the Scala Memorial Fund Library of Congress. That same year, he received the Eastman School of Music Alumni Citation for the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

He received the University of Rochester Outstanding Alumni Award in 1981, and the Kappa Kappa Psi Distinguished Service Medal in 1982.

He was presented the Star of the Order in 1985 from the John Philip Sousa Memorial Foundation.

Other distinctions include the Interlochen Medal of Honor and the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic Medal of Honor, awarrded in 1989. The following year, Dr. Fennell was inducted into the National Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame for Distiguished Band Conductors. In January of 1994, he received the Theodore Thomas Award presented by the Conductors Guild, Inc., in recognition of unparalleled leadership and service to windband performance throughout the world. The last two recipients of this award were maestros Solti and Bernstein.

He was the initial recipient of the Medal of the International Percy Grainger Society for Distinguished Services in 1991.

Frederick Fennell Hall was dedicated in Kofu, Japan, with a concert by the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra on July 17, 1992.

Dr. Fennell has authored several publications with musical topics, including his 1954 book Time and the Winds, which is still the only text of its kind. He is also the author of the continuing series The Basic Band Repertory Study/Performance Essays, editor of contemporary editions of classic military, circus and concert marches for Theodore Presser Co., Carl Fisher, Inc., Sam Fox Publishing Co., Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., and of the Fennell Editions for Ludwig Music.




30 June 2004

Risei Kitazume (1919-2004) -  In Memoriam

Tokyo, Japan

    Risei Kitazume, past president of Japan Clarinet Society from 1980 to 1986, died of pancreatic cancer on June 30, 2004. HI is survived by his wife Waki, his parents and his children, Michio and Yayoi both of them are composers.
    Mr. Kitazume was born in the mid of Tokyo on April 16, 1916 and started playing trumpet in 1929 when he entered Sijyo junior high school. In 1934, he began to play clarinet at Seijyo High School under the instruction of Mr. Tomio Tsujii and Mr. Tetsuo Yamamura. He received his undergraduate degree of music from Tokyo Music School (now called Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music) in 1941. His mentor was Mr. Hironori Nakayama. He was awarded Koda grant. He served military from February 1942 to August and he resigned because of his health. After returning from military service he completed his graduate school and assigned as a part-time lecture of the school. In the same year, he married with his wife. In 1942 he joined Tokyo Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra and from 1945 he again served military till the end of the World War II. In 1946 he moved to Tokyo Philharmonic and also assigned as an associate professor of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. In 1947 he moved to Toho Philharmonic (now called as Tokyo Symphony Orchestra). He also played with Eolian Club with Hidemaro Konoe. From 1955, he was assigned as an associate professor of Toho Gakuen and then a full professor and he received an honorary professor in 1997 and also he taught several schools including Yamagata University, Senzoku Gakuen, Nihon University, Soai Gakuen, and so on. Beside those teaching careers, in 1965 he introduced the Krommer Clarinet Concerto #1 and played with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and Mr. Kazuyoshi Akiyama as a conductor, and Olivier Messiaen's Quatuor Pour La Fin Du Temps (Quartet For The End Of Time) in 1967.
    Mr. Kitazume gave much to this society through his teaching and performing and we regret that he did not have more time among us.



29 June 2004 

Jost Michaels  -  in Memoriam

Detmold, Germany

      Jost Michaels, clarinetist, pianist, conductor, writer and arranger died on June 21st at the age of 82,  after a long illness.  I had the privilege of studying with Prof. Michaels in Detmold from 1980 to 1983 and worked with him subsequently on the Boehm-System version of his legendary Systematic of Clarinet Fingering Technique.  He was one of the few  musicians I have ever met.  He played piano and clarinet and was one of the only people ever to receive a double professorship in both instruments in Germany. He recorded extensively on both instruments, published many articles on musical subjects and arranged numerous works for clarinet. He was also quite proficient on the violin. 

        Professor Michaels was uncompromising in his desire to bring out the best of every piece he played.  He was a champion of unknown composers and their works, believing that one cannot understand the greatness of masterpieces if one does not have a thorough knowledge of the other works of their time, and of the composers who, from our point of view, stand almost hidden in the shadows of the masters.

       Jost Michael's students sit in major international orchestras and teach at institutions all over the world. He taught in a way that went far beyond instruction in tone and technique.  He taught each student to use their own sound and abilities to get to the heart of a composition’s musical character, and to be able to lead listeners to understand the intensity, structure and special character of each piece.  He was insistent on players knowing the whole piece, and not just the clarinet part, on their knowing as many other pieces by the same composer - and all his or her contemporaries! - as possible.  I have seen him practically throw students out of lessons if they didńt know if a composer had written Lieder (Art Songs) or not.  A prerequisite for any lesson was knowing the piano part inside and out, as he accompanied all lessons himself and had little patience for wrong tones or entrances...I think you better take another look at this, Herr .....!
        At the end of his teaching career he packed the clarinet away and dedicated himself more to piano and even more to research and writing.  Near the end of his life he published two works of importance. The Dilemma in Modern Musical Education, about the need for restructuring musical education to meet purely artistic needs, and to increase the students ability to interpret unknown (unrecorded) works.  His last work was a major treatise on Brahms use of the clarinet, asserting and evaluating Brahms relationship to the clarinet  before his friendship with Muhlfeld.

       I will miss Jost Michaels.  He demonstrated what it is like to be totally immersed with mind and spirit in what one is playing.  He was also a window into another epoch of music-making, if you will, having studied with masters from the 19th century, and being a product of early 20th century ideas.  The most modern-day musician still has a need for hearing “old-time” ideas to be truly equipped for the music at hand.   For me, and many other of his students, the intensity of Jost Michaels  music-making and teaching awakened that part of me which could play the best.

 Allan Ware


 June 2004 

 John LaPorta  -  in Memoriam

New York City USA

        John LaPorta (1920-2004) was classically trained in part at the Manhattan School of Music and joined the Bob Chester band in 1940 to play lead clarinet.  He worked with Ray McKinley and Woody Herman as an alto saxophonist and composer.  He took over Buddy DeFranco's spot with the Metronome All-Stars in 1951 (as a clarinetist) and was a founding member of the Jazz Composer's Workshop (with Charles Mingus and Teo Macero) in 1953.  He recorded extensively with Mingus, the JCW, and Lennie Tristano in the 1950s on both sax and clarinet.  He wrote articles for Downbeat magazine including "Up Beat Section: Clinician's Corner" about learning to play jazz in 1960.  He also recorded under his own name  on the albums "John LaPorta", "Conceptions", "Clarinet Artistry", and "Most Minor".  He was a jazz educator starting in the 1950s and served on the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music (1959-1980s).  His playing and arranging was widely respected by modern jazz players in the 1950s and 1960s and helped found jazz education.

Stanley Drucker with Jean and David Hite on mouthpieces

Drucker- Hite mouthpiece tryouts

Stanley Drucker with Hite mouthpiece check

Hite Mouthpiece session

18 January 2004

David Hite  - in Memoriam

Estero, Florida USA

        David Hite, age 80, a resident of Estero FL, died Sunday, January 18, 2004 at Hope Hospice, Ft. Myers FL.  He had been taken ill suddenly four weeks earlier.  Born Sept. 25, 1923 in New Straitsville OH, he devoted his life to the study and mastery of the clarinet.  He studied with Fred Weaver of Columbus, Daniel Bonade of New York, and Anthony Gigliotti of Philadelphia.  After moving with his family to Columbus in 1941, he enrolled in the Ohio State University School of Music where he subsequently earned Bachelor and Master of Arts Degrees in Music.  During WWII he joined the US Army, serving in Guam and Okinawa as a band musician.  Upon discharge, he returned to play in the Columbus Philharmonic Orchestra and in the Berkshire Music Festival Orchestra at Tanglewood MA.  In 1954 he joined the music faculty of Capital University where he taught for over 20 years.  In 1980, he joined in collaboration and support of the Klar/Fest 81 at Catholic University and was instrumental in the success of this Festival and several subsequent Clar/Fests in Washington and Towson State Universities.  ClariNetwork International was organized at this time after the artistic success of the Klar/Fest.  After leaving Columbus in 1983, he moved to the New York City area, working with artist clarinet and saxophone players in custom servicing instruments and mouthpieces.  In 1986 he settled in Florida where, with his wife Jean, he won international recognition for the design and production of J & D Hite clarinet and saxophone mouthpieces.  He also worked to expand the clarinet music literature, publishing many new editions and arrangements with Southern Music Company.  Survived by wife Jean Ann Knox Hite; son Christopher (Angela) Hite and grandson Benjamin Hite of Annandale VA; son Mark D. Hite of Columbus.  Preceded in death by parents Harry and Dollie Hite, brother Lester, and sister Hazel.  Arrangements in care of the National Cremation Society, 12820 Kenwood Lane, Ft Myers, FL 33907.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in David’s memory by made to a charity of the donor’s choice or the Ft. Myers, FL foundation which David supported:  The Music Foundation of Southwest Florida

13300-56 S. Cleveland Ave., PMB-214

Ft. Myers, FL  33907

December 17, 2003

Henry Cuesta - in Memoriam

Los Angeles, California USA -

          Henry Cuesta, highly regarded star clarinetist best known as a featured musician with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra, his technical mastery of the clarinet was often compared to that of Benny Goodman. He performed with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra on television and in concerts from 1972 until 1982, when Welk's weekly program ended after 27 years on ABC Television and in syndication. He was 71 years old when he succumbed to cancer. 

26 November 2003

Meyer Kupferman - In Memoriam

Rhinebeck, New York USA

Maverick modernist composer with a special interest in jazz

Meyer Kupferman, composer: born New York 3 July 1926; married 1973 Pei Fen (one daughter); died near Rhinebeck, New York 26 November 2003.

Meyer Kupferman was something of a maverick among American composers, his own man in life as he was in music. He took what he want from his musical environment - from jazz as from 12-tone modernism - to form a style that manages to be both modern and accessible. And he founded his own record label to make sure the world heard it.

His family origins were colourful, though typical of many immigrants to America. His father, Elias Staff-Cooperman, born in Romania in 1900, fled from an oppressive stepfather and made his living across mainland Europe as an itinerant folk-singer, accordionist, wrestler, baker and cook. After conscription into the Austro-Hungarian army, and being wounded in action, he emigrated to the United States with his sister in the early 1920s. He became a baker in New York, changed his name to Kupferman (most immigrants anglicised their names; he went the other way) to eradicate any memory of his stepfather and, engaged to sing at a wedding, met and fell in love with a Russian émigrée, Fanny Hoffmann, who had fled from the anti-Semitic pogroms in the Ukraine. Meyer was the fruit of their union.

His early years were unsettled, with the family moving to a new apartment every year throughout, and after, the Depression, yanking young Meyer from one school to another. At the age of five he was put to the violin but showed little interest in the instrument. But at 10 a chance encounter with the clarinet changed his life. He took lessons, found he enjoyed music, taught himself to compose and play the piano and began to write music and arrangements for his friends. As a teenager he became a regular performer in the jazz clubs of Coney Island, Brooklyn, and enjoyed the burgeoning of the big-band sound.

Although he was entirely self-taught as a composer, he did take formal lessons in theory, chamber music and orchestral music at the High School of Music and Art and at Queens College. Another important ingredient in his musical make-up came from his father, who encouraged his son's musical development and sang him Hebrew, Romanian and gypsy songs, which Meyer would follow with his clarinet - elements which resurfaced intermittently in Kupferman's music in the decades ahead, as in The Garden of my Father's House (1972) for violin and clarinet, which is dedicated to his father's memory.

Kupferman was only in his early twenties when, in 1951, he took up a professorship in composition and chamber music at Sarah Lawrence College and he stayed there for 43 years, retiring only in 1994, his period there including five terms as head of department. He conducted the orchestra and chorus there as well as its chamber improvisation ensemble, took classes in theory and film music and turned out a long series of experimental works for the drama and dance students.

Music poured from Meyer Kupferman over the course of his six-decade composing career. His tally of symphonies reached 12, and he produced 10 concertos, for a variety of instruments. His chamber works (which include seven string quartets) can be counted by the hundreds - he wrote over 60 solo and chamber pieces for his own instrument, the clarinet. He was attracted to the stage, too, eventually writing no fewer than nine ballets and seven operas. There are film scores (one of them for Truman Capote's Trilogy), works combining electronic sounds and live performers, other orchestral works besides the symphonies and concertos.

Although Kupferman first began to develop an interest in 12-tone writing - which avoids an established sense of key - in the early 1950s, he was concerned that his music should not lose the lyricism that had marked it until then. One of his solutions was to use the same 12-note row in an extended series of works, his Cycle of Infinities, which came to comprise over 30 variegated concert pieces, written between 1962 and 1983, among them solo and chamber scores, a cantata and a three-act opera, The Judgement (1966). Jazz, Jewish melisma and a ready sense of humor gave listeners three more handles with which to grasp his music.

Indeed, his familiarity with jazz made it inevitable that it would figure as an influence in his concert music. Thus he wrote a Concerto for Cello and Jazz Band, a Sonata on Jazz Elements, a Jazz String Quartet (No 6 of his seven), a Jazz Symphony - which he recorded in Lithuania in the summer of 1990, in the teeth of the Russian blockade. And he wrote about jazz, too: his two-volume Atonal Jazz, published in 1992, is an ambitious, detailed study of advanced chromatic technique.

The conductor Jonathan Sternberg, saluting Kupferman's "extraordinary imagination" and "fascinating personality", found that he

was always able to contribute to any conversation something of interest, regardless of the subject. He knew the answers to everything musically.

At their last meeting,

already ailing, he revealed disappointment [that] his creative qualities . . . were still generally unrecognised, in favour of the massive trash being served even by distinguished conductors . . . catering to dumbed- down audiences.

It was characteristic of Kupferman's energy that he didn't take his neglect lying down. Just as at the beginning of his career, when he had roped in colleagues - among them Morton Feldman, Seymour Shifrin and Allan Blank - to form an ensemble called Composers' Workshop, so, too, he set up Soundspells Productions to record his music. The label has now released a generous quantity of Kupferman's output on CD - though it's only the tip of a very large iceberg.

Martin Anderson


16 September 2003

Jack Brymer - In Memoriam

London, England -

   Jack Brymer, one of the most important British Clarinet icons of the last century, passed away on this date at age 88.  As a long standing orchestra soloist and solo clarinetist in the London Symphony, he has pioneered the British Clarinet sound and style which is characteristic of the British School of playing. Clarinets such as the Boosey-Hawkes Symphony 10-10 series, later evolving to makers such as Peter Eaton and others, maintain the British benchmark.  Mr Brymer has been an active recording artist having been probably the most recorded English artist on record, and has been one of the most important teachers, on faculty at the Royal College of Music in London and other schools.  For many years he has been a high visibility member and President of the Clarinet & Saxophone Society of Great Britain (CASS).  Jack Brymer will be remembered as a major legend for a long time to come.

Clarinettist Brymer chosen by Beecham for his innate musicality and rich sound

June Emerson
Thursday September 18, 2003
The Guardian

Jack Brymer, who has died aged 88, was one of the finest clarinettists of the past half-century. His professional career started when Sir Thomas Beecham appointed him principal clarinet of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and it went on to include extensive concerto, chamber music and recital work.

Brymer was unusual in that he came from the world of amateur music and jazz, and brought to his orchestral playing a particularly warm and flexible tone. He considered it essential to be a musician first and a clarinettist second, and it was his outstanding musicianship, as well as his rich sound, that made his playing so memorable.

Born in South Shields, Brymer shared his birthday with Mozart, a composer of particular significance to him. He first began to play on his father's clarinet as an inquisitive four-year-old, and went on to make his own discoveries of music and instrumental technique without formal tuition. Struggling with an inadequate instrument (a sharp-pitch A clarinet with a bit sawn off in the school woodwork room) and playing in local bands and amateur orchestras with people much older than himself, he learned his craft in the most practical way.

This meant that when he finally acquired a good pair of instruments, after some 13 years of playing, he had already mastered many of the problems that he might encounter later. He recalled buying his first pair of Boosey & Hawkes 1010s for £19, handing over his old battered instruments in part exchange, together with all his savings and £2 extracted from the gas meter.

He trained as a teacher of general subjects, specialising in music, at Goldsmiths College, London University, and went on to teach at Heath Clark School, Croydon, while at the same time taking part in a great deal of amateur music-making.

He received much encouragement and orchestral experience from playing under Frederick Haggis in the Goldsmiths College orchestra, and from Ernest Read in the Ernest Read Symphony Orchestra. It was at Goldsmiths that he first met Joan Richardson, a violinist and viola player. They married in 1939, and Joan travelled with him all over the world throughout his career.

At the beginning of the second world war, the school was evacuated to Eastbourne, but when things began to look dangerous it was transferred to Llanelli, Wales. In 1940, he joined the RAF as a physical training instructor, doing his basic training at Uxbridge. During his years of service, he met and played with many professional musicians, but returned to teaching once the war was over. They must have talked about his playing - though nobody ever admitted to it - because one day in July 1947 there was a surprise telephone call from Beecham requesting that Brymer audition the next day for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He was immediately appointed principal clarinettist as successor to Reginald Kell, and held the appointment for the next 16 years.

These years with Beecham were his golden period, packed with outstanding musical experiences, some of them far from comfortable, as he recounted in his autobiography From Where I Sit (1979). After Beecham's death in 1961, he became co-principal clarinet in the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1963-71), and principal in the London Symphony Orchestra (1971-86).

Brymer was a founder-member of the Wigmore Ensemble, the Prometheus Ensemble and the London Baroque Ensemble, director of the London Wind Soloists, and a member of the Tuckwell Wind Quartet and the Robles Ensemble. He also taught at the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall and the Guildhall School of Music.

He recorded all the wind music of Mozart, including the Clarinet Concerto three times. The version he remembered with the most pleasure was the first, made in one session in 1958 under Beecham. Several works were written for him, including Three Pieces and a Clarinet Quintet by Armstrong Gibbs; Roundelay by Alan Richardson; and Guy Woolfenden's Clarinet Concerto.

In his later years, Brymer broadened his musical activities, describing himself as a "soloist, chamber music player, teacher, orchestral player, broadcaster, quizzer, lecturer, disc jockey, jazz fan, saxophone quartet leader, transport organiser and map-reader, agent, accountant and tax-gatherer for HM government". He relished the humorous moments thrown up by musical life, as once when he was late for a concert and hailed a taxi driver. "Albert Hall," he yelled, "as quick as you can, or quicker!" The driver didn't seem impressed. "How many in yer outfit?" he asked. "Ninety," he was told. "Blimey, mate," he said, "they won't 'arf miss yer!" He spoke truer than he knew.

Jack Brymer is survived by his wife and his son Timothy.

Alan Hacker writes: Jack Brymer took the London postwar musical scene by storm. Vibrato, fairly new to classical wind-playing, was the most obvious and novel aspect of his style. The legendary oboist Leon Goossens, a member of Beecham's pre-war orchestra, was the first wind player noted for vibrato. In using it, he was copying Fritz Kreisler, who (according to Carl Flesch) had been the first violinist to play with continuous vibrato. Goossens' colleague Reginald Kell then took the idea on board, though Brymer told me he was playing the clarinet with vibrato before Kell.

Vibrato was by no means all, though. Brymer's hallmark as a clarinettist was a very soft-textured tone, which he aimed to produce at all dynamic levels. And most important of all, his playing had a remarkable presence. Part of that could be put down to the ease of his playing and a resonance of tone that no follower could quite achieve. Like other members of the "Royal Family", as the woodwind section of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was called, his sound was expressive and instantly recognisable, even in just one solo note.

An uncle of mine had been a fellow teacher in South Shields. Through this connection, I was thrilled at the age of 16 to have a letter from the great Jack Brymer. I became one of his students at the Royal Academy of Music, and went to hear him in concerts as often as possible.

In a clarinet solo from an orchestral work by Dvorak, the older generation of British and continental players produced a woody folk colour, whereas Brymer would create a soft romantic impression. I would wait with bated breath for his solos to begin. "Float the tone," he would often say, emphasising the "idyll" rather than the "epic" - Berlioz's terms for the clarinet's main characteristics.

The composer Harrison Birtwistle, also a Brymer pupil, says that the most important achievement of an instrumentalist is to bring about new compositions (by analogy with Stadler for Mozart, and Mühlfeld for Brahms). But, surely, it is also creative for a performer to influence other performers. "Alan is swimming against the stream," Jack would say. But it was his confidence and the natural relationship he had with his instrument that encouraged me in my way.

Jack Brymer, clarinettist, born January 27 1915; died September 16 2003

18 August 2003

Vito Pascucci  - in Memoriam

Kenosha, Wisconsin  USA

Legendary maker and marketer of wind instruments, is dead at 80

      Vito Pascucci, founder and chairman of the Kenosha, Wisconsin–based G. Leblanc Corporation, died on Monday, August 18, after a long period of declining health. Pascucci was an entrepreneur and a classic self-made man whose name grew to legendary proportions within the music industry and among musicians. He was 80.

Born on Columbus Day, October 12, 1922, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Vito was educated in Kenosha’s public schools, where he first learned to play trumpet. Pascucci later served his country during World War II with the Glenn Miller Army Air Corps Band. Stationed in Europe, he learned manufacturing techniques from the most respected and progressive instrument maker of the time, Léon Leblanc.

Returning from the war, he cofounded G. Leblanc Corporation in America in 1946. Over the years, he turned his original one-man shop into a nine-brand corporation employing some 450 people and serving a world market from two continents.

In April 1989, Pascucci acquired controlling interest in G. Leblanc SNC, the French parent company of the American corporation. In January 1993, he completed the buyout. At the time of his death, he served as président–directeur général of the French firm.

True to their French roots, both companies will remain a family business in the tradition of de père en fils, for Leon Pascucci, Vito’s son and Léon Leblanc’s namesake, will succeed his father as chairman of Leblanc USA and PDG of Leblanc France. The younger Pascucci is a 32-year veteran of the American company, which he has served as president and chief executive officer.

Vito Pascucci developed the only complete family of plastic-bodied clarinets made in the United States, all with power-forged keys. The Vito brand woodwinds that carry his name are manufactured by such advanced methods that they have brought to student musicians a quality and consistency of instrument that was previously available only to professionals.

Pascucci was a past chairman of the American Music Conference, and he served six terms as president of the National Association of Band Instrument Manufacturers. Among his many honors, Pascucci was named to the American Music Conference Hall of Fame in 1980. In 1982, he received the Edwin Franko Goldman Memorial Citation, the highest award of the American Bandmasters Association. In 1986, he received the Air Force Commendation Medal for his morale-building efforts during World War II, and in 1988, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Music Merchants.

In recognition of his lifelong contributions to music education, Pascucci was awarded honorary doctorates from Florida A&M University (Tallahassee FL, 1988), Wartburg College (Waverly IA, 1993), the University of South Dakota (Vermillion SD, 1995), and Berklee College of Music (Boston MA, 1998). Bandmasters Association presented to him its 2003 Lifetime Music Industry Award. As further testament to Pascucci’s unflagging attention to detail and quality, for many years the Custom Tailors Guild included him on its annual list of Ten Best-Dressed Men.

Vito Pascucci worked untiringly for the betterment of music for over 55 years. His progressive attitudes toward manufacturing and his visionary approach to marketing set new standards for the entire band-instrument industry.

Ignatius Gennusa in New Orleans

Memorial sign at Gennusa Concert in Maryland

American Symphonic Clarinet Choir Memorial Concert

American Symphonic Choir

Gennusa Mouthpiece display

 24 May 2003

 Ignatius Gennusa  (1920-2003) – in Memoriam

 We mourn the loss of this great clarinetist Ignatius Gennusa, a major force in the Baltimore region as former solo clarinetist in the Baltimore Symphony and for 40 years faculty at the Peabody Institute.  He has served on faculty at Catholic University and for many years has been mentor to players from the Washington region.  He has been active as a mouthpiece maker with his distinctive facings and has attended many Clarinet Conferences.   The American Symphonic Clarinet Choir, recently established by a former student Michael Kelly, and conducted by John Stephens, performed a memorial performance in Gennusa’s honor 24 May in Riderwood Village where ‘Iggie’ Gennusa lived before his passing. 

9 Jun 2002
Col William Schempf  - In Memoriam  
West Point, NY  USA
It is with a great sense of personal loss to many members and veterans of the United States Military 
Academy Band the passing of Colonel William Schempf, the 13th Teacher of Music and 
Commander  (incidentally a clarinetist) of that great Band between 1957-74.  Many of the great 
players served in the Band during this period.  Under his tenure, the performance level of the Band 
approached that of many major Symphony Orchestras, especially during the Vietnam War.  Of special 
significance from my own time in the Band between 68-73, and now rethinking what  was so special 
about him, was the keen interest in enhancing the musical standard of the Band and developing of his 
members, including making possible the chance to study in New York at Schools such as Juilliard, 
Manhattan School of Music, Columbia University, and other institutions.  Under his leadership the 
terms  Mission Accomplishment and taking care of his people was overwhelmingly evident.  He did 
everything  in his power to inspire self-accomplishment from his Band members, and was the 
most selfless and generous Colonel to work for.  I remember a very special concert held at the first night 
of Klar/Fest '81 at Catholic University,  where a 'reunion of sorts' had him conduct Stravinsky's L'Histoire 
du Soldat with Steve Girko (veteran of the USMA Band and then Solo Clarinet in the Dallas Symphony,
and as narrator Robert Sherman from WQXR in New York.  Karl Leister and Ignatius Gennusa 
performed on the same concert.   I would surmise that no Commander since has achieved the same 
standard, and that William Schempf  holds the most prestige of any West Point icon since the Band's 
founding in 1817.  

3 December 2001

Anthony Gigliotti   -  in Memoriam

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

With a sense of sadness we mourn the passing of a great artist and clarinetist Anthony Gigliotti, retired solo Clarinetist in the Philadelphia Orchestra and Professor at the Curtis Institute of Music. Mr Gigliotti has been a major icon in the Clarinet World as a great performer and teacher, evidenced by success of his students and his advocacy of the field. In past years he has brought about the development of the Selmer 10G series of clarinets, which have become one of the main instruments of choice amongst players Internationally.

19 July 1997

Rosario Mazzeo  - In Memoriam

Carmel, California USA

Rosario Mazzeo

Rosario Mazzeo, one of the most influential clarinet teachers of the century, passed away July 19, 1997,  in Carmel, California, at the age of 86.  Clarinetist, bass clarinetist and personnel  manager of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for over thirty years, he was also chairman of the woodwind department at the New England Conservatory of Music. After his retirement from the orchestra, he moved to California, where for a decade he presented a distinguished chamber music series with the Crown Chamber Players at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and enjoyed another thirty years of teaching at UCSC, Stanford University, and the San Francisco Conservatory, and accepting  distinguished pupils from all over the world at his Carmel studio.

 Hearing Rosario Mazzeo play clarinet for the first time in 1968 was a revelation.  As a player, he was noted for his incredible range of dynamics, the warmth and beauty of his tone, and especially his committment to the score. His perfectionism was so much a part of his nature that he left no commercial recordings as a soloist.

Rosario Mazzeo had no use for  “artistic temperament” in his colleagues, himself, or his students.  He believed, more than any artist I have ever known, that the performer should be the servant of the music, not the other way around. As far as I can tell, he considered chamber music the greatest art of all, in part because of the test of character it requires to perform it well.

 He had a distinctive teaching style which was not at all based in the student emulating the playing of the teacher. In fact, he had scorn for multi-generational performance traditions which could not be supported from the music itself. In the decade I worked with him, he never played a note at any of my lessons. Instead he would use words and concepts, conduct, exhort, and especially use his often blustery singing voice to demonstrate how a phrase should go.  In this, he was extraordinarily effective. His musical insights were profound:  this was probably his greatest single gift.  If you had a difference of opinion, you had to make it equally as convincing as the phrasing that he heard in his head.  Most of the time, the results were better if you went with his concept. Making music for him in his studio was actually a partnership:  he was conducting, either physically or intellectually, and the object was an ever higher musical ideal.  For the student who could appreciate his greatness, the realization of those ideals became an almost sacred quest.

 Unlike many famous artist-teachers, he was kind.  He had no need to tear down the ego of any of his students. His personal power, which drew able students like a magnet, was the warmth and positivism of his personality, his deep knowledge of the clarinet, and his ability to absolutely focus on the student. When he was teaching, he was totally involved.

His students mourn the passing of a great artist, but even more the loss of a gentle, ebullient, and generous friend, who touched and changed our lives.

(text copyright 1997, Margaret Thornhill)

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Revised: August 29, 2010